Tag Archives: architecture

San Francisco: Doors

In my third installation of photos from San Francisco, I chose to take photos of doorways.  I almost feel like I didn’t really even “choose” this theme…  There were so many amazing doorways that it was hard not to take pictures of them!  These were my favourites:

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San Francisco: Address Numbers

Part 2 in my series of things I took lots of photos of while I was in San Francisco.  Today’s theme is address numbers, and oh there were a lot to choose from in this city!  Here are some of my favourites…

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San Francisco: Fire Escapes

So on my recent trip to San Francisco, I got the idea in my head that I would take some series of photographs of things that I found in abundance, with variety and that I really liked to look at (and look for!) around the city.  My first theme?  Fire escapes, of course!  They are everywhere, especially in the downtown area.  Some of them are so ornate, I caught myself wondering if they were really up there for function, or just because they look so darn cool on the side of a building!

Here are some of my favourite photos, given an old-timey feel thanks to the ever fantastic instagram:

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A very inspired trip to San Francisco

I love San Francisco.  Possibly one of my favourite cities to visit that I’ve been to so far.  I probably say that about everywhere I go, but I really do mean it about SF.  I took a couple extra days for an extended Easter long weekend, and made it a great little spring holiday!  I feel like the time goes so fast, so I plan on doing a series of photo posts from my trip over the next week.

First, though, a brief synopsis of the trip and my experience of it.  It’s my second time to San Francisco.  The first time I went a few years ago with some girlfriends.  This was the first time there for Marty*, so we did a lot of the tourist attractions.  We visited Alcatraz, Fisherman’s wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge…

* Marty and I recently had the conversation that went, “What do I call you on my blog?”  I was working with M., but full name disclosure from now on!

Hannah and Marty at the Golden Gate Bridge

I have a tough time with tourist attractions.  I don’t really like crowds, I usually prefer to spend some time getting a feel for a city somewhere other than the main tourist attractions.  Fisherman’s wharf was practically the bane of my trip…  So crowded, so expensive, hard to find authenticity when you have that many people in one place to see the sights…  I guess it is an integral piece of the city, but I honestly would rather find a local neighbourhood and a cafe.  Maybe I just don’t like identifying myself as a tourist.  Or maybe just not one of those tourists.

Regardless, I did enjoy the carousel at Pier 39.  I find circus and amusement park themed places really fun and interesting.  I’m inspired by the shapes and colours, and especially by the whimsy, of those places.  I took a couple pictures, but my favourite by far was this one:

I love the crazy mer-horse!  The orange and turquoise is fantastic, and I love the wide-eyed, startled expression.  It’s a working fixture on a merry-go-round, so the paint is meant to last, not be a work of art, but I love that someone has gone to meticulous detail to paint in all the teeth.  I managed to snap this photo just before a small child jumped on board.  I’ll admit, I was a little jealous…

We also went to Haight-Ashbury and wandered around for a while.  We took the bus, maybe like regular city-dwellers might do, and got to feel a bit like locals on our random public-transit route.  I didn’t get to Haight-Ashbury the last time I was in the city, so I quite enjoyed poking around a bit.  I snapped a picture of this brightly coloured building on the corner of Haight and Masonic:

I find it a bit strange to see a Money Mart in the ground floor of this colourful Victorian house (I dig the spire!), but I suppose that’s part of the modernization and evolution of a city and a neighbourhood.

I really enjoyed the buildings in San Francisco.  I kept thinking to myself that they all look so well maintained, with their pretty painted colours and incredible details.  Even in the not-so-ornate parts of town, the houses looked great.  I think it’s a big part of the city’s identity – all the row houses with their crazy garage doors on tilted angles, and their cheerful colours (maybe to ward against the fog, although it was clear and sunny for the whole weekend we were there!)

I really love San Fran.  I feel like it’s a funky city with a lot to see and do, and a very west coast attitude at the same time.  It probably won’t be soon, but I definitely plan on going back in the future!

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Art Deco Inspiration

It’s been a while since I last posted.  I really felt like I was getting into a rhythm there for a bit…  Oh, well.

Lots has been keeping me busy lately.  A recent project is an redesign of the kitchen in a very charming, and very unique, Art Deco period home here in Victoria.  When doing some of the research for design inspirations, I found a few images that really knocked my socks off.  While Art Deco isn’t really a style that I gravitate to in my own taste, I can really appreciate the aesthetic and the huge momentum behind this style.  One of my favourite finds during my research on Art Deco and influences was the S.S. Normandie.

The SS Normandie was a French ocean liner – the fastest and largest passenger ship on the seas when it was launched for service in 1935.  The interiors were luxuriously appointed in the Art Deco style, and many of the passenger spaces on board the ship served first-class passengers from both France and the United States.

French architect Roger-Henri Expert was in charge of the overall interior decor.  The many grand spaces on the ship reflected both the Art Deco style of the times, as well as highlighting the glory of the largest and fastest ship in which they were appointed.  The stylings were modern and triumphant – a celebration of modern man’s conquering the seas and of the impressive advances in technology during this time.

The first class dining room used repeating geometric shapes and motifs, typical of Art Deco, to create a grand and visually dynamic space, likened to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.  The repetition of strong vertical lines creates an impression of height and of dynamic strength, both important underlying dynamics represented by Art Deco.  The lavishness of the design is both a nod to the abilities made possible by advances in technology, as well as a reaction to the severity of WWI.

Personally, I really love the repetition of the lighting in this room, especially the enormous “floor chandeliers” that line the walls and echo the shape of the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The stepped form is reminiscent of  many art deco buildings, including the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.  Art Deco on the whole relied on repeating motifs, and this repetition of form wasn’t strictly limited to any one facet of design during the time; many common Art Deco motifs can be found on the exteriors of buildings, as elements of interior design, in fashion and jewelry, in household items such as lamps and radios, and in the design of cars and other modes of transportation.  A shape or motif used in the design of a skyscraper can be found applied to a light fixture on an ocean liner as well.

I really found my research into this era fascinating, and it really helped inform some elements of the design of the kitchen I’ve been working on.  The pattern on the countertop, flooring, cabinetry details and hardware all have some element that speaks to the Art Deco style while finding a place in a modern, functional kitchen.

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