Monday, September 28, 2009

Living in a Neutra


I am not one of those lucky few who gets to live in a home designed by a world renowned architect, however this past week I have been fortunate enough to be staying in a house designed by a renown architect. I am currently house sitting in a Case Study house designed by Richard Neutra, the architect originally from Vienna who came to Los Angeles via Chicago after working for Frank Lloyd Wright. Throughout Southern California, Neutra was known for his work of mid century modern homes (and buildings) he designed. As long as I can recall, I have been a fan of both Neutra & RM Schindler (another Viennese architect who along with Neutra left Austria for work with Lloyd Wright before settling in Los Angeles).

My earliest influence of mid century modernism wasn't in school, but at my pediatrician's office! How can that be, you ask? Because the medical plaza where my doctor's office was in a Neutra designed building located on Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. Going to the doc: not so fun. Having my mom let my brother and I dip our hands into the shallow reflecting pools lined through out the walkways: fun. It must have been subliminal influence. Even later, when in design school, I designed a 1,000 sq foot home that I likened to the influence of Neutra/Schindler. That aside, spending the last few days at this residential home designed by Neutra has once again sparked influence. An influence of how to embrace the indoor/outdoor living of these modern masterpieces, the way the home is positioned on the site, that through each and every window there are dynamic views, that the natural lighting is balanced and in harmony thorough out the house, the way shadows are cast from certain details. All in all, these homes have a left a mark in the world of architecture and design that has influenced a great many.


The Neutra home that I am currently staying at is a "compound" comprised of three structures: the main house, a guest house/office space, and the garage, with breezeways and a main entry that leads into a central courtyard.


The medical plaza in Newport Beach designed by Neutra, where my peditrician's office was located.


A notable house by Neutra, is the Kaufmann House located in Palm Springs, CA. (Photographed by Julius Shulman)


The Chuey House in Los Angeles by Neutra (photographed by Julius Shulman).

Interestingly enough, over the weekend the Los Angeles Times published in article about the availability of these homes on the market today. Two articles worth reading: Architectural gems for Sale and The best houses of all time in LA.

[Have any of you ever stayed in a home designed by a prominent architect? If so, please share your experience.]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Island Getaway


This past week I took another trip over to Catalina Island. I had featured a blog post back in August about my boating trip over to the island. Well, despite squeezing in another mini vacay, this trip was a bit of a "business trip" if you will - as I am excited to announce I will be working on a project on the island! I have been hired to help with the interior design of a vacation rental. The clients use the home as a vacation get away for their family and also rent out both the upper and lower unit as a weekly or weekend rental. Having the opportunity to work on a project on Catalina Island means a lot to me. I have spent my entire life going to the island and grew up spending summers living and working on the island. Generations of my family have been going to the island, beginning with my great-grandparents. Obviously, having a design project on the island makes for a good excuse for more visits!

Last time I blogged about the island, I did so in more of a perspective of boating. I thought this time I would feature a little bit more on the town of Avalon (since I actually got off our boat on this trip). Avalon is the main city on the island, it is a charming town of small shops and restaurants. Population of Avalon is only about 3,100 but fluctuates due to summer residents. Avalon has a wealth of history and many well known architectural monuments, such as the Wrigley Mansion, the Holly Hill House, & the Casino (pictured above ). The Casino that dominates Avalon Bay was built in 1929 and the interiors are a "standstill in time" Art Deco . The Casino itself is not an actual Casino, it's name is derived from the Italian meaning of casino: social gathering place. The Casino actually houses a movie theater, a museum, and a grand ballroom at the top which is used for concerts, parties, weddings, and other events.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

West Hollywood Event


This Thursday join Angeleno Magazine and FORM for the launch party of 1200 Sweetzer, the opening of 10 original boutique homes designed by Aleks Istanbullu Architects and developer Nick Herts of Urban Movement, Inc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Excited To Announce...


I was selected to receive an exclusive invite to the All The Best/SFERRA party to be held on October 8th at Nathan Turner's shop with special guest Kelly Wearstler! The winners for both the NYC and LA events were announced today on the All The Best Blog.




Looking forward to the party (and meeting Ronda from All The Best!) and highlighting the event here on the Material Girls Blog!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Barbie Does Have It All!


Last month I featured a blog post about Barbie and her dreamhouse, that she was *working* with Jonathan Adler and how she just seemed to have it all...well, she certainly does given she even has her own Philippe Starck Ghost Chair! It was released in honor of the 60th anniversary of Kartell and the 50th anniversary of the iconic Barbie doll.

Available through Unicahome.


Magic Carpet Ride


It's inevitable that sometimes you need an escape, to dream of a far off place. Remember those stories of magic carpet rides as a kid? Where you could let your imagination go...

Looking at the work of designer, Rajiv Saini, evokes the imagination of that far off exotic land. I first came across his work in Interior Design magazine and was intrigued by a hotel project he had just completed, Devigarh Udaipur. His work greatly reflects his background, with intricate detail mixed with sparse furnishings.

Here are some images from the Devigarh Udaipur Hotel (an 18th century palace) located in Rajasthan, India.







His firm handles both commercial and residential interior design projects, and many details in his residential projects are awe-inspiring.

A house in Mumbai:



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

LA Event


If you are in the Los Angeles area you may wish to attend this opening, sponsored by FORM magazine. I am looking forward to the event!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Come On In!


An entry is like "Hello" - here are some that welcome you in!









And taken from one of my own projects, this entry for a house in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, was transformed from dreary to welcoming with fresh paint & new furniture!

Would you like a little wine with your design?


As much as I enjoy residential interior design, I like retail design too. In this day and age, retail design has really taken traditional store design a step beyond. Commercial interior finishes are truly intriguing and having worked for commercial design firms, I often find myself applying finishes used in commercial projects into my residential projects. To keep up on the trends of retail design, I follow such sites as DDI and Retail Design Diva.

A recent post on Retail Design Diva featured this wine shop located in Greenwich Village, NYC. I thought it was so interesting, just had to feature it! It was designed by the commercial design firm MADLAB LLC based in New Jersey. The 600 sq ft store just happens to be located right next door to Jonathan Adler's Greenwich Village boutique. (Speaking of having a little wine with your design...)

The story behind the project is the typical scenario: design process underway, custom features & design elements drove the costs way up, and the price tag was beyond what the shop owner had ever imagined. Instead, MADLAB brought in an artist/design team to work with second hand furniture/thrift store finds and leave the raw space as is. The result is a 25-foot long massive assemblage of furniture (all painted in white) in which to display the wines in a clever way.

I guess this story reverses the philosophy of bringing commercial finishes into residential projects, instead second hand furniture turns into retail chic!

Take a look:







Le Vigne NYC

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hey Colour Lovers!


There is a really cool online site to engage in everything color related: check out different colors, palettes, patterns, read other blogs, trends, forums, etc. Colour Lovers is a great resource for all of you colour lovers!