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Sneak peak: Santa Luz residence

  Do you have a home with one of those covered patio areas that seems to small to be useful for anything? How about using it as your outdoor kitchen?

Today’s sneak peak is a newly completed project we did in Santa Luz. The developer-built house had a covered patio off of the kitchen, but it was too small to be a useful outdoor dining room, so for years it had just been a wasted space, a pass-through to the garden. But it was just the perfect size to be an outdoor kitchen! We split the kitchen in two: one side became the grill station, and the other side was perfectly sized for a bar. There is plenty of storage but it almost vanishes behind custom cabinet doors that look like they are part of the siding.

The client wanted a relaxed Mediterranean look with a hint of something modern, so we used concrete counters and barnwood siding, both materials that are very rustic, but also very now.

Thank you, Dave DeBruin of Blue Pacific Landscape, for your excellent craftsmanship!


Modern minimalism in the desert: Amangiri resort

I am completely blown away by the design of this place! This is everything I love in one design: integration with the natural landscape, clean modern lines, creative minimalism, gorgeous use of water elements, and plants that actually belong.

From the resorts website: Amangiri, ‘peaceful mountain’, is situated on 243 hectares (600 acres) in Canyon Point, Southern Utah, close to the border with Arizona. The resort is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views over colourful, stratified rock towards the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. The resort is a 25-minute drive from the nearest town of Page, Arizona and a 15-minute drive to the shores of Lake Powell. Architecturally, the resort has been designed to blend into the landscape with natural hues, materials and textures a feature of the design. The structures are commanding and in proportion with the scale of the natural surroundings, yet provide an intimate setting from which to view and appreciate the landscape.

Fun with modern hanging glass planters

Some eye candy for today, thanks to my fabulous landlord Lorrie Webb: this dreamlike arrangement of hanging glass planters that she spotted on her trip to Sweden. There is something so peaceful about this, don’t you think?

The plants: Jade plant, Mother-in-law tongue, pathos Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Rubber plant.


Porcelanosa: modern tile with a European flair

I find something particularly fascinating about tiles that have a tactile quality to them (if I was being snotty, I’d call them bas-relief, which is the arty name for anything that is slightly three-dimensional), so I have had my eyes on Porcelanosa for quite some time.

This one is their “London” line: they are large format porcelain tiles that fit snuggly together to form a wonderful repeating pattern. They look glossy in the image but in reality they are actually fairly matte, and the three-dimensional quality of them is reinforced by the fact that the curves are flattened on the top, giving them an almost Asian modern feel. They make you want to run your hands along the wall as you walk past!


Finally! I found a cobble you can use in a fire pit!

We’ve all seen photos of fire pits filled with beautiful river cobbles. I, for one, love how it looks. But do you know what happens if you actually put river cobble in a fire pit and turn on the flame? The rocks start to heat up, and any little trapped pockets of air inside the stone start to expand, but since they have no where to go, the stones explode! They go off like gunshots and will ricochet around your yard. Seriously.You could hurt someone.

The ones you see in magazines that look so good are probably fake cobbles made out of ceramic. Rasmussen sells them here. But for the longest time, I have been wishing for a real cobble to use in there instead. And these lovely little guys are the solution: Mauna Loa Black Lava cobbles from Southwest Boulder and Stone. You just can’t hurt lava with fire.

As an extra bonus, they are full of tiny holes that help to diffuse the gas so the flame looks much more natural. A win win.