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    A while back a reader sent in a tip about Lost & Found, a store in the Chaoyang district of Beijing owned by ex-pat American Paul Gelinas and local Xiao Mao. Since then, the pair has expanded their offerings (including a new line of clothing for men and women and housewares to come) and relaunched their website. While many Chinese embrace the modern furnishings at Ikea, Gelinas and Mao look for value in everyday pieces from the past, taking inspiration from classic midcentury Chinese designs and reproducing them locally as limited editions. 

    N.B. Summer House in Mill Valley, California carries select pieces from the line.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: Lost & Found is housed in a former dumpling shop on one of Beijing's oldest streets.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: The building was renovated and redesigned by New Architecture Office, the collaborative office of Gelinas and colleague Phil Dunn.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: The Danish Chair and Footstool are both, as the designers say, "a Chinese knock-off of a Japanese knock-off of a Danish original. But like the photograph of a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, the original details have long since dissolved, while the essential character has become more and more clear." Priced at ¥4680 (about $773 USD).

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: The shop's layout is a series of living rooms on top of living rooms.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: Ceramic vessels by artist Mars Hsu of Sweet Object.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: Lost & Found Shop's warehouse is home to limited edition collections and individual designs.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: The Angle-Iron Shelving is Lost & Found's refined version of the industrial units seen in 1920s Chinese factories. Instead of the shoddy wood, this shelving is built with fine Chinese walnut on an iron frame.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: The Iron Pipe Chair was "all the rage in Shanghainese office design, circa 1970. Nowadays, you’re more likely to see one permanently parked on a sidewalk in Nanjing. We’ve brought the Iron Pipe Chair back. Lost & Found makes these one-by-one. Slowly. Interior frame constructed of elm; armrests carved from salvaged teak. Upholstered in our custom-woven corduroy or thrice-washed wool. These are our best-selling chairs." Priced at ¥3200 (about $528 USD).

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: Built by hand using raw steel and Chinese walnut, the Work Desk has a sleek midcentury vibe; ¥4800 (about $793 USD).

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    Above: Contractors working with Gelinas' firm, New Architecture Office, to renovate the ancient building.

    Lost & Found Furniture Shop in Beijing | Remodelista

    For more information, go to Lost & Found.

    If you like the look of updated classic Chinese wooden furniture, have a look at our recent post, Bauhaus in Beijing. And for a standout craft furniture closer to home, see Color-Stained Furniture: The Next Big Thing? 

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 22, 2011 as part of our Cabin Living issue.


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    This week, Michelle and Erin focused on houseplants (including the Plant of Immortality), verdant interior courtyards, and a cure for the common cold.

    Japanese House/Gardenista

    Above: Erin visited an astonishing house with a Hidden Japanese Garden.

    Poisonous Plants for Pets/Gardenista

    Above: Meredith asked "Will a 'Poisonous' Plant Really Kill Your Pet?" (That's her cat Minou feasting on false aralia.)

    Aloe Vera Houseplant/Gardenista

    Above: Justine shows us how to propagate the soothing succulent aloe, the Plant of Immortality.

    Flower Water Gardenista

    Above: Sofia shows us how to make our own Rose Water, useful for headaches, tired eyes, and as an all-around winter refresher.

    Garlic Honey Cure/Gardenista

    Above: An elixir that just might keep you from catching a cold: Erin brews a Natural Remedy for Fending Off Germs


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    Brew enthusiasts Carl Setzer and Liu Fang started Great Leap Brewing with the intent of starting a Chinese craft beer revolution. That was four years ago and since then the couple's Great Leap Brewing has expanded into a second, larger location in Beijing and is now one of many microbreweries in the city. The difference between them and all the others? Locally sourced ingredients and indigenous Chinese herbs.

    The brewery began in a small siheyuan, a Chinese historical home, in 2010. The new location, designed by New Architecture Office—the same firm responsible for Lost & Found's storefront—is a 530-square meter taproom and brewery, the largest onsite brewery in all of mainland China. Great Leap Brewing sources only locally grown ingredients and takes pride in their adventurous use of indigenous hops, Chinese rock candy, Sichuan peppercorns, Shandong date honey, Buddha oolong tea, and Danshan Gongfu black tea from the mountains of Fujian.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: "Proudly Chinese" is Great Leap's motto; the microbrewery's location is on Xin Zhong Jie in Beijing's urban Dong Cheng Qu neighborhood.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: New Architecture Office created a cross between a classic taproom and a contemporary industrial look, with a gilded logo, dark stained wood, and exposed raw brick and concrete.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: The restaurant features three different styles of seating: chairs and stools at the bar, long benches and tables, and wooden booths in the back.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: The floor is a combination of herringbone-patterned brick and wood.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Two copper brew kettles sit between the bar and the fermentation room. Both areas feature white glazed subway tiles and stainless steel accents for a sterile and attractive brewing environment.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Bottles of beer with the Great Leap Label stand behind rows of classic beer glasses. Great Leap has 12 beers on tap, and brews more than 40 different varieties throughout the year.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Chalkboards are framed in the same stained wood seen throughout the restaurant.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Bare light bulbs and metal pendant lamps make up the mix of industrial lighting.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Wooden beams flank each booth in the back of the restaurant.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above L: Industrial details, including wired glass windows. Above R: Curvaceous wooden booths.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: The Great Leap Brewing logo illuminates the concrete entrance of the pub.

    Great Leap Brewing Company in Beijing, China | Remodelista

    Above: Great Leap's original location at No. 6 Doujiao Hutong.

    Location of Great Leap Brewing Company new flagship on Xin Zhong Jie in Beijing's Dong Cheng Qu neighborhood:

    For another beer hall that we love, see Steal This Look: The Standard Biergarten in NYC. And to source the right seating, see 10 Easy Pieces: Brew Pub Stools.


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    Thirty years ago, I met Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown of Tsao & McKown Architects when I went to scout and then shoot their first apartment on Central Park West for House & Garden magazine. We became fast friends fast. For the past 20 years, they've lived a bit further north in a duplex with similarly panoramic views of the park. Both places have been the scene of many a celebration large and small. And both have, for me, been sources of intrigue and inspiration, from deft architectural moves to the smallest curiosity. But apartments, even though they exercise the muscles that deal with confines, don't demonstrate the full dimension of architectural thinking and practice. For that, I had to wait to see the house in Piedmont, tucked in the eastern hills of San Francisco Bay, that Calvin and Zack designed for Calvin’s parents and his three siblings and their families as a gathering place.

    A single building that reads as a compound, the 2007 house reflects the bi-coastal (West coast of the U.S., east “coast” of Asia) orientation of the Tsao family. “Familial togetherness is at the core of traditional Chinese life, but we were also addressing contemporary (as in American) life,” says Calvin. “We all have our own sense of community and privacy.” So the archetypal Chinese house that accommodates different branches of a family and different generations in architectural wings and nodes, always with a courtyard at its core, mutated into a cluster of four connected buildings with a three-story volume of space serving as the central court (and dining room). At once simple and complex, the plan provides separate quarters for the parents and each of the siblings, while uniting their suites via interlocking communal spaces. The very thing that beautifully serves all members of the family, that blend of alone and together, makes it also ideal for a reunion of friends, as I discovered on a happy visit not long ago.

    Photographs by Richard Bryant (Arcaid), courtesy of Tsao & McKown.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Principles of feng shui guided the siting of the cedar-clad house, located in a glen just down the hill from a house Calvin’s uncle has occupied since the 1970s. Its footprint falls lightly on the ground, its orientation is toward the southeast, its positioning is parallel to a stream.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Highly-textured pavers recycle small granite stones salvaged from villages lost to the Three Gorges Dam project in China. Calvin and Zack had the stones set on edge in cast concrete, then installed them in a checkerboard pattern.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: What appear to be ancient Chinese artifacts in the garden are in fact the work of a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art that Calvin discovered on a visit for a design crit. The cast concrete forms explode in scale the weave of a Chinese textile.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Rectangular cedar-framed windows surround one of the entries. Though it looks like an Asian antique, the old-fashioned doorbell is actually a rusty gas canister cut in half, and inside the door, what resembles a highchair is a Korean altar.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: The dining room is the heart of the house, an enclosed version of the courtyard at the core of a traditional Chinese house. The wall hanging features an antique Chinese bedspread “preserved” in a resin solution and is the creation of Calvin’s friend, Milanese artist Luisa Cervese. Around the cerused oak table, ebonized Deco chairs could easily be Chinese but are French. Above the table, sections of silk parachutes from World War II soften the light from the bamboo-framed fixtures.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Origami meets architecture in the living room’s fireplace bay, which folds out then back in. The gold chairs by the hearth are Calvin's father's favorite spot when he’s in residence. Flared sections of wall that emerge like capitals house uplights. Ombré is a favored motif in Chinese rugs; in the rug designed for the living room, the warm tones in its midsection seem to extend the reach of the hearth.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: An island lined with a stool modeled after Chinese antiques divides the all-stainless steel kitchen from the eating area, where everyone gravitates. The round lacquered table has a generous built-in lazy susan for serving family-style meals. A canted niche set into a wall of cabinetry turns a window onto a planted hillside into a painting, a nod to the Chinese respect for nature.  

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Stair landings become balconies overlooking the interior court of the house. The highest ones lead to individual bedroom suites. Throughout, wooden floors are fumed bamboo. For the low-down on bamboo flooring, see our recent Remodeling 101 post: The Mystery of Bamboo Floors Revealed.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: In the parents’ study, uniformly-framed photographs capture the family across the decades, including glamorous shots of Mr. and Mrs. Tsao taken in Shanghai in the ‘40s and a picture of Calvin, a global citizen even at age five, dressed in a kilt and playing a toy bagpipe.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: In one of the sisters’ bedrooms, a wall painted deep olive balances the natural greenery framed by the opposite wall of windows. Floating shelves feature built-in bookends. Every bedroom has smart spacial moves—here an “insert” of twin closets form a vestibule to the bathroom—as well as doses of saturated color. A blanket or coverlet at the foot of the bed, in this case a brightly-striped Moroccan rug, is an easy way to introduce bright color. 

    Tsal McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Walls are rarely just walls in Tsao and McKown’s residential work. Rows of closets and cabinets not only provide ample storage but form solids and voids that create discrete spaces, such as a bay for a bed and a niche for a television. Calvin found the music panels above the bed in a Hudson, NY, antiques shop and the Chinoiserie floor lamp at a Paris flea market. The deep orange bedside lamps are native Californians.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: Tiles in varied shades of celadon switch direction as they move from floor to wall. The shower curtain hangs from a ceiling-mounted hospital track with space between curtain and ceiling for ventilation. Setting the medicine cabinet into a niche larger than the cabinet itself creates additional spaces for toiletries, clearing the sink counter of clutter.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House | Remodelista

    Above: A view toward the entry foyer demonstrates Tsao & McKown’s interest in—and deftness with—solids and voids.

    Tsao McKown Architects Piedmont House floor plan ground floor | Remodelista

    Above: The plan for the ground floor shows the dining room at the center with satellite structures—the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms—radiating off it.

    Tsao McKown Piedmont House floor plan second floor | Remodelista

    Above: The second floor is devoted to bedrooms suites.

    We're longstanding fans of Tsao & McKown's work. Their Eastern-influenced remodel of a New York townhouse is spotlighted in one of our earliest Architect Visit posts. Also see Steal This Look: Tsao & McKown Dining Room.


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    The Chinese are obsessed with the number eight; they go to great lengths to incorporate its auspiciousness into their lives. Associated with prosperity, the more 8’s, the better. Examples? Building an 88-story building (the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia), forking over a fortune for a phone number of all 8's (sold to Sichuan Airlines in Chengdu, China, in 2003 for $280,000), and even going to jail (five men were imprisoned for 16 months in 2009 after arguing about a license plate that ended in four 8's). Want a piece of the prosperity? Here are eight more affordable and less risky ways to bring the number 8 into your home. 

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as wall decor | Remodelista  

    Above: A Number 8 Poster in a hallway imparts a warm welcome even in a chilly setting; 595 SEK from Swedish company Wall Stuff, which offers worldwide shipping.

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as decor, vintage garage sign | Remodelista

    Above: Double luck—this Vintage-Style Gas Station Number 8 has a background that hints of gold (a Chinese symbol of wealth and prosperity); $159 from Native Vermont via Etsy. 

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as wall decor | Remodelista

    Above: Why pay $280,000 for eight 8's when you can amass as many as you want for next to nothing? We count 17 on this mood wall belonging to Molly Meng, founder of San Francisco stationery line 8mm Ideas. Do you see more? Image via Apartment Therapy

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as decor, Planter with red 8 | Remodelista

    Above: A Small Planter for a mini air plant or succulent with the number 8 pairs auspiciousness with life energy, a winning combination; $10 from Old and Board via Etsy.

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as decor, artwork hanging from hanger | Remodelista

    Above: Graphic artist Eva Juliet will help you create a Personalized Number 8 Poster (or any number) with your own message at the bottom; $38 from Eva Juliet via Etsy. Like the idea of using a coat hanger in lieu of a frame? See our post New Ways to Hang Art.

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as decor, 8 on raw unfinished wall | Remodelista

    Above: For the Chinese, prosperity is closely linked to work—try hanging an 8 in your workspace and see what happens. Photograph by Murray Mitchell

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as wall decor, painted wood | Remodelista

    Above: Combining Chinese auspiciousness with a rustic aesthetic, this framed Wooden Number 8 from Wayfair would work well in a family room or child's bedroom; $94.49.

    Chinese New Year, Auspicious number 8 as decor on fireplace mantel | Remodelista

    Above: Not above a little superstition myself, my living room mantel sports a Vintage Gas Station 8; $19 from Whattawaist via Etsy. Go to Minimal Moves for Maximum Impact in Christine's Connecticut House to see how my husband and I "worked with what we had" in our remodel. Photograph by Christine Chang Hanway. 

    Another easy way to add the number 8 to your life is with house numbers. For some standout options, have a look at 10 Easy Pieces: House Numbers and Slow Design House Numbers.


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    La Maison des Trois Thès in Paris is presided over by Madame Yu Hui Tseng, a master of the Chinese tea ceremony and one of the world's preeminent experts on tea (and the only woman among them). She also happens to be a descendant of a famous Chinese philosopher and student of Confucius.

    Master Tseng established La Maison des Trois Thès in 1995 in the Fifth arrondissement of Paris. Her shop sells around a thousand varieties of tea, rare vintages among them that date back as far back as 1890. Some black teas, she says, improve with age. She also relies on the 3,000-year history of Chinese tea to create blends that would otherwise no longer be in existence. Next time you're in Paris, consider stopping by for a rare (albeit pricey) cup.

    Facade of La Maison des Trois Thes in Paris, Remodelista

    Above: Covered in large Chinese characters, the teahouse stands out on an otherwise mundane Paris street. Photo via TripAdvisor.

    Interior of La Maison des Trois Thes in Paris, Remodelista

    Above L: Though the shop might seem intimidating, reviews cite that the staff is warm and welcoming, and explanations of the many varieties of tea are forthcoming. Photo via TripAdvisor. Above R: The right vessels and cups are a crucial part of the Chinese tea experience. Photo via Yelp.

    Above: Around 1,000 blends of Chinese teas line the walls. Photo via Addicttea.

    Proprietor of La Maison des Trois Thes in Paris, Remodelista

    Above: Madame Yu Hui Tseng, a master of tea. Photo via Le Figaro.

    Green Tea Canisters in Interior of La Maison des Trois Thes in Paris, Remodelista

    Above: Chinese metal tea canisters. Photo via Un Livre, Un Thé Et Des Petits Gâteaux.

    Menus of La Maison des Trois Thes in Paris, Remodelista

    Above: The menu reads like an intimidating wine list, long and filled with rare and expensive varieties. Shown here, boxes of thuan theng from spring 2008. Photo via Artedelte.

    Above: A variety of pu-erh teas from the Maison: sheng tea is raw pu-erh, and shu is ripe pu-erh. Photo via Vacuithé.

    Above L: Loose green (xian xia cui lan) tea. Photo via Pu-Erh & Yixing. Above R: The interior features antique and contemporary Chinese furniture against a backdrop of Chinese calligraphy, an inspired take on wallpaper. Photo via Namasaya. To contact the teahouse, see La Maison des Trois Thès.

    More tea? See 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Tea Kettles and Restaurant Visit: Bellocq Tea Atelier in Brooklyn.


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    We like the way a few thoughtfully placed paper lanterns in a room can turn up the eclectic vibe in an instant. Just in time for the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Horse begins today), here are 10 of our favorite examples:

    Chinese New Year Paper Lanterns | Remodelista

    Above: A hallway through the lens of Amsterdam-based photographer Hotze Eisma.

    Chinese Lanterns at Sibella Court's Home

    Above: A mix of lanterns in the home of Australian designer and creative director Sibella Court.

    Chinese Lantern in Edinburgh Flat, Remodelista

    Above: A single lantern hangs in textile designer Rosie Brown's flat in Edinburgh.

    Above: A medly of lanterns in the home of Jess Brown, spotlighted in our post: West Marin's Accidental Doll Maker. Photography by Mimi Giboin.

    Detail of a Chinese Lantern in Paper Day's Studio, Remodelista

    Above: Detail of a lantern hanging in Paper Day's attic studio via Miss Modish.

    Pink and Yellow Chinese Lanterns, Remodelista

    Above: DIY lanterns by Dottie Angel on SF Girl by Bay.

    Chinese Lanterns Hanging in Paper Day's Studio, Remodelista

    Above: Another view of Paper Day's Studio via Flickr.

    Above: Hanging in the stairway of a Southampton house designed by Muriel Brandolini.

    Lillian Day Photograph Seen on Desire to Inspire, Remodelista

    Above: Two small accordion lanterns photographed by Lillian Day on Flickr, via Desire to Inspire.

    Eric Goode's Apartment in Manhattan, Remodelista

    Above: A trio of lanterns in Eric Goode's Manhattan loft on Yatzer.

    Chinese Lanterns at Rudy de Amicis' Home, Remodelista

    Above: Rudy de Amicis' house in Freunde von Freunden.

    Dagmar Daley Living Room and Chinese Lanterns | Remodelista

    Above: Vintage lanterns in the San Francisco home of children's clothing designer Dagmar Daley from our recent post: The Disappearing Home Office.

    Thinking of rice paper globes instead? See Vanessa Bruno's surprising design choice. Also have a look at 5 Quick Fixes: Oversized Noguchi Lanterns.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on February 8, 2013 as part of our On the Mountain issue.


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    A tip from my Travel + Leisure hotline: If seeing the Great Wall of China is at the top of your bucket list, you can stay practically within touching distance of i, and in great style, at Commune by the Great Wall. In 2001, a dozen prominent Asian architects were invited to build their dream villas at the site. Considered a new Chinese wonder, the resort has since grown into an enclave of 35 dramatic contemporary houses, some rented by the night in their entirety, some offering individual hotel rooms. As Traveler describes it, "In a poetic juxtaposition, your view presents what China was—a stronghold against the world—whereas your villa represents what it's poised to be: a dynamic, forward-thinking force." Our pick of the lodgings: Japanese architect Kengo Kuma's dreamy Bamboo Wall house, which proved so popular, Commune constructed six replicas of it. Here's the original:

    Photographs via Commune by the Great Wall, unless noted.

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: Part of the structure is built over a pool of water (though the replicas rise over a gravel garden). The walls are constructed of bamboo canes spaced to allow in light. The walkway leads to a very memorable setting for tea.

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: The house's six bedrooms have futons resting on tatami mats. In this one, a wooden kimono rack serves as sculpture and a place to drape clothes.

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: The design of the house was inspired by classic Chinese construction and by the rambling Great Wall itself, which rises as part of the landscape. Kengo Kuma writes that he consciously called his design a wall, not a house, and adds: "The Great Wall in the past partitioned off two cultures, but this Bamboo Wall would not only partition but also unite life and culture." 

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: A bamboo ceiling, walls, and supports in the dining room. (The house has a kitchen, but we were informed by the hotel that it's ornamental, and that there are two restaurants on site, one Chinese, the other Western style.) Photograph via Inspiration Green.

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: Bamboo of many widths was employed, including bamboo cups for accessories.

    Commune by the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

    Above: In a bedroom, a modern version of a classic Chinese low seat is situated windowside.

    Commune at the Great Wall Bamboo Wall House | Remodelista

     Above: After hiking on the Great Wall and touring the other houses on the property, your own lounge awaits with views of the Shuiguan Mountains. Photograph via Inspiration Green.

    Commune by the Great Wall is an hour and 15 minute drive from the Beijing airport. It has its own private path to a verdant, unrestored part of the Badaling section of the Great Wall. The original Bamboo Wall house sleeps 12 and rents for RMB15,000 (approximately $2,460 per night, or about $200 per person, plus a 15 percent service charge). Individual rooms are available in the Bamboo Wall house replicas for RMB2480 (approximate $406). To see the range of houses and hotel rooms available, go to Commune by the Great Wall.

    Ready to live with bamboo? See our Remodeling 101 post: The Mystery of Bamboo Floors Revealed and Gardenista's Bamboo: The Re-Think. For more of our favorite lodgings the world over, peruse our Hotels & Lodgingposts, including Beautiful Ruin: The Waterhouse in Shanghai.


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    Last week, we had a look at contemporary Chinese design in celebration of the New Year and found ourselves overflowing with ideas. Here are some of those add-on design finds from China, plus a look ahead at compact and sustainable spaces for our next issue on Small-Space Living.

    Bridge School by Xiaodong Li from ArchDaily | Remodelista

    Above: All week we kept returning to this project by Xiaodong Li, The School Bridge in Fujian, China, which includes a bridge, schoolhouse, playground, and performance stage; via ArchDaily.

    A guide to taking risks with paint from Pop Sugar Home.

    Michelle Quan Ceramic Knives | Remodelista

    Above: Always fans of the work of New York ceramic artist Michelle Quan whose pieces are inspired by ritual and devotional practice with references to the cultures of Tibet, Japan, China, and India.

    This week we discovered an excellent source for modern Chinese design: Bund Shop, an online platform for over 50 designers from mainland and Greater China.

    Pierre Lissoni Closet Design | Remodelista

    Above: We're eternally in cleanup mode and have been gleaning new tips from Real Simple's 9 Decluttering Secrets From Professional Organizers. Photograph of a Piero Lissoni-designed closet from 10 Easy Pieces: Modular Closets, High to Low.

    Toast UK S/S 2014 Look Book | Remodelista

    Above: And after we declutter our closets we might consider filling them up a bit with some items from Toast's spring collection.

    Reading a short history of the Vermont stoneware company, Bennington Potters, and their trademark splatter-glazed ceramics on Country Living.

    How to Hang a Picture Frame Wall DIY Video from Country Road | Remodelista

    Above: Christine has been watching this inspiring how-to video on hanging a picture frame wall seen on Est Magazine.

    Admiring the genius small space storage in an adjustable apartment designed for a DJ by Spanish firm, Elii, via Curbed National.

    Casa Maracana in Brazil from Architizer | Remodelista

    Above: Those of us in colder climates are dreaming of warm places, like São Paulo, Brazil, where Terra e Tuma Arquitetos designed Casa Maracanã, admired on Architizer.


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    To kick off this week's Small Space Living issue, we're spotlighting an ingenious, storage-fiilled studio apartment in Auckland, New Zealand, that designer Karin Montgomery Spath created out of found territory: the unused roof space of a two-car garage.

    Karin is an Auckland-based designer whose name gets bestowed from one person to the next. We heard about her work from her son Matthew Williams (he's the Brooklyn-based photographer who shot all of the images in our book, Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home). Karin, formerly a manufacturer of fashion textiles in Italy and Japan and founder of a bed linens company, is one of those people with an innate knack for pulling together rooms. Friends who admired her own house started asking her to reinvent their own quarters, and a new career was born. 

    Karin has designed projects in New Zealand and New York and a few points in between. While getting ready to overhaul a 1910s Auckland house, the owners, an ad exec and artist couple, had started looking for a place to decamp during the nine months of construction. "I suggested that I could make a loft apartment above the garage for them to live in during the renovation, and that it wouldn't cost much more than a rental," says Karin. "They're busy people, so they told me to proceed and invite them to view it once finished." Here's what she unveiled:

    Photographs by Matthew Williams

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The studio is housed above a still-in-use two-car garage that Karin says was likely built in the 1970's, and was conveniently appointed with a peaked roof, finished walls, two windows, and two skylights. After securing building permits, Karin installed the loft floor, which is 32 square meters (approximately 344 square feet). A column-like wall in the center is fronted by the kitchen, and divides the bedroom from the living space. Note that the setup looks so orderly because of its controlled palette: "It's so small that I felt a very simple, clean Scandinavian look would be the way to go," explains Karin.

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: Stairs made of recycled kauri, a New Zealand timber, lead to the apartment, where a small Artek Table and Stools, both Alvar Aalto classics, serve as "the dining area—if you pull out the table, it can seat four," says Karin. The pale floor is matai, another NZ wood. The space, including cabinetry, is painted "a soft, misty white" in a matte satin finish (Quarter Tea from New Zealand company Resene).

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The custom-built kitchen is equipped with a Corian counter and "small but fully functional appliances," including a stainless steel sink with a faucet by Methven of New Zealand and an under-the-counter Fisher & Paykel fridge (another NZ company) concealed behind a cabinet door. The white tiles are leftovers that the clients had held onto from a previous house. Storage cupboards on the wall next to the stove hold pantry goods and tableware. 

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: "A low futon bed was the obvious answer to cope with the lack of height by the wall under the pitched roof." Tolomeo Lamps provide adjustable bedside lighting. A full-size clothes closet stands at the foot of the bed (and adjacent to the kitchen). No crouching necessary in the space—the center of the room is about 13 feet tall.

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The bathroom has a full-sized shower lined with beige square tiles that Karin bought on sale from a tile shop for 1NZD (about $.88) a square meter.

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: "There's no feeling of being petite," says Karin of the bathroom, which she appointed with a Duravit sink and toilet. The bathroom's skylight is part of the original garage. Under it, Karin inserted streamlined storage cupboards custom built from a compressed chip board and hand painted: "I prefer hand-painted cupboards rather than spray painting, which gives a shine I am not happy with." 

    Garage Studio Apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The custom painted-wood storage cupboards continue in the main room where they make masterful use of the low space along the perimeter (and are thoughtfully detailed with storage for suitcases; a cabinet even holds a pull-out ironing board). They have reveal openings instead of hardware "to look like the walls, so that they disappear," says Karin. 

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: A pair of Artek Alvar Aalto 406 Armchairs with bentwood frames and webbing (available from Y Living, among others) face a television tucked inside a cabinet. The lamp is the Italian Tzio Small Classic Table Lamp, available from Room & Board.

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The designer, photographed by her son. "I am so surprised more people don't do this with roof space," she says."it's so easy and makes not just another bedroom but a whole living space."

    Garage studio apartment in NZ by Karin Montgomery Spath | Remodelista

    Above: The owners of the garage lived in the loft while their house was being remodeled, and it now serves as their guest quarters—"although they did say that they wondered why there were doing up a big house as the loft is all they really need," says Karin. She can be contacted at Karin Montgomery Spath

    For a similar project that we recently featured, see Backyard Bunkhouse, Hollywood Royal Family Edition. Also browse our archive of Storage & Organization and Small-Space Living posts, including 5 Favorites: Skinny Refrigerators and Little Giants: Compact Washer and Dryers.


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    In 2012, I heard about this Pinterest thing. It was described as an internet bulletin board where people shared images. First of all, I had no interest in becoming a shareaholic with millions of anonymous people. After all, I was a curatorial collector of imagery. Plus, I already had floor-to-ceiling black-framed bulletin boards in my office, my bedroom, and my kitchen. Snubbing the whole enterprise, I went about my business of tearing out thousands upon thousands of photographs from shelter and fashion magazines.

    Over the course of a year, several of my friends told me to get real, plus get over my bad self, and check out  a certain "cktnon" on Pinterest. I did. Among 45 boards with titles like "photo bitter," "interior favorite," and "snap shot daily," I clinked on "collage." There I found a portrait of a man in a suit whose head had become a collection of black and white polka dots. OK. In less than the instant it took to click, I was hooked.

    Linda Moes Photograph/Remodelista

    As of today, I have 41,000 followers. Linda Moes from the Netherlands is one of them. Linda has 224 followers. If you were to click on her board "Black and White," you would see a portrait of a young woman with a parakeet in her mouth, a pair of black and white gloves with fingers at least two feet long,  and a hand dipped in black paint.

    Brick Fireplace Diane Keaton Remodelista

    As soon as I saw Linda's pin of a brick fireplace in an empty room I'd already pinned (see above), I wondered if she'd repinned my pin of the same fireplace. Or maybe she's pinned it from Julie, or from Sarah from Remodelista, who'd repinned my pin of the fireplace in the first place? Anyway, you get the drift.

    Diane Keaton Pinterest/Remodelista

    There's that, and then there's the addiction part. This morning after my first cup of coffee I  came across a photograph of a woman with a brown paper bag over her head that said, "I'm Pretty." I pinned it. I saw a closed eye with the words "The End" tattoed on the lid. I pinned it. When Duke, my son, yelled he was going to be late for school, I ran downstairs,  grabbed the keys as fast as I could before I remembered I'd forgotten my iPad. In the car waiting for the bus I pinned Vintage Coffee Bean Bag Chairs, after a photograph of  a grain elevator in Western Kansas by Wright Morris, and an amazing map of the United States of America. Whew!

    Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." Pinterest is better. Everyone shares their dreams visualized in an eternal cyberspace community where all are welcome and no one is turned away. Ever. It's a place where wordless juxtapositions become a divine form of editing; a place where products are not the point, feeling is. Like Heaven, Pinterest is endless. But what's even better, Pinterest is experienced "in the moment," not in the promise of the future, or bittersweet memories of the past.

    Ed. Note: See Diane Keaton's Pinterest boards here and her past Remodelista posts (featuring her own house, black and white dots and stripes included) at: The Artful Home Library and Palette & Paints with Diane Keaton.


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    My husband and I are collectors of curiosities, in particular art, books, ceramics, well, pretty much any rare attractive object we happen to come by. On a recent trip to a neighborhood estate sale, we were both intrigued by a ceramic funnel majestically sitting on a shelf in a hidden corner. We looked at each other and reached for it simultaneously (after all, we do share the same birthday and birth year). We bought it instantly, mainly because of its beautiful shape, but also because it reminded me of my childhood home in Sweden. My Mom, now a retired chemist, filled our house with laboratory vessels, beakers, and scales, repurposing them into utilitarian things for everyday use. 

    Come to find that our new beloved funnel, labeled Coors USA, was made by family-owned Coors Porcelain Company (yes, related to the Coors Brewing Company of Colorado). The company, which dates back to the 1920s, still produces laboratory ceramics from its original location outside of Denver. A collection of classic Coors wares was part of a recent MoMA exhibition in New York, and pieces are on display at the Denver Art Museum. 

    Coors' lab porcelain can be purchased via Coors Tek Company, select retailers, and by searching Etsy and Ebay, where the designs are generally more affordable and you can find vintage examples.

    Photography by Izabella Simmons for Remodelista.

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista  

    Above: Our new prized possession, the Coors Funnel, has taken center stage on our kitchen shelves.

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista

    Above: By the 1930s, the Coors Porcelain Company was one of the world's largest producers of chemical porcelain, a material developed from experimentation with silicate compounds.

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista

    Above: The porcelain is heat and scratch resistant, making the pieces well suited for both industrial and domestic use. 

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista

    Above: The Funnel is glazed inside and out, except for the rim. 

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista

    Above: My favorite feature: the perforated holes. 

    Ceramics by Coors Porcelain Company, Photograph by Izabella Simmons | Remodelista

    Above: Swedes must think alike—children's clothing designer Dagmar Daley, whose long and lean SF galley kitchen is featured in our book Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home, is also a Coors porcelain fan. Her collection, displayed on her walnut open shelf, can be seen on page 197.

    Daley and her husband, Zak Conway, designed a hidden home office in their living room, where more of her collections are on view: have a look at The Disappearing Home Office. On the lookout for unusual ceramics and other tableware? See all our Ceramics and Tabletop posts.


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    The creators of Plumen 001, the world’s first energy-efficient designer light bulb, have just unveiled Plumen 002. A sophisticated and sultry version of the original, the low-energy flourescent Plumen 002 has new sculpted curves, is dimmer and creates a softer ambient light. 

    Have a look at the new design, and if you might like to live with it, consider investing in the project: in order to reach critical mass with their order volume and be able to offer the design at an affordable price, Plumen has launched a production campaign on Kickstarter. Company founder and design director, Nicolas Roope, is out to prove that “energy efficiency does not need to come at the expense of great design.” Sounds good to us.

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb, Front, Side and Rotated View | Remodelista

    Above: The new Plumen 002 bulb has a sculpted shape, a nice contrast to the uniform lines of standanrd compact fluorescent bulbs. During the development process, Texan neon sculptor Tony Greer was enlisted to explore the effects that different forms have on light output. 

      Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb, Front and Side View | Remodelista

    Above: The designers were inspired by the sensual and infinite forms of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth and created the sculptural form of Plumen 002 using glass blowing techniques. 

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb, Cluster | Remodelista

    Above: Plumen's LED products are still in development, but the Plumen 002's compact fluorescent bulb works well as an ambient light and is comparable with LEDs in performance and price. 

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb in Glass Shade | Remodelista

    Above: The sculpted shape of the Plumen 002 is visible through a smoky glass shade.

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb with Wide Shade | Remodelista

    Above: The ambient light of the Plumen 002 reflects softly on the interior of a downlight fixture. 

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb, Color Capped Bulbs | Remodelista

    Above: Colorful caps will be available to suit a variety of interior styles.

    Plumen 002, Designer Low Energy Bulb, Line of Copper Capped Bulbs in Dining Room | Remodelista

    Above: Copper capped Plumen 002 bulbs form a simple and attractive row of lighting above a dining table. 

    Just because there's a new Plumen doesn't mean we don't still love the old one: See World's Most Stylish Lightbulb. Looking for ceiling fixtures to pair with Plumen bulbs? How to Choose an Overhead Light Fixture is a good place to start.


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    We have been following David Weeks' work for years (and buying his light fixtures: I own three of them and Julie convinced me to get her one, too, at one of David's sample sales). His latest venture is a new showroom in Tribeca devoted to exhibiting his own pieces as well as the work of designers he admires.

    For the just-opened inaugural exhibit, Brass and Leather, Weeks has reimagined his Semana Chair as a limited edition of 40, made in collaboration with Big Bend Saddlery in Alpine, Texas. The show also features the brass basketry work of Nyack, New York, artist Rodger Stevens, as well as a new lighting series, Fenta, which draws on brutalist inspiration and technique.

    David Weeks Studio Showroom in Tribeca, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The David Weeks Studio is located at 38 Walker Street in Tribeca, New York. In the window are his Kopra Burst and Kopra Cluster light fixtures in black and white powder coated steel.

    David Weeks Studio Showroom in Tribeca, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The showroom is the first comprehensive presentation of David Weeks lighting collections, furniture, and accessories

    David Weeks Studio Showroom in Tribeca, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The black Doublepod Standing Lamp towers over the Sculpt Sectional Sofa in navy.

    David Weeks Studio Showroom in Tribeca, NY | Remodelista

    Above L: A wall of Boi Sconce lights, the Sculpt Sofa, and Torroja Standing Lamp in orange. Above R: The Hennen Cross ceiling fixture in white hovers above the main display.

    David Weeks Studio Showroom in Tribeca, NY | Remodelista

    Above: Weeks' tall sculptural Cernan Light in black welded steel illuminates his new Folha tables and prints by Brooklyn artist Todd St. John. Weeks describes the showroom as "a working studio that will allow me the creative freedom to make and share one-of-a-kind prototypes, collaborations, and work from other talented artists."

    David Weeks Studio Brass and Leather Show, Semana Chair | Remodelista

    Above: A sandal maker friend in Marfa led Weeks to Big Bend Saddlery, the longest continuously operating saddlery in West Texas, in operation for over a century. 

    David Weeks Studio Brass and Leather Show, Semana Chair | Remodelista

    Above: Weeks calls the Big Bend Saddlery approach to treating and stitching leather the "slow cowboy process."

    David Weeks Studio Brass and Leather Show, Semana Chair | Remodelista

    Above: The saddle leather of the David Weeks' Semana Chair is 1/8 inch thick, giving the sling of the chair a sturdiness that will age well and soften over time. It's an investment piece to own for a lifetime, and you don't need a stable.

    Location of David Weeks Studio in downtown New York:

    View Larger Map

    Julie likes the David Weeks' light in her living room so much, we made a video about it: see Julie's Favorite Light Speaks. For more inspiration, see our gallery of Lighting images.


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    When Moscow-born architect Ekaterina Voronova relocated to Dublin, Ireland, she needed a home office in addition to guest quarters—two luxuries that, in a small space, are often mutually exclusive. In her remodel of the 20-square-meter building set in the garden behind her house, Ekaterina came up with a novel solution: an architect's office by day, and sauna/guest house by night.

    Here, we've dissected her kitchen and come up with the key elements, with a focus on a similar palette of plywood, black pottery, and stainless steel.

    Small Space Kitchen by Architect Ekaterina Voronova | Remodelista

    Above: The multi-functional setup required a kitchen, and not just any kitchen, but a compact, under-the-stairs kitchen with decent lighting and smart storage. Ekaterina's design combines black laminate countertops (made modern with a plywood base with edges left exposed) and pale wood cabinetry, wall storage, and stair treads. To bone up on countertop considerations, see our Remodeling 101 post: Five Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Kitchen Countertops.

    Small Space Kitchen by Architect Ekaterina Voronova | Remodelista

    Above: Voranova designed a pair of different sized open-box shelves and installed under cabinet lighting in the lower of the two.

    THE BASICS

    Grohe Essence Pullout Kitchen Faucet | Remodelista

    Above: The Grohe 32 170 Essence Pullout Spray Kitchen Faucet is $453.60 for a chrome finish and $589.40 from Faucet Direct.

    Blanco Supreme Single Basin Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink | Remodelista

    Above: The small Blanco 440237 Supreme Single Basin Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink is $255 at Faucet Direct.

    Numerar Ikea Countertops/Remodelista

    Above: Ikea's Numerar double-sided laminate countertops are available with a white or dark-gray laminate top and a wood effect edge; prices start at $79 for a 74-inch length.

    Miele Two Burner Gas Cooktop/Remodelista

    Above: The Miele 12-Inch Natural Gas Double Stainless Steel Burner is $999 from Abt. A less expensive (but less attractive) option is the Verona 12-Inch Gas 2-Burner Stainless Steel Cooktop for $349.


    Oak Wood Wall Shelf from Manufactum in Germany | Remodelista

    Above: The Wandregal Eichenholz (Oak Wood Shelf) is 90 centimeters wide and includes a steel rack for hanging pots and kitchen linens; €240 from Manufactum. For something similar, see the Universal Expert Beech Wood Shelves ($40 at West Elm) or Ikea's two-tier Molger Wall Shelf ($34.99). Or make it yourself—see DIY: Wooden Kitchen Shelf with Rail.

    Tritech Halogen Under Counter Mounted Lighting | Remodelista

    Above: Voronova installed two lights on the underside of the lower mounted wall shelf. The Tritech Halogen Undercabinet Light is available in stainless (shown), white, and copper, and sits flush against the wall; $98 each from Y Lighting.

    ACCESSORIES

    Geneva Sound System iPod Docking Station with Speakers at Horne | Remodelista

    Above: The Medium Geneva Sound System is a bookshelf-sized single cabinet with an iPod/iPhone Universal dock and digital radio; $699.95 at Horne.

    Felix Pitcher Crate and Barrel/Remodelista

    Above: The Felix Pitchers are $24.95 from Crate & Barrel.

     

    La Chamba Mugs from Columbia, Remodelista

    Above: Voronova's ceramic pieces are reminiscent of Colombian Chamba pottery. The Mug is $18 from Zuku Trading and modeled after an English teapot, the Tairona Chamba Tea Pot is £24 from La Chamba Imports in the UK.

    French Olive Wood Dipping Bowls from Spartan in Austin, Texas | Remodelista

    Above: Small French Wood Dipping Bowls are handmade from Mediterranean olive wood; $16 each from Spartan.


    Ikea Clear Glass Bladet Vase | Remodelista

    Above: Ikea's Small Bladet Vase is ideal for a collection of short branches. The small version is 11 inches tall with an opening of 7.75 inches at the widest part ($14.99), while the Medium Bladet Vase is 17.75 inches tall ($19.99). For more good options, see our post on Gardenista: 10 Easy Pieces: Simple Glass Vases Under $30.

    David Mellor Small Knife Block | Remodelista

    Above: David Mellor's Small Knife Block is made from birch plywood and finished in a satin lacquer. The block stores up to 11 knives and is a slim four inches wide; $70 at Heath Ceramics.

    Looking for more tiny kitchens? See our previous post 10 Ingenious Space-Efficient Kitchens. Interested in plywood? Visit 10 Favorites: The Unexpected Appeal of Plywood.


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    Despite the masculine-sounding name, Richard Watson is the design studio of two women, Brooke Richard and Laura Watson, who describe their work as furniture through "the filter of a feminine mind." A number of years after meeting in graduate school at the New England School of Art and Design, the two founded an interior design firm, Orange Street Design, and it was out of this that Richard Watson was born. "One of our earlier projects called for custom furniture, which is something we'd always dreamed of doing," says Laura. After creating a few pieces for their client, they were hooked.

    I recently met up with Brooke and Laura at their Brookline, MA, studio, where Brooke explained: "There are not a lot of women working in furniture, especially hardwoods; finding a balance between the masculine and feminine is definitely something we bring to our collection." Another hallmark of Richard Watson is craftsmanship. Heirlooms for the modern era, each piece is painstakingly made by hand by a master woodworker in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Finally, the two noted, there is always a sense of story to their furniture, "a bit of fable and also something unexpected, a surprise."

    Richard Watson Highboy and stool, Remodelista

    Above: He becomes a She: Richard Watson's six-foot-tall version of the classic highboy has long tapered legs and a chamfered frame that lend a sense of grace and cast a little shadow that draws you to the piece. Inspired by the detailing on vintage apothecary cabinets, the drawers, too, are intimate in scale and adorned with delicate custom pulls. As an unexpected twist, the top three drawers come out and can also be used as keepsake boxes.

    The highboy is also available in oak, ash, and pickled ash, each hand finished with natural oils and waxes. Contact Richard Watson for pricing.

    Richard Watson hardware, Remodelista

    Above: No detail is too small. After noticing a dearth of handmade hardware made of finer metals, such as bronze and brushed brass, Laura and Brooke started fabricating their own pulls and handles with the help of a jewelry designer from New York. "She makes a wax model from our sketches and sends it to us. We then manipulate the model ourselves, and the three of us go back and forth in the exciting collaborative process, until we get the look and feel of the piece we want." Shown here, large and small pin-like pulls and handles in brushed brass, red bronze, and white bronze. Richard Watson's hardware is also sold separately from the furniture; contact Richard Watson for pricing.

    Richard Watson stools, Remodelista

    Above: In our conversation about their stools, they explained that the legs were inspired by bones. I observed that the curve of the legs and chamfering at the base of the seat create a sense of light and air around these pieces. "Truly," added Laura, "there is not a connection or corner or angle of these pieces that we have not considered."

    "Like a sculpture," I commented.

    "Yes, but the difference between our furniture and fine art is that our pieces are designed to be used and touched."

    Richard Watson hunt table, Remodelista

    Above: The Hunt Table has many of Richard Watson's signature details, including a lithe silhouette and a surprise: in this case it's a custom-made box placed inside that can be used to store silverware or linens.

    Richard Watson pulls, Remodelista

    Above: Richard Watson's long hardware pulls, handmade of bronze or brushed brass, are available in small or large and can also be used as wall hooks. Contact Richard Watson for pricing.

    Richard Watson desk and drawer detail, Remodelista

    Above: When they started making furniture, Laura and Brooke learned all they could about different woods and the woodworking process from a master craftsman who took them under his wing. The two are involved in every aspect of their pieces from concept to completion, making countless visit to their manufacturer to discuss the execution of their designs. The handmade details, such as dovetail joints (Above R) and invisible seems in the desk (Above L) are what elevate Richard Watson furniture to heirloom quality. 

    N.B. Another furniture favorite that Brooke and Laura and I share, the historically-inspired designs of Sawkille Co. of Rhinebeck, NY. See Sawkille's latest designs at Color-Stained Furniture, the Next Big Thing?


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    When we first moved into our tiny Brooklyn Heights apartment, my husband, James (then fiancé), and I negotiated a six-month lease because we weren't sure we could survive more time than that in such a cramped space. More than two and a half years later, we've gotten so accustomed to our tiny abode that it's hard to imagine we'll be leaving it behind when we welcome a new addition to the family in June.

    Photographs by Erin Boyle for Remodelista.

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: In many ways, our tiny apartment is the anti-remodel. Save a fresh coat of paint given to the ship's ladder a year and a half after we moved in, we've never made any improvements to the place. 

    It's not that it's perfect the way it is, but it's a costly rental studio and we honestly couldn't stomach pouring more of our own resources into the space. More than that, like so many renters, we didn't have permission from our landlord to make the changes we would have dived into wholehog if this were an apartment we owned. 

    For me, renting a tiny apartment has been a lesson in acceptance. Instead of focusing on making too many improvements to the place itself, James and I have focused our energies on filling it with furniture and objects that we love. I'd rather put a little elbow grease into modifying a table that I can take with me to my next apartment than worry about installing window trim (though wouldn't that be nice?).

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Bits from our mismatched furniture collection (not to mention James's eight-foot surfboard). See it from another angle in A Huge Vase of Cherry Blossoms in a Tiny Space.

    This dresser (and its mate which we keep in the loft where we sleep) were Craigslist finds from our days in North Carolina (same goes for the kitchen chairs and the surfboard). We paid $75 for the pair that happen to match an antique headboard I'd rescued from my parents' attic. The smaller dresser has an antique mirror that attaches to the back. The mirror and headboard are currently in "storage" at my parents' house in Connecticut and I'm looking forward to giving the set a facelift when we move to a new apartment next month (fingers crossed).

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Necessary even in a tiny apartment, our kitchen table.

    On the day we moved into our apartment, we realized that the wooden table I'd lovingly painted a deep coal blue for our first apartment was several inches too wide to be practical in our new space. We put it out on the curb and the same day we stumbled upon this table, left curbside just a block away from our house. We hoisted it down the street together and directly into our new apartment. Finders keepers.

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: The ship's ladder to our sleeping loft.

    I hesitated to hang this wedding gift—an original Stow Wengenroth drawing of New England sand dunes—in such an awkward spot at the top of the ladder, but I ended up accepting the odd little corner and embracing its quirkiness. 

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: The sleeping loft (crouching room only: the ceiling is a mere five feet).

    We toyed repeatedly with painting our loft, but decided to keep it bright white instead. The space is confined, we figured it needed to be kept as light as possible (bedding included).

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Our sofa, bird's-eye view.

    The West Elm Elton Settee is the only piece of furniture we purchased specifically for the apartment. At 57.5 inches wide, it fits perfectly into the tiny space between our closet and window.

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: A view of the kitchen from the ladder.

    Particle board oak cabinets and faux granite Formica aren't my idea of kitchen beauty, but rather than try to hide them, I've opted to just keep our accessories simple. 

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Our curtained closet and a DIY Mounted Staghorn Fern.

    The closet that James and I share (thankfully, there's another for coats, the vacuum, and aspirational camping gear padlocked in our building's hallway) sits under the ship's ladder. We opted to remove its sliding doors and replace them with a curtain to allow for better access to the tiny space.

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Apartment-cum-DIY studio.

    Our found kitchen table serves as the staging area for many a Gardenista-DIY. To take advantage of the one window in our apartment, I drag the table across the floor for photo shoots.

    erin boyle's tiny apartment | remodelista

    Above: Wintery flowers. 

    I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that my favorite way to make life in tiny apartment tolerable is the addition of fresh flowers. There's always room for a stem or three.

    Stay tuned for Erin's small-space living tips later this week. Erin's Gardenista posts are a daily source of inspiration and we're all avid followers of her apartment tales—and her inspired photography—at Reading My Tea Leaves. For more rental ideas, see Meredith's Rental Rehab: Small Kitchen Makeover.


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    When it comes to Airstream trailers, we're like a flock of magpies or seagulls: the shinier, the better. Dreaming of your own stainless steel quarters? Here are 10 classic midcentury examples that have been inventively restored and put to use as hotel rooms, guest houses, home offices, and in a few cases travel vehicles.

    The Hotel Daniel in Vienna Airstream Trailer | Remodelista

    Above: A 1952 model renovated by a yacht interior designer functions as a hotel room at The Hotel Daniel in Vienna.

    A Renovated Airstream Trailer by Vintage Seekers | Remodelista

    Above: One of many restored Airstreams seen on Vintage Seekers via Design Sponge.

    Landscape Architect Andreas Stavropoulos's 1959 Airstream Trailer | Remodelista

    Above: Landscape architect Andreas Stavropoulos transformed a 1959 Airstream trailer into a fully functioning office. Stravropoulos—pictured here—parks the trailer behind a Berkeley, CA, co-op; first seen on Sunset Magazine.

    Summery Airstream Trailer by Byron Bay | Remodelista

    Above: The accommodations at Atlantic Byron Bay resort in Australia include this fully equipped Airstream imported from America.

    Flowerland Nursery in San Francisco Bay Area on Gardenista

    Above: In Albany, California, just north of Berkeley, is Flowerland nursery with an Airstream trailer coffee shop featured on Gardenista.

    Airstream Trailer at Picnic from Le Marché St. George | Remodelista

    Above: Vancouver's Le Marché St. George café and grocery crew often picnic and camp out of their 1969 Airstream Land Yacht.

    El Cosmico Hotel in Texas, Photograph by Brian Rose | Remodelista

    Above: An Airstream room at Liz Lambert's El Cosmico hotel in Marfa, Texas; photograph by Brian Rose.

    Jane Hallworth Interior Design Airstream Trailer for LA Times | Remodelista

    Above: A 1955 Spartan aluminum trailer renovated by interior designer Jane Hallworth in Los Angeles.

    Big Sur Airstream Trailer Design | Remodelista

    Above: A 1965 Airstream Safari recast by Area 63 Productions and interior designer Caroline Brandes for rent on her property in Big Sur, California.

    The Green Room Airstream Trailer Bar by Baldridge Architects in Texas | Remodelista

    Above: Texan firm Baldridge Architects converted the interior of a disused 1970s Airstream trailer into a green room for artists performing at Stubbs Barbecue and Waller Creek Amphitheater in downtown Austin.

    Airstream Trailers Designed by Architect Christopher C. Deam | Remodelista

    Above: Member of our Architect/Designer Directory Christopher C. Deam designed the diminutive Airstream Bambi, an updated version of the classic.

    An Airstream Parked Outside of Hotel Fabriken Furillen in Gotland, Sweden | Remodelista

    Above: At Hotel Fabriken Furillen on the Swedish island of Gotland, Wi-Fi-free cabins and Airstream trailers surround the perimeter of the main hotel.

    Ever thought of living in a box? See our post 10 Houses Made from Shipping Containers. Ready for a mobile lifestyle? Have a look at our On the Road posts: A Makeover for a Maine Bus and Hank Bought A Bus.


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    How many times have you searched madly for keys, the dog leash, your phone as you dash out of the house? Here's a roundup of hallway butlers that will help you keep it together.

    Ferm Living Hex Shelf/Remodelista

    Above: The Wall Wonder Mirror from Ferm Living is £173 from Made in Design; the Smoked Oak Wall Wonder Mirror is also available directly from Ferm Living for $299.

    Coat Rack with Mirror/Remodelista

    Above: From Dutch designers Leitmotiv, the Coat Rack Mirror is made of powder-coated steel and is £76.25 from Amazon UK.

    Round Hall Mirror with Shelf/Remodelista

    Above: The Rise Set Mirror, made in Toronto by Dayna Gedney, is available with an 18-inch round mirror ($278.27), a 24-inch mirror ($371), or a 30-inch round mirror ($556); all via Etsy.

    Muir Coatrack Amenity Home/Remodelista

    Above: The Muir Reclaimed Wall Coat Rack is available in natural or walnut; a 42-inch-long 5-peg rack is $197 and a 54-inch-long 6-peg rack is $233 from Amenity Home.

    Thru Block Coat Rack

    Above: A detail of the key shelf in Will Ullman's Thru Block Coat Rack, available in a variety of sizes and configurations through Canoe in Portland, OR.

     

    Brendon Farrell's Coatrack

    Above: Brendon Farrell's Coat Rack is available in lengths of 18 and 36 inches, and in oiled walnut or oak; with a leather hanging strap for cellphones, keys, etc.

      Jeeves Coat Rack/Remodelista

    Above: The oak Jeeves Coat Rack with Mirror is £147 from SCP.


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    Years after my college dorm days I never thought I'd be considering a mini refrigerator. But when my former Santa Monica apartment kitchen called for creative measures to allow for a breakfast nook, a compact model was the answer. Much to my surprise, many of the options today offer ample storage as well as technology that rivals their bigger siblings. And you'll notice a lower number on your electric bill.

    Here, 10 energy- and space-saving compact refrigerators for budgets and tight kitchens of all sorts.

    Big Chill Mini Fridge Remodelista

    Above: Big Chill of  Boulder, Colorado, creates modern appliances with retro appeal. The Under Counter Mini Fridge comes in eight colors—and more than 200 custom shades. Energy Star-rated, it's available with or without a freezer starting at $1,695 from Big Chill. 

    KitchenAid Compact Regrigerator on Remodelista 10 Easy Pieces

    Above: Designed for built-in or freestanding spaces, the KitchenAid Architect II Compact Refrigerator is a basic but high-quality cooler with a sleek design. Energy Star-rated for low energy draw; $1,699 at Lowe's.

      Remodelista maytag mini fridge

    Above: Maytag's Mini Refrigerator in Stainless Steal has removable shelving to manipulate the small space for a range of cooling needs. The door opens to the left or right, as needed; $990 at Home Depot.

    GE Undercounter Compact Refrigerator Remodelista

    Above: Basic form with a sleek design, the GE Undercounter Compact Refrigerator requires manual defrost—a task necessary with many mini refrigerators—but it makes up for the chore with its lower price tag; $150 at Amazon.

    Frigidaire Compact on Remodelista

    Above: Another low-priced, no frills option that gets the icebox deeds done: the Frigidaire 3.3 Compact Refrigerator; $140 at Best Buy.

    Perlick 24" Signature remodelista

    Above: Standing at 34" tall, Perlick's Signature Series Dual-Zone Freezer/Refrigerator Drawers offers separate freezer and refrigeration compartment drawers. The inside space provides enough room to hold milk cartons; $4,199 at US Appliance.

    Fisher&Paykel CoolDrawer Remodelista

    Above: The CoolDrawer Multi-Temperature Refrigerator 3.1 by Fisher & Paykel is a chameleon for food storage, offering both cooling and freezing options. A compact drawer, the unit is designed to change from a refrigerator to a freezer to a wine cooler to an idle pantry at the touch of a button; $2,309 at US Appliance.

    Remodelista Combination Refrigerators Sub-Zero

    Above: A platinum option for smaller areas: Sub-Zero's stainless steel ID-30CI Combination Drawers are 30 inches wide and equipped with LED lighting and touchscreen technology. The separate refrigeration and freezer units work in most under counter areas; $4,230 and $4,350 from Sub-Zero.

    Electrolux mini refrigerator on Remodelista

    Above: The Electrolux IQ Touch Series 24" Built-In Refrigerator Drawers come equipped with an air filter as well as an alarm system for maintaining temperature; $2,018 at AJ Madison.

    Remodelista Avanta Outdoor Compact Refigerator

    Above: A moveable feat: The Avanti Built-In Outdoor Refrigerator is made for outdoor storage with an extra-long power cord and attached casters for portability; $689 at Best Buy.

    Have a little more room to spare? If so, see: Five Favorites: Skinny Refrigerators


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