Sparano + Mooney: Saint Joseph The Worker Catholic Church

Sparano Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker Church

Salt Lake has its fair share of hidden modern architectural gems, but perhaps one of the best is virtually unknown to locals, let alone the rest the world. The recently completed Saint Joseph The Worker Catholic Church is in my opinion, one of the best examples of modern architecture in the entire state. In fact, it's one of the better projects built anywhere in the last couple years.  The background story to the project is just as interesting to me as the building itself. The original parish was a relatively conservative group, in a conservative state. The found an unlikely partnership with Sparano + Mooney a local architectural firm known for its modern aesthetic. Sparano + Mooney was able to connect with the client by infusing the design with symbolism until the parish felt a sense of ownership and pride in the design.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

From specific details like the 12 amazing color windows that infuse the chapel with light, representing the 12 apostles, to broad but perhaps more subtle things like a material pallet of board formed concrete and cedar appropriate for Saint Joseph The Worker.



Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

My favorite space is a small intimate chapel separate from the rest of the buildings. The interior is lined with cedar and light is funneled down into the space by a skylight positioned over the altar.

LOTS more photo's after the jump.

Sparano + Mooney




Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

View from the parking lot looking into the main courtyard. Small chapel to the left, administrative area straight ahead and the main chapel to the right.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

The small chapel with the cedar interior.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Inside small chapel.


Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Looking towards the back.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic WorkerSparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Main Chapel.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Projected color windows.

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic WorkerSparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker


Sparano + Mooney Saint Joseph The Catholic Worker

The two large concrete panels are from the original church that was built in the 60's.


1st photo courtesy of Sparano + Mooney. Additional photo's by Grassrootsmodern. See the entire photo set in HD here.

The Miller House

On the way back from ICFF last week I had the opportunity to spend two days in the small but wonderful town of Columbus Indiana. I spent a day at a symposium about the Miller House, and the following day I had the opportunity to tour the home. Amazing would be an understatement. I don't think there is any way to truly appreciate it without being there, but you should watch the video above and check out the photos that dwell took for their article a couple months ago. While you are at it, make sure you add a visit to your bucket list.

The Miller House

Objects of Use

dutch style brushobjects of useJackpot!!!  I haven't seen a single store of objects this well curated since my post on Mjölk. Only this time instead of amazing scandinavian design, Objects of Use has beautiful traditional accessories for the home and garden. The modernist in me loves these simple honest products made of traditional materials. The cleaning and gardening tools are absolutely epic. I honestly didn't even know that an asparagus knife or english oak dibber existed before yesterday, now I'm pretty sure I'll die if I don't have one.

The good news is that the prices are very reasonable, the bad news is that they are located in the UK.  I did contact them to see if they ship internationally, and they do.  Most of the items are fairly small so shipping shouldn't be too expensive.

Objects of Use

Garden Wall Ornaments :: Flora Grubb

Wallornaments floragrubb 01Wallornaments floragrubb 02Call me crazy, but I am totally in love with these quirky little wall ornaments from Flora Grubb!  They're available in gold, red, orange, and lime.  Though they're sold as outdoor items, I can't help but think you could create a really cool installation inside with a few dozen of these.  (You might put quite a few holes in your wall, though...)  Where and how would you use these?


[via poppytalk]

Emmanuelle Moureaux :: Architecture + Design

EmmanuelleMoureaux 01

EmmanuelleMoureaux 02My little color-loving heart nearly exploded when I saw Emmanuelle Moureaux's portfolio.  This French-born, Tokyo-based architect has made a name for herself through her signature use of color.  Much of her work is in the commercial realm, but there are a few private residences that are worth checking out, so be sure to take a look at the rest of her portfolio!


More pics after the jump!


EmmanuelleMoureaux 03EmmanuelleMoureaux 04EmmanuelleMoureaux 05EmmanuelleMoureaux 06EmmanuelleMoureaux 07

Wok Fire Pit

It seems like the weather if finally starting to turn warm here in Utah. This summer I'm looking forward to a couple of lazy nights sitting around a fire pit doing absolutely nothing. I think this Wok Fire Pit would do just fine. Available in a 33" or 37" size it can be used to burn logs or it has an optional gas burner that can be fitted. S'mores not included.

Wok Fire PIt $349

Siegle House by John Sugden

Salt Lake City Mid Century Modern Realtor Mony Ty listed this amazing home this month. I had a chance to walk through the amazing 4,660 square foot home a few weekends ago, and it was nothing short of amazing. The home was originally built in 1962, and had a tasteful pool added in 1982. The home was designed by one of Utah's most well know mid century modern architects John Sugden who drafted for and was mentored by Mies van der Rohe. The influence of Mies is obvious as the home has extensive use of steel and glass.

An open house will be held this Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00.

MLS Listing

Mony Ty Architectural Realtor

360 Herbert Ave

Another great modern house project in Salt Lake City has just wrapped up. The designer and builder was Geoff Tice, so you might notice a few similarities with the project he completed last year. The house is located at 360 East Herbert Ave, and is joining a few other modern homes as neighbors.

The original house was a 1922 brick bungalow, with two bedrooms and one bath packed into 851 square feet and a shelf basement. The new house is 3,049 square feet, with three bedrooms, two baths, a loft/study area, and a full-height basement. The second story was built on the rear half of the house, so the original bungalow still maintains its curb appeal and neighborhood feel. The photos after the jump show how much work was actually done to the house.

The house has already been handed over to the new owners, who have been busy settling in.

As always, Geoff is more than happy to share information and answer questions here, so post any questions you might have. If you want to contact him personally, you can send him an email at

Spun Aluminum Planter

OK, so I'll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea what "spun aluminum" means, but apparently that is what these little guys are made of. What I do know is that they come in 4 lovely colors (orange, white, turquoise and mustard) and that because they are made of metal, they will last a lifetime.

Spun Aluminium Planters $78

Justin Fantl :: Photography

On the surface, Justin Fantl's images have a certain sterile quality yet there's an underlying humor that seems to offset the overall sense of isolation. It's a strange combo that makes for some interesting photography. Check out his portfolio through the link below and let me know what you think!


More pics after the jump!

Tie-One-On Outdoor Sectional :: CB2

Sooo... I guess it's like a bean bag for your yard? That's kind of cool. At the very least, the Tie-One-On Sectional from CB2 is probably super comfy (not to mention durable - it's made from heavy-gauge, water-resistant polyester with PVC lining). Oh, and it's modular: you simply tie the different pieces together in whatever configuration you want. While I love the lifeguard-red color, I'm not entirely sold on the slouchy/lounge-y look. What do you guys think?

Tie-One-On Outdoor Sectional from CB2: $100 - $200 / piece

Bird House Finland :: Tapio Anttila

Part of the fun of this birch plywood birdhouse is the at-home assembly - no special tools are required, you simply bend the main housing and keep everything in place with wooden pegs. Find the perfect spot, hang it, and admire your handiwork.

The carefully thought-out design of the BIRD HOUSE FINLAND is a home-build kit for creating the ideal bird house for your local feathered friend. Created by Tapio Anttila with cooperation from various ornithologists, the design takes into account the natural needs of birds and is suitable for small birds. The roof is also easily removed for cleaning every season.

Bird House Finland available from Finnish Design Shop: $69

Midway Modern

Alright readers. Are you ready for another inspirational DIY adventure? It all starts in this humble little 700 sf cabin you see above in the sleepy little town of Midway Utah. Inspired, or just crazy, Calder and Starr were able to turn a lot of hard work into a fantastic modern meets rustic home. But that was just the beginning. Keep reading after the jump. I promise this is one story you are not going to want to miss.

Downstairs is a simple, but modern kitchen/living room with a nice island. I really like the contrast of the clean modern lines of the kitchen with the log walls. You can see from this picture too that the space is not huge. I'm pretty sure this is entire width of the house we are looking at.

Upstairs is the bedroom and bathroom. Again, I love the contrast of the white walls and wood. I also love how minimal and clutter free the room is. It looks like there is good storage built in on the sides too.

Calder didn't mention much about the work that went into the cabin, but from the next part of the story, I think it's safe to assume it was a lot of DIY labor.

So, what do you do when you have a 700 square foot home, and you are looking to expand your little family of two? Get an architect.

This is basically what they had to start with. You can see the cabin in the foreground, and in the back is a barn. It should be noted that the barn wasn't originally on the property. The entire thing was disassembled, moved to the property, and reassembled. Yeah, that's right. This family moves barns for fun in their spare time. Hardcore.

This is the plan that architect Todd Drennan came up with. Todd also has a modern home in Midway. The new modern structure actually connects with the original cabin, keeping a nice separate but together juxtaposition.

Once construction began I have a good feeling that a family that can move barns is willing to pitch in and do a lot of the construction themselves. This DIY spirit and some resourcefulness I think is one of the keys to keeping construction costs down on modern projects. I love the fact that Calder seems like the kind of guy that doesn't know what the word impossible means. Want an example? A two story home needs stairs right? Stairs need stair treads right? So what's the obvious thing to use for stair treads if you are a guy that moves barns. Why reclaimed wood from a bowling alley of course.

Another example you say? Sure. Here is my favorite. What do you clad a beautiful modern home like this with? Some nice stonework would be a great choice, but that would be crazy expensive right? Not if you collect all the stone from a old city building that was torn down and cut it down to the right dimensions yourself. Yeah, that's right. I said splitting your own stone. I didn't even know that was possible.

This is the building the stone came from.

After what must have been an incredible amount of stacking, moving, splitting, the stone was ready for the house. For all the details, and some fantastic pictures of the process, check out this post on their blog.

The end result?

Impressed doesn't seem to do justice to the way I feel.

House 2 is complete

Remember the House 2 project I was going to be following last year? Yeah, I didn't do too good of a job updating on the progress. Luckily the general contractor and subs did a great job of finishing it up. The owners have been in for a couple months now, and a few weeks ago my friend and amazing photographer Kim Guanzon came over to take a few pictures (above). The exterior cedar rain screen turned out fantastic, and is a great warm contrast to the white stucco. Similarly the interior has a fantastic contrast of stark white walls with lot's of fir woodwork to warm the space up. All the cabinetry, bookcases, window benches etc. were done by Salt Lake City based Modern Union, a new local company that is focusing on modern cabinetry and furniture. Modern Union is filling the gap between the low cost Ikea option and the high priced european cabinetry companies like Bulthaup, Poliform, Boffi etc.

Look for a full house tour coming soon.

Kim Guanzon Photography

Modern Union

Way Back When: Los Altos Neutra House

I don't have enough words in my vocabulary to tell you how much I love Neutra's work. Above is a short little video that begins with and excerpt of a video titled "Neutra's VDL Research House" and ends with a short documentation about the Los Altos Neutra House.

About the Los Altos Neutra House project.

In 2005, the City of Los Altos, the Los Altos Community Foundation, and a group of citizens interested in preserving architectural history joined together to save a small Los Altos house designed in 1935 by this renowned California architect and completed in 1939.

Between 1930 and 1940 Neutra did about a dozen projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1935, he began designing three houses for two poets, Jacqueline Johnson and Clayton Stafford. Two small houses with identical floor plans were the residences of Stafford and his wife, and of Jacqueline Johnson. The house that was saved was Johnson's home. A third and smaller house was also built for Johnson. These residences defined a small commune in a prune orchard.

The Johnson house was moved to City-owned land and for the past three years has been carefully renovated for reuse as a community center for meetings, off-sites, and other similar activities. The completed facility has a large conference room, kitchen, bathroom, integrated landscape, and an HDTV audio/video system that on whick visitors can see videos on the history of modern architecture in Los Altos and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This system will also serve the audio/visual needs of those using the conference room for meetings. Combining preservation and reuse has been at the essence of the Los Altos Neutra House Project.

AK47 Fire Pits

Continuing with my recent warm weather obsession of sitting outside around a nice fire...

AK47 is an Italian based design firm that has turned out a whole slew of great looking fire pits. I mentioned them a while back, but it looks like they have some new tricks up their sleeve. While their fire pits are designed to be shipped, I have a hard time believing you are going to be able to get one stateside. In the meantime, hit up your local metalworker and tell him to get busy. Give me a call when it's done. I'll just sit here with my bag of marshmallows waiting.

Hit up AK47's site for more modern fire pit goodness.

Way Back When: Shulman SLC edition

Julius Shulman is a sort of legend when it comes to mid century modern photography. The breadth of his work over his 30+ year career is astounding, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised to find out that he even photographed a building a few short block away from my loft. The Prudential Federal Savings and Loan building was designed 1 of 4 buildings in Utah designed by William L. Pereira. It was photographed by Shulman in 1964 a year and a half after construction was finished.

To learn more about the building, as well as it's imminent demolition, visit the fabulously thorough

Karoleena Prefab Cabins

Ahh prefab, why must you always tempt us with affordable modern architecture?

The latest eye candy I stumbled across is this attractive modern prefab cabin by a Canadian company called Karoleena. This beauty will only set you back $129,000 which sounds great until you realize that it doesn't include site work, transportation and that it is only 630 square feet small. Still, $200 a square foot isn't bad, it's just not any better than a custom architect designed home.

More pretty renderings and info at Karoleena's website.

SOL Homes - Austin

I absolutely love the idea of a community of modern homes. When you add in environmentally responsible and affordable I almost get all tingly with excitement. That is exactly what is going on 3 miles east of downtown Austin. The SOL Austin community of 40 homes range from 1,000 to 1,800 square feet and prices start at $190,000. Not surprisingly it looks like half the homes are already sold. Despite the fact that I'm very jealous of Austin modernists right now, it is encouraging to see attractive modern green homes being built that don't break the budget.

SOL Austin

Via Jetson Green

Villa Amanzi

I think I just found heaven, and it turns out it's in Phuket Thailand. Designed by Hong Kong based Original Vision the home home is a combination of an amazing site and a thoughtful and thoroughly modern home. It's hard not to draw references to Falling Water when looking at the home.

Originally built in 2009 as a vacation home for a Hong Kong couple, the home is now rented out between their stays. $2,000 - $4,500 a night will get you an amazing home with 6 bedrooms (sleeps 12) and your own chef. While that price isn't cheap, for me heaven is just 11 friends and $166 a night away.

Who's in?

Villa Amanzi

LOTS more photo's after the jump.

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...