Convert It: An Andalusian Country Home in Spain

Good Morning!

The Andalusian country home that I’m sharing in today’s post really takes me back to my recent trip to Spain. I know I haven’t (yet) anything here about my trip, but I swear I will soon….just as soon as I get a chance to go through all my pictures. I will say that one of my favourite areas of the Spain was Andalusia in the south. The mix of both Spanish and Moorish history creates a vibrant culture which is unlike anywhere else in Spain. The Moorish influence in the architecture has resulted in some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely the area of Spain I’d like to spend more time in. But, I digress. Today’s home in my “Convert It” series is a gorgeous 17th century moorish building which has been restored/converted into a country home in the town of Carmona in the heart of Andalusia. The home was designed by Javier González Sánchez-Dalp, who turned this once dilapidated building into a bright, eclectic space. Walls were knocked down, new walls put up, and a whole second floor was added to make this space a home. And don’t even get me started on the outdoor living area. Whitewashed arches and columns, a natural cave, and a swimming pool so expertly incorporated to the space that it almost looks like it could have been original to the building. 

Photos in Nuevo Estilo via Onekind Design

I love the all the bright colours against the whitewashed walls and ceilings, and the mix of antiques that were used. It is that mix that makes this entire home look like it’s been there forever, despite the fact that a good bit of it is new.  And, again, that outdoor space is spectacular.  Can you imagine having coffee on that patio every morning? I certainly can. You can read more about this home and see more photos here. Have a great Friday!

XO,

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Convert It: 19th Century English Chapel Conversion

“Hello Darlin’. Nice to see you. It’s beeeeen a long tiiiiiiime.”

Admittedly, the meaning and nostalgia of that Conway Twitty line is lost without the man to back it up, but it truly has been a long time since I’ve posted. It all started with my computer dying right before the holidays, and then the long contemplation over whether to buy a Mac or not. (I did). But by that time, I was just out of the habit of posting and I found it hard to get the inspiration to start writing again. But now I’m back, and ready to blog! And what better way to get started but with this beautiful 19th century chapel conversion by Evolution Design in the North Pennines, England.

Church conversions can sometimes come off as vast and institutional-feeling, usually due to the size of the spaces. They are modern and cool, but not particularly cozy. What I like about this chapel conversion is that the interior looks and (I would assume) feels like a home, but with all the charm of what it once was. The designers retained the beautiful gothic windows, the gorgeous stone exterior, and a very similar floor plan of the original chapel. 

Photos care of Evolution Design, found via InHabitat and ArchDaily

I personally love the exposed beams, the fact that it is so light and bright, and that tile wall in the kitchen….be still my beating heart. Oh, did I mention it is a guest house that you can rent out? So if you ever find yourself in the North Pennines for a visit (which is a designated Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark) you should look into staying here!

You can see more gorgeous pictures and read more about the design concept of this build at any of the photo links above.

XO,

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Convert It: A+ Schoolhouse Conversion

Good Morning!

There is nothing I love more than when something old is made current again, and this schoolhouse conversion (c. 1907) in Sewickley, Pennsylvania is a perfect example of just that. Originally featured in Country Living magazine, this home was given a facelift by Leanne and Brad Schaffer, owners of the creative agency Acre Goods and Services. Their combination of vintage style within a clean modern palette makes it a perfect marriage of old and new.  This couple didn’t convert this home from a schoolhouse directly, it had been renovated before. However, based on the before and after photos, they are the first to embrace and incorporate the original elements, like the wood floors and the original beanboard on the walls.  Such a sweet little home!

Photos via Country Living Magazine (Max Kim Bee)

XO,

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Convert It: Villa Augustus

Good Morning!

Hey, remember when I used to write for my blog?  No?  It’s ok, I had sort of forgotten too.  It’s been awhile, but I have a some posts lined up for the next few days so hopefully this is the beginning of more consistency over here. No promises but I’m feeling good about it 🙂  Today, a new installment in my Convert It series and I’m sharing Villa Augustus, a water tower turned hotel, garden and market in Dordrecth, Netherlands.

The water tower and associated high-pressure water main system for Dordrecht was designed in 1881 by the director of the Public Works J.A. van der Kloes and consulting engineer A.G. de Geus.  It was constructed in 1881 and 1882 and consisted of four octagonal towers surrounding a large, round water basin and stands 33 m at its tallest. Beneath the tower were the clean-water basements. One tower contained the chimney for the steam from the engines, two towers had the  a spiral staircase which once connected the 5 staff apartments to the reservoir, and the last tower was used as an outlet should the pressure inside the reservoir get too high. The small towers were removed in 1938, and  new pump building was built next to it in 1942.

An aerial photograph of the water tower from the 1930’s, which was shown at a town hall meeting attended by various entrepreneurs inspired the idea to convert the building into a hotel, garden and market.

The hotel has 37 rooms, 20 of which are in the garden tower, and 17 in the garden. The coolest room in the hotel must be the top floor which boasts the rooftop glassed sitting room.  And in the garden you have a room in an area called the secret garden.  Who wouldn’t want to say they they stayed in a secret garden?

 

The gardens are exceptional and they are the centerpiece of the Villa.  Not only do they have beautiful flower gardens, they also have an extensive vegetable garden and greenhouses where they grow much of the food served at the restaurant and sold at the market.

The restaurant is in one of the garden buildings, and has a fresh and fun interior design and a beautiful patio nestled within the gardens.

And then there is a market where you can find find fresh garden produce, bread, preserves and home-made pasta to name just a few.

All photos via Villa Augustus

Unfortunately, my research into this beautiful conversion did not produce which companies were involved in the restoration or redesign of the Villa Augustus, which is too bad as they did a wonderful job. I’m not planing any trips to the Netherlands in the near future, but if I find myself there again someday I definitely think it would be worth a visit.

XO,

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Yard Sale for the Cure Auction Piece

Good Afternoon!

It has been awhile since I’ve been a regular blogger.  I have been busy with many projects, including the one I’m sharing today.  This weekend is the Yard Sale for the Cure to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  People all across the country will be holding yard sales with all the proceeds going toward breast cancer research. 1-800-Got-Junk is a big supporter of this charity and the have asked a bunch of creative people in the Toronto area to choose a piece of their inventory of  salvaged “junk” and recreate/upcycle it into something better. The pieces will be auctioned off tomorrow at the Massive Yard Sale for the Cure taking place in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto!  I was very happy to asked to create a piece for this great cause.

There was a relatively tight schedule to get the piece done, so I knew I had to pick something that I could update in a reasonable amount of time.  The piece I ended up choosing was this small kid-sized vintage desk.

  Yard Sale for the Cure Before Shot

I decided to update it into a bright and fresh kids reading and creating station!

Yard Sale for the Cure After Picture copy Blog

I painted the whole thing white and I upholstered the bench seat in a fun fabric (Willow from Tonic Living) so that there was more comfortable place for reading.  On the desk side I added side pockets for art supplies,  a small chalkboard area on the desk using chalkboard paint and a lamp for both reading or creating!  And in case you need space, the seat folds up!

IMG_4059

It was a fun project to do.  If you like it and want to get this piece for your little artist or reader, come on out to the sale and bid on it tomorrow!  Don’t have a little person in your life for this piece?  Well, there will be a whole bunch of other fabulous pieces being auctioned off, not to mention a ginormous yard sale! The Trinity Bellwoods Park sale is from 10 am to 7 pm!  I hope to see you there supporting a great cause!

XO,

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Convert It: Prahran Hotel Pub

Good Morning!

This lovely Monday morning I’m bringing you another adaptive re-use project for my Convert It series. Today’s post takes us to Melbourne, Australia and the Prahran Hotel Pub. Designed by Techné Architects for the hotel group Sand Hill Road, the project is the redesign of the hotel’s pub (which was previously just a small add-on in the back) into an awe-inspiring 3-level facility.

The pillar of the adaptive reuse is, of course, the 17 1/2 concrete pipes used in this project which are visually captivating both the from outside and the inside.

Concrete and steel are the main materials used, along with recycled spotted gum slats within the round banquets and on the floors and ceilings.

In addition to the cool design features, what also struck me was the number of plantings around the space, which I think helps to softens the harsh industrial feel of all the concrete and steel.

Photography: Peter Clarke via the Cool Hunter and Inhabitat

This space combines both the whimsy of a playground and the seriousness of an industrial factory in just the right balance. If I ever make it to Melbourne, I would love to have meal in this pub. You can see more photos and learn more about the space at the Cool Hunter.

XO,

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Convert It: Washington School House Hotel

Good Morning!

Boy oh boy do I ever get excited about a good conversion project. Especially ones that I could actually visit if I was so inclined. Today in my Convert It series, I’m featuring a lovely hotel in Park City Utah, the Washington School House.  The hotel was originally one the first three schools built in Park City in the late 1800’s. While the school survived the great fire of Park City in 1898, after declining enrollment in the depression era the school was sold to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and then used for social events and dances into the 1950’s.  It wasn’t until 1984 that it was purchased and renovated into a bed & breakfast which operated as the Washington School Inn. In 2011 the current owners completed a massive renovation and the it became the gorgeous Washington School House that you see in the photos below. Very few places can be described as both luxurious and quaint, but I think you’ll agree when you scroll through the photos below that this really is both.

All photos via, Washington School House website

The hotel was Paul and Shannon Wehsener and they did a beautiful job creating an elegant cozy space and preserving the exterior charm.  I love the furniture, the bright white walls, and gorgeous lighting choices. I spent a couple of days in Park City to do some skiing after I went to Alt Summit  in Salt Lake City a few years ago.  I happened to be there during the Sundance Film Festival so accommodations were scarce and very expensive for even the sketchiest of the rooms (mine).  I expect these beautiful rooms were booked but some elite movie producers at that time.  But at a less busy time of year, it would certainly be a cozy place to spend a few days.  Perfect for either a ski getaway or a few days in the Midwestern sun.

XO,

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Convert it! The Waterhouse hotel in Shanghai

Good Morning!

In a country like China where new design, manufacturing and technology are so commonplace and lauded, it’s really nice to see when a historic space is reused. The Waterhouse hotel in Shanghai was converted from a 1930’s Japanese Army headquarters built in the 1930’s. NHDRO  architects’ designed the hotel which included the restoration of the original masonry and concrete walls, and new additions built using Cor-Ten steel, creating a very cool modern industrial 19-room hotel.  They also designed the interior of the hotel, attractively melding the old and new creating stark yet interesting common spaces and comfortable, modern rooms for guests. And the rooftop patio has gorgeous views of the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline.

Via this post by Deseen (Photos, 2 – 5 by Pedro Pegenaute, photos 1,6,7,8 by Derryck Menere)

Brilliant conversion. And I would expect staying there would be a really cool experience.

By any chance have any of you stayed there before?

XO,

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Convert It: The Darling Foundry, Montreal

Good Morning!

As some of you know I spent the Labour day long weekend with some of my girlfriends in Montreal.  Lots of food, wine and fun in a great city. Such a great city especially the beautiful Old Montreal. In today’s Convert It post, I’m highlighting an adaptive reuse project in…you guessed it….Montreal! It’s the Darling Foundry buildings.

The Darling Foundry buildings were constructed between 1880 and 1909 by the Darling Brothers for their large metal works operations in Griffintown.  At one time, this foundry was the second most important foundry of Montreal, with more than more than 100,000 ft2 of space. The Darling got its nickname, “the snake,” from the elaborate rooftop ventilation system visible to passersby. The Darling Foundry continued to prosper until 1971, when it was sold to Pumps and Softerner.  The building remained in operation until 1991 and was then was abandoned for 10 years.  The group Quartier Ephémère, which was founded in the early 1990’s, stepped in and raised funds to create a compound of art galleries, artist studio’s and workshops in the old foundry.

Photo by Lori Zimmer via Inhabitat

The first phase which included Quartier Éphémère’s offices, and the two public exhibition galleries opened in 2002 and was designed by 02, and was conceived by the architects In Situ (www.insitu.qc.ca). Phase 2, which houses artists  studios and workshops was designed by  the environmental architectural firm, “L’Œuf.

“Courte-Pointe” the visually bold installation at the entrance to the Foundry is by Philippe Allard and Justin Duchesneau, and is made from milk crates.

You can also rent out some of the space including the main hall shown below.  What a cool space for an event!

They also have an artist’s in residence program so artists from all over the world can come and create beautiful art at the Foundry.

 

Except where specified, all photos via Darling Foundry Page

On top of this being a really cool reuse of old buildings and preservation of the industrial history of Montreal, Quartier Éphémère’s vision for this place as a way to support and promote art in Montreal is pretty awesome.

XO,

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Convert it: The Ace Hotel LA

Good Morning!

This morning in my Convert It series, I’m sharing the adaptive reuse of the United Artist’s building and theatre in Los Angeles which was recently converted into the Ace Hotel.  This theatre building was the flagship for United Artist’s Circut’s West Coast operations. The United Artist’s Circut was started when director D. W. Griffith and screen stars Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin broke from the studios to form UA  in order to gain complete control over the creation, production and distribution of their work.

The building, built in the mid 1920’s in the Spanish Gothic style, includes a thirteen-story steel-framed office tower which was designed by Albert R. Walker and Percy A. Eisen, and the UA theatre  designed by C. Howard Crane.

The office building above the theater was occupied for many years by Texaco.  In 1989, the building was bought by the University Cathedral Church of Dr. Gene Scott, and it served as the headquarters of the church until 2011. You will note on the right side of the picture below, sticking out from the back of the building part of a “Jesus Saves” neon light that is a remnant of the previous owner, which remains there today.

The restoration and design the new Ace Hotel was led by the LA design collective Commune.  From the modern style rooms to the morrocan-esque rooftop patio, they have merged the gothic/early art deco feel with a modern LA hipster vibe.  And surprisingly, it works really, really well.

 

 

 

The newly restored 1600-seat theatre.

Photos  1 to 3 via the LA Conservancy Website (from the LA Public Library), Photos 4 to 12 via Remoldelista, Photo 13 via Commune, Photo 14 via Curbed

An amazing upgrade and re-design.  I love the entryway, the interesting lighting and the super stylish rooftop patio.  It is no surprise that this adaptive re-use project won the LA Conservancy Preservation Award this year.  You can learn more about the history and significance of the building on the LA Conservancy website.  And you can find a lot more pictures of the hotel and theatre space in the posts by Remodelista (here and here), and Curbed.

XO,

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