The Trump tariffs have sweeping implications for the American design and furniture industry, which ultimately affects what we put in our homes
For the past eight years, San Francisco-based furniture designer Ted Boerner’s Thicket coffee table has been a reliable seller and a foundation for his livelihood. Inspired by Northern California’s redwood forests, it has modern lines, an oval glass top, and a base made of richly patinaed steel. Come March of this year, the perennial piece’s future was suddenly in jeopardy.
The Trump administration’s announcement, on March 1, of proposed steel and aluminum tariffs caused steel prices to rise and supply to shrink—destabilizing the market via a hint of uncertainty, but no actual implementation.
Boerner’s Los Angeles fabricator had to start sourcing raw material from a new source. There was no guarantee that the metal would receive its patinated finish, as it had in the past—since electroplating involves precise chemistry, and the exact composition of steel affects the results—and Boerner, whose three-person studio makes pieces to order...
We’ve gotta hand it to the robots on this one
Is a smart home truly smart if it’s not built by a robot? The DFAB House, a three-story building currently under construction at the technical school ETH Zurich, isn’t just built by one robot—it’s the product of five robots, each armed with a special digital fabrication skill set needed to autonomously construct a building.
Case in point: DFAB’s wild ceiling. ETH Zurich recently showed off a decorative ceiling that’s half the weight of typical concrete slabs. The architects created the ceiling’s undulating form by casting concrete in a 3D-printed mold designed with the help of some clever software.
By inputting parameters like room dimension and shape, the program is able to devise a design that uses the minimal amount of concrete necessary to support a two-story timber structure that sits above the ceiling.
At its most delicate, the concrete slab is just 20 millimeters thick, which has both aesthetic and functional benefits. Sure, it allows for major savings on material and weight, but just as important, its complex rippling pattern is simply beautiful to look at.
Partnerships with the startup world have changed how universities invest in cities
Dennis Lower, longtime president and CEO of Cortex, a self-styled innovation hub and technology district in St. Louis, calls the sprawling, 200-plus-acre development “a handshake to the millennial workforce” in this Midwestern city.
Since 2010, when Lower arrived, Cortex, a nonprofit development and a public-private collaboration between local universities and businesses, positioned geographically between Washington University and St. Louis University, has become a nexus of the new economy.
“Every major region is trying to recruit tech companies,” says Lower. “That’s not how we’re going to get where you need to be. We need to grow our own companies, which is one of the main goals of Cortex.”
In the last eight years, the number of homegrown startups in Cortex has risen from 35 to 360, manufacturing startups have clustered in formerly abandoned brick warehouses, Microsoft just opened its first Midwest headquarters in the district last week, and the mobile-payment company Square now plans to employ 600 workers in the city’s Central West End. A former site of vacancies and urban decline has been...
It's not as hard as you think
A version of this article was originally published on Curbed NY.
When the rental market gets tough, the tough need to learn how to negotiate. After all, you'll never know how low the landlord will go unless you try to bargain—in a respectful, pleasant, non-aggressive way, of course.
It's worth the hassle, even if you're a perennial conflict-avoider; you can end up saving hundreds of dollars over the course of a lease (as much as 20 percent, by some accounts), or get other perks thrown in (utilities, or a longer lease) as a result of the negotiation process.
Here are 10 tips to help you save money on your monthly rent and avoid unnecessary fees when apartment-hunting.
To start off, make sure to avoid the summertime, specifically from May to October, since it's when the most people are on the hunt, and landlords are a lot less likely to chop $100 off your monthly rent if they have tons of other applicants beating down their doors. When you're the only interested party for miles, you have a lot more leverage.
According to one broker, it’s very helpful if you are a picture-perfect applicant....
Your landlord is responsible for making repairs to essential services, but sometimes it's not so simple
A version of this story was originally published on Curbed NY.
Finding a rental apartment can be quite an ordeal. But once you've found a place, negotiated the terms of the lease, and moved in, your problems aren't necessarily over. Because now it's time for everything in the apartment to stop working.
The good news: Your landlord is responsible for making repairs to essential services such as heat, hot water, ceilings, etc. The bad news: Sometimes it's not so easy to make him or her actually do that.
If your landlord is refusing—or simply ignoring your polite requests—to make necessary repairs, then consider these steps (which do not constitute actual legal advice):
If your usual way of getting in touch with the landlord—be it a call, text, or knock-on-the-door—isn’t working, it’s time to put it all down in writing. Detail what the problem is, when it started, and when you first notified your landlord. Be as specific as possible in terms of dates and what needs fixing. Send the letter certified mail and request a return receipt so that you can prove that...
Inspired by the elements
Give an architect a tunnel, and it becomes so much more than a hole in the earth. Some proof: MAD Architects’ recent work on the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel, a 2,500-foot pathway bored through the rock formations of Japan’s famous Kiyotsu Gorge.
MAD renovated the tunnel for the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Triennale art festival, turning it into a series of eye-catching lookouts and installations that are in and of themselves pieces of art. Each lookout is themed around a natural element—wood, metal, earth, fire, and water—and has a design to match.
Wood, for example, is a small cafe built from cedar wood that slopes upward into a circus tent-like tip. Inside, there’s a hot spring where visitors can soak their feet in preparation for their tunnel journey.
The fire lookout features round mirrors backlit by a fiery orange hue that create a molten drop-like pattern on the curved ceiling.
The journey ends with the water, or “Light Cave,” lookout, which has a shallow pool of water on the floor that reflects...
Small never looked so spacious
Tiny homes are efficient by necessity. When you’ve got limited square footage to work with, that often means optioning for functional over fun. This 236-square-foot-home from Modern Tiny Living comes with all the standard components of a tiny home—loft bed, clever storage solutions, space-saving kitchen—but it has an unexpected additional feature.
At the back corner of the Clover model, the floor raises into a platform hangout that looks remarkably like a conversation pit, only elevated. The designers created an inward-facing built-in lounge area that pulls triple duty with storage under the floor and banquette seating that fold out into a bed.
The house has other considered design touches like concrete countertops, poplar wood floors and ceilings, a full kitchen (including a washer), and a lofted bed that actually looks private. But it’s the raised conversation pit that makes us think that living in a tiny home might not feel so tiny after all.
Oak Ridge scientists use data to help a rapidly urbanizing planet
During World War II, the then-brand-new city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, housed a population of 75,000, boasted the nation’s sixth-largest bus system, and consumed a significant percentage of the country’s electricity on huge industrial operations that ran around the clock. The average age of the population was 27, and when residents were not working long shifts at the huge government plants, they met their future partners at local dances, went bowling, attended the theater and the symphony, and swam in one of the nation’s largest swimming pools. It was a young, loud, energetic city, imbued with wartime patriotism and camaraderie.
Seventy-five years after its heyday, the population of Oak Ridge, now at a median age of 42.3 (the national median is 37.9), languishes around 30,000, less than half of what it was in 1945. Bruce Applegate, who carries a variety of job titles but calls himself the city catchall, thinks the city has more to offer. Every day at his desk in the municipal building, Applegate logs onto his computer and pulls up a colorful dashboard full of maps, charts, and graphs displaying real-time data on...
Where style meets quality and budget
A sofa is one of the first pieces you’ll purchase to furnish a home. It’s also one of the trickiest to buy. The star and workhorse of any living room, the sofa should look good, feel comfortable, and be strong enough to support your Netflix binge sessions and maybe even a celebratory jump or two.
And then there’s the budget. For those who are ready to look beyond Ikea staples, know that it’s possible to find a quality modern sofa without shelling out several thousand bucks. To get you started, we scoured the web to find well-reviewed sofas of varying sizes and styles you can get for under $1,500 right now. Happy sofa hunting!
And for more advice on buying a sofa, be sure to check out our guide filled with expert tips.
The Heath sofa from LA-based custom furniture maker Clad Home is perfect for those who want something that’s clean and minimalist but still plush and cozy. Like other models from Clad Home, the Heath is super customizable—you choose the length, depth, cushion layout, leg finish, and more.
Here’s a sofa that’s truly easy to assemble—we’ve seen it...
Meet the big brother of the best-selling VW California camper van
If there’s any company that’s helped to shape the world’s preoccupation with camper vans, it’s Volkswagen. From the first “Splitty” bus in the 1940s to their best-selling California van, Volkswagen is an industry leader in figuring out how to build functional, well-priced campers for families. Today, the company announced the next van to join the VW lineup: the Grand California. Love campers and trailers? Come join our new community group.
The Grand California is the production version—set to be unveiled at the upcoming Düsseldorf Caravan Salon—of last year’s California XXL concept camper. It uses the Crafter van as its base, so it’s larger than the Transporter-based California model that celebrated its 30th birthday this year. Curbed got to try out the California van on a special road trip (read all about it, over here), so we’re excited to see what the California’s big brother has to offer.
Many of the things we loved about the XXL concept camper are similar to the Grand California. An all-white interior with gray accents keeps things light and airy, and there are windows galore. The full-length panoramic...
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. All opinions are my own. Here’s a quick before and after post for this rainy Tuesday! The same neighbor who...
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I hope you are enjoying the first week of August! I can’t believe how quickly the summer months are flying by. We leave next week for vacation, a nice break for us to spend together before Matthew returns to school. We aren’t really beach people (although I do enjoy a day at the beach) and...
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Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. All opinions are my own. Earlier this summer I shared a console table that I had just finished using General...
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Move over Smart Car—there’s a smaller whip in town
The ultimate city car just got city approved. The ultra-compact Microlino car from Micro, the Swiss mobility company behind the ultra popular Micro Kickboard scooters—just passed its last round of safety tests, and is now approved for driving on European streets.
At just under 8 feet long, the tiny automobile is smaller than a Smart Car and can easily cut tight turns and sneak into tricky parking spots. It comes with a maximum speed of 56 mph and a rechargeable battery that can plug into any standard European electricity outlet. Depending on the type of battery installed, 8 kWh or 14.4 kWh, one charge can last 78 miles or 125 miles, respectively.
The two-seater is loosely modeled after the BMW Isetta, a midcentury car known for its compact body and unusual front-opening door. Similarly, the Microlino saves space by placing its main door in the front, which pulls open and outward. There’s also a hatch door in the back for storage.
The Micolino was first introduced in 2016, and it’s taken a few years to work out the logistical kinks of making such a small car road ready. Now that...
Tech companies like gamifying civic problems—but they often reward the wrong things
I would bet that most of Waze’s 100 million users probably don’t know that it originally started as a game.
If you were one of the Wazers who first got your hands on the navigation app in 2009, in addition to a map of your route, you’d find yourself confronted with a trail of pellets in your path, which your car would “chomp” as you drove over them.
“There’s one rule: you have to be the first Waze user to drive down that road since the first driver gets the pellets,” wrote one AOL reviewer. “Apparently some cretin had already road munched half the pellets on the way to my son’s school. Just for the extra pellets, I actually drove on the side roads on the way back.”
The pellets, of course, were placed on streets to gather data, so Waze’s engineers could compare what they thought they knew about users’ neighborhood with real-time driving information. Framing it as a game was one of the reasons that Waze grew so quickly and became so essential for drivers. And it’s the same reason app developers apply game-like features to everything from physical activity to losing weight to getting pregnant.
Kids today have it good, especially if they get to attend a school with inspiring architecture. Sloping floors. Sprawling green roofs for growing food. A courtyard designed to collect rainwater just for splashing. These are just some of the ideas architects have recently employed to create delightful schools that escape the cookie cutter classrooms and sandboxs. Take a closer look.
It’s 20 feet tall!
3D printing has fast become a dominant—if occasionally gimmicky—force in design and engineering, with results ranging from the innovative to the predictably scary. Now, an architectural fabricator from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has claimed to have built the world’s largest 3D-printed structure, proving that sometimes it’s okay to build something that just looks cool.
Branch Technology unveiled the 20-foot-tall, 42-foot-wide pavilion this week at an architecture and engineering symposium at MIT, created for Nashville’s new tech-driven neighborhood, OneC1TY. Commissioned by the Dallas-based developer Cambridge, the structure is a sweeping geometric design made of carbon fiber–reinforced Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and finished with an ultraviolet protective metallic paint.
The team of designers printed 40 panels off-site over a period of 10 weeks and then assembled the project at the Nashville location. To work around the need for a steel support system, the group partnered with R&D incubator CORE Studio to employ their unique cellular fabrication 3D printing technology.
How to make the most of a city’s housing stock
This 19th-century Victorian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has lived a few different lives. Once a single family home, it later became an office building. After it fell into disrepair, the city bought it and has now converted it into temporary emergency housing for families in need.
The city’s Department of Human Service Programs hired local firm HMFH Architects to gut the interior and built out ten units large enough to house an adult and two children. Each unit has a private bathroom, and the floors share kitchens and dining areas.
The architects restored the exterior of the building, transforming its dilapidated white siding into something closer to the building’s original state with a mansard roof, cornices, and trim. In a modern twist, the roof is lined with solar panels, which fulfill more than 40 percent of the building’s energy needs.
Cities across the country are rethinking how to approach emergency housing, with many taking a “housing-first” approach that decriminalizes homelessness and provides families and individuals with...
We’ve redesigned your go-to guide for maintaining a home
Two years ago, Curbed relaunched with the tagline: “Love where you live.” While our coverage often tackles the street, city, and global level of the built environment, we’ve always recognized that loving where you live starts with, well, loving your home. And Curbed Handbook, our how-to guide for creating a dwelling you can find peace in, has been central to that mission.
From setting a renovation budget to buying a sofa to refreshing your space, we’ve built up a wide-ranging collection of resources on finding and caring for a home. Now it’s time to take it up a notch.
Today, we’re relaunching Curbed Handbook with a brand new look that makes it easier to find the answers to all your questions, whether that’s how to choose a rug for your living room or where to buy plants online.
A redesigned navigation bar puts topic-based chapters front and center, highlighting the most relevant Handbook pieces of the moment. Meanwhile, new collections of stories dedicated to a room or essential element of a home will offer stories from not only Handbook, but also the rest of Curbed’s offerings, such as shopping roundups and longform...
Never sleep on the ground again
When it comes to hitting the road for an extended adventure, you have a lot of options, ranging from add-on solutions like vehicle rooftop tents and portable kitchens to entirely tricked-out RVs and vans. Somewhere in between lies the camper-trailer, which offers a small—but efficient—home on the go. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Trailers are far from a new idea—people are still mad about Airstreams, for one—but today’s designers and manufacturers haven’t shied away from riffing on tradition, either.
Below, take a look at some of the inventive new offerings in camper-trailer-land.
Name: The Meerkat by Little Guy Trailers
Cost: $17,820 with custom colors available for an extra $1,450
Key features: Lightweight (900 pounds) trailer can be towed by almost any 4-cylinder car and fits in a standard garage, dinette area transforms into two-person bed, kitchen has wood cabinetry, sink, 120-volt electrical system, pops open for more head room, three windows for ventilation
Name: AIR OPUS
Cost: $2,499 for the Air Tent System add-on, available for all OPUS trailers, which range from $18,999 to...
Get to know a home decor game changer
Once an ordinary and basic part of daily living, candles have evolved to become little luxuries at home. Whether you spend $10 or $100, a candle can set a certain mood, convey an air of sophistication, and let guests know that a host has considered decor details to create a comfortable and relaxing environment. Isn’t that true luxury, after all?
“Whenever I’m designing a space I always encourage my clients to figure candles into their lighting schemes,” says New York City-based interior designer Sara Story. “They are a great way to tweak the overall ambiance of a room and lend another touch of individual personality.”
But in a market flooded with candles of all shapes, sizes, and scents, it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all game. Below, we break down the main types of candles every well-appointed home should have, and how to make the most of each. We’ll also offer a handful of product picks to inspire your candle shopping journey.
A candle pot is the most common type of candle, and as its name would suggest, it is nestled within a glass, pot, or jar. The hardy exterior base allows for a candle pot to be moved around the house...
Looking to spruce up your kitchen? Try these expert-recommended updates
Kitchens see a lot of action, so they need some love and care in order to stay in good shape. And one way to do that is through small updates, which will not only improve your day-to-day experience at home but can also deliver great return on investment.
We spoke with a couple of industry experts to mine a few tricks of the trade and insight on what to focus on when considering kitchen updates.
The easiest way to get the biggest visual impact is by investing in new cabinet coverings. If you have an Ikea kitchen, there are a number of companies specializing in stylish doors for Ikea cabinets boxes, such as Reform, Semihandmade, and Kokeena.
If you’re working with a designer to redo your cabinets, you might even take it one step further and conceal your refrigerator to match your cabinetry for a completely uniform look. “We like to try to tuck the refrigerator into a bank of tall cabinetry so that it becomes more of a thickened wall than something that juts into the room,” says Portland, Oregon-based interior designer Jessica Helgerson.
Designed by inventive architect Earl Young
Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We’d love to see what you’ve got.
Location: Charlevoix, Michigan
Here’s your chance to own a rocky slice of architectural history. This beautifully unique home in Charlevoix, Michigan, was designed by the inventive architect Earl Young, who became known for his “hobbit houses”—or “mushroom houses”—that heavily employed boulders to assert an underlying connection with nature.
The low-slung Sucher House was built in 1948 and sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan, nestled among the trees. The 2,428-square-foot home features a remodeled interior that retains the original charm while adding 21st-century flair. The three bedrooms each have a private bathroom, and plenty of windows allow for natural light and great lake views.
The centerpiece of the home is the sunburst-style stone hearth that anchors the living room, while French doors open up to a flagstone patio and sprawling beachfront lawn.
Elsewhere in the home, the ceilings have been raised and...
I’ve had fun redecorating my family room over the past few months and have discovered the joy of online shopping via Wayfair and Overstock. It’s so easy to sit on the sofa and shop, which can be dangerous! I’m keeping it under control 🙂 The first change was painting it (yes, again) in Sherwin Williams...
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My friend and neighbor had these vintage end tables and wanted to give them a makeover for her guest bedroom. These tables have somehow been through a lot in their existence! At one point they had been painted (badly) in a heavy, thick dark varnish. This was difficult to paint over without...
The post Old to New – End Tables Before and After appeared first on .
This little table is a vintage phone table with a little chair. My neighbor, Michelle remembers it fondly as it used to be in her grandmother’s house, with the phone sitting on top and the phone book inside. It is now Michelle’s table and she wants to use it in her new beach house. We...
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From Broadway to Wilshire Boulevard, a new PBS show examines how street life defines our city life
Americans define their homes in many different ways, but few parts of the landscape capture the culture of a city or the rhythm of daily life better than a signature street. From small town Main Streets to bustling commercial corridors, these are the places where everyday exchanges play out (Curbed explored the idea in our own feature on what 10 particular streets reveal about the state of the nation in 2016). They’re also the setting for a new TV series exploring how planning, culture, and technology helped shape the country. After all, what rhetorical device works better when charting the historical pathway of a nation than a road?
The new PBS show 10 Streets That Changed America wants to use famous streets and roadways as a jumping off point to explore history. A continuation of a series that includes 2016’s 10 Homes that Changed America, 10 Streets explores the ways real estate, technology, and travel alter ways we get around, and in turn, shape modern life.
Premiering Tuesday, July 10, the series, hosted by Geoffrey Baer, chronicles the country’s love affair with the open...
There’s even an indoor shower system
With summer in full swing, adventurers are out in force enjoying everything from national parks to off-the-grid camping in remote destinations. And while you’ll see no shortage of teardrops, Airstreams, and RVs on the roads, there’s one type of vehicle that’s king this summer: the Class B adventure van. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Whether it’s a Sprinter or a Promaster, camper vans are so popular that in states like Colorado, Montana, and Oregon, new conversion van companies are opening every month. It can be hard to stand out in a sea of awesome vans, but the latest company to catch our eye did just that.
Based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Nomad Vanz builds custom adventure vans either for weekend adventurers or those wanting to live in their vans full time. Most builds use the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter high or low roof vehicles, although Nomad Vanz has done partial conversions for customers who own Ford Transits, Dodge ProMasters, and the Mercedes-Benz Metris.
The team drove their showcase van, named Out of the Blue, down to Overland Expo this past May in Flagstaff, Arizona, and gave Curbed a tour....
Your Friday eye candy
Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We’d love to see what you’ve got.
Location: Riverside, Connecticut
From its perfectly balanced facade to the thoroughly updated interiors, this circa-1900 Victorian in the Riverside section of tony Greenwich, Connecticut is a treat for the eyes. Upon entering the home past the wraparound porch, you’ll find an impressive marriage of traditional character—Pilasters! Coffered ceilings! Moldings!—with contemporary styling and polish, courtesy of a renovation and expansion in 2009.
The open kitchen and family room area comes with a generous island, as well as numerous windows and French doors opening up to the backyard. The lot is relatively modest at 0.65 acres, enough space for ample lawns, manicured gardens, and a stone terrace made for entertaining.
What the property lacks in estate it makes up for in sheer house. There are seven bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, and five fireplaces spread over 6,228 square feet and four floors. The bottom level comes with a play room, exercise...
During the annual AIA convention, the Architecture Lobby debated how to better protect workers from harassment and discrimination—and how to fight back
It’s been a rocky year for architects. Multiple women accused Richard Meier—one of its most recognized stars—of sexual harassment. The Shitty Architecture Men list revealed accusations of harassment, anecdotes about discrimination, and malaise and anger from the industry’s workers and students. Despite persistent calls to improve racial diversity and achieve gender equity, not much has changed; most architects are white men.
At the AIA Conference on Architecture—the profession’s annual convention held this year in New York from June 22 to 23—both the establishment and progressive professional groups called for radical change. But is it enough to make a difference?
At the keynote address, AIA President Carl Elefante challenged architects to “evolve how we work together” and to make sure everyone “is protected from abuse, treated fairly, paid equitably, and afforded equal opportunity.” Earlier that day, the advocacy group Voices of Plurality held a flash mob at the convention demanding equitable practice and inclusion.
Small but efficient
A square footage of 320 doesn’t go far in an apartment. Yet, this tiny home in Budapest feels like it has distinct zones thanks to some simple space dividing tricks.
Hungarian architects Batlab designed the apartment to feel both open and separate—not an easy task given the constraints of the space. They started by knocking down walls until they had an open box to work with.
Then they constructed a compact kitchen and bathroom unit as a divider between the bedroom and living room, leaving just enough space behind the divider for a small sleeping nook that’s separated by gauzy curtains.
The living room is centered around a small table, built-in shelving, and a series of pendant lights that warm the white cube of a space. All told, it’s an exceedingly simple design that feels both sleeker and bigger thanks to a few easy details.
Making it easy
For a generation accustomed to ordering food on demand, it shouldn’t be surprising that getting millennials into the kitchen would require a whole new level of convenience. Royal Academy of Art Graduate, Yu Li, designed a portable kitchen called Assembly, and it’s a clever antidote to the excuse of not having enough space or time to cook.
The Assembly kit is like a high-powered picnic basket—every utensil and gadget is packed into a small red and white carrier with a handle. There’s a cutting board, mini hot plate, a set of cutlery, a single pot and pan, as well as a dish rack. The items are designed to be multi-functional. The back of the case can detach to become a tray that can be used for serving or for collecting water from drying dishes.
Li says she created Assembly for young professionals who both move often and land in homes with limited kitchen space. We say it’s handy for just about anyone who finds themselves cooking for one from time to time.
Extreme heat causes more deaths in U.S. cities than all other disasters combined
Among all the climate-related disasters that are confronting cities, heat waves are the deadliest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat now causes more deaths in U.S. cities than all other weather events combined. Longer, more frequent heat waves—like the one affecting most of the nation this week—are expected in the future, meaning summer’s death toll will rise.
Dozens of people have been killed across the U.S. and in Canada this week—including 28 people just in Montreal—after much of the country experienced multiple days that were 100 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. This weekend, California is expected to experience record-setting temperatures in places where wildfires are already burning.
Need proof of a changing climate? Look no further than this week’s heat wave. https://t.co/RTPf7p2bZC— EDF (@EnvDefenseFund) July 5, 2018
Heat waves are especially deadly when nighttime temperatures don’t cool enough to offer urban residents relief. The human body isn’t able to recover from the effects of extreme heat if air temperatures don’t dip below 80 degrees...
The farmhouse gets a fresh modern twist in this new single family home just outside of Columbus, Ohio, overlooking a ravine and situated amid rolling fields and forestry.
Designed by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design, the Sullivan House sits on a three-acre lot and takes cues from farm structures that have littered the landscape for the last two hundred years. But rather than settling for classic design, the architects instead opted to bring the home into the 21st century by blending minimalist form with natural materials.
Gabled roofs top off the two sections of this home, which sit perpendicularly and meet in the center, composing the 3,500 square feet that make up the property. The home features three bedrooms in the eastern wing, while living areas that include a fireplace, guest bedroom, and sleeping loft make up the western wing.
In order to better marry the surrounding landscape with the house, floor-to-ceiling glass windows line the structure, and a terrace sits outside the living room. The interior boasts limestone walls and exposed...
The wheel-less camper box sits on your hitch
Small campers have been in the spotlight the past few years, with manufacturers trying to fit as many bells and whistles into increasingly tiny trailers. But a recently launched company called Hitch Hotel aims to simplify all that and give you just the basics: a box that fits on your hitch. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Hitch Hotel debuted on Kickstarter last week as a cheap alternative to many of the pricey campers on the market. Originally designed as a cargo box to hold mountain bikes, the 240-pound watertight fiberglass box attaches to your hitch—class two or higher—and provides about 60 cubic feet of storage while driving. That means you can take three full-size bikes, or whatever snowboards or camping gear you want.
Once you get to camp, the box uses telescoping technology to reveal a sleeping cabin that Hitch Hotel says can sleep two or three adults. It looks like three adults would be a squeeze, but the interior length of 88 inches by 58 inches does make the sleeping space a bit larger than a queen size mattress. No mattress is included in the Hitch Hotel, so you’ll have to provide your own and...
Feast your eyes
It’s a fact of life for the visually inclined: You can never follow enough cool accounts on Instagram, especially those unexpected gems that show you the designed world in fresh ways. We’ve already shared dozens of accounts that cater to lovers of architecture, traditional design, minimalism, color, #vanlife, abandoned places, and all the miscellany in between. Now, who’s ready for another dose?
Without further ado, follow...
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Happy Fourth of July! I hope you have a wonderful day that includes fireworks at the end! I just have to share my neighbor’s garden that is all ready for the big day. I admire her garden and all the work that she puts into it. I especially love what she has done for the...
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After a much needed blogging hiatus over the past four months, my blog is back up and running. I really did need the “blogging break” after writing content almost daily for seven years! I felt my creativity had peaked and it became a chore rather than a creative outlet. I’m not sure how else to...
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A creative use of building materials
Once upon a time, the Danish island of Læsø was filled with charming thatched-roof houses. The uncommon architectural trend was the result of a Middle Ages boom in salt production, whose reliance on kilns stripped the island of its trees.
Instead of wood, people built homes with seaweed thatched roofs and driftwood. In addition to making the island’s houses look like cozy high-design hobbit huts, the saltwater-infused material has proven to be a formidable opponent to decay.
This house, one of the last seaweed-thatched homes on the island, has been standing since the late 1700s, and it recently underwent a full renovation, its shaggy roof and driftwood facade included.
The owners replaced the roof, using 70,000 pounds of seaweed. The low-lying two-bedroom home now has new wooden beam floors and ceilings as well as fresh, white-washed walls. The house has a new kitchen, but it kept the old (like a cast-iron stove) as a nod to the home’s historic past. Intrigued? The roughly 1,000-square-foot home is on the market for 2.65 million DKK (about...
The “organic” home was designed by Jean-Claude Mazet
This kooky home on the island of Corsica in France resembles an old submarine or antique diving helmet, given its porthole windows and protrusions. It was designed in 1974 in the organic style by Jean-Claude Mazet, a disciple and collaborator of Le Corbusier and a professor of architecture at Harvard University.
Rising on the side of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the 155-square-meter (1,668 square feet) residence features a curving footprint as well as a large curving tower-like structure. Inside this double-height space is a sunken living area (or conversation pit) arranged around a swooping fireplace. A staircase leads from this area to a mezzanine seating area with views out toward the water.
Other flowing spaces abound, including a circular bathroom with an incredible purple-tiled in-ground tub. Three bedrooms, two baths, a garage, terraces, and expansive gardens “planted with numerous Mediterranean, African, and American varieties,” according to the listing, round out the orange-stucco property. To make this your holiday home, you’ll need 1.165 euros, or about $1.35 million. Below, a video tour of sorts.
Good luck getting in
Welcome back to Period Dramas, a column that alternates between rounding up historic homes on the market and answering questions we’ve always had about older structures.
We don’t know much about the secret societies of Yale University. But one thing we do know is that while each club is small—membership is often capped at 15 senior undergrads per society—the collective alumni represents some of the most powerful figures in the public realm.
Skull and Bones—arguably the most famous of Yale’s secret societies—alone counts President William Howard Taft, President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State John Kerry among its alumni.
And like any established club, many have their own clubhouse around New Haven. But unlike normal clubhouses, members are rarely seen entering or leaving. Clubhouse walls are so thick—made of sandstone and marble in some cases—that sound never escapes. And there’s no chance of a glimpse at what goes on inside, because they are also windowless.
The name for these curious clubhouses? Tombs.
“Secret societies originated as what you and I know as fraternities. The first fraternity house was a log...
La Bestiaire is located in Bedford, New York, a Westchester enclave known as “Billionaire’s Row”
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Location: Bedford, New York
This equestrian estate in Bedford, New York, is the ultimate horse-lover’s paradise. Set on 58 bucolic acres in Northern Westchester County just an hour outside New York City in what is considered “Billionaire’s Row,” La Bestiaire is on the market for the first time in 50 years.
The compound was built in 1928 and was the home of William Kelly Simpson, a professor of Egyptology at Yale and his wife, Marilyn Ellen Milton, a granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller. And, according to a press release, it’s set among good company, sharing a zip code with the estates of Martha Stewart, George Soros, and Ralph Lauren.
La Bestiaire comprises multiple outbuildings in addition to the charming main house, which includes bright and airy formal living rooms spaces and seven bedrooms and four and a half baths. A pool, pool house, and tennis court offer outdoor recreational...
What a world
Cryptocurrencies might be intangible, but that doesn’t stop them from sucking up an inordinate amount of energy. Bitcoin, for example, consumes more energy than all of Ireland thanks to the high-powered computation required to run its networks.
The solution according to one startup? Shipping containers. NordCoin, a company out of Estonia, calls itself a “scalable and efficient cryptocurrency mining farm.” NordCoin is not a farm, technically speaking. It’s an assemblage of refurbished 40-foot shipping containers outfitted with computers and cooling mechanism that can be moved on a whim.
The idea is that the shipping containers will chase cheap, green energy, ideally in countries with cool climates. The company says this mobile set-up is beneficial in a couple of ways: First, it frees crypto operations from becoming tied to a city or government. Second, cheaper energy ultimately makes for a more efficient and cost-effective way to mine cryptocurrency. The company currently has four functioning units and has begun raising funds for build up to 30 more.
”We believe that future crypto-mining operations should be decentralized, mobile and independent from any single...
When simple isn’t so simple
Target already has new in-house home goods lines for lovers of boho, midcentury modern, and Fixer Upper, and now it’s adding to the roster with Made by Design, a brand focusing on affordable, carefully considered basics. Launching in stores and online tomorrow, June 23, the line includes over 750 products spanning bedding, bath accessories, kitchenware, storage, and furniture; prices range from $1 to $260, with most items coming under $30.
The concept of well-designed essentials is, of course, nothing new. Snowe and Piaule are examples of new brands chasing this kind of vision. The overall look—clean-lined with lots of neutral tones—and the one-dollar-sign pricing of Target’s line also bring to mind a few older contenders: Ikea, long a household name, and Muji, which has been ramping up its global expansion.
To get a better sense of how these brands’ offerings differ (or not) from each other, we took a closer look at a few Made by Design products and their rough counterparts at Ikea and Muji.
The main design trick with these...
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives per year. Should the U.S. let them be tested on public streets?
From ushering in an era of decreased car ownership, to narrowing streets and eliminating parking lots, autonomous vehicles promise to dramatically reshape our cities.
But after an Uber-operated self-driving vehicle struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the street with her bike in Tempe, Arizona on March 18, 2018, there are more questions than ever about the safety of this technology, especially as these vehicles are being tested more frequently on public streets.
Some argue the safety record for self-driving cars isn’t proven, and that it’s unclear whether or not enough testing miles have been driven in real-life conditions. Other safety advocates go further, and say that driverless cars are introducing a new problem to cities, when cities should instead be focusing on improving transit and encouraging walking and biking instead.
Contentions aside, the autonomous revolution is already here, although some cities will see its impacts sooner than others. From Las Vegas, where a Navya self-driving minibus scoots slowly along a downtown street,...
The renovation and re-opening of classic motels is picking up steam
When interior designer Nicole Cota began working on the Drifter, a recently renovated roadside motel in New Orleans that reopened last year, she felt like she was bringing a building back to life.
Located on a commercial stretch of Highway 61 known as Tulane Avenue, near the city courthouse, the former Rose Inn Motel was part of a stretch of faded commercial properties the NOLA Defender called “dilapidated, flea-ridden, and pimp-frequented.” The area was just beginning to see the stages of bohemian revival, but was still most likely to attract the young and hip who had a court date to catch.
But Cota saw something in the old motel, a vision that has motivated numerous investors, hotel guests, and designers to pursue similar projects over the last decade. Like other motels that came of age during America’s budding romance with the highway, the Drifter had faded, fallen out of favor, and found itself off the beaten path of the typical tourist.
The paper lantern that taught me how to live with love lost
It seems excessive to pay $145 for some crinkled, molded paper. Yet that’s exactly what I did when I bought myself a Noguchi Akari lamp last year.
Should you peruse Pinterest and your aesthetic skews minimalist, you’ve likely seen these before, tucked into the corner of a stunningly spare space, filling the room with quiet radiance.
Actually called “light sculptures,” they were conceived by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. One summer earlier, I almost bought one off Craigslist. Ordered for a party; hardly used; still in box, the seller wrote. It was $100. Still, I couldn’t justify the cost.
Then I fell in love—or something like it. Like my new romantic relationship, the lamp purchase was unexpected and wildly irrational. (We were long-distance; he lived in D.C.) One freezing day in February, we ventured to the Noguchi Museum in Queens. Together we sat on a curved sofa near the window while I sipped ginger tea and admired the 36 light sculptures, all neatly placed on the surrounding shelves in the gift shop.
“Should I buy one?” I asked him.
“Sure,” he said. That was all the affirmation I needed.
There I was: unceremoniously discarded in the woods by the man I’d bet on as my forever
I knew before I walked in the door of the 1890 farmhouse in the Catskills with black shutters and a red door that I was going to buy it. That it sat on 1.5 acres of land demarcated by a rustic bluestone perimeter settled near the northern end of a three-and-a-half-mile stretch of paved road made it that much more enticing. But it was not until I moved in the fall of 2016 after 13 years in New York City that I realized I had never seen the house, or the road, at night.
If I had, I would have known that this winding stretch is characterized by absence, in the form of unoccupied vacation rentals and weekend homes. Rather than thwart me, it actually underscored my intention to build a sylvan fortress overflowing with friends and lovers—and eventually a family.
As for my neighbors renting out their houses for the weekend, once I learned how much they were earning on Airbnb, it seemed downright selfish to have purchased upmarket Norwegian wallpaper for accent walls for my personal use alone. So I snapped a few photos at opportune moments of daylight and listed the two railroad-style rooms...
Folks who secure financing through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are predominantly first-time homebuyers
Home flippers often claim that the renovations and repairs they do on homes before selling them preps the property for a new first-time homebuyer, but that’s becoming less and less the case.
According to new data from ATTOM Data Solutions, the percentage of home flips that were sold to homebuyers who secured financing through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)—which are predominantly first-time homebuyers—dropped to 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2018, a 10-year low.
Rising home prices have made home flipping a lucrative practice, as the total dollar volume of home flips has been more than $10 billion every quarter since 2016. But it’s also gradually priced out many of the first-time homebuyers home flippers claim to serve. The median price of a home flip rose to $215,000 in the first quarter of 2018, the highest since prior to the housing bust in 2008.
The FHA, a division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides insurance on mortgages for qualified borrowers, typically people with lower credit scores or those without the...