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Monday, September 16th, 2013

Touring the Old Fourth Ward


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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.


Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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


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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


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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!


Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

On Display: Pasquale Natale’s Houses


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Last weekend Friday I had a chance to head down to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Just a 90 minute ride from where I usually stay in Mashpee, once you hit Wellfleet and Truro, Cape Cod takes on an other-worldly feeling. Ocean on both sides, undulating dunes, wild grasses and the cutest little tiny cottages along the beach you’ve ever seen.

Once you hit Commercial Street in P-town things heat up; drag queens are riding their bikes down the street advertising their shows (be sure to hit Varla’s if you can), bikes ding their bells as they weave down both sides of the pedestrian-overtaken, one-way street and friends call out to friends from the balconies of restaurants and B&Bs.

photo: Becky Harris

For me, the best part of it can be hitting the galleries. While trying to remember where MDV3 Gallery was, I wandered into A Gallery, where they had just set up the show “Home Again: A continuation of the House”  by Pasquale Natale (it was opening that evening). 150 little fabric houses lined a 10-inch deep shelf around the gallery, some of them in handmade boiled wool, others in crochet and more fanciful patterned fabrics. The mini-village was appropriate in this place, where a 100 square foot beach shack is common.

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

The little village is not unlike any functioning community; diverse, patched together, some houses standing straighter than others, some more modest in their cladding. I suppose it didn’t hit me I was shaking up the village before the opening by buying one and brining the ranks down to 149 little houses.

photo: Becky Harris

In 1992 Pasquale wanted to reclaim the positive sign, something that had gained such a negative connotation during the AIDS epidemic, and make it positive again. 21 years later with so many advances in medicine made, it’s interesting to view them in a new light.

If you’re headed to the Cape for an early fall trip this weekend (highly recommended; the throngs of tourists have dispersed), be sure to stop by A Gallery at 192 Commercial Street. The show will run through September 10, 2013.  While you’re down at that end of the street, be sure to stop by MDV3 down at 142 Commercial Street, and Adam Peck Gallery across the street at 137 Commercial Street.


Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Oyster House Wins Affordable Housing Contest


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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