clean, bright & airy: japanese interiors

These photos, all scanned from Japanese interiors magazines, seem like such a logical progression from traditional Japanese interiors. Admittedly, all I really know about such things is that they involve tatami mats, soaker tubs and bonsai trees, but these interiors seem to embody the same minimalism. I'm feeling more and more motivated to de-clutter my apartment.

Man, I am really crushing on Japanese design lately - see this post about Tokyo storefronts.


textiles & textures

Warm wood + beautiful fabrics + natural light = dream home.

This Melbourne home of two Australian architects is so minimal yet so cozy. I can't stop looking at these photos. Check out their amazing kitchen too!


enzo mari wants to choke bad designers with his bare hands.

You may not recognize him, but this man is a hero. He is a designer and his name is Enzo Mari. In 1974 he published a little book called Autoprogettazione. It included plans for 19 DIY furniture projects, and the plans looked like this:

Mari may have provided the plans, but that doesn't mean he meant for them be followed strictly. Disgusted by what he calls the "alienation of industry," Mari hoped to put the power back in the hands of the consumer.
Results vary.

In a recent interview with Apartamento magazine, Mari expressed a distaste for the word "design." He prefers "project," or, in Italian, progetto.

"Projects can only be taught concretely," he told the interviewer. "It can't be done abstractly, using fragmented banal theories, but only intervening critically on a student's practice.
"Every time I asked them [students] to choose what to design, they would propose things like chairs, say, things that have already been designed thousands of times before.
"I would say all the time, 'Look out the window. If everything you see is beautiful, and right, and you approve it there's nothing left to design.
"'If there is something that makes you want to choke the designer and the commissioner with your own bare hands, something that horrifies you, that is the reason for your project.'"

In 2009, a London gallery staged a group exhibition celebrating Mari's Autoprogettazione. The plans may have been published in the early '70s, but the ideas behind them still seem current as ever.

hej, hej, hej: true scandinavian

My dear friend and co-blogger Ming has been in Sweden for the past year, where she presumably spends her time eating lingonberry jam and dating boys with soft Js in their names. I hope she has also clocked a few hours in houses that look like this.

These photos are from soon-to-be-released book True Scandinavian: Contemporary Living. I love these photos because they buck the trend of overly blonde-wood, too-sleek Scandinavian interiors. These are spaces you can actually imagine living in, maybe even getting a little dirty. Not everything has been artfully slotted away into custom-made cabinets. DVD players work just as well sitting on the floor. Milk crates are excellent storage containers.

Considering that I'm about to move in with a knack for drawing flora & fauna, that last photo might not be so far off from our future apartment!

found these photos via this lovely swedish blog - thanks!


hooked on succulents

A trip through the American southwest totally reshaped my ideas about natural beauty. Outside my window here in Montreal, the rain is falling and the buds are sprouting - and that's nice and all, but I'm almost too busy fetishizing desert plants to get down with spring. Is that so wrong?

photos (from the top) from here, here and here.

making peace with the hippies

The photos from this 1974 book have me California dreamin'.

I grew up on the west coast, where my mom took us over to the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and Vancouver to visit her aging hippy friends. I never identified with that aesthetic, but as I get older (and admittedly more stressed), I find myself gravitating more and more to brightly-lit, wood-panelled, house-planty spaces. I've finally realized I can love west coast interiors and wear a lot of black. Duh.
The other day someone told me they could tell I was from BC because I radiate "such a calm vibe," as if he was trying to speak to a British Columbian in language she could understand. Like, totally, man. East-coasters are nuts.

Check out more pictures from the book here.



I have always found old school buildings to be incredibly beautiful. Though I did my fair share of complaining throughout my former educational years, there was always some secret thrill to the school building itself. In 'afterschool' or perhaps while involved in a school play, for example, one got to roam the empty halls and peer into unlit classrooms. There was definitely something, a feeling of exhilaration upon realizing that to be in school after school meant no more rules.

La Classe in Belgium is a hotel created out of a converted school building. There's an anatomy room, a geography room - all tastefully furnished with the proper models and diagrams. This is elementary school for grown-ups!