Thursday, April 12, 2012

Architecture You Can Get For...

$0.00 This Blog
   Provided free of charge, and as always, ad-free.  That doesn't mean i'm above shamelessly plugging myself, though.  If you like the blog, please consider hitting one of those "share" buttons below my signature on each post.  You can also commission my architectural services for a cost that sits somewhere in the middle of this list.

$0.05 Advice
   John Morefield's architectural advice for a nickel has shown to be an impressive gamble -- he's received mention in news media from Architectural Record to The New York Times.  It's worth noting that the absurdly low (but not free!) cost reminds us that architecture is exceptionally advanced field that remains beholden to public whim.  While the construction of a new home may be the most expensive venture in which a family ever engages, keep in mind that professional design can make an enormous difference in quality of life before trying to save a few extra dollars with a developer-built McMansion.  Morefield also makes strong points regarding the ripple effect in architecture -- one project employs a large population, from contractors to lumberyards.  Maybe consider that before voting down a new school millage.

$1 A Lightbulb
   Yes, that's right!  For just ONE DOLLAR this 4-pack of standard incandescent bulbs could be yours! Or, i suppose, you could play 20 questions with Mr. Morefield.
   Do everyone a favor and buy modern lighting when possible, though.  CFLs have come a long way, and even LED is beginning to be appropriate for many household applications.

$5 Mosaic Mirror Tile (50 pc)
   Tiled mirror is great.  This particular example is 3/8th inch, so it would probably be a bit of a hassle to clean in a kitchen environment, but it could be quite beautiful as an accent piece for a semi-enclosed porch near water.  Alternately, it could be used for a custom frame if mounted on a sturdy backer.  You could frame ANOTHER MIRROR with them!  Mirrorception!

   For another $5, you could instead buy a six-pack of 12 inch square mirror tiles at Meijer.

$12 Decorative Throw Pillow
   Depending on how abysmally drab your living room is currently, throw pillows can really liven up the place.  These vibrant blue microsuede pillows would work wonders on a white couch of similar material.  Pristine white pillows can also draw the eye if they're placed on the right backdrop -- but be careful.  You have to choose a narrow color palate for accents in any given room.  It's a terrible idea to accent your couch one way, the rug another, and the table another.  Err on the side of too few colors.  Adding more later is easy, but it's easy to hoard garish junk when you've paid hard-earned money for it.

$30 Paint
   Speaking of color, what could be more straightforward than a gorgeous shade of paint?  A decent gallon of paint will probably set you back somewhere in the thirty dollar range.  If you've got questions about what kind of paint to buy, allow me to paraphrase my good friend John Leeke, who writes for This Old House, and who i have never spoken to or met in any way: it don't matter none, son.  Make sure you prepare the surface to be painted appropriately, and your paint should survive for decades.  Do check out his article (linked above) for more specific information in that vein.

$150 Cylindrical Corner Sconce
   I love me some up/down lights.  This one is plain but chic which makes it suitable for all sorts of settings, including Sharpie art, if that's your thing.  I appreciate this kind of light because it not only conceals the light source (exposed bulbs can be an eyesore) and throws contour onto the otherwise forgotten corner of a room, but also it provides a decent amount of illumination.  A corner sconce like this ALSO saves you floor space compared to a torchiere style floor lamp.You can buy them at this website, if you like.

$1,250 Shaker Trestle Table in Cherry
  I've heard that the reason that Shakers build such durable furniture is because they believe that God sees all, so it is shameful to use shoddy construction even if it is hidden against a wall.  I don't know why God is inspecting the rear panels of cabinets, but after seeing Gatorade bottles thrown into foundation wall forms before pouring in concrete, i feel like there's probably some work ethic there that we could use in other sectors.  Plus it's a pretty solid piece of furniture right there.

$3,500 Stainless Steel Refrigerator
   Stainless steel appliances are all the rage right now, so i've chosen a fairly high quality model to showcase on this list.  Some people like the through-wall water and ice, other don't -- that's personal choice.  This one features a double pull-out crisper and freezer, though, which is a particularly efficient design.  Warm air, as you might recall from junior high, rises.  Cold air, then, tends to sink...out the bottom of your freezer when you open a side-hinged door.
   Don't just look for the EnergyStar rating.  Instead, compare critically the amount of electricity you will likely spend on a yearly basis.  It should be right there on the same yellow sticker as the EnergyStar logo.
   On a design note, avoid polished in favor of brushed steel unless you have a live-in maid, because let's be honest here -- you aren't going to clean off those smudgy fingerprints every day.

$56,000 Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel
   Ah, finally we've reached a point where you can make some serious changes to your home.  It's next to impossible to pin down an "average" cost to remodel a space, but this very trustworthy site claims an average around 56 thousand USD for a mid-sized kitchen.  Of course, that depends entirely on your geopolitical location, the size of the kitchen, the existing conditions, and just how much swag you need.  After all, you COULD spend the entire remodeling budget on sixteen refrigerators.
   Or you could do something nice and tasteful like Flickr user Armchair Builder.

$1,000,000 Authentic Tiffany "Magnolia" Lamp
   While you can find impressive reproduction Tiffany work (like the example at left) for less than four digits, an authentic piece will set you back a bit more.  That is, assuming you can find what you want at auction.

$1,000,000,000 Antilia, Mumbai by Perkins & Will
   Honestly?  I don't know what to say about this.  It's a 27 story private residence in Mumbai.  I guess it's good that it employs 600 people currently, not to mention the killing Perkins & Will likely made in architectural fees.  You can find the Wikipedia page for this behemoth over here.  I won't comment on tastefulness, though.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Typography 3.0

   I haven't been able to complete a blog post this week, so i thought i might drop off a link to an interesting site i found recently to assure you that i have not disappeared. As an interesting aside, this particular quiz hearkens back to my previous posts Typography 1.0 and Typography 2.0, which happen to be by far the most popular of the updates i've written. Apparently there are others out there who agree that character appearance is an important aspect of design (even if they groan whenever i point out signs written in Papyrus).