[All photos by BUILD LLC]
An important component of creating inspiring, modern environments is curating them with the appropriate furnishings. A balanced furniture package is one of the most difficult design qualities to achieve on a modern project and the world of custom furnishings can all too easily overwhelm a person (even a designer or architect) with an incomprehensible selection of fabrics and mind-numbing minutia like possible stitching options. The key here is to use available and understandable furnishings and supplement them with custom pieces that will be handed down to the grandkids. There is an important but delicate equilibrium that exists between three attributes of a good furniture package:
Functional: Furniture has to be practical, usable and comfortable. If a piece of furniture isn’t being used and enjoyed, it shouldn’t be in the home based on modern principles alone. A well-used piece of furniture is all the more valued when its constant use tells a story. This could be as simple as the sheen on the wood arms of a dining room chair from daily use or the subtle coffee rings on a table.
Enduring: Furniture should be well designed and sturdily built to the extent that it serves multiple generations. Getting an Eames lounge chair from a grandparent, for instance, far outweighs the value of buying a new one in a store. It’s also the most sustainable move you can make in selecting furniture.
Aesthetic: Furniture should complement a home’s aesthetic without taking away from it. Good modernism is timeless and nothing contrasts more with timeless design than fashion. Instead, the furniture should bring a visual harmony to the space. In some environments the furniture may be understated, in others the furniture may provide a pop of color — in each situation the furnishings provide visual balance to the environment.
Furniture pieces that only hit two out of three are fails in our book. At the same time, hitting all three shouldn’t entail furniture packages that are fussy or overly precious. In order to avoid the trap of each individual furniture piece becoming a design exercise in and of itself, we rely on timeless design pieces from dependable local showrooms. A reliable furniture showroom makes a practice of carrying furniture lines that don’t go out of style and offers judicious design options that have stood the test of time. The shop owners should be knowledgeable on the history of modern furniture and have a solid network of resources for sourcing and the occasional custom components. For these very reasons, one of our favorite furniture showrooms is Inform, right here in Seattle.
It can take years for a design firm to refine their furniture specifications to a tidy list of aesthetically pleasing, functional, timeless favorites and our Case Study House 2014 was milestone for BUILD’s own catalog. With an edited list of furnishings that we can genuinely recommend, today’s post tours the CSH2014 room by room and breaks down the furnishings by brand and model.
Karma extra-deep Sofa by Modern Design Sofa in Seattle outfitted with custom steel legs fabricated by Bart Gibson at Modern Metal Works (the original wood legs were a bit too tall).
Custom throw pillows by Erika Eckert.
Safavieh Retro RET2770 area rug from Rugs USA.
Chrome plated Berhhard stools with backrest in Kavat white by IKEA.
It’s worth noting that these are counter stools which are lower than bar stools.
Custom natural-edge, solid walnut table slab supplied by NK Woodworking and finished by Jason Webber of JW Woodworks, blackened steel frame by Bart Gibson of Modern Metal Works.
Stainless steel Globus chairs in black from DWR.
Lucca 158 aluminum lounge chairs with Lucca 198 ottoman by Indecasa.
Custom ipe and stainless steel picnic table with bench seating.
Chrome frame Acapulco Chairs with red weave by Innit Design and purchased at All Modern.
Aegean outdoor sofa in white with cover by Restoration Hardware.
Golden Beach Coffee Table in white by dCOR design from All Modern.
Stainless steel Zenn End Table by LumiSource from All Modern.
We’ve found that most ourdoor coffee tables and side tables aren’t up to the aesthetic standards, so we simply specify interior tables that are durable enough to be used outside.
Cheers from Team BUILD