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Clients often comment on how colorfully I'm dressed when I show up for a consultation. I wasn't always so bold. When I started working as an architectural color consultant about ten years ago, I felt I should blend in, and not attract attention away from whatever colors my client and I were looking at. Khaki trousers, muted tops, practical shoes. That was my uniform. I was even careful not to wear bright nail-polish, not wanting to take the spotlight away from the star of the show, the paint chips. Then I had my daughter Nina and I changed my tune. Some might call her style, "Toddler Chic". Let's just say that when her pre-school has a special theme, like Wacky Day, I can't tell the difference in her outfits. Stripes paired with polka dots. Or stripes paired with stripes. Green, orange and pink together in harmony. Velvet and taffeta for cherry-picking, anyone? There was such freedom in her fashion decisions. And she was/is very strong in her opinions-she's made her own fashion choices since age 2. Which, really, is fine with me, as I find it fascinating to watch her make her selections. I started thinking about how my clothes reflected what I wanted to say about myself. I know, this is not a startling revelation to those in the know, but for me, it was an awakening. I counsel clients to surround themselves in their homes with colors that make them happy. Hm, could I do the same thing with my work-wear? Little by little, I've been weeding out the understated, more conservative pieces in my workwear, and replacing them with brightly-colored tunic tops. On my 40th birthday, I bought myself a pair of fabulous pink and yellow shoes, and I've never looked back! One of my favorite brands that really says "celebrate color and pattern" is a brand out of Barcelona called Desigual . I wrote about them a few years back, and have been lusting after their clothes and accessories ever since. Incidentally, I often get requests to review products for this blog, and honestly, if it's not something that I absolutely would buy on my own, I say no. So imagine my surprise when Desigual emailed me, asking if I'd like to try out their spring line. My answer was an enthusiastic, "Yes!" So this is my very first product review and I've been proudly marching around with one of my two new Desigual bags draped artistically over my arm. Meet the two lovely additions to my work wardrobes. Colors that make me happy, in a portable travel size!
A nice piece in the Daily Telegraph by Michael Hogan about the delights of his garden office. Here's a snippet. "My green-and-brown, curve-roofed wooden shed - strictly an 8ft x 6ft “garden office” - is where I work, think, potter and play. I had it installed five years ago when the arrival of our second child meant I was unceremoniously hoofed out of my home office, replaced by cots, cuddly toys and other cute ephemera. Now I can’t imagine life without it." -------------------------------------------------------------------- - Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details .
This tubular primary school canteen in Oviedo, Spain, was built from four prefabricated modules in only 90 days. Spanish architect Miguel Ángel García-Pola Vallejo designed the project in order to provide new space for the school kitchen, dining and
This green-roofed terraced house, designed by architect Camille Kurowsky, was conceived for the hot and humid climate of Brazil. Thanks to its green roof and a pergola built from discarded building materials, the interior space of the building are up to
London-based design studio LYN Atelier designed a temporary community center in Hackney Wick, constructed using recycled materials from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The community center, named Hub 67, has a lifespan of up to five years,
The sculptural Northern Rivers Beach House reinterprets traditional building materials, including corrugated metal, fibre-cement sheeting, and timber. Vertical steel cladding wraps around much of the top-heavy building and is punctuated by the addition
The Seasteading Institute is on target to launch the world’s first floating city by 2020. The Floating City Project is set to have political autonomy, although the concept involves an integrated relationship with a “host nation.” The floating is a
This amazing concrete house in carved into a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. OPA designed Casa Brutale as a brutalist building that reminds of the iconic Casa Malaparte in Naples, Italy, by acting as its volumetric opposite. The monolithic underground
Malaysian EcoSky development plans to collect rainwater, daylight, and compost its way to greener luxury living
With the population booming and housing expansion taking place in all corners of the world, catching wind of a swanky new high-rise in a distant land can lead to some raised eyebrows. The EcoSky living center in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, however, is in to
This overhauled Berkeley, California, houseboat is a lesson in how to get maximum value out of a remodel—on land or sea. The three-story vessel was built in the 1960s and subsequently "cobbled together over three decades by a tinkerer owner." Originally a two-story cabin on wood pontoons, the house later received a concrete hull with a basement that sits about four feet under water. By the time Berkeley architects Medium Plenty arrived, the structure's chaotic layout included tiny disconnected rooms, hidden water views, and buried architectural details. Client Zack Canepari , a photographer and filmmaker, wanted to undertake a major cleanup—including removal of load-bearing walls and the introduction of new glazing—all for less than $150 per square foot. But lucky for Medium Plenty, he was the perfect client for the challenge. Says project architect Sky Lanigan: "Zack got a lot of design out of his budget because he was willing to work with the shaggy dog nature of the boat, embracing the possibilities of affordable materials, so the money could go into carefully considered details rather than marble and high-end appliances and smoothing out every rough spot." According to Lanigan, much of the design was about "leveraging the interesting qualities" of the readily accessible, including plywood (for flooring), denim (as upholstery), laminate (on the counters), and wallpaper (ordered via Amazon and applied as a mural). Medium Plenty also introduced built-in woodwork and furnishings throughout, and was able to minimize costs by relying on a competent contractor rather than a speciality woodworker. "The idea was, if the general contractor's crew can't do it, simplify it." They credit contractor Bryan Moore with finding creative ways to keep expenses within reason, and laud Canepari for embracing unorthodox suggestions—and for being willing to "troubleshoot problems with no off-the-shelf solutions." Photography by Melissa Kaseman , except where noted. Above: From the dock, the front door opens onto a small landing. Half a flight upstairs is the open kitchen, living/dining room, and den. Half a flight downstairs is a photography studio, utility room, and guest bedroom. The architects found a vintage brass porthole stored in the basement shower and repurposed it as the front door peephole. To connect the entry with the main living space, they used white-painted pegboard as on the stairwell bulkhead. Light streams from the kitchen through the pegboard, and in the kitchen, the unfinished side of the pegboard is used for hanging cooking tools. Above: Canepari wanted a comfortable lounge at the sunny south end of the boat, and to create it, an existing sun porch had to be removed. The combined living/dining room/kitchen has a built-in U-shaped bench-sofa and flooring of red oak plywood. The seating cushions are covered in dark denim. Above: So that the space easily functions as both dining and living area, the architects installed a pivoting table that turns on a 12-inch bronze pin set into a fixed steel cylinder bolted to the floor. The sliding end of the table has a steel foot that moves on a felt pad designed in partnership with Llyr Griffith of Welsh Ironworks . "We liked working with the tradition of built-in, bolted-down, and convertible boat furniture, as opposed to typical house furniture," says Lanigan. Above: The dining banquette is backed by a half-height plywood wall that rises to just below the windowsills and wraps around the room, creating a narrow ledge for displaying art and plants, and for hiding electrical outlets. Above: To keep everything in the kitchen below the horizontal paneling line, Medium Plenty opted against full-size appliances and instead installed two under-counter refrigerators clad in plywood. (There's also a full-sized fridge in the basement for backup.) Because they had to cover the stairway bulkhead below the kitchen, the counters ended up being deeper than necessary, and far deeper than one would typically find in a boat kitchen. The extra space serves as display storage for pantry items, plants, art, and wine. Visible on the far right is a glimpse of the handmade spiral stair that leads to the master suite (to be renovated in Phase Two). The stair had been hidden inside a closet and was newly revealed in the renovation. Above: The kitchen cabinets are red oak plywood with 1.5-inch exposed edges. The countertop is bright orange laminate—"supercheap, but dramatic." The architects used vintage plumbing fixtures wherever possible, "which gave us a lot of personality and quality without the cost of premium brands." They worked with their main salvage source, the Sink Factory in Berkeley, to test the vintage fixtures before installing them. The drawer pulls are vintage knobs from an old gas stove found by Canepari. "I like the way the abstract lines of the casework are set off by the vintage hardware," says Lanigan. Above: The den is divided from the living/dining/kitchen area by plywood flooring painted a high-gloss midnight blue. From the start of the project, it was decided that the den would introduce a sea change of sorts from rest of the house. Wanting to combine humor and color with a maritime theme—"the 1970s-style romance of living on a houseboat"—the team wrapped the den in a "Margaritaville sunset," the same wallpaper used in the office of Al Pacino's character in Scarface. Above: On the mural wall, the architects installed three portholes of blown glass to obscure the view of the houseboat next door while still allowing light in. They initially were hoping to find vintage portholes, but came up with a more creative solution by working with glass blower Michael Meyer: The concave portholes stick out beyond the boat's exterior walls and catch sunlight reflecting off the water, which projects a rippling pattern on the walls and ceiling. "It's an amazing, if unintended, effect," says Lanigan. The wood valance above the windows hides a translucent sun blind plus a giant projection screen. Canepari, a big sports fan, uses a projector affixed to the opposite wall instead of a television. This way, he can be immersed in the game from anywhere on the main floor. Above: On all the walls and ceilings, the architects used Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace , one of their favorite whites. "It feels warm without looking off-white or ivory," says Lanigan. Above: The basement office is Canepari's workspace, which he often shares with collaborators and assistants. Built-in long counters at both sitting and standing heights are below eye-level operable windows that open just a few inches above the surface of the water. Here, the architects used a similar plywood wrapping as they did upstairs, this time using ACX fir plywood. Typically applied as exterior wall sheathing and hidden under siding, notes Lanigan, it's a beautiful material that can withstand more abuse than typical decorative plywood. It also has no formaldehyde and minimal off-gassing. (Learn more about the material in Remodeling 101: The Ins and Outs of Plywood .) The office ceiling is the first floor's subfloor, ridded of excess wiring and painted white. Five-inch dimmable white globe lights are mounted in a grid with exposed J-boxes and conduit. Above: The houseboat at twilight. The top floor master suite is set to be renovated next: The greenhouse outside the master bedroom will become a wooden deck with a built-in fire pit and a ladder will lead to a shored-up crow's nest. Photograph by Zack Canepari. The pros and cons of working on a houseboat? The biggest perk, says Lanigan, is that the standard building code doesn't apply to boat interiors, "so anything goes." (Exterior changes, however, require approval of the harbormaster). "The biggest drawback is that you can’t just build level and plumb, because you can’t trust that the boat is level in the water." Lanigan also notes that the contractor needed to acquire special insurance to work on a houseboat: "I don’t think most contractors would have agreed to do that, and apparently specialist marine contractors are exorbitant." Overall, Lanigan says, "I think Zack will be very happy as long as he keeps the sewer pump running well and the basement windows closed during storms." We're in a nautical mood. Take a look at: 7 DIY Bathroom Ideas to Steal from Nautical Design Accessories: Nautical Maps as Decor The World Is His Oyster: Saltwater in Inverness, CA Outdoor Nautical Bulkhead Lighting For another Medium Plenty remodel, see Tile Intel: A Budget Remodel with Heath Seconds . More Stories from Remodelista Tiny Footprint: A Prefab Home for Two, in 183 Square Feet Steal This Look: Guest Cottage Kitchenette by Ikea A Cottage Reborn in Coastal Maine