Homebrew baby safety gate

If you are a parent, you know how difficult it is to keep your little one out of trouble. One of those troubles are the stairs. But not to worry... these days, there are a lot of options to close that path using very ugly devices called baby gates. You rather put chicken wire on it and I guarantee it will look better than any of the options that Babies R Us offer. That's why I decided to take matters in my own hands. Using regular 1x2 poplar wood slabs that you can get at the local Home Depot and some nails/screws and a latch from an outside patio door, I was able to fashion a not so hideous device that swings open like a dream due to the fact that the end (opposite to the full size door hinges) is resting on a ball bearing 360 degree caster. I still have to baby proof the latch mechanism, as lab test shows, that small primates can figure it out how to activate the latch... and Isabella at this point (18 months) knows how to pause and play a quicktime movie on a mac.

Nice little table bronze sculpture

the store is based in canada and this is one of those unsigned pieces that you buy (for $350) and later find out is a Jere Curtis of Harry Bertoia and is valued at $26,000 (happened before, not to me, damn!)

Eames rocks!

Few things turn a design-conscious parent-to-be's stomach more than the idea of having to get some fugly rocking chair. Still, you've heard it before, but let me say it again from this side of parenthood: you want a rocking chair. You'll want one so bad, it almost won't matter if it looks like you bought it off a trailer porch in some Appalachian holler.

One classic modern solution--the Eames shell rocker, formally known as the Eames RAR Rocker--has a historical connection to new babies. The original manufacturer, Herman Miller, used to give one to employees on the birth of their child.

Here's a quick look at the options for buying one:

To collectors, an original fiberglass armchair, with its original wireframe/wood rocker base is the most desirable--and most expensive option. They can run from $700 on Ebay to $1200-1500 in a vintage furniture store, depending on the condition, color, year, and the presence of original stamps and labels or repairs. If you're a design purist, this is probably your best bet, even if it's not the most practical option.

A more user-friendly and slightly cheaper route is to buy a vintage shell with a new, reproduction rocker base. The trick here is getting a well-made base, as close to original specs as possible. There are definitely some cheap-ass, thin-gauge wire bases out there, and you don't want them.

The third option is the modern manufactured rocker. A few years ago, the LA-based Modernica bought the original Eames shell molds from Herman Miller. But since they didn't buy the rights to the name, their Arm Shell Rockers are technically "Eames-style." That detail aside, the Modernica rockers come in a broader array of colors and are a pretty reasonable $349 or so. They're also available at Modern Seed.

From daddytypes.com

Arcobellini chair by Heller

The new arcobellini chair has all the dynamism and comfort of the original but with an entirely new texture. working with injection-molded nylon, marco and claudio bellini have produced a durable, versatile armchair whose surface gleams like liquid, but because of its single-injection molding, is exceptionally sturdy. like its polypropylene cousin also offered through unicahome, it is appropriate for indoor, outdoor, residential, or commercial use.
with its sculptural body and unique, glassy texture, this chair is the ultimate expression of heller's dedication to excellence, innovation, and affordability. the manufacturer has a reputation for working with some of the strongest designers of the 20th and 21st century, and has been producing singular, museum-quality furniture since 1971. marco bellini was awarded several of the prestigious compasso d'oro awards for his designs, and with this latest collaboration with claudio bellini, seems to be slated for more.

From Unicahome.com

Bond girl for wall art

As you see on my post below, the new wave of wall paper is this concept of big stickers... this is my idea of a wall art, made in vinyl and huge on one side of the wall. I like the femme fatale look of it and the emotion it transpires, kinf od scarface movie poster that it doesn't have to be permanent attached to the wall...but again, it may not fly thru the approval committee of Chez Maria and the super intendent Isabella. (jezz... that word "committee" make me dizzy.... so many double letters!!! at least is not "mississippi")

Wall paper is out. Vinyl stickers are in

I'm seeing a trend that I like, in fact, I have a mega wall that at this point is looking very stark and may need some graphic of some sort. This could be a nice alternative to a mural or painting. It's self sticky vinyl, peel and paste and ready to go. and only $90!

This is just an example as they have several designs and a lot of new companies are doing this now.

From the website:

The objective of Domestic is to create collections of articles devised by designers, graphic artists or artists whose common denominator is to offer a means for the end user to freely participate. With Vynil, an alternative to wallpaper, the principle of the collection is simple: literally hand over to users who are invited to transform their interior into an area for expression and design their own decor. Thanks to Vynil, the wall space becomes the playing field for composition and into which one can put a lot of effort and invention. Beyond the practical interest it represents (no longer any need for glue or a pasting table); the Vynil collection enables new thought to be given to the place and role of the ornamental pattern in our interiors. FLORA AND FAUNA I BY TADO: Flora and Fauna is all based around the same ridiculous environment and are all about bringing a bit of that environment into our world. The project contains many little friends to brighten up your life! 3 sheets 20” x 20”

I got a fever... and the only prescription is...


My discovery of some recent vintage Bertoias online, created a problem of over-population in certain zipcode in Miami...

One vintage diamond chair later and I started feeling better... but it was followed by a vintage chrome side chair and 2 80's black relsin side chairs for the balcony. Different thickness on the wires from one generation to another, also the bracket that they use to attach the seats to the legs are different from one to another. Now I want to buy an extra chrome just in case we decide to flip the shell Eames we have on the dining table for the Bertoias... I tell you, there's no cure.

Nice legs

Nothing compares with the sublime complexity of the eames eiffel base or the fluidity of the almost organic Noguchi table. I could stare forever on those two items and never be bored. When I see a product (thru my designer eyes) I can figure it out what the original designer had in mind and what he wanted to achieve. Not in this case. It's like music, something beyond the rules of basic design. It's more like water flowing, like a muscle or bone or even as complex as a DNA chain. We are runnig out of designers like that as i don't think we have acomplished anything new in the last 50 years... Wait! : Cellulars! oh not, just a portable telephone.... Internet... nope. a network. I will keep waiting with my eyes opened...

HGTV DesignStar... final two

Well, this is it! The final two are for the race!

It's down to Alice and David.

To be honest with you, my wife watched an interview a couple of weeks ago with David, where she thought he hinted that he wasn't on the last 2 finalist, so my wife was sure he didn't made it to the finals, so it was a surprise to see Tim go. I rather would like to see Alice go, since she didn't do anything spectacular to the place: fresh paint, ugly furniture, same arrangement. Tim at least recreated the whole thing with a very nice and clean/crisp room. he should put some flowers to be perfect for the Katrina girl... David outdid himself with that huge space.

I usually lukewarm about interactions with TV shows, but I told my wife while watching the show on sunday, that for the first time ever, if David gets to the final, I will pick the phone and vote for him. Not because he's hawt but because he's from SOFLA and his designs are really good and solid. He have an advantage of being an artist turned into interior designer... He always put a touch of personal art into every design challenge.

Remember to vote!

West Elm will open soon in Miami

I think the opening is somewhere around this fall. I'm really looking forward to been able to check the store in person. The store is located on Dadeland Blvd (right on front of Dadeland Mall) and they already have a "Now Hiring" sign. BTW, I didn't know they were part of Williams-Sonoma, I discovered that on their website...

The re-issue of the Swagged Leg Chair by Nelson

By Herman Miller... but in this case, they just called "Swag Leg" chair

Introduced in 1958 made in fiberglass and sometimes it used a two color combination for the pivoting back rest and the seat pad. If you look close enough, you can see a lot of Eames arm chair on it but the legs really set it apart. The best view for this chair is the side view. The group includes a chair, desk, work table and rectangular and round dining tables.

Why you should buy a bugaboo

Well, if you walk a lot around streets and malls all the time with your little one... then this are the wheels you need to get. This is one of those things that every parent will tell you not to buy (the ones that have the Graco/Jeep brand and even Peg-Perego) but ask a parent that "actually" has a bugaboo and you will see. Too bad there's not a test drive program for strollers. We got ours at Genius Jones on Lincoln rd and are very happy. It's not that heavy but it will take a lot of trunk space unless you have an H3. But the good thing comes at the end of the road... Since we really take care of the stuff we have, once little Isabella becomes big enough for walking by herself, we will list it on ebay, where you can get at least $500 for it. After spending $789 for it, use it for 2, 3 years and get $500 then... i don't think you can get close to that with a used Graco at auction... Not even a Peg Perego. I can buy a couple of vintage Bertoias for her room with that! ;)


They don't make it like they used to

Well, I tell you, after I fell in love with an Eames LCW in black stained veneer, I needed to order a pair from our secret supplier Highbrow Furniture. We got the chairs (these are low chairs but not small) loved them and everything was dandy... 'til one day after a party, my wife discover what is seems to be a dust flake of some sorts... to our shock, it wasn't dust. The paint was peeling! That's right, PAINT! These new re-editions are not aniline dyed but painted so the paint was flaking out the wood, exposing the white veneer underneath. I have seen 1950's original black aniline dyed that looked better that our 2 month old set! We started panicking!!... After a friendly conversation with Stan, the owner of Highbrow Furniture, he said, to send them back. He will pick the Fedex delivery... but I didn't have the boxes... so he sent me replacement chairs first.... this time in dark walnut and no stain (paint). I only have to put the old chairs inside the new boxes. That's what I call service! Neddless to say, I'm happy now and better that we have the walnut finish.... more warmer and inviting than the black ones...

Modern Prefab for $51 per sqft??????

When greed gets out of the way, beautiful things happen.

Urs Peter (Upe) Flueckiger is a Swiss-licensed architect who lives and teaches architecture in Lubbock, Texas. The home he designed and built for his young family on 21st Street in Lubbock was the subject of a recent article in the New York Times which pointedly noted that the modern structure was built for “the startlingly low price of $51 a square foot”. Far from the oft quoted $150 to $250 “affordable” range that we often see in the media. His minimalist house is colorful, surprisingly large, 2750 s.f. on a 50x150 lot, and attractive. Proof that for residential architecture elegant and truly affordable are compatible and attainable.

Via MocoLoco

A very cool table...

Designer Tom de Vrieze of Tovdesign and his flatpack Tetra table; “an outdoor table called tetra, very solid and unique. Via MocoLoco

TKiT House another modern prefab

High-tech amenities such as radiant heat flooring, photovoltaic roof, and custom-designed vinyl panels to screen your glass walls. In short: its a high-tech prefab dream. Today, not one, but two of their sleek glass houses are set to shine on actual sites. In anticipation of their talk at this year’s Dwell on Design Conference, we thought we would catch up with them and find out how their best laid plans were coming to fruition.

A happy customer from BO Concept?

I guess we are...

After searching and searching for a leather sofa, we went headed to BO Concept in Miami... friendly staff, nice selection, great store layout... really liked what I saw. Placed our order and off we went. After getting home, I startede researching them online and to my shock, I found very bad reviews at Apartment Therapy... Then I was worried. having to wait 8 weeks for delivery, all kind of thoughts went thru our minds... Wrong order, color, material, damaged upon delivery, poor customer service, et al. I guess we are lucky. The order arrived exactly the day they promissed, courteus delivery guys, the manager at the store was very helpful and friendly (maybe is her hispanic heritage?) we couldn't be happier. The only bad thing is the waiting but there is nothing you can do about it, since it's built for you. I will recommed it. (this store and it's location) The NYC staff, according to the web, (if it's online, must be true, right?) is not that great but at the end, people are happy with the quality of their products and that's what I care about.
They also have some great pottery+lamps and stuff...

Website: www.boconcept.us/

El Che is coming! Ernesto is headed to... Miami!

If the predictions of the NOOA are correct, Ernesto will be the first hurricane of the season to hit us. Still a Cat-1... but Katrina was a Cat-1 and created a lot of havoc the last time... I already have six 5-gallon gas cans filled, a power generator that I bought in March at Home Depot, water for a couple days and food for the baby. After I get inside all the patio furniture, the living room is going to look like a crowded showroom... I just hope that if it hits us, Netflix will send us the 3 movies that we have on queue. Happy hurricane season!

The whole point about modern prefab????

My point of view is that they are missing the whole concept. To me, prefab, is an option to been able to obtain a very nice and modern design with some off the shelf components and the main parts being done in a factory-type fashion.
So, what are you going to get? a nice modern design, green construction, lot of glass, hardwood floors (or bamboo but having now hardwood, I rather have concrete instead) and a great open layout/kitchen with all the ammenities. All this without having to hire a great designer/arquitech... so far so good.... but when you have to spend between $260,000 and $650,000 (with some cases of almost $1M!!!) and having to deal with foundation and city permits... I think is better to hire a new, fresh from school arquitech, have some input on the design and even, maybe, pay less..... It's like the knife industry. You can get a very nice custom, totally handmade knife for you only for $500 or pay $950 for a big name's midtech (midtech is a factory made components that are finalized and finished up by hand...) Sorry, I don't get it.
When the prefab starts around $80,000 - $150,000, let me know and I will buy a piece of land to built.

(photos and info from www.fabprefab.com.

Some DIY that I have done in the past....

I'm not super handy, nor i have all the tools-space for shop, to create all the wonders that I want.... but once in a while I get my hand into making some furniture pieces during my free time (what is that??)
I hope you enjoy them!

The concept behind DWR...

After countless numbers of visits to DWR just to check the nice stuff out, I figured out the whole thing... before, I used to ask myself: Why go there and pay taxes and shipping if you could go online and do the same? Well, they have very helpful interior designers that can help you pick which rug goes with what table. Great! We went this past friday to check the Bertoias barstools and the Cherner's chairs and I couldn't help myself to snap a few ones... I may order the sheepsking rug just to accent a bit out the brownish leather on the chaise part of our DIVA sofa from BO Concept...

Highbrow Furniture and why you should buy here!

This is the place that almost cost my marriage! ;)

The real deals are only found here... Herman Miller, Knoll, Kartell, Heller, Cherner, Emeco. Free shipping, no tax, no brainer.

Go a visit them today!

Welcome to Blue Ant Studio!

Blue Ant Studio (or BAS for short) started as an online outlet for Maria Pirela to present her "bullet-proof art"... We are still looking for reliable suppliers and sources for the pre-cut/pre drilled plywood back panels to assemble the final product and release it to the public. In the mean time, because I can't get my mind idle for 10 minutes, I decided to launch BAS: The Blog, as a place where I can post, discuss and reveal our everyday challenge to make our homes and life more modern and interesting, with tips, DIY's, modern furniture sources, photos and links to all things related to modern spaces. That includes MCM, minimalism, modern, arquitecture, furniture design, art, pottery, graphic and industrial design.
Please enjoy!


joel+maria pirela
Joel is a contributor on Design-Milk's weekly architectural posts and Apartment Therapy's Unplggd daily technology posts.