Category Archives: Architecture

ICFF 2010 favorite: Brinca Dada.



When we spotted the Brinca Dada booth from across the convention hall aisle, and we immediately abandoned our planned trajectory to check out the miniature house perched atop a table. Since there were so many people gathered around, Brinca Dada founder Douglas Rollins (super nice guy) gave us a tour!The Emerson dollhouse is the first in the Brinca Dada line (with a townhouse and miniature furniture line to follow very soon).

Not only is the entire house made of non-toxic and lead-free wood stains and paints, but its six rooms — living room, library/office, master bedroom, bathroom, and child’s bedroom — are powered by solar panels! And yes, they really work! The Emerson also features mitered-glass corners, two fireplaces, sliding glass doors, and recessed LED lights. Let me tell you, The Emerson beats the pants off the second-hand Fisher Price dollhouse that I exhaustively played with as a kid.


ICFF: Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous in NYC. We started our day with a quick brunch at 202 — I had the hammy, eggy, cheesy sandwich, an excellent choice after the Wallpaper* Brazil launch — and a quick stop at the Chelsea Market where my friend Matt purchased the tiniest and cutest cup of coffee we’d ever seen. Next, we strolled along part of the High Line, which was gorgeous and filled with meticulously placed wildflowers and greenery but very narrow and cramped. It’s not a place where one can “lay out” and enjoy the sunshine, more of a pass through en route to somewhere more pressing.

Photographs from Make Yourself At Home.

We descended the High Line and caught an art installation by 7Eleven Gallery called Make Yourself At Home — it runs through June 6th. The gallery was transformed into a multiroom home, each room dressed by various artists using objects they’d created. It was perhaps one of the creepiest yet most resourceful art installations I’ve seen since Ryan and I went to the Meth Lab at Deitch Projects last summer. There was a square, miniature “mattress” turned into a fountain, a little animatronic boy contructed or more accurately deconstruted from what seemed like the face of a Teddie Ruxpin doll, and an ethereal woman sleeping in a mesh/glass enclosed case, very much in the vein of Snow White.

brent comber.

I love the the idea of offsetting modern interiors with natural elements, and Brent Comber‘s stunning wooden objects would look right at home in a sitting room outfitted with acrylic Louis Ghost chairs. In my mind’s eye, the result is an unusual, yet balanced juxtaposition of organic vs. manmade. The Vancouver-based designer started working with natural elements when he ran his landscaping business and through a search to restore his prewar-era home using older wood he found a passion for the organic material and ran with it. In addition to his gorgeous objects, Comber also designs interior spaces and sculptures. Here are a few of his pieces that I’m smitten with . . .


Shattered (made of Douglas Fir with a natural finish)

Brentcomber_alder cubes
Alder Cubes (made of Alder with a clear finish)


According to its Web site, “Hometta is a collaborative of designers, architects, builders, writers and editors who have banded together to rethink and improve the way residential architecture is designed today. Founder Mark Johnson and partner Andrew McFarland joined forces with four core architects and designers, whose vision has guided Hometta’s development. They, in turn, have helped recruit the 31 studios who have contributed home plans to Hometta’s first stage of life.”

Hometta is as a place where mass-produced homes meet green/sustainable building materials, resulting in beautiful, modern domeciles. While mass-produced housing may make some people cringe (or conjure visions of a double-wide trailer screaming down the highway towing a vinyl-sided rancher on its flatbed), I tend to believe that your chances of the neighbor duplicating your house are slim. Mainly because, in the US at least, uber modern sustainable construction is not overpopulating the landscape in the same veign as its twice-removed two-story colonial spec-house  cousin. In fact, you would probably have a greater chance of living next door to this, than say the Rubix House.

Last night I took a look through the floor plans (to get a full view you have to become a paying member — which if you’re truly serious about taking the home building plunge isn’t badly priced), and here are some designs that I thought were fun:

Dogtrot Casita
by KRDB.

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townhouse by elding oscarson.

As a youth I lived in a rural suburb of Harrisburg, PA, which despite popular belief is actually the capital of Pennsylvania — it’s not Philadelphia. I had a pretty idyllic childhood, girl scouts, piano lessons, french horn lessons, tennis lessons, summer vacations, etc. My family lived in a large house in a very nice neighborhood, and I always fancied myself a similiar life. That is until I moved to a city and discovered the beauty of living in small spaces. Looking back, I realize that my familiy probably only used about 1/3 of the rooms in our house, and I wonder, besides the obvious social stigmas, why we needed all of that extra space.

When I grow up (OK, when my income increases and I can actually think about saving money for a down payment on a house), I’d like it to look something like this townhouse designed by Johan Oscarson and Jonas Elding of Elding Oscarson. It’s sandwiched between two old houses in Sweden and constructed using slab concrete, with nooks and cut-outs open to the elements.

Inside, the details are streamlined and promote the architecture of the building. The bottom floor consists of the kitchen and dining space, which leads to a second-story lofted living room and another staircase to to the third floor bathroom, bedroom, and terrace open to the sky. On the ground floor, a door leads out to a walled-in garden patio, connecting the owners studio/office space behind the house — an office space that features a wall made entirely out of magazines!

Realistically, I won’t be living in a cobblestoned village like Landskrona, Sweden. But I do hope that when the time comes, I’ll be able to realize my own modern version of the American dream in the same vein as the Elding Oscarson townhouse.





Peeped at the fabulously curated Nacional Design.

dollahite houseby rural theory.

Dear Rural Theory,

Do you have any future openings? We’d love to implode our rental’s bathroom and replace it with this:

Peeped at What.


Interior 8

In December 2009, DARKROOM opened its doors in London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood, and in just one month’s time it’s gained distinction for seamlessly blending high design and high fashion in a curated shop setting. But then could you expect anything less from founders Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck, two women with design- and fashion-heavy resumes? Drakeford attended Central St. Martins and went on to found Multistorey design consultancy with fellow classmate Harry Woodrow; while Caldbeck was instrumental in turning Camilla Staerk’s line Staerk into an internationally recognized brand — clearly, these ladies have a trained eye for style. In 2007 they partnered with illustrator Marcus James and started Themselves textiles. And just two years later Drakeford and Caldbeck formed DARKROOM.

Interior 6

The concept store — a modern black and white space that comes to life through the use of carefully placed primary-colored pedestals designed by Frank of London — sells hand-selected items such as Staerk, Saskia Diez, and Moooi, alongside its own designs. In the near future, the owners plan to host bi-monthly art and sculpture exhibits.

Until you can stop in to shop, check out DARKROOM’s Web site, which represents a select offering of products available at the store but come February 2010 will be a fully operational e-boutique.