All posts tagged: Architecture

And then there were walls

Oh, it’s been forever since I last wrote here (I say that almost every time I post, don’t I?) and so much has happened in our lives during these past four months. It was mostly due to the fact that I left my establishment job to go out on my own and start a boutique consulting firm, but my partner has also been traveling a ton for work, the kids are keeping us on our toes, the renovation is ongoing… you know, the list goes on. During it all, there has been an incredible amount of progress over at the house and I’ve decided it’s high time to share a little. So, we have plastered walls now, the kitchen is being installed, shelves are going in closets, and apparently tile will be installed next week! It’s not much to see in photos, but it’s really amazing to behold on site. I’ve had to pick lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, wallpaper, paint colors, the list goes on and on. It’s even time to pick the new furniture since …

Rethinking abandoned underground spaces in Paris

I wonder if you saw the story earlier this year about the Parisian mayoral candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who during her campaign joined forces with two architects to conjure and design inventive re-use proposals for the city’s abandoned metro stations? The Parisian metro is the sixth largest in the world and possibly one of the most storied. You’ve seen it in movies, probably heard tourists’ tales about it, and if fortunate, you’ve perhaps experienced it for yourself. I remember it well from my time living in Paris, mostly riding through the depths of its mightily efficient system to university classes on the famed Left Bank and also to the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (the National Library of France) in the 13th Arrondissement, where I could be found, head buried in microfiche, reading about obscure Latin American educational approaches. Ah, the flights of academic fancy that accompany tertiary education! Anyway, I quite liked the metro (although was somewhat partial to the Parisian bus system for the wonderful opportunity to soak in all the sights above ground) and …

A photographic rewind: before the demolition

So sometimes I like to do things backwards (read: life is too hectic to think far enough in advance to allow me to do things in the proper order). So today, by popular demand, I’m sharing some pictures of the house from before the demolition. Yeah, I know, the “before” pictures should really precede the demolition and construction pictures, but that’s just not how it happened here. So, in no particular order, here are some of the photos from the real estate listing. It’s worth noting that the house was in perfectly liveable condition, and it’s only because of our aesthetic priorities, our interest in energy efficiency, and a desire to create a space better suited to our family needs that we are gutting the house and building the interior from scratch. Starting at the property’s front door, above is the entry hall or foyer, which in many respects is quite beautiful. But since it’s definitely not my style, we’re saying goodbye to the dark wood and will see it replaced with simple painted plastered walls, modern casework (cabinetry), …

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 …

On kitchens, cabinets, and the cost

In our home, the kitchen is the center of it all, the hub of energy around which everything else revolves. Sure, we have an open plan apartment with one large living space and the kitchen has a big physical presence, but it’s more than that. We spend the great majority of our time in the kitchen, cooking, snacking, hanging out, having meals, chatting. We’ve had evenings with friends when we never even left the kitchen area and, in fact, we had some friends over for brunch this past weekend who said, “you know, I don’t think we’ve ever sat at your dining room table or in your lounge area before!”. And they’re right, we’re just always hanging out in the kitchen or at the amazing counter bar we created for just that purpose. Because of all this, as I spend hours head-down in proposed layouts for the new house, I’m constantly coming back to the kitchen: it’s placement, it’s size, it’s organization, it’s aesthetic. And recently, while wandering the Internet for inspiration and guidance, I came across a pretty exciting …

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 …

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 …