Modern Retro Made Luxury

Trends and styles traditionally fade out of the limelight only to resurface a few generations later, usually with a few twists and fresh perspectives. But retro themes and designs remain popular and are now making an appearance in the realm of luxury.

Photo courtesy of DelightFULL

Photo courtesy of Essential Home

Incorporate Brass

Overall, brass contributes to a classical ambiance and can complete the vintage look you’ve been searching for.

A vintage floor lamp will fit perfectly in your mid-century modern living room or vintage retro design hallway. With a structure made in polished Estremoz marble and with multiple lampshades made in brass and aluminum, this floor light is a modern lamp full of grace and charm.

The Monocles Screen is a refined room divider. The folding brass structure holds three walnut panels with brass holes that let you glimpse into the other side. Stylish and functional like no other.

Photo courtesy of The French Bedroom Co

Photo courtesy of Smithers of Stamford

Rattan and Recycled is Retro

This Retro Rattan Console blends craftsmanship and texture with a little bit of artisan vintage into your space. Cane wickerwork and teak framework work perfectly together to reinvent the 70’s furniture trend into a more refined, elegant shape, styled more for modern homes.

Made from solid recycled boat hardwood, the satin hand-painted finish has been added to bring out the beauty of this retro speedway range. It’s retro, unique and a lifetime buy that will never go out of fashion.

Photo courtesy of Yellow Octopus

Photo courtesy of Lights4fun

Props that aren’t Played Out

The GPO 200 classic, British Rotary Telephone is a one-stop communication portal for all your conversation needs. Touch base with friends and family, then buzz, dial and connect with a classic design of modern technology. Bring a piece of iconic phone technology right back into the present.

Retro Cinema Lightbox is the perfect opportunity to customize your decor. Create a fun message that suits your mood and enjoy the classic element that will elevate your space.

Elements of city life are slowly making their way into the rustic aesthetics of countryside homes. The modern farmhouse is no stranger to industrial-inspired pieces, which offer a similar back-to-basics look to their brightly colored, agrarian-inspired counterparts. While maintaining the informality and simplicity of classic farmhouse design, an emphasis on industrial furniture and decor adds an unexpected layer of sophistication to rural interiors.

Urban-inspired pieces do not clash with typical farmhouse decor as some may fear. Both industrial and classic country looks share an affinity for woods as the star for nearly every piece of furniture and neat, yet unpolished metals that complement the natural wood. Bringing industrial pieces into the modern farmhouse blends two seemingly opposite aesthetics into a synergistic, chic design.

Here are three industrial-inspired pieces that fit seamlessly into any farmhouse.

Kohler Farmstead Kitchen Sink


This 45-inch long sink can be installed wall-mount with legs or top-mount with custom cabinetry. Made from Kohler Enameled Cast Iron, this durable sink is generously proportioned to accommodate large cooking ware. Included in the list price are seven accessories, including a walnut cutting board, a utility rack with a soaking cup and a towel bar.

Photo courtesy of Kohler.

Industrial Farmhouse Wavy Glass Island Chandelier by Shades of Light


Perfect to hang over a large dining table, this industrial-inspired chandelier borrows themes from classic farmhouse design with a minimalist wood base. Vintage light bulbs accentuate the piece’s timeless simplicity.

Photo courtesy of Shades of Light.


Farmhouse Industrial Modern Windmill Style Bookshelf by Woodwaves


This unconventional bookshelf offers ample storage space for a living room or office, and the iron windmill atop the unique structure makes it shine as a statement piece. Serving as both a quirky accent item and a functional piece of furniture, this bookshelf is the perfect eye-catching addition to any farmhouse.

Photo courtesy of Woodwaves.


A new offering from one luxury travel company is inspiring clients to change the way they travel by transforming a standard journey into a game full of unexpected scenarios with strangers, intellectual puzzles and physical experiences.

By: Kelly Potts

Philippe Brown, founder of Brown + Hudson, knew that it was time to shake up the way people travel when a client came to his company and mentioned that their kids are more excited to play computer games at home than they are to experience new destinations. Enter The Great Game — a tailored journey that includes challenges, clues, puzzles and chance encounters to help you discover a location in a completely new and engaging way. “We started researching the particular games the kids were playing and the mechanics of how those games become utterly addictive and engaging,” Brown says. “We had to take everything that’s so messed up about these computer games and translate that to the real world, to include varying levels of challenge, prizes and a sense of competition.”


For this family, and many others, Brown notes that the issue wasn’t where they should travel, but rather how they should travel. The Great Game can range from physical stimulation to intellectual challenges, but every trip encourages clients to travel in a way they’ve never traveled before. “We turn it into a game and then the client has a better chance of seeing a place with new eyes or childlike wonder,” he says.


Where you play the game is totally up to you, though Brown does recommend you allow enough time in a destination that offers much to experience, such as Downtown Buenos Aires or Patagonia, for example. “Places that are more intense offer a richer palette,” he says. “To get the full benefit of the trip, it’s better to have it be longer than four days because then you really get into it.”


Before embarking on this unique getaway, there’s a planning process that Brown compares to working with an architect. “We get to know you, get a feeling of what you’re looking for and make sure we ask the right questions so we get the trip right,” he says. “We believe that before getting excited about places, the client is the destination.” The trip planning interview consists of questions that may seem random, but were crafted with the assistance of a therapist to really get to the heart of the person and understand their motivations, fears and goals for the trip. “Unless you ask the questions, there’s no point in talking about places,” he says.


Brown + Hudson currently has three Great Game trips in the works and one that occurred in India last year. One trip the company is planning to Costa Rica includes a challenge with zip lining. “When people come to us and say we want the kids to build up confidence, zip lining was the perfect way to build physical confidence,” says Brown. 


Of the game that took place in India, Brown says, “This particular story was really interesting because they came to us with their great aunt’s diary. We realized, we can integrate this between what this family does and what the great aunt did to make the story richer and more connected.” One aspect of this trip involved a young boy, a complete stranger to the family, taking their hand and leading them to the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan after closing hours to enjoy time alone with the director of the fort museum.


If a meaningful or insightful journey is on your agenda, Brown + Hudson can certainly incorporate these aspects into the game. “If the family wants to learn about important issues of a particular area, part of the game might be meeting refugees,” he says. There’s also the chance to have a trip full of physical adventures and activities, a vacation that offers intellectual challenges and puzzles or a voyage offering interaction with strangers and family alike. Brown says, “There isn’t one recipe, it changes for each client.”


During this journey, clients can choose to have the help of a ‘guardian,’ a local guide who understands the game and the family’s needs, and ensures that the family is enjoying the game and moving through it in a timely manner. They can offer as much or as little assistance as the client wants, while also helping to ensure that everything the family hopes to get out of the trip is accomplished. “We want them to achieve their objective, so we control what happens to a certain extent,” says Brown. “Sometimes the guardian needs to be there to help them see the big picture.”


While The Great Game was not inspired by the traditional escape rooms that have been gaining popularity around the world, Brown notes that they have much in common. “The parallels are there — going into an unfamiliar environment, not knowing the rules, having someone guide you.” Just like an escape room, Brown notes that the loss of control is what sparks interest in The Great Game. “People realize that it’s a return to child’s play… how many adults get to play and think ‘it’ll be fun to not worry about anything and let myself be guided through this game’? It’s utterly relaxing,” he says.


The Great Game can be enjoyed by families, couples or individuals of all ages and backgrounds — and each client will gain something different from the experience, whether it’s solving a problem they’re facing, learning more about themselves, or just have a unique and unforgettable trip that opened their eyes to a new way of travel.

Of the game that took place in India, Brown says, “This particular story was really interesting because they came to us with their great aunt’s diary. We realized, we can integrate this between what this family does and what the great aunt did to make the story richer and more connected.”

One trip the company is currently planning to Costa Rica includes a challenge with zip lining. “When people come to us and say we want the kids to build up confidence, zip lining was the perfect way to build physical confidence,”
says Brown.

During this journey, clients can choose to have the help of a ‘guardian,’ a local guide who understands the game and the family’s needs, and ensures that the family is enjoying the game and moving through it in a timely manner.

“The Great Game is suitable for anyone who is willing to question how and why they’ve traveled in a specific way,” Brown says. “It’s perfect for someone who wants to get more out of their time abroad and someone who’s got an appetite to devour a place.”


While the pricing of The Great Game does vary from trip to trip, figure on a minimum of $25,000 per person (Brown + Hudson recommends a minimum of one week), in addition to a retainer fee of $4,000 for the planning and creation of the game (including the involvement of specialist experience and game designers). Brown does have some advice for those playing the game — “Trust, use your brain, expose yourself and the answer could be in something random.”


His hope for The Great Game is that it will awaken clients to realize that they deserve more from their travels. “If you could leave yourself behind and be a completely blank canvas everywhere you went, then your experiences would be much richer, more memorable and actually have therapeutic effects,” he says. “That’s what our approach does.” 

Photos courtesy of BrownandHudson and

It’s no secret that Italy — home to many admired artists, designers and architects — has produced a range of beautiful artistry. So it’s no surprise that today’s Italian-crafted furniture continues to bring unique elements to any home, from bathroom to kitchen to outdoor living areas.

By Alyssa Gautieri

Machinne Volanti

Designed by Italian artist Piero Fornasetti, these hand-painted tile designs feature bright and whimsical patterns like balloons, planes and ships. Inspired by the frescoes that Fornasetti painted as a young man in his bedroom, Hastings Tile & Bath’s Machinne Volanti is reflective of Italian artistry. “We work very hard to find artisans and manufacturers whose products are unique — and unlike anything else you would find here in North America,” said Kevin Mashia, the director of tile products for Hastings Tile & Bath. “We certainly feel that the Fornasetti collection of tiles is the perfect embodiment of our continued mission.”

Photo courtesy of Hastings Tile & Bath

Gloss Black Appliances

ILVE is embracing the re-emerging kitchen design trend — black appliances and finishes — with its new Gloss Black color option available in the Majestic Collection of ranges and hoods. Known for its handcrafted Italian appliances, ILVE’s Gloss Black finish continues to bring luxury to life. “The Gloss Black finish is so rich, it adds a layer of elegance, drama and sophistication to the kitchen,” said Melissa Haber, director of sales and marketing for EuroChef USA. With more than 220 colors, three trim options and four leg options, this collection is truly customizable.

Photo courtesy of ILVE Appliances

Hexa Stools

Twentieth presents Lebello’s Italian-crafted Hexa Stools, which are available in a range of hexagonal shapes and colors, as well as three sizes and two heights. While they bring life to outdoor areas, these stools also use a knit-tech fabric and Breath-Air foam to provide extraordinary outdoor softness and elasticity. Twentieth’s Founder and Director Stefan Lawrence called the sophistication of the fabric an “incredible advantage.” “The stools may look ordinary from a distance, but the uniqueness lies in its knit-tech fabric,” agreed Lars Dahmann, Lebello’s founder and brand manager. “I find the product very striking. It’s a harmonious balance of innovative materials with a simple design approach.”

Photo courtesy of Lebello

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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