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Key Pieces And Techniques That Make A Modern And Contemporary Home

What makes a modern and contemporary home? What colors, lines, and materials are key to creating a coherent design? Metro Home editor-in-chief and host Anton Barretto visits two amazing houses to give us ideas and inspiration in building our own homes.



Modern vs contemporary

Many people use modern and contemporary interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two design concepts. According to Anton, “Modern design actually encapsulates the early to mid-20th century. Contemporary is all about now, design themes and design styles that are all about current trends and art.”

Since modern is a bit “older” than contemporary design, so to speak, it follows a stricter format of balance, clean lines, and minimal décor. In terms of color, modern is more muted, playing only with warm and neutral colors.

Contemporary is a bit more now, and affords a bit more freedom in the design. It doesn’t adhere to a specific movement or period so it’s ever-changing, like the present. There’s more movement, more fluidity, and more room to experiment and play around. There’s also room for pops of color here and there to give a stark contrast to the muted palette.


Contemporary design allows pops of color



Open and expansive spaces

One of the key features of modern and contemporary homes is the feeling of openness and spaciousness. This is achieved by incorporating high ceilings and top-to-bottom glass windows. These high and huge windows not only allow ample sunlight and breathing space into a room, but also brings the outdoors to the indoors for a more natural feel.


The huge windows allow light and greens



Mix of materials

The concept of contemporary living spans a gamut of materials. In one of the houses that Anton visits for Metro Home, he comes across an industrial-cross-nature space that creates a perfect balance of white marble, cement, wood, metal, and glass materials and accents.


Perfect mix of different materials


Unlike the more traditional design styles, there are many nuances to contemporary design. There are no rigid rules so you can easily cross borders and marry modern, classic, and quirky.



Functional art

Nowadays, many designers are able to bring form and function together in an array of home elements and furniture. This is why a furniture is not just a furniture anymore, and many interesting pieces in a home serve more than their aesthetic purpose.

Take, for example, this coffee table from Roche Bobois, a piece that was incorporated in the renovation of a home by Tessa Prieto-Valdes. From afar, the coffee table looks like a piece of art. But more than its purpose as a table, it also transforms and each of the four halves slides out to give the person access to more table space.


The Roche Bobois table sits in the middle of the living room


Another beautiful addition to a contemporary home is this Statistocrat Floor Lamp by Moooi. Standing at 200cm, this lamp is perfect for lighting up bigger spaces. You can play with the arms and position the lights where you want it, making for an instant statement piece in the living room or bedroom.


This Moooi lamp is available in 25 RAL colors



Statement pieces

Tessa suggests that when you’re designing a home, invest on statement and key pieces. These key pieces are then what dictates the other elements in the space. Invest on the dining table, the main sofa, the bed. These are the most important pieces in your home and shouldn’t be compromised.


Anton Barretto with Tessa Prieto-Valdes


In this house, for example, the couple started their renovation with their open-style kitchen, customized to perfection by Scavolini. The open plan gives you a very good setup so you can move around when entertaining, and everything is concealed so it looks clean. The refrigerator is hidden behind a pair of closet and the dishwasher is tucked behind another one, much like all the other appliances. The design then of the kitchen is what dictated the flow into the dining room and onto the living area.


Kitchen customized by Scavolini


But in the end, Anton says that the most important thing in a home is the personal touch of the owners. Make the space your own by focusing on your hobbies, your character, and your own style, and let everything else blend with that.


Anton inside a very personalized garage


Explore these two homes with Anton Barretto and get more style and design inspiration on Metro Home, airing Wednesdays on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD.