Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Private Jet + Steelcase = Awesome!

Last week, I was invited on a trip to the Steelcase Headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It was an amazing trip and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity.  Me and a group of designers, got to fly up in the Steelcase private jet, which was sooo super awesome!  It is definitely my preferred method of travel now, I mean really, how could I ever go back to flying coach??  

Ok, coming back down to reality now.  So, the trip was great!  Really great.  We toured the headquarters, saw tons of product - both on the marketplace and in development, we had some great discussions about industry trends, and to top it all off we had an beautiful dinner at one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Houses - The Meyer May House.  I promise, I will post all the details about shortly!

But first, let me give you the highlights of our tour.

Starting from the begining, this is the original desk that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the SC Johnson Wax Building in the 1930s.  Steelcase manufactured and sold the product, with one minor adjustment - they added a fourth wheel to the chair.  The desk is also on display at the Art Institute of Chicago in there modern furniture exhibit.  Which, I highly recommend if you haven't seen.

Fast forward to present day.  Here are some of trend setting products Steelcase currently offers.  If you're interested in buying any of there products, check out there store.

{Conference space with privacy screens}

{Super cute planters.  I also loove the glass pattern}

{This table is actually a pad of paper that you can write on.  How fun!}

{Love the screen behind this sofa!  Gorg!}

{Tiny little personal work/relax area}

{Walk on a tredmill while you work.  So innovative!}

Next on the agenda, Steelcase recently renovated there cafeteria.  They turned it into an amazing new space to work, meet and eat.  I snapped a few photos, but you can read and see more about it here.

And lastly, the outdoor collection by Coalesse, a Steelcase owned company.  I can't wait to use these on a project!

Hope you enjoyed!  More to come about this trip soon :)


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Monday, May 28, 2012

New & Improved Roof Deck: Teak Deck Tiles

This year we made a major change to our outdoor space.  Major!  As I previously mentioned, we purchased and installed Teak Deck Tiles on our roof deck.  It went from looking all sad and dirty to beautiful and live-able.  The addition of the tiles has absolutely transformed the space.  And we love it!

Below are a few photos of the deck before.  The original surface is basically just a waterproof membrane surface.  It collects every spec of dirt  and is impossible to clean.  I mean seriously, we could hose down the entire deck and it would still look just as dirty as it did before.  The other huge downside is that the surface gets incredibly hot.  So hot in fact, that you can't even walk on it in bare feet.  So the combination of the heat and the dirt made it almost useless.   

Dirty, Dirty, Dirty!

Pockets of collected dirt.....time to go bye bye.

And now on to the tiles.  We did quite an extensive search on the Internet looking for the best product at the best price.  We ended up going with a Canadian company called Build Direct.  They had the best prices we could find, and after ordering a few samples we were convinced that the product was durable and would wear well.  They offer multiple sizes and tile designs, but in the end we ended up going with a simple design.  We liked the straight plank look because it reminded us more of traditional decking.  It also minimized the seams between the tiles which makes it more look cohesive.   

The particular tile we purchased is 16" x 16" x 1" thickness.   The backing (shown below), is made up of a plastic grid with allows for drainage to flow underneath the tile.  The edges have interlocking male and female pieces which allow them to snap into place rather easily.  

Now, I can't take credit for installing this project.  This was all Marc's doing.  He was super excited to make use of his manly tools and cut stuff up.  But, I have to give it to him - he truly did an amazing job.  

Here are a few close ups:

And some overalls:

We couldn't be happier with the results of this project.  We're are so excited for summer this year!  In fact, we hosted a gathering at our house yesterday and I think everyone enjoyed themselves a bit more than usual.  I'm sure it had everything to do with the decking (and not the bar stocked with beer!)


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Choosing Interior Shutters

As promised, I have photos of one of our latest projects.  I have been drooling over my neighbors houses with shutters for so long, so finally we decided to pull the trigger and get some of our very own.  I just love how they dress up a window.  The simplicity and elegance was something I felt would be a good addition to our house.  

So, we got a couple of quotes, and ended up going with Next Day Blinds.  There were a few decisions to make - wood vs vinyl, the opening style and the slat size.  Before we talk about the options, let me show you the before photos:

*Disclaimer:  I know, these photos are horrific.  But its really hard to take photos of windows.  I suppose I could have tried harder, but I don't have hours to spare taking photos.  Ok, done explaining my sloppy blogging. 

So here are all the things we considered before making our purchase:

Wood vs. Vinyl:
Well, wood is more expensive, so if you're trying to go the cost effective route (like us), then go with vinyl.  They look practically the same.  From the outside you can't tell the difference.  The vinyl will also likely hold up better, less dents and scrapes from dogs, kids, etc.  But the wood is obviously a nicer quality and the touch and feel is more natural.  The wood version also offers more color selections than the vinyl.  We ended up choosing the vinyl.  And we're happy we did, because it also seems to bear some acoustic properties which is a huge added bonus.

Opening Style:
There are tons of options with the opening style.  My husband and I debated about what we should choose for a while, but in the end we decided to go with the 4 panel, center open option.  [All the styles are shown in the picture below.]  Since our windows are so wide, I really wanted to be able to completely open the shutters if we wanted to.  The center open option was the only one that would allow us to do that, all the others would still be held in the middle.  They operate similarly to bi-folding closet doors.  

Slat Size:
The last decision was choosing the size of the slat.  They range between 1-7/8" - 4-1/2".  We wanted a larger size slat, so we ended up going with the 3-1/2".  The wider slats are best for big windows and for letting in more light.  When they're in the open position you have a better view to the exterior, which allows for more light to penetrate into your space. 

And now for the finished product.  I heart them!

2nd Floor {Kitchen & Powder Room}:

3rd Floor {Master Bedroom}:

The end result turned out better than we had hoped.  We love the look, the light filtering, the privacy and most of all we love how dark we can make our bedroom.  Sleeping in on a Saturday just got 10 times easier!


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