The best in modern design? You tell us


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The California Look poll: Epilogue -- design honorable mentions

In the past two weeks, you’ve helped us to determine the California Look of 2011. You’ve voted on room dividers, lamps, rugs, lanterns, fire features, planters, even pet beds -- all reflecting different aspects of a modern, indoor-outdoor California home.


The inspiration for this exercise was a 1951 cover story in the Los Angeles Times Home magazine. We spent a lot of time looking at that photograph, right, a scene that will be re-created as part of the ‘Living in a Modern Way’ exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The L.A. at Home team had some spirited discussions about who our nominees should be for a modern-day version of that vignette. Source of debate No. 1: Unless you were planning to put your drink inside that sleek barbecue, the original 1951 scene had no coffee table.

Some compelling lobbying was made to break from the 1951 template and nominate two coffee tables by Los Angeles designers. In the end, we didn’t add that category to our poll, but we’ll share the designs here:

The Logpile table, at the top of this post, is by Alexander Purcell of Aprro Design, who dropped his Sake Bomb decanter on us in 2010. It’s made of Douglas fir with a glass top. The Logpile is made to order in Los Angeles; as shown here (42 by 33 inches), it costs $3,450.

The Redlands table by Lawson Fenning, a simple yet elegant blending of the organic and the synthetic. The table, below, is made from Northern California-sourced buckeye or redwood spalted root balls, co-owner Glenn Lawson said.

‘They dig the root balls of long-ago cut down or fallen trees, which can be as big as 20 feet in diameter, and cut them into slabs,’ he said. Set on an clear acrylic base, the hefty slabs seem to float in the air. Lawson Fenning keeps a selection of slabs in stock, and prices range from $2,250 to $3,850.

What other elements should be in vignette representing modern living? A Wolf range? Bamboo cabinetry? Cork flooring? A glazed-eyed teen-ager with a smart phone and sense of entitlement? In identifying trendsetting California designers and products, we wished we could have included Corona-based Fleetwood’s sliding glass doors that have become staples of newly built, indoor-outdoor houses.

We would have given a nod to the Chatsworth-based Sliding Door Co., whose interior doors and partitions speak to the loft craze of the past decade -- and to the fact that sometimes an open floor plan can indeed be too open.

And there’s Carlsbad-based Oceanside Glasstile. Who will be able to look at a bathroom lined with Oceanside recycled-bottle-glass tiles without saying, ‘That’s so 2011?’

Look over our nominees and tell us: What did we miss? Are there other California designs that you think epitomize modern living?


Round 1, patio planters

Round 2: outdoor lamps

Round 3: outdoor fabrics

Round 4: fire features

Round 5: room dividers

Round 6: side tables

Round 7: outdoor chairs

Round 8: indoor chairs

Round 9: rugs

Round 10: pet beds

Round 11: candle lanterns

-- David A. Keeps

Logpile table photo credit: Aprro Design. Redlands table photo credit: Brian Vander Brug