Monday, April 2, 2018

Modern Delta lighting and Poliform cabinet showroom visit

Recently a few of us from my office visited an interesting new concept of a showroom here in Georgetown: Sagartstudio.
The interesting thing about the showroom is that it's actually a townhouse that has been expertly renovated as if it's a real house, utilizing many interesting products. No one lives here but you can bring your clients to see different items 'in use'.
They pride themselves that it shows how even an older traditional Washington rowhouse can incorporate modern design and the latest conveniences.
The house is branded as a Poliform showroom but all of the lighting is from my new favorite lighting company, Delta Lighting, along with other European brands furnishing the rest of the house.
 As I was saying the house was beautiful renovated, even to this architect's eye; "No expense was spared".  The nice thing is that one can bring a client to a high-level project to see items in situ and not a bland showroom:  Very little imagination is needed here!
 Everyone wants a bathtub in the master bedroom, right? Ok maybe not, but it makes for a nice picture.
The owner was telling us the house was completely gutted and basically rebuilt.  In general I cannot stand recessed lighting (loathe it actually) but these small modern fixtures disappear nicely in a way that works in both modern and traditional environments.
 Love this cute little reading sconce.
Generally nicer recessed architectural fixtures like these are many times more the cost than the average recessed can from home depot but the Delta lighting is actually pretty reasonable and definitely affordable.
 These small recessed spots are great.
 Another great product is this recessed track system into which many types of fixtures can fit.
I love the adjustable lights which pull down from the track (or recess) so that you can aim them at artwork.
These recessed floor lights work well in a bathroom or anywhere you need a little extra night-lighting; hallways perhaps?
Also featured are trufig recessed electrical outlets which are a nice minimal approach. Here Sagartstudio used them in black as a contrast to the white walls.  Generally I have spec'd them in the wall color so they disappear but this is a nice look too.
I love these kitchens that sort of fold away when not in use which are great for city apartments; looking like a built-in wardrobe system or paneled wall when not in use.
Another interesting product were these adjustable recessed lights that were small enough to fit into the stair carriage.
 These lit the exposed brick wall nicely; stair lighting is always tricky!
 Another interesting sconce that doubles as an art piece are these flat light fixtures which appear to be 3-d,  rather like Sol LeWitt.
And who says plumbing fixtures can't be fun colors? I forget the Italian company who makes these but rather fun for a child's bath.
Believe it or not this is not a sponsored post (other than the glass  or two of champagne I enjoyed...ok 3) but I wanted to share some fun new products. If you're in the DC area I highly recommend a visit to the Sargartstudio to see these products for yourself -tell them ArchitectDesignblog sent you!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Making LA Modern: Craig Ellwood architect

While I rarely feature modern design here at ArchitectDesign that does not mean I don't have an appreciation for the style. Rather I think as in anything, quality matters, and so much of what you see that passes as 'modern' is just poor and lazy design.
However there are modern architects whose work makes my heart swoon: one of these is mid-century LA architect Craig Ellwood.  Ellwood took the formal modernism of Mies van der Rohe (another architect I greatly admire) and added some California casualness.
Next month (April 2018) Rizzoli is releasing a new book on this modern master entitled Making L.A. Modern: Craig Ellwood - Myth - Man - Designer by Michael Boyd with stunning photography by Richard Powers seen here in this post.
Modernism is rooted in details and that is what so often breaks a design for me.  These houses built by Ellwood in the 50s and 60s have all of the warmth of more traditional architecture and all of the detailing of grand classical architecture; you want to spend time in these spaces.
Ellwood was a great self-promoter; had he been practicing today I'm sure he would be an instagram darling.  He was larger than life and no book about him would be complete without the juicy details!
I think we all have a few things to learn from this purist perfectionist and luckily this book can help!
All photography by Richard Powers - Making L.A. Modern: Craig Ellwood was edited by Michael Boyd, Rizzoli New Yori, 2018. Images may not be reproduced in any way, published, or transmitted digitally, without written permission from the publisher. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You too can live in high design!

Now is your chance to live in your own lovely apartment in the heart of the elegant Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington. Listed for sale is the pied-a-terre of designer Michael Hampton; Don't worry he's not leaving DC but moving into another home to decorate!
Located on the main first floor of a newly renovated townhouse, the apartment boasts tall ceilings and lots of natural light. Ever since 'You've got mail' I've dreamed of a floor-through apartment like Meg Ryans (see that apartment HERE)!
The large living room has space for a separate dining area (or grand piano as currently set up in the listing photos). These photos are from his website.
Hampton filled the space with his own collection of furnishings and art but I'm sure he would happily decorate the space for you as well!
 The large open kitchen is perfect for entertaining (and plants and herbs love that deep window sill!).
Hampton, pictured here with his dog Spencer, uses the 2nd bedroom as a cozy den but it would make a lovely guestroom as well.
Both bathrooms have been updated with waterworks fixtures and custom shower curtains whose tracks have been cleverly hidden behind custom mouldings.
 The master bedroom is a quiet haven with lovely custom baseketweave wallcovering.
 Off the sunny bedroom is a deck for your morning coffee!
The listing is through Matt McCormick of TTR Sothebys and can be seen HERE.  Hurry this opportunity won't last long!
All photos in this posting are by photographer John Cole

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Artistic table at Hillwood

Now open at Hillwood is an exhibit I think most readers of this blog will enjoy, a tabletop exhibition by well known designers utilizing the museum's collections.  While the estate may be known for its amazing fresh flowers (found throughout the house and gardens), Marjorie Merriweather Post was also a passionate collector of porcelains and silver.
Six talented designers have been asked to create tabletop displays in the Dacha sourcing items from the collection. I was there Valentine's day for opening night to see the designers reveal their creations. Hopefully this little tour will whet your appetite to visit before June 10 when the exhibit closes!
The central table was actually created by museum staff exclusively with items from the collection down to historic placecards, matchbooks and ashtrays; A treat to see how Post entertained!
 As always one had to ask if the amazing fresh flowers were real they were so perfect.
The first table inside the door is done by friend of Hillwood, Timothy Corrigan. I saw Corrigan speak 3 years ago at Hillwood's fabulous spring lecture season (read that post HERE). Timothy sourced the silver, including those incredible candlesticks, from the Hillwood collection while everything else was brought in by him in order to create a Jardin Francais.  The porcelain, fabric, and wallpaper all come from collections he has designed for different companies.
Designer Charlotte Moss took inspiration from Post's summer home, Camp Topridge, and created a woodland picnic setting. Moss used china from the Hillwood collection and added silver and fabrics she had designed.  The lush picnic is situated under a lovely tent created from fabric from Charlotte's collection at Fabricut.
Noted author and designer (and blogger extraordinare) P. Gaye Tapp took inspiration from Le Style Pauline in creating her table setting which is a younger, fresher look at how to use fine tableware. Mixed in with precious china were more informal pieces that create a more approachable tabletop.
 Artist Jimmie Henslee, who created the lovely illustrations in her book How They Decorated, provided the backdrop creating a natural setting. Don't miss Gaye next month at Hillwood where she will discuss her book (Information HERE).
Designer Josh Hildreth teamed with Hutton Wilkinson to create a 'Tea for Tou-manova' I believe in reference to the famous ballerina, fitting considering Hillwood's connection with Russia. The Duquette inspired extravaganza is a feast for the eyes laid over a malachite printed tablecloth naturally.
Barry Dixon has created a beautifully serene tabletop for 'A Little Romance' with Post's beautiful purple crystal in front of a lovely screen by talented artist John Matthew Moore (who also created the most lovely painting you can imagine of Post's jewelry for the silent auction).
Lastly, Alex Papachristidis has created a very personal table for 'Le Diner Exotique' using Post's china with his own mother's silver and dining chairs lit by one of his favorite Christopher Spitzmiller lamps. The star of the table however is the lust-worthy faux lilac centerpiece by artist Vladimir Kanevsky (who coincidentally will have an exhibition at Hillwood next year which I'm VERY excited about).
I had the pleasure of hearing Papachristidis speak at Hillwood's lecture this past Tuesday and his passion for design is inspiring. Don't miss this creatively luscious display open in the Dacha at Hillwood until June 10, 2018.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Architecture Inside-Out: Understanding how buildings work

Rizzoli is releasing a book later this month perfect for any serious architecture lover, Architecture Inside-Out: Understanding how building work.  The author John Zukowsky and illustrator Rob Polley take a look at 50 famous structures in detail including amazing axonometric drawings showing how they were constructed.
Both ancient and modern buildings are included which gets really interesting when you contrast construction techniques.
Did you know most of your favorite domed buildings are actually double domes? The dome you see inside is generally not the same shape as the dome seen on the exterior, like seen here at the Taj Mahal.
As I said modern structures are included as well such as German's rebuilt Reichstag with its modern dome.
I think the drawings convey so much more than the photographs.
Architecture Inside-Out: Understanding how building work is perfect for readers of any age: aspiring architects, history buffs, and even professionals will all gain something from this book I promise!