We all know gallery walls are a consistent style winner. They’re certainly instagram gold as this recent post illustrates. But they’re also a touch ubiquitous. Search gallery wall on Pinterest and you get a litany of pics, many of them virtually, if not exactly, the same.

So what if we swapped things up a bit? I’m not saying nix the gallery wall entirely. But what if we went with a mini gallery wall instead?

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Specifically, I fell in love with the 3-piece gallery when I visited the Nomad Hotel in Los Angeles in the fall. Our entire room was decorated in nothing but little groupings of art, all combined in threes – as shown below. I was obsessed.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

In my current quest to whittle our homes down to their essence, I’m really feeling the idea of limiting your art wall to just three pieces.

It makes sense that the look feels so good. Three is a magic number when it comes to styling as it offers variation but also balance. When styling a coffee table, bookshelf or console, the golden rule is to group things in threes. So it only makes sense that this rule should apply to our walls too.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Technically the vignette above does feature four pieces but I think it would look so much better if you took one away.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

And while you can group like with like, using similar themes, color palettes or frames, I actually think you should introduce as much eclecticism into a mini art grouping as you can. Play with scale, feature different subject matter, different techniques and a variety of frames. Make a guest want to walk up and look more closely.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

So rather than scramble to find a million art prints, why not select just a few extra special favorites and give them their time in the sun? You can even swap your art in and out – a quick and easy way to update your space without having to buy something new.

What say you? Are you ready to take down the giant gallery wall and give the mini gallery wall a go instead?

For more Ideas to Steal, CLICK HERE.

images via brady tolbert  / apartment 34sfgirlbybay & sfgirlbybay / avenue lifestyle 

After weeks upon weeks of endless gray, the rain has finally stopped in California. All I see and all I can think about is sunshine. I hadn’t really realized how much I missed it! That sunshiney glow is spilling over into the home tour I have for you today. While I typically shun virtually all color in my house, this time of year I’m always attracted by a burst or two of bright hues. This family home – tucked into the heart of Paris – injects just the perfect hint of sunshiney color throughout. Give a scroll and enjoy this breath of fresh springy air.

A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34

Looking at this space it’s hard to believe it started out as a drab warehouse. It was never intended to function as a home – yet now it does so beautifully. But even with the remanents of industrial construction – concrete floors, glass pavers used as skylights and rough stone walls, this home feels particularly warm, relaxed and welcoming. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is the use of color. The design’s foundation is very neutral white, gray, brown with pops fo black here and there. The home’s accessories, art and objet add a layer of color in a consistent and mostly muted way. The single bright tone, golden hues ranging from buttery yellows to brass, is repeated in nearly every living space, adding a bit of vibrancy and life everywhere it is used.

 A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34

Another big contributor to this home’s warmth is the use of pine throughout the space. Pine was used to create walls and doors where there were none. Pine borders the windows and and lines the walls of the interior courtyard. Pine was even used for all the custom built-ins – including the kitchen (how often do you see a pine backsplash!). The pine plays off of the rest of the rustic materials by adding uniformity, order, and refinement.

A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34A Spring Inspired Home Tour on apartment 34

I’m not only drawn to this home because of it’s light, bright and lovely aura, but also because this house continues in the same, not quite minimalist, but rather essentialist theme in which I currently want to decorate.

This theme begs the question “what is essential to our lives and our happiness?” What if we were highly intentional about every single thing in ours spaces and cared not only about its function but also about its form. And what if we purged everything else that doesn’t fit within that construct? (buh-bye all things plastic!) The key to this design ethos is to be extremely discriminating about the things with which you are surrounded. Every piece needs to have personality. It must say something, call to be looked at, used and enjoyed. I certainly want to inspect everything I see in this home more closely – from the vintage chairs to the ceramics to the artwork gracing the walls.

In short this house is goals. Now I’m trying to pick a signature color I could layer into This Old Victorian. Are you?

For more spring inspired spaces, CLICK HERE.

home via milk magazine

Apartment 34 on Instagram

I’ve always loved a major fireplace moment – loads of marble, dramatic cornices, beautiful tile and the piéce de résistance – a mirror so tall it touches the ceiling. So I feel rather lucky that I get to create a major moment of my own in our dining room. But hunting down the perfect mirror for over the fireplace is proving to be a rather daunting challenge.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34 Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

Finding 70″+ mirrors are not a dime a dozen. I want something with personality, something with the perfect proportions, a gorgeous frame – period appropriate detailing…it’s a bit of a needle in a haystack situation.

The traditional look involves a 19th-century French Louis Philippe gold leaf gilt mirror most often with some sort of crest. This look is timeless classic and stunning. But perhaps also a touch predictable??

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

What if I went white on white? Using a mirror with tone on tone is a bit more understated and a touch more modern, don’t you think?

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

Then there’s the decision of scale. Do you like the look of a smaller scale option, or a mirror that runs the full width of the fireplace.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

And then there’s the antiqued mirror option. I love how they can almost look like a piece of art.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

Or perhaps a cleaner, less ornate option would be best. Are you starting to see my dilemma?

Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34Mirror Mirror on the Wall on apartment34

And we haven’t even discussed price point yet. While new, “inspired by” mirrors can run around $200, an authentic antique can be in the thousands upon thousands of dollars. The perfect mirror could certainly be worth it as I plan for it to be there for the rest of time. So do I pick a big box store option or continue to hunt through my favorite vintage sources like Chairish and 1stDibs. I remain torn. I will definitely keep you posted on where I land!

Here are a few of the (many!) options I’m currently considering.

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In typical American design, kitchens are the heart of the home. And said kitchens are typically big, bold and eye catching, crammed full of every design element under the sun. Think flashy ranges, huge custom hoods, major marble, open shelving upon open shelving, giant islands, chandeliers…it’s all just…a lot.

That’s why kitchen design in Scandinavia felt like such a breath of fresh air. I was so inspired by the understated, minimalist kitchens I saw while in Sweden and Denmark last week. Rather than wall-to-wall cabinets, miles of tile or crazy bells and whistles, what if our kitchens were quieter. Simpler. More like furniture?

What if we all had downsized kitchens?

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

I was lucky enough to visit the Frama showroom in Copenhagen and see the Frama Studio Kitchen. This design is the epitome of the minimal kitchen idea. The Frama Studio Kitchen is designed to be a free standing element in a space without mounting to any walls or floors. As the brand describes,

“The Frama Kitchen portrays the light expression of a piece of furniture within the kitchen environment. Every Frama Studio Kitchen is built upon a powder coated metal grid, providing an industrial but light approach. The free standing units encase top of the line appliances while retaining a low-tech and analogue expression.”

While this kitchen design has won major awards, I really love that this look takes out the ostentatiousness of kitchen design without taking out any style.

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

Completely customizable, you can use different components to meet your storage needs. And this design also begs the question – how much stuff do we really need to cram into our kitchens?

This type of kitchen is perfect show off the architecture or other materials used in a home. While it seems an obvious choice for an industrial space, this look would also look minimalist and beautiful in a really refined home.

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

What would it be like to have a kitchen you could change around with relative ease? It could shift to meet the needs of a growing family or to satisfy someone’s design whims (hello!). And think about the cost savings you would enjoy if you aren’t dealing with built-in custom cabinetry, slabs of expensive stone or jumbo sized ranges.

I’m thinking I probably should have done my Scandinavia trip before finishing This Old Victorian. Maybe I just need another project!

For more kitchen design ideas, CLICK HERE.

images via frama / 1st dibsour food stories / residence mag / vogesparis / frenchrosa / ignant

Hi friends! I’ve returned from my whirlwind week in Scandinavia overflowing with inspiration, fresh ideas, and so many things to share with you! I’ve gotten many a request to share a recap of my trip and tips on where to go and where to shop in Sweden & Copenhagen. If you want that too just let me know in comments or on Instagram.

An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34

But I also had a rather major aha moment while enjoying these design-soaked travels. You may not have even noticed but a couple years ago I quietly changed Apt34’s mission to “offer inspiring tips and ideas for an intentional approach to modern living.” The key word here is intentional.

An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34

It can be really easy to get caught up in the wave of want. I need to “change my house for spring.” I want these new pillows, or new bedding set or perhaps an entirely new kitchen. But have you have stopped to ask what, in fact, is your intention for “needing” these things. The more I “shopped” through Scandinavia, looking at beautifully designed pieces everywhere I went, the more I realized I actually need very little.

An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34

Instead, I began to think about the intention of our houses. Is it to feel cozy? Calm? Inspired? To be welcoming? Feel friendly? Or soothing?

An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34

So many design trends come and go (as we regularly document here), and yes, you can always get something cute at Target, but what if we didn’t cram our spaces full and instead looked for moments for our eyes to rest. To actually notice everything in our homes, rather than gloss over the details.

An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34An Intentional Approach to Modern Living on apartment 34

So as I move ever closer to calling This Old Victorian complete (SO close you guys, I thinking you might appreciate weekly updates – you interested??) I’m going to hold my intention for my version of modern living, rather than my desire for stuff, to drive the final design.

I would invite you to also think about your spaces in terms of how you want them to make you feel!

all images from H&M Home Spring 2019 collection, as a little reminder that thoughtful design doesn’t have to cost a fortune

Spending time in the land of design classics from the likes of Arne Jacobsen, Fritz Hansen and Georg Jensen has me thinking about adding a few more choice pieces to help finish off This Old Victorian.

High up on my wishlist? The Cesca chair. While not of Scandinavian origin, the chair remains classic and timeless nearly 65 years after its creation.

Currently Coveting: The Cesca ChairCurrently Coveting: The Cesca Chair

The Cesca chair is the brain child of Hungarian designer Marcel Breuer. A leader of the Bauhaus movement and strict adherent to modernism, he was particularly skilled in the use of tubular steel in his furniture designs. The Cesca chair features a caned seat and back that are cantilevered over the continuous run of tubular steel legs.

You can find them with either a natural wood frame or with a contrasting black frame (my personal favorite). While they’re typically used as a dining chair, a single Cesca would make a great desk chair or an eye catching occasional chair

Currently Coveting: The Cesca Chair
Currently Coveting: The Cesca ChairCurrently Coveting: The Cesca Chair Currently Coveting: The Cesca Chair Currently Coveting: The Cesca Chair

 

The best part about Cesca chairs? While you can find many a vintage option out there – and they certainly carry some fun design caché – the Cesca is still in current production! So instead of dropping more than few pretty pennies for a set from the 60’s, you can in fact get a new one right now. A full price they’re still a touch spendy but if you know how to hunt you can find sometimes find them for a steal (like i did for this project).

I’m thinking Cescas (or at least two or three) could be the prefect addition to my dining room. What do you think? Do you have a favorite classic design piece?

For more of my favorite pieces, CLICK HERE.

images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

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