Friday, July 31, 2009

designbyte: Second Hand Slingback

I'm on the hunt for dining chairs. I have this dream that I'll be able to find eight to ten relatively matching chairs with great potential at a thrift store and save us tons of money. With my chronic lack of patience, the chances of this dream coming to fruition are slim to none, but one can hope! Upon a friend's suggestion, I checked out the Lincoln Heights St. Vincent De Paul's Thriftstore this afternoon (instead of working).

After nearly being kicked out of the thrift store for taking photos of potential candidates (who knew that the privacy rights of unwanted items were so protected?), I gave up. But the journey was not fruitless. Towards the back, I found this groovy two-piece sling back chair made from rattan and bamboo. I'm not sure if it's vintage, but it's for damn sure old. Nevertheless, after a quick bath, it looks totally at home on our otherwise unfurnished deck. We'll probably add a few bright pillows in the next few weeks.

I guess the dream is not yet dead!

Friday, July 24, 2009

travelbyte: Hogwild in Hoogwoud, The Controversy Inn

I just wrote a round up of the Top 5 Eco-Hostels and Hotels for Inhabitat this week. I managed to squeeze in 6, but there are of course so many more than that. One of my favorite unsung eco-spots is the Controversy Inn in the beautiful village of Hoogwoud, Holland.

Housed in two trams that used to travel the streets of Amsterdam and some town in Germany respectively, the Controversy Inn offers four 'luxury' suites, replete with hot tub, built out of recycled, reclaimed, and found objects. The sink is a tire. The hot tub used to be a car. The bed is a lifeboat. A table was once a parking sign. Each of the four suites is themed, from Mexican to Goth (or maybe it's Purple Rain-inspired).

Apparently Irma and Frank Appel have always had a thing for cars and vehicles. The trams are situated in a field on their farm, along with several other reclaimed items. Irma and Frank's bedroom is the upper floor of an old double decker bus. Their dog (Dodge) sleeps in a tire. The donkeys (Morris and Lotus) sleep in an old city bus, and the cat (one Harley Davidson) likes to sleep on top of a Lamborghini.

(This would be the sombrero hot tub in the deluxe Mexican suite...)

(...and the Purple Rain Pimp Suite.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

travelbyte: Summer Sentence in Slovenia

The virtual vacation continues.  From Taiwan, we head to the gem of the Adriatic, beautiful Slovenia, for a modern penitentiary experience. The geniuses at Sou Hostel have created a backpackers paradise with Hotel Celica; budget-friendly accommodations nestled within the walls of a former prison.  But a summer sentence here doesn't sound so bad.  Book a cell for some privacy or bunk up with other international inmates in the main room. Bar, restaurant, and gallery on the grounds.  Scary prison guards, not included.

realbyte: Big Parade LA Marches from Downtown to Hollywood

There's no better way to get to know your city than to actually walk its streets (and stairs).  Be part of the urban trek this weekend and join Big Parade LA as volunteers, friends, and complete strangers storm the streets.  Starting from Angels Flight in downtown LA and ending at the Hollywood Sign, the Big Parade will span 40 miles and 135+ stairs over two days.

Check out the full schedule here and join up for the whole walk, just five minutes, or hang out at the meeting spots.  Sunset Blvd. is major corridor on Day One.  You can catch the walk at Alvarado, end in Silver Lake, and just bus it back to your car.  Or join in the afternoon on Day Two and end your weekend at the Hollywood Sign, with views of the Ennis House along the way.

Follow the entire two-day event on Twitter @bigparadela for up-to-the-milisecond tweets.  Chances are they may pass by your house or your office on their urban expedition, so show your support by showering them with cold drinks or words of encouragement.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

travelbyte: Kitty Scratch Fever in Taiwan

I can't actually take any big trips this summer, so to fend off the seasonal travel envy and angst I'm starting a mini virtual vacation exploring the wondrously weird travel destinations that...well...defy description.  First stop?  Taiwan, for a dose of Kitty Scratch Fever.

Like the fever, the fascination with Hello Kitty is inexplicably infectious, though perhaps not entirely benign.  If the accessories, posters, and other accoutrements weren't enough, now travelers can literally live La Vida Rosa with Uni-Resort's Hello Kitty-themed guest villas.  Strange but great find, Unusual Life and Hello Kitty Hell.  We should have a South Park mountain resort in Colorado....

Friday, July 10, 2009

oddbyte: Speaking of Dead Cities

I just read about this amazing website (via the New York Times and Treehugger).  A web developer and amateur photographer in Detroit has been shooting the empty and deteriorating old houses since the 1990s with his Hasselblad.  It's heart-breaking to see some of these noble and gorgeous old houses just abandoned to the ravages of time. 

Buy a print for $35 and a portion of the proceeds will be do
nated to Habitat for Humanity.  It's your last chance to see these amazing old dames before they crumble to dust or are razed to the ground.

newsbyte: Inhabitat and Dwell Announce Reburbia Competition

Whether budding or jaded, Inhabitat and Dwell are calling all ilk of architect, designer, and urbanist to submit their bright ideas on how to reshape suburbia for a more sustainable future.  With countless cookie cutter developments becoming relative ghost towns and whispers of the Obama administration's plans to bulldoze square miles of our shrinking cities, the death of the sprawling suburbs as we know them is nigh.  So what next?  Good question.  If you have some ideas, this is your chance to chime in.  

Learn more about Reburbia and submit your designs here.  The deadline for submissions is August 1st.  At stake? A cash prize of $1,000.  Winners - judges' choice and people's top pick - will be published on Inhabitat and as well as in the December issue of Dwell Magazine.

So go forth and green suburbia,....please!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

designbyte: Skate Study House Makes ID's Product of the Week

Rock on, Skate Study House.  Upon perusing the I.D. for the first time in a long time (ironically, I work in PR but very rarely have the time to read magazines anymore!), I  was thrilled to see that this quintessentially Californian, kinda Barcelonian, maybe French design atelier made the Product of the Week.  I'm that much happier since I wrote a quick story about them last year for Inhabitat!  Good