Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Golden Mean and Modern Design

This is one of my most popular blog posts of all time.  I thought that I would republish it.  It is fun to re-read!

I was first introduced to the Golden Mean in an Elements of Design class. My professor, in her French accent, sat at the front of the class and slowly and methodically explained the Golden Mean and how it relates to many things in the world; architecture, art, music, design. It was fascinating to me then and still is today.

The Fibonacci Sequence

1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89
Every figure is the sum of the two preceding
1 2 + 3 = 5 8 13 + 21 = 34 55 89

O.K. Stay with me here… The Golden Section is devised from this ratio. When a Golden Rectangle is progressively subdivided into smaller and smaller Golden Rectangles, a pattern is obtained. From this, a spiral can be drawn which grows logarithmically, where the radius of the spiral, at any given point, is the length of the corresponding square to a Golden Rectangle.

The given symbol of Phi, which symbolizes the Golden Ratio

Since then, it’s opened up a lot of doors for me in how I look at design, how I look at architecture and how balance and harmony are present in the world.

Since the Renaissance it has been used extensively in art and architecture, it has been used in historical and important architectures, such as the St. Mark's Basilica and the Parthenon and has become a standard proportion for width in relation to height as used in facades of buildings, in window sizing, in first story to second story proportion, even in the dimensions of paintings and picture frames.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Ceiling Mosaic in St. Marks Basilica

Great Mosque of Kairouan

A geometrical analysis of the Great Mosque of Kairouan reveals a consistent application of the golden ratio throughout the design.

The Swiss architect Le Corbusier, famous for his contributions to the modern international style, centered his design philosophy on systems of harmony and proportion. Le Corbusier's faith in the mathematical order of the universe was closely bound to the golden ratio and the Fibonacci series.


Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, Poissy, France

Le Corbusier explicitly used the golden ratio in his Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion. He saw this system as a continuation of the long tradition of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the work of Leon Battista Alberti, and others who used the proportions of the human body to improve the appearance and function of architecture. In addition to the golden ratio, Le Corbusier based the system on human measurements, Fibonacci numbers, and the double unit.

Le Corbusier’s Modulor System

Le Corbusier took Leonardo's suggestion of the golden ratio in human proportions to an extreme: he sectioned his model human body's height at the navel with the two sections in golden ratio, then subdivided those sections in golden ratio at the knees and throat; he used these golden ratio proportions in the Modulor system.

File:Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg

Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (ca. 1487)

Palladio’s Villa Rotunda

The Villa Rotonda is symmetrical on all axes, including diagonals. Any architect will tell you this is hard to do, much less sell to a client; even Palladio only did it once, probably just to see if he could. Palladio based his design on simple progressions in the Fibonacci series leading to the Golden Mean. This is also hard to do.

In India, the Golden Mean was used in the construction of the Taj Mahal,
which was completed in 1648.

Piet Mondrian used the golden section extensively in his geometrical paintings

And today, architects are still frequently using the Golden Mean or Ratio in their work…

The CN Tower in Toronto, the tallest tower and freestanding structure in the world, has contains the golden ratio in its design. The ratio of observation deck at 342 meters to the total height of 553.33 is 0.618 or phi, the reciprocal of Phi!

The College of Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University has a new Engineering Plaza based on the Fibonacci numbers.

What are your favorite examples of Fibonacci’s Golden Mean?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Congratulations to the Winner

Congratulations Lisa P, of Crystal Yoga Girl blog, who is the winner of Jan Shower's new interior design book, Glamorous Retreats!  She will have this beautiful book on her coffee table in a few days!

You can check out Jan's new book HERE.

If you are looking for something to do this coming week that is design related, here is something you may want to put on the calendar if you are in the Chicago area.

Design Chicago, the Midwest's Interior Design Educational Conference takes place October 8-9. Join them for keynotes from Michael Smith (one of my favorites), Amy Preiser (Elle Decor Editor), Ralph Ricci (sponsored by Holly Hunt) and Newell Turner (Hearst Design Group).  They will have many Showroom events and product debuts as well as "The Ones to Watch" Awards ceremony and reception.

You can find more information HERE.

Have a great weekend everyone!!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIN Jan Showers Glamorous Retreats

I love surprises.  They don't come often enough.  When I walk to my mailbox and have a package inside or when I open the door to find my neighbor with her coffee cup in hand... these are the types of moments that make life worth living.

Then, there are the special surprises that come even more infrequently.  Last week I received one such surprise in the form of an email asking me to write a post on Jan Showers new book titled Glamorous Retreats.  It is a beautiful book with gorgeous interiors and photography and one that I want to add to my library.

I immediately said, "YES!", but with one caveat!  I asked if I could have one of her gorgeous hardcover books to give away to one of my readers!

So... One of my lucky readers is going to
win a copy of her book!

All you need to do is comment on the post and you will be entered to win!
(Good Luck!)
(Winner will be chosen through an automated random drawing method)

You may have heard of Jan Showers (wink wink), as she is one of the world's most popular interior designers with a flair toward chic, sophisticated and unique - characteristics that I require when designing a room.

Jan isn't your boring, typical interior designer.  No way.  She empowers the ability to mix "glam" and comfort in the same room.  This is not an easy task and definitely not for the faint of heart.

It will come as no surprise then, that her new book, Glamorous Retreats, is chock full of examples of rooms that she has designed over the years with this same design aesthetic.

The ultra-chic Jan Showers

When I asked Jan about her new book, she was kind enough to send me a beautiful note and said , "[The book] took (not including the work I did on the houses over a 10-year period), a year of traveling and photographing the projects you see in the book and then another 6 months to write and edit.  It was a true adventure!"

Jan Showers is also the author of the bestselling book, Glamorous Rooms (Abrams), which features a compilation of her work over the past 25 years.  It is currently in its fourth printing.

Jan also noted "The reason I wanted to write another book is simple - I wanted to showcase the range of design and decorating style that we do.  That fact there is such a variety, will appeal to many people who love interior design.  They will also enjoy reading and seeing images of the locales as well as the people who live in and enjoy their retreats."

Nantucket House

Jan achieves her glamorous/comfortable look by combining a variety of periods and styles, as in the case of this dining room with a Louis XVI style table from the 1940's, combined with Coco chairs upholstered in faux patent leather with raffia backs.   This combination is right on target for glam/comfort!  Drama is enhanced with the beautiful Elizabeth Chandelier.

Florida Sunroom

Jan  used 1960's vintage rattan furniture in this Florida sunroom to create a retro-inspired look.  The chairs and sofa are upholstered in Lulu DK Porcupine to complete the retro look.  Jan not only has a thriving interior design business, but is well known for her antiques business as well.

W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences

With a view as beautiful as this and floor to ceiling windows to take it all in, who could resist over-dramatizing the space?  Jan designed it just right with a lucite game table and understated chairs by Opera One by Pierantonio Bonacin. 

Luxe Lodge

This romantic bedroom in a Bachelor Gulch, Colorado home features a bed draped in Italian voile from Clarence House, selenite lamps, and Claudette x-frame benches with merisier (French word for cherrywood or wild cherry tree) wood bases topped with white cowhide.  Silk draperies flank Conrad shades on the window.  The wall treatment adds more dimension to the room and gives it an old world feel.

Toronto Sculture Garden

I won't give away the name of the owners of this beautiful property and the sculptures on it.  You'll have to read Jan's book to find that out, but this is just a taste of the incredible talent that this sculptor has.

Beaver Creek Home

A late 1930's French game table paired with chairs with very linear lines provide a great contrast to the nature outside.  Vintage amber glass is used in the space to emulate the colors of the earth and nature.

Living/Dining Room - Harbor Island Home

This living/dining room combo finds it's ease and comfort in the selection of furniture.  Easy bamboo-inspired dining room table with cane-back chairs, a beachy striped rug and a vintage Hollywood Regency coffee table all say glamorous and comfortable - thank you very much.  A John B. Gynell black and white print on the wall finishes the look and adds an air of sophistication.  My favorites in the room have to be the blue gourd lamps and that fabulous chandelier!

Jan told me, "The book will take you from coast-to-coast in the U.S. with the addition of one project in Canada and another in the Bahamas (Harbour Island).  There are beach houses done on smaller budgets and an entire 29th floor at the W residence in Dallas that was purchased for entertaining.  The reader will not be bored!"

I will have to concur with Jan.  The reader will most definitely not be bored!

If you would like the opportunity to win Jan Shower's Glamorous Retreats, please leave a comment below!  One winner will be chosen on Friday, October 4th, 2013 (by an automated random drawing method).  If you do not have a blog link, then please leave your email so we may contact you if you are the winner!

Good luck to everyone and have a wonderful weekend!!!


p.s.  The book can be purchased here starting on October 8, 2013.

p.s.s.  If you would like to receive my blog, just enter your email in the space at the top right!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

URHOUZZ Gorgeous

I mentioned a few weeks back that my day job is marketing for companies.  My company is called ScribeTree, which you can find here.  I named it ScribeTree because I provide content marketing - including social media - for my clients.  It is my new passion and I work hard everyday along with teammates Mike and Greg to help companies be found on the internet.

One of my clients is the owner of URHOUZZ, a furniture company out of West Bloomfield, Michigan.  You can read more about URHOUZZ here and here.

It's quite a pleasure helping URHOUZZ get some attention online because of my background in interior design.  But, what's more important, I have gotten to know Rob Evina, the owner, over the last few months and he has proven to be someone very capable and deserving of success.  His knowledge of business and concept of customer relationships is stellar.  I want him to be successful because he works incredibly hard and deserves it.

I'll stop my gushing now and show you some photos of his products, which are pretty incredible themselves.  All of these products can be found on his websites www.woodlandcreekfurniture.com and www.urhouzz.com.  His URHOUZZ website is being remodeled and the new version will have a much more extensive product display.

(Make sure you read to the end of this post to learn about how to win a $5000 gift certificate for his Grand Opening on September 26th, as well as a $250 gift certificate through his Facebook contest!)

Rob founded his business more than a decade ago because he wanted to design unique, handcrafted furniture, while traveling the world during his career.  He’s visited most of Eastern and Western Europe and Asia in search of unique accessories and furniture made from exotic woods.

Every piece manufactured by Woodland Creek Furniture and sold in their brand new West Bloomfield location will be beautifully crafted from reclaimed woods or responsibly harvested materials. More than 50 percent of their products are made in the U.S., and they’re proudly committed to manufacturing more than 30 percent in their Michigan workshop. 

Any products that are sourced from abroad have been strategically selected based on a shared commitment to unique design, quality, and sustainability.  These companies have pledged to manufacture furniture using reclaimed woods or fast-growing, sustainable plantation woods. 

Setting them apart from their competitors, approximately 90 percent of the furniture
URHOUZZ sells will be entirely customizable in both size and finish. 

Evina presently operates three retail stores and has a growing internet business (ScribeTree!).  “Thanks to this little invention called the Internet, small businesses can compete with the big box stores.”  

Rob's plan is simple..."listening to the customer, and designing and
crafting quality furniture that makes the customer smile." 

URHOUZZ is opening their doors September 1st and their
Grand Opening Celebration will take place on September 26th.

Come by the new store to check out their extensive line of urban,
contemporary, cottage, old world and traditional furniture.

Here is a peek inside the new showroom!

URHOUZZ has many beautiful pieces of hand-crafted goods,
 most of the customizable to fit your home.

Urban contemporary pieces are available and can be mixed with natural wood pieces
for a great mix of warm and cool.

URHOUZZ case goods are very versatile and unique.  

The unique URHOUZZ designs will be the talk (and envy) of your neighborhood.

There are also many traditional styles available with contemporary touches.

The new showroom is loaded with vignettes of living rooms, dining rooms and more.

I predict that URHOUZZ furniture will become a part of many more American homes.  

For a chance to win the URHOUZZ $5000 Grand Prize, you must visit the URHOUZZ showroom, located at 6648 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, Michigan and submit an entry form in person.  You do not need to be present to win.

For a chance to win the URHOUZZ Facebook $250 Gift Certificate, visit their Facebook site, "LIKE" the page and click on the "Contests" Tab.  Enter your email and you will be entered to win.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.


Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes