Modern, Minimal Living Room: High & Low

Shopping Guide

One of our favorite house tours this spring came from Julie and Iker, who live in an iconic Bertrand Goldberg high-rise along the Chicago River. They've kept the interiors simple, clean, and minimal—a nice way to showcase the unique architectural details. If you like their style, we've compiled a guide to high and low resources for a similar look.

Streamlined Sofa

The difference in price between sofas usually has to do with the materials used, the size and features (if it's a sleeper sofa or a sectional, it tends to cost more), and the quality of the frame. Both of these sofas have wood frames, but one is a larger sleeper with built-in storage.

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It looks like Julie and Iker's sofa is the $3,500 Havana Sleeper Sofa from DWR. This big, low sofa has a storage compartment under the seat, and the back flips down into a double bed.

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Their $999 Bolla Sofa doesn't have all the smart features of the higher end DWR version, but it's got a similarly low, streamlined look with recessed legs that make it "float" a little bit off the floor.

Low Media Stand

We're not sure, but we think Julie and Iker's media stand is a discontinued model from CB2. If you're looking for something similar, there are a bunch of high-gloss, low, white media stands ranging from budget to high-end versions.

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Danish company Bo Concept makes a series of low media consoles with sliding doors, available in dark or light finishes. This $939 base cabinet has sliding doors and a glossy, white lacquer finish.

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A less expensive option is IKEA's $250 Besta Burs TV Unit. It's made of particleboard and fiberboard, rather than wood, and it comes in high-gloss white, red, gray, or black finishes.

Chrome and Glass Side Table

Julie and Iker have a classic adjustable-height Eileen Gray side table. Like many iconic 20th century pieces, it's easy to find knockoffs, although there's a lot of debate over the ethical implications of buying a knock-off.

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DWR sells a licensed reproduction of the Eileen Gray Side Table for $550. Designed in 1927, it's an adjustable-height table made from a tubular chromed steel frame and a glass top.

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There are a bunch of copies of the Gray side table floating around, which generally have lower quality construction but cost less than half of the price of the real thing. Amazon sells several, including this one for $200.

Mod Armchair

Shell chairs were really popular in the 1950s and 60s and the same basic idea has been picked up and reinterpreted by many contemporary designers—both well known names and lesser known designers working within big companies.

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The wavy black chair in Julie and Iker's living room is the Ron Arad Tom Vac Chair, available at Hive for $375. Designed in 1998, it's constructed from a chrome base and a flexible, corrugated plastic shell.

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Their $119 Orbit Armchair is a similar design, made from a chromed steel base with a hard plastic shell. While the Arad chair is available in 5 colors, the CB2 chair comes in white only.

Globe Lamp

The globe lamp is such a simple design that any difference in price really comes from materials, small details, and designer branding.

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Jasper Morrison's iconic $590 Glo-Ball Lamp was designed for Italian manufacturer FLOS in 1999. The "basic" version is a 12-inch diameter lamp constructed of hand-blown opal glass with a white powdered stainless steel base.

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They sell a $20 Fado Table Lamp, made from mouthblown glass with a 10-inch diameter. The base is plastic, the form is rounder than Morisson's bubble-shaped lamp, and the glass tint is less of a true white, but the price is hard to beat.

Window Shades

When you're shopping for shades and blinds, prices vary according to quality of materials, how well they block light and UV rays, and whether they're custom or standard sizes.

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They sell custom window treatments, including a line of solar shades that are GreenGuard certified and block 90 percent of UV rays. You can purchase their shades in different densities, from 3 percent (the densest) to 10 percent (the sheerest).

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They have a line of Enje Roller Blinds that start around $20. Available in a bunch of different standard colors and sizes, these blinds are a basic, simple option made from a polyester/nylon fabric blend.

To see the full tour of this home, click here.

Photo: Evan Thomas