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Architecture

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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Monday, September 16th, 2013

Touring the Old Fourth Ward

Becky

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Loft, bungalows, modern houses, the Beltline, new parks, Martin Luther King’s birthplace, fabulous restaurants, funky shops … they all come together in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, a historic area that’s becoming one of the city’s favorites. This Sunday a handful of residents opened their doors and let us into their homes for a Fall in the 4th Ward home tour and it was fantastic.

Our tour began at a former cotton warehouse in Studioplex. In the courtyard, you can see the old metal doors and structure of the second story, which has been opened up (it’s also open to the sky, so balconies that look out here are great bonus areas). Here we saw three very different ways people are living in these true lofts. One was a one-room full of amazing artwork and custom furniture, another had added a second story loft bedroom and rents the space out for events, the third was a wide-open artist’s live-work studio with 15 foot ceilings. Here’s a look at that one.

One of my favorite things about this space was that the owner had separated her bedroom with a clear glass wall and installed this stained glass window. On the other side is the media area complete with built-in shelves around the window.

The owner is also an architect, which explained how she designed this beautiful kitchen:

The cabinets were rough wood with stainless steel cabinets; the kitchen island has a beautiful patina. The open shelves were artfully arranged, and the pantry, complete with antique pie safe, was stunning:

A few blocks away we toured through this beautiful modern home by TaC Studios:

This home is Earthcraft certified and sustainable elements include a 500 gallon rain cistern. It’s located near the new Beltline East Side Trail and it’s scale respects the other homes in the neighborhood. While compact, the interiors are open and airy, and make it feel like a much larger house inside. Connections to the yard through doors to the dipping pool courtyard and the master bedroom balcony open the living space to the outdoors.

Finally, we came upon a once-derelict bungalow that had been rehabbed and sold by an architect neighbor. You know, when you see that a lot of architects are flocking to a particular neighborhood, it’s an early sign of transition. It’s amazing to see this neighborhood now compared to what it was like when I first toured the area about six years ago.

The lovely blue door was an indicator of what to expect inside. The architect made the most of the small 2-bedroom, 1-bath home, and the owner has an amazing eye for mixing eclectic pieces.

The living room opens into the kitchen, which also incorporates the dining table. Sorry my shots do not do the beautiful home justice.

Did you attend the tour? If so, which house was your favorite?

For more, check us out on Instagram!

Photos of the modern house courtesy of TaC Studios Architecture. All other photos by Becky Harris.

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Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Around the Web – Owls in Residence, Classical-Meets-Hipster

Becky

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Sometimes I forget to share all of the great things I’ve seen around the web that is world-wide. Here are some of the best things that are floating around in cyberspace right now.

image by Kai Fagerström

Loving this project where photographer Kai Fagerström documented all the critters inhabiting this house in the woods.

photo by Katherine Marks for the New York Times

Scoop up a slop sink in NYC for just under $10K? The New York Times reported that buildings are now selling off prime real estate like pieces of the hallway, landings and closets that hold the slop sink for mopping to homeowners in order to keep their costs and thus homeowner fees down. I suppose in a city where space is so tight, that 17-square foot slop sink room could be worth big bucks to most people.

image via Lexington, MA Historic Survey

The Five Fields Community in Lexington, Massachusetts. I knew nothing of this modernist neighborhood spearheaded by a group of architects that included Walter Gropius. The philosophy behind the shared common areas reminded me so much of Randall Arendt’s work.  By the way, I think it sucks that the Boston Globe won’t let anyone read one measly article per month online without subscribing, so I apologize that you won’t be able to read the whole thing without signing up for 99 cents, but this article by Linda Matchan is worth it, I promise.

Photos by photographer Léo Caillard and photo retoucher Alexis Persani

Classical sculptures dressed as hipsters. Thanks so much to my friend Paola Thomas of Mirror Mirror for bringing this to my attention!

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Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Oyster House Wins Affordable Housing Contest

Becky

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Sometimes you come across the best little gems when you least expect it. Reading The Cape Cod Times the other day and learned about the contest winners of an affordable housing design competition held by the Cape Cod Modern Trust and other partners. Learn more about the competition.

Out of 120 entries, this 700-square foot, year-round house won. It has a pentagon-shaped footprint and one bedroom. The design team CxMxD included Christopher Lee, Mengyi Fan and Dungjai Pungauthaikan. The home costs $108,000 to build but that cost goes down as the number of houses increases.

From the winning entry:

Oyster House sets a new standard for entry-level housing in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Developable land in Cape Cod is at a premium since much of the open space is now protected natural landscape. By building smaller, Oyster House achieves more density with less impact on Cape Cod’s precious landscape. Oyster House uses less; less energy, less building material, less building area. Simultaneously, the house does more. Its pentagonal plan makes for easy siting in multiple orientations, maximizing privacy, permitting views, and responding to the sun’s path through the southern sky. While the proposed project is situated on 91 Point Point Way, the house is conceived of as a repeatable unit that can be deployed across multiple sites in the town of Wellfleet.

This area has such a rich history of artist and writer’s colonies, as well as cutting-edge, mid-century modern architecture that tread lightly on the land, that the competition and winning design is very fitting.

All renderings via oyster-house.com

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