Must-have lighting: modern sconces

Posted by Lauran

Several years ago, the word “sconce” would conjure up an old-fashioned dark brass lighting fixture befitting a Victorian library or a masculine cigar-smoker’s den. But today there are so many modern choices that it’s easy to incorporate this versatile lighting source into your home, whether you want to stick with brass or go for color.


Just feast your eyes on these bright choices! Clockwise from top right:  1. Isaac Sconce from Schoolhouse Electric, $130, available in three colors; 2.Radar Sconce from Schoolhouse Electric, $169, available in six colors; 3. Signal One-Arm Wall Sconce from Horne, $387, available in over 20 colors; 4. Industrial Wall Lamp from onefortythree, $225, available in four colors; 5. Colored Wall Sconce from onefortythree, $65, available in six new colors; 6. The Downtown Minimalist Sconce from Barnlight Electric, $124, available in over 20 colors!

This week Design*Sponge (one of our favorite blogs!) featured Kelley’s home tour, where she hung a blue sconce from onefortythree next to her bed for easy reading!

onefortythree from designsponge

If you prefer a more subdued yet modern look, we love these updated brass fixtures, all from my favorite new-ish lighting company Cedar and Moss.


Sources, from top: 1. Branch sconce, $159, available in three finishes; 2. Alto Sconce, $179, available in three finishes; 3. Cedar and Moss Tilt Cone, $169, available in three finishes.

Can’t you just picture these on either side of an entryway, or alongside a modern (or brick) fireplace?

Re-creating a cool Oakland loft

Posted by Lauran

“When Carol and Andre first contacted us, they had just purchased a loft in Jack London Square,” says Visual Jill Designer Lauren. “It was difficult for them to envision how this one large space could be broken up into functional areas they needed, while also being stylish and inviting.”  They also inherited worn carpet on the floors and multiple paint colors on the walls, making the space feel cluttered and confused.

Flash forward a few months . . . after a bit of design magic, Carol and Andre now have this beautiful space!

2nd loft LR into DR lo res

2nd st. loft LR lo res

Lauren and Jill began the project by defining what their clients needed within the large open space: They wanted a designated area for their guests to sleep, an office for Carol, a TV room, dining room, and master bedroom.

Question: How do you create “guest quarters” without any walls?  Lauren’s answer was to place this CB2 Flex Frost Sleeper Sofa in the entryway! It’s extra seating on most days, but easily converts into a bed when guests arrive. We love the texture added by the branch “wall partitions” from Furniture Envy.

2nd futon lo res

The master bedroom is divided from the main space with curtains hung from a ceiling track. It’s a sanctuary for relaxation, with a custom upholstered headboard from AlexAlinDesign on etsy, nightstands and lamps from West Elm, and rug from CB2. The carefully chosen textures are a great contrast to the rough loft ceilings.

2nd loft Bdrm lo res

Lauren and Jill also helped their clients choose new hardwood flooring and paint colors to brighten up and modernize the space.  They chose White Dove for the majority of the walls and Kiwi for the pop of color in the living room and kitchen (both Benjamin Moore).

2nd loft lounge lo res

2nd loft lo-res

Lighting was also an issue, since the cement ceiling made adding recessed lights impossible.  “We added unique fixtures to designate the dining room, master bedroom, and living room,” explains Lauren. “We also added floor lamps to fill the 14′ height of the loft.”

2nd loft LR 2 lo res

The raw wood coffee table from HD Buttercup brings extra warmth to the living room, which also features a custom sectional from EQ3 and Celeste Swivel chairs from Room & Board.

Lauren and Jill loved this project, both because of the space and the clients! “Carol and Andre  had a clear idea of what they needed and trusted us as designers to find the items they loved and make sure they would be functional for their lifestyle”, says Lauren.  “They were very involved from the get-go with a positive attitude and ready to make an amazing change to their space.”

Photography by Peter Lyons

Outdoor entertaining on a tiny budget, in a tiny space

It’s easy to get lost in all the catalogs, blogs and Pinboards that show amazing outdoor entertaining spaces. Perfectly manicured gardens, outdoor kitchens, cool fire pits surrounded by nice teak furniture, long farmhouse tables with Tolix chairs . . . we all love these scenarios. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the space — or the money — to create them in our own homes.

But guess what? You can set up an outdoor cooking and eating area, that will fit in a space as small balcony, for less than $175! Here are two options for you:

Ikea combo: $ 163.98

For grilling

lillon grill

 The Lillon charcoal grill sells for $99, is only 18″ wide, and sports adjustable legs.

For dining


The Tarno bistro set is the perfect size for two, and the perfect price ($49.99)!

To set the mood


The 23-foot Solvinden light strand is just $14.99 — and it’s solar powered.

Target combo: $ 139.98

For grilling

smokey joe

The Weber Smokey Joe is $29.99 online.

For dining

target bistro

The Folding Metal Bistro Set comes in four fun colors and is on sale right now for $95.

To set the mood

target lights

Room Essentials Frosted Globe lights give you 25 feet of light for just $14.99.

You don’t have to be rich or have a big yard to entertain outdoors — you just have to know where to look!