Monday, August 21, 2017

Slab and Template: Together Forever

I am currently working on a whole-house remodel for a client and we are in the kitchen phase. After we picked out our color scheme for the cabinets, counter, and backsplash, we set about choosing materials. I found a gorgeous backsplash made out of crosshatch pieces of light cream marble punctuated with decorative squares of variegated Dream Stone.

Since the feeling of this house is light, open, and calm, I wanted a counter material that would have very minimal movement in terms of a pattern so as not to compete with the texture of the backsplash. My clients prefer natural stone and one of the prettiest out there is Crema Marfil. This stone is a marble, and while I generally try to steer clients away from using marble in a kitchen setting as it can etch from acidic foods like vinegar and lemons, Crema Marfil is a little heartier. If properly sealed, and if you are the type of cook who cleans up as you go, then this marble could be for you. The cream color has beautiful clouds of tan and warm grey, making it a soft visual statement.

But choosing the type of material is only half the story. When buying slabs for a kitchen, I always like to bring clients to the marble and stone slab showroom so we can choose the exact slabs we want. Stone is a natural material and variation in color and pattern is an inevitability. So it is wise to have the slab warehouse open up what is called the "packet" (the bundle of stone slabs in their order of how they were mined from the quarry) for your inspection. After all, the sample you saw might be from a packet or bundle that was quarried years ago and the material being quarried now might not look the same in terms of color or veining.

My client and I went to the slab warehouse where they used a special mechanized crane to lift and lay out seven slabs for us to review. Only three are needed for the kitchen so we had a nice selection to choose from. Below you can see the rows and rows of slabs under the movable crane that travels up and down the aisles.

It's a delicate and dangerous operation as these slabs can weight upwards of 800 or 900 pounds each.

And here are the slabs, in sequence of how they appear in the packet, laid out for us to inspect.

After we chose three slabs, they were shipped to the fabricator for a template review. Larger marble and stone warehouses often only sell the material and do not act as fabricators (the ones who will cut the slabs up into counter shapes with properly sized holes for sinks and faucets, etc.). In this case, the fabricator is nearby so transport was relatively simple. If you choose your slabs from the fabricator, this step will obviously be eliminated.

Here are photos of the templates on our chosen slabs. A template is a pattern that is made by the fabricator of the exact dimensions and shapes of the counter top. Sink and faucet holes are cut on site to guarantee precision.

These are just a few of the many thousands of steps and decisions involved in a kitchen remodel. If you're thinking of a new kitchen but feel overwhelmed with the prospect, give me a call. I'm happy to guide you through it all to the kitchen of your dreams.

Happy designing!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Know Your Chairs: The UP 5 and 6 or "Donna" Chair

Gaetano Pesce created this chair for B&B Italia (then known as C&B Italia) in 1969 out of polyurethane foam and a jersey stretch fabric. Primarily an architect, Pesce is also an industrial designer working on creating chairs with organic forms. His UP5 and 6 Chair--5 is the chair and 6 is the attached ottoman--is also known as the "La Mama Chair" or the "Donna Chair" (donna being the Italian word for woman) because the form is unmistakably female. The chair is still in production through B&B Italia who describe the chair this way:

"The chair is a metaphor of a large comfortable womb and recalls ancient statues of fertility goddesses. However, it has something extra: a spherical ottoman tied to the armchair. Therefore, the image of comfort and convenience is combined with a more figurative image of a woman with a ball and chain on her foot. Gaetano Pesce explains the project as follows: 'At that time, I was telling a personal story about my concept of women: I believe that women have always been unwilling prisoners of themselves. This is why I decided to give this armchair the shape of a woman with a ball and chain, a traditional image of a prisoner.'"

Perhaps what Pesce more accurately means is that women, by being themselves, have always been prisoners of men.

Happy designing!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fiorito Interior Design On Film!

I am very pleased to debut a new promotional film for Fiorito Interior Design! Meet me, and learn about my business and my design process.

If you'd like to schedule a free one-hour initial meeting to discuss a project, please email me or give me a call. I'd love to help!
Happy designing!

Monday, July 31, 2017

L.A. in L.A.: Lindsey Adelman in Los Angeles

Lighting design pioneer Lindsey Adelman opened her first studio in New York Cityin 2006 and quickly became a go-to source for unique, stunning fixtures. And now Adelman just opened up a West Coast outpost, the only other showroom aside from her original in Manhattan. She employs a team of craftsmen and artisans to create each piece by hand, and yes, the glass is blown right in Brooklyn.

Her Branching globe light is an oft-imitated classic, available in different numbers of globes and colorways. It always reminds me of atomic chains...

The Agnes light riffs on the atomic chain design but with rods instead of globes. I love this silhouette for an organically shaped fixture, branching off randomly.

The Burst fixture combines the globes of the classic Branching fixture with beautiful blown glass shards.

The Clamp light is quite unique in the world of light fixtures. It shows in a custom installation for Uber's offices in San Francisco.

The Knotty fixture is a work of art combing knotted rope with spheres of different sizes and colors.

But it's her Fringed Cherry Bomb fixture that has me swooning--I love the addition of chain mail mesh that acts like glittery sparkles of a cherry bomb.

I recently mentioned Adelman on this blog several posts back when I visited the San Francisco Decortaor Showcase and saw the work of Ian Stallings, here. He used a Branching fixture to nice effect for the bedroom of a thirteen year-old boy. Lucky him!

Happy designing!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Famous Homes: The Glass House

In our Famous Homes series, we previously visited The Stahl House in Los Angeles, here.

Let's visit another modernist masterpiece, The Glass House or The Johnson House. It was built in 1949 by architect Philip Johnson for himself on a 45-acre plot in New Canaan, Connecticut that also features thirteen other architectural experiments, but it is the Glass House that remains iconic and legendary.

Inspired by Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House and the idea of German "glass architecture" from the 1920s, The Glass House is an open, 1,700 square foot structure made of industrial materials. Since the entire envelope of the house is glass, there is an intense and intimate relationship with the surrounding landscape. The view serves as a kind of "wallpaper"--Johnson once even quipped "I have very expensive wallpaper."

The house is sparsely furnished according to Modernist/Minimlaist sensibility. But with Minimalism, the few furniture pieces that are present need to be chosen with extreme care. And here we see the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair and ottoman, previously discussed here, and the Barcelona daybed, previously discussed here.

Living in a glass house can have its challenges, and while the house itself cannot really be seen from the road--and there are clearly no neighbors to overlook--the house none the less occasionally needed some kind of window covering to block the glare of oblique sun. Johnson chose to install woven flat panels by Conrad on a slim track.

The only structure inside the house is a brick cylinder that houses both a fireplace and bathroom.

The dining area is opposite the semi-hidden kitchen.

And here is the kitchen which is more of an island that can be closed up when not in use.

A brick herringbone floor features radiant heat below which helps to keep the temperature of the house at a constant comfortable level.

The brick cylinder fireplace...

...and bathroom entrance.

The curves of the cylinder, door, interior bathroom walls and circular shower provide relief from the rectilinear structure of the house itself.

The sleeping area is concealed behind a set of storage units.

Despite being a very ill-informed early supporter of Hitler, Johnson was gay and lived in The Glass House with his longtime partner of 45 years, David Whitney, an art curator, gallerist, and critic who was a close friend of Andy Warhol. Johnson came out publicly in 1993. Both men died in 2005, Johnson in his sleep while at The Glass House at the age of 89, and Whitney at the young age of 66.

Philip Johnson, left, with David Whitney at the dining area of The Glass House

The Glass House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997, now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is open to the public for guided tours. The Glass House also hosts many diverse art shows and installations, concerts, and dance performances. Check their site for more information.

Happy designing!