Thursday, January 12, 2012


Like so many subjective professions, interior design is filled with rules that can be more rewarding to break than to follow. Here are some images where rules were broken, where rebels rebelled and the results were worth their courageous rebellion.
The Rainbow House in London by DA Studios abandons the traditional means of getting from one floor to the next by replacing steps with a slide complete with a trap door. It works great for the kids but I'm not sure how likely I'd be to shove Grandma down the slide with her cane in hand, although it beats descending a normal flight of stairs on her butt. Grandma always had a sense of adventure. This is a true story
Let's call a spade a spade, the TV of today is as valid a piece of art as any Picasso or Rembrandt. So why not mount it on an easel the way an artist would with his most prized work. This easel on wheels has the mobility to run around the room catching the best light or projecting the best of Masterpiece Theatre.
The Farralone House broke so many rules I couldn't possibly list them all but who would care when the results are this breathtaking. No sofa, who cares. Putting four chairs in a soft aqua blue fabric facing each other makes the perfect conversation area. Then when you can't find the right rug at the right size why not use four rugs instead of one. Then lets look at the fireplace surround. It's asymmetrical in so many wrong ways but it manages to find a weird way of balancing itself making it more than beautiful. It's genius, just ask John Kennedy. This is where he allegedly shacked up with Marilyn Monroe when Frank Sinatra lent him the keys to the joint.
There's really no rule broken here, at least no rule I can come up with for creating a drapery wall but I love this solution to the age old question of what to do with all your junk. Since most of what all of us carry around is too large to sweep under a rug constructing a twelve foot high curtain to hide all the things we need to live but don't want anyone to see a solution I'm all over. Closed: it's sleek and clean and everything is out of sight. Open: it's well organized and handy. Hiding clutter is a rule well worth keeping.

Since there's been no real snow this winter I can romanticize about a cabin hidden under fir boughs laden with snow and a reed of smoke winding its way from the chimney to the sky without having to deal with the fact I'd have to park the car at the bottom of the hill because the drive hasn't been plowed and the three bags of groceries I'm going to have to tote up two hundred yards to the cabin are going to make my biceps ache so bad I won't be able to lift a spoon of cold soup (the electric heat would have gone out due the downed power lines from the weight of the wet snow) to my mouth. So while the beauty of snow is still a fantasy lets look at some romantic getaways made even more seductive dressed in their winter coats of snow.
In the snowy mountains of Washington State the design team of Olson Kundig Architects have built a 1000 square foot weekend cabin so cozy no one could possibly be upset by being snowed in.
The cabin has a set of shutters that can close the cabin up when everyone is away. This huge wheel can easily move the shutters into position but when the shutters are open the view of lace-draped trees is a delicate beauty to be savored like a fine hot toddy.
I don't normally think of snow when someone mentions Iran, ayatollahs and camels are a little further up the list, but Iran has mountains and these mountains have snow and the Iranian people are just as likely to don a pair of skis and a Versace snowsuit as anyone else. The Barin Ski Resort designed by RYKA Studio is a contemporary castle in the sky with every surface built like a series of ice blocks stacked in courses that wind there way through an interior snow storm.
Not to be out iglooed, the WhitePod Alpine Ski Resort in Les Cerniers Switzerland has rooms that look like real igloos thanks to the technology of Buckminster Fuller.
Inside each igloo the walls are fabric covered, plush throws wrap the beds while a little fire burns off the chill. Europe knows how to take advantage of winter. I don't ski and I wouldn't need to at the WhitePod with that view and the seduction of that bedroom.
America has its own winter wonderlands. We've got one right here in Wisconsin, the Seth Peterson Cottage. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The cottage, designed in 1957, was one of the last commissions done by Wright. Located in the birch and pine forests along the shores of Mirror Lake the cottage can be rented out for a minimum two night stay. You can commune with nature and Wright in 800 square feet of history in the Wisconsin woods. Make your reservations early, the cottage usually books up a year in advance.

This year's tree ended up too dry and too big to try to drag through the living room and down the stairs without leaving a trail of needles so deep poor Buddy (our ten-year-old cock-a-poo) would end up leaving the living room looking like a green porcupine. Our solution to the needles was to have at the tree with a pruning shears. We threw the debris out over the balcony. A little sweeping, a once over with the vacuum, rearrange the furniture and we're ready for the new year.

Four Trees, Ferapontovo Monastery, 2004
Andrew Moore, Photographer
Represented by Yancy Richardson Gallery, NYC

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