Large Round Chandeliers

February 24, 2010 | 8 comments

The first time I can remember seeing what I'll refer to in this post as a large round chandelier was a few years ago at Ecco, a restaurant in Atlanta. I wasn't nearly as architecture- and design-infatuated at the time, but the chandeliers pictured above immediately stood out to me. They are my favorite part of the restaurant's decor, which, by the way, is all around amazing. The chandeliers at Ecco provide the bulk of the restaurants lighting at night, yielding a warm, soft glow and excellent atmosphere.

The entrance to Ecco has a multi-tiered version of the same chandelier used in the dining room. It's grand scale is well matched to the voluminous space.

Now, in my much more tuned-in-to-design state, the large round chandeliers are still drawing my eye's attention. I've started amassing a small collection of photos of them in various incarnations. Each is unique in it's own way, but they all share in the fact that they add a bit of contemporary flair to a space.

One style of the round chandeliers I've seen multiple times has a metal frame on top and bottom and is rimmed with glass. I'm not sure of the manufacturer, but would like to learn who makes them if anyone knows. I'm curious if they come in multiple sizes like some of the other large round chandeliers.

I discovered this picture of Hotel Selenza in Madrid via the Pillow Talk blog. The chandeliers steal the show here as they do in most of the interiors in which they are used.

The same chandelier was again paired with of-the-moment turquoise tones in this design by Steven Gambrel. The translucent glass of the chandelier is a nice visual complement to the wall of windows.

This picture of one of the rooms in the stunning showroom of Asli Tunica affords a better view of this type of chandelier. In its unlit state you can see the icicle-like glass that rims the light. I can only image what it must weigh with all that glass and metal.

As much as this chandelier is different from the others in this post, it is the same in that it punctuates the space (and is large and round of course).  This picture is of the basement landing in a home designer Melanie Turner won 2009 Southeast Designer of the Year for. The picture is a bit misleading in terms of scale, but I can tell you that the chandelier is quite large. I would guess three to four feet in diameter. I'm curious about the manufacturer of this light too if anyone knows.

Returning back to a style of chandelier similar to those at Ecco are these I found while perusing photographer Paul Ober's portfolio. I believe these chandeliers are painted white. And to great effect I must say.

Ochre, the hip British furniture and lighting company with a retail outpost in New York, has multiple large round chandeliers in its repertoire. The Arctic Pear light shown above in a photo of the New York showroom comes in various standard sizes and can be completely customized in every way.

While not quite as large as the other examples, I find the Fontana Arte chandelier on this porch from my Mediterranean Masterpiece post complementary in style and equally as intriguing. The light used on the porch is actually one of the smaller of the four sizes that it is available in.

This store has several of the Fontana Arte chandeliers, providing for a dramatic lighting display. I'd probably end up accidentally bumping into someone while I gazed upwards.

As was the case with me at Ecco, you won't soon forget a room with a large round chandelier. They stand out, and in a good way in my opinion.

Pursley Architecture

February 17, 2010 | 22 comments
Must. Visit. Charlotte.

That is the thought that has been circling my mind since discovering the Charlotte-based residential architecture firm Pursley Architecture. It's not every day that an architect's portfolio incites so much enthusiasm in me, but the work of Ken Pursley's firm is simply amazing. All of it.

An alumnus of the McAlpine Tankersley school of architecture, you can see the application of clean lines to classical architecture in Pursley's portfolio that is the rubber stamp of McAlpine influence. Pieces of furniture from the McAlpine line for Lee Industries also make regular appearances. Make no mistake though, the portfolio clearly declares that Pursley has a style unto himself with his regular infusion of unique, enchanting details. Sweeping lines reminiscent of Dutch parapets, bold ironwork and striking kitchens all confirm that signature aesthetic.

We'll kickoff an abbreviated tour of the firm's portfolio with a set of distinct bathroom designs. The creativity really shines through there.

I find the the furniture-like vanity with floating, ceiling-suspended mirror quite interesting. Presumably a toilet is tucked behind the mirror wall. And upon close inspection of this photo, it appears that it was taken from inside an enclosed shower. I think that blue-green line down the left-side of the photo is that of a glass door.

Here the bump-out of the cantilevered vanity to accommodate the profile of the sink is unique. So too is the use of a bridge faucet that is most commonly seen in a kitchen. Furthermore, the mirror placements add a bit of whimsy.

The signature Dutch lines show up here in the profile of the vanity counter. The cabinets bookending the vanity remind me of a design often used on the paneled screens from the McAlpine collection for Lee Industries. Presumably the cabinets are fronted in fabric and nail head trim like the screens.

The Dutch parapet influence stands out again in this bathroom's vanity. Adding to its mystique is a one-of-a-kind mirror application that is a visual and engineering marvel. The door built into the paneled wall is also something I enjoy about the room. Interestingly, I don't notice any sort of knob (just the towel hook) to control the opening and closing of the door.

Moving along, we'll cover some other unique interior detailing before looking at exterior elements.

I found this floor-to-ceiling, paneled "bed wrap" to be unexpected and intriguing. It's like a room within a room. The oval window above the bed makes the wall suggestive of being an actual wall to the outside of the home, although it isn't.

This finely appointed master closet is rich in architectural detail. Notice the vaulting of the ceiling, the furniture-like details of the dressing island, the doors and trim of the clothing cabinets and the window. What a window! And to think that's just the closet!

One of Pursley's specialties is kitchens. I found this one in particular to be a great example of his genius at work. There's a lot to enjoy here - the unique pattern of the detail on the ceiling, the room-length range hood, and the Dutch-style island ends to name a few.

There they are again, those omnipresent fireballs so often seen in the designs of McAlpine and his disciples. Don't let that distract you though. The real star of the show here is the doors. I've never seen anything like them before. Amazing. And the same silhouette is carried over to the beams used at ends of the walls of the room.

Now onto a quick glimpse of the exteriors.

Here a stunning pool house project showcases some of the excellent ironwork designed by the firm, not to mention the structure itself. Notice that the Dutch influence shows up on the exteriors as much as the interiors. The landscape architecture here is quite brilliant too.

Ironwork makes a statement again in the railing and lantern mount in this photo. There is such whimsical beauty in that railing.

Described as Scottish Revival, this architecturally rich house has a lot going on, but it all works. Always there, the Dutch influence shows up in the wall connecting to the turret that presumably houses the main entrance. I imagine the wall encloses the patio displayed in the second photo.

Admittedly missing in this post is more coverage of the exterior architectural prowess of Pursley's firm. This inspiring farmhouse will give you more of an idea, though, of what's in the portfolio. Take a stereotypically simple structure and apply architectural wizardry and this is what you get. The double roof (for lack of a more architecturally-appropriate term) is quite intriguing in the way that it lights up at night.

If the built portfolio wasn't enough to satiate your architectural appetite, the Pursley Architecture website also features a rather large collection of houses that are in design. Each more inspiring than the last, they leave you yearning for a completion date and an address (to drive-by, of course).

Here's one rendering to entice you. You'll have to visit the website for more as we're out of space in this post.

Curiously absent from the Pursley Architecture website is a press section highlighting their accolades. I knew there must be press, though, so I went digging and was able to find a few pieces of due praise. Here they are for your enjoyment:
A trip to Charlotte for some architectural tourism is definitely in order. Perhaps over a weekend this Spring or Summer when the weather is more forgiving and I can fit in a bike ride on a set of roads new to me at the same time.

All images via the Pursley Architecture website.

Ride-by: An Architectural Gem In The Trees

February 10, 2010 | 22 comments

On a large wooded lot in Atlanta's exclusive Tuxedo Park neighborhood sits this architectural gem. I discovered the house last year when it was close to completing construction and was quite intrigued by it. It is grand in scale, but no architectural integrity was sacrificed in making it so. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is much to enjoy about this house designed by rising talent William B. Litchfield in collaboration with esteemed Atlanta landscape architect John Howard.

From the street the house is somewhat private due to its maturely landscaped lot. Instead of cutting all of the trees down (which unfortunately happens all too often in Atlanta), they were preserved in what I consider to be an optimal design. An architect friend shared with me that it's desirable to have a house reveal itself slowly as you approach it. I immediately got it when he told me this and definitely appreciate that sentiment more and more.

The next few photos (click any of them to enlarge) allow us to study the architecture a bit. At least as much as is possible with the limited sight through the trees. We'll start with the driveway.

As is typical with many Atlanta estates, the driveway is lined with a cobblestone border. Instead of loose pea gravel for the core of the driveway, they used concrete impregnated with pea gravel which yields a similar effect with less mess and maintenance. I like a driveway in either of these configurations. They are so much nicer in appearance than plain concrete.

There is one break in the trees where I was able to get this somewhat clear shot from the street. Excepting the bay window, the house's entire facade is made up of some type of fieldstone (Tennessee perhaps). I'm noticing a proliferation of new stone houses in Atlanta lately, especially the Texas limestone variant. I appreciate the divergence in stone type here. The gray with subtle tan tones is excellent - kind of dark and moody, especially on the overcast day that I took this photo. The brown tile roof compliments the stone well too.

I find the tall steel window and Juliette balcony to the left of the entrance interesting. It presumably is placed between the first and second floors given the placement of the entrance and the surrounding windows. I suspect it provides a view from a halfway point in the stairs leading to the second floor. If you look closely, you'll notice there is also a window below the steel window. That confuses me a little. The stairs must go all the way from the basement to the second floor and each window is positioned at a landing point.

Here are a number of other things I enjoy about the front elevation:
  • The dormers (are they called that when there is no window?). I always like this diminutive style of dormer. They add just the right amount of architectural interest.
  • This roof style where it has a cut in the center section instead spanning the entire elevation. I've seen this a couple times and find it interesting on a hipped roof.
  • The finely cut stone details above the entrance and windows.
  • The dental molding below the eaves in the center section of the house. Again, not sure if that's what you call that detail in that location, but it looks similar to dental molding you'd see on the inside of a house.
  • The subtle banding on the chimneys.
  • The landscaping and the hardscaping, especially the low wall on either side of the walkway to the entrance.
Given my lack of knowledge of specific architectural details, I'll have to send this house over to the folks at Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine to have them investigate. If you don't already follow their blog, I recommend checking it out. They are starting to update it more regularly and the content is coming together nicely. I am particularly enjoying a new series they've started where they get the behind the music details about interesting houses in Atlanta.

Moving to the right we see there are more steel windows, a perennial favorite of mine. I just can't get enough of the steel windows. Thankfully they're rampant in high-end homes in Atlanta and I can regularly indulge myself.

Here I also enjoy the transition of the stone wall's height. To great effect, the wall stays low just long enough for the house to reveal itself. It's difficult to tell from my disadvantaged street view, but I would suspect that is pachysandra covering the ground inside the wall. Another favorite detail of mine in landscapes.

This final photo affords a view of yet more of the right side of the house. I must say that's quite a porte-cochere. It reminds me of some Keith Summerour mountain house designs I've seen with the rounded arch. Can someone tell me the name (and purpose - even if only historical precedent) of the tower at the top of the roof there?

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of an architectural gem as much as I have. I don't have much information about William B. Litchfield other than that he has worked with or for Norman Askins, one of Atlant's preeminent classical architects. I do know he did a renovation project that was recently on a home tour in Atlanta. You can find more details on the Things That Inspire blog. At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing much more of his masterful work.

This post is part of a series titled Ride-by Architecture that is dedicated to interesting architecture that I find while riding my bicycle throughout Atlanta. Visit the original post for more information on the series. You can also view all posts in the series by following this link.

Jill Sharp Style

February 1, 2010 | 20 comments

Last May the Peachtree Heights East neighborhood in Atlanta hosted a garden tour of a few houses in the neighborhood. I had planned to attend the tour, but skipped it because it was raining the day of the tour and I wasn't sure there would be any houses on the tour that I'd really be into. After viewing photos from the tour on the Architecture Tourist blog, I was kicking myself. I was wrong - there was a house on the tour that I was quite into. The house instantly caught my eye because of its grand steel window and door that afforded a view of the kitchen. "Wow", I thought, "I hope there's another tour and the house is open - not just the garden!"

Fast forward to this past December and imagine my surprise and satisfaction when the house I had been curious about appeared in House Beautiful magazine. I'm referring to none other than Jill Sharp Brinson's magnificent home that graced the cover of the December / January issue. What a treat to see the home in its entirety; it certainly didn't disappoint. Judging by the response I've seen on the Internet, I wasn't the only one who was spellbound by Jill's home. Images from the magazine have blanketed many of the blogs I frequent.

I naturally wanted to see more of Jill's work after reading the article in House Beautiful. Surely someone this talented isn't a one-hit wonder. There must be more I thought - and there is. Via a comment Jill left on one of my posts, I was able to discover her website: Jill Sharp Style.

Even without furnishings, another beautiful house with interior design by Jill, and showcased on her website, illustrates her incredible talent. The palette and material selection share a similar aesthetic with her own home. All photos of the house are by Brian Bieder.

Jill and I conversed over email about the details of this new house that recently sold. These first two photos are of the dining room. Jill related to me the direction she'd take in decorating it:

overall - this room has the best feel - I would use it as a salon style space with a large table, piles of books, an oversized wing chair pulled up to the table, some floating ottomans - hang some mismatched folding chairs on the wall to pull down if you needed to entertain a larger group - pure dining rooms are SO not now - everyone needs to think about how they can re-purpose their existing dining rooms to become rooms that you go in every day - to read, to write, to laptop, to commune

Regardless of where I go or whom I speak to lately, I hear the same sentiment. We should be building smaller instead of larger and making it higher quality and making the most of less space. To me, Jill's description of how she'd decorate the dining room reflect just that.

In our correspondence Jill proceeded to describe how she went to lengths to ensure the window above the sink became a reality. I can certainly appreciate that as I personally prefer that setup in a kitchen and how it showers light into the room. Behind the louvered, retractable shutters are double Viking ovens, a microwave, and a coffee bar. To the left of the refrigerator is a pantry.

This dual photo presents the house's mudroom on the left and the entry hall on the right. Jill selected Peacock Pavers for the flooring amid a complimentary palette of neutrals. I like her selection of lighting as well.

The final photo is of the powder room. Jill's sharp style is evident again. She used one of her favorite fabrics to cover the walls and she was responsible for the design of the vanity. I wish I had discovered this house sooner when it was still on the market. I would love to have seen it in person.

I'm looking forward to seeing more design from Jill in the future. There is a townhouse project at Serenbe named Hominy that will ostensibly commence when the real estate climate will support it. Beyond that and her work for Ballard Designs, Jill has a product line of her own in the works. Aptly named, STABLE, on the fact that she has amassed a stable of craftspeople from around the world to collaborate with for her upcoming home and body products.

In case you can't get enough Jill Sharp Style, you can read a recent interview with her on the flourish design + style blog.