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...
Herman Miller has acquired a 33 percent interest in Hay
Herman Miller, the furniture manufacturer based in Zeeland, Michigan, has announced that it has acquired an interest in Hay, the Danish brand known for its contemporary home and office furnishings and accessories. Founded in 2002 by Rolf and Mette Hay with business partner Troels Holch Povlsen, Hay has quickly grown into a global empire with $155 million in projected revenue.
Herman Miller, whose portfolio includes iconic pieces like the Aeron chair, Eames Lounge Chair, and the Noguchi table, acquired a 33 percent equity interest in Hay for $66 million. The company, which operates Design Within Reach as its retail leg, also acquired the North American brand rights to Hay for $5 million.
“Hay fills a void in our product assortment, both for what we call the living office and also for our consumer business,” John McPhee, president of Herman Miller consumer, told Curbed. “Hay is a more affordable price point than we currently offer, and it reaches a broader consumer base—in some ways a younger, more aspirational demographic. It’s great design that’s highly accessible to a broad base of people, a [priority] that’s been...
Storm damage and flooding becoming bigger threats to coastal real estate
New reports this week put the potential for costly damage from the 2018 hurricane season into stark perspective, and underscore the continued risk of building or rebuilding homes in areas threatened by storm damage.
According to new analysis by CoreLogic, more than 6.9 million homes in the United States are at risk of hurricane storm surge damage, which represent $1.6 trillion in potential reconstruction costs. That potential price tag increased 6.6 percent year-over-year due to higher regional construction costs, equipment, and labor costs.
At the same time, per new data on coastal flooding, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns will make flooding even more common. According to the 2017 State of High Tide Flooding and a 2018 Outlook by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year saw a record-breaking level of high tide flooding. Due to sea level rise, the national average frequency of high-tide flooding is double what it was 30 years ago, exacerbating the potential for damage from hurricanes and tropical storms.
In a future-obsessed world, it’s a bit of classic beauty
I’ve always had a soft spot for stuff designed for World’s Fairs. Not all the space-age technology of the future so much as the little things: zippers, Cherry Coke, that “There’s a place in France where the naked ladies dance” tune.
And the whole notion of international pavilions is just so endearing—the idea of a nation sending the best it’s got to represent itself to other cultures, like a food and design olympics!
So, obviously, I’m in love with the fact that the now-iconic “Liljan” candleholder was designed by Swedish artist Ivar Ålenius-Björk for the Scandinavian Pavilion of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Ålenius-Björk was primarily known as a portrait sculptor—his statues and busts can still be seen all over Sweden—but he also designed candlesticks for the manufacturer Ystad-Metall.
As the year might suggest, the candleholder is a classic of Art Deco design. Not for nothing was the fair’s motto “the world of tomorrow.” But it’s a stylized beauty that has withstood the test of time as the best pieces do, blending with other good designs, holding its own, and appealing as much as a design object as an...
Living in a piece of history
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: Bloomingburg, New York
We’ll take one ticket to this amazing railroad-station-meets-house in Bloomingburg, New York. Terrible puns aside, this five-bedroom beauty is on the market, and it’s a stunning example of how a little creativity can turn an dilapidated building into a home.
The station was originally built in 1889 and abandoned in 1957. Over the years, the building fell into disrepair and became completely unusable until its new owners poured a lot of time and love into it. Today, the station looks like a Spanish villa set against New York’s rolling hills.
The house features a rippling Spanish clay roof that comes with a 75 year warranty and plays nicely with the brick patio out back. Inside, the floors are made from mosaic stone, embossed terra-cotta tiles, and oak.
The best details of the house are those that carried over from its time as a functioning station. The arched doors come with an Ontario & Western logo, and the walkways...
The homes designed by legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright continue to enchant their owners (not to mention architecture enthusiasts) even after decades of living there. Still, there comes a time when one must sell one’s dream home for a variety of reasons.
Here are three fantastic Wright creations across the U.S. that are still waiting to be snatched up. Some have undergone price cuts, while others have maintained their original asks. Remember, just because it’s been on the market for months doesn’t mean the property isn’t worth the trouble: It’s holding out for that very special buyer. Could it be you?
Nicknamed Toyhill, this 2,164-square-foot does come off pretty whimsical, from its saucer-like roofs and mushroom-shaped carport to Guggenheim-esque curves throughout. An interior highlight is the circular great room, which has a stone fireplace and a library mezzanine above. A spiral wooden staircase leads upstairs to the bedrooms. Hopping onto the market last November, it’s still sitting pretty asking $1,500,000.
Conversion kits can save you time and money
Whether you’re on the hunt for a budget camper or something more luxurious, new conversion van companies are popping up everywhere. But the next wave of companies capitalizing on #VanLife appeals to all of the DIY-ers out there: modular camper conversion kits. Love campers and trailers? Come join our new community group.
For adventurers who can’t afford a Sportsmobile or an Outside Van, conversion kits are the best of both worlds. You save time by using a kit measured and fabricated by someone else, and you save money by installing the kit yourself. It’s the perfect fit for a wannabe van owner who is handy with a power drill but doesn’t feel confident making cabinetry.
We’ve reported on kits from companies like Portland-based Adventure Wagon before, but what caught our eye recently were the gorgeous interiors from ZENVANZ. Created by Portland couple Bryan and Jen Danger—who also converted a 480-square-foot garage into a rent-free oasis—ZENVANZ emerged because so many people loved the couple’s personal van. After making a few fully converted vans for clients, the Dangers decided they wanted to stay on the road and use their...
The faulty belt drive did it in
Ikea is slamming the brakes on one of its most interesting offerings in recent years: the clean-lined, relatively affordable Sladda bike designed to make cycling a palatable mode of transportation to the urban masses. Now this initiative is coming to an end, as the Swedish furniture giant has announced it’s recalling all Sladda bikes and doing away with them entirely, Fast Company reports.
The stylishly pared-back Sladda, which started at $399 for Ikea Family members, had its fans when it was revealed, even winning a Red Dot award for product design. But ultimately, something that contributed to its streamlined look and low-key appeal also led to its downfall. According to the recall notice, the company received 11 reports worldwide (none in the U.S.) of the belt drive breaking, including two that led to minor injury.
The belt drive, which came with a 10-year warranty, was supposed to last longer than traditional chains and require less maintenance. Ikea told Fast Company that it hasn’t been able to find a feasible fix—though, with only 4,900 Sladda bikes sold in the U.S. since 2017, perhaps repairing the bikes is just not worth the effort. ...
Looks can be deceiving
From a distance, this red house by Felipe Assadi Arquitectos looks like a barn. Up close, there’s nothing rustic about the modern modular design.
The architects designed the house in San Jose de Maipo, Chile, as a lovely study in contrasts: bright red in a natural, green setting, simple shape with some unexpected twists. The home comprises two forms that were brought together to create a spacious multi-story structure. The two prefab modules have parts of their mass subtracted to create a double-height entryway and covered terrace.
Peering through the window you can see a floating staircase that leads up to a loft-like second story. The architects created the illusion of permeability by cladding the home’s top window with a pattern of metal material.
New report explores the promise of bringing seniors and children together under the same roof
A long-standing example of the benefits of bringing generations together is the Jenks West Elementary School in Jenks, Oklahoma, opened in 1999 and situated in the center of a skilled nursing center. Programs such as Book Buddies, an opportunity for the students to read to seniors, connect the residents, called “grandpas and grandmas,” with the kids, whom the adults nickname “littles.”
“Students walk in and start the day with the Grandmas and Grandpas there to give them hugs and high fives,” principal Suzanne Lair told researchers. “There’s a glass door and glass windows, so it’s very visible for the Grandmas and Grandpas to see what’s going on all the time. They can hear noise and chatter from the classroom.”
By creating a space and programming that allows children and senior to interact, Jenks Elementary blends education and senior services in a way that creates long-lasting impacts. According to a new report, it’s a harbinger of how a new generation of shared spaces can solve significant social challenges as U.S. demographics shift. Our increasing generational diversity should be...
For $14.5 million you can expect to get a lot of house. A swimming pool is a given. A subterranean basketball court? Sure. This modern abode, just on the market, has all the standard outrageous amenities and more—the more being an original James Turrell Skyspace that sits in the home’s courtyard.
Marmol Radziner architects designed the Arrowhead House as an extravagant prefab oasis in the desert hills outside of Las Vegas. The location—arid and sunny—is perfect for one of Turrell’s Skyspace pieces, which are at their best when they act as a frame to a partly cloudy sky.
A flashy art piece is a remarkable thing to center a home around, to be sure, but Arrowhead is equally stunning without it. The C-shaped house has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a theatre, wine cellar, and a double-height living room. The floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the Strip from a distance.
Via: The Spaces
Located on the volcanic island of Ulleungdo in South Korea
An undulating concrete form perches on the coast of a volcanic island called Ulleungdo in South Korea. Its white peaks and organic rooflines create a striking contrast to the site’s rocky environs and the sea beyond. Together, it is said that the land and the water emanate a healing energy that represents the balance and harmony of the philosophy of yin and yang.
It makes sense, then, that this magnificent backdrop becomes the setting for Healing Stay Kosmos, a luxury resort that offers accommodations across two sculptural buildings designed by Kim Chanjoong, founder of the Seongnam-based The_System Lab.
“I wanted it to be a container of ‘energy’ rather than a building,” Kim said, “and I hoped it to become a kind of celestial tool that can contemplate and feel the natural phenomenon of the universe and the earth.” The resort’s main building, the private Villa Kosmos, was inspired by the path of the sun and the moon, manifesting as six spiral “branches” that appear to swirl around a central courtyard.
Villa Kosmos includes four guest rooms, each of which boasts high ceilings that frame stunning views of the...
Lazy summer days start now
As the first three-day weekend of warm weather, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. Hopefully you’ll be taking advantage of some sun and BBQ this long weekend, but you may also want to dedicate a few hours to shopping some of the biggest home goods sales of the season.
Whether you’re looking to refresh your decor, invest in an outdoor furniture set, or finally upgrade your mattress, this weekend is probably the best shopping opportunity you’ll see until Amazon Prime Day. We’ll continue to update this list all week so keep checking back for the most up-to-date sale info.
All Modern: Take an extra 15 percent off Memorial Day sale items with code SPF15.
Allswell: Use code LONGWEEKEND for 15 percent off mattresses and bedding. Ends May 28.
Anthropologie: All full-priced furniture and decor is 20 percent off at this summer kick-off sale.
Apt2B: Save 15 percent off sitewide and 50 percent off at the Apt2B outlet. If you’re spending $1999 or more use code 5MORE for 20 percent off or use code 10MORE for 25 percent off orders of $3,499 or more. Ends May 28.
Article: Save up to 50 percent off select items including seating, lighting and storage....
There’s no shortage of ways for Hello Kitty fanatics to get their fix. Hotels! Houses! And now a bullet train that will speed through Japan at up to 200 mph. This June, the West Japan Railway Co. is rolling out a new Hello Kitty-themed bullet train that will make trips from Shin-Osaka station in the Osaka prefecture and Hakata in the Fukuoka prefecture.
Renderings show a train wrapped in a pink ribbon decal with Hello Kitty character illustrations greeting passengers at the door. Inside, two cars will be transformed into a world of pink, white, and purple.
In the Kawaii! Room car, the company will outfit windows, walls, floors, head, and armrests in Hello Kitty garb, while riders who reserve a ticket will be able to take pictures in a themed photo booth with a giant Hello Kitty doll. In the seatless Hello! Plaza car, riders will be able to browse a marketplace of Japanese goods, making the train the ultimate tourist attraction.
The themed trips will begin on June 30 and run until September. Each trip will last approximately two and half hours—plenty of time to snap a few quality selfies with a Sanrio character or two.
As New Orleans struggles to balance tourism and residents, the neighborhood is caught in the middle
One morning a couple of years ago, a neighbor called me over from my porch to point out the guy staying in the Airbnb next door: a certain famous actor who’d just appeared in a blockbuster Middle-earth fantasy. I snuck a look, and there he was, smoking in sunglasses and a T-shirt next to our rusty old iron fence. Our neighbor had just googled how much this actor was worth, and wondered aloud why he wasn’t staying up at the W or the Ritz, adding that he’d just been tweeting from the restaurant around the corner about a bathroom art installation. As though on cue, we overheard the actor tell his hosts that he hoped the neighborhood wouldn’t “lose its authenticity.”
Two neighborhoods downriver from the French Quarter, Bywater is close enough to its tourist vortex to be convenient but far enough away to still seem cool and “authentic.” Pre-Katrina, it was an affordable, laid-back mix of black and white, working class and professional, with a fair number of artists. Modest 19th-century shotgun houses and Creole cottages dominated, with larger ones mixed in throughout. I bought my...
With a four-car garage and outdoor living room
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: Monte Nido, California
Located in the small neighborhood of Monte Nido, California, just 10 minutes north of Malibu, this completely renovated post-and-beam from the ’70s combines the best of midcentury design with contemporary comforts. It’s also nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains and a short drive to the beach, making it an ideal nature retreat.
While the bones of the original structure remain, virtually everything else has been transformed. The sprawling 2,898-square-foot home features a dusty blue exterior accented by redwood siding, with minimalist interiors with white walls and dark hardwood floors.
The main living area retains much of its midcentury roots, including the vaulted ceiling and open floorplan comprising two seating areas, dining, and open kitchen. Pivoting glass doors open directly onto a tigerwood deck (an outdoor living room of sorts) and terraced gardens, with an additional lounge and a fire pit....
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,...
Community centers for the gig economy
Earlier today, Lyft announced a $100 million investment in expanding its network of driver hubs in major U.S. cities, including the addition of 30 more locations.
These hubs, 15 of which are currently located in major U.S. cities, function as service centers and community spaces for drivers. They feature facilities for low-cost oil changes, basic vehicle maintenance, charging facilities for electric vehicles, and serviced car washes, as well as communal areas for drivers to meet, host skill-sharing meetups, and use “career-focused educational resources.” And yes, there’s also coffee.
The company’s investment will also expand operating hours for the hubs, from 35 to 40 hours a week to more than 70 hours per week.
In many ways, Lyft and its competitor Uber, the ride-hailing companies that control the vast majority of the U.S. market, are successful. They’ve raised billions, changed urban transportation, collectively employ millions of drivers, and have become indispensable to many riders.
But despite their rapid growth, these companies still have significant challenges, including driver retention. Lyft believes part of the solutions is...
The rental service has pivoted to a subscription model, offering more flexibility to customers
Feather, the furniture renting service that launched last year, has announced a new subscription program that gives customers more “furniture freedom.” As the rental period for furniture approaches, customers now have four options. They can renew their existing plan, swap out furniture for new pieces, purchase their rentals, or simply return them.
In addition to their mission of fostering consumers’ relationship to material goods, Feather is also committed to taking the stress out of moving and furnishing a home—in particular for those living in big cities where people are constantly moving in and out of apartments.
The swap option allows folks to easily change out furniture when moving to a new place instead of dealing with selling their old pieces or forcing them to work in their new digs. With free delivery and assembly, this service is virtually headache-free.
Feather has also announced new partnerships with West Elm, Casper, Joybird, and Pottery Barn, which means that customers can now rent brand-name goods without committing to purchasing them. Pieces from these brands are...
Kaiser Permanente is investing $200 million to house Americans
Efforts to combat the country’s homelessness crisis will get a financial boost from one of the country’s biggest healthcare providers—Kaiser Permanente is investing $200 million in affordable and supportive housing across the country.
The announcement was made last week by the Oakland, California-based nonprofit, which serves 12 million members in eight states and Washington, D.C. By focusing on making housing-based investments in those markets, the healthcare company estimates it will positively impact the well-being of 65 million U.S. residents.
The investment makes sense, as Kriston Capps argues at CityLab, because “housing is healthcare.” Chronically unhoused residents can cost cities hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in emergency room visits and short-term care. This is why cities are focusing on new strategies to permanently house their most vulnerable residents, including integrating comprehensive healthcare services.
Many of the communities Kaiser Permanente serves are also seeing the nation’s highest rates of housing insecurity and homelessness, including California, Washington, and Hawaii, noted...
Almost too pretty to use
Goodbye sticks of chalk. Hello…geometrically precise hunks of chalk. Designer Nikolas Bentel just upped the chalk game significantly (did you know there was a chalk game?) with his Chalk Drawers, a set of odd-looking drawing utensils designed to help people create precise shapes and lines.
The pieces of chalk, which look a little like super-sized microbes, were made with a 3D printer, giving them literally laser-cut precision. Rotate the circle drawer on its surface, and you’ll get a perfect circle; pull or pull the line drawer, and you’ll see a set of five perfectly-spaced lines; roll the dot drawer across a chalkboard, and it’ll produce a flurry of small dots—no ruler or compass required.
This grown-up version of chalk is clever and not just thanks to its sculptural look. It’s foolproof precision for those of us who lack drawing skills. You can check them out at the New Museum’s gift shop.
#Vanlife is over. #Trucklife is here.
It was only a matter of time before something came along and dethroned #vanlife. Sleeker and more spacious, #Trucklife could just be the next high-end vagabond phenomenon.
The Truck Surf Hotel is a roving surfing retreat built out of a renovated Mercedes Actros truck that rides around Portugal and Morocco in search of the best waves. Think of it as a compact terrestrial cruise ship. Every morning, the captain (er, driver) parks the truck within view of the ocean. A breakfast buffet awaits passengers when they rise—a necessary amenity for travelers who will spend the day catching gnarly waves.
And lest you think sleeping in a truck isn’t plush enough, this Mercedes Actros is tricked out with a hydraulic system that allows the walls and ceiling to expand when parked, creating a legitimately roomy space for up to 10 wave-chasing travelers. All told, the truck has five bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and shower.
Pricing starts at $728 a person for a week-long adventure in Portugal and $590 a person for a week in Morocco.
Designed in conjunction with Parents’ magazine for the 1956 Greater Houston Builder’s Association Parade of Homes.
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: Houston, Texas
This charming midcentury modern home in Glenbrook Valley, Houston, was designed by E. Kelly Gaffney in conjunction with Parents’ magazine for the 1956 Greater Houston Builder’s Association Parade of Homes. Recently renovated and restored, the 1,270-square-foot residence features three bedrooms, two baths, and many of the era’s architectural considerations.
Brick walls and a broadly pitched roof characterize the exteriors, while the interiors boast a soaring great room with tongue-and-groove beamed ceilings, clerestory windows, and an open floorplan. Here, a living room flows into a dining room and into a period kitchen, where green Formica countertops and what appears to be original cabinetry remain.
The bathrooms include original pink tiling in one and lemon yellow in the other, while hardwood floors are found throughout the house. The bedrooms...
A new survey examines how ridehailing is impacting transit choices
As ridehailing services such as Uber and Lyft continue to grow, their impact on transportation policy, congestion, and the environment have been the subject of much curiosity and research. Can the ease of ridehaiing convince car owners to abandon their vehicles and rely on new mobility options, or will it lead to more car trips and increased congestion?
A new report issued this morning suggets that ridehailing is becoming more intertwined with mass transit. Commissioned by Masabi, a mobile ticketing service that works with transit systems as well as companies such as Uber and Lyft, the new research surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States last fall with access to mass transit.
More than one-third of respondents (35 percent) said they are combining ridesharing with public transit on an occasional basis, while 7 percent are combing transit and ridehailing on a weekly basis. In addition, while 80 percent of weekly drivers said they never use public transit, 95.5 percent of weekly rideshare riders utilize public transit.
Aiming to capture how public transit systems are faring in a rapidly evolving mobility and...
The Danish architect will take on an advisory role
Looks like WeWork is expanding its relationship with Bjarke Ingels, who was tapped last year to design its private elementary school pilot program WeGrow.
The New York City-based shared workspace company announced that the Danish architect will be its chief architect and will “advise and develop the firm’s design vision and language for buildings, campuses and neighborhoods globally,” a press release said.
Ingels will continue his role as founder and creative director at the New York-, London-, and Copenhagen-based BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group while “offer[ing] his insights and ideas to extend and help us push the boundaries of architecture, real estate, technology, and design at WeWork.”
WeWork and Ingels have big plans for the future: “As WeWork takes on larger and more holistic urban and architectural challenges, I am very excited to contribute with my insights and ideas to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods,” Ingels said in a statement.
“Bjarke Ingels will help us reimagine and reshape the future of our spaces, our company and ultimately our cities,” said WeWork’s co-founder...
It’s the second time Carson has been sued over delays to Obama-era anti-segregation measures
A collection of civil rights advocates filed suit against Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Tuesday over its delay of an Obama-era regulation designed to help cities and counties address segregation.
The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule was designed in 2015 to enforce a rule from the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that went largely ignored for 40 years. The AFFH rule requires municipalities to develop concrete plans to address segregation in their communities. Failure to do so would result in denial of money from the Community Development Block Grant program, which disperses $3 billion annually.
In January, Carson suddenly announced he was delaying the AFFH rule until 2020. But because the rule requires anti-segregation plans that are tied to the Assessment of Fair Housing report, which municipalities file every five years, the timing of the delay effectively pushes the AFFH rule’s implementation back to 2024 and 2025, if not indefinitely.
The National Fair Housing Alliance, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and Texas...
Can South Florida recast itself as a diverse, affordable innovation hub?
Of all the changes taking place in Miami right now, one of the least appreciated may be the region’s growth as a technology hub.
For many who associate the city, and South Florida, with Art Deco architecture, sunny beaches, and tourism, Miami’s selection as one of Amazon’s 20 finalists cities for its HQ2 contest may have come as a surprise.
But there’s much more happening in Miami, and many in the local tech scene see the momentum increasing.
“Miami is in the midst of a transformation,” says Philippe Houdard, a Harvard-educated Frenchman who co-founded Pipelines, a network of shared workspaces in Miami and other U.S. cities. “Historically, the economy here hasn’t been diverse. But it’s changing, and the tech sector has played a key role.”
Last year, area startups received $1.3 billion in venture capital funding, placing Miami eighth on the list of U.S. cities in terms of VC activity, right between Seattle and Chicago. Silicon Valley doesn’t have anything to fear anytime soon; San Francisco startups attracted $23.4 billion in funding in 2017, or 34 percent of the nation’s total.
For Houdard and others,...
Rustic meets a minimalist aesthetic
This impressive barn conversion in Österlen, Sweden, is the stuff of dreams. The original structure was built in 1901 and had since fell into disrepair, but the current owner saw potential and transformed it into a gorgeous 390-square-meter (4,200 square feet) home with four bedrooms and soaring common spaces.
The renovation of the L-shaped residence, now on the market in Tunby, Tomelilla, imbues the farmhouse with a bright minimalist aesthetic that highlights the structure’s strong bones. Paneled and vaulted beamed ceilings create height—6.8 meters high, or 22 feet, in the great room—and also preserve the property’s rustic roots.
Other features include polished concrete floors; an abundance of windows, French doors, and skylights; and incredible outdoor spaces. But the showcase room is the aforementioned open-plan living area with double-height ceilings, sculptural fireplace, and a concrete staircase leading up to one of the bedrooms. The space flows into a massive open kitchen and dining area with French doors opening directly onto a wooden deck. Set on 1.5 acres, the property is offered at 5.995 million Swedish Krona ($680,000).
“Secret Cities,” a new exhibition at the National Building Museum, traces the Manhattan Project’s experimental urbanism
Midcentury suburbia is usually viewed through the lens of middle-class idealism: safe neighborhoods with affordable homes for families, picket fences, lawns where kids can play, good schools, and ample room to park your car. They’re the product of gainful employment and tight-knit communities. In the 1940s, the U.S. government built three such cities from scratch and historians today consider them to be among the most successful architecture and urbanism experiments of the 20th century. But these seemingly utopian enclaves have a troubling origin story: the atomic bomb.
The top-secret Manhattan Project—the WWII program that developed the nuclear weapons the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—also gave rise to three top-secret cities: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington. In the 1940s, these cities—which eventually had a combined population of over 125,000 people—were built from scratch and in total confidentiality.
In “Secret Cities,” a new exhibition at the National Building Museum, senior curator Martin Moeller...
Greenery delivered to your door
You’ve probably read by now that houseplants are an easy way to liven up a space while purifying the air too. But then what? Where can you get some for your home?
Besides brick-and-mortar options like the big-box retailer garden centers and local plant nurseries and shops, you can also find plenty of greenery that can be ordered online and shipped directly to your door. In fact, even big boxes, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, offer an online selection of indoor plants available for delivery.
Below, we round up some of the best places to buy houseplants online right now. Before you dive in, check out our guide to ordering plants online. (Like the look but just not ready to house a living thing? We hear Urban Outfitters offers an intriguing line of faux plants.)
Yup! The ecommerce giant has a plant store now. Shop it as you would any other Amazon department: Browse by category (garden/patio, indoor, gifts, etc.), sort by price or rating, and look out for that handy blue “prime” label indicating free shipping.
Launched this spring, Bloomscape offers potted plants delivered straight to your door (in the continental U.S. anyway),...
Whoo hoo! I finally have a favorite find to share with you all this Monday morning! This bedroom set belonged to my client when she was a little girl. She now has three children of her own and her four year old daughter, Penny is about to inherit the set. We are going with a...
The post Favorite Find Monday, Little Penny’s Bedroom Set appeared first on .
I’ve spent the past few days working on creating a metallic, or mercury glass, finish for a client’s piece. We originally wanted straight up metallic but then decided that was too much and went for a more subtle, mercury glass look. The console table is very modern and had a very basic black finish to...
The post Creating a Mercury Glass Finish appeared first on .
I found such a beautiful console table the other day and had to share. The table is new but the decor on it is one of my curbside finds – my mystery box. I previously had my Hungarian Chest in my foyer but I sold the chest over Christmas. The space was waiting patiently for the...
The post A New Table and a Mystery Box appeared first on .
Some are even tiny
With Earth Day just around the corner, we’ve rounded up our favorite off-grid tiny houses and prefab homes—even off-grid prefab tiny homes!—to inspire your fantasy of leaving it all behind and escaping to the wilderness for a while.
Whether designed to resemble cabins or mirrored to disappear into the landscape, these eco-friendly dwellings are sure to offer something for everyone. Have a look.
This 2,000-square-foot home looks pretty fancy, but it’s not your average beach house. Constructed by Aussie prefab builder Ecoliv and designed by architect Lai Cheong Brown for his parents, the rectilinear dwelling was actually built completely off site and then shipped to an alpaca farm on Australia’s French Island on a barge.
Comprising five separate modules, the home is arranged around an internal courtyard, a design that protects the home from harsh coastal winds. As for its mechanics, wood is used for heating and cooking, solar panels provide electricity, and rainwater harvesting worm farm sewerage treatment systems...
The nine-story white tower recently opened to the public
Masterminded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’s studio Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Milan’s Fondazione Prada—an arts and culture institute from the Italian fashion house—opened in 2015 with seven renovated distillery buildings including a theater and gallery, a gold-leaf-covered pavilion, mirrored facade, and an ultra ‘grammable cafe designed by Wes Anderson.
This month, this many-surfaced “orgy of architecture” is finally complete with the debut of a white nine-story tower poised to become a new Milanese landmark. The building, named “Torre” (tower in Italian), just opened to the public during this year’s Salone del Mobile.
From certain views, the tower appears as a single rectangular volume. But moving to a new vantage point reveals two geometric voids cut deep into the structure, as well as a sort of sloped steel-and-concrete buttress angling up to meet the back of the building.
“By introducing numerous spatial variables, the complexity of the architectural project contributes to the development of an open and constantly evolving...
A design by Catalan architect Antoni Bonet Castellana
A home by catalan architect Antoni Bonet Castellana, perhaps best known for designing the iconic B.K.F butterfly chair with Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, is on the market in the seaside city of Calella, Spain.
Perched above and into a rocky outcrop, the modernist residence, which WowHaus dates back to the 1970s, features a semi-circular design marked by strong concrete cantilevering volumes with arches carved into them that appear to fan out toward the water.
These arches continue inside, where they manifest as a series of vaulted ceilings in the main open-plan living space, which encompasses three separate seating areas and a dining space partitioned by a partial wall, all arranged to face walls of glass and clerestory windows that frame magnificent coastal views.
There are seven bedrooms that are located on the lower level of the impressive house and seem to be embedded into the earth. Each one boasts sliding glass doors framed by geometric cutouts into the thick stone exterior wall that, of course, open onto sea views.
A delightfully retro kitchen with what appears to be original tiling and cabinets, seven...
Should I buy a home? Curbed finds that it’s complicated
Have you heard? Owning a house is an investment, except that it’s really not. Home ownership is a vital wealth-building tool, aside from the fact that it’s financial suicide. Historically, the returns for owning a home outpace stocks, although actually they don’t.
Homeownership used to be an accessible, affordable option. But after a financial crisis that sent home values tumbling, and with home prices now reaching astronomical levels due to a housing shortage, things have changed a lot just in the past decade. Finding an affordable home can mean moving away from jobs and increasing commute times, which explains the rise of “supercommuters” across the U.S.
Is owning a home is still worth it? The answer depends on whom you ask, what inputs are included in their model, and their general disposition toward investing—and the answer will almost always be “it depends.”
There are plenty of online tools available to help you assess whether your current financial circumstances would render a monthly mortgage payment lower than your monthly rent. But there are many more factors to consider before you make what will likely be the...
With incredible views toward Olympic National Park
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
This incredible midcentury modern home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, is on the market for the first time. Designed in 1965 for Jack Christiansen, the pioneering engineer behind Seattle’s Kingdome roof and many other iconic buildings throughout the state, the post-and-beam waterfront residence appears to be virtually untouched and beautifully maintained over the years.
Although details about the property are sparse, it comprises a two-story main house and a separate master suite connected by a glazed hallway and an expansive deck propped on a concrete dais. (This structure appears throughout the property.) Midcentury era details abound, starting with its glass and wood construction, network of Japanese-inspired beams running through the interiors and framing the facade, wood screens, open floorplan, indoor-outdoor connections, and glazed expanses that frame stunning water and mountain...
It’s about time
In a new paper in Science Robotics, researchers from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University pose the question: Can robots assemble Ikea chairs? It appears that yes, yes they can. And with relative ease.
WIRED reports that the scientist designed robots that can autonomously build Ikea’s Stefan chair in 20 minutes flat. Using off-the-shelf components like 3D cameras and robotic arms with force sensors, the robots are able to differentiate between parts and assemble them with a dexterity and finesse elusive to most bots.
The scientists coded the robots with specific behaviors, teaching them how to connect one piece to the next with the appropriate amount of force. Following the programmed instruction guide, the robots complete the series of tasks that result in a fully-formed chair. Who need TaskRabbits when you’ve got task robots?
See for yourself.
Behold, “Pollution Pods”
What does New Delhi smell like in the middle of a hot, sunny day? Not great, according to the artist Michael Pinksy. For his new project, Pollution Pods, Pinksy recreated the atmospheres of five cities—New Delhi, São Paulo, London, Beijing, and Tautra Island, Norway— and encapsulated them in transparent pods in the courtyard of London’s Somerset House.
Each pod reflects the city’s climate—for example, New Delhi is hot and hazy, Norway is cool and clear—and the smell of the air. Pinsky worked with scientists and scent specialists to recreate the smells, which they say are aren’t harmful beyond the sheer sensory unpleasantness of breathing in something like “Living Diesel,” London’s signature scent.
Visitors wander through the geodesic pods, getting a feel (or rather, a smell) for what it’s like to live in a massively polluted city— or in the case of Tautra Island, a perfectly pristine environment. The piece, which was commissioned by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is part of the Climate Project, which aims to use art...
It could roll out as early as 2019
While the world waits with baited breath to find out which lucky city will be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, Bloomberg reports that the e-commerce giant has been quietly working on a new project that could have even bigger implications—domestic robots.
Code-named “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family, the project could put robots in the homes of employees by the end of this year, with a rollout to consumers potentially happening as early as 2019.
Citing “people familiar with the plans,” Bloomberg says it’s unclear what functions the robot might be able to perform. But given the success of Amazon Echo and its Alexa smart assistant, it’s reasonable to expect the robot to at least be able to perform Alexa-powered functions—kind of like an Echo on wheels.
The project appears to be under the umbrella of Amazon’s Lab126, the company’s hardware research and development division in Sunnyvale, California. Lab126 has been responsible for every major hardware offering in Amazon’s history.
Amazon has seen mixed results with hardware in the past. The Kindle was a smash hit that changed the way people read books, and...
Once home to ’50s television actress Joan Davis
This midcentury residence is located in Palm Springs’ Movie Colony East neighborhood and also has some Hollywood pedigree to boot. Built in 1949, it was once the home of Joan Davis, a television actress from the ’50s. Since then, the 1,632-square-foot three-bed-three-bath has been completely renovated, but many of its charming vintage qualities remain.
Tucked behind a gate and a lush wall of hedges on a private corner lot, the Case Study-style house features a one-story construction topped by a gently sloping roof. The interiors are bright white, and, in the open-plan living room, characterized by a wall of glass that provides direct access onto the quintessential desert backyard. A modern open kitchen and dining room complete this space.
The master suite enjoys indoor-outdoor access thanks to sliding glass doors and clerestory windows, while the two additional bedrooms are comfortable and spacious, too. All three baths are completely new. That’s not to say that there aren’t things we wouldn’t change. For one, the carpeting in the living room needs to go, and balancing the white-hot interiors with some color is a must.
The Taiwanese apartment was designed by KC Design Studio
This surprising apartment renovation in Xiandian District, in New Taipei City, Taiwan, combines the sleek aesthetic of modern design with the rough-hewn quality of natural materials, creating a home that feels both vintage and new.
Designed by Taipei-based interior design firm KC Design Studio for a couple and their small child, the 125-square-meter, or 1,345 square feet, home is characterized by two parallel sections rendered in a dark and natural color palette.
In the main living space, vaulted brick panels appear to float from the ceiling while steel beams that have been fireproofed add texture to the space. Here, an open kitchen features dark cabinetry that can be concealed with sliding wood-paneled doors and an island clad in bronze door fronts and topped with a sleek counter. Walls are gray plaster, and the floors polished concrete.
The transition into the private quarters is marked by parquet flooring that also clads portions of the ceiling. In other parts, in both the master bedroom and kid’s room, traditional wood paneling in white creates contrasting zones delineating the beds, for example, or the dressing...
I’m working on a more modern inspired piece for a client (I shared it a few weeks ago here). We were going to go with a metallic champagne gold finish but once we saw the sample board, decided against it. I do really love the metallic look but in this case, a more subtle look...
The post How-To Tuesday: Paint and Glaze Color Combos appeared first on .
I originally shared Meg’s console table with you last week. It was a yellowish color and needed a makeover. A fun pop of deep red was the perfect color choice. This farmhouse red is a combination of Annie Sloan Primer Red and Annie Sloan Burgundy. I have used this combo before, on the Burgundy Buffet,...
The post A Console Table Goes Farmhouse Red appeared first on .
A quick update on the General Finishes Pearl Effects application. This is the look I am trying to achieve: And here is where I am today. Yikes! I applied two coats of GF Milk Paint,Queenstown Gray and then a coat of GF Flat Out Flat sealer. Dabbed on the Argentine then Bronze and finally the...
The post Pearl Effects Finish – Not There Yet! appeared first on .
Remember a few months ago when I shared that we were likely moving to a smaller townhouse and downsizing? Well, life has a way of changing plans and we are staying put. I had wild dreams of buying a brand new and less expensive home a little further out and having a new kitchen, new...
The post Life’s Changes appeared first on .
Another win for adaptive reuse
As an architectural trend, it’s hard to hate on adaptive reuse. The catch-all term for giving an old building a new purpose allows original architecture to anchor a neighborhood, while breathing new life into an otherwise unused building. There are plenty of examples of clever architectural reuse—the most recent among them is a steam plant turned local non-profit headquarters.
In Toledo, Ohio, HKS transformed a 124,000 square foot plant into a new office building for ProMedica, a growing medical company whose offices had been spread throughout the city. The architects retained the facade of the brick factory for the most part, preserving three of the brick exteriors and the two steam towers that soar into the sky, while adding windows to one of building’s facades.
The interior is outfitted with concrete floors and high ceilings, which allow for a central atrium for employees to gather and hold meetings. In addition to the factory, the architects renovated a brutalist building from 1981 to expand the headquarters’ footprint. The campus, which is situated in the city’s downtown, aims to revive the business district without ignoring the city’s...
A couple takes on a coastal classic
It’s the stuff home fantasies are made of: A newly married couple goes in search of a house they can afford and finds a midcentury cabin created by one of their architectural heroes, perched on an ocean bluff.
It may sound like an elevator pitch for a movie, but it’s all true—and it happened to architectural designer Chad DeWitt and James Cook.
The couple lives in Oakland, California, but they found their dream home 113 miles north in The Sea Ranch, a design enclave like no other. It came about in the most ordinary of ways. “It’s the classic Bay Area scenario—we wanted a toehold in the real estate market, but we were finding it very expensive,” says DeWitt, principal of Framestudio. “We started looking outside of our area.”
DeWitt’s mind immediately turned to The Sea Ranch, an area he’d long admired. When Cook saw it, he, too, became an instant convert.
If you are of a design mind, it’s easy to see why. The short story of Sea Ranch is that it’s a planned community along a short...