Articles on this Page
- 02/26/14--02:00: _10 Easy Pieces: Bui...
- 02/26/14--04:00: _The Bauhaus as Your...
- 02/26/14--06:00: _Design Sleuth: A Wa...
- 02/26/14--08:00: _Goods for the Study...
- 02/26/14--10:00: _10 Favorites: Wall-...
- 02/27/14--02:00: _Remodeling 101: Sta...
- 02/27/14--04:00: _Ceramics That Once ...
- 02/27/14--06:00: _For Rent: A Ski Cab...
- 02/27/14--08:00: _10 Favorites: Built...
- 02/27/14--10:00: _Cinema Paradiso: An...
- 02/28/14--02:00: _Expert Advice: Ever...
- 02/28/14--04:00: _DIY: The Stenciled ...
- 02/28/14--06:00: _Five Favorites: Woo...
- 02/28/14--08:00: _Design Sleuth: Dyso...
- 02/28/14--10:00: _Trending on Gardeni...
- 03/01/14--02:00: _Current Obsessions:...
- 03/03/14--02:00: _This Week's Table o...
- 03/03/14--06:00: _Enter to Win: A $5,...
- 03/03/14--08:00: _A Soho Dream Loft (...
- 03/03/14--08:30: _Curtain Call: World...
- 02/26/14--02:00: 10 Easy Pieces: Built-In Microwaves
- 02/26/14--04:00: The Bauhaus as Your House
- 02/26/14--06:00: Design Sleuth: A Wall Sconce Inspired by Le Corbusier
- 02/26/14--08:00: Goods for the Study: McNally Jackson Store in New York
- 02/26/14--10:00: 10 Favorites: Wall-Mounted Desks for Children (and Teens)
- 02/27/14--02:00: Remodeling 101: Stainless Steel Countertops
- Heat resistant—a great choice next to stoves.
- Hygienic and easy to clean.
- Non-porous and won't stain or rust.
- Practically indestructible.
- Can get dents and scratches, particularly lower gauge stainless steel.
- Shows fingerprints (though they clean off easily).
- Can be loud when setting pots and pans and other equipment on the counter.
- Aesthetically cold.
- Not for the budget-minded—unless you go with prefabricated stainless steel tables and counters.
- 02/27/14--04:00: Ceramics That Once Lived in the White House
- 02/27/14--06:00: For Rent: A Ski Cabin by a World-Renowned Swiss Architect
- 02/27/14--08:00: 10 Favorites: Built-in Reading Nooks
- 02/27/14--10:00: Cinema Paradiso: An Architect-Designed Theater in Switzerland
- 02/28/14--02:00: Expert Advice: Every Woman Loves a Contractor
- 02/28/14--04:00: DIY: The Stenciled Kid's Room, Boreal Forest Edition
- Siberian Taiga Stencil from the Estonia-based StenCilit, which includes easy-to-follow instructions; $41.
- 4-inch roller with 3/8 inch nap, available at Home Depot; $4.97.
- Paint tray—I like the metals ones at Home Depot; $3.24.
- Sigman Canvas drop cloth; $11.87.
- Painter's tape. I used Scotch Blue Tape; $3.93.
- 02/28/14--06:00: Five Favorites: Wooden Beds with Angled Headboards
- 02/28/14--08:00: Design Sleuth: Dyson Hot + Cool Heater/Fan
- 02/28/14--10:00: Trending on Gardenista: Waterworld
- 03/01/14--02:00: Current Obsessions: Winter Finals
- 03/03/14--02:00: This Week's Table of Contents: The Velvet Underground
- A $5,000 shopping spree at Terrain in Glen Mills, PA with Julie Carlson as your adviser
- Lunch with Julie at Terrain's Garden Café
- Roundtrip airfare for two to Philadelphia from anywhere in the Continental US
- A hotel stay on Friday and Saturday nights, April 18 and 19, at the Hotel Palomar in Rittenhouse Square
- Transportation to and from the hotel to Terrain on Saturday, April 19
- Dinner for two on Saturday evening at Terrain's Garden Café
- 03/03/14--08:00: A Soho Dream Loft (Where Everything Is for Sale)
- 03/03/14--08:30: Curtain Call: World's Most Beautiful Drapery Hardware
There is no getting around that microwaves are convenient, but they also take up valuable counter space. And, then there is the aesthetic consideration: have you ever loved the looks of a microwave? Moving to a built-in microwave can open up your counter, clear visual blight, and create an integrated look.
In the microwave world, it turns out that the term "built-in" covers a lot of territory. Here are the three key variations and are our recommendations for each type.
1. The Countertop Microwave with Built-in Trim Kit
This is the most affordable option for a built-in microwave. Trim kits make it possible to install certain countertop microwaves into a cabinet opening and achieve a built-in look. Trim kits also enable built-in models to be fitted into existing cabinet openings that may not be perfectly matched to the microwave dimensions.
Above: The best budget choice? The LG Studio Series Microwave (Model #LSRM2010ST) is a countertop microwave that comes with an optional LG Studio Series Built-In Trim Kit for an integrated look; $199 at AJ Madison, trim kit $149.
Above: To complement your other Viking and SubZero appliances, the Viking 2.0 Cubic-Foot Professional Custom Series Microwave (Model #VMOS201X) is a countertop model that is available with a built-in trim kit.; $599 at Plessers, trim kit $380.
2. The Built-In Microwave
True built-in microwaves do not have finished sides (so you would not want them sitting on your countertop). They come in a range of prices. Generally the less expensive models sit flush with cabinetry; to get an integrated look, they require a corresponding trim kit (at an added cost). The higher-priced models often have a front that spreads over the cabinet opening. They also may offer drop-down doors or pull-out drawers, professional looks, and more cooking functions. Will you really use those extras? Research shows that microwaves are still most commonly used for reheating and defrosting. The final determining factor may come down to the look of the oven: Do you like it and does it work with your other appliances?
Above: The Frigidaire Professional 2.0 Cubic-Foot Built-In Microwave Oven (Model #FPMO209KF) is $373 at US Appliance. For added polish, the Frigidaire Microwave Trim Kit is offered for $147.
Above: The Bosch 500-Series Built-In Microwave (HMB5050) in stainless steel is a flush to cabinet style that can be used (as shown) with the Bosch 27-Inch Trim Kit. It's also available in white or black; $584 at Abt; trim kit $224.
Above: The Electrolux Icon Professional Built-In Microwave (Model #E30MO75HPS) with a drop-down door offers sensor and convection cooking modes; $1,699 at AJ Madison.
Above: The Miele Chef's Series 8260 Built-In Microwave is a 24-inch wide model; $999 at Plessers.
Above: The Jenn-Air Built-In Microwave (Model #JMC2127WS) is a 27-inch wide built-in model with sensor and steam cooking modes; $1,799 at Yale Appliance.
Above: KitchenAid Architect Series II Microwave Oven (Model #KBMS1454B) is $1,074 in stainless and $984 in black or white at Plessers.
3. The Built-in Microwave Drawer
Microwave drawers can be inconspicuously built-in under your counter or kitchen island, or integrated into your wall-oven setup. Sharp developed the first microwave drawer and, according to our industry connections, manufactures most of the ovens on the market sold by other brands (like Wolf and Thermador). The pull-out drawers are easy to use; one drawback is the interior space is smaller than most conventional microwaves.
Above: One of the more affordable built-in drawer models is the Sharp Insight Pro Series Microwave Drawer (Model # KB-6524). It offers an unusual push or pull opening option; $779 at Abt.
Above: The solid stainless front of the Dacor Discovery Built-in Microwave-in-a-Drawer is especially appealing. It measures 24-inches wide and is also available with a solid black glass front; $1,399 at AJ Madison.
(NB: We didn't include Over-the-Range Microwaves (OTR) in our round up. An appliance that functions as a combination microwave, range vent, and over-the-range light, they fall into a category all their own. They can be a good space-saving solution for some kitchens, but note that OTR microwaves don't have strong venting power and are not recommended for most high BTU ranges.
Not ready to commit to a built-in, but enticed by the notion of hiding away that countertop microwave? See Julie's 10 Strategies for Hiding the Microwave. Have a look at more of our small appliance posts here, and weigh in on The Great Vacuum Debate: Dyson vs. Miele.
According to The Wired World 2014, this is the year of the Experiential Economy, which means “doing" rather than "buying". For design acolytes, that translates into visiting the Bauhaus School in Dessau, Germany, which is now a museum, touring the campus, and spending the night in one of the 28 dorm rooms that housed some of the Bauhaus greats during their student and junior professor days.
Founded by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus set off the hugely influential between-the-wars design movement that remains a seedbed of modernist design today. One of the newly opened dorm rooms retains all of its original objects and furniture; the others have been reconstructed using old photos and the designs of former inhabitants, including Marcel Breuer, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Erlich, Marianne Brandt and Gertrud Arndt. Room prices range from €35 to €60 depending on size (doubles available) and whether your stay is on a weekday or weekend. N.B. Visiting guests have to share hallway bathrooms and showers as the residents did in the 1920’s—all part of the experience. See Bauhaus Dessau for booking information.
Above: The fully restored original dorm room—austere, yes, but furnished with 80 year old designs, such as Marcel Breuer's small Laccio Tables, that still look new. Tubular steel furniture is one of the many Bauhaus innovations that lives on.
Above: A young Bauhaus designer, Siegfried Giesenschlag, at work in the dorm. Founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1923, the Bauhaus was located in Dessau from 1925 to 1932. Photograph from the archives of Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Above: A matching set of furniture designed by architect Franz Ehrlich is used to furnish the Ehrlich Room. He studied at the Bauhaus from 1927 to 1930, and then worked for Walter Gropius. He created this line of pared-down, modular wooden furniture for the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in the mid-1950s.
Above: Some rooms—originally for married couples—have double beds and window-side desks.
Above: In the Marianne Brandt room, the bed is tucked into an alcove lined with raffia. Brandt was the head of the Bauhaus metal workshop in 1928, and went on to become one of the movement's most famous designers, best known for her geometric lighting and tea sets.
Above: The Marianne Brandt room when she was in residence—original photos were used in the recreation of the dorm. Her blanket was made in the Bauhaus weaving workshop. Photograph from the archives of Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Above: The furniture in the Alfred Arndt Room reflects the designer's position as the Bauhaus director of the interior design department, which integrated carpentry, metal, and wall painting.
Above: Alfred Arndt mixed natural and painted wood in his furniture.
Above: Bauhaus student Siegfried Giesenschlag reclining with a book. Photograph from the archives of Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.
Above: Painter, sculptor, and furniture designer Josef Albers lived in the dorm from 1926 to 1928, and then became a Bauhaus master (and got to live in a different building on campus). Still in production, his Nesting Tables from 1926 and Bookshelf furnish his old room.
Above: While the bathrooms are communal, every room is equipped with a sink.
Above: The craft-inspired designers explored the technology of bent wood when designing this wall hook system.
Above: Every room has a balcony overlooking the campus.
Above: The dorms are in the 1928 Prellerhaus, also known as the Studio House.
Below: The Bauhaus school existed in three German cities: Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932, and Berlin from 1932 to 1933. Here is the location of the Bauhaus Dessau:
Last spring while I was exploring Paris, Lucile Demory took me first to see Le Corbusier's La Maison Roche and then to his atelier and apartment just outside of the city's periphery. What struck me as most interesting in the architect's bedroom was the light fixture jutting out of the wall like a piece of broken and exposed plumbing.
Last week I came across the work of Jörg Schellmann, a fine arts publisher and furniture designer in Munich, whose Staff Wall Lamp is strikingly similar. Pure coincidence or obvious influence, it's great to find a quirky light like Le Corbusier's in production and, with a little legwork, available to purchase.
Above: Detail of the same style of wall sconce in the dining room, this time made from a brown-painted steel tube. Photograph by Alexa Hotz for Remodelista.
Above: Schellmann's wall-mounted Staff Lamp Wall, designed in 2007, is made from tubular steel and extends to 80 cm in length. Available through Schellmann Furniture; inquire directly for pricing and availability.
Above: The Staff Lamp Wall is also available in a stone gray and gray white (shown here).
Above: The Staff Lamp Ceiling has a similar minimalist profile: a halogen light housed in tubular steel. The lamp is also available in gray and white.
For more lighting admired by architects—Le Corbusier included—see our post, 10 Easy Pieces: Best Architect's Lamps.
All bookstores stand at the ready with reading suggestions. Soho independent bookseller McNally Jackson goes a step further: it fully imagines the perfect setting for getting work done.
Goods for the Study, McNally Jackson's satellite store in Nolita is a few blocks from its main location (which has a nice-looking cafe and a bookbinding machine for self publishers). "As booksellers, we knew we wanted a store that would support a life of learning," explains partner and main buyer Sandeep Salter, who designed and created the shop with McNally Jackson Books owner Sarah McNally. It's located in one of Nolita's narrow storefronts that retains its romantic tenement feel, complete with wood-beamed ceiling and deep cast-iron sink by the register. Reading is not the focus here, but perusing its fully accessorized desks, stitched notebooks, tapered steel scissors, and wood-capped erasers is every bit as enthralling as getting lost in a great book.
Photographs by David Brandon Geeting, unless noted.
Above: "We wanted a shop where everything would be useful and beautiful," says Salter who researched and traveled to workshops the world over. Her choice for the ideal desk light? The classic French Jielde SI333 (which we also happen to love), handmade in Lyons and available in several colors; $550. (Read more about the lamp here.) It's shown on the Country Desk One by UK furniture and ceramics studio Another Country; $1,870.
Above R: A desk vignette with palest pink deckled edge paper card by Arpa of Spain. Above L: Perfect for a small desk, the body-hugging Discipline Pocket Chair is made of soft leather stretched over a wood frame.
Carl Aubock Studio of Vienna, founded by Bauhaus designer Carl Aubock and now run by his great grandson, Carl Aubock IV, makes sculptural metal objects. Above L: The Carl Aubock Studio Brass Egg, $150 for large (shown) and $125 for small. Above R: The Carl Aubock Studio Brass Square Paperweight, also useful as a drafting tool.
Above L: Plants, including epiphytes, are a crucial ingredient of the McNally Jackson study. Above R: Kraft paper envelopes from Japanese company Midori.
Above: Round sticky notes and notebooks with stitched bindings, both by Danish company Hay, are arranged alongside Japanese Craft Design Stainless Steel Scissors, $64, made to the same exacting standards as samurai swords.
Above: Arpa Handmade Card Sets in gray (L) and lavender (R); six for $14,
Above: The Jielde Lamp in shiny black.
Above: Antiques are also part of the well-considered study; shown here, a vintage drafting table. The tied notebooks in the back are the Midori Traveler's Notebooks with leather covers and notebook inserts; $60 each. The zippered cases are Invite.L Seven Dials Pencil Pouches, $35 each. In the foreground the waxed canvas Winter Session Roll-up is for toting writing implements and tools; $65.
Above: McNally Jackson's other favorite desk light? The British Original BTC Hector Dome Table Lamp, $350 each and available in light blue, bone, and turquoise. Read about the design on page 297 of the Remodelista Book and have a look at our post on the Hector Pendant Light.
Above: Every study needs some art. Shown here, Jason Fulford's framed shark's jaw print and limited-edition book, The Mushroom Collector; $500 for the two.
Above: Botanical prints, a classic stapler, and tinware mug. The brass square is the Carl Aubock paper weight shown above.
Above: A selection of McNally Jackson's greatest hits. The vintage Mies Van Der Rohe MR Chair with original leather is $900.
Another stationery store that makes us swoon? Have a look at Present and Correct: Now Present in London. And for our favorite desk lights, see 10 Easy Pieces: Task Lamps. Something more affordable? Go to 5 Favorites: Cheerful Desk Lamps.
Our roundup of space-saving desks, wall-mounted edition.
Above: A plywood wall-mounted desk by Dutch architects Atelier van Wengerden.
Above: The plywood wall-mounted Workstation from Finnish architect Takkunen's collection, Luona In, is €169.
Above: A wall-mounted desk spotted on House to Home; photo by Emma Mitchell for Living Etc.
Above: Rachelle of Kenziepoo made a desk for her daughter's room using two wooden boards and a pair of metal brackets.
Above: The Wall-Hanging Desk from Denmark company Junior Living can be closed when not in use.
Above: A height-adjustable birch plywood wall-mounted Wall-Mounted Desk by NYC furniture designer Roberto Gil will grow with your child.
Above: A Mash Studio Wall-Mounted Desk in a Chicagochildren's room by architect Julie Fisher of fcStudio. Photo by Katrina Wittkamp via Dwell.
Above: For a teen's bedroom, we'd take inspiration from Austin-based design collective Public School's wall-mounted desk with chalkboard-painted wall.
Above: A functional work station via Colville-Andersen.
For more kids' room inspiration, take a look at 15 Radical Kids' Climbing and Sliding Spaces and 10 Black-Accented Children's Rooms for Goths in Training.
Look inside restaurant kitchens and you'll notice an abundance of stainless steel worktops. Impervious to heat and virtually indestructible, stainless steel is a countertop material designed for serious cooks. (And, in recent years, stainless has infiltrated just about every surface in the home kitchen.) Does this translate into the ideal work surface for you? Read our primer to fully understand stainless.
Above: Stainless steel counters are paired with wood cabinetry in a Brooklyn townhouse kitchen remodel by architects Fernlund + Logan (who have since opened their own offices: Solveig Fernlund Design and Neil Logan Architecture). See a Scandi Kitchen in Brooklyn for a detailed look at the project. Image by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.
What is stainless steel?
Stainless is a steel that contains a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium, which makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. It comes in various grades that depend on the additional metal alloys that are mixed in. Type 304, or austenitic steel, is known as food-grade stainless because food and hot cooking tools can be safely placed directly on its surface. The most commonly used stainless for countertops, Type 304 contains a high level of chromium and nickel, which increases its stain and heat resistance.
Another important detail to know: stainless steel is manufactured in a variety of gauges (14 to 20 are the typical gauges and represent the thickness of the sheet—14 gauge is 1.4 millimeters thick—and subsequently its strength). The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel; the thicker the steel, the stronger your counter will be for handling weighty equipment and heavy use without denting: 16- and 18-gauge steel are the most commonly used thicknesses for residential applications, while 14 gauge is found in many commercial settings.
Should stainless steel be on your countertop shortlist?
Stainless steel has all the qualities needed for an indestructible kitchen worktop. Heat resistant? Check. Non-staining? Check. Hygienic and easy to clean? Check. It's a nonporous material that unlike butcher block, concrete, and many natural stones, will not absorb even the toughest of cooking ingredients—which means that stainless doesn't stain or harbor bacteria. Hot pots and pans can be placed directly on its surface without worry. That said, stainless steel, like many materials, shows scratches, especially if sharp knives and other tools are used directly on it. (And stainless itself will damage knives, so it's wise to cut on a cutting board.) Most stainless used for countertop applications is brushed which serves to camouflage small scratches, but, even so, it will patina over time.
Concerned about the cool industrial feel of stainless? It can be paired with other warm countertop materials to soften the look. When I lived in London 10 years ago, my kitchen had hardworking stainless countertops around the stove mixed with butcher block and stone countertops in the prep areas.
Above: A stainless-steel-appointed kitchen with a rustic wood floor at the Brücke 49 Hotel Pension in the alpine spa town of Vals, Switzerland.
What are the installation guidelines?
Stainless steel countertops are typically custom fabricated. Sheets of stainless are cut to size specifications and placed on top of a wooden substructure. The sheet is typically wrapped over the edge to achieve the look of a standard countertop or can be cut flush with the wood base. The stainless steel can also be folded and run up the wall to create a backsplash.
What kind of edge profiles are available?
Because stainless countertops are typically custom fabricated, the sheet can be wrapped over the edge in a variety of thicknesses. To get the look of standard countertop thickness, a 1.5 inch side drop is specified, but many variations, from thick to thin, are possible.
Different edge shapes, or profiles, are also available. The most common is an eased square edge; other options include a beveled edge, bullnosed (rounded) edge, or no wrapped edge at all.
Above: The thin flat top stainless steel countertops in a kitchen by architect Jerome Buttrick have an appealing modern look and offer a cost savings over the traditional practice of wrapping the counter edges.
Above: Favored in some restaurant settings, the marine edge profile is an option that keeps liquids from running off the counter. Image via General Hotel and Restaurant Supply Corp.
Above: A detail of the stainless steel countertop of the Fernlund + Logan kitchen shown at the top of the post. A signature of the architects is to leave the striped plywood exposed and have the stainless counter rest on top with no edge wrap. See a Scandi Kitchen in Brooklyn for a tour of the project. Image by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.
What are the finish options?
Stainless steel counters are available in several finishes: brushed, satin polish, mirror polish, and antique matte to name a few. Brushed finish is the most popular because it looks smooth and soft, and doesn't show as many fingerprints or scratches as the polished options.
How do you clean and maintain stainless counters?
Cleaning stainless steel is easy: the non-porous nature of the material means that foods and liquids sit on top of it and are best removed with mild soap and a soft cloth. Fingerprints, too, accumulate on the surface until cleaned. You can use special stainless steel cleaners and polishes to minimize fingerprints, but over time there's no avoiding some signs of use and abuse. Mirrored polish stainless typically requires periodic polishing to maintain its high luster. Specialty Stainless offers a useful Re-Polishing Stainless Steel Primer.
Above: In a kitchen by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick, the architects used a very fine brush-finished stainless. While pleasing to the eye, the finish requires regular maintenance—the owners apply an aerosol stainless steel cleaner with a cotton cloth—to keep it fingerprint-free and polished. Take a tour and hear from the architects about the Twice-Designed Loft. Image by Ty Cole.
How much do stainless steel countertops cost?
Not a budget choice, stainless steel countertops run between $75 and $150 per square foot installed. Prices vary depending on site-specific needs, the level of customization, your location, and the gauge of the stainless sheeting used. This is comparable to quality natural stone counters and more expensive than butcher block.
One way to cut costs dramatically is to use pre-fabricated restaurant stainless steel work tables and counters available through restaurant supply companies, such as the Web Restaurant Store. There are fewer options in terms of sizing, but it can be an appealing way to integrate a stainless work surface into an existing kitchen or replace counters with a non-built-in alternative.
Above: For an affordable compact kitchen in her own guest quarters in Brooklyn, architect Elizabeth Roberts sourced a stainless countertop from a Bowery restaurant supply store and paired it with Ikea Applad Cabinets. See the full project on pages 76-91 of the Remodelista Book. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.
Stainless Steel Countertop Recap
Researching new countertops? Read Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Kitchen Countertops. And for more specifics on the subject, see our Remodeling 101 posts:
Inspired by her Mexican heritage and Aztec culture, LA artist Dora De Larios knew from age eight that she would become an artist. After attending the University of Southern California (where she trained under acclaimed ceramic artists Vivika and Otto Heino), De Lario and a fellow classmate formed Irving Studio, a workshop of ceramicists, as well as a painter and a sculptor, that became part of LA's burgeoning arts scene in the late 1950s.
A career breakthrough for De Larios came in the late seventies, when she was one of 14 potters commissioned by First Lady Rosalyn Carter to make 12 place settings for the White House's annual Senate Ladies' Luncheon. “What is so exciting to me is that the heritage of our crafts has not been lost under the weight and speed of advancing technology,” Rosalyn Carter wrote in a letter to to the senate wives.
Jumping forward several decades, De Larios was honored with a 50-year retrospective, Sueños/Yume, in 2009 at LA's Craft and Folk Art Museum and her ceramic sculptures were part of a 2011 exhibition at the Getty Musem. And Irving Place Studio was revived in 2012; now a collaboration between De Larios, her daughter Sabrina Judge, and son-in-law, Aaron Glascock, the workshop still specializes in simple, hand-thrown, everyday ceramics of the sort that caught Roslyn Carter's eye.
Above: The Irving Place Studio Porcelain Serving Bowl is $180. All bowls and plates are thrown on a potter's wheel by a master ceramicist. All pieces are handmade in LA.
Above: The Irving Place Studio Porcelain Basic Bowl is $65. The studio's bowls and plates are made of porcelain or stoneware.
Above: The Irving Place Studio Shallow Basic Bowl is $68. Most of the clay and glazes come from the US.
Above: The Irving Studio Place Porcelain Cereal Bowl is $48.
Above: The Irving Place Studio Drinking Bowl is $38, ideal for green tea.
Above: The 12-inch wide Irving Place Studio Large Salad Bowl is $220.
Above: A vase in a cake finish (a white glaze on blonde stoneware). Thanks to her decades of expertise, De Larios is the studio's resident glaze expert and cake is Irving Place's latest glaze and clay combo.
Above: The Drinking Bowl in cake. The cake finish is available in all bowl and plates. Contact the studio for pricing.
Above: A porcelain plate being dipped in white glaze. Each piece is worked on at least 12 times.
Above: The Irving Studio Place kiln.
Above: The blue-and-white porcelain setting that De Larios made for Rosalyn Carter's White House's annual Senate Ladies Luncheon in the 1970s.
Above: De Larios posing in her kiln in the late 1950s.
Interested in seeing more ceramics? Have you heard of Coors labware porcelain? Have a look at Izabella's Design Sleuth: The Porcelain Funnel to learn about the Colorado company. And discover the latest Danish ceramics by visiting the Tortus Copenhagen Studio.
Care to stay in the home of internationally renowned Swiss architect (and Pritzker Prize winner) Peter Zumthor? Architectural enthusiasts are in luck: Zumthor recently started renting out Unterhus, one of two vacation cabins he built on a mountainside in the tiny Swiss hamlet of Leis. The adjacent second house, the Oberhus, is Zumthor's own retreat where he lives with his wife, Annalisa, who grew up in the area and had long pined for a mountain home.
His light, airy, narrow wooden structures are a modern take on the surrounding traditional architecture, the antithesis to one of Zumthor's most revered works, the Hotel Thermes Vals, located on the valley floor below and built from gray quartzite and concrete.
N.B.: Zumthor has recently completed a third cabin nearby, Türmlihus, that's newly available for rent. For more information, go to Zumthor Ferien Haeuser.
Photography by Hélène Binet.
Above: Zumthor's cabins are sited on a snowy incline. There's great skiing—and hiking—directly from the doorsteps; click here for info on winter sports in the area.
Above: Large windows open up to panoramic views and extend almost the width of the house.
Above: The walls are made from tongue and groove pine boards.
Above: In the living room, a small low window with a sliding shutter reveals the view outside.
Above: Zumthor's work is minimalist but rich with detail, with great attention paid to the woodwork (his father was a cabinetmaker by trade).
Above: A sliding panoramic window in the bedroom.
Above: Wood detailing is present throughout the house, including the bathroom, which even has a wooden sink. Another small window can be seen in the far wall.
Above: An outdoor seating area on a stone terrace for dining al fresco in warmer weather. Zumthor supplies guests with backpacks, thermos flasks, binoculars, hiking sticks, a local map, and the Handbuch Schweizer Alpen with detailed information on Alpine flora and fauna and geology.
Above: The village of Leis has just 20 inhabitants, and at 5,125 feet above sea level, it's the highest hamlet in the Vals area that's inhabited all year round.
Above: Zumthor used wood beam construction; the roof is clad in local granite slabs required by local building code. In lieu of a central beam, he used steel rods to pull together the wood-framed walls, leaving a space between the roof and the top of the house.
Above: The houses, viewed from across the valley.
If, like us, you can't get enough of Peter Zumthor, take a look at his book Thinking Architecture. The ultimate Swiss vacation? Combine a stay in one of Zumthor's cabins with a visit to Vals Thermal Spa, his monumental resort design.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on February 6, 2013 as part of our On the Mountain issue.
The coziest spot in the house? We vote for the reading nook; here are 10 we're liking right now.
Above: A window nook in Scandinavia by Denis Bjerregaard, via Agentur.
Above: A built-in daybed from designer Alexandra Loew of Los Angeles-based Desk of Lola.
Above: A window seat in the Hope Mousehole in Cornwall, England, owned by photographer Paul Massey (it's available for rent).
Above: A reading niche via photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo's Bringing Nature Home.
Above: A reading nook in a glass extension by London architects Platform 5.
Above: A reading niche in a Sonoma house by Neal Schwartz of Schwartz and Architecture.
Also don't miss 10 Attic Loft Bedrooms, Rustic Edition. Another built-in favorite? Bunk beds; see our roundup of possibilities. And over at Gardenista, have a look at Cottage & Cabins, including the Ultimate Treehouses.
Cinema Sil Plaz was born out of necessity. When the last cinema in the Alpine town of Ilanz, Switzerland, closed down over 20 years ago, resident moviegoers banded together to form their own film club. The club’s 300 members were constantly on the lookout for places to screen movies, and after several years of screening in makeshift locations, the idea of having a permanent home for a new theater began to take hold.
In 2004, club members discovered a former 19th century forge that had recently become vacant. Using a mix of local and imported materials, film club members and local architects Ramun Capaul and Gordian Blumenthal created an inviting, minimalist movie theater that has become a cultural hub for the inhabitants of the surrounding Surselva district.
What can’t be conveyed through photographs are the sensory details that add to Cinema Sil Plaz’s charm: the smell of aged leather and raw wood, the feel of the waxed rammed earth floor and untreated walls, and even the occasional (unintended) sound of church bells ringing from next door, sometimes right in the middle of a movie.
Photography by Bruno Augsburger and Laura Egger for Cinema Sil Plaz, unless otherwise noted.
Above: Cinema Sil Plaz opened in the fall of 2010 with a screening of Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless. The screening room is made of rammed earth.
Above: The earthy hue of the theater’s 52 seats contrast with the stark black speakers and spartan light fixtures. The seats were made locally with an oak hardwood frame. And while the architects express a preference for local materials, the sheep leather they chose for the chairs was sourced from Marrakech.
Above: A porthole provides a view into the screening room from the projectionists’ room. Photograph from Foundation Pour L'Architecture.
Above: Intermission during movies is regularly observed in the theater’s upstairs bar, which was designed to encourage lingering. A raised wooden stage houses vintage tables and chairs on movie nights where moviegoers can sit to enjoy drinks and snacks. On nights when there are no screenings scheduled, it’s also where bands perform.
Above: A sliding barn door made of steel opens into the bathroom.
Above: The bathroom just off the theater's bar.
Above: A raised wooden stage houses tables and chairs on movie nights. Bands perform on this stage on nights when there is no movie scheduled.
Above: Cinema Sil Plaz is located at Via Centrala 2 in Ilanz, Switzerland.
For more about rammed earth, see our post: Rammed Earth House by CCS Architects. Interested in a similar look? See more posts on Concrete in our archive. Like classic French films? See our post on Truffaut-Inspired Colored Carnations.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on February 20, 2013 as part of our Film Fest issue.
Every woman (and man) should love their contractor. Why? Because the contractor is like the glue of a project. While an architect creates and oversees the design, the contractor and his team of workers—subcontractors—executes the vision. It's the contractor who you will always find on site and he's the person everyone turns to for help and problem solving as construction progresses. We asked Sonoma-based general contractor Erio Brown to fill us in on the crucial things to consider and how to find the contractor who is right for your job.
Photography by Liesa Johannssen for Remodelista.
Remodelista: What's the biggest mistake people make when hiring a contractor?
Erio Brown: Sometimes people hire a contractor only because he or she came in with the lowest bid. You should try to hire a contractor who has a good reputation, someone who comes to you through referral. There are contractors who will lowball a bid in order to get the job and then bury the client with change orders—a change to the original scope of work on the contract—that can be costly. Always ask for references and then interview the contractor's previous clients if you can.
Above: Erio Brown reviews plans on site.
RM: How do you make the experience a collaborative thing and not just a business transaction?
EB: Yeah, this can be a tough transition to make, but I think it's very important. The bottom line is the client needs work done on their home or business, and they have a limited budget. The contractor needs to earn enough to cover all of the materials, plus labor, insurance, etc, and still make a profit. During the bidding process, the client and contractor are figuratively sitting across the table from one another. But once the contract is signed and an agreement is reached, it is critical that they are now on the same side of the table and it becomes a partnership.
RM: How do you begin the process?
EB: I always try to have the initial meeting at the project site, even if it's a bare patch of land. This helps put the client at ease because we're meeting on their turf, and, of course, it's necessary in order for me to get a real sense of the project. That first meeting is really to see if you have a connection, and that first impression is important. Also, if the homeowner signs the contract in the contractor's office it's very difficult to cancel. But if the contract is signed at the homeowner's property, then you have three days to cancel.
Above: Brown mocks up a stair banister design to show the Sonoma client.
RM: Do you work with your clients on site?
EB: This should be a real partnership and there should never be a problem with the homeowner coming by the job at any time. Many times the client will just walk around the job and then leave without saying a word. They may want to give their friends a tour. It also allows the contractor and homeowner to work together and really fine-tune the project. I am a big proponent of doing mock-ups that allow the homeowners to really see how how a design feature is going to look. It can be difficult to envision how something like window trim or a stair banister is going to turn out if you're just looking at the plans. We keep a supply of materials on hand to do quick mock-ups.
Above: Brown measures the size of a deck on a blueprint.
RM: How do you navigate working with an architect and a client?
EB: This is another good question to ask a potential contractor. Smaller-scale projects can be handled by the homeowner and the builder. For a bigger remodel or a new construction, the homeowner will hire an architect and once the plans are complete, they'll start to interview contractors. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes between the contractor and the architect, so I work to have a good relationship with the architect. You can always ask your architect to recommend builders that he or she has worked with and who know how to build houses in the style in question.
Above: A custom bathroom vanity raised in place at floor level and ready for the tiles to be placed underneath.
RM: Things a client should consider ahead of time?
EB: Clients often wonder why they have to commit to so many details ahead of time. Sometimes they want to see the house framed and the drywall installed before they decide on what materials to select, but a lot of decisions need to happen early in the process. For example, we need to know what flooring material they would like because the thickness of the floor should relate to the door thresholds and built-in cabinets, which means the client has to decide what goes on the floor. If the tile is selected early in the process, then we can adjust the framing so that we'll be able to use full tiles and not have odd cuts. This is important in showers and for kitchen backsplashes. And knowing the size of door and window trim means we know how to place light switches and outlets. It's better to spend the time in the beginning than to fix it later. Spending some additional time in the beginning can save money down the road and you'll end up with a much better project.
Above: A window trim mockup, which will enable the client to decide the width of the trim and review the wood that will be used on the interior walls.
RM: Ideal/dream client?
EB: I really like to work with people who are excited about their project. This is their home and it is a very personal space, so I want them to be very involved. I spent many years working as a builder on feature films and TV, so I really like it when a client wants to try something ambitious or creative.
Above: In the Sonoma master bedroom under construction, the placement and size of the bed has already been determined so that outlets can be installed in the right spots on either side of the bed.
RM: Are there certain projects you won't take on?
EB: That's a tough question because many contractors don't have the luxury of turning down jobs. Our industry has had it rough for the last few years. That said, I've turned down a number of jobs because something about the project didn't work for me. Some jobs are too far away and mean I would spend too much time driving and not be able to give the project the time it deserves. That's a good reason to hire a local builder. I just had to turn down a very interesting new house because the client and architect wanted to use a new building technique that I'm not familiar with, and I didn't feel I could get the project done on time and in budget.
Above: A crew member at work on the galvanized metal roof.
RM: Do you ever work long distance with a client?
EB: We work long distance with clients often. It does slow down the project a little bit, because there can be a delay in decision making. But in this age of laptops and smart phones, it's become much easier to work together from afar. I love being able to email or text photos right from the job site and have real time interaction with the client. FaceTime is invaluable.
Above: Brown discusses building details with Jon Curry; the two often collaborate.
RM: Final thoughts on finding a good contractor?
EB: Definitely aim to find someone through a direct referral or word of mouth. A contractor's reputation is very important, and a reputable builder will work very hard to keep clients happy and not burn bridges. Ask friends or neighbors about who worked on their house, and about the whole experience. You want to find out if the project stayed on budget, if the work was done well, and if the contractor checked in after the job was complete. I don't do any advertising and I am the first to admit that I'm terrible at self promotion; that's why my reputation is so important: I only get jobs through client referral and I also rely heavily on real estate agents, architects, and designers. Yelp or Angie's list can be good resources for doing some additional research after you've found a contractor you're considering hiring. If you're in California, you should also always check with the Contractors State License Board, a site where you can make sure your potential contractor has a valid license that's in good standing and is insured and bonded. [Each state has its own requirements and licensing board.] It can be tempting for a homeowner to hire an unlicensed builder because it might save some money, but hiring a licensed contractor really protects you as a homeowner.
For more advice from experts, check out our posts: 15 Secrets for Saving Money on Home Renovation, 15 Essential Tips for Designing the Kitchen, and 10 Essential Tips for Designing the Bathroom. And on Gardenista, see 10 Mistakes to Avoid when you Remodel.
N.B. Erio Brown is married to clothing designer and doll maker Jess Brown, who we featured in our post The Accidental Dollmaker.
Sometimes DIY is a bit like giving birth: faced with the beautiful results of your efforts, you begin to forget what a pain it was. And so, nearly a year after completing the arduous task of painting my daughter Solvi's room with a roller, I found myself trying out a different stencil technique in my son Olie's room. Don't get me wrong, both rooms were well worth the effort, but they were definitely labors of love.
Immediately after I'd finished Solvi's room, Oliver started pestering me about doing something similar in his space. But it took some time to find a design that inspired me to put stencil to wall again. For Solvi's room, I had gone with a romantic, almost Victorian, theme. For Oliver's room I wanted something a bit more masculine, but nothing too obvious.
Then, a couple weeks ago, my Etsy circle led me to this tree wall stencil, the Taiga design by StenCilit. I was immediately captured by the simple Scandi-style graphics, slightly more boyish but still in keeping with the Gustavian palette of the rest of the house. Plus, one of our favorite books is about the taiga, or boreal forest, so the theme seemed perfect. And the fact that it was a stencil appealed because it looked like it might be slightly less labor intensive than the roller technique I used in Solvi's room. Surely this time, with a little practice under my belt, the process would go more smoothly.
Photographs by Justine Hand.
Above: Possessed with the confidence of the experienced, I laid out my supplies and was ready to begin.
Note: When choosing your supplies for this project, make sure to select a roller with a shorter nap (3/8 inch), because you don't want it to absorb too much paint that could potentially leak under the stencil. Also—and this is a very important point for stenciling—the paint for your stencil should be water based and not too sticky. I used a Benjamin Moore Aura paint leftover from the bathroom because I loved the color. However, though I would recommend Aura paint for almost all situations, it was too viscous for stenciling, which led to some bleeding. (I also think this was the reason there was so much slippage with Solvi's project. Lesson learned!) Fortunately, in this case, the dispersed stenciled pattern made it pretty easy to fix mistakes with an overlay of base coat. For covering mistakes, Aura paint is perfect.
Step 1: Apply a base coat over all the walls you wish to stencil and allow to dry thoroughly. I wanted a crisp Scandi feel, so I choose Benjamin Moore's Decorators White in matte.
Step 2: To position your stencil, begin in the upper right-hand corner of one wall. Making sure the stencil is aligned with wall and the trim, tape it securely to the wall with painter's tape.
Step 3: Grab the paint with your roller making sure that it is thoroughly saturated but not dripping. Roll off excess paint on the tray.
Step 4: Starting at the top, roll down pressing firmly enough to get a crisp design, but not so hard that you push the paint under the stencil. This can take some practice, but I found I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Step 5: To repeat the pattern, simply overlap the last row, either horizontally or vertically, depending on which direction you are going. I worked down each wall and then moved back to the top of the next row and down again, until the wall was covered. If you need to take a break, you can wash off your stencil—it's made of mylar—and leave it to dry until you're ready to begin again.
Step 6: After I completed all the large areas, I cut a piece of the stencil to finish off the edges and small spaces. Of course this ruined the stencil for future use, but it got pretty gummy anyway and, really, one tree-patterned room per household is enough. Then with a small brush, I touched up mistakes with a bit of my base coat.
Above: Oliver's room is now crisp and clean and cheerful.
Above: I'm truly sorry that I didn't get a before picture of the room. Suffice to say that the walls were pale lemon yellow, and the compact furniture, which worked perfectly in our previous apartments, was dwarfed by the scale of the room. To unify the space while maximizing storage, I choose two PAX cabinets from Ikea (79 inches by 13 inches, a size you can only order in the stores) with Bergsbo doors ($49.95 each) . To give these a more Gustavian look to complement the stenciling and our historic house, I painted the wardrobes Benjamin Moore Sea Salt. I paired an eagle kite that Aunt Sheila brought Oliver from China with an Ikea rug and bunk bed we already owned, and our Boreal Bedroom was complete—or nearly; there are still a few touches I'd like to get to, such as adding sconces.
Above: The kids settled right into the new space. (It will never look this clean again, but that's OK.)
N.B. We've been taking note of the contemporary approach to creative stenciling, including DIY: Dramatic Floor Stencils. Thinking of wallpaper? Follow Michelle's adventures on Gardenista figuring out How to Pick the Perfect Pattern. And have a look at her choice: The Perks of Being a Pale Blue Wallpaper.
After two years, I was ready to part ways with my right-angled headboard, which I fought with every time I tried to sit up and do some laptop work in bed. My mishmash of creatively arranged pillows was not a good enough solution. Enter the angled headboard, which provides exactly the support I was looking for. And it turns out there are plenty out there. Here are five I like, priced from low to high.
Above: From Ikea, the Nyvoll bedframe in light gray, $179.
Above: After looking at—and testing—lots of models, Muji Ash Bed, $555-$675, is one I ultimately went with—and I'm happy to report it took 15 minutes to assemble.
Above: The Dondra Bed from CB2, $799-$999.
Above: Crate & Barrel's Varick Bed, $1,099-$1,299.
Above: Le Lit De Julie (The Julie Bed), from Montreal-based Objets Mecaniques, $2,500.
For all things headboard, check out our slew of posts here, including Five Favorites: Textiles as Headboards. And for advice on how to make the perfect bed, see Michelle's Pillow Talk post on Gardenista.
Spotted (and admired) on Finnish blogger Minna Jones' Time of the Aquarius, the dual-purpose Dyson Hot + Cold fan, which cools your space in the summer and heats it in the winter.
Above: "First thing we do when we come to our country place on the archipelago is start to warm up the place; we have radiators and a fireplace, but it takes time. With our new heater we can get the heat from +6 Celsius (42.8 Fahrenheit) to +24 Celsius (+75.2 Fahrenheit) in an hour," reports Minna.
Above: "After the cabin heats up, I move the heater to the corner where I also keep my 1970s vacuum cleaner tucked under the bed in a basket," Minna says.
Above: The Dyson AM04 Hot + Cool Heater/Table Fan is $345.99 from Amazon.
Above: The next generation Dyson AM05 Hot + Cool Fan Heater is $429.99.
"I don't know anybody who's not worried about water," Gardenista editor Michelle says. "There's either too much of it or too little. In California, where I live, we're experiencing the worst drought in a century. In New York, where my friends live, sea levels are rising so fast that LaGuardia Airport may become a modern version of the lost city of Atlantis by 2100."
So here's how to cope:
Above: Erin chats with landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck about designing gardens in arid landscapes; see Ask the Expert: 11 Tips for Designing a Water-Conscious Garden.
Above: Michelle checks in with Sally Dominguez, a Bay Area-based architect and graywater crusader (she invented the Rainwater Hog, shown above), who tells us 7 Ways to Save Water in the Garden.
Above: One of those details you don't think about until you suddenly need them: Hardscaping 101: Rain Gutters.
Above: Erin dropped in on Caffe Spina in Greenpoint, more than just a flower shop (hint: coffee is involved).
Above: And for our new Outbuilding of Week feature, Michelle visits An Old Barn as Energy-Efficient Guesthouse in California's Santa Ynez mountains.
This past week on Remodelista, we gave wintery interiors and designs a final salute. Next week, we unveil our Velvet Underground issue, a celebration of stealth luxuries, from metallic paints to Kul, a new restaurant in Copenhagen, and a coffee table Michelle purchased from a site called Previously Owned by a Gay Man. Stay tuned—and, in the meantime, here are a few more things we've been obsessing over:
Above: While visiting a lacquer workshop in Myanmar last week, Christine spotted bamboo mats on bamboo floors and was reminded of the Mystery of Bamboo Floors Uncovered. Photograph by Christine Chang Hanway.
As winter wanes, if you find yourself waxing lyrical for cabin life, Juniper Ridge offers a choice of woodsy cabin sprays with scents like Big Sur, Siskiyou, and Cascade Glacier.
Trying to get a toehold in San Francisco? Refinery 29's tips on landing an apartment in the city makes it seem possible.
Above: Meredith is coveting a Vitamix, and here is your chance to win one.
We're also giving away a $5,000 shopping spree at Terrain in Philadelphia (trip for two included) with a meal and guidance from our very own Julie Carlson.
As a latte addict, Dalilah plans to head straight to the florist coffee shop during her next trip to New York City.
Above: Alexa is looking forward to visiting the house and studio of architect Luis Barragán while in Mexico City later this week.
Gardenista's Erin Boyle recently moved to a slightly bigger space, but we're still admiring how she and her husband made their tiny Brooklyn apartment—a mere 240 square feet—work for over two years.
Domaine breaks down what you need to mimic the modern rustic look at Nolita's newest restaurant, The Musket Room. For another Nolita gem, check out McNally Jackson bookstore's Goods for the Study.
Sarah's been enjoying this hilarious piece on What Goes on Behind Closed Doors at Hotels with Gary Shteyngart via Travel and Leisure.
Above: We'll never tire of vertical gardens.
We're hoping Everlane makes a woman's version of their new blazer for men.
Above: Margot has been admiring the all-American cashmere throws—made entirely in the U.S.; yes, the goats are raised here—from new online shop J.M. Generals.
In this week's Velvet Underground issue at Remodelista, we're dodging the winter doldrums by celebrating—and sourcing—stealth luxury of all sorts, from grandmotherly crystal (now starting to resurface and look astonishingly fresh) to wildly patterned marble bathrooms, black glass lights, metallic paints, and a just-opened French-style Greenwich Village hotel with the tagline, "Honey, I shrunk the Ritz."
N.B.: Table of Contents is a new Monday column to fill you in on what's what every week at Remodelista. (If you're a subscriber, note that our posts go up a day before they get emailed.)
Today we'll be inspecting The Apartment, a fully furnished Soho loft in which everything, down to the bedside slippers, happens to be for sale. And don't miss Michelle's Domestic Dispatches column (this week she hunts down the perfect brass and marble coffee table).
On Tuesday, you'll find not exactly your grandmother's cut crystal. Shown here, vintage vases with vegetable arrangements at Babylonen Store in Cape Town, South Africa. Also look for our weekly Steal This Look, which runs first thing every Tuesday.
Is dramatically patterned marble (known around here as ugly marble) due for a comeback? Alexa explores bathrooms with memorable marble, including this Annabelle Selldorf design. And we'll be featuring velvet sofas, luxe edition, in our weekly 10 Easy Pieces feature.
New York's new gentility: wood paneling, leather-upholstered armchairs, and a blazing fire at Sean MacPherson's splendid if diminutive Marlton Hotel in Greenwich Village. And in our weekly Remodeling 101, Christine will be investigating the ins and outs of roller blinds.
Rest easy—we end the week with a roundup of silky (but sleaze-free) pillowcase (shown above, a stack of slips from Sferra). And for our Style Counsel column, Alexa checks in with Parisian designer Christophe Lemaire (if you don't recognize his name, you will soon).
Any design or remodeling topics you're waiting for us cover, or stealth luxuries you'd like to share? Fill us in in the comments section.
To celebrate the arrival of spring, we've partnered with Terrain to offer US-based Remodelista readers a chance to win a trip for two to Philadelphia, and a $5,000 shopping spree at Terrain's flagship store guided by Remodelista's Julie Carlson.
The grand prize for one lucky reader:
View the official rules and enter to win below. (Note that the winner must be able to visit Terrain on April 19.)
Above: Enter your email for a chance to win at Terrain + Remodelista's Win $5,000 and a Trip to Terrain contest page. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on March 20, 2014.
Above: The garden center at Terrain's 11-acre shop in Glen Mills, PA, just outside of Philadelphia.
Above: A meal at Terrain's Garden Café made from locally farmed ingredients, including golden beets. Yes, that's warm bread baked in a terra-cotta pot and served with sage honey butter.
Above: Terrain has been in business since 2008; in addition to its well-stocked nursery, it offers a full range of designs for the home, from outdoor and indoor furniture to tableware, linens, and beauty products, all with a garden-inspired slant.
Enter to win the shopping spree and trip for to at Terrain.
Online boutique The Line—purveyors of simple, soignee (and undeniably pricey) fashion, furniture, and even toothpaste—have opened The Apartment, a remodeled Soho loft furnished with the site's invitingly laid-back objects.
The collection and its club house are the work of star stylists and The Line co-founders Vanessa Traina, daughter of novelist Danielle Steele, and Morgan Wendelborn, who have masterfully translated today's yearning for authenticity and craftsmanship into a new buying experience. Collaborating with Andrea Steele of And Architects (who had a hand in the renovation of the nearby Donald Judd loft) and set designer Carl Sprague, they created a fully detailed living space in which no one is in residence and everything, down to the dish soap, happens to be for sale. Browsers are invited in—The Apartment is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, and by appointment—to play house, lounge on the velvet sofa, try on clothes in the lacquered dressing room, and perhaps come away with a pair of $1,850 silk pajamas, a Scandinavian blonde daybed, giant fur throw, and Mason Pearson hairbrush to recreate the scenario back home.
Photographs courtesy of The Line.
Above: The Apartment is located at 76 Greene Street, on the third floor of one of the great cast-iron industrial buildings that originally inspired artists to colonize Soho.
Above: The loft is accessorized down to the Carl Aubock coat hooks (and coats themselves) in the entry—all are for sale (but so as not to kill the vibe, extra inventory is kept out of sight).
Above: Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn envisioned the loft as belonging to a woman with a taste for what they call "storied objects." The first such objects selected were this set of five handblown glass lights—the Neverending Glory Collection by Czech designers Jan Plechác and Henry Wielgus for Lasvit—that are silhouettes of chandeliers from the world's great opera houses; $1,760 each. They hang over a 10-foot-long marble dining table table with brushed steel legs that can be made to order in any size.
Above: A ledge for casually displaying objects runs alongside the dining table.
Above: In classic loft style, the Apartment's living area is open to the entry and kitchen/dining setup. It's anchored by a Las Venus sofa, the Ludlow in navy velvet, a custom adaptation of a 1970s design. It's draped in an outsized Fox Fur Throw by Area ID that's lined with wool cashmere. The shaggy rug is a hand-knotted Turkish Yatak.
Above: The living room's side chairs are the PK 22 in steel and natural canvas from Fritz Hansen of Denmark; a 1957 design by Poul Kjaerholm, they're a modern take on the ancient Greek klismos chair and are available to order for $4,024. This one is topped with the Carlyle Knit Pillow by Armand Diradourian in a wool cashmere; $440.
Above: Positioned to take in the expansive street views from the living room, a Cast Plaster Resin Armchair—a vintage garden piece set on casters—is paired with a black and white Petrified Wood Side Table by Andrianna Shamaris. The stork-like light is the Dino Floor Lamp from Flair; $1,200.
Above: The PK 80 Daybed, another 1957 Poul Kjaerholm classic from Fritz Hansen, is layered with a brown-gray Christophe Lemaire Yak Shawl—yes, yak wool, said to be lighter, softer, and stronger than cashmere—and a Striped Throw in gray and cream cashmere by Armand Diradourian.
Above: Glassware at The Apartment is designed by Hudson Valley artist Deborah Ehrlich, whose designs are handblown of Swedish non-lead crystal (and can be seen at Blue Hill restaurant). Shown here, Ehrlich's Water Glass, $55, of which she has said, "I'm looking for a certain silence, a quiet."
Above: PK 71 Nesting Tables, Poul Kjaerholm's 1957 design in brushed stainless steel and acrylic, are sold in nesting sets of three; $2,197. They're artfully stacked here with a Las Venus Mirrored Cube Table and Andrianna Shamaris Small Wood Cube.
Above: The PK 71 works well on its own as a small display table.
Above: A glam dressing room divides the loft's living area from the bedroom, and is the place to browse and try on clothes by Reed Krackoff, Vince, and JW Anderson, among others. The Line recently debuted a line of pared-down, well-cut staples called Protagonist (we can't help but wonder if Danielle Steele came up with the name). The Moroccan Rug is by Creel and Gow.
Above: The loft is detailed like a movie set, down to its books, some of which came from Vanessa and Morgan's own collections, but most of which are for sale.
Above: The bedroom showcases the Line's bedding by Remodelista favorite Olatz, paired with Armand Diradourian wool cashmere Carlyle Knit Pillows and a Fox Fur throw by Area ID. The Apartment's Icelandic Sheepskins are sourced by architect Bryce Gracey; $245 each. Vanessa's own PP225 Flaglinestolen Chair by Hans Wegner for PP Mobler is a modern classic. The handmade slippers are the Alice Split Sole by LA company Newbark.
Above: The bedroom's clawfoot bathtub is stocked with The Line's global collection of beauty products. The metal wall unit is the 4G Shelf, made of wax-polished aluminum by Chicago designer Jonathan Nesci.
Above: The Line's skin products are Vanessa and Morgan's bonafide favorites, and range from the rarefied to health food store staple Skin Trip Coconut Soap and moisturizer made in Boulder, Colorado. They rest on a Teak and Resin Cube by Andrianna Shamaris. The fringed towel is a Scents and Feel Fouta handwoven in Tunisia; $77.
Further evidence that The Apartment is the creation of two stylists. Above L: A still life with Black Ceramic Pear by Creel and Gow—currently sold out; for more ideas, see 10 Decorative Pears (Partridge Not Included). The Horn and Chromed Brass Lighter is by Flair. Above R: KPM Berlin Egg Cups and KPM Gravy Boat on Architect Made Turning Trays by Danish architect Finn Juhl designed in 1956.
Take a cue from the fashion world; adorn your interiors with custom hardware of the highest order from Jonathan Browning.
Located in a historic building in San Francisco (a former publishing house), Jonathan Browning Studios creates hand machined bronze drapery hardware using a traditional 18th-century casting process. The aesthetic reflects Browning's affinity for early-20th century industrial design and French Beaux Arts classicism. His work is available to the trade through Dering Hall.
Above: Coin Edge Drapery Hardware in an antique bronze finish.
Above: A detail of the backplate of the Coin Edge Drapery Hardware.
Above: The Langeais Drapery Hardware in an oil-rubbed bronze finish.
Above: The Castellane Drapery Hardware in antique bronze.
Above: Bergerac Drapery Hardware in oil-rubbed bronze.
See the Jonathan Browning Studios Catalogue to view the complete collection of lighting and hardware. And for more inspiration, read Gardenista's post 5 Ways to Cover 50 Windows on a Budget and explore Remodelista's photo gallery of curtain designs.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 4, 2014 as part of our Low-Key Fashion week.