Beautiful Bedroom Inspiration

I really need to revamp my bedroom in the coming weeks and need to start curating current inspirations. The overall goal is to create a relaxing haven, a place to escape from the business of life, and to feel calm and restful. In order to achieve this, I hope to de-clutter and keep the room as pared back as possible, with a focus on natural materials. Linen in soft neutral colors are a favorite. Love these materials at Menu Space. Simple with beautiful textures.
bedroom 1A new paint color is a great starting point. Maybe a neutral tone? I love these soft colors by dulux.
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A style that I am becoming more and more drawn to is minimalist task lighting. All of the examples here demonstrate a beautiful architectural purity, and are a signature feature of Belgian architecture. They go hand in hand with textural walls, and a quiet, serene aesthetic.
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Photo sources designchaser

Beautiful FLOS Lighting

I’ve never met a FLOS light I didn’t like and this one I’m swooning over. FLOS has taken a dramatic lighting collection originally designed by Michael Anastassiades for New York’s Four Seasons restaurant and will make it available to everyone in October. Called Coordinates, it features a series of interlocking linear LED luminaries that  take their  formal  inspiration  from  the  mathematical  precision of the Cartesian grid, illuminated and expanded to three brilliant dimensions.

Coordinates comes in a broad array of set configurations, including four suspended chandeliers of different sizes and three ceiling-mounted luminaries, available in two lengths to suit both standard and high ceilings. The collection also features a repeatable module that can be suspended or ceiling-mounted, ideally suited to impressive, large-scale installations as often featured in contract projects.

“Coordinates is a lighting system consisting of  horizontal  and  vertical  strip  lights  that  form illuminated grid-like structures of various complexities,” says Anastassiades. “This design evolved  from a commission for the feature lighting  of  the  main dining area,  which  relocated  and  reopened  in 2018 with the interiors designed by Sao Paolo-based architect Isay Weinfeld.”

The range is completed by a vertical floor lamp model featuring a simple round base and two lighting bars, which can be set at the preferred beam angle during assembly.

Coordinates is made from extruded aluminium with a sophisticated anodized champagne finish, and an opal-white platinic silicone diffuser. Exact, elegant, and easily adaptable, this collection offers a flexible yet formally rigorous solution for a diverse range of indoor environments, providing maximum impact with a minimal touch.

Beautiful Prefab Home

If the phrase prefab home doesn’t conjure up images of health and serenity, there’s a reason for that. In Europe, manufactured housing can be a luxury product, but in the US, the concept has taken a long time to shake the stigma of association with low-cost homogeneity. However, the tides may be turning as a new generation of designers explores the possibilities of prefab. This time around, the appeal isn’t just price point—it’s also wellness.

High-end prefab home builder Dvele just got a little more high-tech—and eco-conscious. The San Diego-based company, which is known for its luxury prefab designs, announced this week that it would start exclusively building fully self-powered homes going forward.

Since its founding in 2017, Dvele has branded itself as a sustainable option in the prefab space, but its new initiative takes it a step further with homes that run entirely on solar power and stored energy. Dvele’s models are similar to other eco-minded prefab homes in that a major focus is to limit the amount of wasted energy produced in the first place.

To do that, Dvele developed a new building envelope with a thermal barrier that ensures any heating or cooling produced in the house stays in the house. The company claims its homes utilize 84 percent less energy per square foot to operate than a traditionally built home, which means running totally on solar power is actually achievable. All new Dvele homes will come with solar panels plus a backup battery system to hold any extra energy generated.

Off-grid capability is a way for Dvele to distinguish itself in the increasingly crowded prefab industry—and to get ahead of local regulations. California, no stranger to mass power outages, passed a state building code in 2018 that requires all new homes from 2020 onward to have rooftop solar, the first rule of its kind in the country.

Curbed

Beautiful Childhood Home Preservation

Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Preserved

Singer, pianist, songwriter, and civil rights activist Nina Simone, who died in 2003, made a lasting impact on the U.S., and now four artists are working to make sure her legacy lives on by saving her childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina.
NinaSimone_house_25The home, a three-room, 660-square-foot clapboard pier and beam house, is where Simone—born Eunice Waymon—taught herself to play piano by ear at the age of three. It had been vacant for 20 years, until going on the market in December 2016. That is when artist Adam Pendleton received an email from Laura Hoptman, a curator of contemporary art at The Museum of Modern Art, letting him know that Simone’s childhood home was for sale. When Hoptman mentioned that she had also emailed artist Rashid Johnson, Pendleton had an epiphany. “I had an aha moment and said, ‘Wait a minute, we could purchase this house together. It could be a collective act, a collective gesture.’” With Johnson on board, they recruited artists Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu. “We both agreed that it would be a more meaningful gesture if other artists were involved,” he says. Together the artists purchased the home for $95,000 in March 2017.
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An Activist and Musician from the Very Beginning

Nina Simone’s distinctive voice, sultry blend of classical, blues, and gospel music, and penchant for activism have ensured that the artist’s decades-long legacy still endures today. In her childhood home, she developed a love for her piano and experienced racial discrimination that would shape her world view and social activism later in life. Her mother was a devout Methodist preacher, and her father was entrepreneurial (he had worked as an entertainer early in his own life). Though the Great Depression undoubtedly affected the family’s beginnings, they still provided Simone with opportunities to strengthen her passion—and talent—for music.
NinaSimone_Plaza_03_As a young girl, Simone accompanied her mother’s sermons and the church choir on the piano during services. After hearing Simone, then age 6, accompany the community choir at the Tryon Theater, two women convinced her mother she needed formal piano lessons. One of the women, Mrs. Muriel Mazzanovich, was a local piano teacher. She taught Simone at her house in Tryon for the next four years and organized the Eunice Waymon Fund to raise money for Simone to continue her training after she left for high school.
NinaSimone_interiors_4To thank those who supported the fund, Simone performed her debut recital at the Tryon Library in 1943 at age 11. However, living in a Jim Crow-segregated South, Simone’s parents were forced to give up their seats for white audience members when they arrived at the library. Even then a fierce defender of what she believed to be right, Simone refused to play until her parents were returned to their rightful place in the front row.
NinaSimone_house_5Simone’s piano education continued with the aid of the Eunice Waymon Fund, while she attended an all-girls boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina. Following graduation, she moved to New York City in 1950 to attend a summer program at Julliard with plans to apply for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; however, she didn’t receive the scholarship or admittance to Curtis—allegedly due to her race. Simone instead worked odd jobs before returning to music as an accompanist and private teacher. Eventually, she began playing piano and singing at a bar in Atlantic City. There, Simone changed her name, and her career as the High Priestess of Soul took shape.
NinaSimone_interiors_6Much later in her career, Simone returned to Tryon after she had just spent several years living in France and touring Europe. By this point, the artist had built a career, as well as a reputation for expressing her views on civil rights and the racial injustice experienced by African Americans through original songs and covers such as Mississippi Goddam, I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free, and Four Women.

Simone maintained personal friendships with noted Civil Rights leaders and activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The turbulence of the 1960s, and tragic events such as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, motivated her to express her ideas and emotions through explosive live performances and recordings.
NinaSimone_house_7Throughout her career, Simone exhibited musical genius that couldn’t be denied or ignored. She spoke and sang about topics like standards of beauty for black women, oppression, and righteous anger motivated by hundreds of years of slavery and systemic racism. She traveled the world and performed for over four decades, often following momentous historic events like the Selma to Montgomery March and Dr. King’s assassination. She was, in short, a motivating figure for audiences around the world.
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A New Future for Nina Simone’s Past

Years later, when Simone’s childhood home had long been empty, it was in danger of demolition. Prior rehabilitation efforts were unsuccessful, and the house went up for sale again in 2017. The artists didn’t have an interest just in Simone’s art—they felt that buying, preserving, and restoring the home was itself a political act, particularly in the wake of prominent movements such as Black Lives Matter and the perpetuation of the racial divide in the United States.
NinaSimone_house_9Like Simone, each artist finds ways to connect their work to African American identity and history. Pendleton uses language to re-contextualize history through re-appropriated images. Johnson’s work combines “racial and cultural identity, African American history, and mysticism,” according to his biography on Artsy. Gallagher reinterprets advertisements for products targeted towards African Americans. Mehretu creates renderings of urban grids to reexamine cultural definitions of place. The artists plan to apply their collective artistic vision to reinterpret Simone’s home into something that reflects her dynamic, complex legacy, but they cannot do it alone.
NinaSimone_house_11With leadership and guidance from the four artists, the National Trust—along with the Nina Simone Project, World Monuments Fund, and North Carolina African American Heritage Commission—is working to preserve Simone’s Tryon home. The National Trust will develop a rehabilitation plan that aligns with the home’s potential future use; identify future ownership and stewardship models for the site; and create additional protections to ensure that this symbol of Simone’s early life and legacy will endure for generations to come.
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Learn more about Simone’s life and music here

Want to contribute to the preservation of her childhood home? Click here.

Beautiful Kitchen Design

With roots in Scandinavian design, Nordiska Kök designs beautiful minimalist kitchens to live in, unique and tailor-made to suit your life, today and tomorrow. Creators of tailor-made kitchens, the company offers unique solutions to suit different lifestyles. Built with longevity in mind, the kitchens are not only designed to last, they also leave the lightest possible footprint on world resources. I am immediately drawn to its warm inviting palette, mix of natural materials and interesting textures. Nordiska Kök crated this beautiful, classic Shaker kitchen with a Scandinavian touch, it fits like a dream inside of the century apartment,  located in the popular Copenhagen district of Frederiksberg.
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The spacious kitchen reflects the quality craftsmanship and clean lines that is synonymous with the Shaker movement. Together with the apartment’s preserved detailing, including the flooring and ceiling stucco, the overall look is truly timeless. Soft grey tones and beautiful Emperador marble counter tops compliment the warm wood flooring, while luxurious handles by The Brandt provide a contemporary edge.
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3Staying true to the minimalist aesthetic of the space, the decision not to cover the entire wall with cupboards is also in keeping with the style of Shaker kitchens. The kitchen demonstrates beautiful attention to detail, as can be seen inside the cabinets and drawers, which feature a warm white pigmented oak.
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The kitchen island not only grounds the space and makes the room dynamic, it adds functionality and plenty of storage. As the heart of the kitchen, it also provides the perfect place for friends and family to gather.
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Styling by Marie Graunbøl / Photography by Andrea Papini
Images Nordiska Kök

Beautiful Infinite Blue Hotel – Sorrento, Italy

Being in a state of quarantine, my planned excursion to Italy had to be put on hold. Actually, as everything has a way of turning out alright, I’m ok with that because it gives me more time peruse wonderful stories about Italy that I previously never seemed to find time for. I’m discovering some of the hidden treasures that I’ll take with me…some this September. And if September shall come and go and still I cannot fly to Europe? Well then, I shall peruse even deeper until the time comes when I can. Below is a story from Cereal magazine for all to peruse and enjoy.

“I STAND ON A BALCONY WITH TILES LAID IN DIAGONAL STRIPES, LOOKING OUT INTO THAT INFINITE BLUE UNTIL I AM SUSPENDED IN IT.”
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White concrete frames a square of uninterrupted blue. The cloudless sky, the iridescent Tyrrhenian sea, even the land stretching out either side — pastel-painted Sorrento to the left, Vesuvius to the right — is cast in a haze of blue. An impressionist’s dream.
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swooning over this blue tile

The concept of infinite blue was architect Gio Ponti’s driving inspiration when he built Parco dei Principi, his slice of 1960s modernism on a coast of faded antiquity. When it opened in 1962, the hotel was something new for ancient Sorrento: a clean-lined, contemporary edifice on the tufa-stone cliff. Inside, the bright, wide-open spaces were pared down and decorated entirely in white and blue.
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Ponti was commissioned to build Parco dei Principi when his friend and colleague, the Neapolitan engineer and hotelier Roberto Fernandes, bought the neighboring property, the ballet-shoe-pink 18th century Villa Cortchacow. The villa was originally owned by the Count of Syracuse and then by a Russian prince, who had a mock Gothic castle half-built in the grounds lest his cousin, the last tsar of Russia, should come to stay. Ponti’s challenge was to transform this — perhaps thankfully — unfinished castle.
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Gio Ponti was one of the most pioneering architects of the mid-century, with an extraordinary portfolio of buildings that championed forward-looking principles. He was driven by the ideas of transparency and lightness. His diamond-shaped Pirelli tower in Milan soars; his ethereal Taranto Cathedral in Puglia, delicate as a paper cut-out, is known as ‘the Sail’. “He loved to create little spaces of lightness, through elements in the design,” says Caterina Licitra Ponti, his great-granddaughter, a passion for her great-grandfather’s work alive in her eyes.
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And so in Sorrento, as in Taranto, he uplifted the castle’s solid stone walls so that the new building seemed to hover above the clifftop, wrapping the interior in a white concrete skin, perforated with spaces that allow the light and the sky to penetrate the framework. On approach, through verdant subtropical gardens, the blue of the sea is visible all the way through the glass-walled ground floor.
gio-ponti-hotel-parco-dei-principiOf all Gio Ponti’s 100-odd buildings, Sorrento is the only hotel where you can still stay, fully immersed in his art — for as well as the building itself he designed every last detail. He was not just an architect, but a designer — of interiors, furniture, industry, cars — an artist and a ceramicist, a writer and a teacher; and at Parco dei Principi his passion for so many disciplines converged in one triumphant paean to modernity.

Work was his passion. Every moment was one in which to create. Her grandmother, Lisa — Ponti’s daughter — recalls him waking each morning at 6.00 am. He used to have coffee in bed while he sketched and wrote letters on a tray of his own design — daily correspondence to friends and colleagues about every devilishly intricate detail of his projects, right down to the tablecloths and tiles.
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In the lobby, blue and white glazed pebbles are set into the walls, their cool, shiny-smooth surfaces reflecting infinite depths of radiance, chosen, Ponti wrote, for their ‘lightness and grace’, their ‘reflexes of light and sky’. Down in the hotel’s subterranean levels, where there is nobody else about, I put my cheek to the cool of them. It is clear Ponti created this place not just to look at but to touch, too, so that his work would engage and bring delight.
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On the bright upper floors, the hotel’s bedrooms are stripped back to the bare essentials, each element designed by Ponti in mid-century modern style and made in Italy: a bed, a chair, a footstool which doubles as a suitcase stand, and a dressing table facing the sea, where I sit and write this story on its smooth Formica top the color of the sky.
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Shaded from direct sunshine by the building’s perforated sheath, the room is cooled naturally by the shades of blue and white, and by the ceramic tiles underfoot. Of all Parco dei Principi’s carefully curated details, these ceramic tiles are perhaps the most enduring. Ponti made 30 different designs, all in the dark blue, pale blue, and white of the local seascape — some geometric, some figurative, featuring moons, stars and leaves. They are configured differently in each of the hotel’s 96 rooms.

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“I always think of the endless possibilities of the art,” Ponti observed, of creating these tiles. “Give someone a square measuring 20 by 20 and although people have been turning them out for centuries, there’s always room for a new pattern… There will never be a last design.” Here again, the concept of infinite blue. His dream was to make a permanent mark — infinite, like the blue of the sea and the sky.VFMLID=1074137304212f566e64500cfc882084ebdd0bb1c
I stand on a balcony with tiles laid in diagonal stripes, looking out into that infinite blue until I am suspended in it. Below me, a sailing boat cuts across the bay, its wake drawing a straight white line through the water. Above me, a gull hangs steadily for a moment, then soars away into the sky. Borne on the wind, light as air. Gio Ponti is everywhere.
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Cereal magazine

Beautiful Italy

With Italy on my mind, I’d like to feature a gorgeous interior because well, we need a little more beauty in our lives. Presenting Vincenzo De Cotiis villa, Pietrasanta – Tuscany, Italy
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I love the idea of Old is New Again. I also believe that when we experience global disasters such as the current pandemic, we learn to appreciate history even more – especially Italy.

When we are forced to look at humanity from a wider perspective, we see the beauty of the human endeavor. The work and effort, the talent and skill, the appreciation of beauty, and the value of cooperation. Saving what is valuable and beautiful to us  becomes even more important than before.
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Milan-based Vincenzo De Cotiis renovated this beautiful villa for himself and his wife and business partner.
3He has overhauled the 5,500-square-foot (510-square-metre) early 18th-century villa in Pietrasanta by the sea in Tuscany, in a grandiose but understated, elegantly distressed minimalist style that is often evident in his palazzo renovations.

4This particular palazzo was built by a local painter, Antonio Digerini, who died in 1889, but it has served many purposes over the centuries including being a cloister and a hotel.

I love the exposed patina of the walls and ceiling beams, the minimalist emptiness of the rooms and the lack of unnecessary objects. The color palette is also beautifully muted with soft hints of cold greens and warmer brick-tones.

5In several spaces, the texture and tone of the patina of the original walls and ceilings is replicated in dyed, gessoed and sanded Belgian linen used for parts of the walls and ceilings. Most of the marble is local as the area is famous for its marble quarries.

6Many of the furnishings and art are of De Cotiis’s own creation and design and although their vibe is futuristic and even slightly brutalist, they fit seamlessly with the villa’s cold-cool ambiance. The balance exudes a sense of calm but in an eerily powerful way. It isn’t cozy or comfortable overall, yet it is inviting and interesting for those of us who love his style.

7De Cotiis doesn’t promise to create an environment in a style any client might want. But you can’t help but respect his boldness.

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Learn more here

Beautiful Apartment Renovation in Milan

All’Arco by Tommaso Giunchi + Atelierzero
All’Arco is a minimal 19th-century apartment located in Milan, Italy, designed by Atelierzero + Tommaso Giunchi. The main goal was the creation of an apartment in which a contemporary approach could fit within the unique soul of the original space. The internal distribution has undergone some changes to meet the needs of the new tenants, a couple with two children, who often love to host friends and family at home. The dining room and the living room, initially divided by an internal wall, have been united, creating a single vast space, defined by calm green light color.
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The prominent feature of the apartment is its long hallway, a large distribution space that connects the living and sleeping areas, creating fascinating perspectives throughout the space. Here, the original and diverse floors have been removed and replaced with a continuous surface of contemporary cement tiles, which, referring to the traditional Milanese ones, give a touch of contemporaneity thanks to their geometric design. The main bathroom has undergone the most important renovation, combining travertine details with Moroccan design tiles, which juxtapose the flooring of the corridor.
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The existing most defining design elements, such as wooden doors and their decorative details, classic stucco ceilings, and elegant wooden floors, have been maintained, offering a counterpart to the contemporary materials, finishes, and colors of the project. Besides allowing a sense of continuity to the renovation process, this also provides contrast with the juxtaposed new elements.
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Love this door!

Photography by Simone Furiosi

Beautiful Palace

The Fenix Palace is a minimalist space located in Stockholm, Sweden, designed by Staffan Holm for Ariake. Mixing contemporary Japanese handcraft, handpicked artisans and producers and a Swedish interior dating back to 1912, The Fenix Palace is a celebration of good collaborations in an unusual setting.

The building where the exhibition was held is the work of architect Hjalmar Westerlund and originally housed a number of well-known restaurants, a dance hall, a theatre and a bowling alley. Since 1940 it has been owned by the City church, and its premises are rarely open to the public.
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Beautiful Axiom Desert House

Based on the Axiom 2110 and featuring the Turkel Design signature post-and-beam construction and an open great room breezing out to a private courtyard, the 2,080-square-foot Axiom Desert House draws from the lifestyle and culture of Palm Springs—seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor living while incorporating innovative and energy-efficient products and systems throughout.
axiom desert house 1Recently completed in February 2019, Axiom Desert House, Featured Home at this year’s Palm Springs Modernism Week—turns heads as a stunning, systems-built jewel that is now the private residence of designers Joel and Meelena Turkel, as well as a Living Lab for Turkel Design. The home’s open plan, indoor/outdoor flow, and thoughtful use of sustainable materials are a testament to modern prefab, celebrating transformative design that is simple, elegant, and replicable.
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axiom desert house 3axiom desert house 4Many cultures feature houses with rooms grouped around a private courtyard: this is a take on that venerable tradition. Passing through a flat-roofed entry, the space expands as you encounter a high, beamed ceiling, sloping upward to 12 feet. This is the great room – 40 feet in length, it opens directly onto the walled courtyard through glass panels that slide away into hidden pockets. An especially admired feature of the room is a 4-by-12-foot window-seat extending into and overlooking the courtyard. This too has operable glass panels that tuck away into pockets: a charming place to lie down—even sleep—“half-in, half-out.”

axiom desert house 5axiom desert house 6axiom desert house 7axiom desert house 8Master suites occupy both ends of this “L” shaped home, each with private access to the courtyard; an ideal arrangement for a shared vacation home, in town or out. While being careful to ensure privacy, the outward facing walls stop short of the overhanging roof, bringing in balancing light and capturing expansive outward views.
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A custom daybed in the living room becomes part of the outdoor furnishings when the Marvin lift and slide doors are open. (Click to view video)

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The children’s room features fold-away bunk beds and an Oslo Sofa wall bed system (not shown) by Resource Furniture

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To receive invitations to open houses and design events at Living Lab,join the TD Community here, and follow on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of their projects across the U.S., Canada, and beyond.

Beautiful Vintage Box Camera

I was strolling through a used camera shop over the holidays not looking for anything in particular and what to my wondering eyes did appear – an antique box camera sitting on the floor in a corner for god knows how long, as I picked up. I dusted it off and asked the friendly man at the counter WTH is this? He was only too happy to tell me it was a box camera. I was probably the first person to pick it up in 100 years much less inquire about what it was. As he explained to me what it was and how it worked, you simply aim and shoot, he was surprised it was in great condition. In fact, it was in such great condition, he wanted it for himself. Without thinking much about it, I paid the asking price of $20, bought some 120 B/W film and took it home.

The question was, now what am I going to do with this? Play with it of course!

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This was the first photo I took with my box camera. One thing I discovered – you have to remember to roll the film forward otherwise you end up with a double image, or in this case, 3 images. It does not advance for you – Oops

BC FENCEIf the subject is too close (less than 10ft away) it will appear blurry.

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This is the result if you don’t hold it steady. 

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The camera I have is a bit fancy for it’s day. It has a little metal tab that is you pull it out it has a yellow filter resulting in stronger contrast. This is something I need to experiment more with.

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A Little History about the Brownie
First introduced by Kodak back in 1888, the box camera is one of the simplest forms of camera out there. Popular until halfway through the 20th century, they started to disappear as 35mm SLRs and rangefinders started to take over. The box was marketed by Eastman Kodak Co as the “Brownie”.

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Basic Operation
The Brownie operates under the simple idea of aim and shoot:

1: A shutter in the front of the camera is opened allowing light to pass through the lens. This light is reflected from the object being photographed.

2: As the light passes through the lens it forms an image of the object being photographed. As it continues through the lens, this image is inverted (turned upside-down).

3: The lens projects the inverted image onto light-sensitive film at the back of the box.

In order to keep the consumer’s cost low, the Brownies did not have the best lenses, shutters, internal mechanisms, or outer coverings. They were, however, of comparatively high quality for their day. A Brownie that was made in the 1940s, for example, if it was attended to under relatively good conditions and kept clean and in working order, may be relied upon to take reasonably sharp, clear pictures even today.

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Lenses
Most Brownies came with a fixed-focus lens, either meniscus (concave on one side/convex on the other, with light entering from the concave side) or doublet (two lenses of similar construction with the shutter mounted between them). The doublet lens provides a magnifying effect, however slight, that the meniscus cannot duplicate. The term fixed focus refers to a factory setting, on the Brownies usually from eight feet to infinity, at which sharp pictures could be taken.

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Shutters
In most cases, since simplicity was its greatest feature, the rotary shutter on a Brownie was either a single speed only. Early Brownies employed a shutter release lever on the lower right-hand-side of the box, whereas later models might have had a push-button. Shutter speeds for the Brownie could be pre-set anywhere from 1/25th to 1/50th of a second.

Apertures
Since the Brownie was by its very nature a camera that anyone could use, lens apertures were also pre-determined. Some, however, came with a feature that allowed a smaller lens opening to be used, on days with brighter sunshine and so forth. This was engaged by yet another lever located at the top center of the camera’s front panel which could be pulled up or pushed down for smaller or larger aperture, respectively.

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Viewfinders
Most Brownies had viewfinders with a reflex mirror assembly. Simply put, the camera had a window in front, a window at the top, and an angled mirror inside that connected the two. In order to compose the picture, it was necessary to hold the camera at about waist-level and look down into the finder. Once the subject was composed in the approximate center of the viewfinder, the shutter lever could then be depressed. There were no framing marks in the viewfinder. If the Brownie took square pictures (6 cm x 6 cm), it would have only one center viewfinder; if it took rectangular pictures (6 cm x 9 cm), it would have two finders, one on top and one on the side. In the case of the latter, the top finder was for portrait and the side finder for landscape pictures.

It is interesting to note here that many Kodak instruction manuals of the period advised the photographer to hold his breath when shooting a picture. This provided a simple method of making sure the camera stayed still during exposure.

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Photos taken with box camera around 1890s

Camera Body
Early camera bodies were constructed of either metal or leatherette-covered cardboard and were priced to match the construction. Later, with the development of Bakelite and other plastics, construction of the cameras was almost entirely given over to this “new” material, both inside and out, exception being given to lenses and internal shutter mechanisms.

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FILM
When the Brownies were first marketed, they came in all possible sizes and took all manner of roll films available at the time. Today, they take 120 roll film in black/white or color. When in the 1930s Eastman Kodak created 616 and 620 film (essentially the same size film as 116 and 120 but on a modified spool) to ensure that Kodak users used only Kodak film, the Brownie designs were altered to take these rolls. Eastman Kodak and all other film manufacturers had discontinued 616 and 620 film by the 1980s. Since 120 film is still in use as a “professional” film it is widely available, but in order for it to be used easily in a 620-roll film Brownie it must first be re-rolled onto a 620 spool.

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Women at a market stall about 1890

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Children paddling in the sea about 1890

Final thought – The camera I am holding so carefully in my hands was once cradled in the same way by another living person before I was born. I thought about this the first time I used it and will probably continue to think about each time I take a photo. With millions of instant photos taken every day, and posted to social media sites often without a thought, the Brownie has changed the way I look at picture making.

Photos – National Media Museum