Water as a Design Element, Part 2

Last week we featured some beautiful examples of water used as an architectural design element; now we continue the theme with a look at some of the most effective uses of reflecting pools in mid-century designs.

Reflecting pools may seem simple – a small pool of water with a smooth glassy surface. But the simple addition of water can bring life and dimension to a space almost instantly. Here are some great examples.


Pasadena home designed in 1960 by John Galbraith. Photo courtesy of My Home as Art.


Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark was designed by architects Jørgen Bo and Wilhlem Wohlert in 1955. Photo courtesy of Yellowtrace.com.

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Racquet Club Garden Villas designed in 1959 by William F. Cody. Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Real Estate News.


Palácio da Alvorada by Oscar Niemeyer, 1957. Photo courtesy of Moderndesign.org.


Palm Springs residence by Buff & Hensman Architects, 1970. Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest.


Home designed by Henry Klumb in Puerto Rico, 1945. Photo courtesy of MoMA.


Mariners Medical Arts Plaza by Richard Neutra, 1963. Photo courtesy of the OC Register.


Hollywood Hills home built in 1962. Photo courtesy of Exciting LA.


McGregor Memorial Conference Center by Minoru Yamasaki, 1958. Photo courtesy of the Detroit Free Press.

February 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Inspire Me Monday: A Most Tasteful Portland Renovation

As is true with so many superb mid-century designs; the passing of a house from one owner to another over many years can result in an abundance of unfortunate and unsightly “improvements”. Such was the case when Portland natives Ty and Kelly Milford purchased this 1956 Saul Zaik home. The beautiful bones were there, but the lovely simplicity of the design had been lost.

With the help of Portland firm Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, the Milfords renovated the home to its former minimalist splendor. Read more on Dwell.


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February 23rd, 2015|0 Comments

Why Does Water Make Such an Amazing Design Element?

Water has been used as an architectural design element since ancient times. The reasons are rather obvious. It’s cheap; it’s (usually) easy to get ahold of, and for some reason, it’s absolutely stunning. One of nature’s simplest elements can turn a drab space into something breathtaking.


Roman Baths in Bath England, built by Roman Emperor Claudius during the first century AD.

20th-century architects were no strangers to water elements either. Here are few famous examples.


The Bailey House by Pierre Koenig, 1959. Photo by Julius Shulman.


Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1935. Photo courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.


Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1935. Photo courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.


Abernathy Residence by William Cody, 1962. Photo courtesy of Freshome.


Loewy House By Albert Frey, 1946. Photo courtesy of Faustian Urge.


Hilmer House by Don Knorr, 1956. Photo courtesy of Knorr Architecture.


 Singleton House by Richard Neutra, 1959. Photo courtesy of Ultra Modern Style.

February 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Inspire Me Monday: The Elrod House

John Lautner always was a master of using natural elements in his designs, and this home is no exception. In places, this sculptural home looks as if it is carved right out of a natural cliff-face. That combined with the wide open spaces and organic shapes is enough to keep you inspired all Monday long. Behold, the Elrod House, designed by John Lautner for Arthur Elrod in 1968.



The glass sculpture that hangs above the kitchen is by artist Dale Chihuly.

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A sculpture by Harry Bertoia lines a garden walk.

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All photos courtesy of Rebecca and Stephen Rosenbaum.

February 16th, 2015|0 Comments

Inspire Me Monday: Dramatic Palm Springs Restoration

When architecture enthusiasts Kevin Lane and Shev Rush took on this 1954 home by Donald Wexler, little remained of its original mid-century glory. The Leeds Howard House had been remodeled so extensively that the simple beauty of its original design was all but lost.

Over a five year restoration, however, Kevin and Shev peeled back the layers and found the lovely bones that lay beneath. Today, the home is spectacular, with perfect mid-century modern appeal and a few updates to bring it into the 21st century.

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All photos courtesy of Deasy/Penner & Partners.

February 3rd, 2015|0 Comments