TAKING A GAMBLE

Does your home speak to you?                                       

Does it have a story to tell?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of re-visiting the Gamble House, a turn-of-the-last century Craftsman style home in Pasadena, California.

This 100 year old gem of a house was designed by the architectural geniuses Greene & Greene.

I have to admit, I admired this home just as much the second time around, both for its turn-of-the-century simplicity and its incredible attention to detail.

I use the word ‘incredible’ – yet, this doesn’t adequately describe what the house has to offer.

Astounding is more like it.

The effect of these rooms bathed in a golden light, is almost magical. It literally takes your breath away.

From the moment one first steps into the darkened entry, you realize you are in for a treat as your eyes gradually become accustomed to the light.

You notice first, the lovely image of an oak tree etched into the leaded glass panes of the front door, its limbs stretching far and wide into the transom and side light windows.

You notice it in the smoothly rounded edges of the polished Burmese teak, framing the grand central stair.

You notice it, too, in the delicate silhouette of a lantern in the shape of a crane, a bird that – in Japan – represents longevity.

You notice the repetition of certain motifs – trailing vines and the ever-present Chinese ‘cloud-lift’ – everywhere you look.

It’s present in the leaded glass light fixtures, the carved mantle and friezes, in the stair rail and even the carved inlays on a bed frame.

Good design relies on repetition.             

Designers and architects alike know this, and rely heavily on such simple tools to create an innate rhythm of beauty and celebration throughout a clients’ home.

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I THINK I NEED A DOG

I was browsing hotels on-line for an upcoming road trip, when I happened upon an upscale hotel chain that provides guests with a Heavenly Bed and a Heavenly Bath.                      

Sounds heavenly.

Then I read that it’s OK to bring your 40lb dog, at no extra charge and you can even request a Heavenly Dog Bed!

Now, that’s service!

The Heavenly Bed, as it’s called, (for humans) features a “custom-designed, foot-thick pillowtop mattress with all-white bedding; triple sheeting; down duvet; and five pillows (two goose down/feather, two hypo-allergenic, and a decorative “boudoir” neck roll pillow)”.

Wow.

I’d love to know what the Heavenly Dog Bed looks like!

So yes, I’m off on a road trip early this month. I’m meeting up with my son in rural Pennsylvania, as he makes his way back to Austin, TX for the fall term of graduate school.

Many years ago, when my family moved to Seattle, we drove all the way from Toronto, which was a ten day road trip. Being young and adventurous, I thought it was a blast.

To this day, the highlights I remember were Mt. Rushmore, the Corn Palace (ever been there?) and of course, Yellowstone National Park.

We arrived in Yellowstone on July 1, and were welcomed by an enormous blizzard. Coming from Canada, we weren’t too fazed by this, although it was a bit confusing for the first of July.

Lucky for us, we had an ice-scraper in the car. This made us very popular the next morning in the parking lot, as fellow hotel guests prepared to dig themselves out of the snow.

My most recent memorable road trip was to Frank Lloyd Wright’s infamous Fallingwater.

So, it’s time for another road trip, and I’m looking forward to it! I hope to see you back here over the next few weeks as I share trip updates and photos.

Fallingwater

On a recent summer’s day, I had the ideal opportunity to visit Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece located in Bear Run, Pennsylvania.

This proved to be an absolutely amazing experience, and I highly recommend visiting Fallingwater if you are ever in the area.

I guarantee the experience is one you’ll never forget.

So what makes this place so incredible?

It’s just a house, afterall.

Except that it’s not just any house.

Picture a home that is so well integrated to it’s site that words escape you.

Picture a home that is so beautifully designed, in each and every detail, that it takes your breath away.

Add to this the spectacular natural site, located in the woods, directly over a stream and waterfall.

You’ve probably seen the pictures, famously showing the cantilevered decks that create patterns in space as they hover over the water below.

Design and architecture today often emphasizes the connection between indoors and out, or what we refer to as ‘bringing the outdoors in’.

Fallingwater is the epitomy of this concept, of connecting ourselves to Nature.

While I don’t believe there will ever be another Fallingwater, we can certainly borrow from the lessons here, and aspire to bring more of Nature into our homes.

Perhaps it will be the stone flooring throughout your home that continues onto the outdoor patio, perhaps it will appear in the form of greenery inside and out, or perhaps it will be a water feature that spreads the peaceful sound of flowing water throughout your living space.

Whatever you decide to do, embrace it as a way to bring more of Nature into your home and your Life.