Visit our other brands: danishdesignstore.com, adogslife.net

Preserving Modern Architecture

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The Island Institute and Photography of Peter Ralston

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
2 Comments »

I’m up in Maine right now and this weekend and I popped into The Island Institute’s Rockland headquarters and store, Archipelago. The Institute was celebrating its 30th anniversary and it was not only amazing to hear about all of the great work they’ve done to sustain Maine’s island and remote coastal communities, but also to look at all of the amazing photographs by co-founder Peter Ralston. There was an exhibit and the entire building is filled with them, to which we were allowed rare access.

Clearing by Peter Ralston

Ralston began the Island Institute with Phil Conkling in 1983 with a shoestring budget that has grown to $5 million dollars a year. Around 50 employees work hard to preserve the unique cultures of these special places, as well as help their economies, educational systems, marine management and more. I always enjoy their journal very much and if you are a fan of the coast of Maine, I recommend you join this wonderful organization and help their efforts. When you join, you get a 10% discount at their store, Archipelago, which has amazing made in Maine artwork, jewelry, pottery and other items, like gorgeous blankets from Swan Island.

Spectre by Peter Ralston

Cofounder Peter Ralston is one of my favorite photographers of all time. He can capture fog, boats, still lifes, animals, landscapes, seascapes, photos of houses in such a way that they look like an Andrew Wyeth egg tempura painting … his photographs have documented Maine’s islands and coastal communities for decades.

Glint by Peter Ralston

Learn more about visiting/joining The Island Institute

Noontide by Peter Ralston

Learn more about/purchase the photography of Peter Ralston

Share

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Bringing Up The Barn

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
4 Comments »

I remember looking for a house with my parents when I was a teenager – one of my favorites was a converted 19th century dairy barn. The center of the first floor had a two-story volume, with a balcony all around it that led to the bedrooms around the perimeter of the second floor. Everything had been painted white. The whole house had the feeling of a rustic gallery. It was super cool and supremely impractical for our family, but it’s stuck with me. Thus, I felt like seeking out some converted barns to share with you today.

Converting a barn can help preserve not only the building but also the feel of the agrarian landscape. These are treasures that all too often are left to rot and fall apart. Here are som wonderful examples of barns-turned-homes for people:

This one is from Colonial Barn Restoration Inc.

The way they converted the large barn door into an entryway with side lites and a transom is especially clever.

Original rustic beams, wood siding and doors keep the feeling of the old barn alive.

Another great thing about barns is that they have tons of space for things like basketball and racquetball courts.

This barn by Kissling Architecture in Fredericksburg, Texas has been converted into a gorgeous ranch house. It’s remarkable how the massing has such modern lines:

The original stone adds so much patina and history, both inside and out:

The way simple, vernacular lines of buildings like barns, built for form over function, compare to the clean lines and simplicity of modern architecture is quite striking. This is especially apparent in this rustic-meets-modern project by Aldridge & Tanno Architects:

Share

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

A Mid-Century Modern Gem in Spokane

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
6 Comments »

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Sam Ferris (whom I connected with via iittala products) about the incredible home where he grew up in Spokane, Washington. Ferris’s parents, Mary Jean and Joel Ferris, owned a home accessories, art and furniture store in Spokane back in the 1950s, and it was a hub of mid-century design right at the height of the movement.

After having a little trouble getting neighbor approval for the type of modern house they wanted to build and live in, a family member hooked them up with some property that had been in the family since the early 1900s, and they hired on-the-rise, local modern architect Bruce Walker to build them their dream house.

The Ferrises were passionate about nurturing designers and promoting modern architecture and design, and they lived and worked to spread the word. “There were very few modern houses in Spokane back then, and sometimes my friends would tease me that my house looked like a post office!” says Sam Ferris. “The privilege of growing up in this house impacted the way I see the world.”

Since the passing of their parents, the Ferris children have preserved their legacy by fixing the house up, preserving it and documenting the story of the house on a website called Spokane MidCentury. They attained historic landmark status in Spokane, which will preserve the integrity of the architecture. It is one of only two modern houses locally to achieve this status. They are also applying for National Landmark Status for the home.

“The house and yard are too big for any of us, so we are ready to pass it on,” says Ferris. “It was such a gift to have this house in the family for so long; we want to leave it in great condition for an active family to enjoy.”

The Ferrises were the first store to carry work by artist Harold Balazs who created the bronze sculptural piece on the left. Balazs went on to do many large public art projects and is just one example of the couples’ passion for nurturing designers. “Balazs was kind enough to come by the house late last year and re-attach 2 pieces of the screen.  My parents enjoyed having parties and well . . . these things happen,” says Ferris. “HB is in his eighties now but still has very happy memories of the people who believed in him as a gifted artist in his early twenties.”

Ferris’s parents were pioneers whose tastes were influential all over the Northwest, and their children have done an exquisite job of paying tribute to them via their care for this home. “The house is timeless, and so is the positive energy my parents sent out to the world in their life’s work,” he says. Thanks so much to Sam Ferris for sharing all this positive energy with us!

Photography by J. Craig Sweat Photography Inc.

Share

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

This Week’s Link Love: Reclaiming, Recycling and Preservation

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
2 Comments »

Hi Everyone! What have you been clickin’ this week? I have to admit I’ve gotten lazy; so many of the people I follow on Facebook post such cool things that it’s become my new blog reader. I think I get about half of my favorite links from my FB peeps! Here are five of the best:

I’ve seen plastic water bottles turned into a lot of interesting things over the past few years, but these huge fish on the beach in Rio are the coolest.

These 8-16 story high trees in Singapore are so much cool than those cell phone towers that are supposed to blend in as pine trees but are oddly 40 feet higher than the treeline. These Supertrees collect and “generate solar power, collect rainwater, and act as ventilation ducts for plant conservatories beneath them.”  More on discovery.com.

Now that’s a good present! Sculptor and avid dumpster diver Matt Buttrill crafted this yoga studio for his wife from 75% recycled materials, including the beautiful windows. Check out Popular Mechanics’ slideshow of 10 Super-Green Sheds.

The Herculean restoration of Mies van de Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic is very inspiring. If someone had put the slideshow on fast forward and paused at the unexpected curves in the house, I woud have sworn it was a Corb villa. Check out the full story and slideshow on Wallpaper* magazine’s site. If you can’t make it to Moravia, check out the exhibition in London this summer.

What did you enjoy looking at/reading about online this week? Please share links in the comments section.

Share

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Just a Feel Good Preservation Video

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
1 Comment »

This story about how communities, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and The Initiative to Save Rosewood Schools gave me the warm fuzzies today. Read the story here.

Share