A Trip to L.A. to Admire Design

Design is in the details. That’s a phrase you might commonly associate within fashion. From expertly executed hand-stitched couture to a custom fitted suit, I know details make a world of difference in how you look and how you feel. It’s also something I pay very close attention to when I travel. I don’t know about you, but I’m always noticing what font a hotel uses on their soap packaging, or whether they offer a modern room key or a super cool alternative to those ugly floral comforters {do they ever wash those btw?}. But how often do we stop to think about design details elsewhere, like in a car? We certainly hadn’t until we were introduced to Lincoln’s new and most creative line of cars: Lincoln Black Label.

Instead of leading with discussions of torque or horsepower {because let’s be honest, those numbers really mean nothing to us!}, Lincoln has chosen to lead with design through four different themes inspired by four different moods: Modern Heritage, a classic and elegant sensibility focusing on clean lines without opulence; Center Stage, about dramatic, attention grabbing moments; Indulgence, with an emphasis on luxe sumptuous materials; and Oasis, inspired by a dream escape to the ultimate eco-spa. Taking the whole idea one step further, Lincoln decided to style a house in Los Angeles that further personified their design inspirations. A gorgeous home in the Hollywood Hills? Now that was something we could definitely understand. And for attention-to-detail suckers like ourselves, we were intrigued to learn more so Bianca traveled to L.A. to see it all in person {and get a jolt of inspiration from the City of Angels – lucky gal!}.

lincoln-black-label-3The luxe black leather sofa and pop art prints of Hollywood icons definitely take “Center Stage” in this living room.

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34The patterned leather seat in the Modern Heritage car was so yummy – we wanted to turn it into a handbag!

While in LA, we sat down with Lincoln’s color and materials design manager, Janet Seymour, who talked us through the process of designing for Black Label. The four themes were designed specifically to attract different personalities. With an artisanal type of approach to design, the team has focused on materials and exploring creative ways to design a car around an experience and “creating a desire.”

Everything from exterior paint color and sheen, to grains and textures, to designer woods {did you know you can design the grain of a wood exactly how you want it?! So cool!} to leather and fabrics, the team has looked at trends in fashion, travel and food to really create the most detail focused car out there. “Subtlety through impact” is what Janet likes to refer to as the detail mantra. Whether it’s the mood you feel when you step in or how the leather feels against your blue jeans, Lincoln has thought of it all!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-2I would gladly have this chandelier take Center Stage in our new house!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-3The luxe black sofa takes Center Stage in the living room

When designing the Indulgence theme, the team started out with a piece of buttery, chocolate-colored leather. That leather  inspired them to look into chocolatiers in New York and Paris to garner more insight into smoothness, color and texture. The “Oasis” theme was inspired by a magical retreat to a super modern and design-focused hotel in Africa. “Center Stage” as the name lends itself, was inspired by the feeling and excitement of curtains parting on the opening night of a show. And “Modern Heritage” focused on a timeless color palette, classic design and sleek details, keeping in mind the person who loves travel, fine art and the good life. Hearing all of these stories and the process of selecting specific inspirations was fascinating. It really got us excited to not only travel the world and explore new places some more, , but it had us eager to hit the streets of LA to keep an eye out for everyday inspiration.

lincoln-black-label-apartment-34-Adding pops of red to a chic black and white color palette make the clean lines of this bar space pop

lincoln-black-label-apt-34I love the mixed materials of the brass and black leather chair in the Center Stage themed living room

Before we could do just that {more on the L.A. sites we saw, architecture we gawked at, and cute boutiques we shopped later!} we drove up the small and windy streets of the Hollywood Hills, where nestled amongst the trees and Hollywood Sign was a gorge house, styled by Evan Haslegrave of hOmE. When asked about how he incorporated the design of each of the Black Label themes into the home, he said, “we brought in certain moments “that are evocative of” the Los Angeles landscape “but also balancing it with richer, more luxurious materials that are more indicative of the car.” Everything from the sleek brass light fixtures {ob-sessed!} to the smooth, buttery leathers and crisp, modern color palette, we’d say he did an excellent job!

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-6We loved the understated elegance of this art deco fixture in the Modern Heritage themed dining room

apartment-34-black-label-6Bar area: Modern Heritage

How sleek and modern is this bar setup? Love the black and smoky glassware mixed in with just a couple of well designed {of course!} bottles of liquor. It’s color palette of black, white and red is simple and timeless – proof positive that you don’t need to fuss when it comes to styling vignettes in your home. Simply stick with really clean and curated design elements and the classic style will last for years.

lincoln-indulgence-roomThe sheepskin draped over those stools at the foot of the Indulgence themed bedroom literally make us drool

black-label-apartment-34-4Red certainly takes “Center Stage” in these corners of a bedroom

black-label-lincoln-apartment-34-5lincoln-black-label-apartment-34-2I’d gladly climb into this “Oasis” of a bed every night

What small design detail has inspired you today? Maybe it’s the way you’ve chosen to roll your sweater sleeves, or the subtle impact a gold bobby pin in your hair make over the plain ol’ black ones. Or did you decide to throw on red lipstick before you left the house this morning? It’s those little decisions that can make a major impact on how something is perceived. We are definitely paying more attention to details after our experience in LA!

original photography for apartment 34 by Joanne Pio // iimage 9 c/o Lincoln by Jared Chambers

This post is in partnership with Lincoln. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open. 

How To Incorporate a Home Office into Your Living Room

In case you’ve been living under a giant pile of work lately {raise hands!} and happened to miss it, our uber-talented Editorial Director, Bianca, was just featured in the latest issue of Rue Magazine! And not just any ole’ issue, it’s the Anniversary Issue – the biggest of the year! I couldn’t be more excited to show you some snaps of her crazy hot home office space — it’s just the right amount of moody glamour and much-needed function; proof positive that you don’t even need a “real office” to achieve a similar look. Bianca’s going to take it away! Just own the envy and take notes! – Erin


Not everyone has the luxury of having a dedicated room for an office, right? Myself included. My office is actually my living room and admittedly, it was tricky trying to figure out how much “office” to incorporate into the space I veg out the most. You may remember the previous layout of the room here. The “office” was tucked away in a corner on purpose. I didn’t want it to be a focal point because really, who wants to stare at their desk more than they have to??

It worked for a while, but it really wasn’t ideal for me being shoved in front of a closet.  So I moved the desk against my main gallery wall and boom, the room changed- for the better! The white desk popped off the dark wall and by clearing the paperwork, leaning some artwork and placing pretty objects on my desk, it camouflaged it enough- making it a highlight of the space without taking away from the purpose of the room.


Objects and magazines are always rotating on the surfaces of things. My coffee table already doesn’t look like this- in fact, a lot of things are different! I’m always picking up something new to add to my home. I think it’s so necessary for my sanity- to change things around. It keeps things from getting stale. I just bought this crystal candle that I’m obsessed with, this decor book called The Chamber of Curiosity and this throw- like I need ANOTHER one!


One of my favorite areas of the room is the bar area. It sits atop a dresser that holds dvd’s and computer cables. I added drawer pulls from West Elm to make it look a little more fancy! It’s a real mix of high and low. I’ve found all of my barware at thrift stores and painted the framed piece myself. Everything sits pretty next to my favorite pair of Regina Andrew alabaster lamps- my ultimate splurge! And just in case you were wondering, here are the most common questions that I get regarding my space:

> Dark paint color? Benjamin Moore Nightfall, 3 coats

> Art piece above my sofa? I painted it! Email me for commission prices and look out for prints coming soon!

> Are the black chairs velvet? Linen? They’re wool and pinstripe and ever-ee-thing!!

Be sure to read the full story in Rue’s Anniversary Issue here and another behind-the-scenes interview on what my day really looks like – including my fave music, artists, must-haves and go-to websites- here.


original photography for Rue Magazine by Aubrie Pick 


5 Design Trends to Refresh Your Home for Fall

While the world is running around in their street style best enjoying the chaos of the concrete jungle, that is New York Fashion Week — we have other things on our mind. Fashion has always been a passion, but it will never stand in the way of our one, true, love: design. When asked to make a decision between recaps of the runway or sightings from the latest design showroom, it’s a no brainer: decor me, please! It’s why instead of chatting our favorite Spring 2015 moments — although, did you see the Tome and Suno show? Ok, how ‘bout Mara Hoffman? And dammit J Crew, I think you got us again. So good. But anywho. We’ve rounded up five design trends we’re loving for the new season!

Like Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, clusters of pendant lights are still going steady this season and are in fact H-O-T-T-E-R than ever. We love this high contrast matte black trio against an all white backdrop!


Marbleizing everything is everything right now! Since we trust you won’t be adding gorgeous slab counter tops to your world anytime soon, why not get a marble fix with smaller, more accessible accessories! These goodies {from H&M no less!} would pretty your fall table right up!


Gold cabinets. They’re not really trending, but they can be if you want them to be. And we want them to be…Is this even real life?


Sure, we’ve all got a sheep skin {or three, preferably Icelandic!} in our homes these days, but how about adding a furry little seat? Shearling stools seem to be having a moment. They’re popping up everywhere – even Nate Berkus has a version for Target! While we’re still not entirely sold on this one, a sassy little stool is certainly a fun way to add a twist to your space without making a major design commitment.


But we are all for adding a divan. Half bed, half couch, 100% chic. I’m stalking 1stdibs as I type.


And those my friends, are five fall design trends that will quickly catapult you to days of pumpkin spiced lattes and too much TV. It’s why we’re currently running, nay sprinting, {in our trending Normcore outfits!} all the way to the hardware store! —Bianca

image 1 via Norm Architects // 2 via // 3 by Brooke Holm via Vogue Living // 4 via // 5 via