Tag Archives: Design

A Closer Look: The Architect and the Painter

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers.

By now you must have seen seen their bent plywood and fiberglass furniture, designs which have become synonymous with the Mid-Century Modern Style.

But you might not know that this design duo was prolific in many other ways as well, and had a broad influence on significant events in American life – from modernism to the dawn of the computer age.

Their creative output included everything from splints for the wounded of World War II, to photography, multi-media exhibitions, graphics, games, films, toys, and sculpture:

My personal favorite is “Tops,” an elegant short film that simply observes the classic toy in action.

A new film, The Painter and the Architect, sheds light on their multi-faceted creative and personal lives.  Find out more about the film here.


image 1: herman miller

image 2:  blogspot

image 3: SFBlog

image 4: thefoxisblack






A Closer Look: Spoonflower DIY Fabric

Where can you find the largest online community of fabric designers in the world?  At Spoonflower, a Durham, NC-based business specializing in digitally-printed fabrics.

You can pick from a huge selection of fabrics on the Spoonflower website, or you can create your own design and have it printed by one of their high-tech machines in a matter of days.  And the best part?  There’s no minimum to order.

See what you can create at Spoonflower.com





A Closer Look: Historic Inspiration from the Met

One of my favorite places to look for inspiration is the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  They have much of their collection online, including everything from modern photographs to historic drawings.  I like to browse the historic drawings to inspire my own projects.  Take a look:

Design for Painted Ceiling Decoration

Design for a Room in the Etruscan or Pompeian style (Elevation)

Architectural Drawing for a Chapel

Framed Design for an Architectural Interior: Coffered Ceiling with Central Hexagonal Cartouche and Walls with Floral Ornament and Drapery.

Design for a Ceiling in Pompeian Style


Get some inspiration of your own at the Met Website.

– Robert



A Closer Look: The RDU Tech Shop

On Wednesday, I took my first class in MIG Welding at the RDU Tech Shop in Durham.  MIG welding is a type of welding that uses an electric current and shielding gas to create strong bonds in mild steel.  It’s an easy, versatile method that can be used in making furniture, sculpture, or almost anything else you can imagine.  I’m excited to use my new skills in the shop.

How to Weld - MIG Welding

But the Tech Shop offers a lot more than just metal working; if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to sew, make a birdhouse, or cut 3″ thick steel with a plasma CNC machine, this is your place.   The Tech Shop has a wood-working shop, metal shop, computer-controlled milling machines, laser cutters, sewing machines, lathes, and more.   They also offer a wide selection of classes to get you up-to-speed on most of the equipment — and everyone is welcome, no matter your skill level.

If you have a do-it-yourself project you’ve been meaning to do, chances are the Tech Shop can help.  Happy welding!




image 1 & 2: instructables.com

Current Projects: Employee Lounge Makeover

Did you see our post about the recent updates to our office?  We’ve already re-done the conference room, ladies’ room, and entry.  Now, we have some big plans for our employee lounge!

Our square table already got a makeover thanks to the guys at Muddcreek Custom Cabinets in Willow Springs.  Now, we’re finalizing a design for a sleek new kitchen.  We want to incorporate both stained and painted finishes in the design —  because a two finish kitchen looks so fresh!

Pinned Image

In our design, we incorporated the dual finish look by surrounding painted cabinet towers with a thick stained wood frame.  We also incorporated some special features that are popular with our clients – including pocketing doors to hide small appliances, glass–front cabinets, and deep storage drawers with dividers.  Here’s a concept sketch:

As a place where we conduct lots of meetings, the kitchen needs to be able to hide our appliances, food, and other mess!  But it also has to be functional and easy to use.  Integrated appliances with paneled fronts keep things looking clean & professional.

We’ll update you as the work continues!


image 1: pinterest

image 2: Design Lines


A Closer Look: Frank Lloyd Wright in the Southeast

When you think of Frank Lloyd Wright, his iconic midwest Prairie style probably comes to mind – homes with expansive eaves and horizontal lines that seem to extend toward the horizon.  But this sought-after architect designed many projects in other locations, including a few in our own backyard.

The following examples are within a day’s drive from Raleigh:

1. Auldbrass Plantation, Beaufort County, South Carolina.  Frank Lloyd Wright designed a complex of buildings including a main house, guest house, and stables for this plantation, originally established before the Civil War.  It is privately owned, but tours are occassionally offered.

2. Broad Margin, Greenville, South Carolina.  The only other building by Wright in South Carolina is this beautiful private residence, made from thick concrete walls and cypress wood.  Wright even designed the furniture for the home out of cypress.  The home was positioned on its wooded lot so it wouldn’t be seen from the road or neighboring properties.



2. Pope-Leighey House, Fairfax County, Virginia.  This is a prime example of what Wright called a “Usonian” home, defined as an affordable, modestly-scaled dwelling that responded to its surroundings.  Regular tours are offered, find out more here.

File:Pope-Leighey House - North east facade - HABS VA,30-FALCH,2-10.jpg

images 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7: library of congress

image 4: amazing sites

image 8: wikipedia

A Closer Look: Brancusi

I love to notice how good art can inspire design and vise-versa.  So you can imagine my delight when I saw the new “Zipper” sconce from Urban Electric Company. 

Designed by Amanda Nisbet, the “Zipper Sconce” draws inspiration from the sculptural work of Romanian-born Constanin Brancusi.  The undulating form is based on his “endless column,” a motif that appears repeatedly in his work.

File:Romania 20060512 - Tirgu Jiu - Coloana fara sfarsit.jpg

Brancusi’s most famous sculpture may be “The Kiss”.  Have you seen this one before?

One of my favorite sculptures by Brancusi is “Bird in Space” (below).  I wonder what Urban Electric could turn this one into?

This is just one example of how the fields of Art and Design are not mutually exclusive.  Take a closer look, and I’m sure you’ll notice many others.


image 1: urban electric co, charleston

image 2: wikipeida

image 3: sheisfrench

image 4: guggenheim museum

A Closer Look: In Honor of Steve Jobs

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer, that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

-Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, passed away this week.  As part of Apple, he was responsible for creating the first commercially-successful line of personal computers in the 1970s.  More recently, Apple has become synonymous with incredible product design.  In honor of Steve Jobs, here are my favorite examples of product design from the last 100 years – a list topped by the I-Phone.

File:IPhone 4 in hand.jpg

I-Phone: The first version was released in 2007 and quickly became one of the most popular phones in the world.  The fifth generation I-Phone comes out this month.

Valentine typewriter by Olivetti: Olivetti made some amazing typewriters, but The Valentine is my favorite  by far.  This typewriter would certainly make the dull task of typing a bit more enjoyable.

Michael Graves Teapot by Alessi:  Michael Graves, and architect based in Princeton New Jersey, is known for his whimsical designs and contributions to post-modern design.  This tea pot is one of the best examples of his work.

Henry Dreyfus Telephone for Western Electric:  Sometimes, design is so perfect that we can’t imagine the world without it.  Take this simple phone deign that became one of the most important products of the 20th century.

Kodak Bantam Special:  Just one example of Kodak’s innovative camera designs that brought photography to the masses.  It was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague in 1936.


Marc Newson X for Ford:  Just one of Marc Newson’s Many ifluential designs, the X Car unfortunately never made it into production.  But its innovative design may give us a glimpse into our future.



image 1: apple

image 2: wikipedia

image 3: studio international uk

image 4: bed bath and beyond

image 5: Yale Art Gallery

image 6: Design Icons

image 7 & 8: BLAAAG

Award Winning Interior Design | Raleigh, NC