Vote for Design and Architecture! Political Affiliation: Modernist

October 9, 2012 | Sherry

With the election looming and our country in political mayhem it is heartening to know that at least architecture and design are still alive, thriving and in a healthy state unlike our country.

Yesterday, Mother and Daughter attended the city Modern Brooklyn Home Tour sponsored by Dwell, New York Magazine and apparently and (oddly, at least to me) Audi.

It was a gray, cool and rainy day but our spirits were not dampened in the least. This was a chance to see some design, get inspiration and take voyeuristic pleasure in seeing how other people live.

We were not disappointed. I thought it was one of the best tours I have been on in years. I have never actually been on an urban house (pardon me, HOME ) tour but have seen countless show houses and country or suburban house tours. This one was organized, the houses watched over by interested, interesting, well informed and friendly docents. I overheard that the docents were design students, presumably, being paid for their time. They did a great job of keeping watch over the rooms, making sure that booties were donned at the entry and answering any questions where they had the information to hand. Most were incredibly well informed and as I said, really cared and were as excited as the people on the tour to see these great houses. I was very inspired by the houses. A townhouse is by its nature is narrower than a house one would find in a sprawling suburb. Each of the houses (see Daughter’s post on the house tour for locations in Brooklyn) treated the staircases to the upper and lower floors differently; Metal or wood, modern or traditional bannisters, some a blend of both. There were open steps with no risers, some with risers. Of course, outdoor space in a city is desirable and each house had a large garden or deck without exception. I know I had serious grill envy.

Naturally, the houses were dressed up in their Sunday best, but all of the houses were personal and looked lived in rather than like a movie set. I think it was this aspect that appealed to me most of all.

Here are some items of inspiration I saw and loved:

1. Just inside the everyday entrance of one of the houses in Boerum Hill there was a piece of slate about a 12” by 18” mounted “floating” off the wall. Attached to the front was a piece of wood with a groove for chalk at the top and on the outward facing side, cup hooks to hang keys. What a great and handsome way to keep keys handy and be able to write a note or add something to the grocery list. It looked artful while being utilitarian. (I have a photo on my Iphone that I am happy to send to anyone who is interested.)

2. On the upstairs wall of a house in Brooklyn Heights were framed family pictures…but WHOA! Wait a minute, some of the pictures were changing. I couldn’t help but think of the pictures at Hogwarts in Harry Potter.

Among framed family photos were digital photo frames that fit in well with the variety of “static” photos. Here and there were changing photos that were fun to peruse and made a traditional “wall of fame” riveting. Think of the expanded number of photos that can be displayed like this. I saw digital frames in a whole new light.

3. I love lighting and lighting fixtures. Here are two of my favorites from the home tour:


So after the Mother/Daughter Debate on which house we loved the most, my vote is still undecided.