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emeryville demo 2

Emeryville Renovation: Part 2

In this Backstory series, preview the loft renovation that will be the My House story in Dwell's November issue—our first-ever online sneak peek. Here, Emeryville, California, architect Peter Benoit shares the process behind customizing the San Francisco Bay area loft he shares with his wife, Lynda. Catch up with Part 1: The Way it Was here, and keep reading for Part 2: Drawings and Demolition.   After we moved in and had a chance to live in our new home, the first thing I did was draw a master plan of the entire place with detailed field measurings of the existing layout. We needed to add some material, some warmth, some wood, some texture—it was all dull before that. Then, I made a bunch of master plan options. One of the options was very involved—it would entail opening a big hole between the kitchen and living area. I scaled that back and we decided to open up half of the living room so we could get the loft back and redefine the area. I looked at a lot of different schemes: Originally, I considered a series of built-in bookshelves, or treating the entry way with different materials—even lacquered panels at one point. I kept playing around with it for weeks. In the end the space really called for a volume, and I started seeing the unit that housed the bedroom as a box rather than two different walls. Then I imagined it as a uniform material, which really simplified everything. Next I moved on to construction drawings. 
September 22, 2011
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An Idyllic Swedish Summerhouse

It's been a while since I've seen a project as desirable and jealousy-making as this one (and working at Dwell, that means a lot...!). This summer house, renovated by Jonas Labbé and Johannes Schotanus of LASC for a family in Skåne, Sweden, is to me the perfect example of how strong design, thoughtfully placed bursts of strong color, and honest natural treatment can elevate even the simplest forms and materials. Click through the slideshow for a peek into the loveliest summer retreat.
September 21, 2011
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Jerusalem's Hotel Mamilla

When plans were introduced for the Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem, which opened in June of 2009 and is among the few selected five-star hotels in the city, it sparked a bit of controversy. This completely modern property could have threatened the sacredness of the Old City and its desire to keep an ancient aesthetic. But all was set at ease once architect Moshe Safdie and designer Piero Lissoni took creative rein. Faced with the challenge of designing a contemporary property for Alrov Luxury Group while honoring the municipal law of building with Jerusalem stone (local practice for years), Israeli-born Safdie used the material’s characteristics to his advantage. He took a medium used for centuries and practically redefined it by delivering something fresh and modern. 
September 19, 2011
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More Finds from The Vintage Bazaar

We recently featured The Vintage Bazaar as the Design Finder in our October Made in the USA issue. Here, founders Libby Alexander and Katherine Raz take us on a tour of their most recent event in May. Chicagoland folks, take note: the next pop-up will take place on Sunday, September 18th! Libby and I came up with the idea for the Vintage Bazaar over drinks one afternoon—actually, it was the first day we met! I had come to Libby’s home to take photos for a home tour post on my blog, Backgarage.com. We hit it off immediately and ended up chatting for about four hours post-shoot and afterward Libby mixed me a cocktail. It was then that we discussed how it seemed like most of the flea markets in Chicago were either too pricey, too collectibles-focused (antique advertisi— what? I fell asleep), or all about overstock socks and stale nachos. Where, we wondered, was an affordable, curated flea market in the city that combined shopping, beer, and good tunes? We determined it didn't exist, so we set out to create it.
September 13, 2011
Katherine Raz (left) and Libby Alexander, founders of Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up flea market in Chicago.

The Seekers

Thanks to the Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up market started by locals Katherine Raz and Libby Alexander, the Windy City is brimming with prime design finds.
September 13, 2011
Dechirer Tile

Rough Trade

September 9, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 26

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 26: Overview and Intermission Six and a half months ago I introduced the Dwell audience to our project. Time flies. Four years ago we purchased land and the crazy journey began. In 26 weekly installments I've shared the good, the bad and the ugly with you in the hope that it inspires you to go and take a chance on that project you've always been dreaming of, whether it be a room remodel, house remodel, or a full-on start-from-scratch dream project. This post and slideshow signifies the end of the first half of the series. It's a chance for me to step away and take a break from the weekly blog, and celebrate the milestone of finally receiving our building permit—and a chance for you to go back and read some of the past posts to catch up with our story. There's been a lot of photos shared, some behind-the-scenes video sneak-peeks into the project, some fun interviews with the different players involved and lots of heart-on-the-sleeve commentary from the trenches on what it takes to take on a project of this scale. I've enjoyed the comments (most of them) and questions. We've had a great number of Dwell readers continue to the conversation on our Facebook page and many visit the website for the documentary film series. Both online platforms will continue and the Facebook page is a great way to stay connected to the project. During our halftime intermission we will be securing the final details of our construction loan, helping our kids transition into the school year and generally just taking a big sigh of relief as four years for us of preparation, permits, surveys, drawings, concepts, revisions, clearing, thinning, mitigation, wetland reviews, drainage studies, geotechnical drilling, hiccups, pleasant surprises and more have resulted in the end goal of getting the designs approved and green-lighted for the second half of the project: construction. The Dwell editors have promised to let me come come back and share more stories when we break ground on the house. What took us four years to to achieve you've experienced at light speed in just 26 weeks. I encourage fans of the project to reach out via Facebook; we are more than happy to field questions and share further details about our project. Although we cannot promise to answer every question we will do our best. I look forward to the moment that we can visually walk you through the finished project. Thank you all for the opportunity to share our story. We hope we've inspired some to take the plunge and others to start thinking about their own modern dreams.   Cheers! Maxon Family  
September 7, 2011
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Inspired Design

September 6, 2011
The Satélite Towers, Mexico City, Mexico.

Science Fiction Architecture

For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to industrial designer Gustavo Fricke. We featured him and his Oaxaca shop Blackbox in our July/August issue's Design Finder ("Hecho in Oaxaca," online here). He currently lives in San Francisco and has traveled a fair bit, so I was curious to hear which three buildings inspire him most. Sure enough, his picks span the globe, from Mexico City to San Francisco to Paris.   When asked what unites the three buildings he selected, Fricke replies: "Since I was a kid I've been fascinated by science fiction. Science fiction explores future scenarios that push the boundaries of our imagination. These three buildings, too, allow for the projection of the imaginary—for the representation in our present time of a future world to come. They are props of a future possibility, frozen in time."
September 2, 2011
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