Beautiful Places to Visit In Soho

SoHo and its surrounds; a hip, bustling enclave in Lower Manhattan known for its historic architecture, art galleries and designer boutiques. Read below to discover top spots and favorite haunts.

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Exploring BDDW
BDDW is a must for any interior design lover. As soon as you step into the labyrinth-like showroom, you can totally see why the company has a cult following. The solid wood furniture, all made by hand, is at once minimalist and rustic – the kind of pieces you will own forever – and accompanied by exquisite objets d’art, from handmade ceramics to vintage fashion to one-of-a-kind paintings. This is an interiors store like no other – just take a deep breath and enjoy!

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Perusing Roman and Williams Guild
Roman and Williams Guild takes retail to a whole new level with a two-story space that houses The Founding Collection design showroom, French all-day eatery La Mercerie and a florist. At the café, everything from the tableware to the tables is for sale. Diners not only receive a menu but also a dim sum-style card with illustrations of plates, napkins and candlesticks that can be purchased and delivered the same day. How’s that for service?

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Popping in to The Primary Essentials
Next destination is one of Armadillo & Co’s local NYC stockists. Founder Lauren Snyder is a former fashion stylist and her discerning eye is reflected in a curation of artisanal goods that feels hand-worked without being crafty. Lauren is an advocate for independent design and an expert in advising customers on how to organize, spruce up or completely overhaul their homes. This space, like its Brooklyn counterpart, boasts a considered array of tabletop, ceramics, textiles and stationery.

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Lighting jungle at Ochre
A few blocks over is the forever stunning store Ochre, a British brand renowned for its custom light installations crafted from unusual materials like blown glass, chain mail, saddle leather and horsehair. The Broome Street store oozes sophistication, with glamorous chandeliers adorning the ceilings and beautifully refined furnishings lining both walls.

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At home with The Apartment by The Line
The entry to The Apartment is not obvious to the general passer-by, as you have to head up a very small elevator to reach it. Once the doors open, you’re greeted by a high-end atelier laid out like a real home (albeit one belonging to someone with enviable taste in fashion and décor). Intimate, storied objects are dotted throughout the space, which unfolds from a monochromatic bedroom complete with freestanding bathtub, to an elegant dining room that doubles as a home office, and finally, a walk-in wardrobe brimming with luxe basics.

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Lunch dining at Sant Ambroeus
Lunch is at old favorite Sant Ambroeus, a modern Milanese restaurant on Lafayette. With its classic New York style interiors, the atmosphere is lively and chic. The menu puts a contemporary spin on northern Italian cuisine, with signature dishes like vitello tonnato and cotoletta alla milanese.pic 8.pngScents at Le Labo
Fragrance label Le Labo’s SoHo outlet is soulful and irreverent, with raw materials strewn about in sensory vignettes. Their approach is incredibly personalized, with each bottle freshly blended and hand-labelled in front of the customer – but it is their values that I admire most. The brand is 100% vegan, opting for synthetic fragrances that have been lab-tested on humans instead of animal products.

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Pretty in pink at Pietro Nolita
A mid-afternoon slump calls for a visit to the Pinterest-worthy Pietro Nolita, a tiny and very pink Italian restaurant whose candy-colored stone entryway leads into a blush-tinged boudoir. Inside, everything looks like it is being viewed through rose-colored glasses, from the walls to the ceiling, tableware, chairs and bank seating. The bathroom received the pink treatment too!

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Interior indulgence at Ulla Johnson
Venturing off-track, divert north to the beautiful Ulla Johnson boutique on tree-lined Bleecker Street. Like the designer’s soft apparel, the interior feels like a tactile celebration of femininity and optimism. I love this store as much for its interiors as for its fashion, with finishing touches provided by artisans near and far, including a bronze door handle by Rogan Gregory, pendant light from Lindsay Adelman, macramé wall hanging by Taynya Aguiñiga and rotating floral arrangements from Saipua.

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Blooms at Adore Floral Inc.
Neighborhood floral studio Adore brings a touch of color and romance to SoHo’s concrete jungle with an organic flower market feel and a gorgeous selection of rare blossoms, fresh cut greenery and leafy house plants.

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Drawing inspiration from Olsen Gruin Gallery 
The Olsen Gruin Gallery, slightly off-track in Chinatown. The contemporary art gallery was founded by a trio of fellow Aussies – art dealer Tim Olsen (son of artist John Olsen and brother to Dinosaur Designs owner Louise Olsen) and gallerists Emerald and Adrian Gruin. Despite its pristine presentation, it has a familiar and friendly Australian vibe.

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Drinks and dinner at 11 Howard
The day comes to an end with drinks and dinner at Le Coucou. The Parisian restaurant is located within 11 Howard, a boutique hotel known for its “conscious hospitality” – the hotel works with the Global Poverty Project, so every direct booking goes towards fighting inequality around the world. The Scandinavian-inspired bar is perfect for lounging – enjoy the sleek interiors and fabulous cocktails before you head into the restaurant.

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Originally published Armadillo & Co.

Beautiful Farmhouse

Recently I came across a stunning home that stopped me in my tracks. By Yoanna Kulas, this beautiful Farm style home is located near the shores of Lake Michigan. Below is the imagery of this beautiful home, along with a bit of background about the project.

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Completed in May last year, this is the second home that Yoanna has built with her husband. Wanting to downsize from their previous home – a large French provincial home on three acres of land – and move closer to the city, nearer the beautiful Lake Michigan in Winnetka, they found just the right property. Surrounded by beautiful trees, she immediately had a vision for the new home.

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Wanting to live a much simpler life and create a lovely environment for her family, Yoanna is both fascinated and inspired by Belgian style architecture and interiors, and also very much influenced by Scandinavian design. The style is simple, feminine and minimalistic, keeping the color palette neutral, mixing different textures and bringing light inside by choosing the right windows. The interiors are surrounded by beautiful things without clutter and unnecessary objects.

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Taking two years to complete, Yoanna worked with architect Michael Abraham of Michael Abraham Architecture and Mick De Giulio of De Giulio Design for the kitchen and master bath. She carried out all the other interior (and landscape design) herself, carefully choosing every element including wide plank European White Oak flooring, White Carrara honed marble countertops and custom wood cabinetry. The same approach was applied to the furniture, lighting and accessories. The master bedroom and kitchen lighting is by Belgium brand Delta Light, and the dining room table and benches and kitchen counter stools are by Antwerp-based AM Designs. The living room features Togo sofas and chairs by Ligne Roset, lamps by Flos and hand made hemp rugs from Turkey.

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Large-scale art works that feature throughout the home are by Wesley Kimler and Marc Chagall, and the beautiful kitchen china is by Belgium designer Piet Boon. Wanting to create the master bedroom and bathroom as a calming place to relax and unwind, Yoanna chose Gervasoni Ghost furniture by Paola Navone and a beautiful freestanding bath. The gorgeous powder room accessories are by London-based designer Malgorzata Bany, whose work I introduced you to here.

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Function and livability were hugely important when it came to the design of the home. The incredible indoor-outdoor flow is defined by huge steel and glass doors that open up to a covered barbecue area, where natural timber furniture creates a seamless connection with the interior. The landscape design beautifully compliments the exterior of the home, a mix of white stucco and cedar wood, while the custom front door, hand made in Poland, creates quite an impact.

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First published http://www.thedesignchaser.com
Photos are by Belen Aquino 

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 Interiors

Little Venice Residence by Originate + GL Studio is exquisite. Formerly two adjoining townhouses, this stunning mid-19th century property in West London was completely restored by Originate Architects and GL Studio. Now a Victorian stucco-fronted villa, the original features were reinstated and married with contemporary elements to fulfill the needs of modern family. The details are gorgeous!

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The restoration process included the installation of new fireplaces and arched openings in keeping with the historical period. New joinery units were designed by Originate using a unique finish to enhance the natural grain of the timber, while a fairly neutral colour palette was chosen to complement the client’s extensive collection art and furniture collection. In particular, a love of mid-century design that can bee seen with the iconic Pierre Jeanneret chairs, a beautiful Jorge Zalszupin table, and the Carl Hansen & Søn’s reissue of the Hans J Wegner CH22 lounge chair from 1950.

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Images via Orginate and GL Studio

Beautiful LA Lifestyle

LA OF THOSE SPARKLING BEACHES, EPIC MOUNTAINS, 300 DAYS OF SUNSHINE. LA OF WORK LIFE BALANCE (A REAL THING). LA OF STILL SEMI AFFORDABLE HOUSING. A PHOTOGRAPHER FRIEND AND HIS WIFE WHO WENT LEFT EARLIER THIS YEAR TRADED A DODGY GROUND FLOOR ONE BEDROOM IN BROOKLYN FOR A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE IN HIGHLAND PARK. THEIR RENT? LESS.

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“Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” I ask an old friend from New York. He has moved to Los Angeles, and I am visiting. We are sitting in front of the blob of buildings at Sunset Junction in Silverlake. The red paint glows in the sunlight. To our right is coffee temple Intelligentsia, where creative types queue seemingly all day long for a caffeine fix, or set up shop at a grouping of shaded outside tables, laptops clicking. Most people wear sunglasses, most are attractive. To our left, a shop specializes in succulents.

What began with a few souls quietly packing their cars in the night has grown into a full blown westward demonstration. People are leaving New York for LA. And really, why wouldn’t they? LA of those sparkling beaches, epic mountains, 300 days of sunshine. LA of work life balance (a real thing). LA of still semi affordable housing. A photographer friend and his wife who went West earlier this year traded a dodgy ground floor one bedroom in Brooklyn for a three bedroom house in Highland Park. Their rent? Less.

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What happened to the strikes that out of towners used to hold against this place? Of plasticity, of vapidity, of a lack of museums, and mediocre at best celebrity chef piloted restaurants. Those have changed, or are in the process of being obliterated altogether. The revitalization of Downtown LA (DTLA if you speak in acronyms) with its booming Grand Central market, scores of hip hotels, eateries, stores, lofts, and apartments has helped shepherd a young creative class to a city sorely lacking one. There are clothing designers cutting denim at Downtown factories, graphic designers tweaking websites in light filled Culver City studios, and the musicians – everyone young and influential in the music industry is camped out here. Artists, too. The average age of guests who line up to get into buzzy, contemporary mecca The Broad? Just 32.

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At the opposite end of the LA spectrum, the unflappable and bubbled Hollywood neighborhoods have been altered forever. Beverly Hills, with its Ferrari dealerships and 500 USD dinners, has been left to rot in the hands of the blue hairs. And a recent spin through West Hollywood on a Monday evening found every venue but the venerable Chateau Marmont stone dead. While just around the corner, on West Sunset, the dining room at millennial friendly Thai street food spot Night + Market was packed. (I ate my Pad Thai at the counter.)
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“I can’t wrap my head around LA,” my New York fashion friend has said when I’ve brought it up. “Everyone’s eyes are glassed over and they’re telling you: ‘It’s so amazing here!’ Major Kool-Aid vibes.”  Admittedly, I’ve loved LA for some time now. In 2009 I visited a friend who had a whitewashed bungalow set back from Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice. We sat swapping stories over kale in the backyard of Gjelina, rode our cruiser bikes to the post office to get her mail, and fell asleep in hammocks watching the waves. Everything we did seemed vastly superior to my New York life, which at the time, included twice a day AA meetings and sharing a glorified dormitory on the Upper East Side with not one, but three roommates. “I can’t believe this is your life,” I told her, probably too many times.
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It took me seven years, but I finally started sending emails one fall day, harassing the friends who had found their way out to California, asking for a place to crash for the winter months. There was my friend the antique rug dealer over in Eagle Rock, the adventure journalist in Echo Park, the comedian in Santa Monica. The first bite I got back was from the asset manager in Manhattan Beach. “My wife and I have a spare bedroom,” he said on the phone one afternoon. “It’s yours as long as you need it.”

When I pulled into the driveway on a January night, a few days after New Year, I couldn’t believe my luck. Their little house was a block from the crashing water. The spare bedroom was slightly damp in that pleasant way that rooms by the beach are. In the mornings, little slices of sunlight bounced off the stucco ceiling and landed on my face, my forearms. The absence of city noise was alarming at first, but became blissful soon enough. The flinching anxiety took a week or two to melt off. I hiked through the hills. I jogged through town. I wrote. A lot. I lived.

And the asset manager seemed to be living, too. In New York, he’d worn suits, his skin tinted a yellowy grey color. Now he was brown, wore rumpled polo shirts, arrived home by three or four o’clock each afternoon, usually with a heaping bag of fish tacos for dinner. We walked his drooling golden retriever along the beach under the fading orange sun. “We just love it here,” he said, his eyes glowing.

In the LA evenings, I drove and drove. To a house party in Mar Vista. To a bonfire in Glendale. The jaded, that’s too far mentality of any permanent Angelino hadn’t affected me yet, so I drove. During rush hours, and in the middle of the night. To Palm Springs to spend a weekend writing by the pool. To Joshua Tree to watch the sun come up. By the time February rolled around and I was due back in New York, I had a completed manuscript, one I hoped would become a novel. I also had a quandary: Could this place be for me?

Every morning in that guest bedroom, I woke up to three extra hours of emails fired off from the East Coast. Potentially coronary inducing to my New York temperament, right? Not here. No, I’m convinced those several thousand miles did something to shield me from the urgency. Those frantic pleas for revisions and the do or die deadlines seemed like less of a squeeze from out here, like more of a suggestion.

Now, I have no doubt a certain breed of West Coaster would argue, wave their arms in objection. “LA is fast living, man,” they might say. And yeah, relativity is everything – for some, maybe the pace here is less than relaxed. Maybe if you come from Sacramento, or Sausalito. Or maybe the lack of seasons will sterilize you beyond recognition and maybe your eyes will glow, Spicoli-like forever with the vaguely distant tint of a Malibu resident, whose only decision each morning is this: Surf or smoothie? Maybe, just maybe, the 405 will drive you batty.

But I never told you what my old friend said, that morning outside the coffee shop in Silverlake. The friend who had moved to Los Angeles from New York, the friend who said he couldn’t wait to go back East to visit, to flinch, to feel frantic again. He smiled and shook his head when I asked the question: “Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” He said, “No.”

First published in Cereal Magazine
By Sean Hotchkiss
PHOTOS: Rick Poon

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.

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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