Beautiful Mid-Century Renovation

I love the before and after image of this mid-century modern home renovated by Nest Architects. The home now has a chance to live another life. The beams are a fantastic architectural statement and at the same time giving the house volume and openness. The built in bench on the wall is a nice addition. If you haven’t heard of Nest you should go check them out, they have some great renovations.

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The home is a high-quality example of late 1950’s era residential architecture that was in disrepair. The client’s vision to salvage the house and restore the existing architectural details guided the renovation. The original home features iconic roof geometry, exposed beams, and large expanses of glass that address the views. Strong datum lines emphasize the horizontality of the home’s massing and views of the low-lying landscape.

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Beautiful Mondrian Inspired Buildings+Interiors

To honor of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s 147th birthday, here are six buildings inspired by his abstract, geometric style.

Artist Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was introduced to art at an early age by his father, a drawing teacher at a local primary school. At the age of 20, formally began his career as an artist and teacher. His artistic career began with more traditional, representational paintings, however upon moving to Paris in 1911 his style was greatly influenced by Cubism and his work began to turn more abstract. Later, alongside painter Theo van Doesburg, Mondrian created the De Stijl movement, which embraced an abstract, simplified aesthetic. The De Stijl artists sought to devalue tradition, and they greatly impacted the rise of modern art during the 20th century.

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Considered a pioneer of 20th century abstract art, Mondrian is best known for his paintings featuring basic forms and colors. The artist limited his paintings to the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) and the two primary directions (horizontal and vertical), thus creating colorful and geometric compositions. He hoped that these simplified subjects could transcend cultures and become a new common language. Mondrian’s impact on modern art is visible in the work of other artists and subsequent artistic movements, as well as in contemporary art and design. Here are six projects that embody the spirit of Mondrian’s work.

A Mondrian inspired bathroom in VirginiaVirgina small-bathroom-project-inspired-by-artist-piet-mondrian-floor-to-ceiling-glass-tiles-re-interpret-mondrians-compositions.jpg
The clients for this small bathroom project are passionate art enthusiasts and asked the architects to create a space based on the work of one of their favorite abstract painters, Piet Mondrian. Mondrian, a Dutch artist associated with the De Stijl movement, reduced designs down to basic rectilinear forms and primary colors within a grid. Alloy used floor to ceiling recycled glass tiles to re-interpret Mondrian’s compositions, using blocks of color in a white grid of tile to delineate space and the functions within the small room. A red block of color is recessed and becomes a niche, a blue block is a shower seat, a yellow rectangle connects shower fixtures with the drain.

The bathroom also has many aging-in-place design components. There is a zero clearance entrance to the shower. The doorway is wider for greater accessibility and pocket door installed to save space. ADA compliant grab bars were located to compliment the tile composition.

A small bathroom project inspired by artist Piet Mondrian. Floor-to-ceiling glass tiles re-interpret Mondrian’s compositions.
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Design by Alloy Workshop
The design team used floor-to-ceiling tiles to create the geometric interior. Yellow tiles connect the shower fixtures to the drain, blue tiles are used for the shower seat, and a red block is recessed to create a niche in the wall.

Colorful Painted Home in San Francisco
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The exterior of this home in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco was inspired by the colorful grid-based paintings for which Mondrian is best known. Painted in Mondrian’s style over 20 years ago, this whimsical house has become iconic also due to its location across the street from the beach. The two-story house features two beds and one bath, as well as a recently landscaped backyard—and it recently hit the market.
Update: The Outer Sunset home bearing a paint job a la Piet Mondrian’s most famous work sold over asking, netting $2,050,000. That’s $555,000 over the original ask of $1.495 million. No word if the new owner will keep the exterior paint job.
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The ‘Breakfast With Mondrian’ Apartment
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Breakfast with Mondrian is an experimental project where the use of forms, lines and colors is focusing of the positive impact which has to provoke the space on the people living there. The design concept is inspired by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian for his vision of nature, manifested in his simple and pure abstract paintings. He is one of the founders of the Neo-Plasticism Movement, style which is recognized with the use only of horizontal and vertical lines and the fundamental colors – red, blue, yellow. With these elements the artist developed a new plastic language where he shows how he sees the world, the nature and the human – as one unity. In his paintings he represents the perfect harmony between the elements of this unity.
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Mondrian’s aim is to provoke emotions to the viewers. The viewers should feel themselves dancing while watching his paintings. Through lines and colors the inhabitants and their guests should feel themselves as they are part of a dance. In the dance between forms and colors we use the white and black colors as intervals between them. The white is active, the black is passive. As Mondrian says that through oppositions of color and line one can see the plastic expression of relationships.
The space of this experimental modern house is open and every zone has its own function and in the same time is connected to everything else. The meaning is that the kitchen cannot be without the dining room, or living room. As in nature everything is connected and cannot without its parts, because one unity cannot be unity without its parts.
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Breakfast with Mondrian is a concept by design duo Brani & Desi inspired by the artist’s work and vision. Mondrian saw the world, nature, and the human as one unit, and he expressed these relationships through his geometric and colorful paintings. Brani & Desi aim to provoke the emotions of their viewers and to create unity within every aspect of the apartment.berakfast 3

The ‘Mondrianized’ City Hall in The Hague
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Dutch De Stijl art movement, The Hague unveiled the largest Mondrian in the world. The city hall building is painted with the familiar colors and lines of a Piet Mondrian work.
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Beautiful Residential Home Design #3

“The buildings recall the agricultural forms of the local built environment, but as is our nature in our designs, we sought to take that context and evolve it to a more emphatic modern language. We sought to design something that was exquisitely proportioned in a quiet, agricultural way.” –Tom Kundig

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This artist retreat, designed by Olson Kundig of Seattle, is located on 18 acres of rural agricultural property in Trout Lake, Washington just steps from White Salmon River. Both owners are artists who incorporate the natural landscape into their work – he is a painter and photographer, and she is a textile artist and designer. A key directive in the design of their new home was that it connect them to the surrounding landscape and maximize opportunities for indoor/outdoor living. It was also important for them to have studio space that was separate from the house, but related in form and materiality. All four buildings recall the forms of vernacular agricultural structures, and incorporate tough and low-maintenance building materials with minimal finishes such as concrete, plywood and steel. Wood siding on the main house was milled locally and weathered by the owners themselves. Corrugated metal roofing was also rusted by the owners.

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trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (11)The retreat contains four distinct buildings arranged in two groupings. The first grouping contains the main house, a woodworking shop, and a carport all contained under a single roof in a T-shape. A covered courtyard connects the three spaces in the middle of the “T”. A separate, free-standing artist studio is located just northeast of the main house, with a covered patio that connects to a guest room. Here, the owners work on their own projects, and occasionally host retreats and community-based arts workshops. In all four buildings, large bi-folding doors and sliding barn doors open up the spaces completely to the outdoors, allowing for the movement of large artworks and equipment, as well as an intimate connection with the environment.

trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (9)trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (8)The main house is minimal in form, consisting of a single double height volume with an open plan living, dining and kitchen area separated from a library by a double-sided fireplace. A set of hidden steel stairs nestled into the concrete fireplace lead to a loft above the library. The home’s single bedroom is located above the bathroom and mudroom and is accessed via a set of open stairs in the entry foyer. Two sets of 30-foot-long bi-fold doors in the main living space allow the home to open completely on both sides, maximizing the home’s sweeping views of the nearby river and Mount Adams.

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Photography Jeremy Bitterman
Location: Trout Lake, Washington
Home is 6,594 sf

Beautiful Residential Home Design #2

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Originally occupied by a small cottage in disrepair, this new modern home in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, designed by SHED Architecture, is an economical, efficient, low-maintenance, and modern version of a traditional home – one with primary living spaces on the main floor and three bedrooms above.

The kitchen to occupies a central and commanding position in the house with easy access to the backyard patio. Large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors flank the east and west ends of the house, exposing an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space ideal for entertaining. The kitchen’s minimal palette of bamboo, fir, cork, and concrete allow the natural materials to take center stage without overpowering the functional details including a custom stainless steel pot rack. In order to achieve the desired aesthetic and budget-level, the designers selected cabinets from Ikea and created custom bamboo cabinet fronts and fir wraps with recessed pulls. The bamboo material was selected for and sets the tone for the rest of the house.

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The house sits on a well-traveled arterial along a bus line and is flanked by two multi-unit buildings: to the south a rental house that extends the length of the property line with several windows along that façade; to the north, a triplex with a south-facing entry court encroaches upon the original plot by means of an easement. By limiting windows along the sides of the house and focusing the glazing towards the east and west, the home establishes a strong connection to its front and rear yards while protecting its occupants privacy from the heavily used side-yards of the neighbors. A walled and elevated terrace extending from the sunken living room claims the front yard as usable space and shields the fully glazed living spaces from passersby. Corrugated metal siding and concrete site walls were used where privacy was desired, while wood windows, doors, and siding were used at the sheltered open ends where people interact directly with the building’s exterior.

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The home was also designed with the environment in mind. A low-maintenance high performance enclosure was achieved by using an effective combination of advanced framing (required 30% less lumber), triple-pane windows protected by aluminum plate ‘visors,’ and metal siding. Natural light, open spaces and simple materials come together to create a private sanctuary for the homeowners to cook, entertain and recharge.

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Designed by SHED Architecture + Design 

Beautiful Residential Home Design #1

Sensational, stylish, and startlingly unique—these homes are a cut above. There’s no doubt that one of my favorite places to uncover architectural treasures is on Dwell.com. It’s one of my go to places to admire the riveting spaces and simply admire innovative design. The stunning home below represents 1 of 10 projects that are the best in 2018. From a minimalist modern abode in the South of France to a jaw-dropping artist retreat that embodies indoor/outdoor connection, scroll down to see the first in a series of the best of the best.

Haiku Maui – Haiku, Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii
Guggenheim Architecture + Design Studio 
Maui cottage

Inspired by the Scandinavian barn vernacular, this Upcountry Maui cottage and barn for Cloth and Goods’ Melissa Newirth and Crossing the Threshold’s David Johnson provides a peaceful minimalist retreat and respite for family gatherings. The 1,000 sf. long and low main cottage is sited to capture both mountain and sea vistas while the adjacent barn is designed to hold large family gatherings and act as a seasonal residence. Impeccably minimalist yet richly textured, highly efficient and livable environment with access to a variety of outdoor living zones.

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Guggenheim Architecture + Design Studio is a multidisciplinary creative atelier that integrates architecture, interior environments and brand direction. Studio is licensed to practice Architecture in the States of Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii

Beautiful Koenig Mid-Century Restoration

Designed by Pierre Koenig in 1954, this iconic L.A. house was carefully restored to pay homage to the Koenig’s distinctive style.
The Scott House in Los Angeles’ Tujunga neighborhood – the fourth house designed by American mid-century modern architect Pierre Koenig – was lovingly restored to stay true to its mid-century roots. The house was commissioned in 1953 by Edwin and Aurora Scott, a chemist and his wife who were looking for a home that would allow them to enjoy the indoor/outdoor lifestyle of Southern California. After purchasing a plot of land in Tujunga with 270-degree views of the city below, the Scotts set out to find an architect to design their home.

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By chance, they drove past Koenig’s Case Study House #1 in Glendale, which Koenig was using as his own residence at the time. The Scotts were so impressed by the house, that they rang the doorbell, met Koenig, and asked him to design their new home.

In 2014, Nikolaus Kraemer and Heather van Haaften, a couple who are passionate about midcentury-modern architecture and furniture, purchased the Scott House from Aurora (who was 94 years old at the time) and sensitively restored it in a way that would reflect the property’s roots.

-couple-nonetheless-haEdwin Scott and his son Mike in front of the Scott House in 1956. 

“We knew of Koenig’s work when we first saw his iconic Stahl House. Heather and I were intrigued by his accurate rationale of steel being not just something you can ‘put up and take down,’ but a way of life,” says Nikolaus, who compares their serendipitous acquisition to “owning an original Warhol, Lichtenstein, or Ruscha.”

Though they were grateful to be able to purchase an iconic residence directly from its original owners—rather than one that had been altered by numerous people—the couple nonetheless had to invest a lot of time and effort in renovating and reviving the architectural gem.

“Midcentury-modern homes can suffer from too many ambitious owners trying to improve their homes. Mostly, these attempts do more harm than good, and can even distort the original design,” says Nikolaus.

The house’s flat-roof structure had substantial damage that needed to be addressed. A few years after the house was built, a leak developed in the roof, so Edwin Scott had poured a four-inch layer of light concrete on the metal roof panels.

midcentury-modern-homesmodern 7modern 6modern 5Like many of Koenig’s Case Study Houses, the Scott House is an architecturally simple, L-shaped structure made up of straight, clean lines. Plenty of floor-to-ceiling glass walls link the interior spaces and visually connect the house with its surrounding environment. A bright and expansive central living area is anchored by a dividing wall and a two-sided fireplace. Sliding glass doors connect this central living space to other parts of the house. The kitchen connects to two dining zones: an indoor dining area with a small round table, and a larger “winter garden” dining space with a rectangular table. Full glazing on their exterior walls of the two bedrooms bring in tons of light and allow guests to feel a sense of being immersed in the outdoors.

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Nikolaus and Heather hired Urban Innovations, Inc. and MIM Construction Inc. to work on the renovation. When the project began, they discovered that the electrical and plumbing systems were also in bad condition.

“The roof was in such bad shape that our contractor Meir Manor from MIM Construction suggested it might be cheaper to replace Koenig’s signature metal ceiling rather than try to fix it. That, of course, was out of the question.  Eventually, Manor and his team found an effective and affordable way to save the original roof by gluing zinc patches on top of the hundreds of holes, filling them up with Bondo, a putty that’s normally used as an anti-rust treatment for cars. He then sanded the entire bottom part of the ceiling to smooth it,” says Heather.

The construction team then rust-proofed the roof by painting it with two layers of heavy-duty primer and a coat of white paint. They replaced all the electric and plumbing systems, as well as the glass panels. They also upgraded the kitchen, bathrooms, floors, driveway, and lighting.

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With many of its structural details still intact, the Scott House is an authentic example of Koenig’s architectural legacy.

“With the help of Urban Innovations, Inc. and MIM Construction, the home was brought back to its original state. It now represents the best of Pierre Koenig’s original plans and design, enriched with the amenities of a contemporary 2017 living standard.

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Beautiful Toys by Charles & Ray Eames

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Taking inspiration from the humble cardboard box, Ray and Charles Eames created toys and furniture to spark the imagination of kids and adults alike. A central tenant of the design philosophy of Ray and Charles Eames was an embrace of play as an end in itself, the idea that creativity should be unconstrained and unburdened. While the couple will always be remembered for their contributions to furniture, design and cinema, it was their approach to experimentation, and their interest in seemingly tangential topics such as clowns, that inspired their seemingly endless sense of wonder and a constant drive towards exploration and improvement. As champions of those beliefs, it only goes to follow that they’d also be some of the world’s foremost toy designers.

Ray and Charles Eames took child’s play seriously. They invented playthings, furniture, and films to spark, but never limit, the young imagination. Given their own ideas of fun, these toys tended to emphasize composition, structure, and building, giving children the tools of their own adult trades in miniature (and giving some adults the chance to make like children again). Many of their designs embrace what kids and parents have long known: that the box an item comes in, especially if it’s a very large item, can be more exciting than the contents.

So it comes as no surprise that the Eameses improved the box itself, as a portfolio of photographs unearthed from the Herman Miller Archives reminds us. The humble cardboard box offers children their first chance to make space for themselves, whether that’s a race car, a robot, or a house, sprouting from the shipping container the Eames Office designed in 1951 for the Eames Storage Units (ESUs).

Printed in a colorful red and black design, and featuring the distinctive Herman Miller ‘M,’ the heavy cardboard carton, reinforced with wood splines, had only to be re-nailed to the bottom wood skid, after the furniture had been removed, to be made into a playhouse youngsters would love, reads text from a draft press release. A separate leaflet offers instructions on “How to Make a Playhouse,” but it should have been self-explanatory: dotted lines suggest locations for an entrance and a view out, as well as jaunty awnings.

In one fell swoop, the Eameses managed to combine adult and child fun, eliminate waste, and add excitement to the mundane process of delivery. The up arrows, as well as the deep V of the logo “M,” designed by Irving Harper for the company, suggest the possibility of upward expansion into a miniature townhouse or skyscraper, should a child or parent need more furniture.

The ESUs themselves were also a kind of demountable toy for grownups. Made of perforated steel extrusions with diagonal bracing, they could be configured as low credenzas or high bookshelves. Buyers could customize the interior arrangement, selecting plywood drawers or doors, and perforated metal or enameled Masonite filler panels. Owners could also take them apart and rearrange or add on, treating the furniture as a series of modular boxes‑ furniture as toy.

As adults designing playthings intended for children, the Eameses found more inspiration in boxes. The Toy, manufactured by Tigrett Enterprises in 1951, offered children the chance to make their own prefabricated structure, one more colorful and flexible than Carton City. The Eameses had first been in touch with Tigrett about manufacturing large, bright, paper-and-cardboard animal masks based on those they used for skits and photo shoots in the late 1940s. The Memphis-based company was run by the highly entrepreneurial John Burton Tigrett, who made his fortune selling the Glub-Glub duck and may have been looking for more patentable products. The masks never made it out of the prototype stage, but the simpler and more geometric Toy did.

The Toy combined thin wooden dowels, pipe cleaners, and a set of square and triangular stiffened-paper panels in green, yellow, blue, red, magenta, and black. Children could run the dowels through sleeves on the edges of the panels to strengthen them, and then attach these struts at the corners. Initially sold in a big, flat box via the Sears catalog, the Eameses soon redesigned this packaging as well, creating a far more elegant 30-inch hexagonal tube, into which all parts could be rolled and stored.

The first version of the Toy made spaces big enough for children to inhabit, like the cartons. The Little Toy, released in 1952, was scaled more like an architectural model, allowing children to radically reinterpret the dollhouse. (The office later prototyped a modern model house for Revell, but it never went into production.) The Little Toy boxes, which feature a grid of colorful rectangles and words, resemble the panelized arrangement of the Eames House façade and the ESUs, and all of these products, at their various scales, were being developed at the Eames Office within the same few years.

Charles Eames once said of the work done out of the Eames Office, “We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next.” The connection to the ESU cartons and The Toy is immediately apparent in the longest-lived of the modular, paper-based playthings to come out of the Eames Office, the House of Cards.

In the voiceover for “Toccata for Toy Trains,” Charles Eames says, “In a good old toy there is apt to be nothing self-conscious about the use of materials. What is wood is wood; what is tin is tin; and what is cast is beautifully cast.” He could have added, in reference to the couple’s own toys, what is cardboard is cardboard, and then talked about the qualities that make it an ideal building material: its strength, its low cost, its ability to withstand a judicious number of cuts and slots.

Why Magazine by Alexandra Lange