written by:
December 25, 2010
In this new, exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture will track the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Los Angeles. Week 4 project: 'Hot Pink Heart' (a.k.a installing curtains).
A friend of mine, Takayoshi Nonaka, came over a couple months ago for a little get together and noticed that the palm trees above our house are shaped in the form of a heart. He took a photo that captured this magical silhouette, which we see right outside Oleana’s window.

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When we were looking to make curtains for the windows facing the west and street, I thought back to this magical image.

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While I tend to drift toward the color palate of Woody Allen’s lesser-known but beautiful film 'Interiors' (see photo above)—subtle grays and neutrals—I am also attracted to intense color. In the past week we have had an incredible amount of rain and grey skies, and among the grey, bright color pops out.

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For the curtains we worked with Elodie Blanchard, of Elastico, who is an amazing designer and textile artist based in New York. We had the good fortune of getting to know Elodie on our project the off-grid itHouse, where she made a series of curtains in a range of fabrics. For this project we wanted to play with color and pattern and apply some optical and theatrical effects to create a completely different space upstairs. We also invited our daughter to participate in the process.

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We started with basic ripstop nylon fabric, a lightweight material used in parachutes, which would work like a color gel on the interior space when closed. Oleana’s room is the only painted room, and since it's white we knew it would pick up whatever color we chose. If you are going to ask a child to select which color they like best, you have to be prepared to have some fun. Of course she chose hot pink!

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Starting with the photo of the heart-shaped palm trees, Elodie created a full-scale template, which she had cut out of felt. Then she sewed it onto the hot pink ripstop nylon.

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The finished curtain makes the entire room glow pink and causes everything in the room to shift color. Like a Dan Flavin light sculpture, the pink gel turns warm yellow light into green, which we saw upon leaving the room.

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Opening the curtain reveals the mirror image of the heart shaped palm trees just beyond.

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The surprise of opening the door to Oleana’s room from the otherwise dark wood interior of the Courtyard Apartment and finding it aglow with pink is like taking a chromatherapy bath.

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For the adjacent den—previously a bedroom and now an open loft space—we made a sister curtain in dark blue to create an entirely different mood.

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From the outside, especially on an unusually rainy Los Angeles afternoon, the intensity of the color blasts out of the window. At night the silhouette of the palm tree heart glows like a sign—which for Hollywood seems appropriate.

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A double rainbow!

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