Category Archives: Housing trends

Cited: Don Blanding

Toronto Island Houseboat

When I have a house… / as I sometime may…/

I’ll suit my fancy in every way. / I’ll fill it with things that have caught my eye /

In drifting from Iceland to Molokai.

Don Blanding


homes that spin

in the it-had-to-happen department: dynamic skyscrapers featuring whole floors that rotate, from Italian architect David Fisher.

two towers are planned for 2010 – one in Dubai and one in Moscow – with movement powered by wind turbines between each floor. apartments will apparently be “vocally controlled”…which leads me to imagine standing in my living room & yelling “Move, now!” at my floor or windows. my home is my castle, indeed.

Fisher Tower

on the company’s website, inventor/designer Fisher says:

“From now on, buildings will have four dimensions, the fourth dimension is ‘Time’ to become part of architecture… Buildings in motion will shape the sky line of our cities.”

very nice. but surely he’s noticed that time is already a major fact of life for buildings. time, history, good old wear ‘n tear – making buildings interesting from day to day without any spin at all.

in the meantime, the company’s image links are currently broken on their website – which means i’ve pulled an image from the BBC website. but if Dynamic can’t get jpg technology uploaded today, i’m just a tad concerned about how 70-storey buildings are going to dance by 2010.

in praise of minimalism

It was a Victorian parlor maid’s nightmare, marked by the kind of decor involving the word “throw”. Throw pillows, throw covers, throw cloths… Next to throw, the operative word was “occasional”. Occasional tables, occasional chairs, occasional lamps; footstools, hassocks, stacked trays, wheeled teacarts, and enough card tables to start a gambling den.

– Florence King

i’m not exactly a minimalist, but sometimes i feel this way looking at the carefully-designed furniture store windows, crammed with apparently essential stuff…

get that cathedral out of my room

Notre Dame, Paris

good news…cathedral ceilings are going out of fashion. that ubiquitous feature of recent suburban house design is one more victim of rising energy costs; new building plans are getting rid of the double-height “great room” syndrome. thank heavens. obviously, heating & cooling a room where all the energy goes straight up in the 18-foot ceiling is a big waste of money, but more importantly, from a home point of view, people are realizing that the noise booming around on those high ceiling angles does nothing for anyone’s peace of mind. not to mention that it’s a regal pain to change lightbulbs or dust or repaint…

cathedral ceiling painting

it’s not that i hate all so-called cathedral ceilings; it’s more an issue of proportion and style. there are some great homes with double-height ceilings–exposed rafters in cabins, stripped-down industrial ceilings, and elegant modernist white boxes all come to mind–and i’ve loved the time i’ve spent living in a farmhouse that was missing most of its second floor, so lying on the living room sofa meant you could see stars out through a hole in the roof tiles. so i’m not saying we should abolish the whole play of double-height space.

it’s just that, all too often, cathedral ceilings top double-height great rooms, and the ceiling height is way out of whack with the footprint of the room. many cathedrals have been jammed into poorly-designed houses, giving us a cheap “wow” factor that quickly wears off as we’re forced to live within a drafty space. so “hallelujah” to the demise of the unnerving, un-homey, cathedral ceiling.