Colored Glass in Architecture: Dreams Do Come True!

I have the blessing of living in a neighborhood filled with beautiful Victorian houses and every time I take a stroll, I always find new beauty on each house. A few weeks ago, while Simon and I were walking back home from a nearby restaurant, we were especially receptive to all the beautiful colored/stained glass windows some houses had. Instantly, Simon told me that I should make a blog post about colored glass in architecture. Here you have it.

Some of the earlier versions of colored glass were in the form of stained glass at gothic churches in Europe. It was seen as a way for God to shower human beings with beauty and guarantee that parishioners kept on going to church.


Stained glass at Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral. One of the few places on earth that tears run down my face as soon as I walked in. Certainly God knew how to shower me with beauty that day. – Take note that it took almost 200 years to build this magnificent place.


Beautiful stained glass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. A must place for visitors.

Colored glass was also used at mosques and other religious buildings around the world.


Vibrant colored glass at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran. Beautiful Middle Eastern architecture dancing with colors.


Imagine walking down this hall. Being showered by the colors of Iran. Take note at the unique tile and rug work.

There are also more contemporary religious buildings where colored/stained glass is used in a more up to date form.

Chapel windows by Jean-Jacques Duval at Jean-Jacques Duval's Connecticut Synagogue.

Chapel windows by Jean-Jacques Duval at Jean-Jacques Duval’s Connecticut Synagogue.

The beauty about stained glass is the fact that enhances space from big dimensions such churches to smaller places such houses.


Small details such as this butterfly and three roses can make a small Victorian room the best place to hang out.

Not only Victorian houses serve as good hosts for colored glass. More organic and contemporary houses are also good at that.

Nautilus House in Mexico City by architect Javier Senosiain

Nautilus House in Mexico City by architect Javier Senosiain. Inspired by the shape of a conch.


Talking about wonderful spaces to hang out.

And talking about housing. I personally would love to have a colored balcony when my body cannot be as adventurous.


MVRDV’s WoZoCo 100 unit senior living facility matching up with the Dutch daylighting codes that are required throughout the country.

Colored glass is also famous among commercial architects, for human beings are universally attracted to transparencies and color. Here some shots at these buildings.


Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision by Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk … architects still relatively unknown in the United States. And no, they are not trying to clone Rem Koolhaas.


Your Rainbow Panorama Circular Pathway in Denmark . If you are thinking of the best place to take your tech/artsy date for a short stroll, this is it. Resting atop the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the fascinating colorful glass panoramic rooftop allows visitors to get a 360 degree view of the city.


Well, hopefully when you are on your date, there are not as many people.


And here is where you kiss! … Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, who were inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

Not only glass can be colored. Plexiglass also serves as a wonderful surface for color. “Kolonihavehus” by NY-based artist Tom Fruin is an outdoor sculpture made out of thousand pieces of found plexiglass. The piece resides in the open plaza of the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen.

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 6.16.51 PM

Now this is a structure that aims at interior and exterior lovers at the same time.

Stained glass can beautify spaces even in small dozes. Here a gorgeous butterfly we bought at Looking Glass Collage on Upper Haight Street. Altogether with another butterfly, they make our breakfast and lunch times on our dining area much more beautiful.


Happy Valentine’s Week everyone!

Emerald Green Rooms & Details … yet another blog post!

O.k. some of you may be done with reading and seeing blogs about 2013 Pantone Color of the Year, but I really wanted to dive deep into how Emerald Green looked when applied to rooms. So here you have it, another blog about emerald green when used in rooms.


Image from Chic Coles

Emerald on velvet cushions and zigzag drapes. Combined with a light french grey couch, white and dark brown. Bold and elegant palette.


Image: Traditional Home. Interior Design: Christina Murphy.

Even urban environments can enjoy classical touches. Christina Murphy places Emerald chairs upholstered in white. The nails make them even more sophisticated. Here another palette that includes light grey and chocolate plus some taupe on the curtains. Pink flowers  and red artwork bring the space to live.


Green Painted Stair Runner and Frames

I keep on running into beautiful stairs. The day we get a place, I will for sure focus on the stairs. They can be so much fun to design to. This beautiful green runner is complemented by dark flooring and white walls. The green frames are playful and add a family touch to the space.


Urban dining area in Green – Interior Design Magazine

This dining area not only displays a unique print of plates reminiscent of the work of Marie Daage, but also hosts a fun dining table. The Emerald chairs seem comfortable and the chandelier magnificent.


Green Sliding Barn Door. Image: TheDesignerPad

Who doesn’t love an adobe house? I can picture this space someplace in Cartagena, Colombia. The pristine white walls serve as a perfect background for this Emerald sliding barn door. Rustic meets contemporary.


And I leave you with a Colombian Emerald ring because the fact that the most beautiful emeralds come from Colombia, makes 2013 a good year for Colombia.

Happy Emerald 2013 everyone!

A Detail Lover Takes her iPhone to Carmel.

Hello hello dear followers!

Most of you must know how consuming getting a new job must be. That is the case with me. Yes my new full-time job has absorbed me, and it probably will take at least another three months before I am balanced and ready to post on a regular basis.

A few weeks ago, Simon and I spent a day in Carmel, California and found ourselves falling in love with the quaint architectural details of such a lovely town. Here some quick images taken on my iPhone. Little details from a little town on a cold winter-after-holiday evening.

After walking around town, we realized why this family wanted to let the world know that their dream has come true.

After walking around town, we realized why this family wanted to share with the world their dream come true.

Hearts welcoming you into  pretty little houses. It's almost fairytale like.

Hearts welcoming you into pretty little houses. It’s almost a fairytale.

Country style chocolate shingle house with doll house like white and baby blue windows.

Country style chocolate shingle house with doll-home like white and baby blue windows.

A house that makes you feel as if you lived in the woods. Look at the arched main window and the rock made chimney.

A house that makes you feel as if you lived in the woods. Beautiful arched windows and rock made chimney.

This house seems to be made of adobe. Its clay roof is well maintained and the wooden trim and balusters accentuate the gorgeous creamy wall. Rustic and elegant.

An adobe house with its well maintained clay roof and wooden trim that accentuate the gorgeous creamy wall. Rustic and elegant form a melody.

Even City Hall has its character with a beautiful wooden and hand carved/painted sign.

Even City Hall has its character with a rustic metal carved/painted sign.

Dutch/Gaudi style little cabins that serve as shops on the main street. Here Simon showing the architectural proportions. Truly quaint.

Dutch/Gaudi style little cabins that serve as shops on the main street. Here, Simon showing the architectural proportions. Truly quaint!

And here a dreamful beach in Carmel on this cold evening. May all of you had a wonderful holiday.

And here a dreamful beach in Carmel on this cold evening. May all of you had a wonderful holiday.

2013 From Fashion to Spaces: Trends in Color

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Colormix event organized by Sherwin Williams where I was introduced to the 2013 forecast on colors for architectural spaces. I would like to share with you the stunning upcoming palettes for next year and how they have transitioned from fashion to space.

  • Speakeasy:

From John Vavartos Spring-Summer 2013 Collection to the interiors of Highpoint-Bistro in NYC. Both inspired by the colors of Manhattans, Blod & Sands and Dick Tracy.

  • Earthy and Natural:

Making their first appearance at Paris Fashion Week, Valentino’s “From the Earth” shoes to calm and earthy spaces.

  • Mod:

From Michale Kors’ mod inspired 2013 red fashion to colorful blobject like interiors and furniture.

  • Phosphorescent Vegas:

Hot-Pink Dining Room, Burberry Prorsum Spring-Summer 2013 Hot-Pink Collection (more), and Sonia Rykiel Maison bathroom design with electric pink accents.

Hot-Pink like tonight’s fireworks above San Francisco after seeing the Giants going for the world series. Go Giants!

Beauty, Eco & Human – Friendly … Area Rugs

Good news! I am officially a certified Green Accredited Professional by the Sustainable Furnishing Council. While preparing for one of the six exams I had to take to receive my certification, I learnt about carpets and rugs. Did you know that “the standard carpet that covers 70% of floors across the U.S. often contains materials that can be hazardous” and can even affect our health? I am sure many of you recognize the “new carpet smell”. Well that smell comes from “volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as gases. Some side effects of exposure to VOCs are headaches, allergic skin reactions, irritation in the nose and throat, fatigue and dizziness”. The US Green Building Council doesn’t recommend that “carpet containing VOCs be used in baby nurseries as the gases emitted are not something that should be looming in the air around a new baby”. Allergies are also a common problem for people exposed to carpet VOCs.

So let’s imagine that we all decide to move towards hard surface environments. Well, the downside of that is that spaces may become colder and hard on the feet. Of course, we can always use area rugs. Let me introduce you to the beautiful world of natural fiber area rugs. A world that doesn’t cost more and can make you a healthier human being as well as a more environmentally friendly citizen of this planet. These rugs are made out of: wool, bamboo, jute, sisal, shag, seagrass and other natural fibers.

Wool rugs can be so much fun. Only imagine walking on this hand tufted rug by Gan Rugs.

The textures are sophisticated and unique.

You may even bring the look and feel of natural elements such as pebbles shown in this Pebble Rug by 2Form Design.

And may even have fun around the house with rugs such as the Brain Dead Rug by Timothy Liles.

Of course there are choices for everyone. You may visit Pottery Barn’ wool rug selection.

Bamboo shag rugs are so beautiful and soft that no one can resist relaxing on them.

Shag rugs may also come in leather. So pure and sophisticated.

Here a shot of our famous shag rug where many of my girlfriends enjoy laying down while having a chat and a glass of wine.

There are also beautiful sisal rugs that can be used in more classic environments.

And they also come in darker colors such as the Tonga Deep Sea Rug by Merida Meridian.

Seagrass rugs can be used on foyers and they look so good.

They also come in different shapes and patterns, so you can play with them.

Jute area rugs look and feel so delicate and natural.

They also are fun to mix and match.

Get in your zen zone, be good to your body and respond to the planet. Enjoy a natural fiber area rug!

Simple & Beautiful: Grey-White Color Combination

Color surrounds us all over and helps us express our emotions and desires. As much as I love rich tones that speak for my Latin roots, as much as I have embraced more earthy tones that calm me down and provide me peace.

This week I am feeling the simplicity and beauty of Grey & White.

Grey and White, so simple, so peaceful.

Pretty Chevron Chair. Sold at Urban Outfitters.

Girl or boy? This Olio Crib Bedding is perfect for a unisex nursery.

Peaceful bedroom with taupe accents by Bella Mancini Design.

Playful and hip diningroom with a touch of dark aquamarine.

Elegant, country style kitchen with a yellow dining room in the background.

Funky living room with spiky sculptures and a touch of yellow by Martha O’Hara Interiors.

Mountain Peaks Bath Basket for the contemporary bathroom.

Grey & white Zen.

Also in graphic design. *Follow their advise and goodnight.

The perfect task chair … to my perspective

For about six months now, Simon has noticed that when sleeping, I put my right hand on the back of my head and bend my right arm above my body. We wondered why all of the sudden I had started that new sleeping pose until one day I caught myself sitting in front of my work computer with my right arm bent and my hand supporting my head. There you had it, unconsciously I had adopted a position to support my head while working.

As the designer that I am, I started to question what was wrong with my chair and why I had to hold my head. I observed that my chair didn’t have enough support for my head, and to avoid tiring my neck, I had created a support with my own body.

Now that I’m back to the long days of work starting at around 9:00 AM and finishing at around 9:30 PM (don’t worry I work this long only twice a week). I have been wondering how to enhance my long journey experience and what has won the price is having a better task chair that actually supports my head. Here are my top 5 and please let me know if you have any more suggestions.

Freedom Headrest Task Chair by Niels Diffrient

This chair is the winner of ten design awards to date—including the Design Distinction Award in the prestigious ID Design Review 2000 competition. Its weight-sensitive recline, synchronously adjustable armrests, and dynamically positioned headrest set new standards for task chair performance and functionality to keep the sitter exceptionally comfortable while also lowering the risk of long-term injury. You can get it at Human Scale.

Side view drawing of Freedom Headrest

Featuring :

  1. Automatic Headrest
  2. Recline Action
  3. Contoured Cushions
  4. Responsive Backrest
  5. Synchronouts Armrests
  6. Body Fit
  7. Intelligent Mechanism

Leap WorkLounge by Steelcase

According to Steelcase, the Leap chair adjusts to fit your body, so you don’t have to adjust your body to fit the chair.

Thanks to LiveBack technology, the Leap chair back flexes to change shape as your back changes shape, providing stable support and encouraging unrestricted movement. And with its simple and intuitive adjustments — like separate controls for Lower Back Firmness and Upper Back Force and adjustable armrests that move in four directions —it’s easy to adjust your Leap chair to fit you comfortably for the entire day.

I personally love the white one and would love to use it on a daily basis.

Me Too Task Chair by Nurus

This is a quite old chair (originally designed in 2001), but to me what matters the most is that it is functional and supports by head.

Me Too is designed with a view to improve the quality of office life, where we spend at least eight hours every day, one-third of our lives, constructing a healthy way of living at our offices. Conceptualized with Nurus D Team’s approach that “a well designed office chair is the health insurance for the employee”, and produced according to European Norms, Me Too holds LGA and GS safety certification.
The fact that problems encountered in waist, back and neck regions originate from using unhealthy office chairs was among the factors that brought Me Too the IF Design Award, another factor being that Me Too concept is masterfully finished with product ergonomics and technical details.

Eames Soft Pad Executive Chair

Designed by our heroes Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, a cushy cousin of the Aluminum Group, Soft Pad is a luxurious chair that bears the unmistakable Eames stamp. The Executive chair offers an extra 7 ¼ inches of back height. Now this is a classy task chair with a soft touch.

Generation Chair by Knoll

This chair may not have a head support component but surely seems and is very comfortable and flexible. Generation by Knoll offers a new standard of comfort and unrestrained movement, supporting the range of postures and work styles of today’s workplace, Designed by Formway Design, Generation takes the idea of elastic design – where a product rearranges itself in response to its user – to a new level.

These chairs are all amazing, but for now, I must keep it low-cost, so I am going to find a head support that I can attach to my current chair and start saving for one of these chairs.

Thanks for visiting.

My Yellow Tile Fever

Yellow And Turquoise Bathroom by Renewal Design Build

Contemporary bathroom by Lizette Marie Interior Design

Fun steps!

Playing with small mosaic tiles and Morrocan like mirrors

Gorgeous Yellow and White kitchen

And other side with counter detail

Victorious Vinctorians San Francisco’s Obsession

There is something magnificent about living in San Francisco and part of that is to be able to be constantly inspired by   Victorian Architecture.

This past 4th of July, Simon and I went for a bike ride around the city and confirmed the beauty of San Francisco’s architecture by spending some time laying on the grass in front of The Conservatory of Flowers. There I took a picture that I still can’t take out of my head. The magnificent structure standing in front of the beautiful flowers in full bloom. I needed to find more about such amazing building and after doing some research, I found that The Conservatory of Flowers has been alive for more than a century and it was built during the Victorian era.  It is also the oldest wood and glass conservatory in North America.

Conservatory in late 19th century and an Instagram image I took on July 4th 2012

This is not the only landmark public Victorian building in San Francisco. The Ferry Building also stands strong to this day winnig the hearts of millions o people that live and visit the city by the bay. Opening in 1898 on the site of the 1875 wooden Ferry House, it became “the transportation focal point for anyone arriving by train from the East, as well as from all the East Bay and Marin residents who worked in the city.  From the Gold Rush until the 1930s, arrival by ferryboat became the only way travelers and commuters—except those coming from the Peninsula—could reach the city.”

Ferry Building (exterior and interior) in the late 19th Century

And let me tell you, riding your bicycle on Market Street while you approach this building can be quite the nirvana experience. Seeing such a magnificent structure standing there right at the end as a milestone for your ride is for sure one of my favorite things about this city.

2012 view of Ferry Building. Exterior and Interior

And now, lets take a short ride along the city to see some truly stunning Victorian houses.

Biking on Washington Street (Pacific Heights), you could find this redish beauty

Between the Western Addition and NoPa, you will find these houses with semi-round cupules ~Photograph by Cyndi Lu Who

And of course once you reach Alamo Square, you will find the world famous Painted Ladies. Here their true beauty and in watercolor by SF based artist Ronald Pratt.

Heading up on Hayes Street, you will be in awe after finding this rhone painted queen

And on your way to Haight-Ashbury on Lyon Street you might be able to witness another row of painted ladies … this ones are a little more humble and less famous yet equally beautiful. ~iPhone Photograph by Simon Jones

Now you are on the Upper Haight and what a beautiful way to reach the top than by witnessing such wonderful and colorful corner house

Upper detail of a house in Cole Valley … perfect time to stop and grab a root beer float at The Ice Cream Bar.

Heading down on Haight Street you will find this row of colorful houses right on front of Buena Vista Park

And some of you know this house … yes the McAllister house by James Francis Dunn. A beautiful mystery towards Fillmore Street

To see more about this house, visit my September 2010 archives.

Entrance to the enchanted house …

Now time to observe the details … look at the brackets and the curved hood mold

The intricate railing, window molding and the cresting ~Photography by Kimberly Kradel

And the fun spider gate with gorgeous arched entrance. ~Photograph by Kimberly Kradel

Stay tuned for next post which will focus on Victorian interiors …

San Francisco’s Favorite Graffiti and Murals

Design and Art are intertwined and they constantly influence each other. I personally think graffiti is street art developed by young people’s need for expression in open spaces. Murals on the other hand are a re-defined version of graffiti that speak for the culture and struggles of the people.

Please join me, as we bike through the streets of San Francisco in search of unique and beautiful murals and graffiti art.

We start our stroll on Columbus & Broadway. This piece represents Jazz culture which has always been part of life in North Beach (Little Italy of the West).   Photography by

In Chinatown, Banksy makes a statement bringing together peace & love.

Reverse graffiti by Paul “Moose” Curtis – Broadway tunnel between Chinatown and Russian Hill.

Landing on Haight/Ashbury, Banksy strikes again with giant rodent.

Heading down to the Lower Haight this beautiful piece by Northern-English native and CA based artist Ursula Young.

Now toward the Mission via Church Street we find the Market Street Railway Mural by Mona Caron. This mural shows a 180-degree bird’s eye view of San Francisco’s Market Street through time.

Floating houses near 14th and Treat in the Mission District.

3D like work by Julie Murray on Clarion Alley

Entering now Balmy Alley on 24th Street home of the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco.

Power of the native people on Balmy Alley.

The struggle of a man leaving his land and family behind in search of The American Dream.

My love, I hope that when you receive this letter you are doing well next to our son. I am still working in California. I know that life there is hard, but I think it is even harder here because of the distance that separates us. I miss you so much and hope that we can be together again very soon. With much love, Chepe. – Photography & translation by Isabel Perdomo

Ingenious way of bringing architectural elements into art work.

More ingenuity …

The 14th Mission flying through San Francisco

Famous Mexican Actresses and Actors.

Flavors, colors and culture of California … and up to here brings us my bicycle …