Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

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Shop owners share essential elements of elegant modern design


Modern design at its best is elegant albeit sleek, revealing only its essentials of form and function devoid of anything extraneous. A good example, not at all modern, would be furniture and the humble necessities crafted by the Shakers who were masters of simplicity. These elements create a sense of serenity and calm, feelings of comfort people long for in their homes.

MOD, an acronym for Matter of Design, is the store in Hudson co-owned by Monica Lukas and Brian Cancelliere. Although it opened just this past December, MOD was named Best Furniture Store on the Akron-Canton Hot List and placed among Best of City award winners.

“We want to make this a fun place to shop,” said Monica, both an artist and interior designer. “The core of our business is helping people with their homes. Cool design doesn’t have to be expensive. Things like HGTV and shelter magazines have opened people up to design and new ideas.”

“We try to partner with local artists and with companies producing products made in the U.S.,” said Brian. “For example, a local artist made this table from old bleacher seats and its base from salvaged barn wood. Furniture, lighting and accessories made from repurposed and upcycled materials are very popular.”

Among the products MOD carries are those by Norwalk Furniture, the Ohio-based company, and by Younger Furniture located in Thomasville, N.C. Lines within these companies are fresh and softer versions of mid-century modern furniture that tends to be rigid. The addition of even a single chair will change the attitude of a room.

Lighting, most of it handcrafted by local artisans, is where MOD shines, literally. The words chandelier and sconce seem too fussy for lighting created in sensuous forms, bubbles revealed in hand-blown glass. Bases of many table and floor lamps are made of old big bolts and gears, and as such, are one of a kind. Some have hand-blown glass shades, others have mesh conveyor filters; all provide light with the added fillip of being both art and conversation pieces.

Surroundings Home Décor, in the heart of Cleveland’s Warehouse District on W. St. Clair, is owned by Fatemeh Keyhobad and Morteza Emami who officially opened their store in November 2001. They are authorized dealers for certain lines, notably B&B Italia that began in 1962, that offers pieces that are five to six years in planning prior to production. There is a story behind every piece, each with its certification, dates of design and production and fabric sample. Fatemeh and Morteza have been to the factory in Milan “to gain knowledge of every piece so we can educate and inform our clients. We work directly with about 70 percent of our customers who have learned of us primarily by word of mouth.”

“Every project is different,” said Morteza. “It’s challenging; people usually are pretty confused and we help them to decide what to keep and what not — it’s a process and we want to make our clients happy. We may start in phases and once the client lives with just one piece, they see and feel the difference.”

Fatemeh and Morteza have done projects for clients across the country, including second homes, or for those downsizing to condominiums or smaller houses. They want to go home everyday, said Fatemeh, where they can be without clutter.

We help our clients to create a modern aesthetic with what they have,” said Fatemeh. “They are well-traveled but also are influenced by HGTV, magazines and the Internet. Once they start with one contemporary piece, it changes them and they want more.”

Hallmarks of B&B Italia are fabrics including cashmere, cashmere and wool and linen crafted with couture details of unparalleled fit. Each piece is exquisite, invitingly tactile and beyond comfortable.

The owners say Surroundings is a “destination;” it’s one well-worth the visit.

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