Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How to make a small space feel bigger....?

Brandon and Cory have just moved into a newly built two-story loft in the heart of the city. While the couple shares an artistic sensibility _ Brandon is a photographer and Cory is a makeup artist _ their loft did not reflect their creativity. The ground floor of the space was bland, underutilized and a real mishmash of furniture and styles.

When they purchased the place, they thought their hip digs would be big enough to both live and work in, but now they are worried they might have chosen too small a space for their multitasking needs.

I knew that with some proper design and reorganization I could make the space work, but I had two big challenges before me. The first was to maximize the smallish, horizontal room and turn it into a functional loft for living, working and entertaining clients. The second was to produce a harmonious balance of contemporary and casual. While they are Eastern city slickers now, Brandon and Cory are originally from the west coast and wanted their space to incorporate a cool, laid-back feeling.

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Lofty trends is coming to Tucson

TUCSON - Downtown Tucson is seeing a revival many urban planners can only dream of: a steady stream of loft and condominium developments that is changing the downtown scene.

Projects converting old industrial buildings and a courthouse and even a convent into loft-style apartments are under way. Run-down buildings too far gone for renovation, like the old YMCA building, are being razed to make way for the hot new dwellings.

One of those set to be finished soon is the conversion of an old federal courthouse annex into a high-end loft condominium project. The $8 million project is scheduled to be done next year.

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Downtown Colorado Springs has rocketed back as a hip place to live after two decades of hemorrhaging residents, a new study for the Brookings Institution found.

Nobody would mistake it for a city that never sleeps, but downtown Colorado Springs is looking good compared with a couple of decades ago. The area saw a mass exodus during the 1970s and 1980s, when the population decreased by 38 percent, leaving only 3,401 people living downtown.

That trend reversed during the 1990s as the population grew by 1,634 people, an increase of nearly half. Downtown populations nationwide grew by 10.4 percent on average during the same period.

By the end of the ’90s, Colorado Springs boasted a larger downtown population than many other cities, including Denver; Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; and Des Moines, Iowa, according to the study entitled “Who Lives Downtown.”

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

DMG World Media Aquires SOFA New York

The ninth annual International Exposition of Sculpture Objects & Functional Art: SOFA NEW YORK 2006 will run under new owners. The arts exposition was recently required by DMG World Media, an international exhibition and publishing company based in London.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

High-end furniture is solution for success

Oggi Modern Furnishings in Kansas City doesn’t just sell furniture.

“We sell environments and solutions in the form of furnishings,” said Guy Merola, who with his wife Kathy owns the downtown Kansas City business in the huge brick building at 600 Central St.

Oggi offers contemporary, stylish furniture as well as accessories such as carpets and rugs, wallpaper, dinnerware, glassware, stemware and related items. Among the lines you can find there are some by well-known designer Todd Oldham.

While many consumers might flock to mega furniture stores to outfit their homes, Merola said those who buy from him are looking for uncommon unique furnishings.

About half of his customers are urban dwellers, Merola said and almost an equal number are suburban folks who live in neighborhoods where some form of exterior conformity is required. That means the interior of their homes is where they make their statement or where their personalities and character can stand out.

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China lures overseas furniture producers

INTERNATIONAL furniture makers are heading into China as the country moves to become the world's largest furniture production base and sales market.

Among them, Ashley, the world's second-largest furniture manufacturer, opened its doors recently in Shanghai — the company's first outlet in the Chinese market.

Featuring mass-produced, medium priced goods, the US-based furniture maker said it is set to compete with local companies by targeting the city's middle-class and upscale consumers.

"Compared with European furniture producers, Ashley's prices are lower as much of its furniture is mass-produced in China," said Chen Haibo, deputy general manager of Shanghai Expocasa Furniture Co Ltd, which is Ashley's dealer on China's Mainland.

The dealer used to sell only European furniture that was double the price of Ashley's products.

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St Louis: Bruce sets new tone for Beaumont Telephone Building

Bruce Development Co. purchased the Beaumont Telephone Exchange and plans to turn the 103-year-old-building into rental lofts.

The six-story brick building at 2654 Locust is just west of Jefferson Avenue. Preliminary plans call for the rehabilitation of the building into 75 market-rate and affordable rental lofts with ground-floor office space. It will have a mix of studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms with rents ranging between $600 and $900 and units ranging between 500 and 900 square feet. The cost of development is estimated to be $10 million.

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St Louis 4-unit Benton Park townhouse development for sale

The site of a former parking lot in the Benton Park neighborhood is now the location for four townhouses made up to look like a firehouse.

The development firm Derrick, Inc. is putting the finishing touches on the Lemp Firehouse Loft Townhomes at Lemp Avenue and Lynch Street.

The 2,000-square-foot, three-story, loft-style attached townhouses are selling for $349,000 to $389,000, said Derrick Thomas of Derrick, Inc. Each unit has an attached garage underneath, three bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths.

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West Elm moving in

Center City gets yet another new furniture- shopping option with this week's opening of the West Elm store on Chestnut Street. The 19,000-square-foot store takes over the entire first floor of the long-vacant former home of Woolworth's.

Known for its budget-priced modern pieces, West Elm was launched as a catalog venture in 2002 by Williams-Sonoma Inc., which also owns Pottery Barn. A push to build retail locations began last year, and with that new direction came a new look for the West Elm brand - whose dark, blocky furniture and limited color palette once seemed aimed at just-out-of-college types furnishing their first lofts.
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Urban transitions - The time may have come for a Manhattan lifestyle in Orange County.

Todd Nelson savors the memory of last Christmas Eve. He was sitting on his balcony, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, as a fire truck rumbled up the street, its sirens blaring.

Gone were quiet nights. Gone was floating on his back in a swimming pool, staring at the night sky filled with stars from his three-story house in the North Tustin hills.

But Nelson wouldn't change a thing about his new life in a Santa Ana loft, where he has less privacy but also a greater sense of community than in the suburbs.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Furniture giant adds some zip: Ikea offer has wheels

No wheels for a holiday haul at Ikea’s new Stoughton megastore?
For Zipcar Inc. car-sharing “members” and Ikea employees, the trip just got a little cheaper — provided they don’t mind driving “advertising vehicles.”

Under a new partnership, Zipcar wrapped six of its cars in the Swedish retailer’s trademark bright blue and yellow colors and logo.

The cars are available to Zipcar members for $6 an hour — $2.50 off the normal rate — which includes gas and insurance.
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Is downtown going to the dogs?

Competition for buyers has forced condos to allow dogs. Pet-care businesses are springing up, too.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Demand seen for Downtown Pittsburgh housing?

With more than 600 new apartments and condominiums scheduled to hit the market over the next two years downtown Pittsburgh, housing developers, foundations and government officials will be watching closely how quickly they will be absorbed.

Carnegie Mellon University graduate students who studied the market for Downtown residential development over the past semester are bullish that the new units will be filled up fast. They recently concluded that demand for housing in the Golden Triangle in the near term is likely to outstrip supply.

Based on an analysis of the results of a survey the group conducted of young professionals in the region, the group estimates there is demand for 1,000 more residents than currently can be housed in the Golden Triangle.
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Monday, December 05, 2005

French furniture firm opens first U.S. location in Miami

Miami's booming real estate market and cosmopolitan population made it the choice for a French furniture company's U.S. expansion.

Bois & Chiffons, a publicly traded company with more than 100 stores throughout Europe, recently opened its first U.S. location at the Biscayne Commons shopping center in North Miami Beach at 14791 Biscayne Blvd. Plans call for opening three stores in Florida within the next year and a total of 30 stores in the United States by 2011. The U.S. expansion is being overseen by Yannick Ayache and Anouk Sitbon, whose father Julien Ayache started the retailer in 1997.

At Bois & Chiffons, which means wood and rags, customers will find a lot more than the name implies. The furniture and home accessories run the gamut from sleek, contemporary leather couches to elegant wicker pieces, all arranged in vignettes complete with background music and a scent to complement the furniture.

Bois & Chiffons manufactures all of its own furniture and accessories at factories in Europe and Asia. Yet, the prices are about 30 percent lower than U.S. competitors such as Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.


Loft developers: Prices heading up

The response to Ed and Leo Ticheli's Gallery Lofts on Second Avenue North points to an enthusiasm about downtown living that the brothers say is still in its infancy. With two other projects in the works, the Tichelis' Gallery Lofts are mostly sold, and prices are appreciating.

In addition to the 32-unit Gallery building, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2006, the Tichelis last year purchased the 12-story Stonewall Insurance Co. building and the former Massey's Corral Inc. building (a Western wear store that moved to Trussville several years ago).
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Plans for the Massey are incomplete, but Leo Ticheli says he and his brother are investing about $18 million in the renovation of the Gallery and the Stonewall into lofts, with about $6 million going into the Gallery and $12 million earmarked for the Stonewall.

"(The Tichelis) are always looking for buildings," says Stephen Coker of Stephen Coker Architect LLC, who is overseeing renovations to their three current projects, "so I wouldn't be surprised if there is a fourth one here in a while."

Leo Ticheli, who owns a television production company in Birmingham, says he and his brother opted not to use a reservation system for the Gallery Lofts, instead going directly to contracts. He says four were purchased by early investors and are now back on the market, and four are being marketed by the Tichelis. The rest, including a third-floor unit purchased by Ticheli, have been spoken for.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Original Modern Furniture retailer StLouisModern.com coming soon to St. Louis

Hello reader, due to many e-mails sent to us, we have decided that we are going to "kick it up a notch" and release a newer higher end modern furniture store called StLouisModern.com. We have joined forces with some of the best original modern designers around. Expected launch date is February 1, 2005. Please check often for detailsStLouisModern.com.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

IKEA draws area shoppers north, but trendy boutiques beckon, too

If you love to feather your nest, consider flying north to Chicago.
Or better yet, take a van. You might need space to haul your goods home after a day at the new IKEA in Bolingbrook, Ill., or the Chicago area's myriad other home-furnishings options.

Of course, you can always outfit your abode with selections from Central Indiana stores. But the sheer volume and variety of choices make Chicago a shopping destination.

"Almost everyone I have ever met from the Midwest who is at all into furnishing their home comes to Chicago at some point to check out the furniture stores," says Jennifer Litwin, a Chicagoan and author of the book "Furniture Hot Spots: The Best Furniture Stores and Websites Coast to Coast" (The Lyons Press, 2005, $14.95).
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A good idea, a timeless design

n a consumer world of bountiful goods of more or less equal functionality, a well-designed item can stand out.

Karim Rashid recalls that when he knocked on dozens of U.S. corporate doors in the early 1990s, none bought his theories about the power of good design -- or his designs -- until '96. That's when he created a curvy translucent plastic wastebasket called the Garbo, for the firm Umbra.

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Making a good location even better


When you find a house for the right price in the right neighborhood, it can make financial sense to rearrange and add enough space for your comfort. A bungalow presents a certain cottage-like style, and doubling its size would likely throw it completely out of scale. If a second story is needed, add only a half-story to keep it all in balance.

This couple with two boys was quite happy with the location and general configuration of the bungalow they purchased. Their chief complaint, however, was the separation of rooms and general lack of storage.

This house had a rather small, attached single-car garage (A). Without access to the house, using the garage still meant walking outside to get inside. As a result, the homeowners used the garage not for a car, but as a holding place for items not used in the house.
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Get the hang of art

These tips help you show it off successfully

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub


You don't need a degree in interior design to recognize something is terribly wrong:

The museum-quality painting looks as if it's floating too far above the chest of drawers.

The trio of lithographs over the sofa are beautifully framed but get lost because they're too small.

And what is supposed to be a gallery wall looks more like jumble in a junk store.

We might know what we like in art, but we often don't know what to do with it. Astrid Newton Rush, an interior designer in Weston, Fla., and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, offers some tips.
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Fashion world embraces simpler styles, larger sizes - for its books

The fashion world loves petite things, skinny things, colourful things - except when it comes to its books.

Among the season's fashion-themed, coffee-table, gift-worthy books the trends are plus-sized and black-white.

The mammoth Louis Vuitton (Abrams) by Paul-Gerard Pasols features a monogrammed leather handle on the cover, inviting readers to pull open the lid on the luxury brand's 151-year history.

The first image is a portrait of Louis Vuitton himself, a Frenchman born in a mountainous region in 1821, a man with a yearning for adventure that he eventually found in Paris. Many pages are devoted to explaining what life was like in France in the mid-19th century so readers will understand how special Vuitton's life story really is.

A more modern master of his craft is Manolo Blahnik. His shoes are status symbols. They're sex symbols. They're on the feet of every celebrity and socialite worth noting.
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Selling furniture to the stars

How I made it: Andrianna Shamaris, Furniture designer
CHILDHOOD was tough for Andrianna Shamaris. When she was three her mother died of cancer at the age of 36. A year later her father died, seemingly from a broken heart.

The orphaned Shamaris was brought up by an older aunt and uncle, and recalls being taunted and roughed up by children at school because she did not have parents.

When she finished secondary school in Stockwell, south London, there was no money to pay for further study, so Shamaris went travelling. Her first stop was Italy to learn Italian and work as an au pair for a year. Then she travelled to Australia for six months, where she worked in a shop that sold designer-label clothes in Sydney.
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Healing an ailing area

Remember the days when Decatur's Second Avenue Southeast bustled with shoppers, anxious to spend their money in retail stores?

Ralph Jones does. Even as he sinks more money into another downtown building, he is dejected that downtown Decatur lacks what retailers need: residents.

No one wants to live downtown without a convenient retail presence, Jones said, but retailers are reluctant to invest in downtown shops without the revenue that would come from downtown residents. The downtown evacuation at 5 p.m. and weekends creates an enormous obstacle to retail success.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How & Why To Have A Retail Furniture Store Sale

By Christopher Lynch
Daniel Lynch Sales Company

Retail and sales go hand in hand. You can't read the newspaper, watch TV, or listen to the radio without hearing about a sale somewhere. There are President's Day sales, seasonal sales, liquidation sales and promotional sales, just to name a few. While most people assume you have a sale to make money, there are several other reasons retailers have sales.

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Shameless Plug: Modern Furniture Sale at STLLoftStyle.com

Customers who purchase one of STLLoftStyle.com's select sofas will receive free furniture with your purchase. Limit of two (2) free items per customer. This is up to a $194 value. AND dont forget, with any purchase of $999 and up, we will deduct 10% off your total order. All orders are subject to approval. Please refer to our store policy for details.
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$430 a Square Foot, for Air? Only in New York Real Estate

The price of air has gone up in Manhattan.

It's now $430 a square foot.

Two New York City developers have agreed to pay a record-setting amount for "air rights" so they can build a 35-story apartment tower with views of Central Park from the high floors.

The brothers William L. and Arthur W. Zeckendorf are set to pay $430 per square foot - more than twice the going rate - for unused air rights over Christ Church and the Grolier Club at Park Avenue and East 60th Street. Christ Church will collect more than $30 million; Grolier will get about $7 million.
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Ikea publishes mag to back loyalty scheme

LONDON - Ikea is to launch a quarterly customer title next year as part of the UK rollout of its Ikea Family loyalty scheme.

The magazine, Ikea Family Live, will be the retailer's first in the UK since it dropped its lifestyle title, Room, last March.

The magazine is already being distributed in nine countries. It is produced by start-up publishing company August Media, which has been set up by former Cabal executives.

Unlike Room, which was priced £10 and sold in-store and in newsagents, Ikea Family Live will be given free to IKEA Family members.

At about 100 pages, Ikea Family Live aims to establish the retailer as an expert in furnishing and shows its products in real homes with other brands' products.

The Ikea Family format comprises a website and separate in-store area featuring non-furniture products such as luggage. Members of the loyalty programme receive a discount on products featured in this area.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum.
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Before you put any money in your crib, please check this out.

What's In
-Smaller square footage homes. After years of sprawl, new construction buyers want less space with better finishes.
-Quality kitchen cabinets. With the kitchen/great room the center of family living, buyers today are looking at furniture style cabinets.
-Bamboo wood floors. It could over-take maple as the favorite light-colored wood flooring in 2006.
-Wall space for flat screen TV's. Specify power and cable boxes close to locations where homebuyers want to place the latest in visual technology. The popular location for installation in new construction is over the fireplace.
-Multiple and high-powered phone lines. With modems, DSL, wi-fi moving into mainstream use, tech-savvy homebuyers want "wired" homes.
-Separate shower stalls and bathtubs in master bathrooms. The growing divide among "soakers" and "showerers" is increasing. Not having one of each in a master bath could squelch a purchase.
-Built-in home stereo systems are a must-have for many audiophiles. Wireless hasn't quite made the pre-wired audio system home obsolete, at least not in 2006.
-Balconies and decks wider than 3 feet. Homebuyers want usable outdoor space. Big enough for a bistro table and chairs and a couple of pots for container gardening.
-Guest parking. With the rise in condominiums, lofts and zero-lot line subdivisions, homebuyers want their guests to have a hassle-free experience when they arrive at their new home. Buy or lease an extra space for family or friends.
-Dog Parks. Dogs and homeownership go hand-in-hand. The new way to meet neighbors in the hood is to interact with them at the dog park. Before buying a home, check out the nearest one.
-Ranch or one level homes. The baby-boomers are discovering their utility in droves.
-Second Homes. The baby-boomers are also keeping this market segment strong. Demand for second homes was still on the upside in 2005, but if primary home demand weakens, the second home market will historically follow.
-Seller give-backs. With a more balanced market in most metro markets, requests by buyers to pay closing costs have increased, and some sellers are paying them.
-Carbon Monoxide detectors. Home inspectors red flag homes that have only smoke detectors. Inexpensive and life-saving, install one on every floor of a home before opening to homebuyers.

What's Out
-The real estate bubble. It's a correction with a soft decline in prices.
-Ebony-stained hardwood floors. You're better off tearing it out than trying to sand the ebony out to refinish.
-Single-rod closets. Buyers want the most storage in the least amount of space. Organizers accomplish this.
-Dark rooms with small windows. Natural light can over-rule a lot of other problems in a home.
-Wallpaper. Buyers never have the same taste as decorators. Take it down (carefully) and paint.
-Builder grade light fixtures and interior fixtures used outside. The right fixtures say quality to buyers.
-Mid-century awnings on exterior windows and doors. Buyers want to let the sun shine in.
-Mirrored backsplash's in kitchens and everywhere else. Mirrored walls and ceilings say 1980's hedonism.
-Commitment (strong, bold trendy) colors. They look great in magazines, but as one buyer said to me "I don't live in a magazine".
-Gas grills that need their own tank. Buyers prefer the gas piped from the house so they don't have to replace tanks.
-Dropped ceilings. It might have updated a bungalow in the 1950's, but buyers want as much vertical space as possible.
-Flipping. Increasing inventories of unsold homes is increasing, signaling weakening demand by all buyers. If you are holding properties to flip, prepare to place them on market after the holidays.

On the way out.
-Stainless steel appliances. Word-of-mouth says the cleaning requirements aren't for everyone.
-Laminate flooring that looks like hardwood. Not only can buyers tell it's not wood, the noise it makes with high-heel shoes is the deal killer during property showings.
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The Bottom Line: Millions help downtown Scottsdale bloom

Scottsdale is doing some number crunching to add up all of the investment that is occurring in the southern part of the city.
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From January 2003 to August 2005, the city says $1.4 billion will be pumped into downtown through the construction or renovation of hotels, condominiums and retail and office development.

More than 2,000 lofts and condos will be built in the area and there are several highprofile boutique hotels on tap. An $82 million remodel of the Hotel Valley Ho, with its 194 hotel rooms and 36 condos is set to open next month, said Dave Roderique, Scottsdale economic vitality director. The $80 million W Hotel with its 255 hotel rooms and 25 condos is expected to open in late 2007. Across the street from it, owners are ready to construct the Hacienda Resort, a $6.5 million, 54 room hotel.

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For less than 1,000 Square Footers!!! - The room planners: how to get more from your dining room

Paula and Phil Robinson, an interior design team, offer space-saving solutions, architectural advice and style tips. This week: how to get more from your dining room.

Paula suggests

Abandon the staid formality of the dining room set - but don't go to the extreme and lose the art of dining. Have a fabulous table that multi-tasks: inviting and inspiring at meal times, but practical and adaptable to other purposes between meals.

The table: Avoid the classic large, smooth rectangular table with matching chairs. The look is reminiscent of a boardroom and not conducive to good digestion! Choose a table with character and interest. Old wood always has warmth and charm, French walnut in particular. For a contemporary look, consider interesting combinations: glass and stone, steel and leather. Drop leaf, gate leg, and tables with removable leaves are ideal if you don't entertain regularly while round tables make for relaxed dining and are easier on the eye. Narrow rectangular tables (around 85cm wide) are more intimate than wider ones - but still practical.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Love shag carpets and green felt Lounge Chairs?

If you are in between, or you really dont know, take the Style Quiz!

Style that's all over the California map

By turns cool, hot, reserved, raucous, muted and irreverent, the sampling of West Coast graphic design on view in "Grown in California" may be bound by the exhibition's state-of-origin theme, but stylistically, the work wanders all over the map.

An understated wine bottle label designed by Napa-based CF Napa for Joseph Phelps Vineyards looks as if it could have been handcrafted in the 19th century. Seemingly residing on a different planet is Stardust Studios, part of the L.A. area's booming motion graphics community, which produced a music video for the rock band Incubus by splicing performance footage with shots of Adolph Hitler sprouting wings and morphing into a blood-thirsty eagle.
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Super Cool Reactive Cubes

"The Reactive Cube is an acrylic cube filled with water and light. It was designed to transform digital images into apparently physical objects. A 2D image is projected through a mass of water mixed with a specially formulated emulsion of oil."
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Twice the space for half the price! (Windows not included.)

When Darren Orlando stopped in at the open house for a Charlton Street triplex in September, he first thought, No way. After all, he was trying to find a place that would live up to the bright, airy Tribeca loft he’d just sold. This property was dark, its kitchen “pieced together,” to put it mildly. Worse, the living room was on the undesirable ground floor, and its lowest level—two floors down—had six-foot ceilings, barely tall enough for Orlando to walk through without knocking himself out cold. Still, within weeks, he bought it for $1.73 million.

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Downtown building will house gallery and family

The fact that the bottom floor of the circa 1889, three-story building downtown was "just perfect" for an art gallery was the deal clincher for Tara and Jim Bryant, a physician couple who had been considering buying a downtown loft for a couple of years.

The Bryants' plan was to find a space with enough room to lease a portion of it to friend Keith Miller, who owns Hawthorn Gallery in Mountain Brook. Along with Tom Carruthers of Carruthers Real Estate Co., the trio visited the 12,000-square-foot building in early September, ostensibly to get ideas about what could be done to renovate a historic building.

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Questioning the Origin of Artwork

In the domestic art market, individual collectors prefer paintings or sculptures to more contemporary art forms such as video and installation artworks.

Gim Hong-sok, an artist internationally known mostly for experimental installation artworks, seems determined to chase away such prejudiced attitudes.

Gim is currently holding his solo exhibition at a commercial gallery in southern Seoul, not a large museum or an alternate space which means that his 20 new works, including 12 photographs, four videos, and four objects, are not for just display but for sale.
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Monday, November 28, 2005

In Miami Beach, Parties, Boldface Names and, Yes, Some Art

THE most sought after invitation at Art Basel Miami Beach, the four-day annual art fair spinoff from Basel, Switzerland, that began in Miami Beach in 2002, has always been the lavish garden party at the Key Biscayne estate of Rosa de la Cruz, the Cuban-born art collector, and her husband, Carlos, chairman of Eagle Brands. Held the Tuesday night before the fair opens, it's where prominent art world figures have sipped champagne overlooking the ocean and viewed the couple's museum-quality contemporary art collection. But last December, after more then 2,000 people showed up to a dinner for 700 people, a few so unruly that they had to be escorted out by security people, Ms. de la Cruz, pulled the plug on her celebration.

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Urban pioneers transform downtown L.A.

Pedro Galindo moved into the Higgins Building four years ago, part of the first wave of urban adventurers who set roots in the fledging loft district north of Skid Row.

Back then, the 24-year-old substitute teacher recalls, the converted early 20th Century office tower had a definite vibe.

"The coolest people were here. There were rooftop parties and barbecues," he said. "It was a very social building. You would have parties every weekend."

That began to change two years ago, when the Higgins converted from apartments to condos, with units now selling for up to $700,000.

The new crop of resident-owners, who include Galindo and his sister, Natalia, who bought the unit they were renting, hired a concierge to provide "enhanced security" for the building. The new owners brought in a valet to park their cars at a nearby lot. Galindo said the social scene took a hit, too, as the building seemed to become more insular.

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Market beginning to shift for Minneapolis Uptown condo developers

Downtown Minneapolis has won the bulk of the attention as a hotbed of residential condo development. Now the Uptown neighborhood is a fast-emerging market for condo developers, but as competition intensifies and the market shifts, many are wondering about the depth of the market.

Stuart Ackerberg, president of the Minneapolis-based Ackerberg Group, has two developments in the works that will bring more than 200 units of new housing to Uptown - an unnamed, mixed-use development with 165 condo units and Lumen on Lagoon, a 44-unit project at Lagoon and Emerson avenues.

"We see Uptown as really different than downtown, just given the inherent amenities that are already existing in and around Uptown. It's truly an urban community. For someone that truly wants urban living, Uptown is the best option," Ackerberg said. "In Uptown, there's been very few new housing options available for a long, long time."
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

$10,000 to an individual or team of designers seeking to develop a Big Idea

Metropolis seeks to identify the next generation of Big Ideas by the next generation of designers. We offer $10,000 to an individual or team of designers seeking to develop a Big Idea that will make our designed environment better, safer, and more sustainable. The Next Generation Design Competition was established in 2003 to recognize and encourage activism, social involvement, and entrepreneurship among designers. We invite you to submit your Big Idea to our 2006 competition and we encourage you to take a look at our past winners and finalists, by following the links below.
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Can love be part of our everyday objects ? Can design be a transmitter of loving acts and feelings?

The International Design Award DESIGN 21 invited young designers from around the world to create and present an original vision of the art of living in the new century.

Co-organized by UNESCO and the Felissimo Group (Japan), the two-year Design 21 Award was launched in 1995. The project aims to spark the creative genius of young designers in terms of the future transcending national frontiers. Many designers from all parts of the world have already been rewarded in the first four contests and their works given international promotion.
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East meets West: New furniture echoes cultures of the world

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- New furniture this year can trace its heritage to a home fashion world that turns with Internet speed and reflects today's global culture.

Get ready for a multiethnic ride of decorating trends seen at the recent International Home Furnishings Market in and around High Point, N.C.

East Coast urban style salutes New York City: New York designer Bill Sofield has been described as a choreographer of space. He offers a refreshing take on modern design for Baker Furniture. This is a sophisticated collection that teams traditional elements and reflects his love of 19th- and 20th-century design. The mix of materials is especially interesting: American walnut, bronze, mercury glass, and solid onyx. The result is pure Sofield.
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Custom-built playhouses are all the rage for the wealthy

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Andrew Oakes is almost 9 years old. He wants to spend his birthday at his grandfather's barn, but he hasn't built up the courage to ask yet.

That's because the barn, tucked away to the side of his grandfather's home in New Canaan, boasts more than horses, hay or old tools.

It's a gigantic playhouse, with more amenities than a Chuck E. Cheese's.

A new breed of luxury playhouses is being forged by wealthy families who want to pamper their children, builders said. The playhouses are bigger, more elaborate and can cost tens of thousands of dollars - or more.
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Stylish furniture takes the sting out of its prices

Move over, Martha. Everywhere you turn, celebrity home designers are joining forces with budget-minded retailers to offer well-designed, affordable furniture and accessories.

Nate Berkus at Linens ’n Things, Chris Madden at J.C. Penney, Ty Pennington at Sears and Thomas O’Brien – who went from furnishing Giorgio Armani’s Manhattan digs to Target stores – are wooing shoppers hooked on hours of TV home-decorating shows and dozens of home magazines.
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A Contemporary Loft Designed for a Dynamic Duo

Take a virtual tour of a loft designed by the editors of Decorating and Kitchen and Bath Ideas, both Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications. The loft is part of the Brown Camp building in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Quiz: Is Loft Living Right for You?

Thinking of making a move from the suburbs to downtown? Take our quiz and find out if loft living could be right for you.
Take this quiz here.

Condos with lofty price tag: 4-story Lofts at Printer's Square would include $1 million penthouse

COLUMBIA - Is the Vista ready for its first million-dollar condo?

Earl Loftis thinks so. Loftis, an optometrist, plans to tear down his Eye on Gervais business in Columbia to build the Lofts at Printer's Square, a $10 million project.

The Lofts would be a four-story building with 11 residential condominiums. That includes three penthouses, one of which Loftis expects to sell for at least $1 million.

The plan still must be approved by the city's Design Development Review Commission.
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Downtown Albany has been greatly revitalized

For those of us who work, live and enjoy entertainment activities in downtown Albany, it's apparent that Barb Goldstein's impressions of the city (letter, "Downtown Albany is so lacking in substance it's a ghost town at night," Nov. 14) do not accurately reflect the vitality of downtown.

Alive by day with 40,000 workers and pulsing by night with thousands of people taking advantage of the many outstanding events, restaurants and performances, downtown Albany has experienced a renaissance into a new, vibrant cultural, social and economic scene.
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Shameless Plug: 10% off everything over $999+ Free Furniture with select sofas.

STL Loft Style.com has a great sale on sofas and is giving away free furniture with select sofas. This is a once of year type of sale. Click here to go to STLLoftStyle.com Modern Holiday Special on Modern Furniture.

Dont be a bloat. Instead of giving the hottest high-tech gadgets this holiday, consider several less obvious alternatives that feature form or functio

This year's holiday gift lists no doubt are loaded with the latest must-have tech marvels, such as digital cameras, portable music players, smart phones, game consoles and even big-screen televisions.

But there are lots of less obvious choices that could surprise your friends and relatives while satisfying their digital desires.

Here are five suggestions (plus one bonus item), at a variety of prices:
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Local retailers affected by Ikea

One week after Ikea's grand opening, everything along Stockwell Drive during the week appeared to be back to normal. Representatives from most companies along the retail road were breathing a sigh of relief, thankful to have customers filling their stores once again.
Over the Veterans Day holiday, tens of thousands of customers waited along Rte. 24, Central Street and Rte. 139 to get near the Swedish megastore. Ikea's neighboring businesses found customers turning around and leaving rather than waiting hours in traffic. Countless dollars in sales were lost, many employees were late for work because of traffic and at some stores, management found themselves sending staff home in order to meet payroll amidst lower revenues.
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Designer says function for family as important as aesthetics


Thanksgiving is over.

Because one more holiday spent wrestling with a slippery uncooked bird in a tiny sink, and rotating six pots among the only three stove burners that work, stepping over the dog that takes up all the real estate between the refrigerator and pantry, and setting off the fire alarm because the oven fan is faulty, would mean certain nervous breakdown.

So if sanity is indeed a precious commodity, you've got to remodel the kitchen.

"What happens a lot after Thanksgiving, and after the first of the year, is that people make a resolution that they're fed up with their space and they can't handle it anymore," says kitchen designer Jennie Gislow. "Aesthetics matter, but they want their kitchen to function well."
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St. Joseph’s downtown is being revitalized, and part of that effort involves business owner Winston Bennett, who had never seen the city before decidi

Winston Bennett has worked in some of the world’s most glamorous cities.

As a vice president at Ralph Lauren working with its European licensees, Bennett spent three years flying among the company’s Caribbean factory outlets, its New York home office, its Milan women’s showroom and its Paris men’s showroom.

“I was paid stupid money and had the life everyone aspires to, or thinks they aspire to,” he said of his young go-getter life.

Today, nearly 15 years later, Bennett, 44, chooses to live part time and do business in arguably one of the most unglamorous of cities — St. Joseph, about 60 miles north of Kansas City.
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New firm sign of growth in condo market

One of downtown's leading condominium developers has formed One Residential, a real estate company aimed at selling the rapidly growing number of for-sale lofts being built in several high-profile projects.

Corporate Realty Associates, which developed the Jemison Flats condo project downtown, formed One Residential to sell and lease not only its condos and lofts, but ones being developed by other developers.
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"Noisy night life clashing with quieter residences" - Sounds like loft living to me!

Denver's lower downtown is riding high on a wave of change.

The once-neglected historic district reborn as LoDo in the late 1980s has evolved into the poster child of mixed-use development: a mingling of work, shop, live and play.

The hip and trendy collage includes million-dollar lofts, shops, restaurants, sports stadiums and a smattering of bars and nightclubs.

But the tide has started to turn for Denver's birthplace as competing interests throw the formula off balance, bringing increased scrutiny of liquor license applications and pushing the historic district into a collision course with its rowdy Wild West heyday.
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What did your crib in the Lou' sell for?

The following list represents previous home sales as reported by the St. Louis assessor and the St. Louis County recorder of deeds. The properties are grouped by ZIP code, and the address of each property is followed by the sale price. This list was updated on
Nov. 23, 2005 by the Suburban Journals staff with the most current information available, covering the period Aug.15-19, 2005 for City and June 27 - July 1, 2005 for County. Get More

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cool Giant Lego Blocks for the 21st Century

Designed by Ora-Ïto, who has done crazy beautiful work for LG, Toyota, Swatch, and others, these stackable drives come in red, white or blue lego designs. Neat if you are trying to make your computer hardward blend with your crib.
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Why Does One Noguchi Cost More than the other?

Why would someone pay $1,400 for an "official" (licensed) Henry Miller [sic] Noguchi coffee table from DWR, as opposed to paying $770 for almost the same exact piece from Modernica? Click here for more

Another good link to Alphaville Design's Noguchi Coffee Table.

The Mies Barcelona Chair: Can saving money mean a difference in quality?

This is a debate that will go on til the end of time but here are some key things you may want to consider before purchasing you Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chair.

Clubbin it up in the new revitalized downtown St. Louis

Dance music lovers used to pour into George Baker's specialty record shop, On the Grid, after weekends of sweating it out nightclubbing on downtown's Washington Avenue to pick up the latest dance hits.

But that's not happening much anymore. St. Louis' dance club scene is in a state of flux - enough to leave one's head spinning like a disco ball.
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$3.5 million in damages to the Modern Furniture Manufacturers is due to Arson

Fire Investigators have determined that the October 30 fire that caused an estimated $3.5 million in damages to the Modern Furniture Manufacturers in Arlington, Wash., was intentionally set, Special Agent in Charge Phillip Durham, of the National Response Team, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Chief Jim Rankin, Arlington Fire Department and Chief John Gray, Arlington Police Department, announced today.

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Trying to stay trendy with Modern Contemporary Furniture?

Just like there is no dominating trend in fashion today, same eclecticism reigns in home design.

Just like there is no dominating trend in fashion today, same eclecticism reigns in home design. More and more people develop a taste of mixing contradictory furniture trends in their home decor, combining contemporary furniture with vintage finds and art pieces.
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Living Gets Loftier in Downtown L.A.

Pedro Galindo moved into the Higgins Building four years ago, part of the first wave of urban adventurers who set roots in the fledging loft district north of skid row.

Back then, the 24-year-old substitute teacher recalls, the converted 1910 beaux-arts office tower had a definite vibe.

"The coolest people were here. There were rooftop parties and barbecues," he said. "It was a very social building. You would have parties every weekend."

That began to change two years ago, when the Higgins converted from apartments to condos, with units now selling for up to $700,000.
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Lofts challenge occupants to a different way of living

As Ron Robinett watched his $6,000 imported Italian leather sofa dangle from a crane five stories in the air outside his loft, he quickly grasped interior
design tip No. 1: Make sure the furniture fits in the elevator.

Design tip No. 2: Throw out all preconceived notions of how a loft should look. Exposed duct work, concrete floors and brooding bohemians might suit some folks, but for others only Victorian motifs, lacy filigree and dainty china collections will do.
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Possible new business/residential next to the St. Louis Arch

Three property owners want to transform the neighborhood south of the Gateway Arch into St. Louis' next hot spot. If any of their proposals take off, the area known as Chouteau's Landing could complement Laclede's Landing, and become a second bookend for the Arch grounds.Click Here to Read Story

Say goodbye to the old school Water Heater?

Pulsar Advanced Technologies has announced will next week launch its lead product, the Vulcanus MK4, a water heater USING microwave technology to heat water on demand. This technology with super-heating capabilities will drastically cut energy costs and totally eliminate the need to store hot water. The Vulcanus MK4 is making its world premier at Construct Canada in Toronto between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.Get this story