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Monthly Archives: June 2015


  • June 25, 2015

    Friends of Jason's are friends of ours

    If a little birdie sent you our way (thanks, Jason), here's the deal:

    The first 25 people to place an order will receive 40% off their purchase. Use code JCAL40% at checkout. 7 day manufacturing + curbside delivery is always free. If you need your sofa in a hurry, choose the 24 hour manufacturing option, pay a little extra, and we'll get your sofa out the factory door in 24 hours.

    Once you receive your new custom-made sofa, tweet out a photo of it in its new home, and we'll select one person to get their sofa for free! Easy peasy.

    If you're unsure of the size or color, we'll send you a full size printout of your sofa and color swatches so you can lay them out in your desired space to make sure it's the perfect fit and color.

    Ready? Go!

  • June 18, 2015

    Inspiring design is as close as the straw in your drink

    It's kind of weird, I know, but people get excited about using a bendy straw, like it's a treat or something.

    It makes that cool noise when you pull it out. Everything from Sofia Coppola's cans of mini sparkling wine to drive-in milkshakes use the bendy straw. Kids especially like the bendy straw and have been known to play it like a mini accordion at the table.

    The bendy straw (aka the 'flexible straw' or the 'bendable straw') was invented in San Francisco in the 1930s by Joseph B. Friedman. Friedman had been tinkering with inventions since he was a teenager and came up with the idea for a lightened pencil (the 'pencilite') and a version of the fountain pen. All in all, he earned nine U.S. patents.

    The flexible drinking straw was his most famous invention, and also his simplest. One day he was at his brother's soda fountain, the Varsity Sweet Shop, and noticed his young daughter, Judith, struggling to drink a milkshake with a long, rigid paper straw. What he did next exemplifies the beauty of simple design: He went to his workshop, inserted a screw into a straight paper straw, and wrapped dental floss around the outside, imprinting the grooves in the straw.

    Friedman received a patent in 1937 for his then-called Drinking Tube and two years later founded the Flex-Straw Corporation in California. Today, its descendent is the Sweetheart Cup Company.

    It's designs like these, the simple ones, that keep me inspired. There is such a fine line with modernism — how to add just the right amount of design-umph yet still create a beautifully simple design.

    Friedman could have made the entire straw bendy. He didn't. He created just the right amount of bend to get the job done. It's inventions like this that get you thinking about other simple, ubiquitous features of modern life such as the zipper, the paper clip or even the screw Friedman used to make his flexible straw.

    Nowadays, some say plastic straws aren't good for the environment, and reusable bendy straws are out there, but a quick search of plastic straw art projects brings up numerous ideas, like . That way, you can enjoy a drink with your bendy straw and recycle it into a cool, modern-looking accessory.

    As an invention, the Bendy Straw may not have changed the world overnight like the plow or the light bulb, but it did change the way people enjoy sodas and milkshakes every day. It's also a valuable tool in health care settings for people who have trouble sitting up to drink. It's these kind of inspiring moments in time that keep me trying new things. So the next time you drink a beverage with a bendy straw, pause to appreciate it. Just don't spill anything on the furniture :)

  • June 16, 2015

    Modernism is everywhere

    In today’s world, modernism is everywhere. Television commercials are often set in modern homes; magazines, typically read by readers who live in more traditionally decorated homes, are now staging photo shoots in modern living rooms. Modernism has become more “normal.” But it hasn’t always been this way. When I was a kid in the 80s, there was this obscure hard cover book called High-Tech: The Industrial Style & Source Book for the Home. It was all about industrial and minimalist design. I spent hours looking through this book. It was not a well known concept and modernism in architecture was harder to find.Now, there are bookstores dedicated entirely to building and design (one of my favorites in San Francisco, William Stout Architectural Books) with books on modern design lining every bookshelf. Dwell magazine actually has some competition with publications like Gray and Modern. There are countless blogs dedicated to modern design and lifestyle.

    More retail stores have not only opened that sell modern goods, but familiar brands are also changing the look of their stores. Have you seen the new McDonald’s locations?! They have clean lines and sleeker interiors. Office buildings are outfitting their lobbies with modern sofas and furniture. In the past, Design Within Reach ruled the modern marketplace, but now there are brick-and-mortar shops across the country selling only modernism. Plus tons of other great online retailers.

    Modern houses in residential neighborhoods used to stick out like sore, rigid thumbs, but now you see one on almost every street. Airports are returning to the Eames-era seating of the 1960s. Those “airport chairs” were iconic to the Herman Miller brand. The actual buildings themselves feature modern architecture.

    I’ve been a modernist for as long as I can remember. It really is in my blood and it’s what I’ve pursued in my career my entire life. It’s hip and cool now to want to live in a concrete and glass box. People used to look at us modernists like we were crazy. They would ask, “Where’s all the warmth and coziness you want in a home?” People are trading in their overstuffed Pottery Barn sofas for sleeker, cleaner lines. Ahh, the day has finally come. I’ll always be a modernist at heart, no matter what the trends. But it sure is nice to be surrounded by modern design today. You people are finally starting to see things my way :)

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