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When you can't believe no one thought of that before…

Also in my Stellenbosch-inspiration search, I discovered architect Tom Kundig, and I am fascinated. I don’t necessarily love everything he does, but I do love how absolutely outside the box he is. He comes up with such creative means of having his buildings respond to their surroundings, whether in protecting them from the elements or exploiting views.

Click the jump for more…

Love the window in the wall that gives a view of the door– it really is a view in itself!

Below is another house he designed. This one lies in a flood plain that, as you can see, gets snowed in in the winter. To deal with the issue of flooding, he put it up on stilts. Then, to protect it from the elements when it is not in use, or to keep it warm inside at night in the winter, he designed huge steel shutters that slide on tracks and can completely close off the house. I also love that by sliding the shutters, you could change which rooms get views, thereby totally changing your experience of the house and the landscape.

In the book, he shows diagrams of other shutter-mechanisms he thought about using, and in seeing his thought process, you really realize how not-obvious this solution was to the problem, and you are even more impressed.


Call of the Wild

I’ve just started gathering visual inspiration for our next project, which is going to be in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and I thought I’d share some images of the amazing architecture I’ve come across. It is a smattering of different modern vernaculars, but I find all of them so interesting for the ways they interact with their surroundings.

Rather than a big house plopped on a plot of land, these seem to have a dialogue with the landscape. Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute lover of traditional architecture, but there is a level of engagement with the land achieved by these out-of-the-box modern styles that traditional architecture falls short on. Stellenbosch has incredible natural beauty, so we want to choose a style of architecture that leads you to notice the drama of the land.

Sometimes this can be achieved through a more subtle, minimal style of architecture, and sometimes, it seems, something that is just totally different from our everyday visual repertoire is able to make you stop and reconsider everything around you.

Wingardh Architects:
Love the huge sliding doors, the way the water comes right up to the building, and whatever those crazy vine door/shutter things are adjacent to the water!!

Widjedal Racki Bergerhoff Architects

Lake Flato Architects:

And my favorite of all… Turnbull Griffin Haesloop:

For more information and portfolio pictures, visit these architects’ websites. They have interesting information with each project about how they chose the style of architecture and the layout of the building or buildings on the property given views, winds, sunlight, weather, etc… it’s quite interesting!


Breakin it Down the Aisle

I think this definitely counts as a Random Act of Creativity.

We’ve all seen the surprise first-dance songs now, starting, I think, with the Baby Got Back version, but this is the first wedding surprise dance I’ve seen like this.

All I can say is that if my friends and I are all in the mood to dance like crazy fools on my wedding day, I’ll be one happy lady.


Just a little fun fact for your afternoon…

“Moist” is the most hated word in the Engligh language! I had always suspected that I was correct in judging it the most disgusting word in our language, and now I feel justified by having the majority at my back. Some editor of the Visual Thesaurus or something said he suspects it is because of the “oi” sound, because other hated words include “ointment” and “goiters.” HA!!

via “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” on NPR.


Art in the Workplace

We could use more of it, don’t you think? I am loving all of these traditional offices with all of their different uses of art– propped, hung gallery style, statement piece….

Don’t you think the art in these offices is suggestive of a broader attitude towards the office itself for these people? It seems to imply such care, whereas usually I think the home office ends up sort of a barren afterthought. I’d be much more likely to sit down a pay bills if I had a space like this…

Peter Dunham.

Katie Leede.

Can’t remember whose apartment this is, but I loved that she had put her office in her closet/dressing room. I might do that too, if I had a dressing room in my apartment. Or an office, for that matter. I LOVE the combination of unexpected elements in this room… chocolate lacquered wall, baroque desk, hot pink, leopard and zebra coexisting. It gives the room such personality b/c it really does look like she just kept buying things she loved and made them work together. If this is the fabulous treatment her office received, aren’t you dying to see what treasures fill the rest of the house?


Kingdom America

I just bought this lamp off Etsy, and I’m loving that it has the blue and white porcelain look, but with an off-beat assymetrical design and the sort of random “America.” I suppose I say random because there is a crown in the design, and America is fundamentally non-monarchal? Also I don’t see too many decorative art pieces, non-kitschy ones at least, with “America” emblazoned on them. And I think it’s funny that America is written in such a sober font! The font does nothing to evoke sing-songy patriotism.

Although it will be going in my much more humble dwellings, I could also see it in either of these two beautiful rooms…

This traditional foyer, both elegant and immensely welcoming, by my illustrious former boss Miles Redd, where real blue and white porcelain would not be out of place, and the oddity of this design might add a touch of whimsy…

Or this cheery and comfortable living room where a touch of blue would be a nice contrast, and the vintage-y feel would be right in sync with the suzani on the sofa. Sadly I don’t know who this one is by…


Another Withdrawing Room

Now this could certainly be a withdrawing room, and a sexy one at that. Do you ever think about what kind of attire a room lends itself to? Or what kind of music?

This one certainly leads me to consider both. I think I would like to lounge about in here, or even entertain guests, wearing canary yellow satin pajamas with a mandarin collar and listening to Billie Holiday.

Possibly with a bourbon and ice, or a cigarette in one of those long extender things my grandmother used. The last part is inspired by the bear-skin rug– it practically demands that you up the vice-factor.


Withdrawing Room

Just came back across this photo of a study by Robert Passal in one of my files and wanted to share. I just love it! The paint color, the ceiling, the long banquette, the art, the bar tray on console, the sophisticated use of animal print…

Actually, is it a study? The prepared table throws me off. I think, in fact, it could be a drawing room! Did you know that the phrase drawing room originated as “withdrawing room,” is it was a room used to withdraw with guests for more privacy?

Also, did you know the English have terms for multiple different kinds of reception rooms, including a “morning room”? A morning room typically had an eastern exposure and was used for daytime guests.

My sister has a similar room, which she named herself, that she calls the “coffee room.” It’s a fantastic little room only big enough for four comfy chairs facing each other and an ottoman in the middle, and it has one wall of windows facing the garden and three walls of beautiful paneling. They really do use it for coffee, and I have become convinced that every house should have such a cozy little room to enjoy the morning. It’s not even attached to the kitchen, which I think is ideal because it is situated calmly away from all frenzied morning activity. I, for one, have a hard time slowing down in the mornings, but such a room could entice me to do so.

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