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 →
Toronto, like any other city, needs good architects to design homes and other residential structures that are safe to inhabit or visit. In fact, I have many families who live in that beautiful city and I visit them almost once every year. One way that architects can help homeowners is by designing the house so that personal injuries can be prevented. One severe kind of personal injury that an architect can prevent is dog bites.
Dog bites are the result when the structure of the house somehow fails to bar the homeowner’s dog from escaping into the street. For example, the architect may have designed the perimeter fence in such a way that a small dog can easily wiggle under the fence and escape outside. This dog can wreak havoc by running around and biting people. If the dog is still young, then the danger of dog bites is not that severe yet. However, if the dog is older and more vicious then it becomes hazardous to allow the dog to roam the street. This is especially true if there are toddlers and other young children playing in the street. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that dog bites do not result. And in connection, the architect has to help the homeowner by designing a perimeter fence that does not have any spaces or holes which a small dog can use to reach the street.
However not all architects anticipate this problem well in advance. In fact, they may even feel it is a non-issue and not worth their time considering. A homeowner whose dog bites someone may then have to face a personal injury lawsuit initiated by the person who was bitten. Although it may seem a bit extreme to file a lawsuit simply because of a dog bite, the nature of the injuries can dictate the charges that will be filed against the homeowner. For instance, there are cases where the dog of the homeowner may have bitten a child in the face to the point that vital parts of the face like the nose and cheeks could be disfigured. The child may heal from the wounds but there may be scarring. This is the situation that an architect has to prevent by creating good designs for homes.
Let’s say that the architect you hired for your home construction failed to anticipate the ability of your dog to find a way out of the compound. This is why I try to give this advice to my Toronto relatives. I tell them that if your dog bites someone, you will probably need a Toronto injury lawyer on your side to help in your legal defense. You might even notice that the architect you hired will also be named in the lawsuit, depending on the degree of injuries your dog caused and the way your home was constructed. If the lawsuit does not name your architect, you also have the option of filing your own lawsuit against the architect for negligence or any related legal violations.
Searching for a home in England will mean choosing between many types of architecture and dozens of different styles, but the English style of home is often very distinct from styles you see in other countries. This isn’t unique to just England, as homes from all different regions and cultures usually carry with them a unique style and flavor. If you’re coming from America or Canada and are looking for a home in England, it’s good to understand the basic style you might expect before you even check out mortgage rates for yourself.
The traditional style of English homes typically includes lots of wood and a darker look. Although somewhat drab to look at, these usually have a homey and cozy feeling as well; this hominess may be a result of the often dreary English weather, which makes a nice warm home a necessity for keeping a happy family. Inside English homes you may find lighter colors that match the earthy materials used for the homes; cream and beige tones are very popular. Because many English homes are centuries old, you rarely find modern décor and modern style. You aren’t likely to long for that modern touch though, as the historic look that many English homes have is something that just can’t be reproduced. Look for gabled roofs and oversized stairwells with the traditional style as well. Brick and stone are also very common building materials so you may see exposed brick or stone on the inside of homes as they may not cover them with drywall as you see in American homes. Large and ornate chimneys are also very common, and windows are often multi-paned as this was commonly used during the Tudor transition.
Larger homes may also resemble castles because of the Victorian influence. They may include heavy iron gates and more steel and iron features, as these materials were becoming more common during Victorian England. These features may increase your mortgage payments as they are considered more modern and sturdier, for more information on mortgages and payment tools visit Rateline.
The English country style or English cottages are so popular that you may see this style imitated around the world. English cottages are built to be quaint and welcoming; they are often built with wood materials rather than stone or brick, and include smaller rooms with a cozier feel. Inside you’ll see dark wood floors and paneling and typically many fireplaces.
English cottages are built around gardens and landscaping, and these may affect your mortgage rates as they increase a home’s value in England and may do the same in other areas, if your not familiar with the types of mortgages rates find more information here. If you find an English cottage in the countryside in England you’ll no doubt be told about the flowers and outside planning, as this is considered very important to Brits. If you’re looking for a home in England, in the city or in the country, be sure you understand these details about their architecture and how they affect your overall mortgage cost.
Last week my sister came for a visit and we sat down for a cold drink and the usual discussion on ongoing problems in each other’s life. She shared with me that her fallen arches problem had worsened over the past few months and she required help. The main problem is that my sister is an active athlete and the strain she puts on her feet almost daily has led to her developing a more sever over pronation and she had to find a way to stop it. Usually people go with foot stretches and exercise to help them strengthen their feet and even form a natural arch but with my sister’s sports-oriented life there was no time for that. There was only one thing she could do and that was to find the best running shoes for flat feet!
It’s surprising how much in common the architectural arch and the arch of the foot have in common. They’re both designed to sustain the weight of the structure above them and concentrate the pushing force into compressive stress, relieving tension. Arches in general tend to push the supported structure outward as it pushes down which is usually restrained with internal ties. These internal ties for the foot are the tendons and muscles which keep feet arched; for people with fallen arches they are improperly developed. Usually when athletes run, their feet’s arches have to sustain an impact force that equals three times the athlete’s body weight. You can imagine how much stress that is for a flat foot to absorb! Eventually this leads to over pronation or when your ankle twists inwards and your knee starts to overcompensate. This in turn causes the runner a whole lot of discomfort and that’s the thing you need the least in sports.
Over the course of the next week my sister and I spent hours daily in researching different types of flatfoot running shoes. They work by providing the needed arch support artificially and, for a runner, additional support in shoes means they’re headed in the right direction. Stability in running shoes means that they are intended to reduce overpronation which is usually done by adding a layer of harder supporting material right under the arch together with the necessary raised arch inlet. Not all athletes go for the additional arch support though – it tends to get uncomfortable during runs as you can feel (and sometimes more than that) the raised supports under your feet. Stability shoes should suit those – they only include a hardened bottom part.
It took buying a couple of cheap pairs for my sister to test and soon after she decided the best running shoes for flat feet for her are the stability trainers. We discussed the matters with a friend of mine who is a podiatrist and he helped us pick the right pair of stability shoes for her. In a couple weeks’ time my sister was running more comfortably and faster than she’s ever dreamed possible!
I have always been inspired by Australian architecture and design. The architecture and design featured in the country is relatively modern because it wasn’t settled by Europeans until the late 16th century. This means that there is less worry about fitting the modern with the traditional (which is a major hurdle in England). My infatuation with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House have existed long before I decided to pursue this career. That meant that I was thrilled to accept a temporary job working on an Australian project with a local architect. There were some challenges that I had to overcome and my biggest challenge was trying to understand the retirement pension scheme, known as superannuation.
Basically superannuation is a compulsory pension fund and your employer pays a set amount (currently 9%) on top of your wage into a superannuation fund. This money is invested in this fund, members are given basic investment options to choose from, and cannot be accessed until you reach the age of retirement. I’m sure that you can see that it is a great system for permanent workers in the country, but can be a major problem for those working temporarily in the country.
Getting a working visa for Australia was easy because my employer sponsored me. However, to work in the country I also needed a tax file number and super fund. The tax file number was an easy process, but choosing a super fund was much more difficult. Partly because there are so many options, the number of super funds in Australia is in the thousands, but also because I really didn’t understand superannuation or how it worked. Fortunately, the architecture firm I was working with was able to explain superannuation to me and they helped my choose a provider. I found that the best way to choose a fund was to compare superannuation funds via the internet . This way you can ensure that your super fund has the very best performance.
Once I had completed all of the necessary steps I was able to get started working on the project. Working with Australians was a great experience and they really are very accepting of people from other cultures. They also enjoy a laugh or two during work, which makes for a really relaxed office. Interestingly, Australians also enjoy hanging out after work and I was invited to many outside work functions from my fellow colleagues. This was a nice change from some of the stuffy architectural firms that I’ve worked with in the past and I felt so welcome in Australia.
Working in Australia was an experience that I will never forget. I made some great friends and worked on a project which will, hopefully, last a lifetime. I also got a chance to explore the country and see some of those amazing architectural designs that have inspired me since childhood. I would recommend anyone that gets the chance take the opportunity to see this great country and, if possible, stay for a bit longer and work with these great people.
In the 1800′s, people of means had wicker furniture in their living areas and parlors. Sometime during the 1980′s, wicker was banished to outdoor spaces and you rarely saw it indoors. Now people are bringing wicker back into their homes. It seems to be since the advent of the shabby chic look a few years ago, which happens to be affordable and looks great. Recently I managed to add a few good-looking wicker pieces to my indoor spaces. Wicker is starting to turn up in the most unexpected rooms throughout my home.
It started when I found a unique wicker headboard at a second-hand sale. The headboard was in decent condition and just needed a coat of paint. It was a simple project and I decided to take it on. The headboard was a chipped white color that looked faded and tired. I spray painted it in a dark brown color and now it looks perfect in my bedroom. The headboard only cost a few bucks and I am proud of the results. It brings a luxurious touch to the room.
I’ll admit I found a second piece at the same sale. It was one of those old-fashioned wicker king chairs everyone seemed to have about twenty years ago. They make you feel regal when you sit in them because of the rounded arms and huge winged back. The chair was in excellent shape because it probably sat wrapped in storage for the past decade. It is a natural color and I just added a beige and brown cushion. I put it in my bedroom to match the new wicker headboard. I was starting to get hooked on wicker.
My living room sofa was showing serious signs of wear and tear. The idea of spending a lot on another leather sofa really didn’t fit into my current budget. I surfed around online to search for cheap sofas. Some of them were fussy and looked like they belonged in my grandmother’s house. Others were just not my style. I started to think I would have to keep my ugly sofa through the holidays and wondered what visitors would say about it.
Then I discovered a website offering discounted wicker furniture for incredible prices. It seems the cold season is an ideal time to shop for wicker furniture because you can score deep discounts. I found a posh wicker sectional sofa with dark wood trim. I choose cushions in a deep green with a few brown throw pillows. When it arrived at my door, I was surprised at how durable and attractive the sofa is. Now I can’t wait to have people over to check it out. It is a definite improvement over my saggy old sofa.
For someone who never owned wicker before, the stuff is starting to take over my home. I like the fact it is lightweight and sturdy. It also brings a classy touch to the house without breaking my budget. Now I find myself checking out wicker furniture and accents wherever I go shopping. I am considering a wicker accent table for my next purchase.
Good day, so it’s been just a tad informational around here the past couple of days. We’ve been looking at some recent innovations with the architecture around the cool city that is Glasgow, Scotland. Having taken a trip some years ago, I thought it would be cool to re-visit some old friends that I had met from here who used to study at the School of Art introduced to I by my ex-girlfirend (fun times I really kid you not). So we took the usual tour around the city visiting the churches, the recent transport museum and also some other museums, shops, clubs and pubs. Glasgow is a really cool and vibrant city with lots of life, style and design features that are very hard not to miss. It’s different to England in so many ways, yet somehow still has a lot of relevance with one another. The people are slightly different in the way they talk, however the United Kingdom people as a whole share very similar traits.
But anyways, aside from my analysis of people. This post is really about the inspiration that I’ve picked up along the way in this cool city. I must say that the shops in Glasgow are awesome and you can pretty much find anything here if you look in the right places. We found a little place that sold some army surplus that was just about 5 mins from the centre of town. I’ve always enjoyed the style and practicality of military design, the way it is crude yet built just for purpose. There’s a lot to be said about military design and the current trends of tower-block buildings, the way we are all crammed into a small space – as city dwellers being one myself, it seems we just find design and style in the hardiest and concrete of places.
I also visited the transport museum which had some nice cars, buses and other old vintage vehicles. However, the thing that caught my attention most in terms of style and design was when it came to the Old Glasgow trams. I mean these things were super cool, classy and fundamentally different to anything else on display in the museum. There was videos of the old Trams in operation and you could see how Glasgow used to be. They had made the museum quite nice and the museum itself is a piece of architecture made by one of my favourites Zaha Hadid, so it was definitely on my to do list whilst there. But having been to the museum and seeing the things inside, I was definitely more interested in the stuff inside the musuem rather than out.
Coming onto the nightlife on glasgow, we were recommend by the people from Goarmy, the army surplus store – http://www.goarmy.co.uk – to go and visit Subclub for some nice techno and house music. Taking a trip on the train towards town was very cool as we got to see the inner workings of the city. It was a nice trip throughout and I really enjoyed myself and hope to visit again, my three day trip just wasn’t enough to satisfy my inspirational thirst.
I spent a couple weeks in the US recently visiting with friends, family, and attending an architecture conference. My goal every time I go back to visit is to take stock of the current state of design architecture in the US to see if there’s anything I can apply to my practice here in the U.K.. While I learned about a lot of interesting design elements, one of the more prominent themes of my trip was how people find creative ways to finance their home renovations or remodels. Credit is still tough to come by for a lot of people so some architects have found themselves in the interesting position of having to help clients figure out how to afford their services. Most architects that I know, myself included, are not particularly great with money. We tend to be more creative people than number people which makes this latest trend a real challenge.
Here are some interesting observations you may be able to apply to your own practice if you have clients who want to pay you but just don’t have the cash available.
1) Don’t be afraid to part with your assets. This story comes from a visit with my friend Phyllis in New York. One of the hottest trends right now is to use old barn wood as a design element. The old weathered wood can provide a nice, natural, and comforting feel to your home or office. But it comes at a price, a very steep one if fact. My friend Phyllis had a client who just had to have her entire home built with the stuff but unfortunately it cost much more than the client was able to afford. However, she was able to come up with the cash by selling a structured settlement, which you can get the details on at www.findlawsuitloans.com), and built the home of her dreams. The point is, a client may have an asset they can sell to get the money needed to complete their project. You can help them determine if they’d be happier holding on to the asset or building the new home.
2) The reverse mortgage. This option is only available to those over 62 years of age and who own at least part of their home. With a reverse mortgage, the homeowner can borrow against the equity in their home without a credit or employment check. This isn’t a good option if the client is going to sell their home in the near future, but can work if they just want to do some upgrades to their house or are building a second home.
3) Ask relatives for help. Obviously, this one has been around for a while, but sometimes we forget it’s an option. You’d be surprised how giving family can be if you present you case in the right way. You can help your client by providing them with detailed plans and mock-ups of what their dream home will look like. If you do your job correctly, your client will be able to show people what you provided. Knowing that they’ve done their homework will make families more willing to help out.
Most architects aren’t great salespeople and even worse at dealing with money. Hopefully these tips will help you secure some new business and generate good referrals from your existing clients.
You may not know this, but the oldest barber shop in the world is right here in England. Yep. It’s true. It’s a barbershop named Truefitt and Hill, established in 1805 by William Francis Truefitt. If you’re a Brit, you’ve certainly heard of Truefitt and Hill, but you may not have known they were the oldest barber shop in the world. Anyway, I had the good fortune of popping down there for a shave last week.
And, truly, one of the great joys in life is going to the barber shop for a cut and a shave. If you’re a guy, and you’ve never done this, you really, really should. Even if you shave with your own safety razor – and especially if you’ve always just shaved with an electric shaver. Seriously. The next weekend you have free, block out a bit of time, make an appointment, and head down to a good local barbershop. And don’t just get a haircut. Plan to stay for a while. Get the full treatment. Get a shampoo, haircut, hot towel treatment and a straight razor shave. You absolutely will not regret it (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few comments here thanking me!).
Plus, as you know, I’m an architect and designer. So for me, Truefitt and Hill is nothing short of inspiring. The place absolutely embodies traditional English style, as do their products.
Anyway, I started thinking: where did the barber trade come from? Where did it originate? How long have barbers been around? So I did a little bit of reading to find out. And I wanted to share my results with you guys!
Girl barbers? Say what?
Today, when we think of a barber shop, we typically think of a super masculine place – a place run by dudes for dudes, where dudes come to hang out and take care of their manly manes and beards. Or we just think of the movie, which is basically the same thing.
But it wasn’t always this way. Hair dressing and shaving has only become split by gender recently (from an historic perspective, anyway) – into barbering and cosmetology. Hair dressers can now get either a barbering license or a cosmetology license.
However, before the 20th century, all hair stylists were considered barbers regardless of whether they cut men’s or women’s hair (or both).
The Earliest Barbers
Archeologists have found razors in Bronze Age excavation sites in Egypt, so we know barbering has been around since at least 3500 BC. Plus, most evidence suggests that barbering overlapped with other important trades. In ancient Egypt, for example, most barbers were also medicine men or priests. So you could go get a shaved and a haircut at the same time you were getting a rash checked out. Pretty convenient!
This generally meant that barbers were super important members of ancient societies. This was especially true of the barbers who were also priests, who apparently told people evil spirits escaped through their hair, which, as ridiculous as it sounds to us now, was a pretty sweet way to drum up some repeat customers back then.
It also got them invited to weddings. Seriously. Just like we’d hire a wedding photographer today, ancient weddings often included a barber-priest combo guy, who’d tie off the bride and groom’s hair and cut it, releasing evil spirits and trapping the good ones. So, more than anything, ancient historical records tell us that barbers were
Barbers kind of kept trucking along doing their thing until the 1893, when a guy named A. B. Mohler set up the first barber school ever in the world. It was established in Chicago, and it was basically a huge success from the start.
The parent school branched off into lots of subsidiary schools that taught basic barbering skills, like haircutting and shaving. They did not teach the crazier chemical treatments, since the public apparently wasn’t ready for that yet (still, perhaps, clinging onto its past of believing hair was full of demons).
Finally, in 1920, barbering, including all types of face, skin and hair treatments was professionalized nad turned into an industry. Since then, the industry has grown rapidly, even through the recession of 2008, with some markets (like Texas) exceeding $100 million.
So go have a shave!
If you’re a fellow Brit, spend an afternoon at Truefitt and Hill. If you’re not, find a good local barbershop, and treat yourself to a shave. What would be really fantastic would be if you took pictures of the architecture and design and shared them with me here. I look forward to seeing your favorite barbershops!