Materials 205 Ideabooks

Every now and then I like to zoom in on houses and the materials they are made of. This ideabook explores the textures that can be expressed through concrete, stone, wood, metal and even rammed earth. The examples...
Bling Where It’s Least Expected
Anyone who’s ever gone fishing with a flashy lure or held a baby while wearing blingy earrings knows that shiny things are attractive. There’s a magnetic draw to them. In fact, recent...
6 Spot-on Places to Use Penny Tiles
Looking for a tile with fun-loving appeal? Penny tiles, also known as penny rounds, brings both heritage and cheer to a home. A throwback to the early 1900s, penny tiles have come full circle to harmonize with nearly every style, from Victorian to bungalow,...
Why You Might Want to Build a House of Straw
I’ve often advised that to have a truly sustainable home, one must really understand the details of how a house works. As our knowledge about homes increases, so does our desire to get involved with the design and construction process. That’s where...
9 Imaginative Ideas for Industrial Rebar in the Garden
There is a part of me that takes great delight in using ordinary things in unintended and unexpected ways. I enjoy the puzzled looks on the faces of store clerks when they ask about my current project. Consider rebar. Short for reinforcing bar, rebar...
8 Perfect Places for Cutout Designs
Remember the paper snowflakes you created as a child? You folded a piece of white paper into a square and cut jagged shapes in it, then unwrapped it to reveal a surprisingly beautiful pattern. The juxtaposition of positive and negative space generated...
7 Great Places for a Hammered Metal Finish
Unlike the cool, smooth finishes of brushed stainless steel and nickel that have dominated for the past decade or so, hammered metal has been in steady demand since ancient times. In addition to artistic beauty, hammered finishes also tend to be more...
5 Finishes Pets and Kids Can’t Destroy — and 5 to Avoid
It’s a common situation for pet owners and parents alike: You buy a brand-new couch thinking you’ve purchased a truly indestructible piece of furniture, only to watch it be destroyed within a matter of months by your pet or child. It’s enough to...
5 Places to Love Corrugated Metal in Your House
Typically used on roofs, garages and sheds, corrugated metal has traditionally been thought of as a humble outdoor-only material. But as people increasingly seek sustainable materials and more creative ways to express their personal style in their...
Design Workshop: Materials That Tell a Story
Meaningful architecture, for me, always relays a story. It’s fundamental that it conveys something about a place, a specific time, a person or a family. It must have an opinion, an attitude. Architecture doesn’t have to be an explicit rendering of...
Fit to be Tiled: Get Some Pattern on the Floor for Excitement Underfoot
Perhaps the oldest patterns that can be found underfoot are tiles. Prized by the Egyptians, exalted by the Romans and Turks, and popular among the Victorians in their conservatories, tile floors can be an exciting alternative to carpets or wood. There...
9 Hard Questions to Ask When Shopping for Stone
Deciding to use stone and choosing the kind to use are more complicated than just picking a finish you like. Because stone is a natural material, its appearance, durability and production can vary from one quarry to another, and from one batch to another,...
Design Workshop: The Beauty of Humble Materials
Humble materials aren’t costly or luxurious, but using them in residential design doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice interest or refinement. Many architects find inspiration in the humble beauty of simple structures dressed in plain materials that...
Design Workshop: Wonderful Material Marriages
Material selection during the design process strongly determines architectural character, defining the overall look and feel of the composition and space. Architects draw upon many devices when developing a material palette. Selections can reference the...
Design Workshop: The Many Highlights of Translucency
It’s hard to overstate the role light plays in architecture. The great modern architect Steven Holl noted, “Light is to architecture what sound is to music.” Light renders the extents of space, and controlling light is the perpetual occupation...
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