Architect Tony Moretti is one of the most unassuming and humble people I know. He’s my hero along with Louis Kahn and Carlo Scarpa. Extremely knowledgeable, he embodies the growth mindset in everything he does — from professional to personal life.
Sunday morning is the time for connecting with nature. I am walking barefoot on a sandy beach of Santa Monica. Lucky for me, it’s only a thirty-minute drive from my house.
I received an email from a DIY Ally client with the subject line: “Exterior elevations. Front door entrance, steel French doors and windows.” The message read: “Alla, I am thrilled to find your website and would appreciate your help. I am in the midst of remodeling my 1930 home and having difficulty determining the appropriate look of French doors, windows as well as the front/back door.”
Phew! Just emailed a revised set of drawings to a client. Having gotten a NY State license, I am picking up the pace — we’re planning to submit for permits in less than a month. My passion for the project in Bridgehampton is all-consuming. Now that I’ve worked out all of the “big moves,” it’s time to get to details — I’ve been designing a fireplace.
We’re on a family vacation in Mammoth. The only one who doesn’t ski, I’m sitting in our cute cabin, mulling over the subject matter for my next blog post. I waited to get here, assuming that our master bathroom will prompt a good discussion. Well… Outdated or not, I can still ponder the efficiency of its compact shower stall or enclosure.
I am feeling better compared to last week. Not able to visualize the massing — confused by how various pitched roofs came together — I made a crude model to assist myself. And finally, I got on the right track. Big or small, the most important design rule is to pay attention to the scale and proportions of the space.
I am nervous: adding to an existing house. In my opinion, the addition, instead of blending in, has to be distinctly autonomous. Making it trendy, reminiscent of everything else around, is safe. However, design is not about applying a style. The new has to work with the existing and the end result should be timeless.
It’s the last week of December. Usually, at the end of the year I am focused on resolutions. It’s been a personal tradition to set goals. I turn to collaging in the process of designing outcomes.
I am at LACMA’s Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage exhibit. Having seen it twice already, today I intend to focus on my favorite piece — Marc Chagall’s Self-Portrait With Seven Fingers — to take time, go deeper, and study it intently.
I wrote about helping a friend with an IKEA kitchen remodel recently. Unfortunately, it has not gone well. We are very disappointed with the cabinet installation. A problem that could’ve been addressed and resolved on site was ignored. The resulting mistake has not been acknowledged and fixed. Instead of taking responsibility and apologizing, the contractor in charge is still arguing, causing a major delay, not to mention a headache.
A client asked me to create an electrical plan for her. I responded: “Oh, no problem. But first, I have to design a reflected ceiling plan.” She wondered what that entailed. I explained briefly and would like to elaborate.
A client wants to act as a general contractor on her own small addition project. She asked me to help her understand the plumbing issues involved, as I’ve done with rainwater harvesting. Today I’m researching the installation requirements for a Submersible Sewage Simplex Pump, which will have to accommodate a new bathroom and possibly another small bathroom / kitchen if she converts a garage in the future.
As Alla DIY Ally, I advise my clients to start with a plan. Next, as soon as there is a basic layout is in place, to consider the three-dimensional qualities of the space by drawing sections and elevations.
Over the weekend, visiting Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I snapped a few images of Gerrit Rietveld’s sideboard and Red/Blue chair. At that point I was collecting ideas for my next post. The following day, another Maria Popova article struck a chord. Titled Oliver Sacks on the Three Essential Elements of Creativity, it stated that all creative work begins with imitation.
I am averse to diversions. What’s the point of venturing out? At home, in my private space, everything is so familiar, comforting, and stimulating at the same time. Perhaps. But seeking beauty outside of the cocoon could be an enjoyable as well as a rewarding pursuit. Clearly, there’s plenty to marvel at if I just step out and open my eyes to the world all around me. Treasures are everywhere.