Category Archives: architecture and design

Endangered: A House Supreme

While watching the CBS Early Show, I saw a segment featuring jazz legend John Coltrane’s Home. The home where Coltrane once composed A Love Supreme, used to look like this:


Once full of  cool, jazzy mid-century swagger, the family home of John and Alice Coltrane is now on the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and currently looks like this…

The Living Room (same room as above):

And his Studio:

{images via flickr}

It’s heartbreaking….

Read the full story here and learn more about The Coltrane Home here. You can also see the full list of Endangered Places here. There are some really interesting sites there (Check out the Prentice Women’s Hospital too…very cool architecture.)

Haworth @ ICFF

Hi everyone! Please pardon my petite pause yesterday. I needed a day to recover from my  fun, whirlwind NYC trip for ICFF. While I was there I scoped beautiful inspiring things from textiles to furnishings and wanted to run away with most of it. Of course I refrained, but did some visual note-taking  for future projects with my trusty camera. I’ll be talking about ICFF most of the week and today I’m taking you to my first stop, Haworth.

Haworth is a furniture company with which  I’m really familiar and one we use a lot of on the commercial side of my job.  In fact, my last staff meeting happened at their striking DC showroom and included a tour in which we saw Haworth’s product line of furniture, architectural products and systems in action. However, seeing Haworth at ICFF was another story.  I knew this was not going to be my everyday office furniture.

{encourage table and b-sit chairs}

This year Haworth introduced the “Haworth Collection” a line of furnishings with influences from around the world including Italy, France, China and the US. At work, I have been seeing a trend of office furnishings that are a cross-pollination of  residential and commercial elements. The Live/Work line has definitely blurred. With it’s clean lines mixed amazing finishes and innovative forms, I would put the Haworth Collection in that same vein.

{close up of the b-sit. i love it’s form}

I can see some these pieces in an executive office and conference area, especially Encourage and B-sit. Overall, I got pretty excited about it and  I can’t wait to show it to the designers designers at work.

I’ll be show more goodies tomorrow. I’m talking textiles, furniture, and decor so stay tuned, my friends!!

Campion Platt at the Corcoran

Yesterday, after work, I high-tailed it to the Corcoran to attend an alumni reception,  lecture and book signing for NYC-based Architect and Designer Campion Platt. After attending an Alumni Reception where I got the opportunity to meet and chat with Mr. Platt  prior to the lecture, I also caught up with dear friends before we all settled into a fantastic overview of Campion Platt’s design process and some of  the  projects featured in his new book Made To Order.

Made to Order describes the custom core concepts that are a part of the Campion Platt aesthetic. Think lots custom furniture, textiles and architectural details. As I learned last night and from his lecture and book, Platt uses architecture and design as a storyteller uses words. In fact, he illustrated his lecture not only with beautiful images but also with working and concept drawings as well as floorplans to help us understand how spaces interrelate and to better tell his clients’ stories. And each client has a different story, resulting in beautiful bespoke homes.

So what is his style? While yes it’s modern, Platt’s  style is not about using an object over and over but rather more about defining the  Spirit or the Essence of the people and the homes in which they live.  He also has a broad knowledge of art, design and decorative arts history, which  as I was told in design school is the most valuable tool one could possibly have.  I have found that most successful designers have a deep interest in art and design history. And in Platt’s modern work, you see this history woven, seamlessly into each project.

{image, above via sukio}

I always enjoy these lectures and I always learn so much than I ever have time to write. I’m currently reading Made to Order, so  stay tuned for a full review in a future Design Literati post.

Wednesday’s Perfect Room

I’m not sure where this place  is, but my goodness, it’s gorgeous! Just look at the architecture and the pattern filling this space.

{via  pinterest}

Also, I can’t get enough of the stained glass windows washing the walls with color. Isn’t amazing that a space, filled will so much color, pattern and architecture, can still feel serene? While it is not my usual WPR, it is beautifully inspiring, making me feel like I need to be wherever this place is.

Lessons From Josephine Baker’s House

When I was in Grad School, one of my professors introduced me to the  home of Josephine Baker, an unbuilt design by architect Adolf  Loos. The poor man was so smitten, by Miss J  that he designed a home for her. I’m thinking that when it came to his most noted architectural tome, Ornament and Crime ( yes he argued there was a connection), it did not take La Baker’s often ornamented and sparkly stage costumes into account.

Anyhoo, I have been looking at the floorplans and section drafted for Josephine’s never-almost-never, Paris home for quite a while. Below are scans from this book.

Though equipped with a pool the home doesn’t really look that inviting ( Pause…I don’t really feel pools are inviting, but maybe it’s because I don’t swim). But, there is an interesting play on the idea of hide and peek and public and private, which is why my prof told me to look at the space to inspire a nightclub design, not a home.  I think that’s an important distinction.

Take a look at this model of the home.

{image via pentagram}

See what I mean by not inviting? And I like stripes. A lot! But who would want to live in the big striped house on the corner? Even if it was in Paris. Well maybe… I’m thinking that last bit over.

I always think of this house as missing the mark.  Maybe, smitten kitten Loos got caught up in Baker’s public persona and designed a home that always had her stage or in the public eye in some way.   And though, it has no ornament (that’s bad remember), I mean really, this house would be hard to miss. I don’t know why it was never built. I like to think it’s because he designed it with her in mind…

{image via gallery atlantic}

and NOT  her…

{image via pinterest}

I’m sure  she was  little of both (insert Beyonce/Sasha Fierce analogy here). However, for me, it’s a quick and dirty lesson in client relations and the how important it is to know and understand the real person for whom  you are really designing.  I’m sure everyone misses the mark, even an architect like Adolf Loos. I just try to keep in mind that  if Josephine is paying me, I certainly would not want to waist time designing a room or home for Princess Tam Tam, although I would definitely have to keep her pet cheetah, Chiquita in mind. I’m just sayin…

Wednesday’s Perfect Room

Well, hello gorgeous bathroom!!! Aren’t you luxurious?

This space was designed by interior designer, stylist and Contributing editor for Elle Magazine Tamzin Greenhill (ummm …hello dream job) . This serene beauty is filled with lovely details that redefine bathroom. This really is a retreat.

In case you were wondering that petite vanity chair has run away with my heart! Just look at that silhouette. How could you not fall in love? I could spend hours, here, Kevyn Aucoin-ing myself into a beauty-filled dream world.

{images via tamzin greenhill}

But it may be these white arabesque tiles that have me swooning the most. Don’t they make you never want to look at subway tile ever again? It’s a wonderfully eclectic decorative accent in a space that  perfectly blends modern and old school glamour.

For the Birds

I absolutely adore these modern Birdhouses found at Anthropologie. These avian homesteads are designed with the needs urban bird in mind.

the rowhome

the carriage house

the modern barn

the duplex

the whole hood

These homes were designed for Anthropologie, by the architecture, landscape and design firm Austin + Mergold to reflect iconic urban homes in  Philadelphia. The firm also did a larger birdhouse project for Art in the Open. Check out that project, Domus Avicus Philadelphicus, here.

Inspired by Nothing

Take a look at the inspiring cardboard office from the Amsterdam creative  advertising agency, Nothing. Yup, that’s right, the interior architecture is made of cardboard.

The gorgeously quirky office space was designed by Alrik Koudenburg and Joost Van Bleiswijk, who conceived the space to be like working in a sketchbook . Well, that’s the perfect idea for an ad agency, don’t you think? As always, I love the concept drawings and had to include a couple.

nothing concept copy

nothing plan

{images via behance and alrik koudenburg}

I’m thinking I would love to work in a conceptual space like this. I’m also thinking of new ways to transform throw away materials into beautiful architectural elements.

Wednesday’s Perfect Room

This beautiful Ghanian Home of Architect Joe Osae Addo and Sara Asafu-Adjaye has long been an inspiration. The home is a story of  sustainability;  of a long distance love and in design.  Addo and Adjaye met in high school. Years Later, they became reacquainted and love followed, while Addo was living in LA and Adjaye in London.

This is the open plan living area and kitchen in the house  they built on a property in Ghana as an ode to their life together and their growing family. The home itself is a modern take on on old materials; comprised mostly of adobe and timber. Wood louvers which along with being a beautiful architectural detail, help to keep light and air circulating throughout the space. According to the homeowners this works brilliantly, as there is no air condition in the home.

{images via dwell; photos by dook}

And because I think this photo of their son and his neighborhood friend, I had to include it.

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