‘The Pad’ 2

previewI’m not going to post plans showing the existing walls, as all except the wet walls are irrelevant. What’s not irrelevant are the sprinkler heads, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and HVAC ducting, all of which seem to have been placed in the most inconvenient areas the developer could have imagined. Gripe. We will deal with all that eventually.What I was first concerned with was imagining a program (i.e. set of spaces and their relationships) that would work for Eric and Holly.

So I came  up with a few options for how I thought the space could work. This point in the process is often one of  the most interesting: for example, in my own home I would NEVER design computer workstations to be so central – but I can tell you from having stayed with them, the first thing Eric and Holly do when they get up in the morning is go to their computers, and they are found there whenever they have a spare moment. Continue reading “‘The Pad’ 2”


‘The Pad’ 1

WindowSo I’ve been working for two months now on a project in Boston, even though I’m back in Edinburgh. As I’ve briefly mentioned before, it’s a loft condo in Downtown Crossing owned by my friends Eric and Holly. It’s their first home, but they went big: 3,000 square feet, all of which need to be gutted, as the space had been used for years as an office.

While the apartment is fairly industrial  and riddled with little rooms and bad fluorescent lighting, its bones are beautiful. The brick building was built in 1917 for use as a battery backup for city power, and its units boast high ceilings, enormous windows, and exposed brick walls. Eric and Holly’s unit has a 20-foot ceiling at its highest, though a mezzanine cuts through half the space. Unlike the other floors, theirs has only one large window at floor level and a number of smaller clerestories 18 feet up. (see ‘before’ photos in this post.) Continue reading “‘The Pad’ 1”

On the Catwalk

I’m a model, you know what I mean… I’m disappointed that we didn’t blare techno or have a big catering setup to coquettishly ignore at our photoshoot Thursday, but it was still a quietly amusing proposition: me vamping around in shoes I can barely walk in with far too much makeup on playing stick with a hyper dog in a cool outfit. I never had quite enough treats in my pocket; in trying to make them last I had my fingers bitten a number of times. At the end of the shoot I had the idea to wade in the icy pools at the Parliament, but had a hard time convincing Dylan to join me. I’m not used to being thought crazy by a dog. And she rudely turned her head when I instructed her to make love to the camera.

But Dylan seemed completely comfortable in her coat, and we had a number of appreciative comments from passers-by, so that’s something (though one of them was a vacant-looking fourteen year old boy who couldn’t take his hands out his track pants – a sort of Scottish Deliverance..) And the photos are great, though the ones in the pools weren’t worth losing a few toes to frostbite. Continue reading “On the Catwalk”

On Being Temporary

Something liberating happens when you cast off years of accumulated shoes, crystal wineglasses, and boring acquaintances. Traveling with nothing more than a backpack and a limited plan reduces life to its basic elements: where are you going to sleep tonight; what will you eat; what will you do when you get lonely? I can’t recommend enough packing your junk into storage and flying the coop … just to see.

On the spectrum of craving freedom versus stability I tend to stand closer to freedom, but anyone can benefit from pushing their comfort level: doing scary things delineates how limited we can become in our daily lives. We rely on the job we’ve had for years, the friends we made in graduate school, the same food from the same grocery store. For some people this is comforting. A friend of mine tries to find what he thinks is the best of everything, then sticks with it no matter what. I have this irrational fear that my neural pathways will harden and then I won’t be able to adjust to new circumstances unless I’m in the habit of adaptation. Or maybe I just get bored. Continue reading “On Being Temporary”