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Lovely Glass Extension Lights up a London Mews House

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The simplest glass box appears to slice open the ground floor of a semi-detached Victorian house in the West Venice neighborhood in London.
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Making no attempt to stay in the character of the original, London-based DOSarchitects simply bring a glass box of plain air and light into the ground floor.
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For cramped Londoners, such airy light and space are a real luxury.
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The extension transitions between old and new by just reworking the ground floor, where most of the original features had already been replaced by the previous owners anyway.
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To create a more family-friendly space in the lower ground floor they eliminated some of the internal partitions so the light is drawn deep in to the old ground floor.

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Upstairs, the original antiquity is retained in all its genteel old-world sweetness.
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This is where the architects keep some of the splendid features and character that their client had fallen in love when finding the house.
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The typical old Victorian claw foot tub gets sympatico new fittings.
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New additions in London must solve the problem of how to add to the architecture of former centuries without mixing two ornate styles that clash.

Sometimes the answer is to use the ‘no-style’ of the simplest possible glass box: leaving the ornate original as the only ‘style’ of the building.

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Design Trend: Tips on Creating a Prime Home Theater Experience

 

canvas how to tips advice

If you’re a movie buff, you know that watching movies at home has become a dramatically sophisticated experience compared to what it was even just a few years ago. Today, it’s possible to approximate the feeling of an actual cinema, from the large screen right down to the surround-sound.  In fact, it’s even better that a movie theater because the concession stand (your refrigerator) is always open!

If you’re pondering enhancing your home theater, it’s important to keep a few key points in mind to maximize your the experience while minimizing the price.

 

Do Your Homework.

Building a sensible home theater that works takes planning. It first begins with deciding where you’ll install your theater and how flexible the space needs to be. Turning a family room into a TV room calls for a different approach than creating a fully-dedicated media room.  In either case, keep in mind that you’ll want a decent-sized screen that is placed at a distance that makes viewing easy.  Next, you need to consider your price point, which will determine how you’ll spend your money. Prioritize your desires. Maybe your top desire is for a large screen but sound quality is of less importance. In that case, you’ll be dedicating most of your funds to a state of the art large screen television or wall projector system but you may be fine with getting by with a basic sound system. Knowing in advance what you really want can help rein in the costs.

Consider Blu-Ray

Want the latest in technology? Consider Blu Ray. 4K Blu-ray offers better resolution, color, and dynamic range than either streaming videos or conventional DVDs. Blu-ray’s huge advantage is that there is no reliance on shaky Internet connections. Also, 4K Blu-ray offers four times the number of pixels as in today’s prevailing 1080p video. That means your screen resolution will be supreme, allowing you to see with details in shadows. The newest format is also able to show 4K video at 60 frames per second.

Surround Yourself with Sound

Got a craving for ear-blasting sound? In that case, you need a a home theater receiver which will act as the control center for audio,  processing audio signals, amplifying them, and sending them to your speakers. All home theater receivers can process and amplify multichannel surround sound as well as stereo audio, because they have built-in surround sound decoding.

Some people use their home theater receiver to manage video as well as audio — by running all their video signals to their receiver, they can make a single video connection from their receiver to their TV and simplify everyday use. It’s a great option if you want to connect multiple sources, like a cable box, a Blu-ray player, and a video game console or two, to your home theater system.

Don’t Forget Your Speakers and Subwoofer

So how serious are you about sound? If you really want larger-than-life, wraparound sound, you need at least five voice-matched speakers and a subwoofer. If you buy a pre-matched speaker system, you won’t have to worry about voice-matching. But if you put together your own system, then make sure you buy from the same family of speakers.

Cables and All the Rest

There’s a whole lot of wiring necessary to pull off the optimal experience. Speaker cables, audio cables, and video cables, to name a few. Don’t forget that very old or very cheap speaker cable can degrade your sound quality. Also, “freebie” audio and video cables that come in the box with a component can also result in lower-quality picture and sound and reduced picture quality will be especially noticeable with today’s high-end TVs.

Building a home theater does require thought, as there are so many components and details to be aware of. But with a little forethought, you can build yourself an at-home cinema you’ll never want to leave. Pass the popcorn, please!

 

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A Beautiful Fishing Cabin by Olson Kundig Architects

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The lovely patina of weathered steel and the magnificent proportions of its huge cantilevered roof marks the two-story fishing cabin by Olson Kundig Architects in the cool northern light of Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

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Like many buildings by Olson Kundig Architects, the Sol Duc Cabin has a rugged quality that celebrates the masculine pleasures of the simple life in a return to nature.

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To survive occasional flooding, the 350 square foot fishing cabin is set lightly on the site, sitting high on four steel columns.

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Huge industrial-scale sliding steel panels mean the two story structure can be completely closed up when the owner is away.

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Inside, the get-away-from-it-all fishing cabin is outfitted in the firm’s typically masculine no-nonsense style of industrial chic.

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Inside the tall two story space, the bedroom is set high on a mezzanine floor.

While the materials used are restricted to the brutally spartan, the luxury of this very elevated open space is untrammelled.

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Design Dilemma: The Modern Retro Kitchen

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

Yes, sleek and modern is nice, but there’s something particularly special about a retro, vintage kitchen. To our mind, the perfect retro kitchen is one that references the traditional and the vintage, without reproducing too rigorously the era from which it is drawn. One of our favorite examples is the kitchen above, which has the feel of an old farmhouse kitchen. Complete with the farmhouse sink, butcher block countertops, utilitarian subway tile, vintage stove and aluminum industrial lights, the kitchen definitely has a timeless, country air. And yet, there’s a feeling of modernity resulting from the modern stainless steel refrigerator, the ethereal gray wall color choice and the white oak floors.

Below, another modern retro kitchen boasts a 50s aesthetic while still feeling very contemporary:

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

Above, it’s the bright red stove, the black and white linoleum and the cabinet pulls that feel a little bit vintage. On the other hand, the stove is actually a very modern one with a slightly retro look. The small appliances have a retro look but are clearly modern. The result is that this kitchen feels a bit 50s without straying into kitsch territory.

What if your personal vibe leans more toward the 60s than the 50s? Below is a kitchen that references the 60s — Eames style chairs, the vivid yellow acrylic light, the bright laminate countertop. But it still feels contemporary, partially because the cabinetry and appliances are contemporary in style.

midcentury kitchen how to tips advice

Below, find another modern retro kitchen. The mint green cabinets and retro-style refrigerator suggest the 50s, along with the bead-board ceilings. And yet the door pulls, the appliances, the lighting, suggests nothing else but modern.

modern kitchen how to tips advice

Here are some more views:

modern kitchen how to tips advice

And this:

modern kitchen how to tips advice

And this:

modern kitchen how to tips advice

So what are the secrets of achieving a retro feel while keeping things fresh and modern?

  • Consider white subway tile. It’s a classic that still boasts a clean feel that will never go out of style.
  • Don’t feel that all your appliances have to be “retro.” You can opt for one retro “statement” piece — perhaps a refrigerator, as in the kitchen above, or perhaps a stove, as in the first kitchen in this post. Going for all retro appliances may pull your kitchen into the “too cute” territory.
  • Consider opting for period colors, without opting for a period style. The pale pastel green of the kitchen above certainly suggests the 50s, but the clean lines of the cabinetry and countertops are utterly contemporary. Melding the two creates a freshness that would not have been possible if the owners had chosen retro everything.
  • Let your lighting do the talking. Sometimes, all it really takes to create a period feel is investing in statement lighting figures. The industrial pendants in the first picture speak to old farmhouses and lighting fixtures of the early 20th century. The acrylic light in the third photo definitely says “mid-century modern.”

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An Aluminium Cabin Reflects Norway’s Midnight Sun

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Totally and completely clad in glowing aluminum panels, architects JVA have created a northerly vacation home that is a symphony in silvers.

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Sited overlooking Norway’s beautiful archipelago, the shimmering vacation home replaces a shabby cottage that previously occupied the site.

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With its central sail inserted between angles on the seaside decks, and the cool northern light reflected from its surfaces, the cabin references the watery pleasures of sailing.

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The central entrance sail is illuminated at night like a glowing beacon.

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One side is subdivided into bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchen – while the other side is the large open living room.

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The cabin is quite narrow, and light plays along its many surfaces of glass.

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As the light changes over the day, this glowing facade too is altered in the ever shifting daylight.

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In some lights there is an almost eerie effect.

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The silvery cladding is not just for its gorgeous good looks though.

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The aluminum is highly seawater resistant.

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Surprisingly, even parts of the interiors are lined in the same material.

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For the most part though, the architects indulge a more typical Scandinavian sensibility embracing the cool northern light.

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The entire living space can be opened up to the cool fresh air of the archipelago.

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Folding doors allow several of its facades to be completely folded back, creating a pavilion-like space.

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A minimalistic outdoor shower greets those returning from a dip in the brisk waters of the archipelago.

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The silvery cabin peeks over its rocky terrain, forming a contrast in textures with the matte grey stone.

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Altogether a delightful vacation retreat in Norway’s northern climes.