I very much enjoy appreciating art in paper form, specifically, in those large hardcover photo books. They are perfect for casual viewing on your coffee table with breakfast or for guests to browse.
On my coffee table right now, I have 3 specific books that just never get old. Even if I have read them 100 times, they still fascinate me with every gander. Additionally, they are printed beautifully and are almost a decoration for my living room. In this post I’m going to show you what I have for my coffee table. Continue Reading →
A great example is Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Django (the “D” is silent), which uses fantastic cinematography, soundtrack, and script that creates a masterful movie piece with such a unique style that anyone can guess it’s his work. I love that.
I have a lot of favorite movies though and each one has many fans, as they should. Continue Reading →
It’s a beautiful thing when you actually take the time to watch the season transition. As I sit on my deck, I can feel the crisp air coming from the North; gently reminding me that it is time to wind down and tend to the spirit within. I can see my beautiful trees starting to change colours slowly but surely. The sun is setting, bringing with it a rush of warm colours in many shades of gold. In this moment, I love watching its reflection play on the side of my log cabin. Here in England, our seasons change rather quickly. Change is an inevitable yet vital part of life. Ironically, so is balance and structure. With me being an architect and all, that is one truth that I have come to terms with, both literally and figuratively. So as I sit here watching the sun play across my home on this cool late September day, I start to remember my vacation adventures during the summer just two months ago.
A good friend of mine invited me out to his home in Australia. I hadn’t seen Charles in some time. The last time we connected, he came here to England to pay me a visit. It was only fair that I return the favour. Plus, I love to travel and marvel at the unique architectural designs that are present in other countries and cultures. I look back on the pictures that I took from visiting those places and use them as a reference point for inspiration when my projects are assigned. Another great incentive for me to visit Charles was that he extended his invitation conveniently around a summer holiday. I had previously planned on taking a few needed extra days off, so this was simply perfect. With all these great reasons to travel across the world for a nice time, why not engage on the expedition?
Once I arrived in Australia, I was delighted to discover that he actually had an immaculate beach house right on the water! Now I wouldn’t expect any less from Charles, as he is a dapper individual in all facets of his life. But I was completely blown away by the style and architectural design of his house. To prevent myself from automatically going into “work mode” mentally, I decided to save the architect talk for a little bit later. I had to remind myself that I was there for relaxation. However, I still kept that talk as an ongoing internal conversation between me, myself, and I.
When I approached the beach house with my luggage in tow, I immediately noticed the sharp features of the house itself. It reminded me of a Japanese-styled house I encountered some time ago with very calculated geometric lines. I thought this was a bit different from the kind of designs I usually see for the standard of waterfront homes. Nevertheless, regardless of the seemingly out of place design, it really worked and blended quite nicely with its environment. It meshed together, yet stood out enough to make a statement.
Upon further observation of his house, I also noticed the lightly tinted features throughout some parts of the house. There was still a sense of privacy with the glass features because it was cleverly placed in the common areas of the home, such as parts of the living room and kitchen. The other sections of the house were covered in neutral gray siding. When I put all the pieces of the exterior features together, I clearly saw the logic of it! The lightly tinted glass of the beach house was designed to counteract the harsh sunrays that threatened to beat down on any unsuspecting guests. At the same time, the modification of the house helped to harvest the cool sea breezes in order to keep the house at a nice temperature when the heat rises. Another bonus is that it was light enough to still allow the beautiful views of the ocean from any window. As I entered the house, I looked down to see the cobblestone pathway helping to guide the way. The natural sand from the beach itself was a great surprise in between the elaborate cuts of the cobblestone. It gave me the nagging urge to want to take my shoes off right there and then to enjoy the sand between my toes.
After I settled in and made a few drinks with my friend, he gave me an exclusive tour of the place. I was really drawn to the living room area. The style of the living room was very open and inviting with an historic, yet modern feel. The colour scheme was that of a distressed silver and bronze. As I surveyed the room, the cushions on the ivory couches caught my eye. They were macho shades of browns, deep golds, and silvers. I couldn’t help but ask where he found cushion covers like these and he suggested that I buy some Australian souvenirs online from Simply Cushions.
With these monotone colours, Charles still managed to create a warm invitation to lounge and reminisce on the old days as we finished up our drinks. As we caught up on life a little more while listening to a soft jazz band play, I started to look around more. The massive wall clock on the opposite wall really caught my attention. He managed to pull in the antique colours throughout the ivory backgrounds. The wall clock featured Roman numerals in a way that instantly transported me into ancient royalty. Once again my intrigue gave way to politeness and he suggested I visit Purely Wall Cocks and view their range of wall clocks online.
For the rest of our trip, I successfully learned how to turn off my work brain and really enjoy the scenery and beauty of Australia. It was one of the best holiday vacations I had been on in years. It seems like just yesterday when I was heading back to my home in England to resume my regular duties. Time really flies. Now that the sun has gone down to expose a gallant night sky, it is time for me to turn in as well.
When we think of design, most of us immediately think of architecture or fashion as examples of design However design can take many forms and designing can encompass the non physical world.
Let me give you an example, a few months back I was looking for some life insurance cover due to a change in my personal circumstances, which necessitated the need for some form of life cover protection. The designer in me of course didn’t want just any old life insurance policy. I wanted something bespoke, something designed for my own personal needs and wants, a policy that said this is the kind of person I am.
I approached a good friend of mine, who is more clued up on all things financial and asked if he knew the best place to “design” my life insurance policy. He pointed me in the direction of a company called Asurie who have an on line presence as well as UK based adviser option. I contacted them initially via there on line quote request form and awaited their call back.
Asurie duly called me back to discuss my needs and we went over what I was looking for. I explained to the adviser as best I could, my “designer life insurance idea” Luckily the adviser understood pretty quickly what I was getting at. He quickly explained the various add ons available, that would enhance my cover and the benefits they would bring me. Now do not get me wrong, I am no insurance expert, but what I liked about the guy at Asurie was they way he explained everything in plain English, so that I understood fully what I was getting in regards to additional covers on my policy. He understood that I did not want just life insurance, but something that fitted my lifestyle. I like to keep fit and value my health, these were things I suggested to the adviser.
The Asurie adviser put together a policy that met my needs and was designed purely for my circumstances. I never knew you could add so my benefits to a boring old life insurance. I managed to add reduced gym membership and a 24 hour legal and medical helpline( this was all available at time of my application, you would need to check with them, to see if still available) so all in I was extremely pleased, as some of the additional benefits such as legal and medical helpline came at no extra cost. I built in some other really cool benefits, but wont bore you to death( no life insurance pun intended!) with every single one of them.
So what I am saying is that design can come in so many different guises, and who would have thought life insurance was one of them. You can design a building, you can design clothes and you can design life insurance!
If you need life insurance or even just a quote, have a look at Asurie because they have access to the broker market, meaning they can quote from a load of different insurers, not just one company. So if you need a life insurance policy “designed” for you, Asurie should be able to sort something out, you can check out their website here
Over time coffee machines have changed into sleeker and more modern machines that can be moved around with ease and essentially made to match any kitchen. I currently bought an espresso machine here. It is a stylish model which matches my kitchen very well. But that is not always how they were. Originally coffee designs were quite simple. It stayed that way for hundreds of years. Originally coffee beans were roasted and grounded after which they were placed in a pot. Then hot water was added to that pot and it was covered with a lid. Covering it is what started the infusion process.
Eventually traditional coffee pots were designed for the purpose of brewing coffee only. They were formulated to trap the grounds inside of the pot before the coffee was poured. These designs had a flat bottom that was expanded to catch the coffee grounds as they sank. They also had a pour spout which was designed to catch the grinds which were floating in the coffee. Soon these designs expanded literally and figuratively with a bulge in the center of the pot designed to catch the coffee grounds when the coffee was poured.
By 1710 France had mastered the infusion brewing process and introduced it to the world. This process utilized an enclosed bag of linen into which the ground up coffee beans were placed and then submersed into hot water. The coffee beans were allowed to infuse (more commonly referred to as “steep”) in the water until the desired coffee strength was achieved. Throughout the following two centuries it was still commonplace to add coffee grounds into a pot of hot water and let it boil until it achieved the right level of strength.
France continued to stay at the height of coffee pot innovation in spite of the world’s desire to stick with the original brewing methods. They created the first modern coffee filter and the drop brewing process. In 1780 France created a two level coffee pot which had a cloth sock in the top compartment over which the water was poured. The water then drained into the bottom compartment without the grounds and the coffee was poured from a spout located on the side. The quality of coffee was based on the size of the grounds. The only downside to this method of brewing and this coffee pot design is that users could taste the type of cloth used. Soon France introduced the pumping percolator which held forced boiling water up from the bottom of the coffee pot through the grounds and then back down.
Finally the French (by way of an American scientist who was living in Paris at the time) brought us the genius French Drip Pot which had an insulating jacket designed to keep the coffee inside hot at all times. Now modern homes are equipped with a French Press or even a single cup coffee pot that makes single cups of varying flavors at a time. Coffee pots are available in all sizes and shapes as well as a variety of materials each of which have different insulating properties.
You use your bathroom and shower every day, sometimes twice a day or more. If you kitchen is the heart of your home, the shower and bath must be the lungs. Breathing fresh life into you on a cold Monday morning with a nice hot shower.
It makes sense then to have a bathroom and shower that is pleasing to use and pleasing to the eye. You want to create A Great Shower in your home!
Whether you want your shower to ‘wow’ you every morning or you desire a calming open-spaced retreat in which to bath every morning, the right style and design will get you there. Following the general style rules and choosing fittings and products which match, you can great a truly beautiful shower.
Today we are going to talk about three common, yet attractive, bathroom architecture styles;
- Modern style
- Victorian style
- Country or farm style
Lots of glass both transparent and mirrored with sleek simple design are the hallmarks of a modern style bathroom. Sometimes clinical at first glance a modern feel bathroom will give the feeling of space, cleanliness, simplicity and elegance.
Key bathroom characteristics;
- Sleek lines – horizontal and vertical
- Simplicity – less details
- 90 degree angles for different materials
- Machined or manufactured materials
- Light color – creams or whites
- Stainless steel & chrome fixtures and fittings
- Large glass mirrors, unframed
Victorian style takes its name from the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). The Victorian era ushered in many improvements to the home bathroom such as indoor toilets and running hot water. With new gas lighting introduced as well it was truly a golden age for shower and bath design.
Key bathroom characteristics;
- Ornate or over the top detailing
- Darker bold colors – contrasted against white
- Gold or brass finish for fittings
- Free standing bathtub – heavy with ornate clawfoot feet
- Large light fixtures – almost chandelier like
- Basin unit with exposed pipes – rather than cupboards below
- Large mirror with intricate frame design in gold or brass finish
- Marble walls or floors
- Wooden panelling
Country or farm style
Inspired by the country homestead out on the farm, country style bathrooms use natural materials, lots of space and basic fittings to give a warm and homely feel. Accented by stone or wood features a number of country style bathrooms will also use flowers or vintage style accessories to bring the bathroom style together.
Key bathroom characteristics;
- Open space
- Natural materials – wood, stone & granite
- Warmer colors – browns, reds, yellows & creams
- Simplier design with less clutter
- Rustic finish to furniture and fittings – unpolished
- Stone or unmanufactured wood wall features
- Exposed wooden ceiling roof beams
- Pattern designs – for tiles, wallpaper or shower curtains
Where to start to find your style?
Whichever style you’re looking for your bathroom and shower you need to be able to source the right shower fittings, whether you’re after a rainfall shower or a Handheld Shower Head. Online is by far the best way to start looking for a new shower head. There are so many reviews and guides, it saves you time and hassle. A good place to start is by reading some reviews online of shower heads. Use the product pictures and reviews and you’ll find it easy to create your unique shower style.
Architecture and design is part of our very existence, from the wonderful natural design of nature itself, from which we draw so much inspiration for our own design ideas. We are all designers in some small way, as even the way we dress or the way we decorate our homes all has design at its heart.
When I was mulling over this post about design and how we all, are designers at some level, I remembered the song by the Manic Street Preachers. In case you have not heard of them, they are Welsh Rock band that have been producing music for many years. They had a song, which from recollection was called “A Design for Life” which sang about having a design to make your life function in a better way. So design is not always about physical objects, it is the very thing of being alive and designing a lifestyle to go along with the more practical elements of normal design or architecture.
For instance if someone was of a “Bohemian Nature” they would be looking for architecture and design that suited their lifestyle. They would want to live in the “happening” part of town, in a building that reflected their nature, their dress and they very existence.
I have a friend, who is as far from being “Bohemian” as you can get, he is a Financial Adviser. However like everyone else, he has “designed” his life to fit with his own personality, we can’t all be far out dudes! Anyway he asked me for some advice on designing a new website for his life insurance company Asurie I am no expert on building websites, but I like to think I know something about design. Now when you are designing something, you need to keep your own personal tastes under control to a certain degree. You need to think of the audience you are designing for, of course part of your own personality will still be there in any design projects you do, as we can’t help who we are. However the design should be about enhancing the users experience not your own.
My friend wanted a functional but elegant site that was pleasing on the eye and more importantly designed to make the user take action. With that remit in mind I put myself in the shoes of the user, in this case people looking for life insurance quotes. Before even thinking of designing a site layout, I did some research into the users of on line insurance websites, as well as looking at the competing sites.
What I found was interesting, the research seemed to indicate that people searching for life insurance quotes on line, wanted quick responses, but also the ability to search for more information if they wanted. They wanted easy to navigate sites (no surprise there) and they wanted a site that was easy to read. There is nothing worse than finding a website with red text on a black background!
Research done, I did a mock-up of the website using some simple graphic tools. My friend was delighted with the mock up, as it was clean and functional as he had wanted. I used a simple design, but with pleasing colour arrangements and a quote form on every page, with a strong call to action. I also included a Blog page for my friend to provide useful information for users (as per research) all in he was very happy and he was able to pass the design to his web guy, who had the site up in no time. If you want to see how the life insurance quote site turned out check it out here. I think it helps users get to where they want to be, which in this instance are quotes for life insurance.
So even though I know nothing about life insurance, I could still tap into peoples design preferences, by doing some research and finding out their personal design preferences. A design for life indeed.
These days it’s like everyone is going “green”. People are trying as much as possible to make the environment safe. For instance, people are now transitioning from using fuel powered cars to electrically charged ones. This reduces the emission of harmful toxins produced by cars. There’s also another green trend that is coming up which includes outsourcing services. Remote quality bookkeeping services, for instance, reduce the amount of paper being used to file accounting data. It’s an affordable service and reduces the amount of trees being cut down to produce printing papers. Another example of how the world is going green is the invention of paperless money where people use credit and debit cards instead of paper money. Still on how the world has now become conscious about being environmentally friendly, I thought I’d share with you current trends in green architecture.
What Is Green Architecture?
Green architecture, also known as sustainable architecture, is construction or renovation of buildings to make them environmentally friendly. A green architect will try to design a building that does not pose a threat to the environment but still provides all the necessary functions. This typically means using materials made of organic compounds as opposed to synthetics.
A green building is healthier to live in, generates less waste and consumes less energy. What makes a building green is still subject to debate.
Self Powered Buildings
Solar and wind power technology can help transition buildings into true green buildings by making them extremely efficient and making them produce enough power to cover their own energy requirements.
Wind turbines can be mounted on the roofs of sky scrapers. Turbines can generate a significant portion of a building’s power requirements. What’s more is that the wind currents at higher altitudes keep the turbines functional.
Solar power is much more popular and a better tested form of renewable energy. Photovoltaic cells can be installed on roof tops, building facades, skylights and windows. The CIS tower in Manchester, England is a perfect example of a building that has incorporated wind and solar technology. The building has photovoltaic cells that produce 180, 000kWh per year and 24 wind turbines that produce about a tenth of its energy requirements.
A building can be kept warm through energy-efficient heating if there is sufficient thermal insulation. A popular insulation option is structural insulation panels. They are popular because they can be integrated into different types of materials such as foams, plastic, sheet metal and gypsum board.
There’s a new type of insulation that emerged a little over five years ago and has caused quite a stir in the industry. Phase change materials have become very popular because they employ a different type of thermal principle. They absorb and discharge heat as they change back and forth from a liquid to solid state. In short, they melt and freeze at conditions near room temperature and release or draw heat in the process.
A variety of green aspects can be incorporated into a building depending on where it is located and its intended use.
I am currently living in England while I complete an architectural fellowship at my dream firm. I have been selected out of a pool of 500 applicants to live and work in England for two years. During my two year fellowship I will study under new and innovative architects that will hopefully mold me into the best architect I can be. I plan to utilize the fellowship and England’s amazing architecture to the absolute most of my ability.
Everyday life in England brings a plethora of different architectural styles practically around every corner, thus resulting in learning experience after learning experience. Staying in England has been quite the learning experience for this Indian American, let me tell you. I really enjoy lacing up my cross trainers or running shoes and pounding the pavement, taking in all the sites while I get in a good workout and clear my head. My fellowship brings me to many different parts of England, so I am lucky enough to experience many different design styles this way.
Yesterday I decided it would be an excellent day to lace up my new running shoes and pound the pavement in Downtown London. Downtown London boasts a very unique collection of modern and classic architecture. Out of the many different styles in this part of the country I enjoy studying the Brutalist, High Tech and Post Modern styles of architectural that reside in the city.
Brutalist Architecture is considered to be one of the first styles of modern architecture that really came into popularity during the 1950′s to about the mid to late 1970′s. A few characteristics of Brutalist buildings are large, fortress type buildings made largely of concrete and granite. Many Brutalist buildings are used for government buildings and shopping centers since their size is said to create a sense of community strength. If you are ever in London keep an eye out for the Economist Building as it is a prime example of the Brutalist design.
Post Modern Architecture became very popular in the 1980′s once the appeal of the austere Brutalist buildings that had been so popular years before dwindled significantly. Post Modern Architecture was brought forth to breathe life into the Modernism movement by removing the harshness that had come to be associated with it. There are many Post Modern style buildings all over England, but London definitely has many great specimens to study. My favorite one being the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, it truly is a superb piece of Post Modern architecture.
The newest and most interesting type of architecture that I have been studying during my daily runs through Downtown London is High Tech Architecture. High Tech Architecture was developed to revitalize and rejuvenate the face of modern architecture in amazing and “in your face” ways. This design aesthetic draws from the desire to marry technology with cutting edge design. High Tech Architecture is largely associated with non-residential buildings in large part to the technological imagery that is associated with it. The two most notable buildings that are among High Tech designs are iconic Lloyd’s Building and the bizarrely unique Swiss Re Buildings, which is also known as the Gherkin.
These troubling issues are just as similar as a wrecked pipe in the bath – you need an expert. You may have heard of a locksmith, someone who repairs and makes locks and keys. But have you ever known a highly reliable locksmith company? Yes. There are many companies today that houses skilled and well-trained locksmiths. These companies often operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but there are also some who have limited hours of operations. Moreover, some companies are accredited and trustworthy while are the total opposite. So, how do you spot the trustworthy one?
Track record counts
Yes it does! Most people don’t normally check the background and track record of a locksmith company, and this practice shouldn’t be followed. It’s wise to spend a couple of minutes over the internet and checking different locksmith companies. Contact them one by one and ask a few questions about their experience. This way, you’re sending them a message that you’re serious about finding a reliable company and that they need to work a little harder to earn your trust.
Services and time of operation
Because emergencies don’t send alarm messages, it’s ideal to opt for a company operating 24 hours a day. Many Locksmith Bromley based companies work on this schedule and you’re on the lucky side if you’re on the area. It’s also ideal to seek a company that provides various services and checking websites like www.local-bromley-locksmith.co.uk is always beneficial. There are many types of padlocks, keys and other security systems and your preferred company should be able to handle at least most of them.
Moreover, the locksmith company should provide services attending to UPVC doors. Such type of doors and windows are very common these days mainly because of the quality, style and design, and because of a stronger security system. Once its lock gets jammed, you will most probably need to call an expert who can handle it. Aside from fixing jammed locks and opening locked doors when you lost the key, the company should also provide lock replacement fitting services.
A company’s customer service department is more important than what most people think. Only dedicated companies hire and train ample customer service agents who will attend to your inquiries at any time of the day. If not an over the phone customer service, the company should at least have a website you can immediately contact and send an email to.
Prices can never be erased when talking about factors to consider when choosing just about any company. Generally, it’s advisable to choose a company who doesn’t charge too much, but it’s also not wise to hire a company with very cheap rates for you might end up with low quality services.
A home’s architectural design is very important but its security features should never be skipped. Aside from that, attending to home dilemmas a jammed lock should also not jeopardize the design of your home. Replacing a clogged lock shouldn’t leave you with damaged wooden doors, and this can be achieved with a reliable and trustworthy locksmith company.