Imbue Design : Buddhist Retreat

PastedGraphic 1As I type this post, I'm riding shotgun in a  truck on my way down to southern Utah to a Buddhist Retreat. No, I'm not having another dramatic change of faith, I'm actually going to install cabinetry. The retreat was designed by a local firm Imbue design that continues to impress me with both the quality and caliper of work they are doing. The rendering above doesn't do justice to just how cool this project is. The exterior is dominated by gabion walls and the interior wrapped in Ipe. In fact even the cabinets I'm installing with Modern Union are made of Ipe. I'm excited to be working with such great architects and clients on this job. 

I'm about 4 hours away from the job site right now. Check out the Modern Union Facebook page for pictures and updates. 

Modern Union

Imbue Design

Also, while you are at it, make sure you read the write up that City Home Collective did on the Buddhist retreat a few weeks ago.


NewImageFor those that have been reading my blog for a long time, you may recognize the name Mark Haslam.  He was they one that did a lot of hand holding and hard work for me when I built my addition behind my house in Sugarhood.  Back then he was working for Benchmark Modern, and together they went on to do a lot of great modern projects, including a few I was able to do some work on.  The House 2 project I featured last year was my first big job with my new side company Modern Union.

Not only is Mark one of the nicest guys I know, in my opinion he is also one of the best general contractors in SLC to build a modern home.  I get a lot of people who ask me who they should use, and I always point them towards Mark. 

So what does this have to do with Sausage? Oddly enough, that happens to be the name of Marks new construction company.  Mark has decided to branch off from Benchmark and do his own thing. I expect great things coming from him in the near future, so do yourself a favor and bookmark now. You'll thank me later.

Sausage : Modern home construction in Salt Lake City


Oscar Niemeyer 1907-2012


I just found out that one of my favorite living architects is no longer living. Famous, or perhaps infamous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died at 104 years old yesterday. I spent a few years in Brazil, so I have a deep love for the country and its people. I love Oscar as much for his work as I do for his personality. Passionate about life, women and buildings to the very end, he will be missed. 

I'm sure there will be lot's of great retrospectives written about him in the coming hours and days. In the meantime check out the fantastic 2010 documentary LIfe is a Breath of Air about Oscar Niemeyer and his life. Hopefully the youtube link below stays up for a while. 

Photo via BBC

Pantone Hotel

PantoneHotel 01Pantone housewares (ornamentstins, and mugs--oh my!) have been hot items for a while now, but did you know that there is an actual Pantone hotel??  For real.  It's in Belgium.  And it's full of colorful, Pantone-y goodness.  I'm not usually a "hang out in hotel lobbies" kind of person, but I might make an exception in this case.  Also, can you imagine what their gift shop is like?  Pantone heaven, most likely.  Check out more here.

More pics after the jump!

PantoneHotel 02PantoneHotel 03PantoneHotel 04PantoneHotel 05PantoneHotel 06PantoneHotel 07

Sett Studio Prefab


NewImageI've been back and forth on prefab over the years as to whether or not I think it's a good deal. Most can't come close to the cost of a custom built structure in Utah making them only practical for difficult to access sites, or if you live in an area like California where custom prices are outrageous. What I have been excited about lately is all the small prefab options that have popped up lately. Sett Studio has a few sub 200 square foot options that price out between $150 - $200 a square foot. That price includes some nice features too, like super efficient SIP construction and a (sort of) Shou Sugi Ban siding.

More photos after the jump.

Sett Studio

NewImageNewImageNewImagesett studio interior

Cars, Beaches and Case Study Houses

Scion IQAdmittedly one of the biggest perks of blogging is getting invited to fantastic press events. A few weeks ago Scion was kind enough to fly myself and several other lifestyle bloggers down to Manhattan Beach to take a peek at their new car. During the whirlwind trip I found myself talking to the singer from Devo, surfing, driving the smallest car I've ever been in, and best of all, checking out some famous SoCal Case Study houses.

Read on for the whole story, and more pictures...


First off the car. Those that know me, know that I am a bit of a car nut. In fact I've been described as having car ADD, rarely keeping one for more than a year. My personal taste leans towards european sports cars, so I admit I wasn't overly enthusiastic about driving a sub 10' Scion IQ. I did get a little more excited when I learned that Aston Martin rebranded the IQ in Europe as a luxury micro compact. Branding aside the IQ was a surprisingly comfortable and solid car for the size. Even 6' 4" Tyler from Plastolux seemed pretty comfortable in it.

Erin Loechner

Scion is an interesting brand, and puts a surprisingly large amount of effort into supporting the arts, and more grassroots style advertising. For this event they had pulled together a wide swath of lifestyle bloggers, so it was interesting to get to meet other people "in the industry". I even had the chance to make be "real life" friends with some facebook friends I've had for a while, like the lovely Erin Loechner from Design For Mankind. I have a total design crush on her...


During our dinner Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo spoke to us. I'm admittedly not that big of a Devo guy, but I did recognize him as that awkward artist from Yo Gabba Gabba! Turns out her really is an incredibly accomplished musician (outside of Devo) and artist. Go figure.

Between surfing sessions, Tyler and I rented a car to search out some of the iconic Case Study houses. We didn't have appointments for the Stahl house (Case Study #22) but the son was gracious enough to let us peek through the gate. It was AMAZING! From the street, it doesn't look like anything at all, but as soon as you poke your head through the gate you get that amazing view that Shulman captured so well.

creedefitchOur next stop was the Eames Case Study house #8. It's been on my bucket list for a long long time to go and check that house out, so it was incredible to be there. They are in the process of moving the majority of the interior to LACMA for an upcoming exhibit, but the place still looked amazingly intact and original. In fact if you have ever seen the classic Eames film "Lucia Chase Vignette" it looked like nothing had changed at all in 40+ years since it was filmed.

You can see my whole Eames House photo set here....

and more pictures from the Scion IQ event here.

Cast Iron fire bowl

cast iron fire bowlThe last couple nights the temperatures have started to cool off finally. Of course with the hint of fall in the air the first thing that my mind turns to is sitting around a fire pit on a cool night. This Cast Iron Fire pit from Design Within Reach caught my eye. It's Danish roots show through immediately. It's shape isn't all looks though, there are some clever things going on in there that make the fire burn even more efficiently. And did I mention there is a grill top option for it? Yep. Perfection.

Cast Iron Fire Bowl from DWR $465

or here for $400

MCM Vacation


Puerto Rico - 1963 8mm Reel from Trawin on Vimeo.

OK, it's Friday, you've had a long week, you are already one foot out the door. How bout we start this weekend off right. I stumbled across this found footage of a 1963 vacation in Puerto Rico. It's full of all sorts of great mid century architecture, vaca-wear and beautiful vintage video defects.  The only problem is, no sound. So here is a little game to play.


1. Start playing "Puerto Rico - 1963 8mm Reel". The first 30 seconds are an intro screen.

2. When you get 30 seconds in, hit play on "Full LP: Bossa Nova - New Brazilian Jazz - Lalo Schifrin - 1962 Audio Fidelity"

3. Switch "Puerto Rico - 1963 8mm Reel" to full screen.

4. Sit back and enjoy your own little tropical paradise.

5. Rinse and repeat.


3182 Millcreek


ed drier home


This Monday I had the opportunity to walk through one of my favorite mid century modern homes in Salt Lake City. Designed and built in 1965 by one of Salt Lake City's more prolific modern architects Ed Drier, the home has heavy Miesian influence. The exterior roof line is defined by a massive steel H beam that is contrasted by a white tile soffit that continues into the home. The continuance of surfaces is actually one of my favorite aspects to the home. Everywhere you look flooring, walls and ceiling materials seamless cross the indoor outdoor plane. This is made possible through a significant amount of glazing and careful attention to detail. Considering the amount of glass in the place I expected it to be a huge energy hog, like some of the other MCM glass and steel houses in the area, but I was pleasantly surprised to find just one furnace in the basement. The fact that it has a pool and close to a half acre sitting on the side of a ravine makes this house ideal for me. Unfortunately the $800,000 price means it's about 4 times out of my price range. I propose 3 other people go in on it with me. First pool party is on me.

3182 Millcreek MLS listing

More info on Ed Drier

Full photoset
















The Signal Shed

signal shed

signal shed interiorI blame it on Capree really. Yesterday over on MAIYA she posted about the Grandpa Henry collection, a series of bright wool plaids that looks amazing as upholstery. I of course wanted it, but it didn't seem like the right fit for a downtown loft. A mountain cabin on the other hand...

Thus began my search for a small affordable prefab cabin that I will inevitably have to build, just for the purpose of having a Grandpa Henry chair to sit in. After a little poking around I came across the Signal Shed shown above. A 130 square foot prefab shelter that was designed for the budget minded. Sunset magazine did a story about it recently thats worth reading. The above photo's came from owner Ryan Lingards website.

Signal Shed


SK1 From Knibb Design


sk1 tableProving you just can't get too much of a good thing, I've got another great round of furniture that has that wonderful combination of powder coated steel and wood. This time it is coming at you from Los Angeles based firm Knibb Design. Founder Sean Knibb is one of those amazing guys that does a little of everything from landscape design to furniture design and he has an impressive portfolio to back it up.

SK1 furniture from Knibb Design

Hotspot Notebook Grill

fire sense hot spotSummertime is here and it's time to break out the grill. Unfortunately for me my big grill I had isn't exactly conducive to loft living so my good friends are currently grill-sitting it for me. I still want to get in on the action though, so I've been looking for an ultra portable, inexpensive and attractive charcoal grill. While that sounds like a tough order to fill, I think that I may have struck gold with the Fire Sense HotSpot Notebook Charcoal grill. Despite having one of the longest, most awkward names, it actually looks pretty amazing. When not in use it folds down to 18 x 18 x 1. Yes one inch thin as Steve Jobs would say. All this for just $37. Not too shabby.

Hotspot Notebook grill $37 from

Modern Garden :: Terra Trellis

TerratrellisWhen it comes to modern garden accessories (well, everything MINUS planters), it seems the pickings are pretty slim.  So, I was pretty pleased to spot Terra Trellis, an offshoot of California-based TerraSculpture Studio.  Their collection offers re-imagined, modern versions of classic garden structures, including trellises, arbors, and tuteurs.  The hand-welded steel pieces are also available in 7 contemporary colors and finishes, from aubergine to oxide, white to kumquat orange.  With such beautiful craftsmanship, I'd consider these less accessories and more pieces of functional art!

Check out all the styles and options through the link below and let me know what you think!

Columbus Indiana

I mentioned a while ago my recent trip to Colombus Indiana to check out the Miller House as well as all the other fantastic architecture. The weekend before I was there CBS was filming for this Sunday morning edition that featured Columbus. It does a decent job of showcasing some of the greatness of the little town. If you want the real day to day scoop however, make sure you follow my friends blogs Atomic Indy.

Anyone want to move to Columbus with me?

Bird House Kit :: Michael Oliveri

BirdhousekitThis bird house kit from designer Michael Oliveri is the perfect DIY/craft project for kids!  They can paint, draw, or bedazzle to their heart's content - and when they're done, you'll have a one-of-a-kind bird house for all your feathered friends.  Of course, you can always leave it in its natural plywood state if puff paint and glitter aren't your thing.

Curious how it assembles?  Check out a short video below!


DIRTT and Architecture

DIRTT and Corian

I mentioned earlier this week that DuPont™ Corian® sponsored a trip back to Chicago to look at some new things they are doing with DIRTT.  While I was fairly familiar with Corian, I had never heard of DIRTT before. Put basically, DIRTT is a modular wall system that can be used in interior spaces. Because it is modular, it can be reconfigured in the future if needed. The big news was that you can now get it with Corian panels.  I have a bit of a design crush on Corian lately, so for me this union translated to some really nice looking spaces.  Check out my DIRTT photoset on flickr for some eye candy.

chicago architecture

I also had a chance to do an architectural river tour and snapped some pictures of the city. You can see those photos HERE. If the trip doesn't sound amazing enough yet, I haven't even touched on NeoCon. I'm still sorting through those photos. Icing on the cake? The crew I was hanging out with was the best, and I'd like to give a shout out to fellow bloggers from Dwell, Core77, DsgnWrld, and Talkitect. I had a fantastic time hanging out with all of you.


Hello Chicago + NeoCon

chicago hotel palomar poolsideI ended up on a sort of last minute whirlwind trip to Chicago over the weekend too look at some new things DIRTT and Corian are doing (more on that later). I snapped the pic above while taking a quick dip at the Hotel Palomar before dinner. The Marina City buildings are some of my favorites in Chicago. I have a whole camera full of other ones I need to get to, but I'm heading  out the door right now to check out NeoCon. I'll be updating the Grassrootsmodern Facebook page all day, make sure you check it out. I'll get around to the official recap later.

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...