Thursday, February 26, 2009

Designer’s Portfolio, Hair, Magazines and Saladino!

I’d like to share a few finds with you that you might find pretty interesting, or at least new and exciting!

First of all…. HGTV has a feature called Designer's Portfolio, where they feature over 2,000 spaces from HGTV’s professional designers.  It’s fun to look around and see how the pros do it.  Here is a sampling…

This colors in this Master Bedroom are wonderful!  The mossy green with the black is a big hit in my book because of it’s earthy and sharp at the same time.  Love the striped wing chair.  Designer Erin Valencich.

Candace Olson’s Master Bedroom make-over.  Dreamy blues and beiges bring this room up to date.  One of the things I love about this room are the side tables.   I like different side tables, rather than matchy-matchy.  That goes for lighting too on the side tables…. sometimes.

This modern kitchen remodel by Designer Aimee Kim pleases me because of the sparkle!  The glass tiles, along with the stainless appliances  gives this space a clean, professional feel.  Love it!

Browse more than 2,000 gorgeous rooms in Designers' Portfolio, including this stunning bedroom

I love all things Hawaiian… in fact I hope to one day own my own little bungalow on a beach someday in Wailea, Maui (if any of you out there know of a great deal… let me know!).  So, it goes without saying that this room speaks to me… the art panel behind the bed, the wood tones used in the room, the Hawaiian prints used on the wall and in the fabrics, all make this room scream Aloha!

O.K…. onto the next great find. .. this one isn’t design related, but it’s such great news, I had to share it with you…

I have really, really curly hair… like Shirley Temple curly hair!  All my life, I’ve fought these curls, but finally succumbed to living with them sometime about 10 years ago, when I realized I wasn’t going to change anything!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So, you can imagine my mission to find good hair products.  I’ve been using a hair product called Wen from Chaz Dean for quite awhile now.   I first saw it on one of those info-mercials and was hooked.   Damn those actors!   But, I have to say, that I was quite impressed with the product.

WEN Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner - 16 oz

You see, I’m a bit of a proponent of organic products.  Not a lot of people know that most shampoos have a product in it called sodium laureth sulfates (SLS), which is a detergent and surfactant found in most shampoos, soaps and toothpastes.

The problem is that these SLS’s have been known to cause canker sores, and if ingested into the body/skin/mouth in large amounts over a long period of time, may cause cancer.  There are people who agree and disagree on this one… but why chance it?

Wen is free from these SLS’s.  And, up until yesterday, I thought Wen was only available through their website.  Additionally, you had to sign up for a service, which would require delivery of their products to you on a regular basis, whether you needed them or not.   Thanks to my friend, Nora, I now know that Wen is available on!  And you can buy the products separately! 

I use Wen mainly as a conditioner, not a shampoo.  It’s one of those all-in-one products and I LOVE IT!!!!

Next…I’ve just picked up my first copy of a great new shelter magazine called Loft Life Magazine.  It’s been out for a few months, but it’s new to me.  It’s a wonderful magazine, filled with an eclectic mix of articles, green design, and new design finds all with a funky urban feel.  I really like the magazine and you might too!

Viva La France Street!

Article:  Viva La France Street

The photography is hip and edgy and even the paper that the magazine is printed on feels different from your typical magazine… a bit heavier.

The subscription is only $12.00 for 6 issues.  Quite the bargain I think.

And for you John Saladino fans, he has a new design book coming out on March 1, called Saladino Villa, where he tells the story through word and picture of his revival of a stone ruin in Southern California that he fashioned into his dream home over 5 years of painstaking attention to detail.


Anyone familiar with John Saladino will know that this book will be fabulous.  This is a man who knew what he wanted to do in life… even visiting Villa Rotunda when he was 19 to check out the architecture!  His work is beautiful and I can’t wait to read his new book and take in what might become my newest design bible!

You can get the book at Amazon here.


John Saladino dining room.  Montecito, California.


The master designer himself, John Saladino.

I’m off to Sonoma (wine country!) for the weekend.  Hopefully I’ll have some lovely photos to share of the architecture and landscape of the area.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fascinating Architecture

Having a real fascination for architecture can lead me down many internet black holes. In other words, I can get lost for hours looking at some of the incredible, fascinating, and sometimes funky architecture that has been created.

Here is a sampling for you… hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lopsided buildings

The Ray and Maria Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry, is an odd jumble of lopsided buildings. The Center houses three departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

MIT Stata Center

The unconventional design led to cracks, leaks, and other structural problems. The amphitheater had to be rebuilt and reconstruction cost some $1.5 million. MIT filed a negligence suit against Gehry Partners, charging that their design of the Stata Center was defective.

Stata, cascading tower, angle


The Bubble House. Located in Tourettes-sur-Loup, France, and designed by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag and completed by Pierre Cardin. At 35 years old, it has already been listed by the French ministry of culture as a historic monument.

It consists of a series of bubbles covered in oval, convex windows, the whole assemblage set into the volcanic rock hillside.

Located in Sopot, Poland at Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street the Crooked House was constructed in 2003 based off of drawings from Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg.

The Piano House, China. This unique piano house was built recently in An Hui Province, China. Inside of the violin is the escalator to the building. The building displays various city plans and development prospects in an effort to draw interest into the recently developed area.

Crazy House (Vietnam)

Located in Dalat, Vietnam the Crazy House, formerly known as Hang Nga Villa, was designed by architect Dr. Dang Viet Nga.

File:Prague - Dancing House.jpg

This office building is located in Prague, Czech Republic and was designed by architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. Because the building somewhat resembles a pair of dancers it was originally named Fred and Ginger, after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Later it was nicknamed the Dancing House.

Thin House

Though quite a few thin houses exist around the globe, this particular Thin House is located in London, UK.

Dar Al Hajar

Dar Al Hajar. Located in Yemen, the Dar Al Hajar and built by Imam Yahya as a summer residence in the 1930s.

Image of View from the roof of the Rock Palace or Dar al Hajar, Dar Al Hajar, Yemen

View from the roof of the Dal Al Hajar or Rock Palace.

Nikolai Sutyagin's home

Located in Arkhangelsk, Russia, The Gangster Wood House is believed to be the world’s tallest wooden house, soaring 13 floors and reaching 144 feet - about half the size of the tower of Big Ben. Rumored to be built by a gangster. This house reminds me of the houses in the movie Moulin Rouge.



The Sutyagin’s house is under the threat of demolition by the city authorities.

Cubic Houses of Rotterdam. Located in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, and developed by Piet Blom. Each cube house has three floors. The reception, the kitchen and the living room are on the first floor. The bedroom and bathroom are on the second floor. The third floor is used sometimes as a small garden.


Located in Valencia, Spain, the building is the opera house and is one of the buildings within the City of Arts and Sciences.


Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.

pixel_tower_01.jpg picture by arhitecturamoderna

The Pixel Tower in Dubai is scheduled for completion in 2010. Architecture designed by James Law Cybertecture.

pixel_tower_03.jpg picture by arhitecturamoderna

pixel_tower_04.jpg picture by arhitecturamoderna

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Classics… Palladio

Designers are all led by different things. Some by color…


Kristen and Lindsey Buckingham’s Living Room.

Some are led by inspiration…

Some are led by their customer’s wishes… (sometimes not so good)…

and some are led by ARCHITECTURE and SPACE….

I’m a big fan of Palladian architecture, which is derived from the famous Italian architect Andrea Palladio. Palladian normally refers to the style inspired by Palladio, which takes the form of strong symmetry and elements based on classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580)

Luckily for us, Palladio was a writer and recorded all of his architectural ideas in his carefully crafted writings.

Here in the United States, we have Monticello, which Thomas Jefferson modeled after buildings by Palladio. And some of America's most important buildings, such as the White House and the U.S. Capitol, were influenced by Palladio's architectural ideas and writings.

Some of the elements of Palladio’s designs included;

  • Symmetrical Floor Plans. Palladio was a big believer in harmony and proportion. He liked an equal balance of rooms to each side of an entrance hall. Many Georgian and Neoclassical homes incorporate this element.

  • Columns. Different column types - Corinthian, Ionic, and Doric—were used to support roofs, frame archways, and divide interior spaces. Palladio's European villas inspired the columned porches you see on Greek Revival and Neoclassical houses.

  • Pediments. A pediment is a low-pitched triangular gable on the front of some buildings in the Greek Revival style of architecture. Often, you will see the pediment above interior doors in classic architecture, but it is also used over windows and porticos.

This dining room entrance features a broken pediment.

  • Porticos. A portico is a porch that leads to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. The White House in Washington, D.C., has a North portico, shown below, and a South portico, which is rounded. Porticos can be found on homes of many different architectural designs.


North Portico of the White House.

  • Rounded Arches. Palladio used arched doorways, windows, and wall niches to incorporate classical design into his work. Today, this feature is especially used in Spanish and Mediterranean style homes.

  • Palladian Windows. Although Palladio did not invent the arched shape window, this element was named after him because of his extensive use of it and his writings on the subject.

There are many good books on Palladian Architecture if you want to read more…

Palladio by Guido Beltramini and Howard Burns

Learning From Palladio by Branko Mitrovic (Author)

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