Here’s an interesting house on the sand dunes in Holland by Dutch architects Jetty and Maarten Min.
It is the architects’ own rather quirky live/work studio home.
The owner-architects had always wanted to experience living high up with a view out to sea over the sand dunes.
Amusingly, tree trunks are put to use in their natural state to be supporting struts within the house.
The metal connectors look particularly brutal attached to the raw tree trunks, quite unlike the effect of seeing the same kinds of connectors in normal timber construction.
The architects seem to be making a statement that makes us rethink our relationship to the trees which support so much of our infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »
Cat and dog owners have a lot of strategic thinking to do when it comes to choosing a carpet or area rug. Pick the wrong rug, and you’re sure to see a pricey investment succumb quickly to cat clawing, dog hair, and of course, those unavoidable puking episodes. Inside of a week, your bright new rug will look as dirty, ragged and worn as your dog’s favorite rawhide bone.
On the other hand, choose the right rug and you’ll be amazed and grateful for easy maintenance and good looks that resist the worst rigors that your pet has to offer.
Go for a patterned rug.
A patterned rug can hide a multitude of sins, including housebreaking mistakes, gastrointestinal distress, and fur balls. The busier and more detailed the pattern, the better your rug will be at hiding stains and dirt. (Which is why so many hotels feature patterned rugs).
Over the years, I’ve found that the absolute best rug for hiding stains and pet fur are traditional Persian rugs. They’ve got pattern and color, they are exceptionally well-made out of resistant wool, and they don’t look cheap. A relatively tight weave means that many Persians will stand up well to cat’s claws. The rug below, for example, couldn’t be a better match for a white lab. It’s got plenty of color and pattern to hide stains, but it’s also got some whites mixed in, which will hide stray fur.
Here are a couple of other good choices:
Choose your base carpet color based on the fur color of your pet.
This seems almost obvious, but it’s something that many pet owners ignore. If you have a black lab, you should avoid that white flokati rug. If you have a white dog, forget the black carpet. Below, a cream cowhide rug is a practical choice for the owners of a cream dog.
Consider cowhide. And speaking of cowhide, it turns out there could be no better choice of rug for pet owners, and particularly cat owners concerned about cat clawing. Cowhides can be brushed free of pet fur easily. They can be easily washed and are pretty resistant to stains.
Consider shag. Shag could be a good option if you’re looking for a rug that will hide lots of stray hair. The gray rug below would be perfect for a gray shaggy dog or gray Persian cat. The down side of shag is that it can be more difficult to vacuum and is likely to trap dirt.
Indulge in the trend of the moment, especially if it’s a Moroccan beni qurain rug.
These rugs are chic and beautiful, but in general, white and light rugs do not work well for pet owners. Vomit and urine stains, mud tracked in from outdoors, or just general dirt is likely to quickly sully the look of these rugs.
Avoid sisal and jute if you’re a cat owner. Many cats are especially attracted to just this sort of texture when it comes to clawing, which is why jute is frequently used on cat scratching posts. If you own a cat, you’re much better off with a flat-weave kilim. So, not this:
So let’s summarize:
Pet owners would be wise to choose colorful, patterned rugs with a tight weave. Both low-pile Persians and flat-weave kilims work very well in homes with pets. Pet owners should stay away from white rugs, light-colored flokatis, Moroccan beni qurains, and in general, any light, solid colored rug. Dark solid-colored rugs should also be avoided if your pet’s fur is white or very light. Unless you can vacuum on a daily basis, you’ll want to choose a rug that more or less matches your pet’s fur, rather than contrasts. Wool rugs are often of higher quality, and generally seem to stand up better to the punishment your pet will mete out.
Keep these simple guidelines in mind, and you’ll see that you end up with a rug that will look good and last for years, with very little maintenance and plenty of pleasure for you and your pet.
It doesn’t take much to make life perfect on the coast of Ibiza in Spain.
Less really is more.
The simplest of slabs for lounging about on.
This gloriously simple house overlooking the sea is Dupli Dos in Ibiza, Spain, by Juma Architects
From the inside, it is like a cliff cave poised right over the sea.
In fact, below; there is a lower terrace.
The architects create a feature with the elements of salt water… chlorine water… fresh water.
It’s only a few steps indoors after the rinse off.
The compact design creates perfect, minimalist views from every outlook.
Here is the view as you walk back indoors after the rinse.
And here is the simple serenity of the view out to the sea.
Again, perfect. Read the rest of this entry »
The Hacienda Los Apantles is designed by traditional Mexican architect Marco Aldaco.
There is a great demand for Mexican knick knacks created by the architect, who is the architect of choice for families like Guinness, Onassis and other global luminaries.
A professional photographer and her husband make their home in the peaceful green retreat.
Los Apantles is nestled in a beautiful wood setting within a small valley.
Imbued with the somnolent old world charm of the Mexican hacienda, its exterior is finished in turquoise and terracotta.
The site is on the border of one of the sacred sites of the five hundred year old Aztec Empire.
Nestled near the magical Mexican village of Malinalco, a mood of slumbering afternoon siestas is suggested.
The site is landscaped with the indigenous plants and trees that thrive in this mountainous forest micro-climate.
The pre-Hispanic word “apantles” means “little streams” – named for many charming little streams that run through the five-acre site. Read the rest of this entry »
The last decade has been one of stainless steel appliances. The ubiquity of the look has caused a backlash. A growing contingent of folks are looking for something quirkier and less uniform. Enter the retro-look fridge. The retro, 50′s style fridge has become something of a classic. It’s rare enough in kitchens to seem really unique but classic enough that no one is likely to dismiss it as just another trend in a few years time. Smeg, Big Chill are Elmira are three appliance makers who sell the look but there are others.
Here’s an example of the Smeg:
And here’s an example of the Big Chill:
What’s cool about these refrigerators is that they so seamlessly fit into any type of decor, whether it be modern, retro or traditional. For instance:
The kitchen above is a sort of classic transitional, and the blue retro refrigerator makes a perfect focal point that fits in beautifully.
Here, on the other hand, is a retro style refrigerator in a retro kitchen:
And the below kitchen is an example of a modern kitchen with retro fridge:
Here’s another modern kitchen incorporating the retro fridge:
See how well the retro fridge works in all types of design styles? From industrial to modern, to traditional, classic and funky, the retro fridge can hold its own. There’s only one problem — the price. One of these babies will set you back a minimum of $2,000 or more. Prices are usually closer to $3-$5,000. In fact, we’re pretty sure it’s the price point that keeps these appliances “unique”. Not many people can afford that price for just a fridge. GE has come up with a compromise for those who love the retro look but not the price tag. It’s called the GE Artistry line, and its a blend of retro styling and modern clean lines. Take a look:
The GE version of the retro look starts around $1,000, making it much more affordable than the true retro fridges. It retains just enough of the 50s look with the stainless steel handles, that it is sure to up the style quotient of your kitchen, and will give you a look other than the ubiquitous stainless steel monstrosities out there.
So if you’re tired of stainless steel and wondering what to do, know that you’ve got options!