16 October 2009

future past (wasting time is sometimes not a waste at all)

doing a little furniture rearranging around the atelier also means that m21 has to do some shuffling of his decor and art book collection- our books are everywhere and we decorate with them both by choice and by necessity, since we don't have a dedicated room to use as a library (next home, hopefully). of course, this degenerates into move a stack of books, then pause for a half an hour to go through a volume we haven't cracked in years. move a stack, pause, repeat, until an entire afternoon is wasted...

yesterday, one of our 'pauses' was "modern fireplaces" circa 1975- so fun to look back at the architectural trends of our predecessors and see what's timeless and what's not (the 'not' usually wins). flipping through the volume, the trend that jumped out most immediately (and looked the most dated) was multi-level floorplans and built-in furniture- must have been very, very popular in the 70's. virtually every room pictured had some variant: split-levels, conversation pits, step-down living rooms, and seating built-in to all of it. it's fun to point fingers and say what "were they thinking?" but m21 guarantees you it will happen to the architectural and decor trends we are being saturated with now (don't believe moi? two words: "vessel sinks"- let's discuss in 15 years, k?). m21 also finds the architecturally dated trends particularly fascinating, as opposed to the decorating trends, because you can always throw out a dated chair, but what do you do when that chair is built-in with freakin' brick work? not so cheap or easy to fix that...

here's a selection of our favorites and our "wtf's" from the book:

ok, we have NO idea what they were thinking with this massive sculpture of a ceramic tiled chimney, but we are glad they built it- crazy, but cool and unique. oh, the book states this was a private home in germany, NOT a hotel...

this sleek stainless steel column in new york holds up quite well we think. filing it away for future use.

this concave stainless hearth is pretty chic too. outside of the track lights, we like the whole room (even the shag carpet covered chairs). we'll move right in...

um, just say no to stucco- we know they were trying for that old/new, modern/rustic thing, but it ain't working. and doesn't that stack of flat pillows look oh-so-comfy and inviting? ouch.

well, the 70's were part of the cold war era, so that's the only explanation we can come up with for this big ol' neutron bomb of a fireplace- and can you imagine the acoustics in this room? ceramic tiles on both floor AND ceiling, and the monster of faceted steel in the center to make sure the sound bounces everywhere? ouch again!

if we ever get a commission to design a vacation retreat in aspen or jackson hole, we are stealing this copper riveted fireplace AND the idea of surrounding it with modernist furniture in casually rumpled leather and bright ethnic rugs. hot!

we've always liked fireplaces that project to divide a room, so this number is quite cool in our book. note the glass apron extending from the wood down towards hearth- a detail we are going to file away for future use. and speaking of filing away, we take back what we said about wasting an afternoon flipping through old books- it's NEVER a waste of time. while we haven't cracked this volume since we bought it (probably 10 years ago), some of it must have sunk in to our subconscious, because as soon as we saw the above photo, we immediately thought of a fireplace we designed last year for an unbuilt project! next time, it's going to have a glass apron too!
happy friday, y'all- hope you enjoyed the flashback.

and in the comments section, please feel free to leave your idea of the split-levels of 2009: what architectural trends do you think won't stand the test of time, and keep future designers and contractors employed as they get ripped out? room dividing fireplaces? ;-)

4 comments:

mary said...

Vessels sinks. A true pet peeve--how do you not spill water all over the counter? Cleaning? A nightmare.
Love the flash back. Thanks.

Suzy said...

Love the 2 stainless steel options, very yum!

Lucinda said...

Wow. That flashback was more like a time warp!

parisapartment said...

How fabulous!!