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Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Areaware on Sale

Becky

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Just wanted to let you guys know about a great sale we have going on – 20% off Areaware if you spend $100 or more, now through Wednesday, November 20, 2013.  What’s great about Areaware is that they have a ton of lines that make fantastic unique and fun gifts. Shop now, make it all add up to $100 or more and you’ll save big while checking names off your holiday shopping list.

Now, you’ll have to pay just a little bit of attention here: Use coupon code GIVEIT20 at checkout to get the deal.

Areaware covers a huge range of different product lines, so I am going to highlight just a few of the fabulous options, starting with something I’ve been coveting for years:

Patrick Townsend Orbit Chandelier

Patrick Townsend’s Orbit Chandelier has turned 10 and is still one of the most stylish eye-catching chandies around.

Paul Loebach Shanty Lamp

For a smaller funky light that’s less of a commitment, check out Paul Loebach’s Shanty Lamp

Harry Allen Pig Bank

Harry Allen Pig Banks are a super chic way to save your pennies.

David Weeks Cubebots

David Weeks Cube Bots are fun for kids and grownups.

Fauna Pig Pillow

Fauna’s fun pillows come in a variety of colors and shapes. And species!

Jonas Damon Radio Dock

Jonas Damon’s Radio Dock renders a familiar form in unexpected materials. It goes really well with all sorts of styles, from contemporary to eclectic.

Fort Standard Sphere Bottle Opener

The Fort Standard Sphere Bottle Opener is a favorite host/hostess gift of mine. It’s something even a strict minimalist will be tempted to leave out on the counter.

Anyway, get cracking on your shopping – sale ends November 20, 2013. Remember the code GIVE20 for checkout!

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Monday, November 4th, 2013

Field Trip: The University of Virginia

Becky

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If you follow us on Instagram (please do, we’re new to it and we’d love to see what you are posting!), you may have noticed I had a little Charlottesville getaway this weekend. The fall foliage peak was just tipping, but I was just in time to see brilliant oranges, reds and yellows all over this small city in central Virginia. I may be biased, but the beauty of my alma mater’s grounds (at UVA, we don’t say “campus,” I don’t know why) never ceases to amaze me. Here are a few reasons why the Academical Village is the only university campus in the United States that is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

photo by Becky Harris

The lawn. Thomas Jefferson created his Academical Village around a central lawn with dorm rooms for students and pavilions for profs down the sides, and the rotunda at the end. (The other end was to remain open to the view of the mountains, but alas, it no longer is.)

photo by Becky Harris

The pavilions. Jefferson loved to experiment with architecture,and his pavilions were meant to serve as examples for study. On this pavilion, the balcony railings all have different patterns. He also used different classical details on the tops of columns.

photo by Becky Harris

photo by Becky Harris

The rotunda. Jefferson’s original rotunda burned down in 1895. Just as well, an ugly annex had been added onto it for classroom space, throwing off its Palladian proportions. Stanford White directed the restoration of the rotunda that stands today. Oopsies, he also added the buildings that block the view of the mountains on the south end of the lawn. We’ll forgive him.

photo by Becky Harris

The Serpentine walls. Behind the pavilions are beautiful gardens, each one with its own distinct personality. Alleys between gardens are lined with  serpentine walls, which lead to additional student rooms on the Range. Jefferson designed these walls, which are only one brick thick.

Photo by Meredith Swierczynski

Edgar Allen Poe’s on the Range. You can stop by Edgar Allen Poe’s old room, which has been restored to look like it did back in the day, and press a doorbell to hear the poem “The Raven.” I always felt sorry for whomever lived on either side of that room and had to listen to that poem dozens of times per day and wondered how it affected him or her.

photo by Becky Harris

Newer architecture. The original architecture school at UVA celebrates the brutalist architecture that was so popular at the time (1970), but also incorporates the university’s ubiquitous brick. This is not the most popular building on the grounds, but those huge windows that face north gave us great light in the studios.

My personal favorite is Bryan Hall by Michael Graves. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo of it.

photo by Becky Harris

Just below the A-school and the new arts campus surrounding it is this installation by Patrick Dougherty. The whorled stick hut-like shapes make for a wonderful interactive experience. One can’t help but jump in and pose for a picture peeking through one of the openings.

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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Woodsy Homes With Treehouse Chic

Becky

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There’s something about a woodsy perch that has universal appeal. Whether it reminds you of making a fort when you were a kid, feels exciting to be up high or just makes you want to nest, a home with a treehouse feeling makes brings you closer to nature and free like a bird. Here are a few favorite homes I’ve spied around the web with  wonderful treehouse qualities.

by FINNE Architects

Sometimes it’s just about some big beautiful windows on a site that’s thoughtfully nestled in the woods, even down at ground level. Bathing in this home, renovated by Seattle’s Finne Architects must feel almost primeval.

by Synthesis Design Inc.

This beautiful home by Vancouver, B.C.’s Synthesis Design Inc.’s extensive decks create a perch among the trees. The wood trim blends in beautifully with the forest.

Radius House, Dwyer Design, photo by Joe Fletcher and Caitlin Atkinson

This amazing home, The Radius House, was originally designed by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Liebermann, and  few years ago underwent an extensive renovation by San Francisco’s Dwyer Design. Open to wide views out the windows and through the roof, the home is a dreamy nest.

The Chemosphere by John Lautner

Look familiar? You may have seen it in Charlie’s Angels (the movie) or Body Double . John Lautner’s Chemosphere in Los Angeles is more like a spaceship that landed in the trees, sitting on a somewhat undeveloped hillside and looking down over the valley below.

via http://inthralld.com/

For more of our favorite treehouse picks (both true treehouses and the treehouse-like), check out our Treehouse Pinboard on Pinterest.

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Beautiful Doors Around the World

Becky

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One of our favorite things to look for on Pinterest are beautiful and interesting doors. From ancient carved wooden versions to very contemporary steel and glass models, doors are an element that makes a huge design impact and set the tone for what awaits inside a home and add instant curb appeal. Here is smattering of a few standouts; check out our entire collection of favorites on our Pinterest Board, The Doors.

Ornately carved doors – Thailand knows how to get it right.

When Art Noveau design reigned in Paris, intricate designs didn’t stop on the door itself but continued around the surround and integrated the entry into the rest of the building’s facade. I love this building connects to and has a bit of fun with classical style while pushing avant-garde limits.

Photo by Bruno Morandi

While Moroccan doors can be incredibly ornate, this one is now more about color and the simple arched shape. Of course it does show the decorative value that can be achieved with hardware, even when it’s painted over.

Photo by Ricardo DeAratanha for the Los Angeles Times

1972 L.A. had some pretty cool doors – these have a sunburst pattern and are bronze.  bronze, sunburst-patterned front door is original to the house.

By Cambuild (Perth, Australia)

This door punctuates the modern facade with shocking red color, making the point of entrance clear and welcoming, then surprising with the way it pivots open.

Wondering what to do with your existing door that may be a little Plain Jane compared to some of these? It’s incredible what some paint and creativity can do. Why not go for an oversized lion’s head ring doorknocker? Or shock your neighbors with a bold color?

Photo by flickr member Yashvé Pérez

I’m not saying you have to go Pepto pink, but the charm of this door (and bike-as-accent) in Dublin can’t be denied.

Are you considering going brazen with your front door? Please tell us about it in the comments section.

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Friday, October 4th, 2013

Renzo Piano’s Minimalist Cabin

Becky

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The Vitra campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany is unlike any other – you probably recognize VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron:

The latest addition to its architecture collection is Diogene, a minimalist cabin designed by Renzo Piano and The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW). The house represents a unique partnership between the architect and the furniture company, and makes you wonder just how few square feet you could get by living in.

While known for so many large iconic projects, tiny houses have always been a big interest of Piano’s. The planning of the Diogene, which has a footprint of just 2.4 meters by 2.4 meters, was ten years in the making. When Vitra caught wind of the fact that he needed a partner, they made a big but logical from furniture into the minimalist house market.

While they still play with the idea of if and how to put the very functional little house into production, the prototype sits nestled in the grass on Vitra’s campus. The house collects its own water and supplies its own electricity – you could go completely off the grid in this small home, which has Photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, a biological toilet, natural ventilation and triple-glazed windows.

The large openings on the roof and the large window open it up, let in the light and make it feel a lot larger than a few dozen square feet, making such small-space living not only tolerable, but comfortable. The sofa folds out into a bed, and there is a tiny bathroom and kitchen inside. The little house can serve as a Thoreau-like retreat, a studio, a guest house or a place to get some solitude and peace just outside of a busy household. It could also be used as emergency housing after natural disasters. I can only hope it’s something we can sell someday!

SHOP ALL VITRA

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