the greatest lady i've ever known

my southern charm filled, deeply loving, incredibly generous, always fun and unconditionally supportive grandmother passed away yesterday. she was classy and vivacious. she had a clear and natural comfort with herself and everyone else. she loved and lived and gived to its fullest. i admire everything about her. the earth was honored to have her old soul in it and won't ever be the same now that she is gone.


the noticing project

these days i've been focusing on balance ~ listenting to when i need to slow down {meditating more, soaking my feet from 4 hours of tango dancing, writing more, etc} vs. encouraging the process of leaping forward into new challenges and pushing myself to see what my ambitions are made of.

on the one hand, it's a quick realization that once you give yourself permission to slow down, you see clearly how things can become too complex and too fast-paced and too overly-stimulating. but on the other hand, it's invigorating and enticing to be as active as possible and say yes to everything you can ~ life's short, carpe diem.
and so the balancing act.
what sort of balancing act do you find yourself in these days? what paradoxical activities are you involved in? what makes you feel peaceful & enthralled at the same time?
i've recently come across one photography partnership that seems to show balance ever so well: the noticing project.
two ladies taking photos each day & posting a pair {one contribution from each} in a thoughtful evocative way. so now, thanks to the efforts of heather and alicia, each day you too can make a ritual of being reminded of the simple, profound blessing of a life in natural balance.


katharine the great

let's add some humor to the monday...... here is the lovely katharine hepburn caught on film telling dick cavett how to rearrange the furniture on his set before the rare interview opportunity she granted him ~ click on the photo to see the clip.

and then during the actual interview she has a lovely description on why to buy the best furniture ~ click on the photo to see the clip.

{via crib candy}

"feng shui" to the hilt

last year the design firm i work for completed a project for an apartment atop a prominent san francisco hotel. any associates who wanted a tour before the clients moved in were given permission. so we decided to make it a group thing and all went over together, just as some of the finishing touches were being completed by the contractors. the principle designer on the project and the project lead came along to give us the tour. it is the type of place you wouldn't want to see without a tour guide. and it's the kind of place only few people ever get to experience. now there is no doubt of the over-the-topness here, but i still think it's interesting to see what detailed design acumen & excellent craftmanship can come up with when the client is demanding a plush, psychadelic, disneyland, feng-shui dream house. for the sake of brevity i'm only posting a few photos here, so please feel free to jump to my flickr album for the full tour.

{the kitchen in lime green painted wood paneling with many reflective surfaces. custom island with clear glass top and custom range with built in wok, grill & steamer}

{the love-vibe purple entertainment room with a custom heart-shaped chaise for two, custom carpet to match, and a 5-screen built-in entertainment center with a small stage just in front for those wild karaoke party nights}

{the master bathroom is all emerald and sparkle ~ the mosaic silver floor tiles were installed in a custom pattern designed to match the facade of the building in the view; a chakra shower bar, tons of body jets, and a body blow dryer in the massive shower room; and the biggest custom tub i've ever seen with my own eyes includes an infinity edge that overlooks the city}

{four celestial ceilings ~ in the double high living room, in the sunny laundry room, in the ultra-futuristic breakfast nook, and in the powder room made to look like a back porch }


inspiration for bed rest

"you may concentrate on appearances all through the rest of your house, but in the bedroom comfort should be supreme. i think that bedrooms should also be very intimate rooms-they should express your personal preferences in every way...of all the rooms in the house your bedroom is yours. "
~ dorothy draper

"for without the private world of retreat man becomes virtually an unbalanced creature."
~ eleanor mcmillen brown

"the desire for symmetry, for balance, for rhythm is one of the most inveterate of human instincts. "
~ edith wharton

happy friday ~ i hope you have a relaxing, balanced weekend!


good design + smart materials = yes

i just came upon a wonderful online shop full of fabulous objects for conscientious living: matteria
their criteria for product selection pretty much says it all: charming functional design ~ low or no toxicity ~ imaginative reuse of reclaimed materials ~ materials from renewable sources ~ recycled / recyclable ~ organic ~ biodegradable ~ sustainably grown ~ energy efficient ~ ethically produced.
what a relief to shop for things with such positive awareness.


a shelter & a headquarters

a total of 13 projects came out on top in the american institute of architects' 2008 aia honor awards. these are my two favorite projects from the list:

designed by olson sundberg kundig allen architects, delta shelter is located in mazama, washington ~ a tiny commuity in the eastern cascade mountain range 28 miles from the canadian border. this 1,000-square-foot weekend cabin is essentially a steel-clad box on stilts that can be completely shuttered when the owner is away. raised above the ground to minimize potential flood damage {as it's located in a floodplain} and take in 360-degree views of the surrounding forest and mountains, the cabin was conceived as a low-tech, virtually indestructible weekend house. the 20’ x 20’ square footprint rises three stories and is topped by the living room/kitchen with large, 10’ x 18’ steel shutters that can be closed simultaneously using a hand crank. it just won the 2007 american architects award, among many others.

heifer international is dedicated to alleviating world hunger, poverty & suffering, so it's no surprise they commisssioned a green design for their new world headquarters located in little rock, arkansas. the fayetteville arkansas -based firm polk stanley rowland curzon porter architects created an innovative building plan to maximize all the best features a modern office building could provide. it is designed as a series of ringed bands that radiate outward. its narrow corridors ensure that all offices have access to natural sunlight, and a plethora of green features earned the design a spot on the aia committee on the environment’s top 10 green list and leed® platinum certification. project design manager reese rowland compares the project to ripples of water radiating out from a center. the concept of the "ripple effect" is central to heifer's mission of bringing livestock to impoverished rural populations throughout the world. the program is structured so that if a cow or sheep is given to a family, they learn how to take care of it and pass on offspring and knowledge to other villagers. thus, sustainable methods of husbandry ripple through the population.
using this concept as a starting point, the architects organized the site plan into concentric rings, radiating outward from the "impact point" of the entrance commons. a lovely article describing the project in detail can be found on the architecture week site.


for my circle

thanks for understanding. thanks for believing. thanks for helping. thanks for breathing.

{i've had this photo saved for a very long time & don't know who originally took it nor where it was taken. if you know, please share as i'd love to give credit where it's due}

sun and air

the macworld expo hit san francisco last week and unfortunately this year i wasn't able to attend. but in honor of it i'd like to show off a few hot items that were there. luckily flickr provided some fabulous photos to share {thanks jim goldstein}

apple's latest release is pure air ~ nearly as light as and thin enough to fit in a manila envelope. so impressive. why doesn't the pc world catch on to the conept of incredible design in the look & feel of the their products too? the macs just out-do them every time.

and the solio charger has captured my heart as well. a solar powered charger that works on almost anything and anywhere on the planet. take it camping, on safari, on a boat, where ever you and the sun are, this fabulous device will be there to keep all your toys charged-up.


to reflect & hope

today, through the miracle of youtube, i listened to an inspiring speech given at martin luther king jr's church in atlanta yesterday. some highlights:

"in this country we have deficit. it's a moral deficit....it's an empathy deficit..... we have an inability to recognize ourselves in one another" ~barack obama
"we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny" ~mlk, jr
"nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened except that somebody somewhere decided to hope" ~barack obama

if you're interested in listening to the entire speech {absolutely worth the 20 mins of your time no matter what your nationality, political awareness, racial background, or religious beliefs many of the truths within are universal} here is a link to it.

along with the dr.king theme many of us are reflecting on today, it's interesting to realize that the theme of race in american architecture is one not often discussed. the unfortunate truth is the african americans who helped design & build the united states faced enormous social and economic barriers. in 1930, only about 60 blacks were listed as registered architects, and many of their buildings have since been lost or radically changed. although conditions have improved, many feel that black architects today still lack the recognition they deserve. so today i'd like to highlight a talented and inspiring architect who most definitely deserves some attention: mr. paul revere williams {1894-1980}.

in paul williams' 50 year career, he became renown for designing major buildings such as the los angeles international airport, saks fifth avenue department store, beverly hills hotels, and over 2000 homes in southern california. many of the most beautiful residences in hollywood were created by paul williams. as the los angeles times observed recently, “if you have a picture in your mind of southern california in the 1950s and early 1960s, you are quite likely picturing a building created by paul williams.”
but the most remarkable aspect of william's story is that he accomplished all this amidst difficult challenges few ever face. he had been told as a teenager that “a negro” couldn’t be an architect; he proved otherwise, though it meant riding to job sites in segregated train cars and perfecting the skill of upside-down drawing (so he could sit across the table from clients, rather than lean over them, lest his proximity make them uncomfortable). "he was completely undaunted by racism,” says the architect’s granddaughter, karen hudson, who has authored two books on his career and life.
he was a pioneer in every sense. the first black member of the american institute of architects and its first black fellow, he served on state and presidential commissions and traveled the world designing structures. closer to home, he was a statesman for the african-american community and built some of its most enduring landmarks.

here's to hoping for continued change towards more equailty and diversity and abundance for all.

all information and photos from about.com


blue and bright friday

to top off a week of wonderful happennings {a private tango lesson with ney that had me soaring, getting hired for some interiors side-jobs for friends has me beaming, a muchly needed incredible two hour massage from the best masseuse ever ms.sofie gorman had me glowing, and finding out a new mini may be on my horizon has me giddy} the sun has been shining on san francisco the last couple days and i'm ever so grateful! blue skies, sunglasses, open-toed shoes, and springs in the steps all around town. here are some lovely interiors to spread the blissful blue brightness to all my blogging friends

{photo from southern accents}

{from the chromata hotel in santorini}

{photo from southern accents}

have yourselves a beautiful weekend, and please don't hesitate to let me know how you do it. i do enjoy hearing from you so! :o)


masculine baths

i haven't blogged about my work in a while, so i thought today it would be nice to show a couple of baths specifically designed for a masculine aesthetic by a team i got the privelege to work on. these are both in the same house, so the style is very similar. the client wanted a warm yet contemporary feel with natural finishes. once again i don't have professional shots to share, so these not-so-high quality ones will have to do. this residential project was part of a huge team effort, so i wasn't the only person working on these baths by any means.
{ a powder room using the ann sacks mosaic bar tiles on the walls, grey pietra serena limestone countertops and custom vanity & lighting. the bar lights are recessed into the wall so they are flush with the mirror face ~ this creates a picture frame effect for the images being reflected. the faucet is the atrio from grohe in satin nickel and the sink is the garland from kohler}

{this is a full bath utilizing the same custom lighting technique as the bath above in the mirror and fully custom cabinetry. the wall tiles throughout the shower & bath are the waterworks phantom glass tiles. the countertop is riverstone botticino poured resin slab ~ there are stones & shells embedded in it. the sink is from kohler and the faucet is from dornbracht}