BY CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN

The Kansas City Star

It sounded improbable when Eddy Krygiel first told me about it: How he and his wife, Angiela Meyer, had gutted a West Side home and put two bedrooms and two and half baths in it.

Surely, I thought, they’re crammed into the space. Nope. Nothing in it feels cramped.

Krygiel, an architect, designed a home that feels more spacious — and stylish — than a lot of so-called McMansions.

The same goes for Sarah Magill’s nearby home, which was designed by KEM Studio. It is 1,200 square feet, which is actually bigger than she wanted.

The home of Krygiel and Meyer was the first in Kansas City to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified; Magill’s home received a 2013 award from the Kansas City AIA Design Excellence competition and the home was one of four finalists for Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year for 2013.

The two homes share a number of features: All-white walls, high ceilings and lots of windows that create a sense of airiness; pocket doors that cut down on swing space; and few, if any, interior walls and hallways.

Such designs are a reversal of a long-running trend. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, newly built homes grew from an average of 1,660 square feet in 1973 to more than 2,500 square feet today.

But in recent years, experts in real estate and home construction began reporting that more clients are giving priority to high-end finishes, smart design and green materials rather than gobs of space.

Rebecca Riden, an architect in Prairie Village, has worked with several clients to design small homes or maximize space in existing ones. She recently reworked a small two-bedroom home, she says, by adding a breakfast nook with built-in bench seating, two porches and lots of built-in storage.

Riden is a fan of Sarah Susanka, an architect who wrote “The Not So Big House” series of books, which have sold more than 1.2 million copies since 1998 and espouse a philosophy of building better, not bigger.

Riden says there are a lot of benefits to living in and building small homes. It’s more eco-friendly and reduces clutter.

“You have to force yourself to have a place for everything and storage becomes critical so it forces people to think about what they bring in,” she says. “Maintenance overall also decreases and goes back to being green. It frees up time. Less cleaning, less maintenance.”

So let’s take a look at the lessons these West Side homeowners have to offer in terms of efficiency, green design and a simple life.

A foreclosure reborn

Krygiel and Meyer bought their two-story home, which was in foreclosure, five years ago for $1,000.

He recalls inquiring about the property and the real estate agent asking, “What the hell do you want that for?”

The roof had a gaping hole, all the pipes had burst and the fireplace was so decrepit that it collapsed and fell through the floor. The home also seemed small for a family of four.

But Krygiel could see its potential.

“I knew there was an answer in here somewhere, but there were moments of panic when I wondered if I was going to make it work,” he said. The rehab took six months.

The first thing he did was eliminate walls on the first floor to make one open, loft-like space that comprises a kitchen, dining room, living room, half bathroom and office for two.

It felt spacious one recent afternoon as a soft breeze blew through several of the home’s 19 windows.

Artwork and furnishings, most of it modern and clean-lined, provide pops of color to the white shell.

Open shelving above the kitchen counters holds colorful dishes, glassware and Le Creuset cookware. Eliminating upper cabinets gives an illusion of more space.

“We intentionally buy stuff that we’re OK leaving out,” Krygiel said.

“Stuff that’s functional and beautiful. It’s happy stuff,” Meyer said.

The kitchen island contains a cubbyhole that hides litter boxes for three cats.

A table in a nook between the dining room and kitchen provides office space. A closet behind it houses a laundry center and other necessities.

Krygiel had two HVAC units installed to eliminate the need for air ducts that would have eaten up valuable square footage. Plus, he said, the two units counted toward LEED certification because they can turn a unit down when they’re not using the space it serves.

The second floor contains the two bedrooms (the girls’ room has bunk beds), two full bathrooms and a cozy green reading nook where one of their daughters does homework.

“We have nice bedrooms, but they are not big or elaborate,” Krygiel says. “The idea is to push everyone downstairs where we can spend more time together.”

Room for a treadmill

Magill was in her kitchen, which is in the middle of her home, one afternoon. Sunlight poured in through floor-to-ceiling windows.

“Would you like a tour? It’ll be very short,” she said, chuckling.

The all-white kitchen consists of upper shelving, Ikea cabinets and white appliances along one wall. A desk occupies an alcove next to them. An island topped with white quartz can seat six comfortably.

The ceiling soars above and a loft, with one of the home’s two full bathrooms, juts out slightly over the cabinets and adjacent desk.

“KEM talked a lot about using light and volume to make a small space seem bigger,” Magill said.

The home was built from scratch on a narrow lot chocked with limestone. Neither it nor Krygiel’s home has a basement. According to Brad Satterwhite, an architect at KEM Studio, Magill was open to just about any idea that maximized space.

“She said, ‘Let me lay my life out for you and then you design for it.’ Her desires were fairly simple, but she realized you have to be creative to get them.”

Those desires included a digital TV and movie projector and large retractable screen, a space that flows well for entertaining and a way to store her fold-up treadmill.

Magill got everything she asked for. A closet behind the living room sofa holds the treadmill. She rolls it out to run while watching TV on the large retractable screen that pulls down over the living room windows.

And every inch of the place, including the loft, is used when Magill hosts movie nights and concerts.

Her bedroom is at the rear of the house, separated only by drapes.

“Eventually I will have a Murphy bed that folds up and this can be used as an entertainment space when I’m not sleeping,” Magill said. “I like having everything open. It makes it really easy.”

Satterwhite and Krygiel noted how we spend so little waking time in our bedrooms that it’s not worth allocating a lot of space to them.

“Visually, with it being open, you see all the way through to the back of the house, so it feels like more than 1,200 square feet,” Satterwhite said.

The length of a short narrow hallway off the kitchen is lined on one side with closets. It ends at a floor-to-ceiling window. Turn right and you’re in a small full bathroom that has a closet with a stacked washer and dryer.

Magill says she throws her laundry directly into the washer, eliminating the need for a hamper.

She has moved six times during the past seven years. She’s purged a lot of her belongings to lighten her load.

“It’s minimalist living. I grew into it,” she says. “Now, with this small space, it keeps me honest because I just don’t have room. If I get something new, something old has to go.”

Common features in well-designed small homes

 

• White or light-colored walls

 

• Furnishings with clean lines that introduce pops of color to the space

 

• Lots of large windows to allow natural light

 

• Pocket doors that don’t require swing space

 

• As few walls as possible

 

• Short hallways or none at all

 

• Small bedrooms and bathrooms

 

• Built-in seating and storage

 

• Multipurpose rooms

 

• Modern, clean-lined furnishings and artwork

 

• Beautiful yet functional stuff that doesn’t need to be put in a closet

Looking for a great way to start the year? Wanting  to get started on a home addition or  dreaming about a new home but don’t know where to start? I recommend  the NOT SO BIG HOUSE series of books to all perspective and seasoned clients. A wonderful resource of inspiration and great details.

Home Design Books

My favorite home design books. Notice I have 2 copies of The Not So Big House? One is a lender copy for clients who haven’t read the series and want to read it right away!

The author of these wonderful books Architect Sarah Susanka  recently spoke at TEDxSan Diego. Wonderful way to spend a few minutes to learn about her philosophy not only on NOT SO BIG HOUSE DESIGN but also on the NOT SO BIG LIFE! A wonderful quote from talk  “Help people make houses better rather than bigger. Not knock socks off neighbor but a home that fits YOU to a tee.” ahh music to my ears!

I am going to make the first project of the new year …ME!!  Project number one with time set aside for writing and printmaking. What do printmaking and writing have to do with the daily operations of my architecture practice? More than you might realize. Writing for me, whether a blog post or an article  helps me clarify design ideas. It forces me to distill what I am thinking into a few key words. I am often asked the EXACT same questions by perspective clients so I am writing it ALL down so I can say please look at my blog I have the answers there.  I wrote them down just for you!

Printmaking is a chance to draw, design and think without a specific problem to solve which allows me to daydream and recharge my creativity. Printmaking provides a fixed time for me to work either by limited press time.  Also the actual time I have before the ink dries on plate and  won’t run well through the press without sticking to paper creates a deadline for me! I use presses away from my home studio which allows a chance to pack up for the day and plan the printmaking event in advance.

What will you work on this year?! Here is the youtube link enjoy!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-prHacrhjBI

 

housearchitect:

This is a great read!

Originally posted on Postcards without stamps:

I attempted to do the impossible over Christmas – I set out to part with one-third of my belongings. When I announced it to my husband and our toddler my husband worryingly replied: ‘But that means that one of us needs to go.’ :)

Well.. not quite.

All that went was the evidence of overcommitment: unread books, unused items, not-yet-or-not-often-worn clothes, forgotten home decorations, disliked music, excessive stationery and other neglected bits and pieces. I was very happy to remove them from my sight and give us back the space where we could hear our thoughts without having our attention pulled in many disparate directions. We needed a home that will stop us from being preoccupied with what we haven’t done and instead allow us to do what we want to do. Do you have a space like that? Space where you can stay relaxed but focused? Space that calms…

View original 150 more words

Ready for a Happy New Year? 2012 has been an INCREDIBLE  year. I have had the pleasure of meeting with extraordinary clients who are kind yet very determined and passionate about the space they will call home. Being invited into someone’s house to meet with them and listen about their home future plans is always a treat! I take it seriously. While it can be an incredible amount of fun to transform a home or build a dream home it is not for the faint of heart. Anything worth doing well takes effort and perseverance. I want to say thank you to all my clients this year for letting me be part of your life while we design your home!

In an effort to share the kindness that has come my way this year I want to share a few helpful hints for anyone considering a home design project!

After picture of a farmhouse with new front porch and a southern side porch.

After picture of a farmhouse with new front porch and a southern side screen porch.

Before picture of a farmhouse. Owner wanted a home to have more character and a welcoming front porch with enough space for a swing.

Before picture of the SAME farmhouse. Owner wanted home to have more character and a welcoming front porch with enough space for a swing.

Ten FIVE home design tips to keep in mind during design.

  1. DREAM. Think about how you live right now and how you  imagine your future. Houzz.com and Pinterest were made for dreamers!
  2. TIME. Take the time to do it right. Everyone is anxious to get started but planning and making sure everything is decided before you start can save you time. Really? YEP!  Spending time to plan can save you time.
  3. BE HONEST. This goes to my jetted tub clients who have NEVER used their tubs in ten years. I have decided there are either those who like a soaking tub and will use a tub or those who have never used one in 5 years and might never use one again in the next 5 years. So with that in mind don’t stray too far from your everyday life when designing which brings us to…
  4. WONDERFUL A new home or extensive renovation can be wonderful and inspiring  but at the end of the day food needs prepared, clothes need washed and phones charged. Don’t forget the small details and how everyday activities should have the space to do them well and the way you like to do them! Think about how your FAMILY lives and how your home can help you live better.
  5.  TEN PRIORITIZE  Item Five is not item TEN. Yes I can have a list of hundred items here but a very wise editor at the Kansas City Star once told me pick 5 topics and do them well. Same idea for home ideas you can have hundreds of ideas in a home but some are more important than others. Make a list and you will be surprised of how many items/ideas you can reach but be prepared to be flexible…view or more storage in a kitchen translates to windows versus cabinets. It is your home so YOU can decide. Be strong and consider your options. your friends will want to help, your family will want to suggest ideas and your window and cabinet-maker will also be very happy to share an opinion. Many opinions can confuse and cause doubt so keep YOUR big ideas handy and remember this time, this house is all about YOU :)

An article from the the Kansas City Star I wrote about Screened Porches!

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/11/3859494/drawing-board-screen-porches-are.html

Fall is a great season for a screened porch. Spring is equally a wonderful season for a porch and even summer can be an enjoyable season! Currently 90% of my home design projects include a screen porch for clients. Why are screened porches so appealing? A screened porch can provide a bug free, fresh air yet dry space to enjoy anything from dinner with friends to a quiet place for coffee while reading the paper. After a busy day working inside, even a few moments spent on a porch can provide a welcome chance to reconnect with nature.

A new screen was added to an existing home. While the home had an existing screen porch it faced north towards the driveway rather than south towards a shared garden.

To make a screen porch feel part of home I like to use sliding doors. A four panel sliding door unit with two doors that slide and two that stay fixed creates a doorway of five to six feet wide that makes the porch feel connected to the adjacent room. It is perfect for entertaining when an extra table space might be needed but everyone can still overhear what is happening inside. This additional space easily can make a cozy room feel just right when filled with guests. Sliding doors don’t take door swing space in either the porch or room which helps furniture layouts on comfy porches. Being able to open a sliding door just a smidgen to allow fresh air in is also a bonus as it easier than opening a swing door and using a door stop which is pretty much required here in the windy Midwest. Doors between the house and porch also don’t need screen doors since the porch provides the screening proving easy clear access.

Using a double sliding door unit provides a wide doorway from home to porch.

Location, location, location, a screen porch will block sunlight into the adjacent rooms. Ideally the room with doors to the porch has windows on adjacent walls to allow natural light. Although a wraparound porch may seem intriguing it can create dark interior rooms by limiting sunlight. Southeast is the preferred location to allow light throughout the day but not the harsh west light. The porch roof overhang needs to be studied to see what works well to block summer sun but allow late fall, early spring light.

Having always lived in a four season climate I appreciate fall yet realize that winter is around the corner. As much work as it is to winterize a porch by hauling cushions and even furniture inside, it is equally exciting to bring it back when the warm spring weather returns. Keep in mind while shopping what furniture, fabrics and even rugs will need protected and where they will be stored if necessary during those winter days.

Sometimes a client is tempted to want the ability to use a screen porch year round by installing windows. Honestly it isn’t the same as it becomes a sunroom or another room with many windows and the outdoor feel can be greatly diminished. Feeling a breeze roll though on a screened porch on a quiet fall evening is definitely a treat, and for those warm, still days a ceiling fan built for exterior (wet and wind) use is a welcome addition!  Adding a screen porch can make a house feel spacious with it’s unique features of sunlight, fresh air and nature sounds creating a completely different feeling space altogether. A screen porch provides the perfect place to be thankful for our Kansas City fall days.

The goal of any sensitive addition is to make the new feel as if it was already there! New screened porch added to existing brick Colonial home! The second floor is a new master suite.

here is the link and the entire article I wrote for the Kansas City Star on interior doors!

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/05/3533670/drawing-board-interior-doors-shouldnt.html

 

Interior Glass Pocket doors photo by Jim Barcus Kansas City Star

 

DRAWING BOARD

Drawing Board | Interior doors shouldn’t be an afterthought

Mirrors, glass and sturdy construction are worth the extra expense.

By REBECCA RIDEN

Special to The Star

By REBECCA RIDEN     
Updated: 2012-04-08T03:11:24Z

About this feature
Kansas City contains such vibrant public and private buildings that House + Home wants to share residential design through an architectural perspective. Local architects will write about ideas, building materials and projects. Drawing Board runs the second Sunday of each month.

        The doors inside your home are a key part of a new home design or renovation. And even on their own, they’re a worthwhile upgrade.

Consider how many times a day an interior door is used. Careful attention is needed when deciding on a style or size.

Style

Often clients are surprised to learn that they have the option to select an interior door style for their home. If a door is not selected by the homeowner, the standard default is a hollow six-panel Colonial molded door. A solid interior door with frame and panels is more expensive than a hollow one, but just one test swing at a showroom, and clients are sold on the feel of a sturdy and beautiful door — they bring back memories of an older home.

Sometimes doors are the first items to be replaced on a home renovation dream list when clients say their existing ones feel flimsy.

Mirrored single panel door. Photo by Jim Barcus Kansas City Star

Details

Even within a door style there are many options. Craftsman-style doors with simple square detailing can have several panels within their frame or just one. What makes sense with your home? Do you want to dress it up with applied trim, accent arches with an arched top panel or quietly add detail with an elegant yet, simple panel design?

Once a door style is selected, other features should be considered. The panels can be glass, providing a great solution where you need acoustical privacy but still want to see into a room and feel connected to nearby activities. The glass doors can help create a quiet zone within the house for reading, homework or even to make a phone call while the adjacent room has a television or music playing.

Configuration

Interior doors can be pocket doors, which slide completely into a wall and out of the way. Pocket doors are a good option for a small room, hallway or where wall space is a premium.

Doors can save wall space, too, if a full-length mirror is desired in a bedroom, bathroom or closet. You can add a mirror to a single panel door easily for a custom traditional look. Many door manufacturers will allow the option of a mirror on one side.

Even the numbers of doors in an opening should be thought through. A pair of smaller doors or a bifold door rather than one large door can save space, frame the doorway and add interest. The size of the door is a key thing to consider. Examine the doors you have now to confirm what size works for you. Often, larger bathroom and bedroom doors are selected to accommodate future potential needs.

Spend time selecting home elements such as doors because then you’ll enjoy them for years to come.

 

To reach architect Rebecca Riden, go to RidenArch.com.

 

A special guest blog post from Don Carter PE a structural engineer I have enjoyed working with over the years. Not only do I respect him and value his wisdom he is a wonderful family man also! I will never forget one morning many years ago when I stopped by to drop off project drawings and he met me at my mom van to save me from unbuckling my new-born son’s car seat and jostling him awake. My first words were to explain a point on the project he interrupted… ”the project can wait let me see your baby”.  Thank you Don for always keep it straight family is first

This post reminds us in addition to creating a beautiful space that meets needs,  above all it has to be safe for your family. Hire a professional engineer. Don Carter PE can be reached at Foundation Engineering Specialists LLC WWW.fdnengineering.com (913)685-1434

Deck failure. Use a professional structural engineer to keep your family safe. Photo courtsey of Simpson Strong Tie.

A colleague recently shared that when his lake home’s deck began to show signs of rot on the walking surface he took up the damaged boards, only to discover that the main structure underneath was also rotting — but to a much greater degree.  Out of sight out of mind.   Our company looks at maybe half a dozen balconies, porches or decks each year that are in some stage of noteworthy failure, and it’s a growing part of our business.  With the average life expectancy of a wood deck being 10 to 15 years nationally, maybe a little more in Kansas, this problem will increase as Johnson County subdivisions age.  Decks cause more injuries and loss of life than any other part of the home structure.   Since 1999 there have been 850 reported injuries and 20 deaths as a result of deck failures1.  We see 3 reasons for this:

  1. Under Design.  Many decks and porches are added by homeowners as a weekend project. Without a credible plan, these decks are often built based on what looks nice, not what meets the requirements of elementary engineering. Local cities have rigid rules to control deck construction, but their inspectors can’t be everywhere so accessory structures are often built without plan review, permitting or final certification. 
  2.  Materials Breakdown.  These are outdoor structures subject to all the ravages of Midwestern weather. Without periodic maintenance, Mother Nature easily has her way with exposed wood.  Years ago redwood was the deck builder’s material of choice because it looked nice and seemingly lasted forever.  But when cost and availability changed, redwood gave way to cedar which in turn gave way to treated fir.  Early wood treating chemicals protected wood for a long time but they contained arsenic and are now banned.  The jury is still out on how long newer chemical treatments will last, but no material can sit outside and retain its original properties forever.
  3. Unplanned Loads.  Decks and balconies are code specified for people and light accessory loading, same as inside living space. It’s not uncommon though to see people adding a hot tub at more than triple the per square foot loading.  What started out as a capable structure gets increased loading with no thought given to reassessing the frame or foundation.  I recently examined a failed second story balcony, which was debris on the lawn by the time I saw it.  Eyewitnesses reported that the balcony had been loaded with people standing shoulder to shoulder and still others sitting on the hand rails.  After a lot of lawyering, the building owner was held liable because he hadn’t posted a load limit.  I doubt the average homeowner has any earthly idea what his deck’s occupancy limit should be.

For your liability protection and the safety of family, guests and self, make time to look at your deck with a critical eye.

1.Photo and select information for this article were obtained from Simpson Strong Tie

It has been a year since I spent spring break on the island of St John in the US VI. Do I think about it almost everyday? YES! It was a wonderful and inspiring trip.

How can a spring break vacation possibly have anything to do with my home blog you might wonder? Everything and everything!

 

Maho Bay Beach St John USVI

My husband and I had always dreamed of taking our kids to St John to snorkel the reefs. We are more of a beach family than a snow family. Our family vacations are few and far between but always involve being outside and off the grid. No phones, no computers no I-anything! Our children like our adventures and the family time.

St John is a magical island with half its land in the US National Park System. This assures the beaches are protected with little development. Radios aren’t even allowed!  The journey to St John takes some effort and our trip  from Kansas involved cars, planes, train (Atlanta Airport concourse change), taxi, and a ferry ride! We started at4am and arrived a little  after 3pm in St. John. We were tired, slightly cranky, excited and even overwhelmed by the rapid change of climate and pace. A sign all was well and an adventure was about to begin? (Besides driving on the wrong side the road?) A sea turtle emerged to swim beside the ferry between St Thoma sandSt John. Just seeing a big turtle in the stunning turquoise water encourages us to take care of our small part of the world everyday!

Maho Bay Camps St John US VI

Maho Beach Camps is an amazing place to stay. Imagine a screen porch with a cot and the sound of the ocean. Simple but really what exactly do you need on a vacation? I need a change of scenery and a chance to reenergize. Great food including the golden pancakes and self serve hot coffee available at sunrise is a treat. I like to experience new places and learn from them. I also like having space to breathe and see nature quietly at my own speed. It grounds me to wake when the sun blazes through a tent window and fall asleep to the sound of the nearby beach after an exhausting yet exhilarating day hiking or snorkeling or even just lazily watching the waves. The first night the rustling below our tent did cause a slight worry. Was it a giant wild iguana or an animal with large teeth no just a tiny hermit crab! Marcel the Shell was on vacation too!

Maho Bay Camps St John USVI

 

The Camp was developed in 1960’s on leased land with the stipulation that the land could not be altered. The lease is up and the camp is on borrowed time. It had been a dream of mine to go ever since a family from church took their daughters. They wanted their family to experience the coral reefs. The reefs are fragile and take many years to rebuild after a storm and easily damaged by human touch. One bad swipe of a snorkel fin can cause incredible harm.

Sunset Maho Bay St John USVI

The tents are built individually or in pairs on deck platforms high above the natural terrain to not impede water, nature and wildlife. Gently placed with care the tents provide stunning views and privacy as the land steeply slopes to the beach. Some tent walls are screened while others have an opaque canvas. The sightlines limiting seeing into tents are protected by the height between the boardwalk and a set of stairs to each tent. It still marvels me the overall layout of the camp. Simple yet effective! The boardwalks connecting the tents also protect the fragile natural floor. The many stairs are daunting at first. Especially when realizing each tent doesn’t have running water. Infact the only potable water is by the check in desk.  All water on St John is trucked in. Very little fresh water is available on volcanic islands as St John and St Thomas are. Seeing and hearing the water trucks everyday throughout the islands made me think twice about all the water I use year round. The showers are located in a shared bath house. The showers involve a pull string to ensure not a drop is wasted. The showers are also cold! After a day at the beach all is well and an afternoon shower is slightly warmer!

Maho Bay Camps Boardwalk St John USVI

There are nightly activities and a wonderful sharing library to exchange books. This area is also a brilliant idea to leave what you don’t need to travel home with.  We bought beach toys and left them for another family to enjoy. Sand castles are a big deal in out family!

Maho Bay Camps Sharing Shelves St John USVI

We rented a Jeep from Thomas (who still is a contact on my phone never know when we might return and need another ride!) and visited a different beach each day. Each beach had its own unique ecosystem and different species inhabiting the reefs. Wild goats kept us company at Lemon Cay! We were often the first to arrive on a beach as the early sun after an early turn in had everyone up and ready to start another day’s adventure. The hot pancakes and fresh fruit breakfast also provided encouragement!! One day we walked the coral reef trail a guided tour by a US Park Ranger downhill through the trees and along the stone walls of an old Sugar Cane Plantation. The end of tour left us on beach waiting for a boat ride back toCruzBay! It was a shady day enjoying the inland part of the island.

Reef Bay Sugar Mill St John USVI

As an architect what did I learn?

1. It is possible to build very gently to protect the terrain.

2. Raised boardwalks are an ideal way to limit impact on the existing grade and keep from “Cow paths” shortcuts being created. It is too far “down” to veer off path!

3. The parking lot can be far away and kept screened with a short-term drop off provided!

4. Tents/rooms can be far away as long a cart is provided for initial luggage gear move in.

5. Access to potable water and limited use of fresh water by pull strings is tolerated once the beauty of the area and effort it takes to get water is understood

6. A space to share books and leave groceries is a great idea at any vacation spot! A board with an area to note what you saw each day is nice to see what everyone else is doing too!

7. A store that is within walking distance and safely within the “no cars allowed area” is a treat for kids. Everyone on vacation needs space to safely explore and enjoy Root Beer that served in cool bottles!

8. Having only limited lighting ensures privacy and a big starry sky at a “campground!” Keep that flashlight handy!

9. A casual dining system of ordering at the counter and waiting to be called for terrific food actually encourages conservation with travelers from all over while waiting. This casual interaction happens readily table to table! Friendly staff helps too!!

10. Having a beachside rental for chairs, paddleboards and snorkel gear made it easy to enjoy the beach right away!

The list goes on and on…Spring 2013 see you there!

Trunk Bay St John USVI

 

“I want my home to be cozy, a warm inviting family house.”  I often hear that when meeting clients for the first time. When you hear the word “cozy” what image pops into your mind? I think about homes I have designed on paper and then visited built and moved in to see them full of life with children  running around and laughing. I also think about a house I have never visited but have looked at enough it seems as if I have.

Carl Larsson Dining Room from the Carl Larsson website

One day I will go but until then here are pictures and paintings of Carl Larsson’s work and his home that inspired him. A renowned Swedish nineteenth century painter. His wife was also a designer and designed many of the fabrics from curtains to table linens. I enjoy this house so much for 3 reasons:

  1. It is beautiful and comfortable in both in the pictures and the paintings,
  2. The watercolor paintings are stunning and tell a story of life at that time of  a happy family in a happy home. I am drawn to paintings of everyday life.  
  3. I like the fact that this house was far from the normal of the day as they surrounded themselves with color, textiles, and furniture that made them comfortable. This house is timeless as comfortable now as it was over 100 years ago.

CARL LARSSON, painting "Till en liten vira" (Getting ready for a little game), 1901. National Museum, Stockholm

Here is a link to the official website! Enjoy! http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx

Here is a quote from the website:

The stark colours of the dining room may not seem all that remarkable to us now, but writers and critics of the time were merciless when it came to the ”raw” colours and the simple chairs that the Larssons had ordered from carpenter Arnbom in Sundborn. A conventional dining room at the end of the 19th century ought to have dark furniture and make a dignified impression.

Carl Larsson Dining Room


 

Here is a link to an article I wrote that is in today’s Kansas City Star:  Drawing Board | Thoughtful additions to an existing home

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/07/3350614/drawing-board-thoughtful-additions.html

Living Room Featured in Kansas City Star's House and Home

Thoughts about designing a new home or rethinking an existing one by an award winning Kansas City residential architect.

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