Cheery Observations

Celebrating the Unique, Sustainable, and Creative

Harmony with Nature: Frank Lloyd Wright April 8, 2009

My fiancé and I took a day and a half trip up to Western Pennsylvania to stay at Nemacolin Resort and visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s FallingWater and Kentuck Knob.  Nemacolin was an interesting place:  a mishmash of a little bit of everything:  a world-class spa (which we enjoyed!), several different places to stay (A ‘château’, a ‘lodge’, and a 5 star resort:  Falling Rock, modeled after some of Wright’s design elements’).  It basically felt like an extremely rich person’s playground, except that for a fee, everyone else can play on it too!  This means two golf courses, ski slope, cross country skiing, snow tubing, pools, tennis, a shooting academy, a zoo, even a Hummer off roading course (yay?).

My post isn’t about Nemacolin, because while it was fun, it was too confusing to be a ‘cheery observation’.

I instead choose to write a bit about Wright’s Falling Water and Kentuck Knob homes.  Recently re-opened for the season, they were both stunning for different reasons.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Falling Water was a weekend home commissioned by the Kaufmann family (owner of the Kaufmann department store) at a time when Frank Lloyd Wright had few commissions:  it was like a fresh start to a slightly stale career (at that stage) and he truly took a risk and went all out.  The Kaufmanns had wanted a weekend home with a view of the waterfall.  Frank gave them a home on TOP of the waterfall.  Finished in 1937, Falling Water is a home that fits with nature.  Whatever is happening on the outside is felt in the home—there is really no barrier to the outside world.  The house is designed for clear views of the water and of the trees; if one wants to see the sky, they have to go outside. This visual effect makes being inside disorienting.
Falling Water
The home starts with a huge main living space with wall-to-wall windows and stairs down to the river and the first of many decks.  The living quarters were designed to be more separate—each room’s main function is to look at nature and each room has an outdoor ‘deck’ bigger than the room itself.  The ceilings in these rooms are low, designed to draw your eye out.  The use of space is spectacular:  small bathrooms tucked in nooks, bookshelves and built in desks.  Wright constructed the home from all local materials–when I think about all of the cement in the building and the lack of modern cement mixers, I am baffled!  Wright took a risk and created a one-of-a kind home, a home that is a National Historic Landmark and is on the list to become a World Heritage site.

Kentuck Knob was built about 20 years after Falling Water and is still a private residence.  Originally built for the Hagan family, the house is now owned by Lord Palumbo.  The house has unadulterated views into the surroundings woods and valleys.  The house is centered around a hexagon shaped kitchen, with small hallways leading to the living quarters and the huge main living space.  The ceilings are taller than Falling Water and the inside feels a bit like the inside of a yacht.  In my opinion, the most stunning aspect of Kentuck Knob is the deck that lines the entire back of the house:  the ceilings skylights are shaped in octagons allowing interesting patterns of light to come in; the deck allows for stunning views.
Kentuck Knob
Both homes are harmonious with nature and quite different from your ‘typical’ American home built today OR in that time period. While Falling Water is anything but typical, Kentuck Knob was built as a full time residence and was never meant to be overly extravagant.   When one is in either home, one feels a sense of peace, calm, and acceptance.  The homes force you to be a part of nature; this is so unlike the majority of my life, be it in my office or apartment building, where it’s easy to have no idea what the outside world is like! The interiors of Wright’s home are made from natural ingredients with a focus on need, not want.  Wright did not want excess closet space or storage space.  I admire this style of architecture and the focus on harmonious living with nature.  Falling Water was literally built on top of a waterfall; Kentuck Knob was built into the side of the hill:  a peaceful collaboration.


Atelier Bernier January 31, 2009

Filed under: home design,housewares — meaghin @ 10:13 am
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Atelier Bernier is a design workshop in Paris.  Their fabrics are incredible!  No matter the design, each fabric is convincing as a bag, a table, a pillow, a stool, a lampshade, etc.  I can’t think of a lot of designs I’ve seen that can make such a leap.  Their online shop is ‘coming soon’, so alas, you can’t order online yet.  However, the website does have a form one can fill out to learn about local stores that may carry their fabrics.

My favorite collection is the Fleur Pompon D’Island (Island Fluffball seems to be an accurate descripton!).  The fabric looks like a collection of green, yellow, and blue dandelions, ripe for scattering the seeds through the air.  The pattern is grounded by a dark blue branch, with different colors and sizes shooting off from the branch.  It’s a carefree pattern that makes me dream of summer.


I also like the Datchas lampshades. The Datchas collection is not as developed, so I’m not sure how it would translate to a bag or pillow (But, I’m thinking it would translate perfectly!).  I like the minimalist quality of the design:  a plump, green bird, with abstract flowers.  The splash of green draws the eye in, but because the design is so unassuming, the lamp could work in many different rooms.



Appealing, Affordable Illustrations January 25, 2009

Filed under: home design — meaghin @ 10:35 pm
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I believe these two artists would both fall under the category of ‘affordable, unique artwork’.  They were found on completely separate web searches, but have similar styles and themes.

Sandra Juto is an illustrator from Sweden.  Her images are cheerful and whimsical.  They remind me of a less trippy ‘Yellow Submarine’.  I like her color palette (rusty hues) and her uncluttered approach to her illustrations.    In ‘Rain’ her people look like happy paper dolls.  I don’t know if there’s a story behind ‘Adolf’, but I see a sad marionette-type figure wondering what is going to happen next.


Blanca Gomez is an illustrator from Spain.  Instead of rusty hues, she uses bright primary colors.  She also has a ‘Rain’ picture, with the sole character rejoicing in the rain in her own way.  Unlike Juto’s, Gomez’ rain is the colored part of the illustration.  And one of her individual men differs greatly from ‘Adolf’.  The object over this man’s head is not a rain cloud but rather, a bunch of overly large, bright balloons.  The expression on the man’s face is not one of bewilderment, but instead one of contentment.


Despite their differences, both illustrators’ folk art approaches are quite appealing!


Good Night! October 9, 2008

Filed under: home design — meaghin @ 9:04 pm

I love browsing Design Sponge’s Sneak Peek Section.

We used to have this Ikea bed, but it never quite looked THIS comfortable!  The yellow bedding and homemade (I believe!) shams are adorable!  I think I could sink into this bed and read and snuggle forever 🙂


Amazing Interiors September 24, 2008

Filed under: home design — meaghin @ 5:31 pm
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I clicked on this link off of Design Sponge and I’m in love with every room in this house.  It is Kelly Osborne’s house (not THE Kelly Osborne, thank goodness, but rather the owner of ‘See Jane Work’, a fantastic office design and organization shop/website.)

Take a look!

I love the green and brown elements in the living room, as well as the fantastic wall art and built-ins.  The bathroom tiling is incredibly well done and the kitchen looks peaceful and effortless:  cooking would be a dream!


Timothy Paul Bedding and Home September 20, 2008

We spent today wandering around the Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, and U Street corridor.  Everytime we go into that part of DC, we ALWAYS say: ‘oooh I wish we lived here’.  If only it wasn’t so pricey.  It has a lot of what I’m looking for in terms of a neighborhood:  old architecture, tree-lined streets, great restaurants, interesting stores, and accessibility to multiple neighborhoods and public transportation.  Not to mention a wonderful variety of people.

Anyways, ‘interesting stores’ is the topic of my post tonight.  We stopped into ‘Timothy Paul Bedding and Home’ today.  Their website isn’t fully up yet, so one can’t get a good idea of their products. But, the designs and quality of their bedding (duvet covers and pillows!), rugs, and furniture was pretty spectacular.  We saw at least 2 duvet covers we wanted and a rustic kitchen table.  I’ll link up to a decent picture I found of the store and to the store’s website, because ideally it will be up and running soon.


Several Wonderful Bathrooms September 16, 2008

Filed under: home design — meaghin @ 5:51 pm
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While poking around a few different websites, I came across several stunning bathrooms.  They are stunning for very different reasons, but I could definitely see myself as happy with any of them, depending on the structure and style of the rest of the house.

The first is from Taylor Hannah’s work.

The bathroom looks incredibly peaceful:  the blue paint and dark floors perfectly complement each other.  I also like how the sink is set back into the wall, creating one clean line.



The second bathroom was photographed by Donna Griffith Photography.

If you go on her website, you’ll be able to see both her beautiful photography and other stunning interiors.

very sleek

very sleek

Finally, I had seen a picture of this particular house on a few design websites.  I stumbled upon a photographer’s website and a stunning picture of the house’s bathroom.  Like the two previously, it’s quite peaceful–but also rustic.  I can smell fresh flowers and crisp air when I look at the picture of the house and bathroom.  Here is the photographer’s website.



The dog has the right idea!

The dog has the right idea!