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Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Our Top Five Favorite Movie Architects

Becky

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Architect seems to be the favorite job for movies to give a certain kind of character. Here’s a look at our top five fake architects, all for various reasons. Please add yours to our list in the comments section. And apologies to Gary Cooper for leaving you out, but I liked the book a lot more than the movie.

photo via Vancouver Lookout

5. Richard Gere in Intersection (1994). Yeah, this movie bombed at the box office, but the building they chose to pretend Gere’s character built was a superior choice. It’s the Musuem of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus, designed by architect Arthur Erickson and built in 1976 (with a stunning landscape designed by Cornelia Oberlander). The fact that the movie pretends this was designed and built in 1994 shows how successful and surprisingly timeless the mix of brutalist concrete and glass and how well it fits into the landscape are.

photo via moviescreenshots.blogspot.com

4. Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day. This tale of one woman trying to have it all is exhausting, and her work situation doesn’t seem all that realistic, but the breaking of the model, well, anyone who has ever dealt with one sure felt that pain. Man though, that is one ugly building, huh? I think the model deserved what it got.

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer (2009). We gotta give this movie props for being ahead of the chalkboard paint wall tipping point, and for using it better than anyone else has to date. I loved the way it fit in with the sketchy architectural graphics used in the movie as well. A broken heart and reassessment cause this sweet lovestruck man to drop out of the greeting card business in the funniest way ever, and rekindle his true passion, architecture. Plus, his love of architecture provides a lot of special moments from his favorite bench that overlooks the city. Kudos.

photo via Twentieth Century Fox

2. Matt Dillon in There’s Something About Mary (1998). Pat Healy is the fakest fake architect around. He claims he’s working on a soccer stadium in Santiago Chili, he skirts his way around answering what the difference between Art Deco and Art Noveau is, and he has a pocket full of Napelese coins. Chompers is an all-time sleazy favorite. And a big part of his sleaziness is that he’s claiming to be an architect when he’s not.

photo via hookedonhouses

1. And our favorite movie architect is … drumroll please … Steve Martin! The problem is, we can’t decide if we find him more appealing as the hapless Newton Davis HouseSitter (1992) or as the self-defeated sensitive guy who is giving Meryl Streep the kitchen of her dreams in It’s Complicated (2009). Well, who would redo that perfect Nancy Meyers movie kitchen anyway?”  Newton Davis reduced me to a puddle, laughing on the floor when he sang “Toorah Loorah Loorah,” so the winner is HouseSitter. We look forward to seeing Martin play another architect soon.

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Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Imaginary Worlds Wows at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Becky

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This month I took a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite spots in the city. What was extra exciting about this visits is that artists from Montreal were assembling the amazing mosaiculture creatures for the upcoming Imaginary Worlds exhibition (it starts officially on May 1 2014). It was so cool to see how they decorate these living sculptures with beautiful colors and patterns completely composed of live plants. 

Here is one of the artists at work.

This amazing lady welcomes at the waterfall. When I walked by a few days later, her hair was all planted in waves of colorful plants. Sorry, I didn’t have my camera on me, but I plan on returning when it’s all done! By the way, this waterfall used to be the entry drive into the gardens and the former asphalt patch has transformed into one of the loveliest attractions there.

I especially loved the way the water fell through her hand.

I’ll be interested to see what they do to cover up the supports underneath, like on this vibrant butterfly piece.

A graceful horse grazes near the orchid house.

The best action was watching the frog being placed into the pond via a large crane and some men in the pond sporting waders.

This guy still needed his head put on. I loved seeing how they made his eye close up:

Watching them work on the cobra was really interesting. You can see how the holes in the netting will hold the plants in place. It really shows how intricate the process is and how much work is involved in putting together each creature. When they are done, you won’t see any of the structural support or the netting at all.

Here’s a start on the back of the cobra’s head and the artists serving as unwitting scale models. It was a bit unnerving to walk between the two giant snakes on the path.

Two intertwined fish rotate in the fountain at the entrance to the great lawn:

Stay tuned, I’ll continue to post photos from my fair city’s beautiful botanical gardens on Instagram. Speaking of, we’re pretty new to Instagram. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.

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Friday, April 18th, 2014

Road Trip: Greenville, South Carolina

Becky

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You know how sometimes you’re headed to some town you’ve only seen from an interstate highway (near the Peachoid) for a wedding and your expectations are low? This weekend I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina for a wedding and I could not get over how charming and beautiful that town was. I even ran into John Legend twice – go figure!

Once a thriving textile town, Greenville went through a rough patch, but now the downtown area, the west end and the newly developed Swamp Rabbit Trail along the Reedy river are very impressive. Refurbished mills and new construction include design studios, boutiques, restaurants, hotels and art galleries.

At one end of the trail was this cheerful rainbow garden.

Heading downstream (Greenville is along the fall line, so the river is full of falls and gorgeous rocks), I came across this amazing view of tree roots in section.

The Liberty Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the falls and lands you at the West End of town, which is the cool design-centric area. The bridge is supported by two 90-foot masts that hold the one suspension cable. Quite impressive and a beautiful feat of engineering, the bridge was designed by architect Miquel Rosales.

At the West End side of the bridge sits the charming Passerelle Bistro, where patrons can enjoy the view of the falls from the stone patio. There are also nice clean public restrooms around the corner — always a plus on these adventures.

The West End is full of design businesses like Postcard from Paris. Is this a great ghost sign or what? This is a view from the Swamp Rabbit Trail below.

Circling the West End before heading back to the hotel, we came across an old-school Army-Navy store. Then we ran into Legend and his cutie dog Pippa in NoMa Square, which was icing on the cake. Greenville South Carolina is a charming livable city at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains that I’m still dreaming about almost a week later. I highly suggest a weekend trip, especially during spring or fall.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014

Mooning Over Miami II: The Fonts

Becky

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You read that right, by “The Fonts,” I am not coming up with some Kardashian-esque shortening for The Fontainebleau Hotel. Nope, I’m talking fonts. So I promised you some more fun snapshots from Miami. Clearly I’m not much of a photographer, but between the light, the architecture and, ahem, Instagram filters, it’s kind of hard to take an ugly shot there. Though it seems it is hard to take a shot from across the street without capturing a Ryder truck or road construction barrels and tractors.

One of my favorite things about Miami is the fun take on art deco architecture. One place you can see this unique playfulness is in a lot of the fonts you see around town. In South Beach, the hotel signs were some of my favorites.

Across the street at The Catalina, a playful cursive announces its presence:

By the way, this is an excellent spot to enjoy an al fresco breakfast, especially when you’ve overslept and your own hotel is no longer serving breakfast. If there’s a wait, this colorful, comfy and covered outdoor waiting room is a great spot to pass the time:

At The Nassau, the architecture has some fun throwing in some circles in the shape of a bullseye, porthole windows and if you look closely at the fence, you’ll see some more.

Oh I wish I had a better education in fonts. If anyone knows what any of these are called, will you please chime in and let us know in the comments section?

I love the more serious and crisp and bold all-caps I saw around town too:

And the smaller italicized “The” before “RICHMOND” here just slays me:

Another contrasting “The” over at the Regent at The Gale. Doesn’t a fun “The” just make things seem more important?

The font at THE PRESIDENT is elongated and casts some eye-catching shadows on the white facade. Check out how it’s centered underneath the box around the windows:

Seriously font folks, please share your expertise if you have it! Thanks!

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Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Bringing Modern Style To Your Outdoor Space

Becky

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I know some of you poor readers were recently blanketed with even more snow, but it is time to start planning for spring and summer and perking up your outdoor spaces. Since so many of you prefer modern and contemporary styles, here are some easy ways to bring a more modern aesthetic to your outdoor rooms.

Box it in. Square and rectangular planters and benches area an easy way to add clean lines to your patio or porch. Mixing in plants clipped plants with those in their natural forms helps emphasize them as well.

Shop modern outdoor accessories

Add bright bold modern furniture. You can mix more contemporary pieces with traditional outdoor spaces, like farmhouses or log cabin porches. These rockers are a modern take on the traditional Adirondack chair.

Go vertical. Is space tight? Look into planting a vertical garden. While this one is a beautiful professional job that looks like art, it’s easy to add hanging containers like the ones from Wallter. You can even plant edibles in hanging containers.

Light things up with a jolt of neon. Think about what will make your outdoor space an inviting space at night.

via tablet

Give the birds a mod little house.

Add squares. Simple pavers are an inexpensive and easy way to add a modern touch to a path, and help organize the space.

via Clark and Zook Architects, Atlanta

Add a groovy retro fireplace. What I love about Modfire is that it’s portable and much less expensive than hiring a mason. It adds a bold pop of color and will keep you toasty when you want to hang outside on cool nights.

Do you have any plans to modern up your outdoor rooms this spring? Please share them with us in the Comments section. We’d love to see pictures too! We’ll also be adding some of our favorites via Instagram as we come across them on spring house and garden tours.

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