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    On the move in Wilton: preschool, tile showroom – The Wilton Bulletin - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    There is a plan before the Planning and Zoning Commission to convert the former Vallin Galleries on Danbury Road to a tile showroom.

    There is a plan before the Planning and Zoning Commission to convert the former Vallin Galleries on Danbury Road to a tile showroom.

    Photo: Jeannette Ross / Hearst Connecticut Media

    There is a plan before the Planning and Zoning Commission to convert the former Vallin Galleries on Danbury Road to a tile showroom.

    There is a plan before the Planning and Zoning Commission to convert the former Vallin Galleries on Danbury Road to a tile showroom.

    On the move in Wilton: preschool, tile showroom

    At its meeting on June 22, the Planning and Zoning Commission opened a public hearing for both the Apple Blossom School and a retail tile store.

    The school is seeking to move from its present location at 440 Danbury Road to a building at 416 Danbury Road that it would seek to convert under the adaptive use zoning rules.

    Architect Rob Sanders explained that the applicants want an easily accessible location near the current school. At the new site, they would like to establish a one-way loop entrance that makes it easier for parents to drop off their children.

    Since the children dont all get dropped off at the same time, because different age groups start at different times, this would not present a traffic issue, he said.

    The school offers programs with infants, toddlers, nursery preschool, and mixed-aged kindergarten children. Summer camp at the school will began June 29 and will run until Aug. 21 for children ages 2-7 years old.

    As for the building itself, there will be some changes to the exterior that include replacing a window and moving a door.

    The applicants are proposing a long-term lease to plant their roots, Sanders said.

    There was no public comment and the public hearing will be continued on July 13 to discuss any further details.

    A public hearing was also opened for an application submitted by Bruce Darbandi to have a tile retail store at 516 Danbury Road, which is an adaptive reuse of the former antique shop, Vallin Galleries.

    The plan is to have a showroom on the main floor and office space on the second level.

    One area needing improvement is the lower parking area. The proposal includes a 20-foot-wide paved driveway along with a gravel parking lot to include five parking spaces. There will also be a lamp to provide light to the main building.

    As for the design and landscaping for the property, Kate Throckmorton, landscape architect wants to keep it simple and neat.

    Before the project can move forward, it will need to be finalized with the Inland Wetlands Commission. The public hearing will be continued on July 13.

    New applicants Erskine Associates, LLC at 134 Olmstead Hill Road is seeking to complete a project that will convert an existing free-standing cottage to accessory dwelling unit. There is a scheduled public hearing for this on July 13.

    More here:
    On the move in Wilton: preschool, tile showroom - The Wilton Bulletin

    Here are the revitalization plans for Club West Golf Course land – AZ Big Media - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The sale of the Club West Golf Course has been finalized and the new owners are working on a collaborative plan to revitalize the property.

    After initial attempts by The Edge to create a new golf experience at Club West, community members and Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio requested that The Edge consider alternative development plans that reduce the number of single-family detached residential homes required to finance any revitalization plan.

    The new plan, tentatively called The Park at Club West, will redevelop the course into a community park with enhanced trails, open spaces, and recreational amenities.

    The golf course has been closed since 2016 and reopening it is not a viable option.

    A collaborative design process has commenced with eight (8) member Neighborhood Committee established by the Club West HOA and Community Land Solutions (CLS), as representatives of The Edge.

    Community Land Solutions is in the process of retaining a landscape architect for the project. The goal is for a maximum amount of new park and open space along with responsible and minimal development.

    We are neighbors first. We want to bring new green and open spaces to the shuttered Club West Golf Course. Our plans are community-minded and will raise property values, said Matt Shearer, a principal with CLS, which is leading efforts to build the new park and greenbelt.

    CLS and the Neighborhood Committee are meeting on a weekly basis with the goal of distributing an initial Draft Park Plan to the Club West Community for additional input. Shearer said additional meetings and communications with community members are planned and welcomed as revitalization plans move forward.

    The process includes significant time for community feedback, presentations to the HOA and homeowners, additional open houses and community events, a homeowners vote, and approvals from the city of Phoenix.

    We want open and transparent dialogues with all our neighbors and remain optimistic in uniting the community with sustainable solution that removes uncertainty and enhances property values. There is still a lot of misinformation surrounding the future redevelopment plans for the property. We are confident that the current planning process will allow us to proceed with constructive discussions based on facts, Shearer added.

    Shearer is a principal with CLS along with Bill McManus and Mike Hare.

    The effort and the Neighborhood Committee are looking at how other communities and former golf courses in Arizona (including in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Oro Valley) and other states (including in Washington state and Ohio) created new parks and open space and executed responsible development solutions to revive their respective communities and property values.

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    Here are the revitalization plans for Club West Golf Course land - AZ Big Media

    Make the most of your outdoor space | Close To Home – Lewiston Morning Tribune - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Coronavirus quarantine had many people rethinking the interiors of their homes this spring. DIY projects were tackled, and rooms reorganized.

    Now that summers here, why not give the same mini-makeover to backyards and outdoor spaces?

    Youll feel less cooped up if you bring some indoor style outside, even if its just to a tiny balcony or front porch, says New Jersey interior designer Anna Maria Mannarino.

    Youre expanding the real estate really by bringing the indoors out, Mannarino says.

    Here, she and two other design experts Connecticut landscape architect Janice Parker and Houston interior designer Lauren Rottet share advice on how they create stylish outdoor spaces that can accommodate a range of activities, from cooking and socially distant entertaining to relaxing and working from home.

    Even the smallest outdoor space probably has room for one or two comfortable chairs and a bistro table, Mannarino says. If you dont normally keep a table outside, Rottet suggests bringing out a small folding table when you want to dine or work outside. Add a crisp linen tablecloth, she says, and even an inexpensive card table will look special.

    Layering the space with pillows and a throw blanket for evenings adds a cozy vibe. Choose pillows and cushions in an outdoor-friendly fabric like Sunbrella, which needs little care to stay looking and feeling good throughout the seasons, Mannarino says.

    And I would definitely add an outdoor rug if you have the space to do it, she says.

    If you dont want to buy an outdoor rug, Parker says, just bring out a throw rug from inside to use on a sunny day.

    The sounds of rippling water or birdsong can be great antidotes to rumbling traffic or barking dogs. Parker suggests buying an inexpensive tabletop fountain, and bird feeders to attract songbirds.

    Its a great time to get into bird watching, she says, because they do seem to be more abundant than in the past. (Get a squirrel-proof feeder if you want to make sure the food actually goes to the birds.)

    Theres an even simpler, virtual option, Parker points out: When you sit outside, play recordings of chirping birds or rippling water from your phone or other device.

    Pleasing scents will also elevate your outdoor space. Buy a potted lavender plant, Parker says, or flowering plants like nicotiana (also called flowering tobacco), which are iridescent in the evening and have a wonderful scent.

    Many grocery stores are selling potted plants and you dont have to fuss with re-potting them, Parker says. If they come in plain plastic containers, simply wrap the container in a bit of burlap or other fabric to make it more attractive.

    For something more dramatic, Rottet says, potted citrus trees look and smell lovely. Or add a pencil cactus or other succulent in a tall planter; it can withstand summer heat while functioning like a sculpture in your outdoor space. When summer ends, fill the planter with a hardy flower like pansies, which might even last through the winter.

    No time or resources to add plants this year? Floral or lavender candles are another option, Parker says.

    A gas grill can be an asset if youre cooking outdoors a lot. But Rottet also recommends the Big Green Egg charcoal grill. Its not a huge commitment, she says, because you can roll it into a tight little space.

    If you have a grill and would like to create more of a kitchen around it, add an outdoor table or console that can serve as a work surface and perhaps has some storage, Mannarino says, so youre not just walking over to a grill and holding a tray in your hand.

    Want to create the feel of an outdoor bar? Add a rolling bar cart, or, even more simply, fill your biggest salad bowl with ice, Parker says, and bring out a selection of cold drinks.

    If youre working outside, you need shade to see the screen. Retractable awnings are helpful, as are large outdoor umbrellas that stand alone or fit into an outdoor table. (They also let you spend more time outside, if its raining.)

    In the evening, Rottet says, you can expand the feeling of even a small backyard by wrapping strands of small white lights (available in outdoor-safe versions that are battery-powered or solar-powered) around your trees.

    Lanterns with lit candles inside are lovely outdoors after the sun goes down, though LED candles can be a more practical choice on a breezy night.

    A fire pit will also brighten up your outdoor space, and warm it up this fall and winter.

    Rottet created one for her Houston home using a large concrete planter that can withstand heat.

    But as Parker points out, you dont have to buy anything to have a fire pit. It might be fun to create one the old-school way: Dig a wide hole in the ground, she says, contain the space safely and build a campfire Boy Scout style.

    The changes you make to your outdoor space dont have to be elaborate, she says. Just get out there. Take your chair from the kitchen table if you need to. Take your coffee cup and go.

    Originally posted here:
    Make the most of your outdoor space | Close To Home - Lewiston Morning Tribune

    The new Rolex tower in Dallas is straight out of a superhero movie – The Dallas Morning News - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    These are fraught times for Dallas. A demon virus has spread across the land, forcing a beleaguered citizenry indoors and behind masks. There is anger and there is frustration, understandably. There are no, or few, professional sports. Lets face it: The city could use all the help it can get. But heres some good news: Five homegrown superheroes have come to the rescue, and theyre ready to bring healing to the city. Theres just one problem: They need a place to call home, a headquarters where they can plot their acts of derring-do.

    Emmy: Im sorry. Your name is...Pegasus?

    Peg: Right.

    Emmy: Like the horse with wings?"

    Peg: Yes. But you can just call me Peg.

    Emmy. OK. And how can we help you, Peg?

    Peg: Youre real estate brokers. I need something in downtown Dallas. Something big. Something secure.

    Emmy: OK. And what is this for, exactly?

    Peg: Part headquarters. Part lair. For a team of superheroes.

    Emmy: Excuse me?

    Peg: Superheroes. You know. Capes. Special powers. Masks. That kind of thing. There are five of us. Me, Big Tex, Trinity, Erykah and Dirk.

    Emmy: You know what? I might have just the thing for you.

    Peg: Looks pretty cool. What is this thing?

    Emmy: The Rolex tower. Its their North American repair and sales center. It opened last year, before the virus shut everything down. Its a proprietary design. Definitely not your typical office building.

    Peg: It is distinctive, unlike so many of the boring buildings around here. Tough but not brutish. I like the way it corkscrews up as it rises. A building that shape-shifts seems right for a band of superheroes. And its not too flashy or garish, not covered in LEDs what is it with this town? We dont want a lot of attention.

    Emmy: Thats the Rolex brand. A little butch, but also classy. I would say its the most interesting new commercial building the city has seen since, well, for a long time. The best tower since Fountain Place, and that was in 1986. The architect is Japanese. Kengo Kuma. Not a household name, but he should be. He actually designed the stadium for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, but I guess thats not happening, now. It would have made quite a splash, though. Its largely made of wood larch and cedar and modeled on an ancient Japanese temple.

    Peg: Interesting. But lets get back to Dallas. Whats with the stone wall at the base? Must have cost a bundle.

    Emmy: Yes it did. It is, quite literally, a castle wall, built using traditional Japanese methods by a 15th-generation stonemason named Suminori Awata. Were talking Shogun-era craftsmanship. The different sized stones represent the diversity of life. Kuma believes quite strongly in using traditional materials and techniques. Architecture should go back to fabrication, to using real materials, to using the hand, he has said.

    Peg: I like that it has a fortress quality. That will be good for us.

    Emmy: Thats why I brought you here. The stone wall gives you extra protection at the rear of the building where it faces Harry Hines. You dont want anyone sneaking up on you.

    Peg: Yes, that is good. What are those white bands that wrap around it?

    Emmy: Thin metal louvers. Sun shades three rows on each floor. They keep the heat load down, and they give it a nice flair, so its not just another black box. Theyll give you a little privacy, too. Im sure you superheroes dont want villains seeing what youre up to all day.

    Peg: No, we dont.

    Emmy: Youll also notice that as the building torques around, it creates these little garden ledges. In Japanese, theyre called engawa, in-between spaces. Kuma had a Japanese landscape architect, Sadafumi Uchiyama, come and design them. The idea is to dissolve the distinction between inside and outside. You see this kind of element in his work elsewhere. I think the inspiration is the rice-growing terraces you see in rural Japan.

    Peg: Nice. But, there are only five of us. Im not sure we need this much building.

    Emmy: Actually, It looks tall but thats deceptive; its really just seven stories. Thats one story each, and then some common space. I know superheroes need room for equipment development and training.

    Peg: True. Can we get a look inside?

    Emmy: You can see theres a nice entry sequence, with a path across landscaping and fountains. Good for surveillance of anyone approaching. This is the front lobby. Its quite spacious and cool, with black granite floors, blackened walls and horizontal blond wood slats running from the ceiling down along the walls, animating the space and referencing the louvers on the exterior. Its got a broad security desk, where you can put one of your minions.

    Peg: That works. It is nice. Corporate, but not too impersonal or cold. Thats rare."

    Emmy: Right. Walking back behind it you have a little sitting area. Rolex uses this as a waiting space for repair returns you can see it has a small counter for a clerk. Maybe this could be a room where you screen requests for assistance?

    Peg: Yes. What about upstairs?

    Emmy: So this is the executive boardroom. You can see we once again have the horizontal wood elements that create a seamless flow between wall and ceiling.

    Peg: This will be an excellent place for us to plan operations.

    Emmy: And come this way. Here is one of the most exciting features: The entertainment deck here is enclosed by a two-story screen of louvers. If you get up close you can see how sharp they are: aluminum, with a leafy pattern printed on the bottoms, to give them a natural feel and help diffuse light. So when youre out here, youre both outside and inside. You can look out, but its hard to see in. Its perfect for superheroes, like yourselves. Its meant as an event space and for employee dining, but you can train out here and, of course, for those of you who can fly, you can just take right off, and nobody will see.

    Peg: "Wow. Perfect.

    Emmy: As for the rest of the place, its ideal for your secret laboratory and fabrication needs. The floors have a sophisticated ventilation system that sucks out any particulate matter key for when theyre doing watch repair.

    Peg: Excellent.

    Emmy: And of course theres a vault where you can store any secret plans, manifestos, genealogies whatever. I know superheroes maintain a lot of proprietary information.

    Peg: Yes. Thats all great. But this is Dallas, so you know I have to ask: What about parking?

    Emmy: No problem. The garage here is actually below grade, which is nice generally if this city was smart it would mandate that for all new construction and of course it means you can keep your super-mobiles hidden. There are also a couple of short-term spaces on the street, for deliveries. Which is handy.

    Peg: And this is all available?

    Emmy: Well...for the moment. During the shutdown, anyway.

    Peg: I think well take it.

    Emmy: "You know what? You guys could call yourselves The Watch Men. Get it?

    Peg: Stick to real estate.

    Pegasus (aka Peg)

    Uniform: Red neon wings

    Power: Can transform into a flying horse


    Uniform: Covered in patchy grass

    Power: Sprays jets of toxic water

    Big Tex

    Uniform: Hokey cowboy

    Power: Transforms into giant


    Uniform: Head wrap

    Power: Voice renders enemies helpless


    Uniform: Mavs warmups, weird haircut

    Power: So likable villains just surrender

    Read the original:
    The new Rolex tower in Dallas is straight out of a superhero movie - The Dallas Morning News

    Beny Alagems new $2B One Beverly Hills design is loaded with gardens – The Real Deal - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Beny Alagem of Alagem Capital and renderings of the new design (Credit: DBOX for Alagem Capital Group via Los Angeles Times)

    Beny Alagems latest plan for One Beverly Hills is ambitious, totally new, and very green.

    The developers firm Alagem Capital and partner Cain International unveiled architect Norman Fosters new $2 billion design for the 17.5-acre property next to Alagems Beverly Hilton, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Alagems plan, the latest in a development saga that spans over a decade, would see the construction of two condominium towers at 28 and 32 stories; a 10-story hotel; and eight acres of green space, much of which would be open to the public. The hotel would feature 42 all-suite guest rooms, plus a fine-dining restaurant and 37 residential units; the condo towers would house 303 condos.

    Greenery is clearly the theme of the design. Renderings show gardens across just about every surface of the buildings and grounds. Foster said the building architecture is an extension of the greenery.

    The protagonist is the landscape, the garden, he said.

    Those three main buildings line the west side of the development site. The central gardens separate them from Alagems Beverly Hilton on the northeast side of the One Beverly Hills site. Landscape architect Mark Rios with RIOS designed the gardens and said he was interested in pursuing what a botanical environment is for the 21st century.

    Alagem Capital and Cain International filed the plans with the city of Beverly Hills on Monday. They hope to break ground late next year and wrap up construction by 2024, according to the Times.

    Alagem, an Israeli-born hotel magnate, has been trying to develop condo towers next to his Beverly Hills hotel since George W. Bush was still president and the Great Recession had not yet struck.

    In early 2016, he lost a ballot initiative to build condo towers on the hotel site. But his fortunes turned in 2018, when Alagem Capital and Cain International bought the 750,000-square-foot One Beverly Hills site in 2018 from rival Dalian Wanda Group for $420 million. Alagem tossed out Wandas design for the building approved by the city of Beverly Hills, and by May of 2019 tapped Foster + Partners as architect.

    In February, the ultra-luxury Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel sued Alagems Waldorf Astoria hotel for allegedly conspiring with a Peninsula employee to gain access to guests accounts and then steal clients. [LAT] Dennis Lynch

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    Beny Alagems new $2B One Beverly Hills design is loaded with gardens - The Real Deal

    12 Philly-Area Outdoor Wedding Venues That Bring a Breath of Fresh Air to Your Big Day – Philadelphia magazine - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A tented alfresco reception at the American Swedish Historical Museum is among the Philadelphia-area outdoor wedding venues on our list. Photo by Anthony Page Photography

    Summer has us longing for the outdoors, and alfresco weddings (including all those elopements and micro-gatherings) seem to offer a post-pandemic paradise. Thats why weve compiled a list of 12 Philadelphia-area venues that celebrate the beauty of the world around us many of which are working on implementing new COVID-19-related health and safety practices as cities and states introduce updated guidelines. Whether youre dreaming of a sky-high rooftop party, an intimate secret-garden soiree or a ceremony amid historic grounds, these open-air destinations set the scene for your Big Day. (And check out these lake and riverfront wonders or beachfront beauties for more options.) Now thats au naturel!

    South Philly

    A photo moment amid the arches at the American Swedish Historical Museum. Photo by Laura Caporizzo Photography LLC

    Historian Amandus Johnson founded the museum in 1926 as a tribute to Swedish contributions to the United States, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that same year. Case in point: The venue in FDR Park sits on a property that was once part of a 17th century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to Swedish colonist Sven Skute. The venue also references famous Scandinavian and American architecture with elements from Swedens centuries-old buildings as well as Mount Vernon, George Washingtons home. Ceremonies and receptions can be held under the natural flora, under one of the venues arches or in front of the main doors. (Guests will also have access to indoor galleries featuring period paintings, regardless of whether the fete is held outside.) The museum is isolated enough to avoid noise restrictions yet close enough that Ubers and Lyfts are a quick trip. As Philly moves into the green phase, the venue hopes to begin hosting weddings in the late summer and fall; it is extending its outdoor tent rentals (the facades have clear, retractable sides) to facilitate social distancing. (COVID-related guest capacity will be introduced as available.) Rental fees from $1,750 for a five-hour event. 1900 Pattison Avenue, South Philly.

    Southwest Philly

    A couple strolls the grounds at Bartrams Garden. Florals by Fresh Designs Florist; photo by Kelly Giarrocco

    Treet your guests to a veritable garden of them at this 45-acre historic landmark that planted roots thanks to early-American botanist John Bartram. Theres a ginkgo believed to be the oldest on the continent and a signature tree dubbed Franklinia. (Well let you figure out its namesake.) The outdoor spaces are alive with flora and fauna (as you can see in this flower-filled celebration), and there are transitional areas for lawn games and cocktail hour, all backed by vistas of the Schuylkill River. Under normal circumstances, the new Eastwick Pavilion (it has a covered porch and granite patio) can accommodate about 300. However, the venue expects to limit head counts as it begins its reopening process in July and enacts social-distancing measures. Catering is handled by Jamie Hollander; Bartrams is offering 25% off for food and bev through 2020. Venue rentals from $2,800. 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, Southwest Philly.

    East Passyunk

    The rooftop setting offers 360-degree panoramas of Philly. Photo by Love Me Do Photography

    Want to say your vows with a backdrop bearing one of the best views in the city? Head to this eclectic, industrial venue topping off the former vocational school turned creative hub and gathering place. The Center City skyline sets the scene for the Bok Special, a complete 300-person outdoor wedding experience thats available only 10 weeks per year and begins at $9,000. It provides access to both the eighth-floor North and South Terrace. (Other locations throughout the space start at $5,500.) Outdoor ceremonies on the North Terrace are typically available as an upgrade to other Bok nuptials; however, the building cannot currently accommodate ceremony-only bookings. All packages give couples guided access to hidden, lesser-known areas throughout the building perfect for cool first-look photos. The venue is accepting bookings for 2021; some Friday and Saturday dates are still available. 800 Mifflin Street, East Passyunk.

    Center City

    A ceremony in the private enclave at The College of Physicians. Photo by Brittney Raine Photography

    The College of Physicians represents a cornerstone of American medicinal history: Since 1787, the nonprofit has had a mission of championing health and medicine. (It is largely known for its Mtter Museum, a cabinet of veritable medical mysteries skulls, among them, if you want to get brainy on your Big Day.) The Sir John Templeton Veranda is a private enclave with four parterres of medicinal herbs and plants (think flax or evening primrose), slate and pebble pathways, and benches for quiet moments. The blooming season begins in the spring and ends in the fall, ensuring ample greenery for your backdrop. Typical capacity is 195 seated and standing. As Philly moves into the green phase, it expects to offer 75% of that for events; the space has also instituted a plethora of preventative measures including sanitation before, during and after the event; eliminating buffets (Catering by Design will work with you on cuisine); and checking employees temperatures beforehand, among other actions. A Saturday in peak season starts from $4,200. 19 South 22nd Street, Center City.


    A couple shares their first dance en plein air. Photo by Jessica Manns Photography

    Rolling hills, two ponds and 50 types of trees make up this 45-acre destination in Montgomery County. If thats not enough to paint a pretty picture, consider this: The site was also designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect for Central Park; the mansion and grounds were renovated in 2019. The original wisteria-covered pergola is a romantic space for ceremonies, and the historic gardens provide a verdant backdrop for sipping cocktails post I do. As the region moves into its green phase, the venue aims to open for outdoor July weddings with 160 guests, depending on guidelines. Tours have opened up with required face masks; 2021 rental prices start at $3,000. 1250 West Church Road, Wyncote.


    A giraffe feeding during a wedding at Elmwood Park Zoo. Photo by Jessica Manns Photography

    Giraffe feedings, jaguar exhibits and wild weddings, oh my! Animal-loving duos can get their fauna fix thanks to the more than 100 species here. Weddings support the zoos work to raise awareness about conservation efforts; couples can hold their ceremony in front of the Classic Red Barn or Olivias Eagle Observation Deck, among other outdoor locales. Eagles fans might take flight knowing that Noah, the teams animal ambassador, and his pal Reggie sometimes make an appearance. Want to feed one of the three giraffes? They love to photobomb, which can make for one-of-a-kind portraits. The zoo is available for fall and winter 2020 weddings as well as 2021. It can accommodate 100 seated guests, though it hopes to return to full capacity (150) in the future; the zoo is also offering 50% rental fees for events and bookings through 2020. The various venue prices range from $500 to $2,500. 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown.

    Center City

    The cool, brick-lined garden at Fitler Club. Photo by Philip Gabriel Photography

    The semi-newish, members-only Fitler Club, which opened in 2019, has it all but its 1,800-square-foot brick-walled garden, with its charming string lighting illuminating the dance floor, is perfect for a sophisticated set of future newlyweds. The clubs garden currently offers micro-weddings of up to 25 people (it typically can accommodate 50 folks for the ceremony, dinner and dancing); larger celebrations are being booked for the future as regulations allow. A perk: Those who celebrate their unions here become honorary, temporary members, receiving access to restaurants, bars, fitness centers and, perhaps, a bit of bowling by way of the Trophy Room. Pricing starts at $200 per person (excluding tax and service charge). 1 South 24th Street, Center City.

    Fairmount Park

    A reception at the Historic Strawberry Mansion. Photo by Ashley Gerrity Photography

    The Historic Strawberry Mansion is for a couple with good taste its sweet, lush and surrounded by fresh berries. Lawyer and abolitionist Judge William Lewis built the iconic white estate more than two centuries ago, and it makes a picturesque backdrop to outdoor celebrations for up to 250 on the charming rear grounds, with its brick terrace looking out over a winding azalea path. It is managed by Open Aire Affairs, while the catering program is run by Birchtree, who will dish out seasonal menus (the signature fruit, picked from the award-winning fields, might just find its way onto your plate). While the mansion has been closed due to COVID-19, the venue is allowing already-booked couples to use the space on their planned wedding dates for pictures or an elopement of 25 people or less, based on health and safety guidelines. (These couples can move their reception to 2021 as well.) The venue is not currently booking otherwise for 2020 until Philly moves into the green phase. Saturday night venue prices start at $2,500. 2450 Strawberry Mansion Drive, Fairmount Park.

    Fairmount Park

    The greenhouse at the Horticulture Center. Florals by Fabufloras Design; photography by Adrienne Matz

    Take your guests on a tropical trip without leaving Philly at this green-thumbs paradise. Recite your vows framed by lush Cherry Alle trees; say I do by the reflecting pool or get indoor-outdoor vibes in the light-filled greenhouse. The ample space can accommodate up to 300; COVID regulations, however, have affected the total capacity, and the venue plans to update its programs as the city moves into green phase and regulations change. (The venues first wedding post-pandemic is hopefully planned for August; read about a few of the couples whose celebrations have been impacted here and here.) Tours are currently not available, though exclusive caterer Constellation has a Pinterest page that might inspire your Big Day plans. Five-hour events from $2,500. 100 N Horticultural Drive, Fairmount Park.

    New Hope

    A COVID-19-compliant celebration at HollyHedge Estate. Photo by Weddings by Two

    This romantic, family-run farm in Bucks County dates back to the 18th century and is cheerily outfitted with bucolic touches. The property spans 21 acres and delights with pristine grounds and postcard-perfect landscaping. HollyHedge can typically accommodate 200 guests and provide 15 on-site rooms for friends and family; right now, couples can hold four-hour micro-weddings in spaces such as the courtyard garden, pastures, ponds and the stone barn. As the green phase progresses, the destination hopes to expand offerings to up to 140 attendees; the spot is also considering introducing full-day progressive receptions (during which various groups come at different stages of the day to mitigate risk) moving forward. Prices from $125 per person. 6987 Upper York Road, New Hope.

    Center City

    A ceremony at the Rodin Museums reflecting pool. Photo by Asya Photography

    Philly Francophiles already adore this venue: It houses the largest collection of the French sculptors work outside of Paris. So theyll certainly fall in love with hosting their wedding here, too. The outdoor environs allow you to say your vows between the serene reflecting pool and The Thinker statue; garden ceremonies typically accommodate up to 100, though the venue is currently limiting capacity. The venue is accepting inquiries and has weddings booked as early as August, pending updates to COVID-19 guidelines. Pricing starts at $3,000 for ceremony only and $7,500 for a full event. 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Center City.

    Southwest Philly

    A reception at the Carriage front of the Hamilton Mansion at The Woodlands. Photo by Peach Pear Plum Photography

    The historic park, cemetery and mansion sit along the banks of the Schuylkill River and was inherited 180 years ago by William Hamilton. He turned the central mansion into a beacon of British-style architecture and landscaping. The aesthetic carries throughout the 54-acre grounds, and it remains grand yet charming today, beckoning all kinds of couples seeking to say their I dos in a historic setting. Peach Pear Plum Photography has called it one of the most enjoyablenontraditional venues at which to work. While the space accommodates a maximum of 200 (in either the alfresco Carriage or Riverfront spaces at the estate), it is currently offering smaller ceremonies of up to 50 and will work with couples on a flexible budget. Micro-weddings from $660 per hour. 4000 Woodland Avenue, Southwest Philly.

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    Continued here:
    12 Philly-Area Outdoor Wedding Venues That Bring a Breath of Fresh Air to Your Big Day - Philadelphia magazine

    The evolution of a classic West Seattle home and a brand-new Pacific NW feature – Seattle Times - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    WELCOME TO THE DEBUT of Vintage Pacific NW, a relaxing road trip through our scenic magazine archives and, honestly, an invention of pandemic necessity, because our archives are about the only place we can visit safely these days.

    Actually, well be revisiting our magazines richly colorful (if sometimes sepia) history every Sunday for a spell, through some of our favorite magazine stories by some of our favorite magazine writers.

    In a time of disorienting uncertainty, its been surprisingly reassuring and grounding to unearth these timeless classics, and especially to enlist suggestions from former magazine contributors such as Nancy Leson (food), Nicole Tsong (fitness), and garden gurus Ciscoe Morris and Valerie Easton. A familiar voice goes a long way in troubling times.

    This week, were launching Vintage Pacific NW with a one-home retrospective of NW Living, a beloved fixture in one Seattle Times Sunday magazine or another for decades and decades and decades.

    We really arent exaggerating the decades thing: It was 40 years ago that a brand-new Pacific debuted. Pacific became THE Seattle Times Sunday magazine on Sept. 7, 1980, one week after the final issues of the Magazine, which had begun in 1902 (!), and the comparatively youthful Pictorial (started as the catchy Sunday Rotogravure Pictorial Section in 1923), which bequeathed Northwest Living and Northwest Design to the new upstart.

    Over the years, NW Living widened its focus on homeowners, architects, designers, craftspeople and artisans our Pacific Northwest neighbors while keeping an unparalleled photographic eye on their homes and work, all atop a foundation reinforced by our distinct and special Northwest style, and place.

    Our consistent goal has been to explore how and why we live the way we do, and it is with the deepest gratitude toward all of the people in all of our stories who have shared their spaces and their talent and to all of you who have read about them that we also present this Vintage Pacific NW debut as a heartfelt tribute: This will be our last NW Living feature. More about that in this weeks Backstory.

    We are ending on a high note. This striking West Seattle home, built in 1966 and designed by noted Northwest architect Ralph Anderson for his friends Duff and Dorothy Kennedy, originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 1973, Pictorial. We revisited it in person for our June 9, 2019, NW Living feature, following a gentle, respectful, also-striking remodel by current owners Steve Hoedemaker and Tommy Swenson.

    As an architect himself, Hoedemaker told us in 2019, [Such a legacy] can feel like an uncomfortable obligation when the house doesnt do its job well. I find myself remodeling some beautiful things [elsewhere] that didnt work well. This one is a study in approaching what works and what you might have done differently. The house is fundamentally the same.

    Ah. Theres comfort in consistency, too and legacy.

    Heres the original Pacific Northwest Living story, from Nov. 11, 1973:

    An artistic home in West SeattleText by Rosella Broyles

    The Duff Kennedy residence in West Seattle is an effective blend of all the elements that create a distinctive home.

    The architectural details of the contemporary plan, the beauty of a wooded site on a bluff above Puget Sound, the quiet neutrality of the furnishings, the careful linking of indoor to outdoor spaces and the taste of the owners are brought together in a harmonious whole.

    That kind of result is best achieved when the design team works together from the beginning to bring its concepts to fruition. Ralph D. Anderson & Partners was the architect, Robert W. Chittock the landscape architect and Roy Strom the interior designer who followed the plan through from the start.

    Kennedy and his wife, Dorothy, greatly influenced the design, not only as knowledgeable connoisseurs and collectors of the arts, but in stressing the manner in which they wished to live in the house.

    Although informal materials such as brick, cedar and clay tiles were used throughout, the couple wanted the home to be a suitable setting for formal entertaining and a background for their many fine paintings and pieces of sculpture.

    Some of the art pieces were commissioned especially for the Kennedy home.

    Sandy Deneau Dunham writes about architecture and design for Pacific NW and is associate editor of the magazine. Reach her at

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    The evolution of a classic West Seattle home and a brand-new Pacific NW feature - Seattle Times

    Planters and artwork added in Downtown Reidsville – Greensboro News & Record - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Downtown Reidsville has a new look. Because some of the downtown trees were in poor health and causing sidewalk problems, the City Council approved a plan to remove about half of the downtown sidewalk trees and replace them with trees in planter boxes created by Eric Smith.

    These planter boxes come with an added twist, though. The large wooden boxes are adorned with the City logo, as well as unique and colorful art panels by local artist Mary ED Ryan.

    The artist who created Downtown Reidsvilles newest mural, as well as numerous other art projects across the county, Ryan used wood stain to create 14 abstract panels and 14 panels depicting plants and animals of North Carolina.

    We knew that with Mary creating them, the art panels would be great, said Missy Matthews, Market Square/Main Street Manager for the City of Reidsville. But, they are even more amazing than we hoped.

    Working with a landscape architect to determine which trees to remove, 18 were replaced earlier this spring. In addition, two large bottle trees, crafted at Amos Welding, will be installed at the entrance to Kellys Way at 120 S. Scales St.

    Some pruning will be done to sidewalk trees that remain, and string lights also will be installed on the sidewalk trees.

    The Reidsville Downtown Corporation established Project DREAM (Downtown Reidsville Empowering Arts Movement) in 2018, and a number of public art projects downtown have been added. For example, angel wings were painted at the Rockingham County Public Library.

    City employees have told me that the uplifting messages in Gina Francos See Good in All Things gives them a boost as they enter and leave the City Hall parking lot, Matthews added. Cities gain value through public art cultural, social and economic value.

    Ryan applied her art to the 3/4-inch sanded plywood planters using colored wood stains, not paint. The color is absorbed into the wood and sealed with polycrylic.

    This is much more weatherproof than painted panels, and they could last for a long time, Ryan said.

    Ryan was thrilled to be a part of the project.

    Im a huge fan of public art because its available for the entire community and visitors to enjoy, she said.

    Having never created stain art of the size for the panels, Ryan said the project was challenging, but she is happy with the results.

    I pushed myself hard, took chances, even experimented a bit, she said. I wanted to give Reidsville something to get excited about, and thats hard because people are really down right now.

    Like Matthews, Ryan is a huge supporter of public art and sees her artistic contributions as a way to serve her community.

    Its much harder to get public art into rural areas and small towns, yet those places get the biggest boost from it, Ryan said. Public art has a strong track record of helping places to recover, bring hope, energize downtown businesses, bring people back into town, attract new businesses and help the community feel good about where they live.

    As weather permits, artist Ruby Blanco will paint a mural at 138 South Scales St. on the back of the building, which faces a public parking lot. A tattoo artist, Blanco recently opened Ravens Claw Studio on Scales Street.

    Ruby transformed utility meters in this same parking lot into a charming turtle, and we are excited to see this new mural come to life, Matthews said.

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    Planters and artwork added in Downtown Reidsville - Greensboro News & Record

    Brunk To Celebrate The ‘Charmed Life’ Of William N. Banks With September 12 Sale – Antiques and the Arts Online - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Here, in a photo staged by Brunk Auctions at Bankshaven, two Federal chairs flank the swivel-top card table possibly made by Phyfe, 1815-1820. Above hangs the 1856 oil on canvas Beacon Rock, Newport by John Frederick Kensett.

    By Laura Beach

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. William N. Banks Jr, who died last November at age 95, was the model of a scholar collector, his work as a regular contributor to The Magazine Antiques dovetailing with his passion for preserving historic homes of his own in Georgia and New Hampshire. Banks appointed each residence with a sympathetic mix of Federal and Classical American furniture and Nineteenth Century American paintings. He filled his library with antiquarian volumes bespeaking his passion for architecture, landscape and travel.

    In a much-anticipated addition to the fall arts calendar, Brunk Auctions will sell the contents of Bankshaven, the collectors carefully tended property in Newnan, Ga., on September 12. The single-owner sale consisting of roughly 300 lots will be accompanied by a print catalog designed both as a well-documented reference and an enduring tribute.

    Visitors to what Banks himself referred to interchangeably as Bankshaven and the Gordon-Banks house, the latter acknowledging the propertys first owner, were uniformly impressed. I know of no more comfortably authentic, untouched, all original house in America, Morrison H. Heckscher, former chairman of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wrote his host after a stay. Cultural observer Brendan Gill averred, In architecture I can think of few more delightful examples of cultural cross-fertilization than the country house in Coweta County, Georgia belonging to the writer, historian and collector William Nathaniel Banks.

    Skillful as a host and steeped in the rituals of gracious entertaining, Banks was a Southern gentleman of the old school. He was stylish, elegant, polite and cultured. It was always a delight to see him. A Charmed Life, his loosely autobiographical account published in Antiques May/June 2015 issue, captures him well, says auction house president Andrew Brunk, who recently visited Bankshaven while inventorying the collection. Being there and seeing how he lived the collections, sculpture, gardens and fountains transported us to another time. The house is an architectural gem. We saw the vestiges of a remarkably wonderful life.

    Born in Newnan in 1924 to a successful investor and his wife, Banks left Dartmouth College to serve in the US Army infantry during World War II, completing a degree in drama at Yale University in 1948. In addition to his writing on historic art and architecture, Banks, a playwright, was a four-time fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H. He was a long-serving member of its board, as well as that of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

    Grecian sofa, New York, 1815-20, tiger maple with gilt and verd antique decoration.

    He wrote for Antiques for more than 40 years, always with the historians attention to detail and the playwrights flair for character and sense of time and place. Nobody else ever did it quite the way he did. He never mastered email or a computer, or even, really, a cell phone, but he dug deeply into every subject he covered for the magazine, from historic houses and towns to individual artists and artisans, and readers always loved his stories, Antiques consulting editor Eleanor H. Gustafson wrote in an email earlier this year.

    Karma seems to have led Banks to his Georgia residence. He had already acquired a Federal house in Temple, N.H., the birthplace of Daniel Pratt (1799-1873), an architect-builder who migrated to Georgia, where in the 1820s he built a house near Milledgeville for planter John W. Gordon (1797-1868). A local college professor, L.C. Lindsley, saved the Gordon house, by then all but derelict, in the 1940s.

    Banks writes, In 1959, having seen photographs taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s, I contacted Lindsley, and he graciously gave me a tour of the property. I was awestruck by a unique house that had remained virtually unaltered for more than a century; and, I confess, I fell in love. Banks persuaded his recently widowed mother to buy the building in 1968. Under the supervision of architect Robert Raley, it was reassembled in Newnan, 40 miles southwest of Atlanta, amidst gardens begun by Banks parents in the late 1920s. The family razed their existing Tudor-style home to accommodate the structure.

    Finding himself with an empty house, Banks began collecting for it. Beginning in the late 1960s, he bought at auction in New York, where he kept an apartment, and from leading dealers, among them Vose, Spanierman and Hirschl & Adler Galleries, where in 1972 he paid $150,000 for Franconia Range from the South with Village of South Woodstock, New Hampshire, an important work of 1857 by Asher B. Durand and a highlight of the upcoming sale, and a Raphaelle Peale still life. The collection includes other New Hampshire views by Cropsey, Gifford and Shapleigh.

    I met William in the early 1980s when I was working at Alexander Gallery, says Brunk Auctions general manager and fine arts specialist Nan Zander, who spent 35 years in the New York art world before moving to Asheville. One of the first important paintings I sold, the 1856 Beacon Rock, Newport by John F. Kensett, was to William. Its now hanging in my office. I feel Ive come full circle. William bought the best of the best that was appropriate for his home.

    Mt Washington from the Saco River by Sanford Robinson Gifford, 1856, oil on canvas.

    He became very interested in his wonderful collection of paintings and was very knowledgeable, says Banks longtime friend James Landon, a retired attorney asked by Brunk to write the catalogs introduction. He had more than one Raphaelle Peale. Every time I entered his dining room, I marveled at his still lifes, all little jewels, each lighted exactly right. It was the most beautiful thing. The landscapes were in the drawing room. It really was like going to a gallery.

    There are some exciting pieces of furniture, some thought to have Southern histories, says Andrew Brunk, summoning to mind a tiger-maple Grecian sofa with a caned back and sides and verd antique and gilt feet. Among other furniture highlights is a set of six lyre-back klismos chairs with Middleton family history that are attributed to Duncan Phyfe, circa 1815; a Classical marble top pier table attributed to J.&J.W. Meeks, circa 1830; and a marble top center table attributed to Anthony Quervelle, circa 1829. A New York caryatid card table previously attributed to Charles-Honor Lannuier but now thought possibly to be by Phyfe, 1815-20, came from Banks cousin, Olive Pringle Brown, who inherited it from her family, said to be former owners of Charlestons Pringle house.

    Pulling brown-paper lining from the last drawer of a sideboard, Brunk found a signature, the date July 3rd, 1817, and the words Keene, New Hampshire. As anyone in this business knows, its great fun to chase down details when youre looking at good quality things, says the auctioneer, whose team is in the midst of cataloging the sale.

    In Antiques, Banks wrote of his fascination with Humphry Repton (1752-1818) and speculated on the English landscape designers possible influence on William C. Pauley (1893-1985), the American designer who worked with Banks father to create at Bankshaven what the collector called a pleasing landscape in the English style.

    William had a genuine passion for architecture and gardens and collected some wonderful, early books on the subject by Alexander Jackson Davis and others, says Brunk, who looks forward to selling two rare Repton volumes. Where possible, the collectors research relating to specific paintings and objects will accompany sold lots to their new owners.

    Brunk Auctions is pulling out all the stops for the Banks sale. Andrew Brunk says, We are thrilled and honored to offer this collection. Its a great fit for our company. That, and an eagerly anticipated prelude to the season ahead.

    Consistent with public health directives, the collection of William Banks will be available for viewing by appointment at Brunk Auctions Asheville gallery at 117 Tunnel Road. For information, 828-254-6846 or

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    Brunk To Celebrate The 'Charmed Life' Of William N. Banks With September 12 Sale - Antiques and the Arts Online

    Brick Architectural Designs that pay homage to the past while inspiring the future! – Yanko Design - July 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Imagine a castle and it will be made of stone or bricksthat is how old bricks are! Red and rustic, bricks have come back in fashion with the brutal or raw architectural trend that has gripped modern architecture. And we have to agree, they provide a jarring contrast to the sleek glass towers, standing like gentle giants or wise kings of the old in the modern cityscape. Using bricks to give a modern-day look, all the designs featured here are futuristic yet preserve the heritage aesthetics that add value or character to your building!

    Brick being a traditionally tough material, it is difficult to envision this material for creating a curved surface. But that is exactly what Studio Olafur Eliasson has done with their very first construction in Denmark. Named the Fjord House, the project is commissioned by KIRK Capital to showcase the buildings relationship to the harbor. I am very thankful for the trust shown by the Kirk Johansen family in inviting me, with my studio, to conceive Fjordenhus, Eliasson says. This allowed us to turn years of research on perception, physical movement, light, nature, and the experience of space into a building that is at once a total work of art and a fully functional architectural structure. In the design team, we experimented from early on with how to create an organic building that would respond to the ebb and flow of the tides, to the shimmering surface of the water, changing at different times of the day and of the year. The curving walls of the building transform our perception of it as we move through its spaces. I hope the residents of Vejle will embrace Fjordenhus and identify with it as a new landmark for the harbor and their city.

    MVRDV continues to awe, astonish, and wow us with this transparent brick store created for Herms, situated in Amsterdam. Using glass bricks, the studio created the jewel-like sparkling exterior to merge the high-end luxury aesthetics necessary for Herms with the historical brick facade that has been iconic to the Amsterdam landscape.

    Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect had transformed a Chicago based building into an architecture exhibition center, using raw concrete and glass to create a wealth of contrast along with balancing the feel of old and new. This exhibition center, named Wrightwood 659 is a four-storey structure with a concrete staircase that wraps around one pillar while being highlighted with rectangular windows that provide ample natural lighting. Looking ta this, it looks like Tadao tried to highlight all the essential building blocks to great architecture brick, concrete, glass which is fitting for an architectural exhibit.

    Its always interesting when architects design and create their own homes. It is a chance for them to unleash their creativity as they see fit, build that dream design they always wanted to build and that is exactly what Dutch architects Gwendolyn Huisman and Marijn Boterman did when creating this skinny black brick building that is their home. The house, while looking opulent in black bricks from outside houses hidden windows and a huge indoor hammock to add fun to the place!

    The Muse Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm) stands tall with a two-toned brick facade that pays homage to the natural environment found in Marrakesh. The museum houses important selection from the fondation Pierre berge Yves Saint Laurents impressive collection, which includes 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories, along with tens of thousands of sketches and assorted objects. Designed by the French Studio KO, the building is made up of cubic forms, that come to form a pattern that resembles interwoven threads.

    With sweeping arches made of brick and an abundance of natural lighting, this residential complex by Muhamad Samiei is the perfect example of how modern architecture can adopt brick surfaces. In an attempt at changing the traditional tower design, this design uses the flow of the structure to create separate spaces within the enclosure, resulting in a harmonious balance of space-saving and utilizing space whereas the use of bricks pays homage to the past while looking futuristic in the same design.

    India is known for its vibrant colors and it is those colors that the Surat-based studio Design Work Group has brought to life in this rippling brick facade. The Location of the building, being on a crossroads inspired the architects to have some fun with it, by using two different materials concrete and brick to create a unique look on each road-facing side of the structure.

    When a building is named Cuckoo House, you know you are in for a fun treat! This unusually shaped residence is by the architectural firm Tropical Space in Vietnam and sits above a coffee shop. The entrance to this home starts with an elevated terrace with more smaller terraces created to add ventilation and natural light inside the home. Given the local climate, the house is designed to make complete use of the indoors as well as the outdoors on warm balmy days.

    CTA | creative architects have designed the Wall House in Vietnam, named for the use of unique breathing walls designed by the STudio for this house. After realizing that indoor air pollution was a major health hazard in Vietnam, the team decided to build a protective layer of hollow bricks around the house to facilitate the growth of greenery in the walls with ease. This technique creates an all-natural purification system that works on its own!

    A drama theater built with some more drama, that is what Drozdov & Partners have created when they redesigned the Teatr na Podoli, a drama theater in Ukraine. What is the drama you ask? Its the use of recycled bricks made up of titanium and zinc that clad the higher levels of this theater, balancing the old school aesthetics with the beige brick-work in contrast to the modern metallic bricks that highlight the top.

    Think concrete is the better choice of materials rather than brick? Check these concrete-based designs that show why concrete may be the futuristic material of choice!

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    Brick Architectural Designs that pay homage to the past while inspiring the future! - Yanko Design

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