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10 Aug 16:44

A Mid-Century Design Buff Hits the Jackpot Outside Minneapolis, MN

by Garrett Fleming

A Mid-Century Design Buff Hits the Jackpot Outside Minneapolis, Design*Sponge

Design director Sam Soulek and his wife Natalie, an esthetician, had been hunting for the perfect mid-century house for two years when they finally came across this ideal option 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, MN in Golden Valley. The space boasted everything the pair wanted: untouched original details, an open floor plan, and a patch of woods just outside the back door. Such a well-preserved gem came with a hefty price tag, though — one rather far outside Sam and Natalie’s budget. Ignoring pleas from their realtor to pass up the expensive option, Sam and Natalie decided they simply had to bid even if their number was well below the asking price.

That night, with the couple’s paperwork likely sitting at the bottom of a stack of competing offers, Sam couldn’t get the house out of his mind. Fearful their modest offer would be ignored, he decided to appeal to the homeowner Tom’s softer side. By the light of a desk lamp he wrote a very sincere and heartfelt letter detailing his adoration for the house and how he would build a wonderful life for his wife and child inside its walls. His final touch, a page full of charming family photos, would accompany the note and play backup in case his words didn’t do the trick.

The following days seemed to drag, and the house becoming theirs seemed to stray further and further from reality. That is, until their astonished realtor gave them great news: their offer had been accepted! Even better, Tom loved the letter so much he requested they tour the space with him before he moved out. Shocked and thrilled, Sam and Natalie immediately agreed.

As Tom’s son pushed his father’s wheelchair around each room, the 96-year-old man talked of the original makers he’d worked with and of the wonderful time he had bringing his architectural vision to life. He even gave the couple a binder full of 1960s-era manuals and the receipts for everything he’d purchased for the space. Charmed by his kindness, passion and generosity, Sam and Natalie then graciously accepted the keys.

Over the years the couple periodically visited Tom in his retirement community, not only giving him updates on the renovations but catching him up on life in Golden Valley. The couple recalls one visit in particular: “I have something for you,” he said with a twinkle in his eye as he handed them a set of scrolls. Rolled immaculately and meticulously labeled, they seemed ancient. There, on cobalt blue, were the original plans for the home he had painstakingly configured all those years ago, a final gift to the family that had touched his heart. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Wing Ta

Image above: Updates weren’t solely reserved for the home’s interior. Many dingy, foggy windows were replaced, and the home’s railing was given a powdered, smokey paint job. But the most impactful change has to be the exterior’s new hue. Its retro, white-and-mint scheme has been given a moody facelift through grey-and-black hues and wooden touches. “It was amazing to see how the bold color shift changed the vibe of the house and made it feel more at home in Minnesota,” Sam says.

10 Aug 15:49

An Intro to the Parisian Art Deco Style

by Brady
Chambre 01 Henrietta 0009Chambre 01 Henrietta 0009

Croissants, The Mona Lisa,  Brigitte Bardot – the french really do ‘timeless’ well, and yet are always setting the trends both in fashion and home. And while we don’t want to box up all french design into one single post or style there seems to be a large ‘Parisian Art Deco’ movement that we are loving, that has bled into the design world an ocean away.

So put on your dark red lipstick, your LBD, spritz that Chanel No. 5 on your wrists and let’s rendezvous. We’ll break this style down and dissect what this look really entails and how you can get it.

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Curvy but Streamlined Furniture:

If you haven’t noticed already the french love their curves and that love is echoed in some of their furniture choices. For the most part this Parisian Art Deco look is filled with statement furniture pieces that have exaggerated curved lines in very simple forms. You will see couches with large overstuffed arms, chairs with rounded backs and small or no legs at all, as well as plenty of ottomans and tables that continue to echo that round and curvy movement.

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Graphic Black and White Accents:

They really know how to bring the drama by playing up the light and dark in spaces. This space below which is located in Hotel Panache and designed by the insanely talented Chzon design firm brings in the drama and contrast with the black panels on top of the white molding as well as the black and white check on the edge of the tables. It’s in the details folks.

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And if a wall to wall paneling project is not in your foreseeable future then the graphic black and white element can also be brought in through art and accessories like the spaces below.

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I mean, come on – how chic is the person that gets to call this apartment home?

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Modern Art or Sculptures or Architectural Salvage Pieces:

If you haven’t noticed already cues from classical architecture are big in this style of design. Most the spaces (lucky them) have built in character like some of the rooms you have seen already what with their huge paneled rooms and carved moldings and doors, but in addition to letting this original architecture shine, they echo it in the room with additional architectural pieces like the column topper below that is used as a table or the obelisk on top of it.

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Mixing old world with new world is something they are VERY good at and this style of design always brings in modern art or sculpture right next to say a century old bust or carving.

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Sculptural Lighting:

You won’t find a generic piece of lighting in any of these spaces, in fact most of the lighting is a statement sculptural piece on its own. Like in the previous example this style will always mix modern lighting with old world elements to help modernize the space. The below pic is from Hotel Panache again – I love this oversized ceiling pendant that they used above the bed that would typically go above an island or dining table. Breaking the (design) rules and getting away with it are something the french seem to be good at, and I like it.

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You’ll also notice a mixing of styles with lighting. Although the sconce and the floor lamp in the below picture may not be from the same style they work well together because they are both statement pieces on their own and are in the same gold tone.

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Velvet and Lux Fabrics:

This style tends to steer clear of anything too patterned or flourishy when it comes to fabric and instead brings in the interest through the texture of the fabrics. You will find lots of velvets, textured linens, sleek leathers, hides, furs and suedes in this style.

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Which brings us to the next point – textural accents. They love throwing in a shearling chair or a flokati upholstered pouf in the room. You can see in the room below that they have the fur covered chair, the flokati pillow as well as the metallic cowhide on the floor. Texture on texture on texture which plays well with the all neutral color palette so that it doesn’t get boring or flat.

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Wall and Ceiling Moldings:

Rarely will you see a room in this style that doesn’t have some sort of adornment on the walls or ceilings. It may be modern like the image below, or it could be original and centuries old like some of the images you have seen previously but this style is typically not one for a modern unadorned wall.

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Floor to Ceiling Window Treatments:

Rather than chopping the room or walls in half with a window treatment that starts closer to the top of the window, the majority of them stretch all the way from the ceiling line to the floor with some even having that dramatic puddle on the floor, and who doesn’t love a dramatic puddle of crushed velvet on the floor? (hint: many people but not us).

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Bold Pops of Color:

Although most of the walls stay fairly neutral in color you will see bold pops of 1 or 2 colors in the lighting, seating, or accessories. This rather neutral room is brought to life with an orange sofa, and if you know me you know I am not typically a fan of orange but this room is making a good case for the color.

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They also love a good red moment, which is very scary for some people. Pierre Yovanovitch who designed the room below brought in the color through the fabric on the sofa and the art on the walls and kept everything else neutral to balance it out. Kudos to you Mr. Pierre.

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See, another big pop of red with that bright blanket below. Is the red of the 90’s dining room everyone seemed to have coming back people?

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Let’s also not forget about green…

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Or blue and yellow…

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Or Pink…. this style doesn’t discriminate with color.

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Sculptural and Ornate Mirrors:

Mirrors are a big element in this style as well. Whether it is a modern shaped one like the next few pics below:

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Or an antique finish and gilded mirror, mirrors play a very big part in this style of design.

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Oversized is always a plus, and a leaning wall mirror is never a bad idea either.

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Separated and Distinct Seating Areas:

It might be because the rooms seem to be overwhelming large, but you will also see a lot of smaller seating areas used in this style rather than one centrally located seating area in the middle of the room. Not only does this break the space up in a good way but it also allows for multiple vignettes in a room which always helps to bring in interest.

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See, if you were at a party at this house you can have a convo with your friends on this yellow sofa while the stranger you are avoiding could take a seat in one of the corner vignettes. And below there is a seating area in front of the fireplace as well as the main seating area in the foreground of the room. You should also take note of the mirror, the pop of red, and sculptural furniture and lighting choices which we have already discussed. Is it making sense yet?

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Play with Scale:

Last but certainly not least is how well this style plays with scale. Whether that be a pair of oversized lounge chairs that seem far too large for the space, or a tiny little stool paired with a curvy armchair like below, the juxtaposition of scale with large and small is always welcome in this style. Now you don’t want to get carried away with it and end up looking like you live in the set of “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” but one or two cases of this can work within the space if it is balanced out by the rest of the furniture in the room.

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So, who is into this style as much as we are? Do you think you could handle the drama in your own space? Stay tuned where we break down the style even further and pull together some roundups of some of our favorite products from this style to help you get the look. Until then we’ll be practicing our french conjugations.

The post An Intro to the Parisian Art Deco Style appeared first on Emily Henderson.

03 Aug 20:55

The Senate Finally Gives Trump His Administration

by Russell Berman

And just like that, Donald Trump finally has the semblance of a presidential administration.

In the span of a few minutes on Thursday afternoon, the Senate confirmed dozens of the president’s stalled nominees to key posts in several departments. The departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Commerce got long-awaited deputy, under, and assistant secretaries. NATO, the United Kingdom, and a bevy of other countries received U.S. ambassadors. And three districts got federal prosecutors months after the president fired nearly all of the U.S. attorneys who served under Barack Obama.

The flurry of approvals marked the Senate’s biggest step yet toward filling out an administration that had sat historically empty nearly 200 days into Trump’s term. As of July 31, the Senate had confirmed nominees to just 51 out of the more than 1,100 positions that require the chamber’s consent, according to a tally kept by the Partnership for Public Service. Each of the previous four presidents had more than 200 nominees confirmed at around the same juncture. The president had already gotten a late start filling his Cabinet; the Senate did not confirm his final top-level choice until just before the 100-day mark in April. And he still needs to nominate many more for his administration to be complete.

“The Senate has confirmed more executive-branch nominees this week than all of the executive-branch nominees confirmed this year—combined,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the Senate actions, which all came by voice vote after Democrats agreed not to raise objections. Almost immediately afterward, senators raced for the airport to begin a monthlong summer recess that had been delayed by a week.

For Democrats, the confirmations were an easy trade to make: They gave Trump his government and got to keep the Affordable Care Act in return. The party had been stalling nominees for months in protest of the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Democrats’ prized health law without their input. Having eliminated the 60-vote threshold for executive nominees a few years ago, Democrats in the Senate minority could not block Trump’s picks outright. But under the direction of Minority Leader Charles Schumer, they used their power to draw out the process, forcing McConnell to take multiple days to advance a single nominee.

As the GOP’s health-care bill floundered, Schumer hinted that Democrats would relent on their obstruction once Republicans abandoned the budget-reconciliation process they were using to repeal Obamacare and return to what legislators refer to as “regular order.”

“You can’t avoid regular order when you want to and then say Democrats should use regular order whenever you want us to,” Schumer said on Thursday. “But now that health care is done I think we can tie the two together—normal way of legislating, [and] clearing noncontroversial nominees as we move forward in September.”

In actuality, McConnell hasn’t officially given up on jamming through a health-care bill with 50 Republican votes. The GOP has until the end of September to try again under the rules, but once the Kentuckian announced the Senate would move on to other issues, he and Schumer began negotiating which nominees Democrats would allow to be confirmed before the August recess.

The deal came together so quickly on Thursday that aides could not immediately say exactly how many nominees were confirmed. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican, said in a floor speech the total was “roughly 65” and that the Senate might confirm even more before the day was done. Because no roll-call votes are being taken, senators would not necessarily need to be present for more confirmations to occur as long as none planned to object.

None of the initial batch was particularly controversial, and Democrats all but acknowledged they were holding them up as a procedural protest, and not on substantive grounds. (Republicans did the same to many of Obama’s nominees over the years.) Those that were confirmed included former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as ambassador to NATO; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland (formally known as the Court of St. James); and Lewis Eisenberg, a longtime GOP donor, as ambassador to Italy.

The Senate still has dozens more nominees to consider, including judicial vacancies and most federal-prosecutor posts. And Trump has hundreds more to nominate, including a pick to replace John Kelly as secretary of homeland security after the retired Marine general took over as White House chief of staff on Monday. According to the Partnership for Public Service, the president has nominated people to fewer than 300 positions—about one-quarter of those he needs to fill. But after the Senate’s busy Thursday, Trump’s administration is at least not quite so bare.

02 Aug 21:11

A Historic Family Home Brought Back to Life

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Historic Family Home Brought Back to Life | Design*Sponge

There are houses whose stories span not just over decades, but centuries. Their stories intertwine with those of their owners, and become meaningful pieces of history in their communities. Today we get to share one of these special historic houses, whose new owners have gone above and beyond to turn it back into its original purpose — a home, in the true sense of the word.

When Natasha and Jason Meininger moved to Hannibal, MO to start a family, they wanted to eventually find a great old home to do up. After their second son was born, the couple began looking for this type of house in earnest. An old house that had been converted into a bed and breakfast had been on and off the market for a decade. Although it wasn’t for sale at the time, Natasha didn’t hesitate — she tracked down its owners and, as it turned out, they were willing to sell. Natasha and Jason spent the following winter visiting the house numerous times, and couldn’t help but fall in love with the possibilities it offered. Comprising of 18 rooms all in need of some major TLC, this would be no small project. Natasha and Jason weren’t afraid of the challenge, and felt confident about bringing the 160-year-old house back to life. “The inspection took two days and read like a novel of maladies. We took it anyway,” Natasha says.

Natasha and Jason started work on the house while still living in their old home. During the first six weeks, every spare moment was spent pulling up 30-year-old carpet, removing painted-over wallpaper and preparing the rooms for various reparations. While the contractor worked on the three bedrooms that the family now use, Natasha, Jason and their two sons camped in what was once the servants’ quarters. Once the bedrooms were move-in ready, work started on some of the main rooms downstairs, followed by a kitchen conversion.

Natasha and Jason have worked hard to restore the beauty of their historic house, which was once stripped down to its bare bones. In the 1990s, the then owner of the house foreclosed, and all of the original contents were auctioned off. Over 20 light fixtures, a fireplace mantel and built-in bookcases from the library were among the pieces that were removed. Amazingly, some of the original light fixtures have made their way back to their rightful home. When Natasha and Jason bought the house, the father of one of their friends contacted them. He had purchased some lights in the auction two decades earlier, and wanted to return them! “Talk about kismet. He had stored them in his basement in shoe boxes all this time,” Natasha shares.

Today, Natasha, Jason and their three sons Oliver, Beckett and Jude reside in eight rooms in the main part of the house. With over half of the house yet to be touched, there’s a lot more work to be done to restore it completely, but the feeling of love and family is already there. Turning the house into a home that suits the family’s needs has been an exciting and rewarding project for Natasha, who works part-time as an interior stylist. She wanted to celebrate the grandeur of the house and still make it modern, comfortable and child-friendly. Natasha loves thrifted treasures, and several old pieces have found their way into the family’s home, where classic shapes are brightened up with color, pattern and various textures.

Four years in, Natasha and her family are enjoying every moment in their beloved home, and look forward to renovating more of it as time goes by. Future projects include the restoration of stained glass and various other windows, a rebuild of the historic two-story porches as well as the exterior, which is up next. The to-do list also includes tackling the servants’ quarters, laundry room and any of the eight bathrooms that need attention (two of which are original from the 1880s!). Most of all, Natasha and her family are thankful for being the stewards of this great home, and for being able to save it from an otherwise inevitable demise. “I love this house as if it were one of my children!” Natasha exclaims. 160 years ago, the house was built for entertaining friends and family. Natasha, Jason and their three sons have allowed the house to blossom in the way it was originally intended — once again, it’s full of love, life and laughter.  Sofia

Photography by Natasha Meininger

Image above: The colorful vintage kilim runner greets guests at the front door. “I want guests to instantly know when they walk in that this is the home of a modern family and is not a museum, [it’s] a place where they can feel welcome and have fun!” Natasha says. 

02 Aug 17:33

On the Street…The Fortezza, Florence

by The Sartorialist


01 Aug 14:51

A Selective Kudos

by Sheila
I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with gender bias (cough, cough), but during the fevered coverage of the GOP’s “repeal and replace” efforts, there was virtually no media coverage of a heroic Senator who–despite suffering from Stage Four cancer– came to Washington last week to cast a vote against repeal of the Affordable […]
01 Aug 14:50

Feature: She Was Convicted of Killing Her Mother. Prosecutors Withheld the Evidence That Would Have Freed Her.

By the time Noura Jackson’s conviction was overturned, she had spent nine years in prison. This type of prosecutorial error is almost never punished.
27 Jul 15:09

Are We Into The Reinvented Memphis Trend?

by Emily
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I think we can safely say that there is no style that won’t make a comeback – no matter how much we dislike it at this very second. They just all come back, often in a different form or an updated color palette but at some point in our life every trend will return.  I once joked that the only thing in fashion that I didn’t think would ever come back is the bolo tie, but I was wrong (not that I embraced that trend, please). So it should be no surprise that the Memphis Trend has been popping its bright, geometric head up lately. It wasn’t even very big or well-loved the first time around (in the 80’s) but that doesn’t mean that its all bad (in fact there are some awesome pieces on our roundup).

But first, lets revisit the horror:

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Wow. That furniture sure had a LOT of character. I’m terrified to say that if I were 8 years old in the 80’s I probably would have been into it. I love me some ‘funky’ furniture (hell, I do own a hand chair after all). And what little kid wouldn’t love this – I read a quote that it’s Memphis is if Bauhaus had a baby with Fisher Price.

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While many elements of the 80’s are certainly back in home design (with the 90’s also happening, too) I think it’s safe to say that the 80’s was not a decade where ‘timelessness’ really mattered and generally it wreaked havoc in fashion and home (P.S. I’m getting the new ‘perm’ soon … and I’m absolutely not joking.)

They like REALLY designed things. Going all out like this is so fun and I’d love, love, love to be in this bathroom for a very short time.

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No words.

Now in this photo, below you can see a glimmer of hope. When you take most of the color out of it it becomes far more interesting and almost attractive… the 80’s referenced art deco a lot and I’m very into that original style.

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This is one of the better versions from the 80’s – Karl Lagerfield’s Monaco apartment.

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Totally normal…. but pretty awesome. You couldn’t pay me to live there but I would absolutely airbnb the heck out of that place for a week and the kids would think we went to disneyland.

This guy, Dennis Zanone, REALLY likes this Memphis style, so much so that he has amassed the largest collection in the world in his Tennessee home. I wonder if it’s because there maybe aren’t a lot of competitive “collectors”. Here is a link that talk more about him and his collection.

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So how could that possibly be back, even a little bit? Let’s break down the elements – geometric shapes, bright colors, color-blocking and a lot of WACK. Sound familiar?

It may not be what I’m super into right now (or you) but those things are trending but in a more modern 2017 way.

I think that Orlando’s design of Design Milk Jaime Derringer’s bedroom is certainly 80’s inspired,could even lean Memphis and I love it:

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We’ve notice it popping around more and more in editorials …

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I love this shot below. Yes there is bright red and some ‘funky’ happening, but it’s restrained enough with sculptures that are balancing it in a neutral color palette.

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The color blocking of the door, the melon cart and that piece of art are all we need to get the feeling of Memphis without the you know, total insanity.

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It’s still pretty terrifying to be honest. And terrifying things always create good content, right? So we gave ourselves the challenge – could we create a collection of contemporary products that feel Memphis that we actually like and would own or buy for a client?

And we did.

Emily Henderson Trends Design Eighties Mempis Get The Look 11

1. ‘Fun Patterns with Pink’ Print | 2. Patterned Stool | 3. Winslow Sleeper Sofa | 4. Zig Zag Floor Lamp | 5. Black Coffee Table | 6. Rug | 7. Confetti Throw Pillow | 8. Black and White Sprinkle Pillow | 9. Grid Pillow | 10. Lips Throw Blanket | 11. Terrazzo Halfmoon Arc | 12. Neon Pink Candlestick | 13. Bottle Vase | 14. Buckle Jar | 15. Shape Up 5 Piece Chandelier | 16. Margot Pyramid Table Mirror | 17. Charcoal Dinner Plate | 18. Plastic Cereal Bowl | 19. Grid High Ball Glass | 20. Tea Towels Set | 21. Circle Wire Hook | 22. Triangle Wire Hook | 23. Pink Chair | 24. Striped Box Side Table | 25. Yellow Digital Print | 26. Neo Laminati Chair No. 34 | 27. Janis Metal Shelf | 28. Platform Bowl | 29. Scribble Vase | 30. Yellow Lamp | 16. Wave Trivet

Now not all of these would work in my current house (or perhaps “none of them” would be more accurate ) but let’s just say we had a client funky enough to go for this look, I could absolutely get behind it.

Are you slightly convinced that some references from this Memphis are back and awesome? Or are you over and out?

The post Are We Into The Reinvented Memphis Trend? appeared first on Emily Henderson.

13 Jul 20:19

Getting Personal with Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin and Taliesin West

by Amy Azzarito

The following post is brought to you by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Our partners are handpicked by the Design Milk team because they represent the best in design.

Getting Personal with Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin and Taliesin West

We’ve spent the last couple of months celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. From top designers explaining just how Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s design philosophy impacted them to a tour of some of our favorite Frank Lloyd Wright sites worthy of a road trip, we’ve hit some of the high points of what make Wright so integral to modern design and architecture.

However, there’s no better way to get at who Wright truly was as a designer and architect than to look at the spaces he designed for himself. Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona both provide that insight. At the request of an aunt, Wright built a windmill on the Taliesin estate in 1896 when he was 29 years old. He continued to experiment with designs at Taliesin and Taliesin West until his death at age 91—that’s 62 years of work represented in two estates. Together, Taliesin and Taliesin West are often considered to be Frank Lloyd Wright’s autobiography in wood and stone.

These two pivotal structures continue to be relevant today. Frank Wright Foundation CEO Stuart Graff points out that the Foundation’s goal is to examine the values associated with each home and not only take care of the physical buildings themselves, but “to preserve the spirit of the buildings as well, continuing to use them as Wright used them in his own time.” He notes that some of the innovations in these homes are so ubiquitous today that it may seem as though they’ve always existed. “Thanks to Wright’s forward thinking, many of us have grown up with open floor plans, wide expanses of windows, and many other innovations that seemed radical at the time.”

Taliesin exterior by Andrew Pielage


Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin, a home, studio, school, and 800-acre agricultural estate, on his favorite boyhood hill in the Wisconsin River Valley property homesteaded by his Welsh maternal grandparents. As a nod to his Welsh ancestry, he named the entire compound Taliesin in honor of the Welsh bard whose name means “Shining Brow.”

“Taliesin contains many examples of Wright’s forward thinking, from contour farming to structural experiments,” Ryan Hewson, the Foundation’s Collection and Preservation Project Manager at Taliesin points out. In 1896, he designed a windmill for his aunts to provide water for the Hillside Home School. It not only functioned, but became an iconic structure. “The name is derived from the structural conceit—which is that Romeo, the diamond shape has his prow pointing towards the primary wind direction, helping to direct the wind around the structure; while Juliet is the octagonal shape, is the stable shape that is responsible for the structure standing up. Finally, at the top of Juliet is a balcony that provides views of The Valley,” explained Hewson.

Romeo & Juliet Windmill at Taliesin

In 1911, Wright designed and built the home after leaving his first wife for Mamah Borthwick (who also left a husband for the architect). The home was intended to be a refuge for the couple from the prying eyes of the public increasing media attention.

Taliesin interior by Andrew Pielage

Taliesin breaks away from traditional prairie style houses, and is an excellent example of what wright calls a “natural house” due to the site’s strong connection with the landscape and the use of the local area materials. Wright biographer Robert Twombly has written that his Prairie School period ended after the loss of Borthwick. The property used local materials to echo the expansiveness of the Wisconsin landscape with a layout that the architect described as “low, wide, and snug.” Local farmers helped Wright move stone from the yellow limestone quarry nearby, which he then mixed with sand from the river to create Taliesin’s walls. Taliesin features many architectural elements that Wright used in many of his structures such as cantilever roofs, wide windows and an open floor plan.

Taliesin by Jeff Goodman Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Taliesin estate was his laboratory of organic architecture, with designs from nearly every decade of Wright’s life. Many of the most iconic buildings of Wright’s career were designed here, including Fallingwater. As he worked on commissions, he also continually worked on improving and adding to the estate. The property showcases the evolution of Wright’s thinking. In addition to the residence, there are four other Wright-designed buildings, including the Romeo & Juliet Windmill (designed in 1896), Hillside School, Tan-y-Deri (home for his sister and brother-in-law), Midway Barn, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center.

Taliesin Preservation since 1990 has served as steward of Taliesin in a partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Taliesin West by Foskett Creative, Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Taliesin West

A near-fatal bout of pneumonia coupled with the high cost and hard work of heating Taliesin during Depression-era winters convinced 70-year-old Wright to search for a place to create a desert “camp” where he could live and enjoy winter sunshine with his wife Olgivanna and their apprentices. Wright was able to purchase several hundred acres of land in the then-rural foothills of northeast Scottsdale. He had a vision of a desert utopia comprised of low-slung buildings designed to reflect the sweeping expansiveness of the desert. Wright wrote: “Arizona character seems to cry out for a space-loving architecture of its own” and then set about creating it. In an effort to preserve the local landscape, Wright would construct Taliesin West largely of “desert masonry”—local rock set in wooden forms and bound by a mixture of cement and desert sand.

Taliesin West by Andrew Pielage

During his lifetime, both Taliesin and Taliesin West were actively used, with Taliesin West becoming Wright’s beloved winter home. After his death, Taliesin West became the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship. Deeply connected to the desert landscape, it was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations. Over the years, the complex was continually altered and expanded, eventually including a drafting studio, dining facilities, two theaters, a workshop, Wright’s office and private living quarters, and residences for apprentices and staff. Each building is connected through a series of walkways, terraces, pools and gardens. Wright designed much of the interior furniture and decorations, the majority of which were made on site by the apprentices.

Taliesin West sunset by Foskett Creative; Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Wright would continue to spend winter in Arizona until his death in 1959. Today, Taliesin West continues to serve as the vibrant home of both the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and School of Architecture at Taliesin, carrying on many of the Fellowship’s traditions.

“The Frank Wright Foundation continues Wright’s legacy at Taliesin West by using it as a living laboratory for innovation,” explained Graff. “We installed a solar field in 2012 to offset our traditional energy sources, along with new LED lighting throughout the campus. With these innovations, we are more than halfway to our goal of net zero energy consumption, which is quite an achievement for a building that began construction in 1937. I hope that the exploration of values-based decision-making will aid the adoption of values-based conservation principles, and that the work done by the Foundation will provide a useful example for the field.”

For a truly unveiled look at the mind and thought process of Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin and Taliesin West are unmatched in importance. The two properties are world renowned not only as two of the most important landmarks of 20th-century architecture, but also as home to their creator. It’s through his own homes that we can really come to understand Wright’s legacy. So what are you waiting for—schedule a visit at

Pro tip: bring a notebook—you’ll leave with more ideas than you came with.

To learn more about the 150th anniversary celebration and find events near you, visit

For more information about Frank Lloyd Wright and his legacy, visit

28 Jun 20:39

Lindsey Adelman Studio Shines a Light on New Works at Afterglow

by Vy Tran

Lindsey Adelman Studio Shines a Light on New Works at Afterglow

During NYCxDesign week, Lindsey Adelman Studio hosted the public Afterglow show at her gallery to showcase new works created by her, as well as designers Mary Wallis and Karl Zahn. Inspired by the idea of an afterglow, a meteorological term for that magical rosy light that appears in the sky during twilight, the three designers created light fixtures that are modern, physical interpretations of the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

Mary Wallis is a Senior Designer at Lindsey Adelman Studio and designed Edie to be romantic, rebellious, and wild, all at once, with a design that can blend into a modern home or old-world spaces.

Like her other works, her Empire chandelier explores the theme of beauty in fragmentation.

Karl Zahn’s Kingdom fixture definitely commands attention in a room and resembles a plant found in nature. This idea is apparent in the rational yet wild design (like a Fibonacci sequence found in succulents). Karl currently holds tenure as the studio’s Design Director.

Lindsey Adelman’s own Cherry Bomb collection of fixtures aren’t to be missed. With bulbous orbs connected to willowy, slender branches from which metallic fringes descend, her sconce and chandelier fixtures look like something you’d find in a mossy forest.

Photos by Lauren Coleman.

28 Jun 20:38

A Penthouse Apartment in Poznan Gets Revamped

by Caroline Williamson

A Penthouse Apartment in Poznan Gets Revamped

A top floor apartment that overlooks the city of Poznań, Poland, went from builder grade and unfinished to being a modern slash industrial space with bold details. Mili Młodzi Ludzie reworked the layout to make better sense and to take advantage of all of the windows, which span two exterior walls. The goal was to have glimpses of the view from the moment one enters the apartment.

They added another design layer into the interior by outfitting the built-in cabinets with geometric door fronts.

The new layout affords an open living and dining room with uninterrupted window views in the corner of the apartment. Since the designers came into the project durning construction, they were allowed to incorporate their ideas more easily, as well as keeping some of the raw, industrial elements that add charm to the space.

The kitchen, guitar room, and guest room can all be entered from either side, which gives the apartment more of an open feel and lets light further into the interior.

So the views weren’t disturbed, the study, which actually functions as a guitar room, has two walls made of glass so the sight lines are kept open.

28 Jun 19:55

The Agrarian Handpainted Collection from Fireclay Tile

by Caroline Williamson

The Agrarian Handpainted Collection from Fireclay Tile

Fireclay Tile chose to pay homage to its Aromas, California roots with its latest collection of handpainted tile. The Agrarian Collection, which features eight graphic patterns, was inspired by the rich Northern California landscape of crop formations surrounding its factory. The geometric layouts can be seen from the sky or aerial photography and translate perfectly into modern tiles.

With eight patterns and three color motifs (warm, cool, and white) to choose from, the possibilities for layouts are endless. You can stick to one pattern in one color, or create a patchwork using every color if you choose.

Every tile is painted by hand where they let the glaze pool as it’s applied from the tip of the bottle.

28 Jun 19:55

ames Launches CARIBE, a Colorful Outdoor Collection Made of Recycled Plastic

by Caroline Williamson

ames Launches CARIBE, a Colorful Outdoor Collection Made of Recycled Plastic

Designer Sebastian Herkner adds another outdoor furniture collection to his portfolio, but this time with German brand ames. CARIBE is a series of colorful seating and tables that were inspired by a traditional weaving technique called momposino from Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The pieces consist of powder-coated steel frames with woven recycled plastic string in bold color combinations.

The CARIBE furniture collection includes a dining chair, lounger chair, 2-seater lounge, a vis-à-vis bench, a dining table, high table, low table, and basket table, all in a multitude of colorways. The furniture is made exclusively in small Colombian factories that specialize in traditional weaving techniques.

Photos by Andres Valbuena.

28 Jun 19:54

FICT design studio Reimagines Uses for Mother of Pearl

by Caroline Williamson

FICT design studio Reimagines Uses for Mother of Pearl

South Korea-based FICT design studio, where FICT stands for ‘From Craft to industry’, focuses on using traditional elements and experimental processes to create modern objects. Their latest project, Nacreplus, brings a modern approach to jagae, which is a traditional Korean lacquering technique that uses mother of pearl.

The project consists of terrazzo-like trays and coasters with chips of mother of pearl suspended within resin where it creates reflections off of its iridescent surfaces. The pieces are then finished with bands of gold-plated brass or stainless steel around the edges.

28 Jun 17:46

Rae’s on Wategos

by The Design Files

Interior Design

Rae’s on Wategos

by Elle Murrell

Boutique Byron Bay retreat Rae’s on Wategos has undergone an extensive refurbishment, punctuated by an elegant, considered aesthetic and luxe yet natural touches.

The refurbishment has been a dream project for Sydney based interior designer Tamsin Johnson, who spent a night in each of the suites before proposing her concept!

Boutique Byron Bay retreat Rae’s on Wategos. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

This year, the hotel enlisted interior designer Tamsin Johnson to refresh its spaces. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Rae’s comprises two penthouses and five additional suites.‘We felt that the interior didn’t do the building justice. It had aged, and the space seemed cluttered and dark,’ comment Jordy Catalano, the Managing Director of Rae’s, of the space before the refurbishment. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Inside Penthouse 1, which features coastal touches, like this amazing limestone table. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

The living area of Penthouse 1. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Penthouse 1 includes three large balconies overlooking the ocean, headland and lighthouse. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Statement floors in Penthouse 1. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Relaxed, outdoor-grade upholstery was used throughout. Pictured, a living space in Suite 5. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Bespoke rattan furniture was added as part of the refurbishment, seen here in Suite 5. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

A sun-drenched seating area in Penthouse 1. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

The living space of Penthouse 2. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Penthouse 2 is the largest accomodation with two private bedrooms and bathrooms. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Also inside Penthouse 2. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Tamsin spent a night in each of the suites before proposing her concept. Pictured here, Suite 3. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

In Penthouse 2, and throught the hotel Tamsin has opted for a‘minimalistic and unpretentious coastalstyle. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Beach views from Rae’s. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Exterior shot of the luxury Byron Bay hotel, restaurant and spa. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Inside another Rae’s suite. ‘Tamsin’s style was exactly in line with our vision for the hotel,’ mentions Jordy. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Suite 7, with opulent interior archways and decorative floors. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Suite 7 showcases a custom-design bed, which is featured throughout the suites. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Inside the Byron Bay beachfront retreat. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Iconic Byron Bay beachfront retreat, Rae’s on Wategos has this year received a refreshing refurbishment. ‘We felt that the interior didn’t do the building justice. It had aged, and the space seemed cluttered and dark… It didn’t feel like a building that is steps from the beach,’ explains Jordy Catalano, the Managing Director of Rae’s, which encompasses accomodations, a spa and a restaurant.

According to Jordy, Sydney-based interior designer Tamsin Johnson was the perfect choice to update this iconic establishment, and Rae’s was keen to work with an individual rather than a firm, to ensure a personal touch. ‘Tamsin’s style was exactly in line with our vision for the hotel: she is well travelled, and has experienced a range of amazing hotels around the world, so her knowledge of how best to refurbish the hotel goes far beyond just the fit out, into the whole guest experience,’ Jordy explains.

Mutual friend Daanen Nootenboom recommended Tamsin for the job, and she jumped at the opportunity. ‘I flew up with my little boy Arthur at four-weeks-old, and spent a night in each of the seven rooms over the week,’ tells Tamsin. ‘This was an essential process to really feel the function of each room; To see where the light floods in the afternoon, where the breeze blows and generally which areas of each room you gravitate towards… every room has an entire different personality so it was important to match the new interior, and have it become an extension of this.’

The brief Rae’s delivered to the interior designer was generously open, and the ‘minimalistic and unpretentious coastal look that Tamsin proposed instantly won Jordy and his team over. ‘The rooms were so cluttered and the natural surroundings are overwhelmingly beautiful so restraint was the most important key for the design; the process of omitting items was as important as selecting every new piece,’ she explains.

Using natural fabrics and a monochrome muted palette, Tamsin has incorporated custom joinery, sturdy outdoor-strength upholstery, and unique rattan woven furniture, as well as sisal rugs, obscure decor and touches of greenery throughout the establishment. To avoid cluttering the rooms, she incorporated a layer of art though sculptural custom lighting, oddities, books and upholstery. ‘Simple linen curtains with bespoke metal tie backs, custom travertine coffee tables and dip dyed solid concrete bed side tables sit beside the signature Raes bedhead design… the balance of comfort and beauty was key so every guest can settle in like it’s their own home,’ details the designer.

Virtually every electrician in Byron refused to touch the solid walls of Rae’s – the original building was built in the 1960s, opening as a kiosk called ‘The Argentinian’ before it’s stint as La Belle Epoque, a restaurant and private home, in the 1970s. Vinnie Rae and Helen Patterson purchased it in 1994, added a spa, and welcomed guests to Rae’s for two decades before Melbourne-based publisher Anthony Catalano bought the property in 2013. Miraculously, 60 new wall lights were finally installed –‘we had 10 sparkys on site for three days,’ recalls Tamsin. A highlight for the interior designer was gutting the hotel of its existing art and furniture to see the first phase of her transformation. ‘The client was just laughing at how much pleasure it gave me seeing the truck loads pulled out of each room. We literally kept three small tables!’ she says.

Next up, Rae’s on Wategos will undertake a minor refurbishment of its restaurant, again working with Tamsin. Rae’s has also recently acquired an eight-seater jet and a 96-foot super yacht, which the talented interior designer will be fitting out too! We are just dying to see them!

Jordy Catalano, the Managing Director of Rae’s on Wategos, and interior designer Tamsin Johnson.

28 Jun 17:34

Andy and Lisa Montgomery

by The Design Files

WA Home

Andy and Lisa Montgomery

Anna Flanders

Today we visit a home in Perth that we’re pretty confident is the only home we’ve ever come across with a two-level scooter gallery in the living area. Yes, you heard right! Home to Andy and Lisa Montgomery, their daughter Audrey and Irish Setters Finley and Fleur, it’s a quirky addition that fully embraces their passions and family life. The home has also just recently picked up a commendation at the AIA WA Chapter Awards, in the Residential Alterations and Additions category. 

Our Perth contributors Anna Flanders and Jack Lovel recently visited the family to talk about their unique renovation and peruse the amazing Vespa collection!

A salt-water pool (Bluewater Pools) was one of those essential inclusions for Lisa and Andy Montgomery in their quest to combat Perth’s summer heat. The back of the house is a strong line of Gertrudis Brown from Bowral Bricks in Sydney, while the window frames are Cedar from Cedar West. Andy and Lisa made the outdoor table from an old frame and new marble top. The Turkish towels are from Remedy  and the blow-up Cactus is from Urban Depot. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

‘We love relaxing with Audrey and the dogs by the pool – the salt water makes the experience so much nicer. We also love the colour of the pool (Black Pearl) because it reminds us more of fresh water lakes and rivers than ocean. The balance of paving and grass means we can have fun, run around and play games,’ says Lisa. ‘And that’s Finley in the picture – he swims in the pool and likes to cool down by lying on the top step. Fleur is not so keen!’ Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

‘We loved our alfresco area and deck at the old house, so we really wanted a space that replicated but enhanced that – this space does that. It has northern light in winter and balmy evenings in summer. There is a great indoor-outdoor relationship between the kitchen, the outdoor setting and the barbecue, which is really easy and convenient,’ says Lisa. Planted here are Japanese elms and a combination of natives and succulents. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

The family use this seating area daily, particularly in the evenings in summer,’ says Lisa. The paving is granite bluestone by Bernini Stone & Tiles in Subiaco, which contrasts beautifully with the cedar. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Burnished concrete flooring, berber rug from Temple Fine Rugs, most furniture from The General Store, indoor plants and pots from Let it Grow Co and Areaware gold turtle is from Andy’s store, Urban Depot. Shelving unit was designed by Andy and Lisa and built by Alternative Kitchens, to accommodate the couple’s vinyl collection and record player, while the Project 2 Experience turntable and Kef LS50 speakers are from Urban Records. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Much of the family’s furniture is from The General Store, while the coffee table is an original mid-century Hans J Wegner for Andreas Tuck coffee table from Angelucci 20th Century in Melbourne. It’s one of the family’s most prized possessions, along with the Vespa GS 150 (1959), Vespa GS 160 (1962) and Lambretta T 175 Series 2 (1959). Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

‘Our brief for the kitchen was open-plan, but not too fussy. We wanted a fun and functional space, and a modern and easy kitchen that was an integrated part of the living space,’ explains Lisa. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

The family spends a lot of time in this area and loves the light that comes in throughout the day. The walls here are painted in Dulux Whisper White, and the Sketch bench seat is from Oopenspace. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Accessories throughout the home add fun and colour to soften the interior, and add a warmth and relaxed feel. The dinosaur bottle opener is from Remedy, and the green pot from Urban Depot. The pot and plant in the background are from Let It Grow Co. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

‘The kitchen is very practical – we love the galley layout. We also love the marble bench top. It’s already getting a bit ‘distressed’, which we like as we want it to be a living and breathing kitchen, not a show kitchen.’ says Lisa. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Is this the coolest design feature ever?! Andy comes up the scooter lift from the basement (scooter workshop) to the front door and the upper level! ‘We decided on the lift for practical reasons, but also aesthetic as it brings a real recycled, industrial and raw feel to the space,’ says Lisa. ‘We basically built the house around it, and it’s not going anywhere!’ Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

The bathroom is in part of the old dining room of the original house. The stained glass window was revamped when the couple first moved in, and they decided to keep it when the dining room was morphed into the bathroom. ‘We love the effect it has in the bathroom and it reminds us of the old house,’ says Lisa. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Audrey’s room is at the front of the house in an original bedroom. The walls are in Dulux Whisper White,  rug and Miffy lamp are from Urban Depot and the bedding from Remedy. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

Andy and Lisa  Montgomery had been living just five minutes away, when the original house on this block came up for sale. ‘We weren’t actively looking,’ says Lisa, ‘but we knew our beloved terrace wouldn’t suit our needs forever.’ At the time it was 2005, so their daughter Audrey hadn’t been born, the dogs weren’t on the scene, and Perth’s mining boom hadn’t yet sent house prices soaring. It was great timing.

The home is nestled into a leafy, multicultural pocket of Perth that’s central to North Perth, Leederville, Northbridge and Mount Lawley. From here, the couple can walk or ride their scooters or bikes to parks, Lake Monger and the busy eat streets of those surrounding suburbs. Conveniently, Andy’s shop, the much-loved Urban Records and Urban Depot, is in Oxford Street, Leederville, so also just an easy ride away, while at the time of purchase Lisa had an office nearby (though today she works in the city).

The original house had been a three-bedroom, one-bathroom character home with a 20-year-old kitchen renovation, all set on 500-square-metres. Andy and Lisa lived in it that way for 10 years, welcoming Finley and Fleur the Irish Setters (now eight) and Audrey their daughter (now three-and-a-half years) into their lives during that time. With the house starting to burst at the seams, a few years ago it was time to move out and renovate.

The pair wanted a semi-industrial feel, but were keen to retain the warmth and welcoming vibe of the original cottage. Having seen the work of Klopper & Davis Architects (KADA), Andy and Lisa knew they were the studio to bring their vision to life. What they didn’t know, however, was how far they would take it.

‘We loved their aesthetic – it’s mid-century inspired, and warm materials and palettes that just feel very comfortable,’ says Lisa. ‘Sam Klopper came back with a concept design that was completely different to anything we had ever envisaged. It put the vintage Vespas and Lambrettas front and centre in the living space – like artworks. We loved the idea!’

‘Bikes and music have always been my passion,’ says Andy. ‘I started collecting in 2000 and am quite discerning. I source rare and unique bikes from around the world that I restore in my workshop and add to my collection’.

The new design retained the front of the original home – the three bedrooms were retained in full, while the original dining room was sectioned up to create a walk-in-robe for the main bedroom, and a new bathroom. The rest of the house and its outhouses were knocked down and levels across the site changed to accommodate a new study, combined kitchen/living/dining area with scooter gallery, outdoor entertaining area to the North, pool on the Eastern side and a scooter workshop, spare bedroom, second bathroom and laundry tucked underneath the new part of the house. ‘We had a great team that we could trust and work closely and collaboratively with,’ says Lisa. ‘We were involved in the concept design, working with Sam and the team, while Andy was very hands-on with our builder, Danny of Saxon Construction.’

One of the tricky elements of the design was working out the best way to raise and lower the scooters from the basement workshop and onto two super-strength ‘shelves’ in the living area. While they toyed with different options, Andy remembered a contact of his had access to an old brick lift, so that was brought in and modified for its purpose.

The scooter gallery wall and lift have given a unique edge to the family home, while adding some unexpected colour to the living space. Surprisingly, the Vespas and Lambrettas live happily and easily alongside mid-century furniture and quirky objects from Andy’s store – once you get over the shock, it all feels quite normal!

‘The house functions so well and brings us all together,’ says Lisa. ‘The living, dining and kitchen space is seamless, especially when entertaining; the study is just the other side of the kitchen, so very integrated into everyday living, whether for our home office or a homework station for Audrey; and we were conscious of making sure the scooter workshop could be used for something else – an entertainment room, a studio or a kids’ zone – particularly if we ever decided to sell the house… which is unlikely – we consider this our forever house!’

The green chair is from King Living, with parrot cushion from Oopenspace (cork stool and watering can also from Oopenspace). The gold turtle is from Andy’s store Urban Depot, and the plants and pots (except the yellow one) is from Let It Grow Co. Berber rug is from Temple Fine Rugs. Photo – Jack Lovel. Styling – Anna Flanders.

27 Jun 18:28

Three is the Magic Number: A Kanban Primer

by Caitlin Kelch

I’m turning 50 next month and I can’t believe it. It’s all good, but I had no idea that my subconscious would take five decades so seriously. I haven’t become a somber, serious woman — but I’ve noticed some changes that I didn’t consciously enact. One of the major ones is the feeling that I’m simply not that flexible any longer. My schedule has finally become just that. My schedule. If it hasn’t been scheduled and isn’t an emergency that affects what I hold dear personally or professionally, it moves to the rear of the queue. In that spirit of only supporting what I truly love and value, I’ve found myself back into the Kanban method. (Kanban literally means billboard or signboard in Japanese.)

Kanban is a visual productivity method developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, and it was originally used as a way to track projects or systems, where it was helpful for detecting issues that clog production. The method made its way into the world of software design here in the states at a time when design thinking was being considered as a plausible approach for managing one’s time and stress in everyday life.  When our daily to-do lists exceed one digit, it can produce stress and lower our productivity. It’s why we pull the covers up over our head and hit the snooze bar.

If you know each day you’re going to be doing or moving forward only three things, life becomes manageable. When life becomes manageable, it also becomes more enjoyable and allows you to more easily identify the sources of that joy. Armed with that positive knowledge, you’ll know how to and when to recharge. This is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life.

Here’s how you can incorporate a little Kanban into your life. These are the big ideas to keep in mind as you read and consider practicing this method everyday.

  1. Try to do as few things as possible at a time
  2. Finish the work you have stared before taking on anything


To get started, grab some Post-Its or uniform size paper squares you’ve cut out. On each of the squares, list all the things, projects, tasks and worries that you’re responsible for at work and/or in life. Only include one project, task or to do on a square. You may want to break large projects down to the tasks that it will take to complete the project as a whole. This activity should be pretty simple. It might be a bit painful, so have a reward lined up for when you’ve completed it to thank yourself for taking this step towards creating less stress for yourself. Here’s an example of some washi tape frames you could create & use for your wall kanban.

For those things in the To Do column that have a deadline, make a note of the due date in the corner and estimate the time you think it will take you to complete it. If it will take days, add an extra day. If it will take several hours, add an extra hour. If it will take 60 minutes, add another 30 minutes.

In other words, give yourself some extra time so that the inevitable roadblocks don’t derail you & have you question or abandon the system.

Next create some type of grid pattern with masking or washi tape if you’re using a small section of wall. Of course, a grid on paper will work too. Clearly label the columns TO DO, IN PROGRESS and DONE. If you’re like me and get overwhelmed with the amount of To Dos, feel feel to cover that column with a blank piece of paper and only uncover it as needed to populate your In Progress column. I do prioritize the tasks in my To Do column so I don’t have to spend much time in there when I go to grab something that I’m moving to the In Progress column.

So, working this method, you’re going to work on only one thing at a time. While your working, you’re not going to check your phone or email. You will only have three things in your In Progress column at any given time. That means you should create a note for even things like checking email and move it back and forth from the To Do to the In Progress column multiple times per day. If you can, limit your email checking to 2 – 3 times per day, unless you’re waiting for some timely information.

Don’t worry about what anyone will say regarding this new system when you explain that you can’t get to their request immediately. You can tell them this is how you do your best work — by completely focusing on one thing at a time. Let them know that when you’re focusing on their request, you will be exclusively focused on that work and that’s how you can best serve them.

At the end of the day, break at least 30 minutes before you plan to leave your desk. Take this time to review what you’ve done, see if your priorities in the To Do column have or need to be changed and pull the three To Dos you plan on working on tomorrow. Don’t move them into the In Progress yet. You’ll do that first thing to get oriented and start your day. If you still have leftovers from the day in the In Progress column, move them back to the top of the To Do column.

After doing this daily for a week or two, you’ll have insights that a consultant would if they observed you and your business. My insights were astounding. I knew email was a endless stream, but I didn’t realize I spent almost 40% of my time reading and answering emails. That’s insane, and leaves me set up to be behind on projects that my team has identified as important and we’ve designed to advance our shared values. By giving away 40% of my time, I was not living according to my values so, of course, I felt stressed. (I now profusely use Canned Replies as much as I can.)

I also realized that I always needed to take a break after doing my email tasks. Once I took a break, it was harder to go back and start a new task. After I limited checking my email to twice per day, I had my lunch break and end-of-the-day to recover and reward myself with a big stretch and long, slow deep breath.

Here’s hoping this method can help you tame your day so you can enjoy it more! If you have any tried and true methods that help you manage your time or organize your day, please share them in the comments. I’d love to know and have them in my arsenal as I approach the big 5 – 0.  –Caitlin 

26 Jun 19:44

Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine

by Erin in Indy
First of all, Elena Ruz is actually located within the building that holds Black Circle Brewing. It’s on 46th right near Keystone, in the back of the old Double 8 foods building if you know the one I mean. It’s sort of hard to realize there’s a Cuban place in there unless you just know. You go into the bar, order drinks at the bar (lots of beer choices, and even a record player) and then order your food from a doorway nearby. Sort of food truck style.

You can’t take kids in there obviously though, since it’s a bar. And we live in Indiana. They do have some limited outdoor seating though. Anyhow, my friend Suzanne and I wanted to try a variety of things so we got the Cubano sandwich ($8.50), the beef empanadas ($6.99) and ended up with a side of tostones ($3.99) because they were out of the plantain chips. 

I thought the best things were the empanadas. There were three of them, and they were filled with super juicy and flavorful beef. A pet peeve I have is when an empanada is all dry inside and these were the opposite. At one point the liquid from the thing was running down my arm. The fried pastry was nice and crisp and held everything in. The cilantro cream sauce was the best. There is no need for other sauces, this stuff was so good, and I wanted to dip everything in it.

The Cuban sandwich was very traditional—layered with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. I like Cuban sandwiches because; duh, pickles and mustard are two of my favorite things, but also because they are inherently flat and easy to eat (I know, I am weird). This one was solid, although I would have liked a couple more pickles (the ones that were on there were nice and thick though). It’s totally worth getting, or doing what we did, and splitting it along with something else.

I did not care for the tostones. They were really dense and didn’t have a lot of flavor. The garlic sauce that came with it was interesting—pretty much just like crushed garlic in oil, but it wasn’t the right mix with the tostones. I liked them better with the cilantro cream, but even then, not my favorite. 

There are a lot of good sounding things on the menu though—I’m intrigued by the rice bowls. And it’s a great place to have in the area, that doesn’t have a lot of sit down independent places to grab lunch. They’re not open Mondays or Tuesdays though, so plan accordingly. And let me know what you get and what you think.

Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine 
(Located in Black Circle Brewing Company)
2201 East 46th St, Suite 207
Indy 46205
26 Jun 19:42

Main Street Pokē

by Erin in Indy
I have been excited to try Main Street Pokē since my hairdresser next door told me it was coming soon. I met my friend Suzanne there, as she lives close by and had already been several times and liked it. So it’s set up in the Chipotle style, where you go down the line and pick what you want in your bowl. There are A LOT of choices to make, so you may want to look over the menu online before you go. It’s like healthy fast food though; so don’t expect a fancy restaurant or anything.

The first and most important choice is your size and protein. You can get small, medium and large bowls (2, 3, and 4 scoops of protein respectively). They are $9.95, $11.95 and $13.95 with a few upcharges on certain items. There are several proteins to choose from, but I am guessing the most popular (and I would even go so far as to say probably the best) choices are the tuna and salmon. You can either get it marinated or plain. There are also things like tofu, chicken, beef, cooked shrimp, and even hamachi and unagi, but for me, I was focused on the tuna. I had the medium bowl with marinated tuna (you can also mix your proteins). You get to choose your base as well. I had half steamed rice and half mixed greens. They also offer brown rice or potato chips. Then, there are the toppings—starting with the first sauce over the fish. I chose the house, which is a soy-based sauce with some ponzu. I then added green onions, seaweed salad, avocado (+.50), marinated shitake mushrooms, and they give you a scoop of spicy crab as well. Then you can add some crunch (I had sesame, furikake and fried onions) and a topping sauce. I did half spicy mayo and half miso delicious. (I told you there are lots of choices—and there are tons more options than I described). 

So what did I think? I actually really love this concept—and I really enjoyed my bowl. I wouldn’t make any dramatic changes, although I would like to try the salmon next time. I was torn about whether I preferred the rice or the greens better, so I think I might just stick with the way I ordered it—half and half. I would probably skip the seaweed salad, just because there were just so many things going on, I didn’t really think I needed it. Surprisingly, even though I think the spicy crab is not real crab, it was pretty tasty and I would get it again. I thought the tuna was good quality and everything tasted very fresh. Honestly, I can understand why Suzanne says she often goes multiple times in a week, because if it were close to me, I would probably eat here a lot. There would be a ton of carry out going on. I really like to eat this kind of food, and I like that you can make a bowl that is very healthy if you want, but still has a ton of flavor. I overheard staff mention they are opening one in Fishers, which is awesome—but I would like to request one near Castleton if possible. And I bet a downtown location would do well too. But I am happy that they have opened up and appear to be doing very well. If you like this kind of food, you should check it out.

Main Street Pokē
110 West Main Street #106
Carmel, IN 46032
23 Jun 16:16

the ikea museum in sweden...

by Joy

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

A few weeks ago, I went on a special trip to Sweden with the Ikea US team for a press trip and tour of the Ikea Headquarters. I saw all of the new collaborations they are working on, meet with designers (many who have been there for over 15 years!), visit the studio where the Ikea catalog is shot, and visit the Ikea Museum! The museum had such an amazing collection of items from the very beginning of Ikea history in Älmhult, Sweden in 1943. Here's a peek at some of my favorite things from the Ikea Museum...

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

Of course, the textiles were my favorite part. Decades of patterns and fabrics lined the first floor...I could have just stayed in that room all day long!

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

There was an entire timeline of Ikea's evolution—from the beginning to today. It was fun to see how style has changed but also come full circle. Some of the spotlights were fun to see where they highlighted some of their iconic pieces—like the Poang chair...and of course, the Swedish meatball!

The Ikea Museum in Sweden

If you grew up with Ikea like I did or even if you just love the store, it's a really fun place to go and get a look at the history, nostalgia, and legend of this iconic brand!

{Photos by Joy Cho}

16 Jun 17:32

You've Cat to Be Kitten Me: This Arizona House Has Some Purr-culiar Decor — House of the Day

by Tara Bellucci

This log cabin style home in the Arizona desert might look unassuming from the outside, but just wait un-tail you see the inside, my furrends. I don't know how to tell you this, but it's pawsitively, provocatively plastered in felines.


16 Jun 17:29

A Classic Brooklyn Brownstone Gets a Bold, Modern Face Lift — House Tour

by Minette Hand

Name: Nicole and Dan Lucey
Location: Park Slope — Brooklyn, NY
Size: 2800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Nicole, her husband Dan and their two kids moved into their Park Slope brownstone just over a year ago. After a dramatic (and much debated) paint job and face lift, this four-story home is now one everyone slows down to admire.


15 Jun 18:51

The McCraith ‘Butterfly’ House

by The Design Files

Australian Homes

The McCraith ‘Butterfly’ House

by Lucy Feagins, Editor

The McCraith House on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is one of the area’s most distinctive architectural landmarks, affectionately known by locals as the ‘Butterfly House’. Designed by modernist masters Chancellor and Patrick in 1955, the house was commissioned by Gerald and Nell McCraith.

We recently caught up with artist and jeweller Bin Dixon-Ward, Granddaughter of Gerald and Nell McCraith, about her childhood memories of this unique home.

The exterior of The McCraith House, also known as ‘The Butterfly House’, in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The home is an architectural treasure of the 1950s, designed by modernist masters Chancellor and Patrick, for Gerald and Nell McCraith. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The McCraith House that was gifted to RMIT University in 2013 and now is used primarily as a writer’s residency. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Tomorrow (Thursday June 15th) the ‘Butterfly House’ is open for a tour and morning tea event, hosted by artist Bin Dixon-Ward, who is the granddaughter of Gerald and Nell McCraith. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

As the story goes, young architect, David Chancellor told Gerald, ‘I’ve come up with some ideas, but you might think they are too way out,’ to which Gerald replied, ‘What makes you think I don’t want way out!?’ Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Gerald’s grandaughter Bin notes that the original record player and radio are still in the home and in working order. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bold angular forms. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bin has childhood memories of mowing the grass, raking leaves, picking up twigs, weeding, and chopping wood for this very pot belly! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living area detail – the walls are still painted in the original colours of teal, red, butter yellow, grey. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Unique sliding doors lead out to the balcony, with views across the bay. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The home comprises a master bedroom and a ground floor guest bedroom, which has six bunk beds. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

When a home built in the 1950s still looks ‘out there’ in 2017, you know you’re looking at an architectural icon. Such in the case with Dromana’s McCraith House (or ‘Butterfly House’, as it is colloquially known). Designed by Chancellor and Patrick in 1955, this remarkable house was commissioned by Gerald and Nell McCraith.

Gerald McCraith was no ordinary client. The story goes that after some consideration, young architect David Chancellor told his client ‘I’ve come up with some ideas, but you might think they are too way out,’ to which Gerald replied, ‘What makes you think I don’t want way out!?’.

Gerald’s granddaughter, artist and jeweller Bin Dixon-Ward, was our gracious host on the day of our visit. It was wonderful to chat with Bin as she recalled childhood memories of her Grandparents and their unique holiday house.

‘In the 1940’s my Grandparents enjoyed weekend drives to the Peninsula from their home in Essendon,’ Bin recalls. ‘In the early 1950’s when Pa’s business was going well, they bought a bush block on the slopes of Arthur’s Seat. They met a young architect, David Chancellor, and asked him to design a holiday house,’ she adds. Once the house was built, it was named Larrakeyah, after the Darwin army base where Gerald was stationed during WW2.

Bin describes Gerald as being creative in the broadest sense of the word. ‘He was able to turn his hand to anything… he was interested in everything,’ she says. His main interest, in fact, was breeding Australian native orchids! He bred a number of varieties, and was proud to have two hybrids named after him.  He even received an Order of Australia in 1993, for services to horticulture. In his quest to find rare orchids, Gerald also travelled widely, to remote areas of Australia, the mountains of Southern China, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, India and Singapore. His last overseas trip, at the age of 93, was to Malaysia and Borneo.  (Gerald lived to 100 years, passing away in 2009).

Though its distinctive top-heavy design makes the Butterfly House a unique design and engineering feat – inside, it’s surprising modest. With just one bedroom and a tiny bathroom adjoining the main living area, this is a humble home, even by 1950s standards. Downstairs, in the narrow base of the building (accessible only by the exterior staircase) the second bedroom is lined with six in-built bunk beds, where Bin recalls spending many summer holidays with her siblings and cousins. ‘There was a hierarchy and competition for who slept in which bunk,’ Bin recalls. ‘The boys always got the best of course!’

In 2013, the McCraith House was gifted to RMIT University, and now serves as accommodation for RMIT’s writer-in-residence program. ‘It is rewarding to know that the house is able to nurture an artist’s creative practice, and is available for design and architecture scholars to study,’ Bin says.

As a jewellery and lecturer in gold and silversmithing, Bin’s own work has also been heavily influenced by her relationship with this unique property. ‘My work is influenced by the geometry of the built environment,’ she explains. ‘Having spent time in an innovatively designed space, where geometry is highlighted (red triangles) as an aesthetic feature but also a functional element is inspiring. I’m interested in how such simple shapes can be the basis of such satisfying spaces.’ Satisfying, indeed!

It is functional, interesting and dynamic. There is nothing extraneous; This to me is great design. It is complete.

Archi-enthusiasts with a free morning TOMORROW might still find a spot to attend a tour of the McCraith ‘Butterfly’ House and morning tea with Bin Dixon-Ward,  bookings are essential.

Thursday June 15th, 10.30am to 12 noon
McCraith House
1 to 3 Atunga Terrace, Dromana.

The McCraith ‘Butterfly’ House is also celebrated in an exhibition on now at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, curated by Karen McCartney. ‘Iconic Australian Houses’ explores 29 of the most architecturally important Australian homes of the past 60 years and is running from May 12th to July 9th.

Artist and jeweller Bin Dixon-Ward, granddaughter of Gerald and Nell McCraith, in her Grandparents’ iconic ‘Butterfly House’. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

12 Jun 16:35

Pho Real

by Erin in Indy
Pho places seem to be springing up everywhere…well, at least more of them are becoming more central to my location, which I appreciate. There are two or three new places I have been waiting to try and this was one of them. The BFF and I headed over there for lunch and laughed because we knew this strip mall from our very young days, as we grew up nearby. Don’t let the scary dark wood/slightly run down vibe of the outside scare you away; they have done a nice job on the inside of this place. It’s cute and very clean. The menu is big and has Thai and Laotian food as well as Vietnamese.

But, when your name is “Pho Real,” you kinda have to try the pho right? At least on your first visit. But since it was a new place, and we were kinda in the mood, we also ordered some appetizers. We ordered the dumplings ($7.75) and the fried tofu ($5.95). I really liked the fried tofu. It had a nice firm, yet crispy crust that you had to break through to get to a very silky (and hot!) interior. It was served with a very mild sauce to dip in, but it had a slight acidic flavor and I liked it. I also ended up dropping them last piece or two into my pho and that was really good too. They kept their shape even in the broth. The dumplings were pretty tasty too. They were stuffed with pork and a bit of shrimp and served with that vinegar/soy sauce. Maybe not as tender as I would like—the filling was pretty dense—but they had a good flavor.

I ordered the rare beef pho  (Pho #1) ($9.99), which is my classic choice. It’s a deep beef broth with thin rice noodles, cilantro, scallions and it was seasoned with some black pepper it seemed. Oh, and the rare beef of course. I always squeeze my lime in there too from the fresh side plate, as well as throwing in a couple of the slices of jalapeno to steep and spice up the broth. Then I put in the basil and bean sprouts for a bit more flavor and texture. I tend to add a bit of chili sauce—here the only choice was Sriracha, so that’s what I used. I put a bit of soy in as well. Anyhow, that’s how pho is—you kind of doctor it up to your taste. But the thing that makes or breaks pho (or puts it on the just ok list anyway) is the broth. And this broth was very good. It had a very deep flavor and this is up there with my favorite bowls of pho in town so far. Mine also had nice, tender thin slices of beef that seemed a little more flavorful than many, even my favorite, Pho Tasty. Like I said, I also liked throwing my tofu in there as well. 

My BFF had the veggie pho ($8.99) and she seemed to really like it. I was too busy eating all of mine to even try it, but she said it was definitely one of the better vegetarian broths she has had in town. She didn’t love the big hunks of bok choy, because they were almost impossible to eat. If you don’t have a knife, I do believe food should be in bite-sized pieces.

Overall though, this was a great find. And they have lots of great sounding Thai dishes I would be interested to try as well. They also have beer and wine.

Pho Real
9611 N. College Ave
Indy 46280
09 Jun 15:42

A Glam Apartment Inside a Technicolor Building in Ibiza

by Vy Tran

A Glam Apartment Inside a Technicolor Building in Ibiza

Tropical locations usually conjure up color palettes of blues and greens but this property includes all the colors of the rainbow. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Las Boas building is an urban jungle that boasts unbeatable views of the island of Formentera and old town Ibiza. It exists primarily as a residential complex but the Creamhotel has added one of building’s apartments to their Ibiza vacation rental portfolio, calling it the Ibiza Glam, which means you can stay at this technicolor, tropical paradise the next time you’re visiting Ibiza.

The 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment features all the amenities you’d have in a regular hotel, such as access to the infinity pool and communal areas, spa and fitness center, 24/7 security, free wifi and cable. A table designed by Jean Nouvel lives in the living room and inside the bedroom, you can unwind on luxurious beds by Nolteni & Cassina. From the living room, you can open up the sliding windows to take in the balcony and the building’s curvaceous exteriors that were inspired by feather boas (hence, the name!).

Within walking distance, you’ll find yourself at the island’s top clubs and restaurants: Patcha, Lio Cabaret, Cipriani, and Blue Marin.

What: The Ibiza Glam
Where: Paseo Juan Carlos I, 27-29, 07800 – Ibiza
How much? Rates start from $690/night
Highlights: This is an exclusive vacation rental that’s situated right inside the Las Boas building in Ibiza. Inside, modern interiors and pop art decor.
Design draw: Outside, the building’s technicolor curves are inspired by feather boas and lined with local vegetation and landscaping. Architect Jean Nouvel sought to bridge nature with architecture with this curvaceous design.
Book it: Visit the Ibiza Glam

08 Jun 17:04

Cover Story: Aziz Ansari Is Still Searching

A hit Netflix show. A best-selling (and scholarly!) book. A powerful “S.N.L.” monologue. Can you blame him for wanting to hide?
07 Jun 19:35

James Comey's Opening Statement on Trump, Annotated

by Elaine Godfrey

Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

Less than 24 hours before former FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee posted his prepared opening remarks on its website Wednesday. In them, Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May, describes in detail their various interactions and conversations—offering what appear to be direct quotes from the president. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump said at a private January dinner, according to Comey’s testimony.​​​

To add context, we’ve annotated his expected statements below.

Chairman Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I was asked to testify today to describe for you my interactions with President-Elect and President Trump on subjects that I understand are of interest to you. I have not included every detail from my conversations with the President, but, to the best of my recollection, I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the Committee.

January 6 Briefing

I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessmentThe assessment concluded that the Russian government had ordered a cyberattack that was intended to help Trump win the presidency. The meeting occurred a few hours after then-President Barack Obama received a briefing on the classified report. concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspectsThe sensitive aspects of the report involved allegations that Russian operatives had compromising information about Trump. Those allegations came partly from memos compiled by a former British intelligence official, which were later published by BuzzFeed. of the information assembled during the assessment.

The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

The Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper served as the director of national intelligence from August 5, 2010 to January 20, 2017. asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI’s counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI’s leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct.

It is important to understand that FBI counter-intelligence investigations are different than the more-commonly known criminal investigative work. The Bureau’s goal in a counter-intelligence investigation is to understand the technical and human methods that hostile foreign powers are using to influence the United States or to steal our secrets. The FBI uses that understanding to disrupt those efforts. Sometimes disruption takes the form of alerting a person who is targeted for recruitment or influence by the foreign power. Sometimes it involves hardening a computer system that is being attacked. Sometimes it involves “turning” the recruited person into a double-agent, or publicly calling out the behavior with sanctions or expulsions of embassy-based intelligence officers. On occasion, criminal prosecution is used to disrupt intelligence activities.

Because the nature of the hostile foreign nation is well known, counterintelligence investigations tend to be centered on individuals the FBI suspects to be witting or unwitting agents of that foreign power. When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will “open an investigation” on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted.

In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.In his letter firing Comey, Trump thanked the FBI director for “informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”

I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo.Comey is known for keeping records. Matthew Miller, a former top Justice Department spokesman, noted last month that Comey “leaves a protective paper trail whenever he deems something inappropriate happened.” To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.

January 27 Dinner

The President and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 pm in the Green Room at the White House.On May 11, The New York Times reported that the president asked Comey to pledge his loyalty during a private dinner. The White House disputed the account. And in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt, Trump provided a different account of the dinner. He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time, with the whole family coming the next time. It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others.

It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI DirectorThe FBI director is appointed by the president for a 10-year term. James Comey had only been in the position since 2013. , which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my tenyear term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.

A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”On May 11, The New York Times reported a similar account. I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.

At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because “problems” come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things 4 about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.” As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.

During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

As was my practice for conversations with President Trump, I wrote a detailed memo about the dinner immediately afterwards and shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI.

February 14 Oval Office Meeting

On February 14, I went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counterterrorism briefing of the President. He sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk. The Vice President, Deputy Director of the CIA, Director of the National Counter Terrorism Center, Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and I were in the semi-circle of chairs. I was directly facing the President, sitting between the Deputy CIA Director and the Director of NCTC. There were quite a few others in the room, sitting behind us on couches and chairs.

The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me.My colleague Adam Serwer spoke with former Justice Department officials last month who said that Sessions should have stayed in the room, if the account described in the Comey memo was accurate. “It’s inappropriate for the president to have a conversation with the FBI director about any criminal investigation, let alone involving his campaign and his close associates,” said one former high-ranking official. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.

When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” Flynn had resigned the previous day. Michael Flynn resigned from his post as Trump’s national-security adviser after media reports revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. As my colleague Rosie Gray reported, Flynn’s brief tenure continues to haunt the White House. The President began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.

The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified informationPresident Trump has been focused on addressing leaks since his first weeks in office. In February, my colleague David A. Graham reported that Trump was determined to “change the focus away from the substance of the leaks and to their provenance.”—a concern I shared and still share. After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.

The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”

The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there, including Mr. Priebus and the Vice President.

I immediately prepared an unclassified memoThe New York Times reported this on May 16. of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.

The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President’s request, which we did not intend to abide. We also concluded that, given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account. We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two weeks later.)Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would recuse himself from the investigations into Russian interference on March 2.The Deputy Attorney General’s role was then filled in an acting capacity by a United States Attorney, who would also not be long in the role. After discussing the matter, we decided to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed. The investigation moved ahead at full speed, with none of the investigative team members – or the Department of Justice lawyers supporting them – aware of the President’s request.

Shortly afterwards, I spoke with Attorney General Sessions in person to pass along the President’s concerns about leaks. I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened – him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind – was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply. For the reasons discussed above, I did not mention that the President broached the FBI’s potential investigation of General Flynn.

March 30 Phone Call

On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as “a cloud”On May 19, The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials that firing FBI Director James Comey eased “great pressure” on him. that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country.
. He asked what we could do to “lift the cloud.” I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.

Then the President asked why there had been a congressional hearing about Russia the previous week – at which I had, as the Department of Justice directed, confirmed the investigationComey said the investigation had begun in late July. My colleague Russell Berman reported at the time that other Republicans were also concerned about “the cloud” that would hang over the administration once Comey confirmed the investigation. into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. I explained the demands from the leadership of both parties in Congress for more information, and that Senator Grassley had even held up the confirmation of the Deputy Attorney General until we briefed him in detail on the investigation. I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, “We need to get that fact out.” (I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.)

The President went on to say that if there were some “satellite” associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him.

In an abrupt shift, he turned the conversation to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying he hadn’t brought up “the McCabe thing” because I had said McCabe was honorable, although McAuliffe was close to the Clintons and had given him (I think he meant Deputy Director McCabe’s wife) campaign money. Although I didn’t understand why the President was bringing this up, I repeated that Mr. McCabe was an honorable person.

He finished by stressing “the cloud” that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn’t being investigated. I told him I would see what we could do, and that we would do our investigative work well and as quickly as we could.

Immediately after that conversation, I called Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente (AG Sessions had by then recused himself on all Russia-related matters), to report the substance of the call from the President, and said I would await his guidance. I did not hear back from him before the President called me again two weeks later.

April 11 Phone Call

On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I “get out” that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that “the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel. He said he would do that and added, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.” I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended. That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.

07 Jun 19:13

Vladimir Putin: I don't have bad days because I'm not a woman

by Shaun Walker in Moscow

Claim made in interview with film-maker Oliver Stone, who was granted rare access to Russian president over two years

Vladimir Putin does not have bad days because he is “not a woman”, and would rather not shower next to a gay man because he wouldn’t want to “provoke him”, he has revealed in a documentary by the film-maker Oliver Stone.

The Russian president’s comments came in series of interviews with Stone on topics ranging from geopolitics to gay rights and Edward Snowden.

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07 Jun 17:31

The Frost House

by The Design Files

International Homes

The Frost House

by Lucy Feagins, Editor

OK we’re breaking our own rules today. USUALLY we only feature Australian homes. Today, however, we’re featuring a truly remarkable home in Indiana, USA.

The Frost House’ is home to Melbourne-raised technology development director Karen Valentine, and her American partner, Bob Coscarelli, who is a commercial photographer.  With a shared passion for mid century design and architecture, Karen and Bob are proud custodians of this very special home.

(Thanks to Bob for sharing his own photographs for this story!)


The iconic Frost House was built in 1958 in Indiana, USA. It is not a commissioned, architect designed home, but rather a prefabricated home built of aluminum with baked enamel finishes. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Karen Valentine, who was born and raised in Melbourne, and her husband, American photographer Bob Coscarelli, consider themselves fortunate to be custodians of this home, which they purchased in 2006. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

The house is named after the original owners and occupants for over 50 years, Dr. Robert Frost and Mrs. Amelia Frost. ‘Because we purchased the house with many of the original pieces of artwork, lamps, along with all the furniture, we felt obliged to not change much – and frankly it really was comfortable so didn’t need to change much,’ tells Karen. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

The pair are both avid architecture enthusiasts. Bob’s first job in Chicago (where they met) was working for the renowned architectural photography studio Hedrich Blessing. The acoustic tiled ceiling of their home makes it quiet and the well-proportioned rooms mean there is no wasted space. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Bob and Karen replaced the flooring, which included nine different styles of carpet and linoleum! Today it’s predominantly terrazzo tiles, as seen here in the living room. Before moving in and by sheer coincidence, they already owned these Knoll Parallell Bar Chairs in tan, which compliment the cream versions that were already here. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

In addition to the beautiful terrazzo tiles throughout the home, Bob and Karen replaced selected floorings with carpet and added some rugs. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Upon moving in, they also re-painted all of the interiors strictly in the original colours. ‘I guess you can say we are just trying to curate the home compliment was was already there – without disturbing it too much,’ tells Karen. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

As part of their restoration of this unique home, the plumbing has been repaired throughout. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

The kitchen with all its original appliances in working order (!). Just look at those matching (non)white goods! Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Most of furniture pieces throughout the home are original production designs from Knoll Inc, all featuring their original upholstery. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

When Karen and Bob walked into the home for the first time, she explains, ‘everything was like the plastic covers have just been peeled off freshly delivered new furniture… and for them to ALL be Knoll – it’s insane – “Knoll for days” around here!’ Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Some of the couple’s favourite design books – Karen and Bob even honeymooned in a Frank Lloyd Wright cottage! Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Banksy, Karen and Bob’s adored lab-setter-cross rescue dog in the guest bedroom. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Karen and Bob have plans to add a pool to the side lot, though we’re thinking it might not get much use in winter, when this exterior shot was taken! ‘They just don’t make homes like this anymore, and the colour palette is amazing – it is bright but it seems to work without being ostentatious, it is timeless,’ they tell. Photo – Bob Coscarelli.

Karen Valentine has mid century architecture in her blood. Melbourne born and raised, her grandfather was a builder in Bendigo, who built over 750 (!!) mid century homes over his career, the majority of which are still standing today. After studying at Deakin University, Karen moved to Canada many years ago, later settling in Chicago. It was here, in 2003, that she met her husband Bob Coscarelli – an American photographer. The pair were married in 2004, and honeymooned in a Frank Lloyd Wright cottage.

With a shared passion for modernist design, it seems inevitable that Karen and Bob would eventually become custodians of their own mid century home. That’s exactly what happened, after the pair purchased this truly remarkable house in Indiana last year.

In fact, the move to Indiana wasn’t exactly planned. ‘We were looking close to Lake Michigan for a mid-century house that we could do some modest renovations to and have a weekend shack’ Karen explained. When a real estate agent sent them the listing for the The Frost House, everything changed!

‘Although it was not in the area we were looking at – we fell off our chairs!’ recalls Karen. The pair immediately put in an offer on the home, and within days they had purchased it – sight unseen! ‘You can pick the MCM home but you can’t pick the location’ Karen says.

The Frost House is named after the original owners and occupants of this house for over 50 years, Dr. Robert Frost and Mrs. Amelia Frost. It was designed and engineered by Emil Tessin (son of the Legal Guardian for Florence Knoll), and manufactured by Alside Homes Corporation (Akron Ohio), who invented and patented the pre-fabricated aluminium panelling used to construct the house. In fact, the home was the sales model for this particular pre-fab system, and was purchased by its original owners with all the display furniture included! Naturally, Karen and Bob have retained each and every piece of furniture from the original collection – nothing has been removed or even reupholstered.

‘When we walked in the doors for the first time, it was like stepping back in the time’ Karen recalls. ‘We had to pinch ourselves – everything was like the plastic covers had just been peeled off, freshly delivered new furniture’. All the furniture Karen and Bob found here were original production pieces from Knoll Inc, in pristine condition – ‘It’s insane. It is ‘knoll for days’ around here’ Karen says.

The interiors of the home were designed by Paul McCobb & Knoll Inc – and very little has changed since Karen and Bob moved in. The kitchen is 100% original and every appliance still in working order (they don’t make them like they used to!). Likewise, the bathrooms still have all the original fittings and fixtures.

Some elements, though, have needed careful restoring. Bob and Karen have sympathetically replaced the flooring – which was previously an ad-hoc collection of nine styles of carpet and linoleum. In keeping with the home’s distinctive aesthetic, Karen and Bob selected carpet for the bedrooms and terrazzo tiles everywhere else. Plumbing, heating and cooling was updated throughout, and interior rooms were re-painted in the same colours. The pair also have plans to add a swimming pool to the side lot later this year.

Karen and Bob are passionate custodians of this very special home. ’We feel incredibly fortunate for this home to have come into our lives’ Karen explains. The pair very much feel that their role is to preserve and restore, and are campaigning for National Historic Place Designation, to have the home recognised as an iconic example of American MCM history. ‘It truly is a great untold American story in the architectural world , we don’t know why these homes have never been celebrated. and we are out to make sure that this one gets recognised!’

Though not officially open to the public, Bob and Karen occasionally hear from design enthusiasts interested in the house, and welcome them to come visit. ‘Most people, like us, can’t believe that these homes have never been shared or talked about in the MCM history within America.’ We have a feeling that anonymity may not last long!

Find out more about The Frost House on Karen and Bob’s website, here.

Bob Coscarelli and Karen Valentine feel incredibly fortunate for this home, The Frost House, to have come into their lives. They’re dedicated to seeing it recognised as part of American mid century modern history! Photo – Flint Chaney.

06 Jun 19:56

A Designer's Colorfully Chic Chicago Apartment — House Tour

by Brittany Purlee

Name: Victoria Pater
Location: Bucktown, Chicago
Years lived in: 2 years

Victoria, her husband Joe, and their cute pup live in a colorful apartment bubbling with mid-century modern energy. After a look around their home, it comes as no surprise that Victoria is the owner of a charming pin business, Mid Mod Pin. In her day job, she designs brands, experiences and digital products. And in this home, her Mid Mod Pin headquarters is housed in a delightful mint green home office.