by Rebecca Teagarden In 2003 Vandeventer + Carlander built a little cabin on Camano Island for friends. A tiny little budget-minded cabin...
In 2003 Vandeventer + Carlander built a little cabin on Camano Island for friends. A tiny little budget-minded cabin with 352 square feet on the main floor and 128 up. It got some local press shortly thereafter, then won an American Institute of Architects award in 2006. But it was the architecture firm’s intern who sent the contemporary little number around the world by posting it to design Web site MoCo Loco (www.mocoloco.com). One design Web site quickly leads to another.
“Every once in a while when I’m bored in here, I Google our name just to see what’s going on,” Seattle architect Tim Carlander is telling me. “And our little cabin, C3, literally, it’s been around the world! I’ve got Web sites here from Spain . . . Japan. The Web site in Japan, this guy is explaining it to his ninjas. The article he wrote was absolutely hysterical.
“Being an old guy (50), I really find this to be fascinating. I just find it really funny. I got this call from a woman in California who said she wanted to buy a set of the plans. I said to her, ‘I’m sorry, where’d you see it?’ She told me, “It’s called Apartment Therapy. It was chosen as one of their favorite places last year.”
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“I’ve stayed there, and I’m tellin’ ya the thing works like a little 40-foot boat. I am really tired of seeing things so grossly oversized space and moneywise.
“I’m tellin’ ya, out of all the stuff we’ve designed, people say, ‘We’ve been to the Web site and we love the little cabin the best.
“MoCo Loco seems to be the mother of all design sites. We had an intern who said we should send it in to them; it’s the kids who are telling me. When we checked the next day, the Web site went nuts, and we got billed an extra 100 bucks for all the hits!”
So, for those of you curious about the 16-by-22-foot wood-frame box with cement board and metal siding, and glass — with lots of light and ventilation — type “C3 cabin” into the search engine nearest you. Or go directly to the source vc-arch.com. Plans cost $850.
Furniture that looks completely natural and otherworldly all at the same, that’s what you get from Stew Design Workshop in Boston. The brothers Jon and Kevin Racek are architects who use the furniture they design as a forum to experiment with materials for their architecture projects. Natural meets creative (with a hint of wit for good measure) wonderfully in the Strata Chair. The sculptural plywood chair was inspired by geologic formations found in the Southwest. A smooth exterior is juxtaposed with a rough, raw interior, recalling the process of erosion. Forty pieces of plywood laminated, glued together and hand finished never looked so seamless.
And, of course, there’s more. Take the Floyd Side Table, for instance. It’s table and display shelves all rolled into Midcentury Modern one. Cool.
The Strata Chair is $5,800 and the Floyd Side Table runs $2,100. Find Stew at www.stewdesignworkshop.com.
Dear teeny-tiny condo dweller, I’m talkin’ to you. No room in that 382 square feet of living space for the dog’s bed? Have you considered a Murphy dog bed? Thought not.
Yes, indeed, the Pet Murphy Bed by Midnight Pass is, by day, a rather attractive-looking cabinet made of rubber wood in black, mahogany or natural finish that stands 3 feet tall and a mere 10 inches deep. Perhaps to be used as a bar or bookshelf? Fold it out to reveal a 22-by-28-inch foam mattress (4 inches thick) that holds up to 200 pounds.
By day, bar/bookshelf. By night, dog bed. The Pet Murphy Bed is $279.95 and can be found at www.midnightpass.com or www.petmurphybed.com.If your dog is named Murphy, this could be particularly amusing.
Coffee, tea, or . . .
This is a fabulous little piece of recycling ingenuity: retired airline service carts reborn as compact (and, Lord knows, sturdy) bars for the home. See? There is a bright side to the vanishing airline meal. Their globe-trotting days may be over, but evenings of entertainment are still to come for the airplane trolley. Banish thoughts of the dinged-up gunmetal-gray exterior. Cologne-based Bordbar offers stylish storage in a choice of contemporary cover designs or you can design it yourself. You also choose shelving and storage bins for within. Cost is $1,500ish (depending how the dollar and the euro are getting along). Check them out at bordbar.de.
For more on the recycled bar-cart theme, we bring you the B52 Bar Cart, a stainless-steel bar from Fusion Furniture. Fusion is Tim and Marybeth George in Des Moines, Iowa, and Tim got the idea to buy up 250 unused VA hospital chart-holding carts from the 1950s (still in the original boxes) that came out of deep storage from the Atchison Caves — former limestone mines converted during World War II by the government for military storage. Tim modified the carts, and now taking one’s tonic (with gin, lime and a touch of bitters, please) seems oh-so medicinal. The carts hold three dozen bottles.
This bar cart also costs $1,500. See Tim and Marybeth’s work at www.fusionfurnituregallery.com.
Modern at 50
This is how Eero Saarinen saw the sorry state of seating in 1956: an “ugly, confusing, unrestful world resulting from the slum of legs underneath typical chairs and tables.” Well, ick to that!
And so, kiddies, the very next year Saarinen gave to the world the Pedestal Collection, known today as the Tulip Collection, a staple of Midcentury Modern design. And this, from August 2007 to August 2008, is the 50th anniversary of the tidying up of that leg slum. To celebrate, Knoll is offering a platinum base finish and reintroduces rosewood and teak table tops. The new finishes join the line permanently.
The chairs and tables have a heavy, molded cast-aluminum base. The shell is molded fiberglass with a plastic bonded finish. And chairs are available with or without arms in a fixed or swivel-action position. There are sizes, upholsteries, colors and surfaces from which to choose. Do so at Design Within Reach at www.dwr.com or go directly to the stores at 1918 First Ave., Seattle, (206-443-9900) or 126 Central Way, Kirkland (425-828-0280).
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