Tag Archives: architecture

The Lure of Horror Film

October is a spooky month–perfect for a visit to the scary exhibit at Seattle’s EMP museum: The Lure of Horror Film.

Can't look away

Truth be told, I’d rather laugh than be scared, but I was intrigued by the exhibit. And despite not being a die-hard horror fan, I’d seen a lot of the movies featured in the exhibit, which made it extra fun to see the props used in the film.

spooky selfie

The exhibit was curated by three horror film directors: Roger Corman, John Landis, and Eli Roth. They’ve put together a terrific collection, including a scream booth, movie artifacts, a shadow monster installation and horror soundscapes. Examples like:

The axe from The Shining:

shining axe

A stick man from The Blair Witch Project:

Blair Witch man

The alien creature suit from Alien:

Alien suit

Props from The Fly:

The Fly

Jason’s hockey mask and machete from Friday the 13th:

Mask from Friday the 13th

And a zombie suit from Michael Jackson’s Thriller:

zombie suit from Thriller

One of the scarier things I found in the museum was not intentional. I took a few pictures in the reflective ceiling in the EMPs expansive atrium. The combination of curved metal and screws turned us into monsters of sorts.

Are you going to see the show? What do you have to be scared of?

scream gallery


Filed under Architecture, Events, Film

Doors of New York

When I wandered the streets of New York a couple of weeks ago with my parents, I took a lot of pictures. We all did. Between the three of us, we had five devices–one DSLR, two point-and-shoots, a smartphone and an iPad! We didn’t set out to capture a series of doors, but there’s something about doors that drew us in. And when I looked through the photos, I saw a theme.

Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but my dad said you can tell a lot by the interior of a house by what the front door looks like. He should know–he’s a painter and decorator and I bet he’s painted a lot of doors!

I hope you enjoy a few of the doors we captured in pixels.

Here’s a beautiful building a block away from the place we stayed at in Harlem. Warm, inviting wooden doors and pretty flower boxes drew me to this scene.

twin doors

A red door is classic and the black shutters and brass mail slot and kicker add elegance to this doorway in Chelsea.

red and black

I liked the arched doorway, the combination of dark wood and light stone, and the flowers flanking the steps.

arched wooden door

Carved faces and grapes, and lions guarding the stairs makes this entry special. The black door with half window is very inviting.


Another red door, this one with great ironwork and crisp, white shutters.

red and white

The entry to this cathedral in Morningside Heights had a heavy, strong door.

brass handle

Nothing beats a fire station for style. I really liked this one in Little Italy.

fire station

I like the greenery growing around this door’s arch. The iron gate is a nice touch that adds privacy without being obtrusive.

black door

I can’t stop looking at the warm tones of this wooden door in Greenwich Village. The forest green trim works well with the wood and bricks.

green and wood

Here’s the detail of the door knocker–lovely!


How does a building or house draw you in? Is it the doors, the garden, windows, something else? Have you done something special to your entry?


Filed under Architecture, Photography, Travel

Shadow Shot: Savannah

I enjoy writing posts about art and I enjoy taking pictures and the Shadow Shot challenge is a way to participate in both. Why then, have I neglected my shadow shots for so long? I hope to make up for lost time with a few shots from Savannah, Georgia.

I visited Savannah last month on the annual trip I take with a few friends. What a gorgeous city–and full of history! We enjoyed wandering through the historic part of town and snapping shots of brick and ironwork.

American flag


I’m always happy when I see palm trees–it means winters can’t be that harsh.

Mansion on Forsythe Park

The skies were blue and the weather was perfect–mid 80s (mid 30s for all you Celsius folks!).


Is it the shadows or do those cherubs look angry?


We found a lot of tattoo parlors, each with interesting signs. Here’s one of my favorites.


Even misplaced recycling looks nice with the sun shining on it.

blue bottle

We imbibed too, at a second-story bar next to our hotel, The Mansion at Forsythe Park. I’m so glad I didn’t find out until after our visit that the hotel was built on a cemetery and the bar was once a funeral parlor. Yikes!


By day, the hotel doesn’t seem haunted at all. The pool was in a relaxing courtyard surrounded by palm trees.


Savannah is a wonderful city and I’ll add other posts soon too: The fashions, the beach, the Scottish Highland Games–we had a fun and busy weekend and I can’t wait to share more pictures with you.


Filed under Architecture, Art, Photography, Travel

Solaire Chairs for my Front Entry

When I bought my house, I thought of all the wonderful Mid-Century things I could do to it. The place was built in 1961 and is begging for a retro remodel.

One of my first projects was sprucing up the front (if you look back, the area to the left of the entry was soil, with a topiary-style tree and a yellow bush). I remembered an amazing style of chair from my childhood. I didn’t know the name of the chair, but several web searches later, I found out: The Solaire.

Solaire chair

Two Solaire chairs now sit in my front entry. As luck would have it, one of the few places in the country where I found the chairs was right here in Seattle!

two Solaire Chairs

I transplanted the tree and bush to the backyard, covered the soil with weed-inhibiting fabric from the garden store, and laid down a layer of pebbles. Now I have two sunny pops of color by my front door and a place for friends to sit. The backyard is quieter and more private, but it’s nice to people watch and catch the evening sun from the front.

orange and yellow Solaire chairs

I like the story behind the chair. The Solaire was designed in 1972 by Fabio Fabiano and Michelange Panzini. It’s a terrific representation of a clean, modern design. They were popular poolside in backyards and motels across Canada and the USA. I’m proud to have a piece of Canadian design history. And in case anyone else wants them, I chained them down! But if you’re in Seattle, you can buy them at Click! Design That Fits.


Filed under Architecture, Decor, DIY

Visiting Fallingwater

Two years ago, I traveled to Mill Run, PA with my friend Donna to visit Fallingwater, an amazing home by Frank Lloyd Wright, built for the Kaufmann family. The Kaufmanns owned a department store of the same name and liked to spend weekend in the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of Pittsburgh. Frank Lloyd Wright is probably America’s most famous architect. He designed the house and built it in the latter part of the 1930s.

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

I’d always wanted to visit this home. Thankfully it’s a National Historic Landmark and is safe from demolition, unlike a lot of Mid-Century Modern architecture (including other houses by Wright). Who would tear down an amazing piece of history–art you can live in?

edge of house

The multilevel home is long and linear and seems to float over the falls. Inside, it’s exquisite, yet unassuming. The ceilings are low and the rooms are open. Light floods in and it’s hard to tell where the walls stop and nature begins. That was the idea: To bring nature in and enjoy living with the falls.

fallingwater architechture collage

The Kaufmanns were world travellers. They collected art from all over the world and the decor in the house reflects their eclectic style. You might see a modern Picasso painting in one room, a 200-year-old Persian rug in another, and a 15th Century Madonna statue in yet another.

fallingwater art collage

Donna and I drove from my parent’s house in Cambridge, Ontario through Buffalo, NY and on to Pittsburgh. After a fun weekend traipsing though galleries and shopping districts, we made the two-hour drive to Fallingwater. We wandered through the house and grounds on a guided tour, snapping shot after shot of iconic art, furniture, and the architecture that we’d only read about in university. It was an amazing experience.

fallingwater interior collage

The department store is now a Macy’s, and the Kaufmanns are long gone, but their legacy, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, will live on in the woods in Mill Run, PA. If you ever get a chance to visit, you won’t regret it.

multilevel home


Filed under Architecture, Art, Events, Photography, Travel

George Nelson Exhibit at the BAM

I went to the Bellevue Art Museum on the last day of the George Nelson exhibit a few weeks ago. George Nelson was an industrial designer and one of the founders of American Modernism, a style I’m really fond of. It was exciting to see a floor in the museum dedicated to his work and filled with his creations.

Nelson sign

I first learned about Nelson when I saw his Nelson bench in a Herman Miller catalog. I still want one of those–and as soon as I get a place with a hallway or front entry big enough for a bench, I will. His designs are simple, beautiful, and iconic.

Nelson benches

Nelson argued that designers should make the world a better place. He believed that nature was already perfect and designers should follow the rules of nature to create pleasing designs. Staying true to his word, he designed many of the quintessential mid-century modern styles we know today, from starburst clocks to three-cornered “coconut” chairs.

Nelson introduced people to the concept of the family room and storage wall, forever changing how we lived in our homes.

storage wall in Life magazine

But he did makes some decisions that he later regretted. While working with the Herman Miller furniture company, he came up with the idea for the office cubicle. It was hugely successful, but as Nelson later lamented, the cubical system “is definitely not a system which produces an environment gratifying for people in general. But it is admirable for planners looking for ways of cramming in a maximum number of bodies.” He was right. Herman Miller’s Action Office II line has sold over $5 billion  worth of products. I’ll think of that next time I sit in my cubical.

place setting

Critics have pointed out that George Nelson tool credit for some of the designs that came out of his studio even though other designers created them. The marshmallow sofa is such an example.

Overall, the exhibit was fun. I learned a lot about the man, his designs, and the changes happening in post-war America.



Filed under Decor, Events

Shadow Shot: Miami Beach at Dusk

I’m participating in another Shadow Shot Sunday. This time, I’m showing the walk I took down Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida. Ocean Drive is part of the South Beach neighborhood. It all sounds very complicated. All you need to know it that this area is hot, gorgeous, and features a lot of amazing art deco hotels and other buildings. The structures are in original condition and boast an array of pastel colors.

This hotel is a great example of art deco style, with its geometric shapes, sharp lines, and streamlined curves.


This large building is illuminated with lights. The palms add softness and remind me that I was, in fact, in the tropics.

big hotel

This building had a subtle light show. The color of the facade slowly changed from green to blue to purple to red to orange.

green lights

blue lights

I loved the corner detailing on these two buildings and the beautiful palms that adorned its entry.


two homes

People kept photographing this home and I finally learned what all the fuss was about. It’s a hotel now but was once the residence of fashion designer Gianni Versace. (Sadly, he was gunned down on the steps of his home in 1997.) This is one of the most photographed homes in America.

House of Versace

As soon as the sun disappeared, beautiful, wealthy people flooded Ocean Drive. They arrived in Lamborginis and Bentleys and were ready for a night on the town. That was my cue to head home. It’s a great place but it’s hard to keep up.

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogs posts about Shadowy Shots.


Filed under Architecture, Fashion, Photography

Hat ‘n’ Boots: Big shoes to fill

These boots, together with a giant cowboy hat, make up the Hat ‘n’ Boots attraction at Oxbow park in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.


The Hat ‘n’ Boots were built in 1954 as part of a Western-themed gas station. The gas station is long gone. Fortunately the City of Seattle relocated the buildings/sculptures to the park to preserve them. They are the largest hat and cowboy boots in America.

Sometimes you don’t need to travel far to find interesting things. I like exploring Seattle and discovering Americana from a bygone era. On this day, we wandered though Georgetown. Georgetown is a bit gritty. It’s industrial and residential. It has a thriving artist community and good bars and restaurants. It has a blue-collar feel and is really down-to-earth. Until you see the size of their boots!


Filed under Architecture, Art

Mad Art Homes Take over Seattle

Run, don’t walk, to the Mad Art Homes in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood! Until August 7, 2011, five soon-to-be demolished homes are works of art. Several artists were given access to the interior and exterior of the homes and have created installation pieces in, on, and in between them. Here’s a small sampling of the photos I took of the exhibit:


Sculptures adorn the lawns of the homes


The homes are wrapped in art


A mechanical wolf pops out of the floorboards at regular intervals


Paintings on globes appear whole when viewed on the monitor


Clothing lines the surfaces of the rooms in this house

This free, art exhibit is open to the public every day between 12 and 7. You can find them at 711 Bellevue Avenue East, Seattle, WA. It’s vibrant a residential neighborhood, made even more so for the next two weeks.

They might not be fit for inhabitation, but the homes have become a perfect canvas/gallery for art.

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Filed under Architecture, Art

Stripes in Sunny Seattle

Hurrah! Another wonderful day. It’s been sunny and 80 degrees in Seattle this weekend and everyone is out. The beaches are packed, Pike Place is hopping, and I got out too.



Cardigan: Smart Set
Top: Target
Skirt: Dress Barn
Belt: Steve Madden
Shoes: Aerosoles
Sunglasses: Target

Today my husband and I went to India Bistro for a buffet lunch. We spent time wandering around Ballard and Fremont, just enjoying the day. Then, I found my dream home.

cement home




It’s a poured cement structure on the edge of an industrial area in between Fremont and Ballard. It’s steps away from a bike path, and close to a supermarket, but it doesn’t have immediate neighbors. That’s my ideal: in the city, but without anybody next door.

I love the lush gardens with wisteria vines hanging from overhead, and all sorts of perennial groundcover. No lawn to mow. The doors are red (to match the car?) and the window frames are turquoise. It’s a postmodern structure and seems perfect for an urban couple. My husband pointed out that the lower level is a business and the upper floors are the residence. Live/work perfection! It’s not for sale, nor would it be in my price range, but it’s good to know what I like. Nothing wrong with having goals.


Filed under Architecture, Fashion