Modern is such a broad genre of design. And one not easily defined in terms of the home, frankly. Sure, there's likely an "official" definition floating around out there, but in practice, modern is personal, varied, and often tied to an era. Sometimes I think it's easier to talk about what modern design isn't. It isn't always minimal, but it can be. It isn't always super expensive... IKEA finds can be just as modern as buying from today's well-known designers. It's not always a limited color palette—sometimes a rainbow of colors mix together to create a modern vibe. I think perhaps the common thread tying modernly designed homes together is that they're just a little more future pointing than those homes filled only with items from the past.
Alex McCabe used local architect McManus Lew Architects and local tradesmen for the house's renovation, and she feels that's why her interiors—while modern and personal—also represent an Australian aesthetic. The home's location also meant function was an important part of the renovation. "Melbourne can have some long dark winters so heating was a central consideration of the design, and that does inform the location of windows, and the height of the ceiling."
Almost every piece in the apartment is bespoke, created by apartment dweller Harry Nuriev himself. The custom kitchen feels like nothing I've ever seen in a Brooklyn apartment, or truly in any apartment: Just two rows of cabinets in Harry's signature cobalt blue, floating serenely across from each other. Hanging above is a chandelier that, upon closer inspection, turns out to be made from BIC Pens, a testament to Nuriev's ability to see great possibility in ordinary things.
Anthony Harrington and Hilary Padget, architects and founders of pHdesign, spent two years renovating this one-story space, formerly a commercial building. Although it's just slightly more than 1,000 square feet, the home feels very spacious. The living room, dining room, and kitchen all adjoin an interior courtyard, which lets light into the rooms in the center of the building. The overall feel of the home is both stylish and relaxed.
"In many ways color was the driving force behind this project. White Arrow brought in deep blues in the kitchen and bathroom and connected the color throughout the home with accessories. The floors are now much lighter (we bleached the old subfloor) to provide contrast to the architectural salvaged doors they found and the old staircase that we painted black. This was a total gut renovation and our goal was to take a dark row house and transform it into one that felt light, relaxed, and open."
Rachel Castle and her British husband Daz bought this house eight years ago, although they lived in it for three years before renovating. The renovation itself wasn't plain sailing for the creative couple; they discovered mid-way they weren't allowed to build upstairs (they live in a conservation area). So they decided to keep a part of the old house as the home office, renovate another part completely (which would become the modern living/dining/kitchen), and avoid any renovation work to the upstairs area.
Stephan Weishaupt is the founder and curator of high-end furniture retailer, AVENUE ROAD. Working with Chapi Chapo Design, Weishaupt completely remodeled and reinvigorated a falling-down Edwardian house in Cabbagetown—one of his favorite neighborhoods in Toronto. Though just 2,000 square feet, there are now four stories (which includes a small basement) of modern design, with rooms both built for entertaining and for personal relaxation.
Will Watson was involved in the art world for several years before starting his own creative agency, Watson and Company. And he moved into his Soho apartment nearly a year ago. He uses his space not only as a place to live, but to paint and spend time with his adorable baby girl Lola when she stays with him.
"We are an architect (Niraya) and a civil engineer (Humberto) and yes, we discuss design a lot. And ever since we lived in Brooklyn, we've always dreamed of owning a loft. Living in Miami we knew this was not possible, especially if we wanted to stay in our neighborhood of Coconut Grove. So we looked and looked for a townhouse that we could convert into a 'loft.'"
"The light, bright open kitchen and dining area have become the soul of our house and are always in use as a hub for gathering family and friends. Kim personalized this space with artwork from one of our favorite photographers, Jimmy Marble, as well as a mid-century Saarinen style dining table and chairs, mirrored panels in the cabinets and a blue (our favorite color) open-ended kitchen island."
Joost Janszen studied industrial design at the renowned Design Academy in Eindhoven and has worked in various creative fields ever since. With a love for fashion, art, and design he likes to experiment with materials, graphics, and colors. He has a particular passion for creating fabrics, as one can witness from the self-made bright yellow sofa covers with the striking pattern. Or the yellow 3D throw in the guest room that could also double as a rug!
"Our home has a modern aesthetic, with a nod to Jeremy's homeland of South Africa, combined with our love for mid-century furniture and laid-back Australian living. We love mixing styles and are constantly trying to achieve that delicate balance between a creative home and a minimalist home; we do love both aesthetics."
"I like to work with materials like concrete, wood, and textile, as well as colors and plants. The home is airy with the large windows and white walls; the interior is allowing, robust, and tactile. I should probably mention that my partner has his own green man cave, which he decorates."
With some clever rearranging and plenty of storage, Erin Hung has managed to create a light and airy space that really utilizes every inch of their home.
The best thing about Talia Braude's home is that she is so totally and completely unapologetic about her use of color throughout. She realizes this much color may not be for everyone, but she's found a style that she loves...and it works beautifully for her home. "Buy what you love—if you put yourself into your space all the pieces will work well together," she advises.
Caroline Jodoin and her boyfriend were looking for a place they could call home for their family of four. As they were considering different options, her parents were selling the house where she grew up (and lived in until she was 21), and they decided to buy it! The home doesn't look like it did when Jodoin was a kid. The couple completely renovated the first floor, tearing walls down between the kitchen and the living room to give it a fresh new look.
Patrick Thompson is an award winning interior designer residing in the suburbs of Detroit with his lovely wife, their energetic three-year-old son and their sweet dog. His design firm, Patrick Thompson Design, specializes in hospitality, commercial and retail spaces.
Sara has learned a great deal since finishing their renovation (and her design style is constantly evolving) but she still loves what they have done to this house. "It still makes me happy every time I walk in the front door each day. When we purchased it, it had lemon yellow walls, a dated bathroom, a red fireplace and horribly stained floors and a purple kitchen!"
"My decor style is a mix of happy-modern, bohemian modern, and mid-century modern. A bohemian modern home is defined by a wild mix of colors and pattern, brought to life by vibrant rugs and fabrics, wicker chairs, knitted throws, and a jungle of house plants—clustered in pots, adorning surfaces on different levels, dangling from the ceiling and even growing on the walls."
"The space is minimalist yet remains homely, as we have essentially edited it down to include only the elements we connect with. A tough job and one we would think twice about doing again, but it was absolutely a labour of love. Waking up every morning to light pouring through the windows, we know it was totally worth the effort."
"I wanted to have a modern, grown-up kitchen and a queen-size bed. It took me four months to find my new gem, and as soon as I walked in, I knew it was going to be my next home. I instantly fell in love with white walls and glossy concrete floors. And, who would not want to live above a giant grocery store? Oh, what is my style? It is simple but colorful and fun. Yes, minimalism can be colorful and fun, too!"
Nicole and Dan Lucey chose architects Wendy Cronk and Erin Cowhey Design and contractors Versatile Renovations NYC to help with the renovations. There were many design choices that had to be talked through—and compromised on! Having a dark office and guest room opposite the master, painting the front of the house all black, indulging in lots and lots of tiling, and painting their son's room half black/half white. Originally, the son wanted all black walls, Nicole wanted all white, so they met halfway—literally!