Month: January 2015

An exercise in contrast: public space in Luxembourg

This is Textured Modern to a T. Look at this installation: a seating tunnel, or cut-through, on the grounds of a former steel mill in Luxembourg. Urban, edgy, rough concrete, warm wood with strong vertical lines…. And that asymmetry! I love the contrast of the welcoming enclosed space with the stark, industrial, open city square. Can you even imagine if we began to transform old industrial spaces in urban areas all over the world with creative human-centered installations like AllesWirdGut has done here? Talk about changing the way we experience the build environment…. Talk about striking textured modern design… (via Contemporist)

Design with(out) kids in mind, Part 2

So now that we’ve talked about designing a beautifully curated home that is simultaneously right for the whole family, it’s high time to turn to some of the specific little things I learnt while designing our home. I’m talking about the juicy little tidbits that make up (the beginnings of) a list of things to keep in mind when designing a home for your family. I searched high and low for lists like this and didn’t find much so I hope this will be helpful to those of you in the throes of planning, designing, or renovating. The standard-height bathtub. I made a fly-by mention in the intro post about the bathtub issue. When we were renovating our home, I was (as I’m sure you might imagine) pretty focused on the details and left very little up to the professionals involved as far as fixtures, finishes, and furnishings were concerned. In an incredibly ironic twist of fate, the one thing I left up to someone else ended up being less than ideal. It was the bathtub for …

Design with(out) kids in mind, Part 1

As I previewed earlier this week, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether and how to design our home with kids in mind when we completely overhauled our apartment two years ago. I was heavily pregnant with Little L at the time (you can read more about that and our terrible timing here) and how he’d fit into our lives was at the forefront of my mind. Reflecting back, almost two years after we (finally) completed the renovation, I can safely say that we chose the best route for our family: we designed a home for us, a home that we love living in, and it has turned out to be a great home for Little L too. Lesson #1: You can totally have the house you want, stark white walls, uncarpeted floors, open stairs, the lot. To some it might sound blindingly obvious and to others it may sound a little controversial. But here’s the thing: the choice to pursue the aesthetic you want, to have a house that takes design into account, …

Qué hace de una casa un hogar?

I’m traveling in Monterrey this week, and have spent a good amount of time with the smart, ambitious and fascinating leadership team at Universidad Regiomontana. They’re in the process of rethinking university education from top to bottom, from eliminating hierarchy to creating a brand new student experience facilitated by learning coaches (not professors), mixed-use open learning spaces, practicum and placement-based learning, the list goes on. It’s really impressive what they’re trying to do… but that’s a story for another time when I’m not exhausted after a seemingly endless series of (albeit fantastic) meetings. Walking by this ballpit smack in the middle of one of the high-traffic areas of the university, the ball I first picked up, and which immediately caught my attention was this one. Qué hace de una casa un hogar? Or in English, what makes a house a home? It seems so à propos doesn’t it? Funny the little things you come across in daily life…. This one definitely made me smile. Postscript: what’s a ballpit doing in the middle of a university? Turns out that the administration is …

Design + Kids = ?

When I started dreaming up all the ways we would transform our apartment into an incredible living space, I spent a decent amount of time with my good friend Google, searching for “kid-friendly design” and “home design for small children”. I had a little debate going on in my head about whether we’d design the house for our future kids (I was heavily pregnant with our first at the time) or whether we’d design the house for us and help our children learn to live and play in it (safely). I was looking to The Internet for answers, for guidance, for help, and it just didn’t get me very far. I don’t know whether I was simply looking in all the wrong places, my Google skills weren’t up to par, or there just wasn’t all that much out there, but I really drew a blank in terms of finding the resources I was looking for. Specifically, I wanted someone to say, “hey, when you design your kitchen, don’t fret about explicitly choosing cabinet pulls that can be childproofed because …

The stunningly modern urban “barn”

Allow me to present you this “barn”, re-imagined for urban dwellers with a key appreciation for the modern. I can’t help but immediately share this incredible home with you. It’s nothing short of stunning. The gorgeous industrial siding in my favourite shade of grey and the way it envelops a textured, warm wooden facade. Those strong vertical lines of the steel that contrast perfectly with the much more narrow horizontal stripes of wood. Oh and the open, airy interior. And that awesomely asymmetric window in the living room with the strong black frame that pops so compellingly from the blank-canvas-like white walls. I’m pretty sure I could move into this house tomorrow and be delighted. Maybe they’ll rent it out and we can add it to our design-conscious traveler series? Oh I wish. Right this way for more on this fantastic home or head on over and check out the architect’s site.

The design-conscious gastronome

While we’re globetrotting and talking about accommodations that stimulate the design spirit, I’d be remiss not to share a WSJ article that talks about the confluence of design and gastronomy, and in particular, the architecture and design of restaurants. I was pretty keen on this article as I started reading and glanced over the first two striking photos of restaurants in Fez and Strasbourg. But then I started to think about some of the restaurants I consider beautiful and, well, I felt the need to respond (albeit in my own way in the little-trafficked and barely charted territory of texturedmodern.com). In general, the author’s description of the way design comes into play in restaurants resonated: “the décor carries the same weight as the quality of the food and the service. The most wonderful environments are aesthetically pleasing, reflect the style of the cooking, offer a strong sense of place…”. But the preface to the above sentence threw me a little: it starts with, “At top-tier restaurants, the décor carries the same weight…” and I sort of mentally tripped up. I’ve been …

Getting Away: Design in the Dominican Republic

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping it’s a stellar one for all of us, full of fun, excitement, and adventure. Speaking of which, we just returned from a lovely vacation in the Dominican Republic. We’ve been once before and stayed in the rather heavily trafficked Punta Cana area; this time we opted for the quieter Samaná Peninsula. We spent a week lazing in the sun, riding mules to go see gorgeous waterfalls (Cascada El Limón) and boating around Los Haitises National Park. It was, as they say, just what the doctor ordered. What I really wanted to share though were some pictures of our accommodations. You’ll know from my last post that I’m always on the look-out for holiday accommodations that aren’t the standard from a architecture and design perspective. So I was pleased to happen upon the Sublime Samaná, a modern hotel just outside of the small town of Las Terrenas. It is comprised of multi-bedroom rooms and suites, each with its own fully-equipped kitchen and outdoor jacuzzi. And in front of each of the casitas runs a …