New York Boat Tour

 

New York is always fun to visit and this year we took an architectural boat tour around Manhattan. AIA New York has teamed up with the Classic Harbor Line to offer daily boat tours leaving from Chelsea Piers. The tours are led by a local architects who’s knowledge of the areas architecture is invaluable.

The almost three hour tour first takes you to a up close view of the Statue of Liberty. Then the boat goes up the East River, through the Harlem River and down the Hudson River where you get to view the New Jersey Palisades.

Another highlight of the tour is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Park on the tip of Roosevelt Island. The park was one of the last projects designed by the renowned architect Louis I. Kahn in 1972. It was finally built in 2010-2012.

Go here to book your tour.


Eileen Fisher - DesignWorks

 

Eileen Fisher was on the American Institute of Architects A’18 Expo Floor promoting her new business DesignWork. She created DesignWorks to compensate the fashion industry unsustainable business model of creating new clothes every year while tossing last years styles. Roughly 85% of textiles end up in land fills, including those donated to charity.

Fisher decided to recycle clothes into new beautiful objects that consumers will keep for years. After enjoying wearing Fisher’s clothes, the company will buy them back, in any condition, to be resold or renewed through techniques like overdyeing and mending which uses part of what is collected, but not all. In 2015, Eileen Fisher launched DesignWork studio to create new textiles and uses from scraps of their own remaining recycled materials.

All DesignWork materials are made directly from the old garments and scraps from new garments. They are felted with 100% recycled fabric from Eileen Fisher and transformed into products for the architecture trade and for homes. Products include pillows (shown above), wall hangings, and acoustical panels. The new felted fabrics are beautiful in looks and soft and cozy to touch.

Go to www.eileenfisherrenew.com to see how to recycle your clothes an receive a $5 Rewards card.


Custom Furniture Design

Did you know that we design custom furniture? We designed this walnut headboard that is book-matched with curly maple insets. It was made by Michael Sanders with Sanders' Woodworks  Below is a close up of the headboard.

We designed this pair of matching foyer tables with scrap slabs of marble.

Sometimes you need a skinny table that is just the right size. This is a steel table we designed that Pender Brothers made for us.

Likewise, a really big table to feed a crowd outdoors is pretty nice, too. Pender Brothers made the base for this granite top table.

This funky corrugated metal coffee table is perfect in a corrugated metal Quonset hut.


Save the trees

Trends and Timeless Design

I recently was at the High Point furniture market and starting chatting with a woman at the shuttle stop. She told me that she is a trend spotter. I asked her what the new trends are. She was very coy and said that she could not tell me. But she said that gray is passé and subway tiles are horribly out of fashion. She expounded by saying that anything that you see a lot of - is already old news.

Maybe being a trend setter is not desirable. A friend of mine is friends with a New York-based trend setter. He describes her as looking completely strange and out of place, because she is wearing a look before anyone else. Think about the first people who wore ripped jeans as a style and we all thought they needed to throw out that pair of worn out jeans.

Hopefully, this isn’t spreading “old news” but I did spot some trends at the High Point market. First was the color blue. It was everywhere and in every shade. Sherwin Williams has announced their 2018 color of the year as “Oceanside,” which they describe as a collision of rich blue with jewel toned green.  The other popular color was a pale pink. Organic shapes and patterns were on everything. Texture was popular on furniture and fabrics. Bright brass hardware is back and furniture pulls are big and flashy.

One of the most innovative products I saw was Crypton fabric. This performance fabric is indestructible, yet looks and feels great. I saw a demonstration where the sales rep poured red wine on a piece of white Crypton fabric and it wiped right off. Residential textile brands that offer Crypton frabics are Thibaut, Kravet and Robert Allen Duralee Group.

I agree with Caroline Herrera who said, “I don’t like trends. They tend to make everyone look the same.” The opposite of trendy is timeless. My discussion with my shuttle companion turned to timeless design. She said that when a house is integrated with the landscape it becomes timeless because it belongs to it’s place. I agreed especially since site specific designs are what we do.

This project in Long Cove on Hilton Head Island was built on the last waterfront lot. It was full of beautiful live oaks and most people thought it was unbuildable because of the trees. We nestled the house among the trees and all the neighbors were amazed that we didn’t remove a single tree from the lot. You can see more photos here.


Help! How do I choose the right paint color?

Painting a room is the cheapest and easiest way to update a space. The most difficult part of the process may be deciding on the paint color. The options seem to be endless and can be overwhelming. For success in choosing the best color follow these seven steps.

1.       Don’t pick the color first. The paint color should be determined by the furnishings in the room. A large piece of art, an oriental rug or a fantastic fabric should be the inspiration for the wall color. Choose a color in the inspiration item that will highlight the piece. The goal is to create a visually harmonious space. The eye blends colors so the color does not need to match exactly but it should coordinate pleasantly.

2.       Think about the 60 -30-10 rule when choosing the wall color. One color should be sixty percent of the room. This is often the walls and rug. Thirty percent is the secondary color and ten percent is an accent color. These colors can be drawn from the inspiration item. Don’t forget to consider all the finishes in the room including the wood in floors and furniture and metals in light fixtures. Rooms with large windows have the landscape as an additional color.

3.       Use the paint manufacturer’s paint color fan deck to narrow down the shade options. Often it is difficult to determine the undertones of lighter colors. Look at the darkest color on the strip to see the undertone color.

4.       Get single color paint color chips to compare with the inspiration item. The hues look different when they are not next to the colors in the fan deck. Also remember that a bright color on a small chip will be intensified as it gets larger.

5.       Paint one or more test colors on large test boards to view in the room. The advantage of test boards is that you can view them on all the walls and one at the time. The quality of the natural light will affect how the paint is perceived. Live with the test samples at least twenty-four hours to see how the paint looks at different times of the day. Warm colors are often used for rooms facing north and cool colors in rooms facing south or west.

6.       Remember the ceiling, it does not have to be the standard ceiling white. Painting the ceiling 50% lighter than the wall color is a good rule of thumb.

7.       Finally, do not approach color in a vacuum. Consider the progression through the house and make sure the color changes are coherent.


Kitchen Trends

Kitchens are trending more contemporary according to the Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) research. Some of the trends are great looking, but are they practical for your lifestyle? One hot trend is floating shelves instead of wall cabinets. They look cool if you have attractive coordinating dishes, but, not so cool with peanut butter jars and chip bags. Open shelves also collect dust and grease so there is additional cleaning. Another is no wall cabinets, which works if there is a large pantry close by to house the misplaced items.

Kitchen islands are becoming the focal point in the room. Waterfall countertops are stylish and add drama to the island. Dropped island counters for chairs instead of raised for bar stools is on the rise. A combination of counter materials, such as quartz and wood, is chic.

Some trends are driven by the desire for low maintenance such as slab cabinet doors, large format tile backsplashes and engineered quartz countertops. The flat smooth cabinet doors are easy to clean since they do not have anywhere for dust and dirt to accumulate. Likewise, large tiles have less grout for cleaner lines. Engineered quartz has the beauty of natural stone and is almost indestructible. It is also non-absorbent, so there are no worries about stains.

KBB reports that side-by-side refrigerators are on the decline and French door with bottom freezers are the most popular because of the large width for eyelevel refrigeration. Completely separate refrigerators and freezers are gaining popularity. We have also noted a preference for additional point of use undercounter refrigerators next to salad and bar sinks. French door ovens and side opening ovens are new on the market. They can make the kitchen more accessible when mounted at counter height. Many of the appliance companies are now offering a darker stainless steel, often called slate or black stainless steel, which is perfect for the trend in gray colored kitchens.

Trash compactors are almost obsolete, and warming drawers are on the decline. Built-in coffee stations are “meh” for our clients who think it is just one more built-in item that would need repairs. The hot new appliance is a convection steam oven. They can cook in multiple modes, steam only, convection only, or a combination of steam and convention. The steam oven cooks vegetables to be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is great for defrosting and reheating leftovers. The steam oven cooks more quickly at a lower temperature. The combination setting is perfect for meats by keeping them moist and tender.


Park Design

10 Parks That Changed America, A new documentary will air on PBS starting April 12th. The parks were chosen by a panel of experts and according to Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) “The parks were all created to solve complex environmental, social, or economic problems.” Somerville commented on the Squares of Savannah, “Savannah’s squares were created with the belief that everyone should have access to a park. Today, we see the same ideas underlying the environmental justice movement and the quest for clean air and clean water for everyone.”

The City of Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is at the top of the list of parks that have changed Beaufort County. The seven acre park became a focal point for downtown Beaufort when it replaced dilapidated docks in 1979. Beaufort County has conserved over 12,000 acres of land and is in the process of determining what kind of parks we want with the help of The Beaufort County Open Land Trust. As the county moves forward in planning the future parks that can change Beaufort County, we should consider The Trust for Public Land seven measures of an excellent park system.

1.        A clear expression of purpose – The citizenry must clearly set forth in writing the purpose of the park system and a mandate for the park department.

2.       Ongoing planning and community involvement – The park system needs a master plan that include an inventory of natural, recreational, historical and cultural resources, a needs analysis, analysis of connectivity and gaps, an implementation strategy, a budget and an annual evaluation of the plan.

3.       Sufficient assets in land, staffing, and equipment to meet the system’s goals – Excellent park departments not only receive adequate funding, but also spend their money wisely and commit themselves to effective stewardship.

4.       Equitable access – The excellent park system is accessible to everyone regardless of residence, physical abilities, or financial resources. Parks should be easily reachable form every neighborhood, usable by the handicapped and challenged, and available to low-income residents.

5.       User satisfaction –Having high use is the ultimate validation that it is attractive and that it meets people’s needs.

6.       Safety from physical hazards and crime – To be successful, a park system should be safe, free both of crime and of unreasonable physical hazards, from sidewalk potholes to rotten branches overhead.

7.       Benefits for the city beyond the boundaries of the parks – The park system is a form of natural infrastructure that provides many good including; cleaner air, cleaner water, reduced health costs from sedentary syndromes, increased tourism and increased business vitality.

For more information on parks visit the American Society of Landscape Architects www.asla.org and The Trust for Public Land www.tpl.org


Lebanese Details

There were all sorts of interesting details to discover in Lebanon. From macrame sunscreens to ancient paving in the souk. Here are some of my favorites.

 This macrame sun screen was at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea.
This macrame sun screen was at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea.

 Reed Sunscreen in the Byblos Souk
Reed Sunscreen in the Byblos Souk