October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

From May 1st through the end of this weekend, Shanghai has been playing host
to a EXPO 2010. They are expecting an audience of 70 million. This
exposition got on my radar by way of a variety of sources talking about the
amazing architectural pavilions that have been built by the roughly 200
Of the most compelling are Thomas Heatherwick’s from the UK, which looks
like a porcupine; France’s “Sensual City”, Mass StudiesKorean Pavilion;
the 12 white towers of the Russian Pavilion, which get their inspiration
from traditional Russian women’s costumes; the Finnish “Kirnu”(Giant’s
Kettle) Pavilion
; and Japan’s Pavilion, which looks like a giant silkworm.

These intriguing design efforts help to bring home the realization that the
physical limitations on architecture seem to be waning — the ability of
this new class of ingenious designers seems to know no bounds.


UK Pavilion












French Pavilion











Korean Pavilion










Russian Pavilion











Finnish Pavilion











Japanese Pavilion














Location, Location, Location

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some of my oldest (longest running — not talking about their age) clients wanted to rework their entry foyer. With the kids finally gone, they wanted a little updating, but, as we were only talking about  their entryway, the task was limited. The extent of the new elements were: exchanging the track-lights for a newer version, replacing the door panel on the entry door and having the brass door and elevator hardware re-plated and polished. Other than that, all we did was re-paint the walls and trim, and rehang the pictures.  But the space looks very different now.

Which got me thinking, as I rehung the artwork – many places I visited have pictures that are hung completely wrong. Most often too high or too low, but sometimes too close, or too far away from furniture pieces or not lined up properly.

I thought a refresher might be worth a shot. Here is a list of 10 picture hanging guidelines from Craig Christine who is a California designer.


1. Artwork should not be wider than the piece of furniture below it and if narrower then is should be at least half the length.

2. If narrower, then it should be accompanied by smaller pieces of art work or other pieces (irons, plants) hung so it is centered according to the larger piece.

3. Artwork should be spaced no further than 8” apart and no closer than 3”.

4. The bottom of the artwork should never be so far away from the furniture item below it that it no longer can relate. Hang it generally no more than 6”-10” away.

5. If you are hanging a picture above a table that will have items on it such as picture frame or vase make sure that the picture will not be blocked completely by these items, a little bit is ok but you don’t want to over crowd the area.(I am a big fan of making the elements on the table creep into the frame or image on the wall, it has the effect of making the flat wall image more 3 dimensional as it brings the entire composition into the space of the room)

6. When hanging multiple pictures make sure the frames either coordinate or complement each other. A simple black frame will look silly next to a chunky ornate gold frame.(unless the images of colors tied them together, or if the wall is covered with miss-matched frames)

7. Hang artwork of similar styles(, imagery) & coloring together.

8. Smaller pictures looks best when hung in a group, either all lined up or mixed around and hung with other artwork of different sizes.(think about whether they should be all centered horizontally, or aligned on their tops or bottoms)

9. Heavier pieces of artwork should be hung below lighter pieces, whether it’s heavy in size, weight or color.

10. When it doubt cut paper to the sizes of your artwork and tape it to the wall to see what it would look like BEFORE you put holes in your wall.

11. The center of the piece should be located at 57”-59” off the ground, ideally.


1. measure the overall height of image/frame (A)- just a note: 2B=A or A/2=B

2. using your finger, pull the cable on the back of the frame to the top of the frame and measure the distance between that location of the cable and the top of the frame (C)

3. determine where you want the center of the image to be, typically between 57″-59″

4. hook height = 57″ + B – C


Justifying Chocolate and Vanilla

October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Last week, while scouting for another photo shoot of a converted 2 flat I did a couple of years ago, and meandering around the half complete decoration job, they would say the same, I couldn’t help but be hit with the realization about space, which is that everyone sees it differently. Sounds obvious enough, but when you are in a space that you designed and see how people have interpreted it so differently from how you envisioned it, it hits you in a real way. Imagine if someone replaced all your furniture and rearranged everything so that the space was unrecognizable.

I love that the space is a tabula rosa and offers different options for decorating and function, just wished they had had me do it.

Here are some before and afters of the foyer/entry.































































































A HIgher High(boy)

October 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Challenge: This bedroom needed more storage, and as so often happens, there was a challenge about where and how to achieve that. With doors, windows and closets on the other walls in this room, and a radiator sitting in the middle of the room’s bay, the one vacant wall, the options were limited. One option was to move the radiator to underneath the window. That, thought, would make having a nightstand, or night-chair, as it is, a bit tight.

Solution: We found a great antique highboy, with great traditional detailing to match the millwork in the home, and we mounted the highboy on the wall over the radiator, and paint all three, the cabinet, heater and wall, the same color, affectively making this traditional piece feel much more modern.

Better Plan(et)-Cheap Bush Dig

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Stephanie Rogers put together a list of “10 Green Things That Even George Bush could Do”, and as it is feeling like the weather is starting to turn, I thought now would be a good time to think energy efficiency, especially as we northerners tend to demand more energy in the winter. I augmented her list with numbers 11 and 12, which Bush could also easily do, but living in Texas, I would imagine they might not carry the same weight.

“For the eco novice who wants to do better but is sort of intimidated by the whole ‘green movement’, finding a good way to get started can be tough. It seems like there are so many ways in which you need to change, and you’re not sure where to start. Well, we’re here to tell you that getting onboard the green train is actually really easy, as long as you’ve got a nice list of simple green things you can accomplish on a daily basis. In fact, these 10 ways to green your life are so simple, even a nitwit like George W. Bush could do them.

1. Unplug it.
Even when you’ve got your electronics turned off, they’re still drawing power from the outlets. In fact, the Playstation 3 is such an energy hog that just leaving it plugged in uses five times more electricity in a year than the average mid-sized refrigerator. Phone chargers, televisions and stereo systems are other major culprits. An easy way to accomplish this is to plug these items into power strips, and simply turn off the power strip when the items aren’t in use. Pressing a button: so easy, even Dubya can do it.

2. Buy local food.
Think about this: the typical produce item from your grocery store travels up to 1,500 miles before it ends up in your refrigerator. Why buy food that came from so far away, when you likely have local farmers growing it right down the road? All that traveling wastes resources, and the trucks emit pollution into the air. Buying local means you’re supporting small farms and cutting back on pollution in one fell swoop.

3. Change a light bulb. There are half a dozen jokes out there about Bush changing a light bulb, but we think he can handle it, so long as someone puts the right replacement bulb in his hand. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which consume 75% less energy than conventional incandescents. CFLs convert most of the energy they draw into light rather than heat. They’ll save you money, too – they last much longer.

4. Do full loads of laundry and dishes, and use cold water. Every time you do a small load, you waste water and energy – why not wait another day or two until you’ve accumulated more dirty laundry or dishes? Plus, you can save a ton of energy by using cold water – most of the energy consumed by washers is used to heat the water. Choose short cycles when you’ve got anything less than a full load. Throwing a few more items into the washing machine – so easy, that if George W. Bush actually did his own laundry or washed dishes, he could do it.

5. Replace your air conditioning filter.
When the filter’s dirty, your A/C has to work a lot harder to cool down your home. So, if you keep it clean, it won’t have to run nearly as often – saving you a ton of money on your electric bill. As a nice bonus, a clean filter will also help remove smoke, pollen, moisture, airborne bacteria and other pollutants from the air in your home. Changing the filter is as easy as sliding the old one out and putting the new one in place. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Image via Reader’s Digest

6. Buy Energy Star® appliances. Appliances with the Energy Star® rating can save you about 30% in energy, water and sewer costs annually. They use 10-50% less water than conventional appliances, and they don’t cost too much more. Choosing energy efficient appliances is an incredibly easy way to go green, since you only have to think about it once, and after that they do all the work for you.

7. Get a tune-up. Just like Barack Obama said before the McCain camp mistakenly ridiculed him for it, tuning up your car and keeping your tires inflated can save you a ton of gas, helping both your wallet and the environment. A faulty energy sensor, worn spark plugs or dirty air filters can add up to a big reduction in miles per gallon. Plus, tune-ups can lengthen the life of your car, giving it that much longer before it makes its final journey to the scrap heap. The Republicans may have had a hard time grasping this one at first, but experts have all agreed: tune-ups and proper tire pressure are an easy way to go green.

8. Ride your bike. A moron, a monkey or a 4-year-old child could do it, which means George W. Bush can, too, as evidenced by the many photos of him cruising around his Texas ranch. Even just occasionally choosing to ride a bike instead of drive is a great step toward living a more environmentally responsible life. You’ll save gas money, get some exercise and fresh air and see your community up-close and personal.

9. Borrow, don’t buy. So, you’ve discovered that you’re temporarily in need of an item you don’t have around the house. Maybe it’s a gravy boat for that dinner you’re making for the in-laws, a feather boa for your friend’s themed bachelorette party or an obscure type of wrench for that damn IKEA bookcase. Don’t automatically run out to the store to buy it – you’re most likely only going to use it this once. What a waste of money, materials and packaging – and it’ll probably end up in the trash soon, too. See if a friend has one, or post a want ad in Craigslist or your local Freecycle.

10. Become tap conscious. Everyone knows by now to turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, but why not take it a few steps further? Turn on the tap only when the cup is under the spout. Don’t use hot water for small things like a quick hand rinse. Don’t leave the water running when it’s not needed and think about opening up the water just a bit- do you really need to blast your toothbrush with full-bore pressure every time? A little bit adds up to a whole lot if you can change your long-term habits.”

11. Lower hot water temperature. The cost of heating water for your home may amount to as much as 15 to 20 percent of your entire utility bill. Setting your water heater’s temperature in the 130-degree range instead of a higher one requires less energy to heat and to hold the water. Every 10 degrees you dial down the thermostat can knock 3 to 5 percent off your water-heating bill. In addition, a lower hot water temperature reduces the chance of scalding.

12. Lower thermostat, even a little. In the winter, turn your thermostats down to 68 degrees or below. For each 1 degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter, you’ll save up to 5% on your heating costs.

2011 TED Winner:JR

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

TED has awarded it’s 2011 prize to JR. “JR exhibits his photographs in the biggest art gallery on the planet. His work is presented freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Action; it talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.

JR’s career as a photographer began when he found a camera in the Paris subway. In his first major project, in 2001 and 2002, JR toured and photographed street art around Europe, tracking the people who communicate their messages to the world on walls. His first large-format postings began appearing on walls in Paris and Rome in 2003. His first book, Carnet de rue par JR, about street artists, appeared in 2005.

In 2006, he launched “Portrait of a Generation,” huge-format portraits of suburban “thugs” from Paris’ notorious banlieues, posted on the walls of the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became official when Paris City Hall wrapped its own building in JR’s photos.

In 2007, with business partner Marco, he did “Face 2 Face,” which some consider the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. JR and a grassroots team of community members posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the security fence/separation barrier.

He embarked on a long international trip in 2008 for his exhibition “Women Are Heroes,” a project underlining the dignity of women who are the target of conflict. In 2010, the film Women Are Heroeswas presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received a long-standing ovation.

JR is currently working on two projects: “Wrinkles of the City,” which questions the memory of a city and its inhabitants; and Unframed, which reinterprets famous photographs and photographers by taking photos from museum archives and exposing them to the world as huge-format photos on the walls of cities. It asks the question: What is the art piece then? The original photo, the photo “unframed” by JR or both?

JR creates pervasive art that spreads uninvited on buildings of Parisian slums, on walls in the Middle East, on broken bridges in Africa or in favelas in Brazil. People in the exhibit communities, those who often live with the bare minimum, discover something absolutely unnecessary but utterly wonderful. And they don’t just see it, they make it. Elderly women become models for a day; kids turn into artists for a week. In this art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.

After these local exhibitions, two important things happen: The images are transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where new people interpret them in the light of their own personal experience. And ongoing art and craft workshops in the originating community continue the work of celebrating everyone who lives there.

As he is anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full-frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/ interpreter.

This is what JR is working on. Raising questions…


Shanghai... Work in progress













Shanghai, projet Les Sillons de la Ville, 2010













Women are Heroes - Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya - 2008













Women are Heroes - Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya - 2008













Women are Heroes - Favela Morro Da Providencia, Rio de Janeiro - 2008












Face2Face - 2007













Women are Heroes - Favela Morro Da Providencia, Rio de Janeiro - 2008

Ten Pens

October 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have been, together with my clients, braining my way through a few details in this new construction house that is in the midst of construction. One of the key details we are hammering out is their master bathroom suite. In looking through the trove of magazines I go through, I came across the pendant I want to use above their master vanity. Inspired, I thought I’d offer some great pendants that I love.

3 Globe Branch Bubble by Lindsey Adelman






















Charlie Pendant by Rocky Mountain Hardware


















Eddie's Son Pendant by Ingo Maurer














Leonardo by Santa & Cole










Orbita by Almerich














Bravo Pendant by Rocky Mountain Hardware


















Re+ LED light


















String 10 by Patrick Townsend for Areaware


















Schwarzweiss by Ingo Maurer












35" Globe by Doyle Crosby for Boyd














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