09/18/2017

Living in a Modern Day Teepee

The teepee will always fascinate from its lore, tribal romance, and having the habitable efficiency of a portable umbrella. It has grown in popularity, designed in trendy fabrics as a decorative novelty for children to retreat and reboot. On a grander scale tepees are associated with Ralph Lauren’s Telluride and shelter on glamping trips.

The “pointy-hat” cantilevers are erected slightly above ground, which prevents insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

While commonly associated with American Indians, teepees have also populated parts of Europe and Asia. The structure not only has benefits for a nomadic existence but in the current day they are eco-friendly. In this home in Nasu, Tochigi, a resort area in Japan, the homeowners are a young couple who enjoy an environmentally-aware existence with organic gardening and limiting their carbon footprint in this natural environs. They enlisted architect Hiroshi Nakamura &NAP with the task of preserving the surrounding woods where they plotted the home. “We avoided large-scale construction to build the rooms on the few remaining flat surfaces of the sloping ground, as if sewing them together,” says Nakamura.

The high ceiling allows the structure to receive direct sunlight, which is especially needed in the dense woods. To offset the expense of air-conditioning they eliminated unnecessary space.

The teepee’s form matches the neighboring tree branches.

Nakamura’s design process:

+ They began by cutting down the upper space diagonally to make the ceiling lower based on the way people move.

+ The new form matches the tree branches that spread out radially. This resulted in a tent-shaped house with only one-third of the volumes. Although the highest ceiling is 26 feet, the average ceiling height is 16 feet. Dwellers cannot stand upright close to the walls, so Nakamura simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas. The ceiling descends like a tent and enables the creation of a warm living space that mingles with the trees. “You will feel the warmhearted embrace of the house around you,” he says.

+ Other eco-conscious design tricks include the “pointy-hat” building cantilevers, which are slightly above ground in order to prevent insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

+ The windows are all double glazed in order to ensure that the tall spaces are airtight and well insulated. The fireplace and the air-conditioning underfloor capitalize on the floor heating and pit.

+ During summer, warm air gathers at the top and escapes through the upper window. In winter, warm air at the upper part will be drawn in and blown out at floor level, creating a comfortable air flow.

A constant surprise with light and, in this instance, sheds an intriguing profile.

The design fosters family gatherings and connecting naturally. “It is similar to primitive spaces seen in the houses of the Jomon People (Ancient Japanese) and Native Americans. The structure of the house initiated a lifestyle with close interaction, because the family sat along the low wall facing each other. A fire, a light or a table was set in the middle to initiate conversation as the family gathered around the center. The architecture has had an influence on people’s habits and it strengthened the connection and bond of the family,” Nakamura says.

Built in tables detailed with wooden poles capture the outdoors into indoors theme.

“Design touches include light wood, natural tones and artisanal additions like the pressed flower glass door. “Akebi, viola, anemone, geranium, larkspur – the wild flowers found in the pressed flower glass all came from the surrounding woods,” says Nakamura. “Our idea was to find a new way to reflect the blessings of nature, not just in the context of samples or picture books. We manufactured the glass by sandwiching the pressed flowers in resin films between two thick glasses and firing them in vacuum.”

Flower cuttings from the surrounding area are immortalized within indoor glass windows.

Pressed flowers sealed between two panes of glass protect the flowers from decolorization.

An almost space age feel happens at night.

The home takes on a new direction once night falls. Moonlight naturally illuminates the exterior, wild animals circulate freely around the home, which has a presence that is as natural as its neighboring trees. “In the darkness of the night, you will find a house filled with warm and gentle looks,” Nakamura says. It’s like living on a camp ground with all the efficiencies.

There is an alluring quality from the lit teepee, like a jack-o-lantern at night.

For more information please visit http://www.nakam.info/en/

Photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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09/10/2017

5 Steps to an Inviting Fall Front Porch

The switch over from daisies to mums is happening, and porches are starting to take note. In designing the front entrance, rather than go the Halloween route with crawling spiders and loud ghoulish ornaments that transform your yard into a Dollar Store graveyard, I’ve always preferred the harvest theme. Here, in our former Laguna Beach cottage, we let color and whatever looked good at the the nursery guide the exterior’s design.

A fall porch is as simple as selecting a few well edited pieces.

5 steps to a fall front porch:

  1. Browse your local nursery, market and farmstead for gourds and fall fruits that can add style to your tableau.
  2. Choose a secondary theme, as we did with burlap and straw, and find pieces that connect. We found the burlap garland on Etsy and mini stack of hay from Michael’s, which we tied to the front door and used as filler to the vignette.
  3. Place fake leaves here and there, also bought at Michael’s, if you live in a climate that does not shed its leaves in abundance.
  4. Survey your own pieces to use as decoration. A vintage wire basket is a great container for apples while a straw market bag is the perfect vessel for mums.
  5. Use your dog as a prop and, if you don’t have one, borrow a friend or neighbor’s like Baxter in this image.

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09/06/2017

How to Grill Lobster and Shellfish

The most difficult thing about grilling shellfish is to not play with the lobsters before you cook them. The technique is as simple as throwing them onto the grill. Our recommendation: buy lobster tails instead of the live crustaceans.

A grilled shellfish dinner packs in a lot of flavor with minimum effort.

Ingredients for 2-3:

4 lobster tails

10 clams

10 mussels

1/2 pound new potatoes

2 ears of corn

Fresh seasonal vegetables

Seasoning such as paprika, dried mustard and pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Quartered lemon to serve

Directions:

  1. Soak the fish for 3-4 hours.
  2. Season with lemon, a  sprinkling of olive oil and your favorite seasoning or make your own with paprika, dry mustard, ginger, salt and pepper.
  3. Warm up grill to 350 degrees.
  4. Drizzle corn and fresh picked vegetables with olive oil, add seasoning and wrap in foil.
  5. Cook all food for five to ten minutes. Once the shells of the mussels and clams open they are ready.
  6. Serve with lemon.

What looks like an involved table setting could not be easier.

Resources:

Plates: Homer Laughlin

Grill: Weber

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09/04/2017

Shop the Indian Summer Look

We refuse to believe summer is coming to a close. There is no urgency to store away the sundresses and shorts. The grill’s covering is still gathering mold in the shed. The floors of the car are coated with sand. If you feel your summer gear was lacking this season, this is the best time to stock up with what you want and possible deals. It’s like buying Christmas decor the day after the holiday at half off and being fully prepared the following year. Here, we round up our wishlist favorites.

1. Native petite round towel 2. Bondi beach tent 3. Pagoda Kaeden umbrella 4. Santander Macrame Hammock 5. Beach cart 6. Carnival kite 7. Countryside gardening basket 8. Beach paddles

09/04/2017

Celebrate Indian Summer

For those who are not part of the warm-weathered privilege who either live in a mild climate or chase the sun year round, September is a crucial time to take in summer’s last hurrah. As a four-season dweller, customs like squirrels gathering nuts early and the thickness of a spider’s web are noted and feared. (All signs in the Farmer’s Almanac of a cold winter).

Beach Tent by Lovin’ Summer creates an instant campground.

The exchange between summer to fall may be the most spectacular period of the year. In our neighborhood you won’t see a countdown sign till summer ends but in spring they are prevalent. This is why being outdoors is a necessity.

Beaches are less crowded. Deals on summer necessities abound. You can still feel the rays of the sun before she relinquishes her power to another hemisphere and go home to an evening by the fire. Engage in a seashore outing simply but with verve and style by erecting a beach tent with nibbles and games. Just because the month may switch over doesn’t mean you have to.

Boat’s experiencing their own end of summer moment.

Create an end of summer celebration:

  • Postpone stowing away beach gear and make a trip to the beach for a more private experience than jostling for sand space.
  • Take advantage of end of season specials and stock up on those great beach pieces you had your eye on.
  • Pack snacks, games, plan a kayak expedition or just go on one of those endless, meditative walks. Make an effort to get in beach time before days become cooler and shorter.

Indulge on the last stock of summer fruit.

Resources:

Beach Tent: https://lovinsummer.com/shop/beach-tent/santorini-beach-tent/

Wategos Round Beach Towel: http://thebeachpeopleco.com/thttp://thebeachpeopleco.com/the-wategos.htmlhe-native-petite.html

Fair Trade Basket Bag: http://basketsofafrica.com

Colored bowls: http://www.boboandboo.com.au/

Adirondack chair: https://www.polywoodoutdoor.com

Lovin’ Summer sums it up.

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08/30/2017

Back to School – Back to Responsibility

Summer is loose with its liberal stance on iGadget time, bike riding until bed, eat-the-brownies-we-made-last-night-for-breakfast approach. Everything about the warm season is scaled back, including busy moms who also need a summer off from parenting. And then you pay for it… To avoid getting the new teacher phone call about your child, and I am not referring to the one where she breezily checks in to say what a delight he or she is but how they simply are, ahem, struggling to get back into the routine. Routine is a necessity in our young citizen’s life and if family holidays were not only spent on the shore but at home, you can always get back into the groove.

Begin by helping them prepare their backpack with its new supplies, help them choose their clothes, and make the last days of summer vacation count by planning structured activities. They will find enjoyment in being a part of the process and excited for the New Year ahead. Also, if they try to smuggle their light saber into school as my son did, make it funny and suggest that a new teacher may not be as receptive to their aspiring Jedi ambition on the first day.

Resources:

Backpack, lunch bag: https://us.soyoung.ca

 

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08/25/2017

Back to School Supply Shopping – Make It Fun

Amazon was a South American region back when I went to grade school and school supply shopping happened after the first day, checking off items from a Xeroxed list. Now it’s pre-ordered, with online updates, specific brands, and a calculated depth to your pre-sharpened pencils. While I didn’t go to school carrying a pail with a piece of chalk and turnips for lunch, I do feel the generational gap kick in.

Securing school supplies doesn’t have to be another September task like warding off lice. I remember the excitement from choosing folders with your favorite cartoon character, colorful erasers, and pencil cases that would accompany the school year with me. Now it’s as impersonal as filling-out a medical form.

Bags by Built are both durable and can be used for a variety of needs.

This year I will stay true to the list (it’s not right for my son to be targeted as the rogue school shopper based on his mom’s views) while adding a few extras so we can add another memory to the ephemeral grade school years. Here, we supply a round up of products that are both school approved and of top quality and style.

Backpack, lunch bags and snack bag: http://www.builtny.com

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Paper folders: http://www.officedepot.com

Scissors: http://www2.fiskars.com/

Pencils: http://www.dixonticonderoga.com

Colored pencils: http://sargentart.com

Post It Pads and labels: http://www.post-it.com/3M/en_US/post-it/

Books: http://www.scholastic.com/home/

Activity books: https://usborne.com

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08/18/2017

Before & After – Adding a Dining Room Pendant

A single wall construction home in Laguna Beach follows the charm of this surf culture town. Central air is an extravagance when you can simply open the doors for that canned coastal breeze.

A neutral yet modern double cylinder pendant seals the look of this small dining area.

Temperatures rarely venture into extreme highs or lows and if they do residents revel in having a quaint taste of another season. The climate translates to the home, where interiors follow the laid back “shoe optional” approach.  Lighting, however, fits a more basic need. Moving into my Laguna home and the previous dweller, one of those earthy types who kept wild animals as pets, did not have a dining room lamp among other necessities. While I am a follower of organic style and going braless at Coachella, I do find lighting necessary in terms of effectively seeing your food and adding an easy stylistic element.

Choosing a pendant was a combination of statement piece yet neutral since the dining area is part of the overall common room. This double cylinder pendant by Oilo Studio  works with its scale, simplicity, modernity and neutral color.

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08/11/2017

Ultimate Guide to Resort Town Shopping

The time has come in your vacation to investigate town, usually between beach and dinner. You navigate a sidewalk with other tourists who share a reddish tan that happens when you fall asleep to the ping ping of a Kadima ball in the bright sun. The town charms with a hotel that hosted famous Colonial folk. Cafes decorated with local art. Stores merchandised for the season. Some shopkeepers let you browse with a drippy ice cream cone, the window lists their other resort locations: Nantucket, Palm Beach, East Hampton…

Here, we cultivate highlights from resort establishments, hocking everything from cocktail attire, sustainable flip flops and shot glasses with the town’s zip code.

 

  1. Navy Canvas Tote 2. Watercolor Waves Bag 3. Beach Volleyball 4. Embroidered SkipJack Key Fob 5. Intergalactic Bath Bomb 6. Marine Blue Handwoven Throw 7. St. Barths Tunic in Sailing Stripes 8. Roses Quilt 9. Original Salt Water Taffy 10. Scotland Nation Airlie Sweatshirt 11. Trucker Hat 12. Beach Towel in Mega Joyride 13. Fallera Azure Women’s Mule 14. Backpacker Cologne 15. Deer Valley Mountain Legging 16. Laraju Elephant Printed Silk Scarf/Throw

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08/05/2017

Travel – Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

We reach the final leg of our trip in a Jeep weighed down with too many people, beach gear, unzipped bags and many towels since our rental does not provide them. The main road that takes us to our cottage is not cluttered with commercial behemoths. There are antique stores in historic homes, hardware stores hocking rain barrels, fishing outfitters and a nature center that hosts midnight walks along the seacoast. This could be the scene of a summer experience decades ago but it’s not. We are in the town of Chatham, plotted on the elbow of Cape Cod, Massachusett’s arm.

An antique store seen on route to our cottage.

A Cape experience and there is no preoccupation with such things as matching your pool float to your bathing suit and securing appointments for an onsite hair stylist to prep you for an exhausting roster of fabulous events. We omit any scheduling to follow the simple offerings the town provides. Ridgevale Beach is in walking distance. There are plenty of restaurants. The main supermarket and fish stores provide local ingredients for meals at home.

Typical day at the local beach.

In town they have the expected tourist destinations—art galleries selling aerial shots of the ocean, Cape merchandise, trendy clothes designed by entrepreneurs who gave up corporate life to follow their dream, cafes that freeze extra coffee into ice cubes, choice of ice cream and fudge shops and more than one knitting establishment. On a morning when half our household made their tee time, we explored the two block town. An excursion where Cape appropriate trinkets were bought. Ate more ice cream, cookies, Italian ice and candy where I thought tongues would permanently stain blue. We gave in to the impracticalities of resort living. By the end of the trip there is life reassessment and talk of starting a clam bake outfitter.

Walk away from the crowds for a vacant plot.

In the dramatic shift from August to September the town’s tourists return to routine life, leaving the Cape’s most spectacular month. Days have the perfect ratio of crisp to warm temperatures, cool evenings, no crowds–an ideal time to clear the mind and draft a business plan.

The view from Chatham Pier and Fish Market.

Places to eat/market:

400 East Restaurant & Bar: A bulky menu that serves everything from nachos grande to broiled scrod, tuna poke and ribs.

Candy Manor: An old-fashioned candy shop who homemade fudge and bins of candies.

Chatham Pier & Fish Market: Buy the catch of the day with on site entertainment provided by frolicking seals.

JoMama’s NY Bagels: Servicing our morning needs with great coffee and bacon, egg and cheese bagels.

Kream ‘N Kone: Fried fish selections, Cole slaw and soft serve ice cream in a family friendly atmosphere. Take out or dine in booths from plastic trays.

Marion’s Pie Shop: The morning line moves fast for coffee and all kinds of pie, even clam.

Buffy’s Ice Cream: In town, jovial pink setting, with a menu of flavors and soft serve.

Schoolhouse Ice Cream: An assortment of homemade flavors and other ice cream shop favorites.

Sundae School: A chalkboard lists innovative flavors you can create into a sundae with hot caramel, pineapple and other toppings.

Places to shop:

Ducks in the Window: If you are in the market for a rubber duck, this is the destination. A collection of rubber toys, candy and trinkets where shoppers inspect wares like displays in a gallery.

Fat Face: BoHo, urban sweatshirts and cool clothing in a hip corner store. The helpful salesgirl gave us the store’s background about British designers with the ideal to sell t-shirts and naming the store after their favorite ski run, but we were too busy inspecting the merchandise to catch it all.

J. McLaughlin: In even preppy resort town you can count on a J. McLaughlin for stocking up on pretty printed dresses, swim trunks and accessories.

Jack Wills: Come here for classic styles like striped teas, kick please dresses and wardrobe basics with an updated take

White Marlie: Designed tees, suits, hats and hoodies that offer a more styled assortment than a touristy shop selling Cape Cod emblemed clothes.

If you have any questions regarding your Chatham trip, please email us at jdemontravel@ducksgoose.com.

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