Ken Kellogg | Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | The High Desert House

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Here is an informative NY Times article about Kendrick Bangs Kellogg with a focus on  the High Desert House, in Joshua Tree.

Having lived in San Diego, CA, I long admired the work Kellogg did in the area. Years ago, I  was also lucky to be involved with a local lecture and tour of some of his projects.  It was wonderful to be able experience his work in person, particularly the relationships of the  interior, exterior and site on a range of projects.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/t-magazine/joshua-tree-house-kendrick-bangs-kellogg.html#

 

Summer’s Journey Into the Past

IMG_4134aLast summer, I wandered into an “estate sale” by following a sign down a narrow road. The sale took place at a house that it appeared the home’s owner had lived in for many, many years. Items that had been neatly stored and lovingly cared for were on display in every room of a 1950’s era home. I was entranced, not so much because I found great bargains on items but instead to see objects and a place dearly loved and cared for by someone.

It did make me a bit melancholy to see that the person behind the various collections of things had passed on and their belongings remained. Yet, glimpses into what appeared to be a well-ordered life with some well-loved things was fascinating.

When leaving the sale I grabbed contact information for the company holding the event and made note of upcoming sales to be held over the summer. While my summer was ridiculously busy, I was able to visit several similar “estate sales” over the course of the summer and early fall. In looking back it may have been my favorite form of entertainment last summer (other than the occasional paddle-board outing, lake swim or evening jog).

My reason for placing the words “estate sale” within quotation marks here has to do with the fact that word estate can imply something rather grand and this particular company holds sales in smaller, less imposing homes that would be considered middle class by most standards (within the United States).

It occurred to me as I wandered through these sales that most of the homes had not been renovated over the last 50-75 years and this might be the other reason I found the experience so fascinating. As a designer, I am very interested in renovation but also in places that have not been renovated or remodeled. I enjoy seeing the original details of homes and examining the layout of spaces, and to see how people actually used the spaces within homes of differing eras.

It’s the ultimate invasion of privacy to enter a dwelling when the homeowner is no longer alive, and yet I find myself drawn to see thermos bottles from 1962 next to an insurance agency’s give-away 1974 calendar set carefully beside a complimentary butter dish from the local car dealership circa 1953. Clearly, these items are owned not only by the departed, but exist part of a shared history, and I am drawn to this trip into our material history.

Or maybe I am just nosey?

In any case, at each sale I looked for something to purchase that I could use and was able to pick up objects such as this great mortar & pestle as well as that butter dish from the car dealership.

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Interior Design

IMG_4387What to call it? Maybe Interior Architecture? Sometimes, maybe, if you are actually doing that. Or, perhaps if it is a description of an academic program housed within an architecture school.

For me Interior Design continues to be the best way to describe this area of design.

Interior Design continues to be the best term to describe work done on projects that range from large scale commercial interiors that include significant space planning, materials, finish and furniture selections, to projects that focus on FF&E as well as residential design projects.

In selecting titles for books I have written I have always been intent on including “Interior Design” in the title. I have been asked to consider titles that might be seen as more general with less of a focus on the word “Interior” so that the books might be seen as more palatable to architects and other design professionals. But, I’m pretty happy to carry the banner and to keep pushing the profession forward in any way that I can.

Interior Design

July in the midwest; its warm, things are growing and I’m busy.

IMG_4081 2I’m deeply involved in a revision of the book Residential Interior Design (3rd edition); a book revision is both more and less complicated than one might think as follows:

Uncomplicated = the structure is set unless something doesn’t work.

Complicated = there is a protocol to using old art/images and new. And, coding all the things for the new book that can get a little weird and ummm –complicated. Also, it takes forever to fiddle around with little mistakes in artwork and then I fall down a rabbit hole of getting too picky and I just want to sit and do Illustrator all day long (and listen to music, which is easier than writing for me).

Revisions are great because its good to get a chance for a “do over” on any project and that is what I find most appealing as there are always things that don’t quite work out (and there they are in print for all the world to see).

So, its good to fix them up, sort of like tidying up.

Also, its great to be able to update facts and figures as they do change rather dramatically from year to year. For example, in the edition I am revising I wrote that LED luminaires are not commonly used in residences –which was correct when I wrote it –but not so much now. Digging around with researching items for each chapter updates me with current information for teaching –so I gain quite a lot in this process.

In other news, a cat seems to have adopted our family but wants to live outside so I have attached a collar with a bell to the beast in the hope that he does not wipe out all of the song birds we have in our yard.

Before work on the book become so intense I was doing a fair amount of reading including Dead Wake by Erik Larson (about the Lusitania), Pioneer Girl (the original manuscript of Laura Ingalls Wilder edited by Pamela Smith Hill with some fascinating footnotes), Some Luck by Jane Smiley (part of a trilogy that I want to keep reading). Anne Tyler’s new book A Spool of Blue Thread (which sent me back to read Back When We Were Grownups).

And, like a bunch of other people I am reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (can’t tell if I agree with her approach but its interesting in light of my working on a book on the design of homes).

WIX For Portfolios.

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This picture has nothing to do with portfolios other than being a relaxing interlude.

As usual I learned something helpful from students this week. I was talking to a group about portfolios and the topic of personal portfolio websites came up. When I mentioned using WordPress, a student (actually several) told me they find WIX more helpful for developing an online portfolio. I looked into it and I tend to agree!

Like WordPress WIX has a free version available;  seems simple to use and look at and allows for large images to be easily inserted. Based on a quick run through, I think the free version of WIX is a bit easier to customize with color and fonts than WordPress and does seem like a good fit for use as a quick online portfolio site.

Regardless of the site used, I recommend developing an online design portfolio AFTER developing the digital or print version. This would mean one follows the steps of traditional portfolio development in terms of: 1 assessing goals, interests: 2 creating inventories of work and fine tuning projects, 3 developing a clear visual direction for the portfolio. This will lead to developing the “portfolio page graphics” (consistent title-block, graphics and layout) in in-design or similar software and then uploading those pages to a blog/website service such as WordPress, WIX or Google Bloger..

Here are links to the website services I mentioned:

https://wordpress.com

http://www.wix.com/

http://www.blogger.com.

Also you can search for Google

US Housing Size | Back to Big

While looking for updating information on the US housing market for a new edition of Residential Interior Design I found that:

The recent recession brought the first decrease in average American home size with new single-family homes almost 100 square feet smaller in 2009 than in 2007” According to NAHB (2010).

That decrease was relatively short-lived with average home size reaching new high of 2,679 square feet in 2013.

So we are back to big, I guess. Yet at the same time there is increased interest in “tiny houses”. (See recent post). Additionally, there is a movement back to cities with adaptive re-use of buildings for residential units (and related issues of gentrification). It will be interesting to watch how these approaches to housing evolve over time.