architecture Posts

Top 5 Quintessential Courtyards.

By: The Balance Design Team

As the weather gets warmer, people tend to talk about “porch season” or “deck weather” in terms of spending more time in their outdoor spaces. But let’s not forget courtyards! From grand, lush British gardens to architecturally focused Turkish temples, the style range is immense. Take a walk with us through some of the courtyards of our dreams…

Having a courtyard sounds like such a lavish luxury only attainable if you have a huge expanse of space in your home or yard. Not true! This Paris hotel does what Parisians do best: fit impeccable style into a small space.

But speaking of lavish luxury, the courtyard of the Riad Johara in Marrakech is doing it so right. This is everything we love about Moroccan style: cobalt blues, beautifully patterned tiles, and architectural shapes that are unmistakable (and astounding).

On the flip side of that coin, a simplified approach can be just as beautiful. This minimalist courtyard evokes a calm, quiet feeling and puts the focus on the experience of being outside. We can almost hear the quiet birds chirping and the soft breeze blowing.

We love a good fire pit, especially in such a lovely little courtyard. Balancing out the gravel ground with lush blooming hydrangeas and climbing vines creates a welcoming and intimate atmosphere.

We weren’t going to let this post go by without featuring a courtyard with a pool! Plus, look at those carved wooden doors, tropical palms, and crisp white facade. This is paradise.

In the most basic definition of the word, a courtyard is simply an unroofed area completely or mostly enclosed by the walls of a building. But to us, it’s so much more! A blurring of the line between indoor and outdoor space, a meditative sanctuary to commune with nature, or a gathering place for friends and family.

Balance Design Open House: Modern Gothic

By: Melody Richardson

One of the best things about having a gallery space (besides getting to gaze at art every day) is meeting the talented artists that create meaningful and beautiful work. Whether it’s a long-time friend introducing us to her recent endeavors, or finally meeting a local favorite we’ve been following, we love broadening our artistic horizons.

 

Eva Magill-Oliver is a multi-media artist currently living and working in Atlanta, GA. The natural world is an ever-present theme in her work, and one that is transitional based on the landscape that surrounds her. It inspires her color palettes, the way she creates patterns, and informs the organic shapes and silhouettes prevalent throughout her work.

Eva had been working uniquely on paper over the past several years, but expanded her work to include oil/acrylic abstract paintings on canvas. The work is organic and playful and represents the continuously dynamic evolution that is the natural world.

 

In 1999 Kristin Thorsen accepted a grant from Georgia Perimeter College to study painting in Imatra, Finland. Guided by Russian and Finnish masters, she explored printmaking, painting, photography, and independent studies. In 2002, she was accepted by the Atlanta College of Art and received a portfolio scholarship. She made the most of this opportunity to hone her technical skills, receiving her BFA magna cum laude in 2004. She has participated in over 30 group shows and personally organized four solo exhibits and five group exhibits. Her work has appeared in galleries all over the Atlanta area, including a year-long exhibit at the Chrysalis Gallery. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States as well as Finland, Russia, Norway, Ireland, and Vietnam. She is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Arts of Georgia, Wonderoot, and the Atlanta Artists Center.

Join us Thursday November 2nd for our fall 2017 open house! We will be proudly featuring the incredible works of these two artists, as well as revealing our new collection. We’ve designed and created custom pieces inspired by Eva’s and Kristin’s art as well as gothic European architecture.

Come by the Balance Design studio at 1653 McLendon Avenue from 7-9pm for drinks, small bites, and conversation! We’ll see you there!

Norma Sklarek: Pioneer in Architecture

By: Melody Richardson

This week we wanted to honor the work of the late, great Norma Sklarek. Hailed as the Rosa Parks of architecture, her vision and passion are an inspiration to us all. Not only was she an incredible influence on the world of architecture, she has been a pioneer for women and people of color in the design industry. Despite going unrecognized for many her works, Sklarek still persevered.

United States Embassy, Tokyo, Japan

United States Embassy, Tokyo, Japan

Sklarek gained her education from Columbia University and was still turned down 19 times before getting a job. She overcame many obstacles while working due to her gender and ethnicity, and still was known as one of the nicest and most hardworking people in the business. Her career spanned through 5 companies and 38 years. Most notably were her contributions to Gruen Associates in Los Angeles, where she collaborated with César Pelli. Together they built the United States Embassy in Tokyo, the Pacific Design Center, San Bernardino City Hall, Terminal 1 at LAX, and Fox Plaza in San Fransisco. Of those notable works, only the United States Embassy in Tokyo recognizes her for her contributions.

Terminal 1, Los Angeles International Airport

Terminal 1, Los Angeles International Airport

Norma Sklarek is truly an inspiration because despite the push back she received throughout her career on countless occasions she never allowed it to break her spirit. She always mentored young people in similar positions, and gave them ways to cope with the discrimination they would face. She was the first black woman to become a licensed architect and the first black woman to be elected into the Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), and in 1985 she started an all female architecture firm with Margot Siegel and Katherine Diamond.

San Bernardino City Hall

San Bernardino City Hall

Sklarek is a personal inspiration because, as a woman of color, I myself have faced discrimination in my life in one form or another. To be able to witness the accomplishments and admire someone who overcame so much, I know I can achieve my goals in the design world. She strived to make things better, whether it was through her designs or in her relationships with others in her industry. She didn’t mind paving the way and being a role model for others, even though she had none of her own.

Pacific Design Center

Pacific Design Center

Norma Merrick Sklarek was not only a great architect but she truly opened the doors for all women and people of color in the design industry.

Norma Sklarek, 1926-2012

Norma Sklarek, 1926-2012

Architectural Trends of 2017

By: The Balance Design Team

We’ve made our own personal resolutions for the new year, but what about for the home? This week we’re focusing on architectural trends we hope to see take off in 2017.

Stephanie’s Pick: Naked Floors

Stephanietrend

We’re always looking for green, sustainable building solutions, and remodeling with wood floors is typically a smelly, messy process involving sanding, staining, and polyurethane. Rubio Monocoat, however, is a plant-based, 0% VOC flooring solution with a one-coat oil finish. We have been using it to achieve a more natural Scandinavian look, but there are many different finishes available.

Elisabeth’s Pick: Modern Moulding

Elisabethtrend

A recent trip to Charleston challenged my “less is more” tendencies. This geometric wall moulding satisfies a historical desire to ornament your wall without terribly faking it. This monotone moody trim and wall color doesn’t hurt either. Consider taking your walls, ceilings, and doors to a daring level of embellishment!

Shelby’s Pick: Backsplash Backlash

Shelbytrend

My weakness is a beautiful and functional kitchen. I love the bespoke nature that kitchens are taking on recently, and an edited, clean design is always timeless. Sometimes the dominant, geometric nature of a tile backsplash can take the focus away from great custom cabinetry. Luckily, we’re seeing more and more home do away with the backsplash by either completely removing them, or pulling the countertop slab up the wall for a seamless look. Either way, the focus is on the beautiful custom work and not grout lines.

Danielle’s Pick: Cozy Conversation Pit

Danielletrend

Don’t get any shag-covered 1970’s flashbacks — modern sunken sitting areas (or “conversation pits“) are streamlined enough that they are comfortable without sacrificing style. This year my focus is on the comfort of design and not just the aesthetic, and sinking into a nest-like area such as this is just what I’ve got in mind.

Melody’s Pick: The Fifth Wall

Melodytrend

Though often forgotten, the ceiling is a great place to bring some daring personality into a room. The use of a wallpaper or mural will bring the eyes up and add interest in an otherwise overlooked space. Especially eye-catching with clean neutral colors and monochromatic palettes, the fifth wall is one to be embraced and utilized.

Virtual Inspiration: Desire to Inspire

by Shelby Adamson

As designers we are continually looking for inspiration, and we tend to set the bar high when it comes to interiors and their aesthetic beauty.  Recently we stumbled upon this beautiful blog, Desire To Inspire, and we cannot stop looking!  Kim & Jo are design aficionados that created the blog together (even though Kim lives in Canada and Jo in Australia, and they have never actually met in person).  They feature beautiful installation photos of work by designers and architects from around the globe.  Here we share a few of our favorites:

Contemporary barn by D. Stanley Dixon Architect:

 

Stan Dixon Barn

 

Coogee House by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects:

 

madeleine_blanchfield_architects-8a-coogee-house

 

English Kitchen by Plain English:

 

english-kitchen

 

Redesigned factory workspace by IFUB*:


IFUB*

 

And to brighten your day they always have a feature, Pets on Furniture every Monday.  These posts showcase beautiful furniture, and the pets that like to lay on it:

 

Pets on Furniture

 

Here is hoping you were as inspired as we were!