All posts filed under: exteriors

Tearing Down and Building Up

I popped by the house the other day and was a little taken aback to see it as a shell (literally) of its former self. There it was, almost naked on a very cold, gray, New England winter day. The siding had been stripped away, revealing haphazardly placed darkened wood. Where there were once windows, there were now gaping holes that stared back at me like empty eye sockets. Partly because of the historic restrictions on changing the facade and partly because our contractor had suggested the windows would go in the previous week, I just hadn’t been expecting the bare bones that I came upon as I rounded the corner of our street and glanced the house for the first time in weeks. To give you a sense of the change, I quickly sent a photo of the house to my partner and it was so different that at first he didn’t even recognize it. And yet, as I wandered around the site, squelching through mud and trampling the small crunchy mounds of snow, …

Gingerbread houses à la moderne

You might recall that last year I was swept up in the Pinterest graham cracker gingerbread house frenzy and made my first house ever. It was a solid first attempt, but I realized afterwards that given my inclination for more modern design, I could probably create something more interesting in future iterations. Fast forward a year and here we are, smack in the middle of the 2015 holiday season. A close friend and her children came to spend the weekend with us and we decided to make gingerbread houses with the kids. Real ones, with legit gingerbread and a modern twist. We made a larger one for the kids to decorate and then I made a smaller one with crazier angles that I could tinker with. The larger house was just a design I rough-sketched just before cutting and shaping, with basic straight sides and a sloping roof. The kids were quite enthusiastic in the decoration so it’s hard to see some of my painstaking attention to architectural details, but that’s part of the fun, …

Exterior of federal style home under renovation

D is for Demolition

A couple of weeks ago they started demo on our house. All the talk, all the plans, all the contracting, but I don’t think anything ever prepares you for the magnitude of feeling that accompanies such a massive demolition. I’m part-thrilled and part-terrified, and these two emotions make rather strange bedfellows. I’m excited for everything this means in terms of the possibility of living in a house that I have such a strong hand in designing and also for what this means for our family to live in a new, larger, carefully crafted space. And yet, I’m absolutely frightened by the reality of it all: the timeline, the effort, and mostly, the expense. When you’re placing all your cards on a house in the way that we have (both in terms of hopes and dreams and pure financial resources), it’s pretty shocking to wake up one morning to pictures of a newly-skeletal interior. And that’s just what happened to me. I was in Oregon for work, woke up one morning and somewhere between getting out of bed and brushing …

Grand life changes

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? There have been just a few changes in our house these past two weeks: our twins were born, we made an offer on a new house (and it was accepted!), and we started showing our apartment in the hopes of a sale. Because apparently we like to take on a lot of change all in one fell swoop… Anyway, while the sweet babies sleep, I’ve been trying to figure out how we’d like our new house to take shape. We had originally thought we’d buy a piece of land or a tear-down house and have the chance to dream up our perfect property: open and airy single-level, L- or U-shaped, enclosing a courtyard and lawn with a pool…. Yet a confluence of circumstance led us to this home — a grand old Federal-style house built in 1895 — which we’ll renovate extensively. So now we need to begin to think in renovation terms, to reflect on how to use this particular space, and to conjure images of what we want our new home to look like. And despite …

Living small: guest houses and tiny homes

I don’t know about you, but I regularly dream about having a guest house. I’m sure part of the allure is probably the fact that it’s (realistically) the closest I could ever get to owning a tiny or micro home, but the idea of owning so little and living so simply is incredibly appealing. As a result, I’m always intrigued by guest studios and houses with great design and are collecting them for the day when we own a property that could accommodate one! Today’s post is a round up of a couple small houses that I think are entirely intriguing. The trigger for these musings was the photo above of these incredible asymmetric gems in the U.K.  They were conceived of as mobile artists’ studios rather than guest homes per se, but it’s the shape and form that I’m drawn to, and I figure you could configure them on the inside however you’d like. And those charred wood-clad sides….. ! Here’s another beautiful small home. The warm wood nicely balances the sharp angles and creates a welcoming space with a dreamy …

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)

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.

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 …

The design-conscious traveler, Part 1

Holidays. I live for them. Love them. Can’t wait for them. I even enjoy planning them. But the one thing that always trips me up is finding accommodations that catch my eye and excite me. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about architecture and design, I love exploring new hotels and houses just for the opportunity to scavenge for new ideas and appreciate someone else’s curation. With that in mind, my strong preference is to stay in places that are aesthetically interesting and encompass thoughtful design. This, unsurprisingly, is pretty hard to find. Online there are a few sites that offer a curated array of accommodations, like BoutiqueHomes but they hardly ever have a property in the area where we wish to travel. Inevitably I end up scouring HomeAway for hours, trying to find the gem in the rough. Adding “modern”, “mid-century”, or even “contemporary” doesn’t to your search terms doesn’t really help either, because people property owners throw those terms around in the property descriptions like they are going out of …

Those little gingerbread houses on Pinterest

I succumbed to the pressure of Pinterest this weekend and decided to make those little ginger bread houses that have been showing up in everyone’s Pinterest feed. I thought that since they’re really graham cracker houses that it would be a pretty straightforward project for me and the kid to try while we had four days of fun without the husband.  It certainly wasn’t as straightforward as I anticipated (boiling sugar syrup isn’t exactly super toddler friendly) but on balance it was really enjoyable and an entirely worthwhile project. We ended up making a whole village, but alas I only have two of the houses left to share with you since a large furry natural disaster (read: our big friendly Akita) made a meal of the rest of the village when our backs were turned. Anyway, as I created gummy bear wall patterns and tiled roofs with twizzlers, it dawned on me that with a little imagination I could have been making modern masterpieces à la Dwell Magazine. I’m pretty excited about the prospect and while it might just …

A beautiful skyscraper in São Paulo. Wait, what?

While in São Paulo recently, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the new pad of one of my very close friends. They live in this amazing new building that’s been designed to take advantage of it’s hillside location and to give each apartment a wonderfully open, yet sheltered outdoor living area almost as big as the apartments themselves. Take a look at the clever use of space and the original design, it’s really something. Of course it wouldn’t work in temperate climates, but if we lived in the middle of a hugely dense, urban city with a pleasurable climate I think I might just want to live in something precisely like this. And yes, that gorgeously bold yellow walkway is real and is the path by which you enter the building once inside the security fence. Oh and it has a gorgeous lap pool, indoor/outdoor kids play area (with an eames elephant no less), and gym. You know, just to top it all off.

A few of my favorite things…

Last week I promised that I’d return to share a smattering of the things I like in architecture and design. I know you’ve been holding your breath in anticipation but you can rest easy as today is that much anticipated day!Like so many, I consider Pinterest to be my creativity warehouse, wherein all the beautiful images and ideas I’ve stockpiled over the years lay in wait for my future creative pursuits. In the early days I used to try and annotate my pins carefully, noting what it was that drew me to the image and trying to help create a little memory file so that when the day came to build my future house/populate said house with gorgeous furniture/outfit a future child I would remember exactly what it was I loved about the image. These days I’ll admit to being much less fastidious about my pin descriptions, and as you explore my boards you’ll see the decline evolution. Anyway, I’ve spent some time combing through my boards and have salvaged some of my favorite images …