What do popular vocalists Jennifer Nettles, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Robin Thicke have in common? They all sit in mid-century iconic Egg easy chairs each week while judging the new show Duets on ABC!

The Duets judges sit in modern chairs
Image source: abc.com

Side view of the judges sitting modern Egg chairs.
Image source: abc.com

This incredible modern furniture design was originally created by Scandinavian designer Arne Jacobsen when he was commissioned to design all aspects of the Royal Hotel, Copenhagen in 1958. This mid-century modern chair still holds looks cutting-edge today with its organic shape and sculptural lines.

Collectors of modern furniture may want to invest in the original design, still in production, but most of us can’t afford the over $6,000 price tag. To get the look for less, and still enjoy excellent materials and craftsmanship, check out the Andromeda Lounge Chair above. You can still make a statement in your modern living space for less than $700. High-quality pieces at a great price is why we love Zuo Modern!

Recently, teen pop idol Justin Bieber needed a west coast pad. In February, his family purchased a place.

Image source: realestate.aol.com

We noticed the dining room features Zuo modern “S” dining chairs as well as many other modern elements. The “S” dining chair echos Verner Panton’s mid-century modern design.

Whether you follow all the celebrity tweets or just flip TV channels occasionally, modern furniture can be spotted all over the media and pop culture these days. Since set stagers and designers get paid top dollar to put together TV sets and celebrity homes, paying attention to their designs can be a great way to get home decor design inspiration and learn a few tips. In addition, these design professionals are hired to create relevant designs that look hip and up-to-date, and when modern designs like these keep popping up it’s a safe bet that they will look beautiful in your home and be in style for years to come!

Patio Living has expanded to areas that allow your family to relax off the family room or master bedroom. Modern furniture including club chairs and a couch with outdoor fabric make this lakeside view a great lounging area.


Modern patio with a lakeside view
Image source: picturehomedesign.com

Furniture Placement: 
A recent home staging project done by our Mill and Leaf team gives some excellent examples of a successful indoor-outdoor partnership for great home design.

Placing furniture toward the center of the room allows the family room and outdoor patio to flow seamlessly together.

During the staging process, all furniture was pulled away from windows. In the family room above, the sofa placed in front of the window was moved at a right angle to the window as a low divider between the family room and kitchen area. This photo shows how the outdoor patio then became an extension of the family room. Sticks cut from the back yard green space were placed in the moss filled mantel vase to echo the outdoor feel. The outdoor living continued on their patio.

Unique Pieces:

Seek out signature furniture pieces with a natural flair that can bring the feel of the outdoors inside. We particularly like this uplifting tree bed design and this Appalachian Side Table.

Image source: favim.com



Whenever we’re stuck on an interior design problem, we like to take a look through our favorite online and print magazines for some drool-worthy inspiration. This Design Milk article about the Canon Residence is wonderful example of how to use natural materials to “complement the interior connections to the outdoor space.”

Image source: designmilk.com, photos by Edmund Barr Photography

Interior designers and architects have always considered lighting one of the most important choices in the overall design plan of a home.

Now, with the increasing popularity of makeover and home decor design programing on TV networks, homeowners are considering quite a few lighting options beyond simple ceiling domes or fans. Everything from glass chandeliers to iron chandeliers to more modern chandelier designs are being incorporated into living spaces to provide functional lighting and add style to a room.

Check out how the iron chandelier helps transform this room in the video below.

Considering adding a chandelier to your home? Chandelier showrooms are often pressed for space as they try to display a large selection of these large art-lighting pieces. So online sales of chandeliers have increased dramatically. Mill & Leaf features a nice selection of chandeliers. We particularly loved this display of glass chandeliers by Cyan Design, including the La Scala design.

Things to consider when adding a chandelier to your living space:
  • Placement: Chandeliers are not just for dining areas anymore!
    Try adding them to an entryway, bedroom, sitting area, even a bathroom.
  • Installation: Chandeliers sold online (including this Bella Vetro Purple Chandelier by Cyan Design) are normally disassembled with clear directions as to how to slide in the pieces. If you like DIY projects, you will enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from putting it together. If that’s not for you, consider hiring a lighting contractor.

  • Ceiling height: Remember to measure! Unless it’s over a table, you should always have at least 7 feet under the chandelier. If you’ve been eying a chandelier that’s an impressive 4 ft tall, it cannot be hung on an 8 ft ceiling! Tall ceiling areas will need larger pieces or more chain or connecting bars to hang at the correct height. Mini chandeliers work great in the bath or bedroom areas that only have 8 ft ceilings.
We hope you enjoy adding some romance back to your decorating with these tips for how to incorporate chandeliers into your home decor.

Have you ever looked longingly at modern furniture that uses polished concrete, but though it was never an option because it’s just too heavy? No longer!

There are many exciting, cool furniture designs that use new materials to get the look of cement without the excessive weight.

A new travertine stone called Pavenza looks like cement, but actually weighs less than solid wood. This large coffee table weighs just 238 pounds, where a real cement table of the same size would weigh in at 500+.

We also love these cement-look pedestals for displaying art or adding visual height to a room. Even though they measure 30, 40, and 48 inches tall they are still fairly lightweight and easy to reposition or clean.

This buffet also uses the travertine stone to get the modern look of cement for the counter, but still weighs less than 300 pounds. That’s the same weight as a normal buffet or dresser in solid wood. Cement alternatives also resist staining and clean easily, so they’re a great choice for counter surfaces on dressers or buffets that can get heavy wear and tear.

So next time you’re shopping for contemporary furniture, don’t discount pieces just because they look like they’re made of concrete. You can enjoy modern line furniture and still be able to move it around your home by taking advantage of these new cement look-alike materials.

Recently, I was asked to go through a beautiful Hill Country home here in Austin, TX and stage it for photography and Austin realtor showings. The owners had built the property over 15 years ago, and had pictures of the original home construction.

Since that time, they loving raised their two children and based there lives in a network of schools and church close by. Many of the things in the home reminded them of friends, travels, gifts, awards, etc that were meaningful to them.

As a designer, my job was to tactfully pull together a more current time frame and color palette that would appeal to the current market buyers.  The house had multiple offers in just 7 days, so the owners were thrilled, but what amazed them was how I saw their current belongings and surroundings so differently.

When designers look a things, it just pops out to them what is harmonious in color, style, arrangement, etc. If you think your design skills and design theory is “tight”, take a look at a recent video I shot on a hike nearby. The Barton Creek is fast moving right now, so these kayakers navigating the current were fun to watch.  I took out the sound so it’s just a visual. Then I noticed a deeper design perspective. Do you?

Catch the design element?

Each kayak is coming down in a color progression as if placed on the color wheel from yellow to red. Add a bit of red to the first yellow kayak, and you get the light orange one next. A bit more red and you get the red-orange boat. The final kayak is all red.

Not sure if they planned it this way, but well done!

Look around – design is everywhere.

Just because you work there doesn’t mean your office space has to be a bore! Here are a few ideas for ways you can mix it up.

We love the unique look of this Spider Desk and round filing drawer unit for it’s organic sensibility. It’s a refreshing change from the square, boxy shapes seen in so much office furniture.

This design is also features a sleek, black glass top. Glass is a great choice for desk surfaces since it’s easily cleaned with glass cleaner and never scratches. This set can stand up to scratches from even the toughest paper clips. How many wooden desks can boast about that?

Also remember to carefully consider your office lighting. Look for designs that provide plenty of even task lighting so you can work efficiently. Pieces like this traditional lamp fit the bill, and can bring a pop of fresh color to your space.

If you’re looking for overhead lighting, these round, modern fixtures bring a modern look to any office.

For the ultimate in mixing work and play, take a look at these bungee cord chairs. As surprising as it may seem, these bungee cord office chairs are actually comfortable! The cords are super strong and conform to the shape of your body for ideal lumbar support. Perfect for a long day at the keys!

Buses, laundromats, that cute diner, or the art museum… it’s a guarantee that you sat in a moulded fiberglass chair a some point. They’re so ubiquitous that we hardly notice them anymore.

But did you know that moulded fiberglass was a true technological and aesthetic innovation when it first came out in the 1950’s?

Our Spire Dining Chair – Red by Zuo Modern captures all the class of the original with a moulded seat and high quality, solid steel frame echoing the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

While this design is produced in a comfortable ABS plastic molded seat, we enjoyed seeing this video that documents the original fiberglass production process.

Furniture Designer Maria Yee

A glance at Maria Yee’s line of furniture tells you that she has elevated furniture design to an art form. The clean lines of her pieces will add elegance and grace to any room. But one thing you might not notice at first while enjoying the artistry of these pieces is the incredible technical, eco-friendly innovations that go into creating each one.

Maria Yee has perfected a patented BreathingJoinery™ manufacturing system, based on traditional techniques, that uses no nails or screws in construction and allows the materials to maintain their original strength and beauty.

This platform bed is an excellent example of this incredible joinery technique and easily has the highest construction quality of any bed we’ve seen recently.

Yee also pioneered the development of FSC-certified BambooTimbre™, a material created by layering renewable, fast-growing Moso bamboo to create boards that are stronger than steel.

Other ways Maria Yee works to minimize the environmental footprint of her line are by heating the factory with scraps created in the furniture production process and by using specially formulated water-based finishes and glues.

Our Mill & Leaf team enjoyed  getting to visit Maria Yee’s incredible showrooms at this spring’s High Point Furniture Market. Typical of her eco-friendly aesthetic, her showroom was housed in a renovated space in Hight Point, North Carolina. We loved the repurposed floors!

The clean lines of the furniture are beautiful in person, but she has managed to make these pieces incredibly comfortable to sit in as well.

Upholstered furniture was a new direction for this artist in 2012. This Arial sofa was one of our favorites.

Since Yee pays careful attention to the design of all sides of her pieces, the back of each product is gorgeous, so they would be a perfect fit for open floor plans where all sides of the pieces need to shine.

Finally, as if the excellent design and environmental conscience of Maria Yee’s furniture weren’t enough reason to fall in love with this line, the story of what led this artist to furniture is truly unique.

Born in China, she was sent to work at a rock quarry after her parents were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. After her release she studied as a machinist and became a mechanical engineer. Her passion for the art and design of furniture was sparked as she saw the destruction of historic masterpieces during the Cultural Revolution. As a result, she recruited a group of masters to recreate museum-quality pieces from the Ming dynasty, which led to the creation of her California-based company in 1988.

Make a difference… with your decor!

It’s truly a small world these days, and the products we purchase here have significant impacts on people and the environment on the other side of the globe. Taking a bit of time to research how and where the home decor products you buy come from can make a difference in the quality of the lives of workers.

Care & Fair
An organization helping prevent child labor.

Care & Fair is one organization working to make the world a better place by preventing child labor and improving the education and health of families involved in carpet production in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

The organization was created by socially committed carpet importers to create better living conditions in the areas where their products were being made. They also wanted to communicate the fact that western customers are unwilling to purchase carpets made by children and in other socially unacceptable working conditions.

We’re committed to bringing you beautiful, high-quality, home decor products that you can feel good about having in your home for years to come.

Our Enredadera and Broadway rugs are imported by members of the Care and Fair organization. So you can be confident that you are buying a beautiful rug that is free from child labor and made under equitable working conditions.

Enredadera Rug – Grey

Broadway Rug – Green

Vintage Typewriter

Retro Typewriter
Image source KasbahMod.com

Feeling overwhelmed by the electronic age?
Want to bring some uniqueness and flair to your home decor?
Mix it up by adding items with a vintage look to your collection!

Vintage-inspired items add a rich history element to your look that is a great balance to newer pieces. Similar to contrasting textures, the old vs. new elements in a room add the designer look of mixing uncommon pieces. Including accents from decades past helps to soften uber-modern decor and pull together furniture of different styles. It also guarantees that your home will be completely unique.

Vintage napkins

Vintage napkins
Image Source: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplySuzula

Another great reason to include vintage is that they just don’t make ’em like they used to! Here at Mill and Leaf we’re all about finding the highest quality products. If you’re short on budget, but passionate about the well-made items here’s the secret to a fabulous room: invest in a few key pieces.

Many top designers are creating new furniture designs with distressed finishes that capture the look of a well-loved classic. Here are a few of our favorites from the recent High Point, North Carolina Furniture Market.

Distressed Chest

Gable Distressed Chest