The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

Fine Wood Working

22 February 2019

Expert advice on woodworking and furniture making, with thousands of how-to videos, step-by-step articles, project plans, photo galleries, tool reviews, blogs, and more
France-based <a class="ql-link" href="" target="_blank" data-author="843">Beauer</a> makes expandable caravans that triple in size thanks to a telescoping design.

A towable trailer that adds 300 square feet in seconds? Yes, please

It’s not very often that a company can revolutionize camper design, whether through an RV’s style or function. But that’s what happened when France-based Beauer debuted its 3X trailer, an expandable caravan that triples in size thanks to its telescoping design. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

Originally conceived in 2009, the Beauer 3X trailer aims to be easy to tow, yet spacious once you arrive at camp. However, when we reported in the past on the Beauer 3X trailer, it was more concept than reality. Now both the 3X trailer and a new 3X Plus model have come to market, including an appearance at the recent CMT camper show in Stuttgart.

In all of the Beauer campers, the technology works by deploying three modules horizontally, something that looks like three nesting cans. In the folded position the furniture fits inside each other, but expand the trailer and you get bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room. While the original trailer sleeps four in 130 square feet, the new Plus model adds sleeping space for six and a total of 300 square feet.

The larger Plus...

And can plans to rebuild, and turn to sustainable technologies, gain traction before the 2020 election?

Today in Washington, D.C., at the first meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Chairman Peter DeFazio’s (D-OR) phone alarm went off. Rep. DeFazio offhandedly joked that it was “the alarm sounding on America’s infrastructure.”

It could also be considered the starting bell in the rush to design, fund, and implement a national infrastructure overhaul.

As the hearing—entitled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait”—kicked off, buzz built about a newly released draft of the Green New Deal, a highly-anticipated joint resolution by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that will be officially introduced to Congress on Thursday afternoon.

These two events—a debate on repairing our roads, trains, tunnels, and infrastructure; and a bold plan to combat climate change—couldn’t be more intertwined. They showcase the momentum behind a significant infrastructure investment and efforts to recognize the seriousness of climate change. Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood bluntly said...

Using furniture rental startup Feather as a proxy shows the premium you pay for flexibility

Word leaked on Tuesday that furniture giant Ikea plans on exploring a furniture leasing program, but anyone hoping for a sneak peak at what the service might look like are only left to speculate, as details are scant and the program is in its “very early stages,” according to an Ikea spokesperson.

Here’s what we do know: The program will start in Switzerland and begin by leasing office furniture to business customers who’d rather not pay the full price to stock their office, which would help for any company on a short-term lease. Ikea is also looking at leasing kitchen designs.

The move comes at a time when furniture makers are becoming increasingly aware of the huge amounts of furniture thrown away every year. According to the EPA, 9.8 million tons of furniture were thrown away in 2009, accounting for 4.1 percent of household waste. Given Ikea’s emphasis on low-cost flatpack furniture, the company is undoubtedly responsible for its fair share of that waste.

How and to where Ikea’s furniture leasing program might expand is unknown for now, but there’s already a few companies that have...

It’s more luxurious than it sounds

During World War II, the HMS Owl Air Control Tower served as a home base for pilots landing their planes in the Scottish countryside. Today, it’s a fancy hotel.

Welcome to 2019.

After five years of renovations, the former air traffic control tower is now for rent, starting at $128 per night. Like you might expect, the restored building has a militaristic charm.

living room with leather couches and large stoveAirbnb via The Spaces

Neutral rugs lay atop the rough concrete floors; black paint covers the exposed brick walls; reclaimed furniture and oversized task lamps are scattered about; and bottles of fancy booze line the shelves of an old medicine cabinet.

Bed with plaid duvetAirbnb via The Spaces

It’s a perfect balance of modern and curated vintage that makes you feel like you were somehow transported into a very well-designed version of the past.

Reclaimed wood kitchen tableAirbnb via The Spaces

Though its vintage look is admittedly part artifice, the owners did keep the building’s most striking architectural feature: the large gridded windows that give a view of the vast, flat landscape.

Via: The Spaces

And all the amenities of Steamboat’s Alpine Mountain Ranch and Club

Winter is in full swing, and while we could certainly go for a beach vacation, we also want to cozy up by the fire in this impressive ski chalet. The home is located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a top-notch ski town known for epic tree skiing, amazing hot springs, and for a record of producing a high number of winter Olympic athletes.

About five miles from the ski resort, this five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath gem is called Moonlight Run. Forget your tired mountain clichés of antler chandeliers and taxidermy, this contemporary house shows what a modern ski home can look like.

The open-concept living area boasts 30-foot vaulted ceilings which provide an airy feel and unobstructed views of Steamboat Ski area. A towering, two-sided, angled fireplace takes center stage—when you’re not looking at the panorama—providing a sophisticated yet comfortable place to relax after a day on the slopes.

The 5,700-square-foot property features energy-efficient construction, a three-car garage, a second-story deck for indoor/outdoor living, and a large laundry room. Bathrooms are spacious with wood accents, and the...

The future of retail has no boundaries

By now, most people reasonably expect their buying habits to be obsessively tracked online. But in 2019, online tracking is no longer enough for advertisers.

In an inevitable, yet nonetheless dystopian, turn of events, Walgreens is currently testing a new program that allows its cooler doors to track customers via camera and motion sensors and then serve them targeted advertisements in real time.

Using technology from a startup appropriately named Cooler Screens (tagline: “a cooler way to shop”), Walgreens recently introduced digital cooler doors to six stores across the country. Instead of using perfectly adequate transparent glass, the doors now look like touchscreens (though they don’t react to touch), with digital renderings of the goods that are inside.

The doors are embedded with technologies like a camera, motion sensors, and eye tracking to help advertisers understand who is standing in front of their products. In real time, the software analyzes the “anonymized” data and serves up ads based on parameters like gender (creepy), age, emotional response (extra creepy!), and how long you’ve been lingering in front of a certain...

Complete with Wi-Fi

This renovated Bambi II Airstream is a modern California dream. Designed for a tech entrepreneur who wanted to balance screen time with outdoor time, the trailer is now a slick mobile office that is extremely Silicon Valley.

Edmonds + Lee Architects renovated the 1960s trailer, giving it shiny white-painted aluminum walls that bounce the California sunlight throughout the interior. The small space is outfitted with pale wood cabinets and lots of counter space.

On one end is cushioned banquet seating that hugs a Eero Saarinen Tulip table. On the other end, naturally, there’s an adjustable desk that doubles as a standing desk and a platform for an air mattress.

The trailer is powered by solar, propane, gas, and AGM batteries. It has Wi-Fi and a cellular network booster, so its owner can log on even when he’s out of range. This is an office, after all.

Interior of modern AirstreamPhoto: Joe Fletcher/Edmonds + Lee Architects
Bed on platformPhoto: Joe Fletcher/Edmonds + Lee Architects
Gray cushion seats around Tulip tablePhoto: Joe Fletcher/Edmonds + Lee Architects
 Photo: Joe Fletcher/Edmonds + Lee Architects

Located slopeside at Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort, these treehouses offer unique ski-in/ski-out lodging.

Convenience and luxury in one

Whether it’s skiing a groomed run or dropping into a bowl full of powder, nothing beats the fresh mountain air in winter. Sure, it may be cold, but the absolute best way to beat the winter blues is to embrace the snow and take a ski vacation.

To take your getaway to the next level, opt for a ski-in/ski-out property. Not only do you get the utmost in convenience, these high-design rentals offer top-notch luxury amenities like private hot tubs, slopeside fireplaces, and epic views. Throw in the fact that the ski lift is merely a minute away and you’ll forget all about the temperatures.

We’ve rounded up five droolworthy ski-in/ski-out properties to aid in your plans. From condos to hotels to a treehouse—yes, seriously—here’s how to do a dream ski vacation right.

Snowline Ridge in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

 Courtesy of Moving Mountains

It doesn’t get much better than ski-in/ski-out at this four-bedroom, four-and-a-half slopeside condo. Managed by Moving Mountains, you can ski out of your own patio in the morning and down to the lift and gondola at Steamboat Mountain Resort in just two minutes. The 2,758-square-foot luxury...

Experts dish on the most important seat in the house

Buying a sofa is tricky. It will likely be one of the largest pieces of furniture you own, which makes it both an instant focal point in a room—and one of your most expensive purchases.

With that in mind, you could likely use some buying advice. We turned to the experts for words of wisdom, because, as Dallas interior designer Joshua Rice says: “[I] look at more sofas in three months than you will probably look at in your lifetime.” Here’s what we learned.

Before buying a sofa, what should I consider?

The designers we interviewed agreed that when it comes to purchasing a sofa, you really do get what you pay for.

To ensure you’re getting something with a baseline level of acceptable quality, interior designer Annie Elliott recommends that you spend at least $1,000. Anything less means that the manufacturer probably cut corners that may result in buying another new sofa much sooner than you thought you would.

If you’re trying to budget for a sofa as part of furnishing your entire living room, prepare to allocate 15 to 30 percent for the sofa, according to Elliott. However, there are diminishing returns on the quality of a...

We are about to embark on our hallway bathroom renovation (yay!). I had painted the linoleum tile flooring a few years ago and it has held up really well (post here). It was a great temporary fix but we are now ready to tackle a full gut job and remodel. Here are a few pics...

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I love the show, Nate and Jeremiah by Design and while watching an episode, I noticed large clear glass jars with flowers on the mantel of one of their designs. I decided to mimic it and am sharing the outcome with you all! I first was on the lookout for the clear glass jars. I...

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I have been trying to post for over a week but my site had issues that hopefully are now fixed and hopefully you will receive this post! I decided to take a break the other day and ran into one of my favorite thrift stores. There I found these very pretty French end tables. They...

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Each room has a connection to the outdoors

This vacation home in The Netherlands embraces the best of two trends—the 807-square-foot house is clad in charred timber, making it a dream tiny(ish) home for anyone with a taste for Shou Sugi Ban.

Black timber house on lakePhoto by Ewout Huibers via ArchDaily

Designed by the Dutch architect Chris Collaris and interiors firm i29, the house with a compact footprint of 592 square feet sits on the shore of a lake just south of Amsterdam. The family’s directive was to build a small, efficient home that still took full advantage of the lakeside views.

Living room with concrete floorsPhoto by Ewout Huibers via ArchDaily

The designers divided the house into four rectangular modules—living room, dining/kitchen, three bedrooms, and a bathroom—and designed each with an eye to the details.

Kitchen flowing into patioPhoto by Ewout Huibers via ArchDaily

The rooms feature custom-built cabinets, closets, and media consoles that make the most of the limited space. Each module has a sliding door or window that opens completely to the outside, expanding the home’s footprint by merging the interior with the outdoors.

Courtyard leading to interior roomPhoto by Ewout Huibers via ArchDaily

When it’s all said and done, the house is just a couple hundred...

Idaho, now the fastest-growing state in the nation, and Boise, <a class="ql-link" href="" target="_blank">a boomtown by many measures</a>, have felt the strain from the city’s recent success.

In the fast-growing Idaho city, residents grapple with challenges of growth and new arrivals

When Cameron Crow, 29, contemplated a move back to his native Boise, Idaho, three years ago, his friends reacted with confusion. At the time, Crow was a data analyst working in San Francisco, the nation’s tech hub; why would he leave that for a small city in Idaho?

Crow said it took a single sentence for them to see the light: “You can easily own a home, have a 10-minute commute to work by bike, and drink $4 craft beers downtown.”

Three years after Crow returned home, becoming a Boise boomerang and starting his own analytics firm, he’s realized he’s in a much different city than the one he grew up in—and the one he pitched to friends. The picturesque metropolitan on the Boise River has boomed. New businesses—and, yes, breweries—have changed the core of a city that’s earned rave reviews for its livability and proximity to nature.

The Boise metro area (population 700,000) has also experienced the downsides of rapid growth. Idaho, now the fastest-growing state in the nation, and Boise, a boomtown by many measures, have felt the strain from the city’s recent success. Downtown is straining...

Monocabin is made from modular concrete panels.

Monocabin just got a U.S. distributor

Greece may conjure visions of rambling beachfront villas awash in white, so this little “monocabin” in Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, certainly feels like a departure. Still, it’s got that signature Hellenic whitewash and sleek lines associated with Greek island architecture—but best of all, it’s a “plug-and-play” prefab design now available to order.

Design-minded accommodation company BoutiqueHomes recently became the official distributor of the monocabin in the U.S. and Europe. Designed by Milan-based product design studio Mandalaki, the dwelling measures about 280 square feet, and is easy to assemble, thanks to the modular concrete panels that make up its walls. Everything inside is also designed specifically for the space, with custom furniture fitted just-so within the two-room interiors. The pieces include a built-in bed, kitchen cabinetry and console, and storage.

Numerous windows—clerestory, full-height, and otherwise—characterize the structure, flooding the home with natural light, a must in the sunny Mediterranean climate, while pale concrete floors and ceiling, plus the strategic placement of surrounding...

The listing comes with a burly 9-passenger snowcat

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: Alta, Utah

Price: $3,900,000

Ski season is in full swing, and home-searching snow lovers should look no further than this unique property located just above the town of Alta, Utah. Designed by AIA architects Tracy Stocking and David Hunter and built in 1993, the four-bedroom, three-bath home is only accessible by ski, snowmobile, or snowshoe in the winter.

Fortunately, the listing comes with a 9-passenger PistinBully 100 snowcat that allows you to haul family, guests, and groceries to and from the house. This enviable location also lets you ski out the door and into Alta Ski Resort, an enviable feature given Alta’s limited ski-in/ski-out lodging options.

The 3,076-square-foot house is a modern take on ski luxury, boasting a two-story wall of windows in the great room with sunrise views of Sugarloaf and Greely Bowl. Built-in bookshelves, a large fireplace, and an easy-to-access ski and mud room add to the conveniences, as do heated...

Home-share programs match two generations facing loneliness and high housing costs

About a year and a half ago, Brenda Atchison, a lifelong Bostonian, created an online profile. Atchison was retired from a job in the education sector and looking for someone to share her home and life—but she wasn’t looking for a date. She liked the idea of companionship and of generating a little extra income from renting out part of her big old house. “As you grow older, your core of people narrows down a little bit,” she says. So she used an app called Nesterly, a platform that pairs older people who have empty rooms with students looking for affordable places to stay.

Atchison, 67, outlined the space she had available—a private room with a shared bathroom, along with access to a shared kitchen and den with a TV—and then explained a little about herself and her expectations. “I wanted to communicate that my house is quiet, that I enjoy cooking, that I like learning new things, that I’m respectful and expect the same thing,” says Atchison. “I wanted both of us to be comfortable.”

Pheobus, an international student from Greece in his late 20s who was looking for a room where he could live...

86 feet of sensor-laden concrete

It used to be that 3D-printed bridges were a technological pipe dream. Now they’re a reality. A new one in Shanghai was recently installed, and it claims to hold the title for the world’s largest 3D-printed concrete bridge—for now.

Unlike Joris Laarman’s ornate steel crossing, Shanghai’s 86-foot-long bridge is made from printed composite concrete. Led by Tsinghua University School of Architecture professor Xu Weiguo, the team from the school’s Zoina Land Joint Research Center for Digital Architecture (JCDA), designed the structure, which curves upward like a deep frown over a small canal in the Shanghai’s Baoshan District.

Entrance to concrete bridgeJCDA
Robotic arm printing concreteJCDA

Before printing the bridge, the research team modeled it in software to find the optimal shape for supporting the weight of pedestrians. The swooping form was then printed in parts by two robotic arms over the course of 450 hours.

Close up of 3D printed concrete wallJCDA

Though it was printed by robots, the bridge has soft details including ribbon like handrails and a patterned pavement filled with white stones. Naturally, because this is part of Shanghai’s “smart city” concept, the design is embedded with sensors that are able to measure...

The climbable grid holds concrete planters filled with vegetation and cubbies filled with books.

A new library in Hanoi is more than a vessel for books. Vietnamese architecture studio, Farming Architects designed it to be a full-service learning center, complete with an aquaponic farm, koi pond, and roaming chickens that all contribute to the library’s ecosystem.

Yes, this library has its own mini ecosystem.

Young boy climbing wooden latticePhoto by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Dezeen

The VAC Library is essentially an interactive space for teaching children about urban farming. The open-air structure is built from a modular wooden grid that forms a pergola-like umbrella over the concrete foundation. Beyond serving as a de facto jungle gym, the lattice holds concrete planters filled with vegetation and cubbies filled with books.

Kids sitting under wooden pavilionPhoto by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Dezeen

Waste from the koi ponds and chickens are used to fertilize the vegetation. Meanwhile, the vegetation helps purify the water. Solar panels harvest energy that’s used to light the space and power the pond’s pumps. The goal is to teach children how a self-sustaining ecosystem works by showing them instead of simply having them...

A retractable roof lets you stargaze on the road or at camp

We’re big fans of camper design here at Curbed, but let’s face it: A large percentage of RVs look the same. Whether you’re talking about a large Class A or a fifth wheel, it can be hard to find a manufacturer who is truly pushing what’s possible in camper land. Even more rare is for the unique, mind-blowing concept camper to make it to market. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

We love seeing what is revealed at annual trade shows like the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon—the world’s biggest camper show—and more recently, CMT Messe Stuttgart. Both concept campers and ready-for-market RVs grace the exhibition halls, and the latest to shock and awe is the all-new Skydancer.

Originally conceived in 2014 as a Mercedes Atego motorhome with a retractable driver-cab roof, the new Skydancer Apéro debuted at CMT last week as a production-camper cabriolet. Using a Fiat Ducato as its base, the all-white RV boasts a retractable roof and sleeping space for four people. Because it debuted at a trade show, we’ve rounded up the best Instagram photos while we wait for more photos from Skydancer.

In order to make a...

Rep. Peter DeFazio seeks a grand, bipartisan bargain to fix our broken transit system

Infrastructure is finally at the center of U.S. political discourse. But debates about the border wall aren’t what Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the new chairman of the House’s transportation and infrastructure committee, wants to talk about. He wants to sound the alarm about the backlog of repairs fueling an economic—and environmental—crisis.

“If we don’t make these investments, we’re going to become more carbon-intensive, in terms of transportation, and have the potential for economic catastrophe when something like the tunnels under the Hudson River go down,” says DeFazio. “I’m going to approach it from a very hard-hearted way: Boy, you’re stupid if you don’t make these investments.”

DeFazio has spent much of his career working on bipartisan plans to boost spending on important transportation projects. He takes control of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during a pivotal time, when technology advances, long-term funding issues, and climate change demand a comprehensive, forward-thinking plan.

After last November’s elections, the congressman said he hoped to pass a new...

I wrote a post a few years ago Tear Down That Wall! and I am finally here to share that the wall has been torn down! Well, at least part of it has been taken down. We decided to create a pass through from the kitchen to the family room. This way the flooring did...

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We just enjoyed a rare, quiet weekend with all of us staying warm inside during a pretty significant snow storm Now that my kids are getting older, I am appreciating these days when we are all together. Schools were closed yesterday and we spent time digging out and now it is back to reality! I...

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Sherwin Williams Silver Strand Foyer

If you have followed my blog over the years, you are aware that I have changed the color scheme in my foyer multiple times! I have painted it, stenciled it, painted the stairs and changed my mind after each time. I finally decided to go with a soft neutral and create a light and calm...

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Dining Room Wagon Wheel Chandelier

Oh, my dining room… We started out with the original glass chandelier that we took down a year ago. It is very pretty but I wanted a change. I’m keeping it in storage in the basement because one day I may want to place it back. You can see it here in my post about...

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Different Takes on Similar Styles

In this post, I’m sharing my different takes on similar styles of dressers or chests of drawers that I have stumbled upon over the years. I say stumbled because almost all of these pieces were originally found at thrift stores. I find that most pieces fall into one of these aesthetics and take my inspiration...

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Funding for HUD’s rental assistance programs would lapse if shutdown drags on

Entering its third week, and with no end in sight, the partial federal government shutdown is putting millions of low-income tenants who depend on funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at risk.

On January 4, HUD sent a letter to 1,500 landlords who house tenants under various rental assistance programs, including Section 8 vouchers and project-based rental assistance, urging them not to initiate evictions for tenants over HUD funding that has now lapsed.

According the Washington Post, HUD officials didn’t realize this funding had lapsed on January 1, and the shutdown prevents them from renewing it. HUD officials are now tapping reserve funds and “scouring for money,” according to the Post.

About 95 percent of HUD’s 7,500 employees have been furloughed. The remaining 5 percent are exempt because they respond to emergency situations that endanger life or property.

Among the routine HUD functions on pause due to the shutdown are building inspections for properties that receive HUD funding. NBC highlighted the consequences of paused inspections with a report detailing how the...

Bricklayers using Fologram with AR headsets.

The blueprint comes to life

Augmented reality has given the design world interactive postage stamps, digital tape measures, and the ability to visualize Ikea furniture in your apartment. That’s all well and good, but let’s face it: Up to this point AR hardly been the transformational technology designers have dreamed it to be.

Fologram might change that. The Australian company has been working on AR applications that help designers, builders, and engineers project their virtual designs into the real world through AR glasses like HoloLens.

Think of Fologram as a virtual instruction guide (Fologram is a portmanteau of “follow the hologram”). Pulling data from CAD software like Rhino and Grasshopper, Fologram uses HoloLens or a mobile phone to overlay a 3D design onto the physical world, effectively creating a blueprint for builders to work from.

In a recent example, bricklayers in Tasmania used the software to build a curving red brick wall in six hours. Donning a HoloLens headset, the builders visualized exactly where each brick should be placed, laying layer after layer of masonry as if they were filling in a blank page of a coloring book.

Fologram’s software is focusing on...

Private powder, guaranteed

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: Big Sky, Montana

Price: $9,995,000

Ski fans, this one’s for you. Start 2019 with a bang and invest in this ritzy four-bedroom, eight-bath chalet. Located in the Yellowstone Club, America’s most expensive private ski resort, the 6,947-square-foot house is set on two acres with 360-degree views of Lone Peak, the Spanish Peaks, and Pioneer Mountain.

The stone and wood home is a masterpiece of western charm mixed with luxe amenities, including vaulted ceilings, high-end appliances, and a wine cellar. Towering fireplaces add warmth to the spacious rooms, and the lower level features a home theater and wet bar. An oversized, heated two-car garage provides plenty of space for adventure gear, and a wood-crafted locker room ensures that your custom skis don’t scuff the wood floors.

 © 2018 Karl Neumann

Outside, 2,620-square-feet of outdoor living space makes the property feel even more spacious. Heated stone patios keep toes toasty on your way out to the hot tub,...

The parking lot at Boiling River is closed on January 3, 2019 in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. While visitors can still access the river, many services in Yellowstone National Park have been suspended during the government shutdown.

Some of our most popular national parks are currently overrun with trash and human feces

As the partial government shutdown enters its third week—making it the third-longest in U.S. history—the shutdown is taking a harsh toll on some of our country’s most beautiful places: national parks

The Trump administration chose to leave national parks open during the shutdown, which began on December 21, and parks are operating with a skeleton staff of law enforcement and emergency personnel. In previous government shutdowns, as in 2013 and 2018, national parks were closed, resulting in a barrage of social media posts showing angry park visitors in front of shuttered gates.

Before he left office, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined a policy that advised parks to stay open during a shutdown in order to support local businesses who rely on national park traffic for their revenue. But safety, health, and environmental concerns over the past three weeks are now degrading both the national parks and the experiences of visitors. Why? Because many parks remain open—free of charge—without staff to support them.

In total, some 16,000 national park employees have been...

A range of works by Hot List honorees for sale at <a class="ql-link" href="" target="_blank">Moda Operandi</a>.

And you can now shop the winners’ work at Moda Operandi

Sight Unseen, the online curator of emerging design and all things visually delicious, just announced its sixth annual American Design Hot List, spotlighting 20 names to know across furniture, decor, and accessories.

One clear winner? The chunky, indulgent, ultra-satisfying “chubby” trend we’ve been eyeing and loving since NYCxDesign2018. From the tubular seating of Jumbo and Brett Miller to plump pieces by Oōd Studio, get ready to see more irresistible chub design this year.

Brett Miller.
A range of works by Hot List honorees for sale at Moda Operandi.

The full list of honorees also includes lighting designer Rosie Li, furnishing and interiors studio Cuffhome, and furniture brand Coil + Drift, whose founder John Sorensen-Jolink recently opened up his graceful Brooklyn home to Curbed in a House Calls tour.

This year, Sight Unseen is introducing a shoppable component to the Hot List, partnering with luxury online fashion retailer Moda Operandi, who’s making a new push into the home space. The nine-week “trunk show” features tons of work from Hot List winners past and present. Check out the whole selection...

The sweeping policy proposal might be the answer for cities seeking infrastructure funding

In the wake of a series of dispiriting climate reports, the debate on climate change—and climate action—has new urgency. Nowhere is that more evident than in the excited discussions around the Green New Deal, an emerging plan to reorient the economy along sustainability.

Purposefully recalling Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era package of infrastructure investments and legislative changes, the Green New Deal would usher in significant investment around renewable power and new, resilient infrastructure, such as a smart electricity grid.

While details for the nascent proposal are far from being finalized, the general idea is mobilizing the country away from fossil fuels and creating tens of thousands of new jobs. The Green New Deal wouldn’t just decarbonize the economy and end the burning of fossil fuels, according to leading advocates such as freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has released a set of policy goals for the plan, but would create a more fair economy in a matter of decades.

While the chances of passing this plan through a Republican senate, and getting...

A 2016 photo of Akron, Ohio, which became the first city to host eBay’s Retail Revival program.

EBay believes its new boot camp could boost beleaguered storefronts

When childhood friends Preston Clark and Frank Miller III started Seventh Floor Clothing in Akron, Ohio, in 2016, the new entrepreneurs quickly gained a boost from a hometown hero. One of the streetwear brand’s first products, a “Kiss the Trophy” hat hyping the championship chances of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, was promoted on Instagram by none other than LeBron James.

The small gesture helped the company sell hundreds of hats and shirts and gain an early audience. A few years later, another big name has helped the duo not only prosper, but realize their dream of opening a physical store in downtown Akron, at the city’s Northside Marketplace, this past November: eBay.

The latest assist is part of a new initiative from the e-commerce giant, Retail Revival, a nearly year-old foray into promoting small businesses and storefront retail in select U.S. cities master online sales and tap into eBay’s vast international marketplace. Active in Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; and Wolverhampton, England, the program argues that e-commerce, often portrayed as a force killing these same brick-and-mortar stores and...

Hallelujah, a TV that’s not an eyesore

Gone are the days when buying a television automatically rendered a room ugly. With the advent of super thin screens, designers have been able to take more artful approach to TV design for the betterment of living rooms everywhere.

This year at CES, Samsung is showing off an updated version of the Serif, a sleek QLED TV designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to evoke the shape of a serif capital I.

Do you see it?

TV on standSamsung

Like pretty much all gadgets made in 2019, the Serif is now voice-activated, which means you can yell at the TV and hope it understands that you want to change the channel. This being a Samsung, you’ll be talking to Bixby, the company’s smart assistant à la Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The Serif is an elegant upgrade from the ubiquitous bezel-less TVs you see everywhere. Its thick frame looks like moulding that hugs the edge of a TV like a picture frame. Samsung has smartly cornered the market on high-design (and high-priced) televisions. Like the Yves Behar-designed Frame, the Serif also comes with ambient mode, which allows it to display art when it’s not being used. Is this goodbye to blank black screens,...

Safety never looked so badass

The promise of most DIY home security systems is their ability to blend seamlessly into your home. Is that a camera on your shelf or a vase? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

With Deep Sentinel, currently on show at CES 2019, there’s no chance of mistaking what it’s all about—which is scaring the living daylights out of anyone who tries to break into your home.

Designed by Ammunition, the studio behind Beats headphones, Lyft’s Amp, and one very expensive coffee maker, the system consists of three aggressive-looking wireless security cameras with a 130 degree field of view and a main speaker hub that communicates with the local police department and blasts out warnings to intruders.

The no-nonsense exterior provides a shell for the cameras’ AI-powered smarts, which uses “computer vision and deep learning algorithms” to recognize potential break-ins before they happen. Deep Sentinel’s team worked with police departments to train the system to differentiate between, say, a deer crossing your lawn and a masked burglar on his way to jimmying your lock.

Black speaker with red glowing ringDeep Sentinel

As the company explains it, the three cameras create a perimeter around...

Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS), a 3D-printing rig designed by S-Squared Construction that extrudes concrete to construct homes.

S-Squared claims its Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS) can build a home in just over 30 hours

A group of friends on the south shore of Long Island, New York, working under the name S-Squared, think they can revolutionize the way that homes are built, using a self-made 3D printing rig that they claim can lay down a home in a little more than 30 hours.

“This will be the first time a real house is going to be built with 3D printing,” says Bob Smith, an S-Squared co-founder. “Everyone else has put up sheds.”

In March, S-Squared plans to erect a demonstration home on the ground of Suffolk Cement, in nearby Calverton. Using their proprietary Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS), a 3D-printing rig that extrudes concrete to construct homes, commercial buildings, and even bridges, the company plans to construct a 1,490-square-foot, two-bedroom home later this year and obtain a certificate of occupancy.

The promised sale price—under $200,000, due to the reduction in manpower and labor costs—would be a game-changer for an expensive market such as Long Island. It would also be a new entry into the wide field of firms seeking to perfect and commercialize the process...

The interior of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

When architecture takes center stage

Supertall skyscrapers and glamorous museums can boost architects’ reputations or put a struggling industrial town back on the map, but as far as architecture is concerned, one type of building should never be overlooked: the theater.

As the backbone of urban culture, theaters in the United States have been gathering places for centuries. From operas to ballets to movies, the arts required buildings that were as beautiful as the performances they housed. Early 19th-century theaters were temples to ornamentation, clad in over-the-top chandeliers, heavy drapes, and with a penchant for gold.

Today, the theater remains a crucial part of a city’s lifeblood, even as the types of performing arts have expanded. Modern theaters are technological marvels, pairing innovative architecture with state-of-the-art acoustics and video programming.

While this new class of auditoriums, performing arts centers, and concert halls prove that a theater can take many forms, they all underscore one belief: Now—more than ever—the arts matter.

It’s in this spirit that we searched far and wide across the U.S. for the most architecturally significant theaters. From...

A rendering of the Flex House.

Not your usual prefab

If today’s tiny houses and shipping container homes (and shipping container tiny homes) strike you as a bit absurd or otherwise impractical, perhaps the new Flex House concept presents a more compelling vision of sustainable compact living. Shown at CES 2018, the so-called “right-sized” prefab design comes in at a comfortable 760 square feet, with smart home trimmings from head to toe. Flex House was one of the most impressive prefab houses we saw in 2018 and now it’s finally in production and available to order.

Flex House, presented by Green Builder Media, is the second and newest concept from California-based modular housing company Shelter Dynamics. From the outset, the curved roofline suggests that this efficiency-focused design doesn’t skimp on the architectural details that might charm buyers of traditional houses. Inside, pale floors and walls are garnished by arched doorways, recessed lighting, plus built-in seating and storage.

 Green Builder Media
The Flex House on display at CES 2018.

Upon entry, you’ll find two living areas: a main living room to the left, and a nook to the right, which leads to a bonus “niche” space before you get to...

As Senator Elizabeth Warren and others jump in, advocates see a huge chance to elevate housing policy

As Democratic presidential contenders start announcing their candidacies—kick-started by Sen. Elizabeth’s Warren’s announcement on January 1—pundits have begun to handicap the race. And in a potentially crowded field, everyone will be looking for ways to stand out and solidify their connection with the party’s energized progressive wing.

Affordable housing advocates see this as an opportunity to elevate the policy issues they’re most enthusiastic about.

“After decades of chronic underinvestment by Congress, it is remarkable that presidential hopefuls are now using their platforms to elevate the housing crisis for the lowest-income people,” says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Housing measures won big in the 2018 election

Yentel’s optimism about housing getting more attention in upcoming debates and policy statements was born last November: Local and state victories on 2018 ballot initiatives to address homelessness and housing concerns suggest those issues are winning ones, at multiple levels. Many freshman members of Congress ran...

Art is included

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: Wilton Manors, Florida

Price: $1,200,000

Maximalism may be the new minimalism. but this green and lavender house on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, Florida deserves a new classification altogether.

Room filled with colorful sculpturesPhoto by Steve Brown for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

Built in 1957 and recently renovated by the multimedia artist Michael Jude Russo, the fever dream of a house is now on the market for $1.2 million. Russo, who is known for his upcycled sculptures, treated the home as his gallery, filling walls with art and shelves with sculptures. But he also viewed it as a canvas, where he could transform mundane features into works of art.

Living room with purple columnsPhoto by Steve Brown for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

Two translucent purple columns flank the living room’s mantle. A giant wooden arch frames the dining room table. The bedroom’s headboard looks like a sculpture, and the home’s light fixtures were sculpted by Russo himself.

Curved couch next to kitchenPhoto by Steve Brown for ONE Sotheby’s International...

Redefining yacht life

What does aspirational living look like in the age of global warming? According to Arkup, it’s a floating double-decker yacht that doubles as a glassy modern house.

Rendering of white living room with wooden floorsArkup

The Florida-based company recently showed off its concept for the Floating House Self-elevating System, a posh, off-grid yacht that comes loaded with high-end features.

Rendering of floating house on pilingsArkup

The company’s vision is a part-boat, part-house, and nothing like the cramped and scrappy maritime living you’ve maybe experienced. The yacht stands on retractable hydraulic pilings that can raise the structure 20 feet into the air during storm surges. Details include a solar panel roof to power onboard batteries, sleek wood floors, a sun deck that dips into the water to become a sea pool, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that let you look out onto the ocean in case weather requires you to be indoors.

Kitchen with large windowsArkup

According to the designers, the 4,350-square-foot yacht is “as stable as a house” but can scoot along at seven knots, impervious to bad weather and waves, including 155 mph winds. Considering the floating house is still just a concept, we have no proof of how resilient the ultra-modern dwelling...

The stage is set for Sean Parker’s pet project—now it’s time for the money to start rolling in

When Trump’s tax overhaul became law a year ago, the real estate industry’s attention was focused on caps to the mortgage-interest deduction, plus state and local tax deductions—which the industry predicted would put the housing market in peril. (It didn’t.)

After the dust settled in the spring, the industry realized a hidden gem had been tucked away in the law: Opportunity Zones. The brainchild of Silicon Valley financier Sean Parker, Opportunity Zones allow investors to obtain massive tax advantages if they invest capital gains—money made on the sale of assets like a home, a business, or a piece of art—into “distressed” areas of the country where the post-financial crisis recovery passed by.

While the provision theoretically allows investors to put money into any type of project so long as it’s in a designated zone—a business, infrastructure, whatever—most observers believe it is especially attractive to real estate developers, partly because the largest tax benefits go to those who stay invested in the zone for at least 10 years. Advocates for the program believe this could be a...

Paul Rudolph’s 1952 Walker Guest House in Sanibel Island, Florida, photographed in 2015.

Paul Rudolph’s “poor man’s” version of the legendary Farnsworth House is an icon in its own right

This article was originally published on November 5, 2015.

Celebrated in its time, Paul Rudolph's Walker Guest House (Sanibel Island, Florida, 1952-53) is a magical modernist box essential for understanding Rudolph and midcentury modernism. When I was researching The Architecture of Paul Rudolph (Yale University Press, 2014), finding this small house amidst the beachside scrub of Sanibel Island, Florida, was a tricky, if pleasurable, treasure hunt. But now you can see it more easily. To make this important early Rudolph work accessible, a replica has been built for display at the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota this fall.

Most remembered for his controversial, large-scale Brutalist buildings of the 1960s, Rudolph (1918-97) first achieved international acclaim in the late 1940s and early 1950s for a series of widely published, structurally expressive beach houses he designed in Sarasota, Florida, with Ralph Twitchell (1890-1978). The houses were experimental, using new materials, such as plastics and plywoods, that Rudolph had encountered when he served in the Brooklyn Navy Yard...

The Walker Guest House, in Florida, was Paul Rudolph’s first commission after opening his own practice.

The Walker Guest House, in Florida, was a breakthrough for the architect

Midcentury architect Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House, on Sanibel Island, in Florida, is soon to hit the real estate market. According to the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, the house, sitting on 1.6 acres, will be listed for $6,795,000 in the coming weeks.

Commissioned in 1952, the 576-square-foot Walker Guest House is a leading example of the Sarasota Modern movement and Rudolph’s response to Mies van der Rohe’s International Style Farnsworth House.

In an earlier piece for Curbed, Timothy Rohan wrote:

With its lightweight, white wood frame, the Walker House was Rudolph’s “poor man’s” version of the Farnsworth’s expensive white, steel frame, whose beauty he could not help but admire. Rudolph corrected the main drawback of the Farnsworth House, evident as well in the Glass House (New Canaan, CT, 1945-49) by Philip Johnson: lack of privacy.

The house’s shutters controlled by a rigging system similar to those found on sailboats let the occupants choose how much privacy they want—either a “snug cottage” or a “large screened pavilion,” as Rudolph described—and protect the house from rain and wind.


This complex color isn’t a synonym for boring

In some camps, beige is something of a bad word. A query to designers and the design-minded yielded responses such as: “First of all, don’t call it beige” and “beige needs a new name.” And yet, drop the bland connotations and you see that the color can be a complex, yet soothing backdrop.

So complex, in fact, it’s difficult to define. The dictionary describes it as a “pale, sandy, yellowish-brown color.” But the color range can be better understood by looking at the synonyms that follow the listing: “fawn, pale brown, buff, sand, sandy, oatmeal, khaki, coffee, cafe au lait, ecru...” Add to that the popularity of the gray-beige color dubbed “greige” and the nearly, but not quite, white shade called “off-white” and you are glimpsing the tip of the iceberg.

“Beige is a beautiful French word meaning the color of undyed wool,” says interior designer Sarah Reid of Small Victories Design. “Sadly, the worst of American design tendencies got its grips on the word and now it means bland, bland, bland. It's like ordering the chicken on a menu: very safe.”

In order to get her clients to consider the hue, Reid uses almost any other moniker. “I...

<a class="ql-link" href="" target="_blank">Spoke Glass Coffee Table</a><strong>,</strong> Crate and Barrel, $299.

What good is a living room without a table for artful display and kicking back?

Serious couch-potatoing is child's play without the support of a neighboring coffee table. Whether you’re dealing with remotes and chip bags or novels and wine glasses, a temporary landing pad for your stuff is crucial for chilling hard. Coffee tables are also strangely hard to shop for, requiring us to exorcise the nitpicky, commitment-phobe Goldilocks dwelling inside each of us.

Find here nine options to at least get you started on your path to surface serenity. Our under-$300 options in wood, steel, and glass include classic shapes in new colors and styles.

Stockholm Coffee Table

Ikea | $249

This low-slung leaf-shaped table is stylish and warm with solid walnut legs and walnut veneer top. A shelf underneath can stow away books and remotes to avoid visible clutter.

A cobalt blue rectangle coffee table on a white background.

Slim Cocktail Tables in Colors

Room & Board | $219

The slim profile of this powder-coated steel option is perfectly sized and adds some color to a room, be it the living room or playroom. It comes in 16 choices, including sunshine yellow and hot red, as well as classics like taupe, silver, gold, and slate.

A rectangle coffee table with a matte black top and z-shaped gold base.

Stepney Coffee Table...

Paris Grey Bedroom Dresser

Oh my, it has been so long since I last posted! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season and a very Happy New Year to you all! What a year of change it has been. I started a new job that challenged me in many ways. I jumped right in and it has been...

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The post Balance and the Best of 2018 appeared first on .

In 2018, Alexandra Lange tackled the horror of home tech, made a case for Late Modernism, and visited a subtle standout in Houston

As 2018 winds itself to a close (just us, or has it seemed so long?), we’re throwing it back to some of Curbed’s most compelling stories of the year. Here, we’ve got eight powerful additions to Alexandra Lange’s Critical Eye column. One prevalent theme in Lange’s work from this year is that an architecture critic’s job isn’t just about single-building reviews. (Though, if that’s your bag, don’t miss her take on the new Menil in Houston.) We’ve got teen space! We’ve got post-#MeToo architect profiles! We’ve got Black Mirror! We’ve got 1960s-era tram cars in a 630-foot-tall stainless steel arch!

For more Alexandra, don’t miss the annual year-in-review design awards, co-authored with eternal partner-in-judgment Mark Lamster, critic at the Dallas Morning News. We’re saving that one for next week, so you have can enjoy some piping-hot pithiness in an internet landscape of warmed-up leftovers. Look for it here on Thursday, December 27.

The end of the architect profile, April 19, 2018

In which our critic takes a stand against perpetuating the solo artist...

A condo painted with Black Beauty by Benjamin Moore.

Interior paint is back in black

Anyone who notices interior design has seen it: an inky stain spreading across American homes as people opt to paint their walls black. It may sound grim, but in execution, it’s quite chic.

By definition, black is the presence of all colors, which could make it the ultimate neutral. Therefore, there are few colors that don’t look amazing in front of it.

We asked designers about the country’s dark mood and to name their favorite black shades. Included in the mix are the array of “off blacks;” blacks with undertones of brown, blue, and gray.

A bedroom with a black accent wall.Jeri Koegel
Interior designer Vanessa De Vargas says black (such as Benjamin Moore’s Jet Black) can make rooms feel cozy.

Jet Black, Benjamin Moore

“Black makes lighter or white colors pop against it,” says Vanessa De Vargas, principal at Turquoise LA. “It’s sexy and soothing, it makes any bedroom or TV room cozy.”

A dining room with black panelingMatthew Millman
Interior designer John K. Anderson says: “I love dark, dramatic dining rooms, and black layered with warm lights and bursts of color can be quite dynamic.” This wall was stained black in the 1800s and the designer left it in place.

Black Tie, Dunn-Edwards

De Vargas...

A thoughtful refresh of a classic

In 1949, Marcel Breuer, the famed Bauhaus architect, designed a model home for an exhibition at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art that focused on modern architecture and the rise of suburban living. The timber-clad home stretched lengthwise and had a butterfly roof that dipped downwards like an asymmetrical bow tie, effectively creating two main zones in the house.

Living room with stone floorsPhoto by Jeff Tryon

A year later, an advertising executive asked Breuer to recreate the house at scale, on a secluded lot in Princeton, New Jersey. That house is the Lauck House, and it’s recently been refreshed by a family of architects, who restored Breuer’s design to its original glory.

Hallway with stone floorsPhoto by Jeff Tryon
Living room with couches and large windowsPhoto by Jeff Tryon

Designer Rafi Segal and architect Sara Segal have owned the house since 2008, and have since brought the single-family home back to life. They recently finished the second phase of updating the midcentury house, refinishing the facade with cypress siding, refurbishing the steel windows, renovating two bathrooms, and restoring cabinetry and wall paint.

During an earlier phase of restoration, the Segals reconstructed partitions that had been...

Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.