Month: October 2018

Between Sea and Sky on Raft Island

Between Sea and Sky on Raft Island

An artist enclave on Raft Island overlooks Carr Inlet in the southern end of Puget Sound, Washington. About one hour in Seattle, this modern architectural wonder was designed and built by the owner’s son, Randall Lanou, from BuildSense from North Carolina. Barbara Lee Smith and her husband, Mel, were hands-on all the way, creating a masterpiece both inside and outside.

Tucked between the ocean and the sky, and surrounded by evergreens, two constructions constituting a home and art are a careful combination of pure timber, corrugated metal and steel. Nearly 95 percent of the timber from a current 1968 A-frame has been repurposed in everything in the floors and decks to the stairs, closets and wine cellar. Artwork by Barbara hangs as comfortably here in her home as it does in museums and galleries around the world, although Mel’s intricate wood designs are integrated into hand-hewn tables and wall hangings.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Mel and Barbara Lee Smith, married for 41 years
Design and location: Modern Loft on Raft Island, Gig Harbor, Washington
Size: Main house, 3,200 square feet; independent artist studio, 900 square feet

Wendy K. Leigh

Having a distinctive style cultivated by their own son and architect, Randall Lanou, the most important home has complete views of Puget Sound. Carefully honoring the first A-frame constructed by means of a boat builder, the Smiths and their general contractor Willie Tompkins returned the structure to its base, then reused nearly every piece of the first cedar planks, beams and shingles.

Wendy K. Leigh

Mel fashioned an great piece of Sequoia into a desk weighing approximately 200 pounds following the timber dried. It took nearly six months to build, and breaks down into two pieces for smaller, more intimate dining when the couple is home independently. Though the home was only finished in 2008, their four grown children have all made their marks on the inside and exterior spaces with assorted pieces of artwork, design, and photographic collections.

Wendy K. Leigh

Rooms flow into one another, with all the kitchen framed by bamboo topped with little frosted supply closets. Cubbyholes for displaying artwork are carved into the walls. The neighboring living room includes built-in bookshelves and a fireplace.

Wendy K. Leigh

Natural splits from one slab of Sequoia are combined together using a Japanese method known as bow tie or butterfly repair.

Wendy K. Leigh

A wood and metal walkway overhead permits views of the open-concept alive, diningroom, kitchen and living room spaces. Original artwork by the Smiths and their peers is strategically positioned throughout the home. Wooden ducks parade throughout the street in memory of Barbara’s dad, a lifelong decoy collector and maker.

Wendy K. Leigh

Spice racks are built into the kitchen cabinets and roll out for use. Floors in the kitchen, as well as through the house, are re-milled cedar in the first home.

Wendy K. Leigh

The guest bathroom is a work of art in itself, with antique metal linotypes placed above ceramic tiles. Barbara and Randall pictured the layout and worked together to create this spectacular montage in what would be failed wall area in many houses.

Wendy K. Leigh

The counter of the guest toilet is lined with antique linotype as well, and set into a concrete slab poured by the owners.

Wendy K. Leigh

A counter in the master bath includes genuine ammonites carefully placed into limestone. Ammonites are extinct, fossilized marine animals whose shells are collector’s pieces. The floors are created from walnut, while showers feature marble and combed bluestone.

Wendy K. Leigh

On the master bedroom , an intricately designed coat is lovingly mounted. Barbara’s middle name, Lee, takes following the man who wore this garment to his marriage.

Wendy K. Leigh

Layered vertical columns varying in heights from 7′ to 8’5″ stand guard midway up a flight of stairs. They are a part of a tapestry art installation by Barbara. She says the layout came to her in a dream when she was a young girl, and went on to garner acclaim in exhibitions in London and Poland.

Wendy K. Leigh

At a nod to the past and present, Mel constructed a dumbwaiter to transfer objects from the top floor to the reduced, emerging into the kitchen space. Even more often associated with earlier time intervals, these easy”lifts” are non-motorized and easy to assemble, using pulleys and ropes to take things down and up the stairs through the day.

Wendy K. Leigh

Mel is proud to point out that his wine cellar cost $7.86 — to the claws. The wine rack is constructed from sticks of cedar in the first home, when it had been milled to make the tongue-and-groove for the new floors. The timber which has been trimmed from the ends now retains their impressive wine collection, which is largely comprised of”barters” with individuals that are faking to have a piece of Barbara’s artwork for their home.

Wendy K. Leigh

Though this Raft Island home is a digital museum holding outstanding pieces of art within its own structure, the private work of the proprietor herself provides the most intimate glimpse into the philosophies at work behind this architectural gem. Hidden details reflect a world view that is not immediately apparent. Barbara is a fiber artist, working with non-woven industrial materials that belie a hot, earthy approach to living. The piece atop the Mexican desk is an archetypal boat design common in Indonesia and Africa.

Wendy K. Leigh

Roaming concerning the upstairs, various objects call out using their own narrative. This table was recovered from an architectural store, in which the Smiths learned that it was built by Floyd Gompf, a master furniture maker who produces functional”sculptures” from sterile materials.

Wendy K. Leigh

A framed lithograph by Robert Stackhouse has been the inspiration for the layout of the outside deck, which is viewable directly below an adjacent window. A fire pit onto the deck is constructed of bricks which once lined the base of the first house’s fireplace.

Wendy K. Leigh

Raft Island is a tiny community of about 750 residents, joined by a quaint bridge crossing Henderson Bay across from Gig Harbor. The Smiths needed their home to adopt the natural environment that is so vital to the lifestyle here, for instance, towering evergreen forest property next to their property. They discovered a way to enhance the gardens while staying true to the landscape by integrating the work of local artist Tom Torrens. A gong along with a birdbath are a part of the collection of his creations.

Wendy K. Leigh

When you first approach the house after following a winding driveway, Barbara’s art studio is the very first thing that pops into perspective. It’s joined to the main home farther down by a wood and steel walkway, mixing two constructions into natural extensions of home and work. Red corrugated metal frames the entryway of the studio; the whole lower side overlooks the water.

Wendy K. Leigh

From the adjacent art studio, Barbara functions with an intricate process involving painting, stacking and layering with bits of non-woven fabric that are stitched into patterns, resulting in a fluid landscape which at first seems like a watercolor painting.

Wendy K. Leigh

Though her studio is grand, with lots of levels of design and creativity inherent in the open spaces, Barbara invariably starts each day before sunrise, sitting in a comfy window seat, surrounded by her books and sketches. Facing her diagonally is a wall in which she pins her ongoing bits, placed so her attention could collapse upon them by an area, to ascertain how every one needs to progress.

Wendy K. Leigh

As if the baths in the primary house weren’t esoteric enough, the one from the art studio takes the cake. A wall constructed of Lutradur, her signature working cloth since 1983, is decorated with a montage of exotic art pieces and suspended out of hardware which once graced a barn door. Barbara’s new interpretation of a door slides back and forth to show (and hide ) a tiny bathroom.

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Architect's Toolbox: The Open Corner Window

Architect's Toolbox: The Open Corner Window

The traditional way of producing a room would be to build four partitions, each connected and vertical to the adjoining wall. Doors and windows are then”cut” or”punched” into the walls to join rooms and present views and light.

In the late 19th century, architects at the upper Midwest started to experiment with producing rooms that flowed into another and from inside to outside. They did so by removing the corners rather than linking wall to wall. Opening up by simply taking the corners of this room was like removing the corners of a rectangular bowl. The space within the room, like the water within the bowl, would flow freely, spilling out to the adjoining rooms and the exterior.

The outcome is that the open corner, like the flat roof, has become a signature of modern design.

Dick Clark + Associates

The lack of any structural assistance in the corner has the effect of flattening the space, transforming the perspective into what seems to be a large landscape painting.

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

The space of this room spills out into the mountainous landscape beyond, and the tree becomes part of the room.

Sutton Suzuki Architects

Glass wraps the corner, and the wall is almost nonexistent. The horizontal muntin bars form a residual corner and join the two walls. The space of this room is simultaneously contained and allowed to spill free, a great duality.

Bertram Architects

There’s not anything in the best way to impede the perspective whilst producing the next great piece of literature.

Dick Clark + Associates

The corner window gives this shower the illusion of being outside.

Rossington Architecture

Here is a fun and colorful version of the open corner, proof that this instrument may be used across any style.

SDG Architecture, Inc..

Like individual frames of a film, the windows capture increasing quantities of treetop and sky, while the open space keeps the progression going.

Laidlaw Schultz architects

Walls of glass with no visible way of support blur the distinction between outside and inside.

Sagan / Piechota Architecture

The large piece of glass turns the corner to create an uninterrupted view of the landscape, while the large expanse of wall over the glass creates a tough edge to the space, simultaneously weathered and expansive.

More: Getting it Wright: Now’s Prairie Style Homes
Stunning, Surprising Corner Windows
Ribbon Windows: Openness, Privacy, and Cool Modern Design

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Storage With Character: Vintage-Crate Shelves

Storage With Character: Vintage-Crate Shelves

It is amazing to consider packaging has changed through recent years. We drink our milk out of cartons and (preferably ) recycle unlimited numbers of plastic soda bottles. But back in the day, glass bottles and timber crates packaged up milk, soda and more. These crates have hung around for decades, and they are now considered classic paintings for decorating with an industrial edge. I love the notion of repurposing vintage crates as shelves. Reusing some thing in a brand new way is the ultimate form of recycling. Here are a lot of ways to place those timber crates to great use.

Little spaces: Shops must make smart use of every inch of space to exhibit their products. I love this smart display at Caribou Baby in Brooklyn. The shallow timber crates are the perfect shape and dimensions to exhibit their apothecary selection of products.

Nested together: The proprietors of Caribou Baby discovered their classic crates at Brooklyn local source Kings County Salvage.

Apothecary display: If you are lacking a medicine cupboard, you could use a couple of wood crates as wall shelving to house the collection of lotions and potions. I love the way pots of cream have been stored in the slotted soda cage at Caribou Baby.

Baileys

Crate storage out of Baileys Home and Garden – EUR 24

The fantastic grid: If you can score an entire lot of fitting vintage crates, make a wall grid with them for a single eye catching storage bit. I love the thought of storing your shoes in these timber crates — the alternative would look fantastic in a mudroom. UK shop Bailey Home & Garden sells those classic crates, but they are easy enough to find stateside. Etsy is a great online source for searching down classic crates.

Urban Outfitters

Classic Pop Shop Shelf out of Urban Outfitters – $24

Kitschy display: Many classic crates arrive branded with a symbol that definitely adds to the kitsch appeal. Fasten one crate to the wall within an instant display case for your collection of glass bottles, trinkets, classic postcards — you name it.

Etsy

Old Crate Sign Box 3-in-1 Upcycled Wood Screen by polkadotHOME – $68

Modern minimalist: Wait, did I mention modern? Yes, we’re talking classic crates, and people are traditional terracotta pots. But if you choose a classic crate and simply put in a few plants with a single diverse object you love, the spare fashion feels really contemporary-cool.

Etsy

Repurposed Jewelry Screen by stealthfox on Etsy – $40

Antiques keeper: Many of those classic crates include a grid of timber slats inside to maintain the glass bottles from breaking. Turn the crate on its side and you immediately have small shelves inside the box. Add a couple cup hooks and your imagination, and you’ll create a pretty display piece for all your jewelry — from bangles to necklaces.

Window box: In my last apartment, I had a enormous sunlit windowsill. So I decided to turn my classic soda cage into an instant window box. I loved the way the plants seemed peeking out of the cage.

Etsy

Medium Sturdy Wooden Rustic Reclaimed Classic by rustynailvintage – $28

Open pub : A worn classic crate makes the perfect container for storing your favorite liquors. You’ll instantly create the sense of a classic speakeasy with a rustic wood cage maintaining your bottles at attention.

Three Potato Four

Dairy Crates – $105

Construct a bookcase: If you are a tenant and wish to lessen the holes you put in your walls, then you can create freestanding shelving with timber crates of the boxy variety such as these classic crates with metal borders.

Etsy

Classic Wood Beverage Crates – $48

Unexpected colors: You’ll occasionally find classic wood crates (often old soda crates) in another colour. These classic Seven-Up crates are among my favorite examples — the red typography on white seems rad.

More: How to Create a Rolling Storage Crate

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