Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House

Day one of Blogfest 2011 finished with a sneak peek of the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. What is that exactly? Located at 540 West 28th Street in Manhattan, the Modern Life Concept House features designs by five of Elle Decor's designers to watch from last year, as well as five who were recently announced for this year. Each designer paired with a leading brand to design modern indoor and outdoor spaces for two condo units. And while you know my personal aesthetic leans to the more traditional (I am a New Englander, after all), these spaces were downright amazing.

Image: Elle Decor

To get your own sneak peek, take a tour of the house by Editor in Chief, Michael Boodro.

First let me start by saying that this is New York, readers, so it should come as no surprise that the spaces were small. With about 100 of us milling about saying "Excuse me, excuse me" on a particularly and unusually humid day in May, I couldn't possibly take it all in. And as a result, there's no way this post can even do justice to these incredible spaces. This is definitely not meant to be a comprehensive overview, but rather a "big picture" look. You can bet I'd love to visit again on a less crowded (and hot!) day.

That being said, I was still able to take in enough to leave me thoroughly impressed with the designers' ability to maximize the space. Each room used every ounce of space and the eye was never left without something to occupy its attention.

When I think back to my visit, one thing above all comes to mind -- texture... from the draperies to the Venetian plaster, what brought each space alive for me was the dramatic use of textures and finishes. Sara Story of Sara Story Design (who partnered with The New Traditionalists) "really wanted to do a woman's salon." While I can't exactly bring you to see it, I did find this video featuring the room on NBC New York. Check it out!

This rich, hand-painted door opens right into the room. This does not even come close to doing this justice and shame, shame on me that I did not get a closeup of the draperies in this room because they were to die for. Talk about making a grand statement to set the tone for an elegant space!

Image: Mochatini

Image: Attic Mag

If you watched the video, you know that Sara started the project by adding Venetian plaster to the walls and the ceiling, which, in her own words, adds texture and reflective qualities that - in a small space - will create a larger feeling to the room. The walls were literally the first thing that caught my gaze; they were unreal. The effect was like that of lacquer -- shiny and sleek. And the hand-painted work? Amazing. I was not able to get any great photos of my own, but fortunately, others attending did. I share these with you now and hope that you will take the time to visit their amazing blogs as well.

Image: Attic Mag

Is this nothing short of incredible?

Here's a great close-up of the gorgeous bedding. Again, I love the richness! A mix of pattern and texture adds playfulness, too. I also love the geometric repetition in the circles and squares in the fabric, decorative finishes, light fixture, and tables. They're subtle and really unify the room.

Image: Mochatini

Speaking of playful, note the portrait of Sara herself above the vanity! And take note of all of the details - both under and on the desk and chair. Each room was designed and styled so that it really seemed like someone was living there. In this photo, you can also catch the tiniest of glimpses at one of my hands-down favorite elements in this room. I'll give you one guess.

Yup. The drapes. The fabric and body were amazing -- construction perfect. It was truly love at first sight! It was brushed with gold - if my memory serves me correctly, the fabric was Italian - and were finished with a beautiful weight lining and interlining. I have yet to see a photo that truly captures their beauty, so my words and these images will have to do.

Image: Attic Mag

One thing is entirely obvious to me as I share this highlight with you: I would so love to go back! I wish I lived closer to New York! To really appreciate this space -- and all of the spaces in the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House -- I'd love to just sit in the center of the room and soak it all in. Only then could I truly give these spaces the attention they so rightly deserve. And what an honor to have been a part of this preview!

Thank you to Quintessence [an incredible journalist ~ I promise you will love her blog] and Mochatini [who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during the panel discussions ~ so sweet and talented], for taking such great photos. Please be sure to pop over to their blogs and read about - and see - more of what caught their eye at the MLC House.

Can you believe these first two posts were just of my first day at Blogfest? Me neither! My next post on the Kips Bay Decorator Show House kicks off day two! Hope you'll join me!

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