December 31, 2016

projects 2016. . .






"Interior Designers play many roles. They must be part psychiatrist, part parent and part diplomat.  They must nurture their clients, grow as they grow, and edit their ideas.  In trying to second-guess tastes and living styles, a designer almost becomes a family member."~Mario Buatta



We use green technologies (for energy and construction) to embrace nature rather than compete with it.  The term technology refers to the application of knowledge for practical purposes. The field of green technology encompasses a continuously evolving group of methods and materials, from techniques for generating energy to non-toxic cleaning products.


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DvH design 2016 01-modular new built-Western Cape, South Africa

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DvH design 2016 04-flat “rejuvenation”- London, Kentish Town, UK




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September 27, 2016

Dynamic contrasts




The client loves fresh and clean, bright and cozy, and this apartment turned out to be just right. It seems to be the perfect place to overcome the post-summer blues.

For the client it was all about contrasts “they create the dynamics that make the decor interesting, moving and personal.”  I believe this remake demonstrates this beautifully.

The challenging part was to create a truly different and unpredictable space. And it amuses me when visitors say that this was not at all what they had expected. 





August 23, 2016

Urban Threads. Don’t just sit there…






Recently a client shyly admitted that he is addicted to needlepoint.  He opened his drawers and showed me a collection of exquisite needlework.  We agreed to include some of his creations into our interior design scheme.  




I shared with him my story.  Twenty years ago my godson (Clive) came home from school with a small square of needlepoint canvas on which he had been trying to stitch a flower.  I could see it was not going well, though my knowledge of needlepoint was nil.  In a manner rather more god motherly than intelligent I suggested that perhaps we could “work it out together.” 


Millions of stitches later I look back on that careless remark with certain incredulity.  Needlepoint nearly took over our house.  It gave us calluses on several fingers, occupied (or semi occupied, as needlepoint is a pastime that does not hinder conversation) thousands of leisure hours, and has produced more pillows, chair seats and tapestries than any house could consume. 

There are people who love to make things.  I cannot remember a time when I wasn't making something partly for the pleasure of showing it (and myself) off.  Needlepoint, unlike many other hobbies, does not require a set place.  It can be done for five minutes or several hours and just be thrown back in the bag or basket.  To time can be added place and circumstances.  Needlepoint can be done anywhere that one can sit down.  

Clive stitches his hours away on long plane trips.  It still takes a certain amount of gall, however, for a man to do needlepoint in public in some places.  This is a circumstance that is not true in 90 percent of the world, where the great proportion of men make their living with handicrafts. 

Needlepoint lends itself to variations of almost infinite kinds and combinations generally thought to be a genteel sort of medium, it can be as raucous as one wants to make it.  

A feel for the medium does not come at all unless one is willing to experiment.  I believe that anyone who can use a tool or a needle or a brush or a saucepan or a power drill can improvise.  They all improvised when they were children.  As we grow up we become more and more confined by patterns of socially acceptable behavior.  But how we spend our leisure does not need to conform to patterns.  It is, or should be, our release from the confinements of convention. 


If we have joy in the making of something, then our pleasure in it will abide as long as it or the memory of it persists.



July 6, 2016

Off the Grid & On the Edge.




There’s a history of Mojave being a place for people who are loners and pioneers. The sweeping views of the magnificent eerie landscape gives credence to that thought. You feel like you are a character in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  When you are eating all you can hear is the sound of your silverware, the sound of your chair moving, and the sound of the house expanding and contracting. I like it.
The house is pre-fabricated based on an off-the-grid design.  It sits lightly on the earth with minimal foundations, an energy-efficient yet ultra-stylish house rising up from a wild and rugged landscape. It has no conventional heating or air-conditioning system, but remains cozy in winter and cool in summer with its passive heating and cooling, strategic orientation, and cross ventilation.  




June 16, 2016

On the Edge.




The Mojave Desert is a magical place. Haunted, yes. To build a house here is not for the faint of heart. But in its desolate nature there is great beauty, often glowing under a late sky of orange, purple and red. 

These are the colors that bathe the sands and solitude in all that has come before, hiding it forever so that only new life can appear in its place. I wonder, then, if perhaps those colors are just the start of a rainbow at the end of which is pure gold.


Spooky stories, unexplained mysteries and tales of ghosts are part of desert lore. It is no wonder that so many ghosts haunt the lonely trails, mountains, and landmarks of the forbidding desert. The desert can be unforgiving and, at the same time, unbelievably generous. Many travelers, prospectors and adventurers have gone into the desert, never to return or be seen again. Others have returned with treasures rare and unique that we could only dream of being so lucky ourselves. 



May 31, 2016

Summer circuit



This is the time of year when die-hard city people spend every moment they can in their patios, balconies, or if they are lucky, backyards.  Like all good things that cannot be taken for granted, outdoor life heightens the pleasure of city living.  Attempts to make the retreat more appealing tend to become an avocation.  Lawns take on borders, flower beds, and vegetable patches.  Ideas for projects never stop coming.  Somehow the imagination becomes unfettered.  We love to cook outdoors, set the table on the patio-even for breakfast.  Hospitality flourishes, people drop by, and open house becomes a way of life.

I could say more, but it’s time for lunch…I’ve got to go.