A Modern (yet Warm) loft with the new Project 62 collection
There are a lot of new things happening at Target and they are good. As you may have heard they launched a new home line called Project 62 that is modern, young, and a little edgy. The line also focuses on small spaces, functionality and affordability. The challenge of what has historically been dubbed ‘Modern Design’ (meaning more minimal, simple and with contemporary finishes) is that it can feel too cold. Knowing this, the design team gave themselves the challenge of creating modern pieces with warmth. It’s streamlined, but not sterile. It’s comfortable, not cold. It’s sleek, while still being stylish. Whether ‘Modern’ is your style or not, there are so many pieces that are so simple I think they could work with any style.
So with the help of my style team (Brady, Emily and Erik) we designed/styled a loft of a friend of ours with 100% Project 62 (ok, besides the guitar, bright red bike and vintage cameras) to really showcase the collection and show you how you can “Go Modern” in a warm/inviting way. In fact, we did a whole video about it.
While my style in our current house isn’t terribly sleek and modern, I love so many of these pieces and love how it all turned out. Curious how to do it? Here you go:
1. First start with a consistent color palette – we chose neutrals: grays, blues, blacks, and whites with some slight hits of a more poppy color (RED! WHUT?!). We layered two 7×10 solid rugs to create a 10×14 rug ($700 total, which is a GREAT price for a rug so big).
We chose solids over patterns on all major pieces, making them more timeless and the space feel more calm and less busy. The rugs have amazing texture, but aren’t fussy at all. And we mixed up the finishes of all the furniture, yet kept it in that color palette.
2. Repeat the same elements for high impact simplicity. It’s style science, and it’s a formula that works. If you are more eclectic and like having a lot of different styles, colors, textures, patterns, etc. mixed in then GREAT (and read every other post I’ve ever written) but if you want simplicity and a sense of ‘less’ while still having the function then this trick is for you.
We chose two of the same sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves and side chairs which allowed us to create a lot of symmetry with very little contrast. “Minimal” is hard to do with smaller scale furniture because you may not have anywhere for people to sit, so we accomplished this by giving multiple options of the same place. It looks totally pulled together, yet very calming.
Matching is not a bad thing, folks. You just want to keep it interesting (see the following steps on how to do that). Your eye likes things to match, but your soul needs it to be stylish.
The sofas are super low, deep, and comfortable and are a great scale for an apartment, bedroom, (foot of the bed?) studio or even a small lobby/office seating. The french seam gives them some detail (read: high end) and the pretty gray fabric feels like wool, but is probably a more practical poly-blend (read: super warm). I want to suggest to the designers to have that cushion lift up for storage – that would be genius for small spaces, right? Meanwhile, another reason why these are so chic is the single seat and back cushion. If you are in the market for a new sofa, we are here to tell you that a ton of back cushions is not exactly ‘the rage’ right now. Even if it’s a more traditional style (like our two custom sofas) they look more updated, clean and modern with less and longer cushions.
I have this set up now at the fixer upper and we LOVE them. The chairs are solid enough for the kids to climb all over (they don’t tip easily) and they are really cozy for grownups, too.
3. Mix up the shapes. Boxy sofas, with boxy coffee tables, with boxy side tables, etc. would feel … harsh. Soften those lines with some circles, folks. The coffee tables, side table and lamps all help it feel both modern (square) and inviting (circle).
I knew paying attention in my geometry class would one day pay off. This post is feeling VERY scientific, no? Maybe my next book should be called ‘The Science of Style’ …
4. Vary the “visual weight” of the furniture legs. This is a slightly higher concept, but one that is important to learn to help a room feel balanced and neither too heavy or too ‘nervous’ (read: too many legs). If your sofa is low and boxy then your coffee table should have legs, and ones that feel ‘lighter’. If your side chairs have black hairpin legs, for instance, then your side table in between should be solid.
You can see in the shot above that the sofas really ground everything and allow for the coffee tables, chairs, and floor lamp to have more legs – not creating busy-ness but giving it contrast, style, and lightening everything. Also, those bookcases are extra genius because the bottom half of them have a closed black back and the upper is open. This helps them feel grounded and is a style detail that takes them from being basic to being more special and high end. It gives them more of a cabinet feel, rather than cheap shelving. I also love how the metal is squared off.
5. Accessorize with less pieces, in more refined finishes. The lamps are BEAUTIFUL. I have that black standing tripod lamp and it looks like it cost $400. I also snagged the smaller versions on the bookshelves and they are currently residing at the fixer-upper (MORE ON THAT COMING SOON I PROMISE).
These sofas or chairs don’t want a lot of pillows, plus the more modern/minimal look doesn’t have a lot of ‘decorative stuff’, so we landed on these two pillows in our color palette but chose a pattern to help it from looking too generic. A room can exist without pattern (if it has a ton of texture) but you guys know it’s hard for me not to have ANY pattern, so these throw pillows are perfect.
What is that amazing art??? Well, Stephen Busken (our photographer and the co-owner of this amazing location) had it already and yes it helped inspire the personality of the room, and the color palette. He DIY’d it by stretching a huge canvas, and then had a friend paint on it. Genius, right?
6. Add personal touches. Since this was a ‘set’ for a Target shoot, we let our inspiration come from, Stephen – the photographer who shot it/homeowner. While the main pieces needed to be from Target, his guitar, vintage cameras, coffee table books and those huge canvases were the personal touches that make it special and unique. Is the ‘design tip’ to be good friends with a super stylish photographer who has an awesome loft and special accessories? Nah. Just don’t be afraid to bring in your hobbies and personality into your space. Corral your collectibles together, eliminate too many small pieces that don’t seem to fit in (if you are going for a modern look) and stack books in a simple way. You know all those ‘how to style your bookshelf/coffee table/nightstand/dresser/credenza’ videos and posts we do? Well don’t do that. Just stack your books, and place your well-edited collectibles in a simple row. Less is more if you want to go more minimal and modern. But there still needs to be some of YOU in the space.
In the dining room it really pained me to only have those three candlesticks, but I was like – Calm down, Emily. Control yourself. Don’t splay open a big coffee table book. Don’t add a stack of plates. Just. Three. Candles. I thought that the painting behind it would be enough (and it is) but I still kinda wish there was one more thing on here. If I could go back in style time I would add a newspaper and a mug. The newspaper would be folded back to the crossword puzzle, with the perfectly placed pencil (not pen, duh) and it would be 75% filled out. Because that is how smart our imaginary modern dude is.
Which brings me to my last tip: 7. Add branches and plants if you want to make sure your modern look has enough life. Those flowers/branches, above, sure do the job. I love that console/mirror combo. If you are looking for an easy go-to entry combo, there you go (who can guess how many times I’ve used that round Target mirror, now? 12?).
Stephen loves himself some plants and has like 9 green thumbs. I haven’t seen figs so healthy in a while.
I couldn’t not use his amazing red color-block bike (by Martone), I WANT THAT BIKE. And while we didn’t bring in red in the actual Target pieces having them pop up in a few books and that book on the coffee table (and shoes) I think gives it a late-2017 edge.
There you are folks. The Project 62 collection. And to be honest there are so many other pieces that we loved and many more coming out. We were inspired by the space and Stephen’s personality so it’s more on the masculine side, but we are doing a collaboration soon with someone who is more glamorous so you’ll see a totally different side of this collection (it has some awesome marble/brass and velvet pieces, too.)
While our Modern English Country house is less ‘Project 62’ than it is ‘Threshold’, I am loving this collection and I have quite a few of the pieces below. If you are into this particular look, here you go:
1. Navy Chair | 2. Wood Accent Stool | 3. Black Bookshelf | 4. Tripod Table Lamp | 5. Blue Abstract Art | 6. Tripod Floor Lamp | 7. Charcoal Knit Rug | 8. Round Coffee Table | 9. Gray Sofa | 10. Round Brass Mirror | 11. Blue Table Lamp | 12. Black Geometric Pillow | 13. Color Block Pillow | 14. Blue Woven Basket | 15. White Console | 16. Tan Modern Vase | 17. Black Metal Tray | 18. Marble & Chrome Table Lamp | 19. Ceramic & Wood Planter | 20. Marble & Wood Bookend | 21. Black Earthenware Vase | 22. Marble & Wood Coasters | 23. Navy & Silver Enamel Tray | 24. Marble & Chrome Task Lamp | 25. Gray Dining Chair | 26. Indigo Knit Rug | 27. Cream Woven Basket | 28. Large Candle Holder | 29. Medium Candle Holder | 30. White Dining Table
Check out the whole Project 62 collection HERE. We like it a whole lot.
*This post was in partnership with Target, but all content and words are mine. Thanks to you guys for supporting the sponsors and thanks to sponsors like Target who give total creative freedom 🙂