June 27, 2007

Stone Light

These Stone Lights by Oluce look like a fun way of illuminating the landscape...

New York City in Two Days

Highlights found here.

June 19, 2007


Last night, I saw 'Helvetica' at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The film is a documentary, exploring typography and graphic design, while specifically focusing on Helvetica font, which will be celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Yes, I paid money to see a film about font. on the big screen. full-length feature film ...and you should too. The film was brilliant. Not only did it discuss the history of Helvetica, THE ubiquitous typeface, but also included interviews with a number of well-known and innovative graphic designers and typographers (i.e. Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter, Eric Spiekermann, Wim Crouwel, etc.).

As a child, I used to go thru all my dad's drawing and model supplies, searching for cool pencils, rapidograph pens and Pantone sheets. Thumbing thru press type, I noted my dad ALWAYS had a few sheets of Helvetica on hand. I remember my dad telling me, if ever in question about what type of font to use, just use Helvetica. It's classic.

Funny thing is, nowadays, Helvetica isn't so readily available. For example, Blogger doesn't offer Helvetica as one of their font option. Our email system at work doesn't have Helvetica on their font list either. Not that there is anything wrong with Arial ...or Webdings... but why exclude Helvetica? Seriously, let's be honest here, when do you EVER use Webdings?

June 14, 2007


Atlas Industries manufactures as4 - a beautiful line of modular furniture...
We've been considering using this system for the niche, between the closets in the master bedroom:
... still not sure which combination though. Probably some shelving with a desk or cabinets and drawers:
Eventually, it would be great to turn one of the rooms into a study or library...
... between the both of us we have a LOT of books, plus we both need some serious workspace...
... although, the desk configuration in the photo above wouldn't cut it. Not enough space to spread out.

NeoCon 2007 Wrap-Up

Yesterday morning, I managed to get over to the Merchandise Mart and check out this year's NeoCon offerings. I'm disappointed to say that nothing really stood out as awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, wow. However, I did note some highlights:

MOLO - Molo is a design studio, based in Canada, dedicated to materials research and design exploration. They had on display some really interesting pieces made of cardboard (not sure how well it wears though). I fell in love with Float - a line of thermally resistant glassware:
BERNHARDT - Bertoia's barstool still is #1 with me, however Bernhardt's Aro Barstool is very very nice. The seat is ever so slightly concave, allowing for comfortable seating. PLUS, the seat swivels - can't beat that:
MAHARAM - Every time I go into Maharam's showroom, I get this desire to take a textile's course. A favorite - 'Layers', made of overlapping stitched wool, by Hella Jongerius:
VITRA - Yes, that's right... Vitra has opened a showroom in the Merchandise Mart! However, it is very very very tiny. Still, the design of the showroom was rather cool. On display were primarily office systems and seating, plus a few little odds and ends, including the Eames Plywood Elephant:
I'm so excited... I'll be receiving one of the red elephants in December!!! I can't wait! They are so cool.

June 12, 2007

BEFORE we get to the details...

... we need to do some repair work on the the front steps, handrails and porch.

Like the house, the front steps and handrails are made of sandstone. We think we can salvage the handrails (although we will have to do some serious patch work on the bottom inside corner of one). The steps are another story... Ideally, we would replace the steps with new sandstone steps. However, given that we haven't won Lotto yet, sandstone is just not going to happen... the new steps will be concrete. We're still figuring out what to do with the porch and the front walk. Stay tuned...

June 8, 2007

... and now for the details

The drywallers finished up with the final tweaks yesterday. Overall things look pretty good. The doors off the corridor came out nicely (the transom idea was Bryan's... it really does give an illusion of full height doors). So... are we now FINALLY ready to install flooring upstairs? Not quite yet... we still have some messy work upstairs. The master bathroom's plumbing, electrical and framing must be completed and drywall/cement board must be installed. The goal is to get all the really dusty/sloppy stuff done before the nice floor and trim get installed.

Flooring will be a separate post (er, posts). Originally we were going to go with carpet, but I think we're both now leaning towards bamboo. As for trim...

My dad used a beautiful detail for door and window trim, on all the houses he worked on (a lot of commercial office interiors use one variation or other of this detail)... I'll have to upload some photos and some drawings illustrating the way he constructed the trim, however in the meantime, I have attached this Fry Reglet trim piece that is pretty much the same detail:
Usually at door and window openings, trim/moulding overlaps and sits atop the drywall. This detail puts the face of the trim flush with the drywall plane, and leaves a reveal between the trim and the drywall... a separation between different materials (Golden Rule of Architecture: If different materials are constructed to be on the same plane, ALWAYS leave a reveal between the materials... allowing them to breathe... and also because construction is never perfect).

My dad did majority of the construction work himself, so he knew his was framing and drywalling for this detail. However, trying to convey this design intent to the average subcontractor has been challenging. They just don't get it. We gave them dimensioned detailed drawings and a copy of the Fry Reglet cut sheet above. I even showed them photos of my dad's work...

Sub - "So, you want the drywall edges EXPOSED?"
Me - "Yes... finished with a corner bead, mudded and sanded and yes, exposed."
Sub - "But the moulding or trim will be covering up the edge of the drywall..."
Me - "No, there is to be a reveal between the trim and the drywall... they are in the same plane. Like this (me pointing to photos)"
Sub - "Yeah, um lady, someone forgot to fill in that gap or they forgot to put moulding on that door."
Me - "Can you just make sure to dimension the door width to X'-XX" and place corner beads on all drywall edges, please? I'll have you over for coffee once we get the trim put on and you can see it in person..."
Sub - "Okay, you're the boss lady... you architects always get these crazy ideas in your head. No moulding... crazy."

I'm excited to see if we will actually be able to pull off using this detail.

June 5, 2007

In the Manner of Dan Flavin...

Dan Flavin is a favorite - he creates amazing, beautiful works of art from standard fluorescent light fixtures.

Surfing around the internet, I stumbled upon the work of Henry Lau. After installing multiple slim-line fluorescent light fixtures in his apartment, he was left with great lengths of cord dangling everywhere.

He wrapped and secured the cord with U-hooks, on the walls, in a vine-like pattern.
I prefer no-cord, but if concealing the cords is not an option, this solution is brilliant.

June 4, 2007


The drywall still needs a few touch-ups here and there, but overall, it has been mudded, sanded and primed. We ended up going with Sherwin-Williams 'Harmony' Interior Primer. It is Low VOC, so it has no odor and also is non-toxic, which is nice, considering we are living in the house while it off-gases.
Back Bedroom


Middle Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Design Out of Reach

I have always had a love for Airstreams. They are classic. Their design, timeless, and their concept... "light enough to be towed by a standard automobile... every inch, a functional purpose".

If Chicago had a milder climate AND we had a bigger yard AND I had some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket... I would buy one in an instant. I'd park it out back and use it as a studio space/guest house. Then, if a road trip beckoned... just pack it up and hit the highway.

Well, today I read that Design Within Reach has teamed up with Airstream to create a special edition trailer, outfitted with Tripolina Chairs, Heller Dinnerware, a Nelson Ball Clock and even a Maharam Pillow... price = $49,066. Once again, Design Within Reach has put a favorite OUT of reach.

Well, to be fair, I guess it was never really in reach anyway...

June 1, 2007

Corona Solar Light

... no, unfortunately, it's not a new version of Corona Light beer that has been scientifically formulated to stay ice cold outdoors, by using the solar panels on the label to keep the bottle refrigerated (although if anyone from Corona happens to be reading this blog, I'm your new Director of Creative Marketing). No, no, seriously now... the Corona Solar Light uses solar panels to charge during the day, and once the sun goes down, the light can either be placed in the ground, using the included stakes, or detached and placed on a table top, like a portable candle. Bad news is currently it is only a conceptual product, awaiting connection with a manufacturer or distributor. Until then, Luce Plan has some light fixture options... no beer though.


Muji is coming to the States! New York, not Chicago though... what's up with that?

Marc Newson

A few months ago, I read about an exhibit of Marc Newson's work, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. I ended up purchasing the exhibit catalog, seduced by the marble bookcase and chair in the photo above. Each work in the exhibit is fashioned as a single, seamless piece. Beautiful.

Hooray for Wool

I am currently drooling over Ruckstuhl wool carpet...
the details are brilliant:
Until I can save up enough pennies for a Ruckstuhl purchase, I am very much enjoying my softbowl, by MIO. It's a great storage container PLUS it's eco-friendly. Made of 100% molded wool, a rapidly renewable material, the production of the bowls uses one tenth the energy needed to produce a ceramic version.