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Design Press

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Favorite Design Books of 2013: The Bold


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Last week we showed you some of our favorite design books released in 2013, a group of five that focused on the beautiful – European antiques, flowers, gardens, marble floors, homes in the Hamptons, idyllic lakeside spots. Now we’d like to share some that feature the bold – international style, modern and contemporary, minimal and downright sublime  … here are five of our favorites from the past year. Note, these make great gifts for the architecture fans in your life; I’ve included the Amazon links for each book in case you’re interested in ordering.

Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert. I’m not going to lie, ever since I took Richard Guy Wilson’s architectural history course, this has remained one of my top five favorite buildings. Lambert was there every step of the way, spearheaded the search for an architect that resulted in finding Mies, and her amazing tale will surprise you.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape, published by MoMA. This is an absolute MUST HAVE for any architectural library, you cannot begin to understand the roots of International Style without understanding Corb, and this may just be the most comprehensive tome on the market. Plus, more shallowly, it’s got a really cool spine that will pop on your shelves.

The Houses of Louis Kahn by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker. You may know all about the library at Exeter or the Salk Institute, but this book is a collection of Kahn’s lesser-known work, his residential homes. Again, I must declare this an architecture library must-have.

Tadao Ando: Houses by Philip Jodidio. Ando took concrete, known primarily for heavy brutalist architecture, and created thoughtful and ethereal buildings with it. A master of proportion and light, these qualities can best be seen (IMHO) in his residential designs, which are the focus of this beautiful book.

Nelson Byrd Woltz: Garden, Park, Community, Farm by Warren T. Bird Jr., Thomas Woltz and Elizabeth Meyer. Full disclosure: I used to know all of these people ten years ago. Warren made us chase him on four hour plant walks with his long fast stride, while we furiously scribbled down Latin names for plants and tried to sketch them at the same time (sometimes while climbing up the Blue Ridge Mountains; the class was a better workout than Barry’s Boot Camp), I knew Thomas Woltz socially and Beth Meyer was a horrible person to have to turn in a paper to, because she’s probably the best at writing about landscape architecture and landscape theory (she doesn’t get mired down in all that nonsensical archi-speak that plagues so many academic design writers). Anyway, now that that’s out of the way — the work of this firm is wide-ranging and puts into practice all the elements you dream about putting into practice back when you’re a wide-eyed idealistic student.

Any books you’d recommend for 2013? Please share any that caught your attention in the comments section.


Friday, December 6th, 2013

Favorite Design Books Published in 2013: The Beautiful


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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What’s on your holiday book wishlist? To get you started, here are five notable design books that were published in 2013; I realized after selecting a few that with this list, I was going for the beautiful. I’ll be back with five more favorites next  week, perhaps the bold, or the gritty.

In the meantime, if you scooped up a favorite title this year, one that now has a permanent spot on your coffee table or nightstand or in your workspace for inspiration, please drop us a comment and let us know.

In With the Old by Jennifer Boles. I’ve enjoyed Jennifer’s blog, The Peak of Chic, for years, and this glossary of the elements of timeless design is a great and entertaining reference that should grace any design lover’s shelf.

Timeless Style by Suzanne Kasler. I love the way Kasler can use antiques and luxe fabrics, yet her clients are so airy and fresh. The latest volume does not disappoing (her Inspired Interiors is another one of my favorites).

Beauty at Home by Aerin Lauder. Yes, you kind of want to hate her because she’s beautiful, but this book is just so full of pretty rooms and vignettes that you can help but love it.

American Beauty by Thom Filicia. This book chronicles the former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s adventures in renovating his lake house. It even has an intro by Tina Fey.

Stephen Sills: Decoration by Stephen Sills. This man’s designs are so good, Karl Lagerfeld himself claims if he ever had a house in America, he’d hire Sills to decorate it for him.

So those are just a few of the wonderful books full of elegant style. Stay tuned for modern inspiration in a few days.


Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

High-Flying Design


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Why are most planes so boring looking? It seems like airliners spend millions in paint jobs and additional drag that uses up more fuel every time two mega-airlines merge. However, some companies are doing some eye-catching things to planes that are anything but plain.

Photo: Eva Air

This week the Hello Kitty plane from Eva Air made a lot of U.S. headlines when it landed at LAX.

Photo: Finnair

My modern-day personal favorite is the collaboration between Finnair and Marimekko, who have applied some of their most popular prints with planes. There’s a great video about the cooperation between the company most known for iconic Finnish fabric patterns and the airline here:

Photo: Braniff International Airways

This is not a new idea; Braniff International Airways really upped the artistic plane game back in the Don Draper advertising era, though I don’t think Cooper Sterling Draper Price ever came up with anything this exciting as these Braniff Alexander Calder bedecked planes for Mohawk. The full story is great, and you can check it out

Photo: Braniff International Airways

The photo above shows the only time I’d would not get tired of the mother-?#$@#$! planes on a mother-#!*@#?!!$# plane!

My fictional personal favorite is Austin Powers’ shagadelic plane. I could have sworn there was an Emilio Pucci design on a plane back in the day, but there were just the fabulous flight attendant uniforms with the crazy bubble head thing. The Austin Powers plane is the closest thing to a Pucci print that was out there, and it just suited the character and the era so well. Plus, the interiors were so fitting with the exterior.

Does a certain airline’s aesthetic choices suit you? Let us know in the Comments!


Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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


Posted by Becky | View all posts by 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!


Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Yummy Kitchens


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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We love pinning our favorite kitchens to our Pinterest board, Yummy Kitchens, and the latest pin was Cameron Diaz’s  New York City apartment (interior design by Kelly Wearstler). As her chic pad goes viral after being featured in Elle Decor’s latest issue, I thought, why not jump on the bandwagon? The entire apartment has a luxe-meets-bravura modern vibe, full of rich fabrics and amazing metallic finishes, like this stunning reflective backsplash.

photo by William Abranowicz for Elle Decor

White kitchens still seem to rule and they are everywhere you look, so seeing the emerald green cabinets and unlacquered brass counters and backsplash were refreshing to see.

Jeroen van der Spek for VTWonen via The Kitchn

It’s fun to see people experimenting with metals besides stainless steel. This clever use of copper pipes adds great shine, patina and a dash of steampunk style to this kitchen.

photo by Manhattan Nest

I’m also digging the contrast of black and white and black and gray in today’s kitchens, and really love “the inky blue black” of these cabinets. This renovation on Manhattan Nest left me gobsmacked. Even more shocking, it was completed on a budget of $1230.74. That is just ridiculously inspiring, isn’t it?

All of the new tile patterns out there these days offer endless possibilities for unique backsplashes. A lack of upper cabinets and shelves allows these horizontal stripes to stun and the kitchen to appear very open and airy.

photo by Michael Graydon

It may seem tough to sacrifice upper cabinets for clear wall space or open shelving and it’s a personal choice. However, if you really pare down your china, glassware and cookware to the bare essentials, you may just find you have room (do you ever really use that “World’s Best Boss” coffee mug, or that extra set of china?). One idea I love is this plate rack. It creates an organized, beautiful and functional way to stash china within reach while keeping things open. One tip to those considering such a move or open shelving – you’re going to have to dust more, so keep that in mind.

What kind of kitchens are you finding yummy today? Please let us know in the comments section, and/or add “#yummykitchens” to your kitchen pins so that we can all find them with ease!


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