architecture

The Design Development Phase

Ya’ll. October was crazy. How in the heck do other people keep up with blogging every week. Nay, a few times a week?! My apologies. I hope to do better from now through the end of the year. Here’s my next story based on the design process at Midnight Midcentury.

Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Design Development is the next phase in the process of working with a Design Professional. In case you missed the first steps, you can read it here before you read this story.

So now you’ve settled on a design concept and floor plan. Great! Time to sign off on Phase 1 and move into Phase 2. You Design Professional will have you officially approve of your selected concept and floor plan, then bill you for the end of Phase 1, per your signed agreement.

The Design Development Phase is when your project begins to come to life. Your Design Professional will begin sourcing furniture and finishes as well as designing and drawing cabinetry or any other custom built items. If you are knocking down any walls or moving things around (like kitchens and bathrooms) those drawings will be made as well.

I like to provide little mock ups for my clients so they can visualize various options as they come together. Here are three different mock-ups I put together for Midnight Midcentury

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These provided a lot of great feedback from the client in that they told me the things that they definitely wanted and other things that they would like to see more options for. Having a variety allows the client to more specifically describe what they do and don’t like about certain things. In this case, it was that they wanted fully upholstered lounge chairs and the dark blue wall with grey sofa. This client was also pretty certain about rug, chandelier, and table dining table options, so that set up on the path to be able to view these items in person prior to purchasing. The overall concept is there, and now it comes down to keying in on the specific pieces that are desired.

When I’m working on remodel and cabinetry work (which, being an architect and interior designer, is pretty much a given) I work through drawings which are super important. Once fully developed, the drawings become what is given to the contractor or millworker as the design to build from. I also use them as a way to show little vignettes to my clients to help them better visualize what their cabinet, fireplace, etc could look like.

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This phase doesn’t have just one meeting, it’s a lot of back and forth and parting of the different design elements until the client is happy with each individual item. This phase generally takes the longest of any design phase.

Wednesday Round-Up: Go-To Pendants

I love a good, simple pendant. I think pendants are great over breakfast tables, kitchen islands, and powder rooms (the cedar and moss below is what I sourced for Midnight Midcentury. shhhh) And the west elm pendant shown here? It’s in my living room!

pendants for any room in the home

#GimmeThatDesign Installment 2

Thanks for coming back. I’m thrilled that you are enjoying this new series: #GimmeThatDesign. If you are new around here this is meant to be fun and educational. In this series, I will use an image of a beautiful space that I love and I will source furniture and materials to give you that design for yourself.

Today’s installment features this beautiful vignette of Hotel Odeon in Copenhagen designed by Co.Designstudio in collaboration with textile designer Barbara Bendix Becker as seen in this article on Design Milk.

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It's all about the Algorithm

I understand many people’s frustration with instagram, I’ve been there. But if you are an architect or interior designer, there are certain things you should be doing to engage and increase your following as well as get your business out there. As I’ve been slowly growing my following and upping my instagram game over the past few years, I’ve learned a few tips that I’d love to share in hopes that any other great architects and interior designers out there don’t give up hope from instagram.

Make sure your grid is not haphazard

You’ve seen all those beautifully curated grids and wondered how those people are so good at getting the perfect content put together in such an elegant way. I’m here to let you know that many of those brands have someone else managing their accounts. If you have the dough to swing that - do it. But if like me, you don’t, don’t worry. One thing I have found that is helpful is laying out your grid in diamonds. What I mean is that every other image should be similar in aesthetic and color tones. Here is mine as an example - which is by no means perfect, but illustrates what I’m talking about. This idea of curated visual cohesiveness may seem obvious as we are in a visual industry, but don’t think that it happens so easily for every instagram account out there that looks great. It takes planning, collecting great images, and time.

 
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Plan your posts with a planning tool

There are many instagram planning tools on the market, but I use Planoly. It has a free version, which I used for a little while before switching to the paid annual subscription. I try to plan out at least two weeks worth of posts. Sometimes I have the images planned and don’t add the caption until a day or two before - or if I’m slacking, the morning of. But this tool is critical to my ability to post good content daily that my audience wants to see. I like to use it as a research tool to peruse the design and architecture blogs for inspiration. Then when I see something I love, I add it to my planoly and worry about curating the grid later - that’s the great thing about it, you can constantly move around the images and update the captions up until the moment that it’s posted. Planoly also lets you categorize and save your hashtags and even has a scheduling feature if you don’t physically like posting.

Stock photos can be your friend

If you are just getting started out and don’t have a ton of your own work to show - use stock images! I had no idea half of the people I follow were using stock images to fluff up their grids and I’ve only recently started doing this. I still aim to have inspiration images and my own images more often than not - but sometimes it calls for a really beautiful stock image. It’s ok. As long as the images you use are on brand and you write a good caption, put them in there. I recommend using Unsplash which is free and you can choose whether or not you credit the photographer - it’s not required! Plus, the images are so so good.

#Hashtags

Use hashtags that your ideal clients follow. I’d recommend starting here as well as looking at the people you want engage with and seeing what hashtags they are gravitating toward. You are allowed a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. There is much debate about whether it’s best to put the hashtags in the comments or on the caption. I do it on the caption, I’ve heard both options argued - bottom line is to use good hashtags and don’t overthink it as that can hold you up from performing in the first place!

Enjoy what you are putting out there

If you don’t enjoy it and you feel down on yourself, your audience will realize it. Even though I post every day, I do it because I want to. As long as you are consistent, you can do 3-4 times a week. Just make sure to stay engaged with your followers and your community and you should see your following grow.


If any designers or architects are getting their work from instagram - I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at Taryn (at) bcstudiola.com. Thanks!

Color-blocking

image sourced from meganflugdesigns.com

image sourced from meganflugdesigns.com

Perhaps as a way to mix my architectural background within interior design, I am in love with color-blocked paint on the walls. I have a client right now who is happily allowing me to do a variety of color-blocking effects as an overall concept for her home. We started with her home office where the wall which her desk site is all grey and the color moves onto the adjacent wall, ever so slightly, creating a geometric angle cut. Check out the project here.  We are also painting a 2" frame around the window opening in black. The next room I am in the middle of designing right now is her master bedroom where she wants total calm. I've designed a block of light grey or blue paint going all the way around the room, including on the doors, trims, and baseboards. This will align with the top of her dresser and be just about an inch above her headboard. It will also create some additional visual interest as it cuts across one of the three windows in the room. Lastly for this client, I am working on her living room and want there to be something very geometric on this core wall that connects kitchen, stairwell, and living room. It will definitely be grey and involve angles with possible additions of an accent color. Or more black.

This example from apartment therapy shows a similar idea of what I'm doing in my clients's home office. I love the bright blue here. It also reminds me of what Consort has done recently to their showroom.

image from apartment therapy

image from apartment therapy

image of Consort Design showroom, via instagram

image of Consort Design showroom, via instagram

Why not try color-blocking with two similar colors?

image courtesy of mommodesign.com

image courtesy of mommodesign.com

I particularly appreciate using color-blocking to highlight the architecture of your existing space. This image I found on pinterest of the window being offset onto the wall is a great example, as well as anytime paint is used to highlight the framing of spaces.

image found on pinterest

image found on pinterest

image found on pinterest

image found on pinterest

While geometric angles with various colors don't work for everyone, they make a beautiful statement for people who enjoy a little touch of boldness in their space.

Wallpaper from Murals Wallpaper

Wallpaper from Murals Wallpaper

image via Inside Closet

image via Inside Closet

Excited by the idea of color-blocking, but a little too scared of color? You can still make a statement with white walls by adding just a block of color to your door.

image courtesy of Madame Decore

image courtesy of Madame Decore

image courtesy of Sugar and Cloth

image courtesy of Sugar and Cloth

Color-blocking doesn't have to be limited to the walls. It can also make objects look more edgy and modern, such as these more classical-looking paintings and frames.

image courtesy of homedit.com

image courtesy of homedit.com

from Seaandsandasters Etsy shop

from Seaandsandasters Etsy shop

Various Shades of Grey

I have had a grey obsession for many years now. In architecture school, you learn that architects all wear black. While this is probably 90% true, and I definitely own key black architectural attire, I often dress in all grey. Additionally, my house is about 90% grey, hence the instagram photo that may have led you to this post. But I recognize that I am not alone in this grey obsession. Researching a variety of interiors these days, the color grey is abound, and it looks fabulous! Whereas many buildings have long been grey, thanks to concrete, limestone, and steel being key exterior architectural materials.

The thing about grey as an interior design element is that you can use just about any color as an accent and it will be perfect every time! That's why I am a huge advocate for selecting grey major pieces, such as sofas, chairs, even rugs. Then whenever you need a style change, you can change out pillows, arts, and accessories as you wish. Of course, in my own home, my pillows and accessories are all mostly grey too. But, hey, I already let you know that I'm obsessed!

I should also point out that yes, I spell it with an "e" GREY... Most Americans spell it GRAY. I think it's much prettier with the "e," and I feel that it makes it that much more mine.

Here's my round up of some stunning greys that I think are doing a great job at doing what they do:

1. A dark grey wall helps makes the white art, linens, and Louis Poulsen lamp pop.

source unknown

source unknown

2. Color blocks of grey. A definite favorite of mine, just like I did in one of my favorite interior projects, LA Home Office. And yes to West Elm's Saddle Swivel Chair.

source unknown

source unknown

3. A medium-light grey linen sofa will never go out of style. How awesome is that large scale ombre art?

Interior Addict, via Instagram

Interior Addict, via Instagram

4. A lovely grey, muted bathroom is the perfect place to relax in the tub/shower after a long, hard workout.

Lubelso Hawthorne Home by Canny, via designmilk

Lubelso Hawthorne Home by Canny, via designmilk

5. An all exposed concrete building is more than alright with me. It's one of my favorite things!

Bundner Kunst Museum by Barozzi Veiga, via Dezeen

Bundner Kunst Museum by Barozzi Veiga, via Dezeen

Minimal Monday

Any good architect will tell you that they don't have one particular "style." While it is true that a great architect or designer can design a space in just about any style out there, we all have our favorites. For me, that is Modern. Within the Modern design sensibility lives a multitude of subcategories, of which I will get into in future articles. Minimalism is what I'm going to focus on today because it is my ultimate favorite!

I should begin by saying that Minimalism is not just a style, it's a whole way of being. For more in-depth information about how to live a Minimal life, you should check out The Minimalists blog and podcast as well as read Marie Kondo's method on Japanese tidying. Both highly recommended by me.

But this is my architecture and design blog, so that's what I'm going to show you now. I would like to share a few slides from a Pechu Kucha I recently presented that represents what I find beautiful in architecture. (all of which happen to express my Minimal design sensibility)

House in Litoral Alentejano by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Litoral Alentejano by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

1. One big move that provides multiple options

I think there is such a beauty in the utter simplicity and economy of things. Such as when something as simplistic as this sliding wood wall that Aires Mateus puts on this blank white facade can do so much in adding visual tension, texture, and geometry, while at the same time providing a way to close the opening into the house. And in case you didn't notice that single white step in front? Perfectly executed with the exact right amount of distance between it and the facade so that the sliding wall has a home and can go from roof to ground without interruption. 

House in Alentejo Coast by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Juan Rodriguez. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Alentejo Coast by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Juan Rodriguez. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

2. The Unexpected

When I see the first photo here of this house by Aires Mateus, I am blown away. I wonder, how can this piece of architecture stand with such a paper thin vertical member? How was this wall constructed, what is it made from, how can it work? Then the second photo reveals the knife edge of a wall which thickens as it moves back toward the house. This is the "ah-ha" moment, but it doesn't ruin the architecture like learning the trick of magic might ruin a magic show. Instead it makes me appreciate the piece of architecture even more, as the fine piece of art and structure that it is.

House in Azeitao by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Azeitao by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

3. Pure Geometry

Nothing gets me more than pure geometric forms extruded into a space in which to live, work, or play. This photo takes a new view of the house from the floor looking up into the sectional objects which really make the house unique and beautiful. Pure geometries have always been a source of inspiration for me and also that which I have created many past projects, such as The Blank House.

House in Alcobaca by Aires Mateus. Photography by Fernando Guerra. Courtesy of Dezeen.

House in Alcobaca by Aires Mateus. Photography by Fernando Guerra. Courtesy of Dezeen.

4. Using what Architecture gives you

What is more Minimal that using what you already have? Design wise, a stair is a stair is a stair. Stairs have a standard tread and riser dimension, and they have remained relatively the same all throughout architectural history. But what an architect does to express the stair as something else - here a ceiling, and also a set of storage closest underneath - is how an architect can speak their unique language to the world. Architects can use other elements

Cabanas in Rio by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Nelson Garrido. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

Cabanas in Rio by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Nelson Garrido. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

5. Simple Silhouettes

So striking to me is a building form so pure that its silhouette speaks as an icon of the project. In the case of these two Cabanas by Aires Mateus (are you seeing a theme here yet?) the silhouette(s) not only is strong on its own, but it is made stronger due to its relation to the mountains beyond. Architecture mimicking nature in such a way is beautiful to me.

Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals photographed by Fernando Guerra

Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals photographed by Fernando Guerra

6. Utilizing similar materials to the landscape

I love when a building use the materials similar to their landscape. Of course this is a cornerstone of sustainable design practices which all architects should be trying their best to maintain. Here, Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals in Switzerland showcase the locally quarried quartzite stone as both exterior and interior, for a fully immersive sensory experience within the local material. I also love how in this image, the architecture contrasts with the snow, but blends in with the mountain range in the background.

Haus Meister by HDPF. Photography by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of Dezeen.

Haus Meister by HDPF. Photography by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of Dezeen.

7. Slight variation in materiality to create difference

I absolutely love when something so simple such as concrete is used to show subtle variations, like the way HDPF has ground the concrete down to show the aggregate at different densities to create window and door frames.

So that's some of what I find beautiful in Architecture as well a taste of my Minimal design sensibility. Stay tuned for more blog posts in 2017!

Brentwood Remodel Progress

 
How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

This week, the finish work begins in our Master Bathroom renovation project.  Finish work - which is the work you see when you look at a final project - always moves so quickly compared to all the prep work. But the prep work is very important, of course, as it's the backbone that holds the project together. You just never notice it - at least in a well done project. In the case of our Master Bathroom renovation project in Brentwood, Los Angeles, the plumbing, electrical, and walls were important things that needed to be well prepped before tiling could begin. Now the plumbing has been located in the proper places for two sinks at the vanity, a new shower in the niche, and a new freestanding tub. Electrical was also moved to make more logical placement of the switches instead of the old locations which had four different switches all throughout the bathroom (completely ridiculous and highly inefficient!) We also simplified the lighting by adding recessed fixtures in the middle "aisle" of the bathroom as well as one fixture in the shower niche.  After these two major items were completed, the cement/mortar bed was done everywhere where tile will be located. Now it's ready for the tiling! Flooring is the first step, which is about half way done as of last night.  Stay tuned for more pictures as this project will quickly come to completion!

 

Demo complete down to the studs

Demo complete down to the studs

Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

Last minute on site tile decisions being made

Last minute on site tile decisions being made

Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.

Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.

 

Let the Demolition Begin!

 
Partial demo....or Contemporary Art Exhibition?  You decide.

Partial demo....or Contemporary Art Exhibition?  You decide.

The Master Bathroom renovation project which we refer to as "Blatau Residence" is officially under construction as demolition began last week!  Since this is a condo project and the previous work that had been completed was done quite poorly, the homeowner wanted to first do total demolition before ordering all the materials and fixtures, so it will be a week or so before the new construction begins.  But the good news is the existing conditions are all good and ready for our design to be implemented!

It's always so interesting discovering what is in your floors and walls.  It can really unearth how lucky you really are, as was the case in this project where there was no waterproofing membrane at the shower. Just concrete on top of the plywood.  Our contractor asked the client if the downstairs neighbor ever complained about leaks, they didn't. The plywood sub-floor also doesn't have signs of dry rot.  So lucky.

Hire a good contractor!  Don't do work yourself if you don't know what you are doing!!  You can have major problems down the road that you could be held responsible for!!!

Take a good long look at these "Before" photos, because before too long, you won't be able to recognize what we've done to the space.

Before

Before

Before

Before

Complete Demolition

Complete Demolition