The Garage Dream

A Seattle-woman, Michelle De La Vega, turned her garage into a functional, and beautiful living space with only $32,000. As her own contractor, De La Vega made the choice to keep much of the original framework of the garage – only raising the framing by a couple feet to add in a loft sleeping place. She also added on a bathroom area.

An added wood-burning fireplace serves as the focal point for the small space. De La Vega rescued from an industrial junk yard. Similarly, the metal ladder leading up to the loft was once on a ship and the metal lockers used for storage came from a United Airlines maintenance building.

This looks like a place you could really live in and sink into over time. The reclaimed wood and metal objects give the new renovation a warm feel. The honey colored wood floors and chocolate brown tiles keep everything cozy but clean. Also, the windows keep the resident from feeling like they are in fact in a garage.

Check out pictures below:


Photos from here.



Check out the gorgeous, glowing Pantone Color of the Year – Radiant Orchid! This beautiful gorgeous purple color is perfect to spice up any dark space without being over whelming. You can add a little (like a pillow) or a lot (wallpaper). See below for some color inspirations!


Armen Living Sofa, $1,200


Kaori Pillow, $160


Sasha Lounge Chair, $1,172


St. Croix Aspect Rug, $371


Graham and Brown Anis Wallpaper, $35/roll.


Field of Steam

A small sauna for two people in the middle of a beautiful field in 2012, aptly named Huginn&Muninn. Huginn means “thought” and Muninn means “memory” and these are the two names of Odin’s ravens (Of “Great Odin’s Ravens” Anchorman fame). According to Scandinavian tradition, it is heated by a wood burning stove.  The spruce wood building has one window that looks over a beautiful set of Italian hills.

Check out the architectural beauty below:



Photos from here.

Oh To Be Rich

Here’s a new way for people with too much money to get rid of a little! This new development in Belize offers Marina Villas and Marina Homes to the rich cold souls to escape to in the dead of winter.

The residence designs reflect the surrounding beauty by implementing infinity pools and balconies that allow you to appreciate the endless views in Belize. Similarly, the yards are cloaked in local plants and trees so that each owner experiences the tropical oasis in it’s natural form.

Bask in the gloriousness below:


Apartment Living

The Anne Sophie Goneau Design firm just redesigned a 1300 sq. ft. apartment in Montreal. They wanted to keep some of the original apartment features like an exposed brick wall, and pair them with new modern touches like glossy black, lacquer cabinets. The new design keeps everything as open as possible – even the shower is just paneled in by glass to keep the room free-flowing.

The apartment has an almost all-glass front leading to the street. The residents clearly don’t have any qualms about living in a glass house. No throwing rocks, ya here? Similarly, the bedroom has two full glass walls. The glass with all the shiny elements make the apartment look similar to a retail store.

Finally, a giant book case remains the focal point of the living room area. It’s almost comically large. But I guess if the residents are avid readers, it makes for a useful and colorful display.

My favorite part of the interior design is the presence of a large green, velour sectional couch. It brings warmth and texture to the slick, glass-encased room.


Teaching an Old Horse New Tricks

Recently, Louis XV’s stud farm in Strasbourg, France was gutted and redesigned by designer Patrick Jouin and architect Sanjit Manku. While the original architecture was stunning, the building was clearly dilapidated and in need of major renovations. The designers sought to bring the buildings up to modern safety standards while also preserving the equestrian history of it’s previous use. The old farm buildings now house a hotel, restaurant, and several office facilities.

My favorite part of this redesign is the allusions drawn to the equestrian style that seem to be present at every turn but not in an overwhelming way. The wood beams in the ceiling evoke the image of horse stables and the leather details above the hotel beds are reminiscent of saddles and riding tack. Even the ottoman-stool hybrids in each hotel room look like they could be saddles.

I think the simple color palette is really what makes this design cohesive without being over-the-top. The uses of pale wood, faded pink, scotch-colored leather, and clean crisp whites are seen throughout the farm.







For more details and picture, see this article.

A Window By the Sea

The architects of Yasutaka Yoshimura built a fantastic, integrated tiny house next to the sea in Japan. Built this past year, the conservative house features windows on both sides so that when the owner is not home, passerby can still view the sea through it. Essentially the house minimally disrupts the surrounding landscape. Why rob everyone of a good view for the sake of your own.

The staircase inside is white and reminds me of the switch-backing stair case found in the Getty museum in Los Angeles (seen below). The lofts and ladders keep the house whimsical like an adult playhouse.




The Getty stair case:


See more photos here, and see more Yasutaka Yoshimura projects here.

A Modern Treehouse

In ninth grade, I entered a contest sponsored by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas to design your dream home. After drawing some weak-looking castles, the idea for a modern tree house popped into my mind. And here’s what I submitted:


I got a call a couple months later that my design had actually won the competition! It was a big deal for a freshman in high school and the prize money didn’t hurt.

Today I stumbled upon a real life modern tree house built in Florence, Italy by the famed architect Riccardo Barthel. It was really neat to see a real life quasi-manifestation of my once-upon-a-design. Granted mine had a pool with a glass bottom and a winding spiral staircase, but this one is still pretty neat.


Barthel couldn’t find a tree with enough character or support to build an actual tree house, instead this one is supported by large telephone-pole like beams. Underneath, the chairs from an old school surround a sand box.


The designer also made use of chalk board walls throughout the house. It allows for customization with an organic feel. Similarly, he kept the color palette within the realm of nature – greens, browns, and tans.


For more insight, see the complete article here.

How Starbucks Becomes Your Local Coffee Shop

Starbucks all over the world add interesting touches to each store that speak to the region that it’s located in. Unlike other chains that just build consistent architecture, filled with consistent interior design and decoration (I’m looking at you McDonald’s), Starbucks builds a store to reflect the local culture and feel.

This Christmas break I visited Breckenridge, Colorado – a colorful, Victorian style town next to the expansive ski and snowboard resort. The town has one main street (Aptly named “Main St”) that is lined with small Victorian buildings and houses that have been converted into shops. While I was ecstatic to see a Starbucks in Breck (although not sure why I was suprised, Starbucks lurk on every corner), I was intrigued to see it was in a little yellow house that matched the surrounding streets.


A week or so after the ski trip, I read an article about how Starbucks makes a point to integrate their design into the surrounding locale, which I thought was very interesting considering it’s a ginormous chain. I think that’s why people continue to go to Starbucks – no matter if they’re at home or if they’re on vacation. They know they can walk into a Starbucks that feels like a local haunt, but still have the same familiarity of their morning routine at home.

Starbucks encourages it’s designers to explore the area where they are designing new stores and see what natural elements can be incorporated into the architecture and decoration. They found out several years ago, when they were designing stores that all looked similar, that Starbucks was becoming synonymous with fast food. Starbucks decided that it was time to make their stores appeal to the local culture and make it seem more like a small coffee shop.

A Starbucks in Brooklyn makes use of reclaimed wood floors from the Barclay center:

Barclays Arena

Another recently opened store in New Orleans features a chandelier made of brass instruments:



For more information, check out the original article here! Truly fascinating stuff.