Feb 4, 2015

An Untouched 1970s A-Frame Wonder

The Gienger Residence in West Vancouver is on the market for the first time. The original owners/architects have lived in the home since 1971. And what a beauty it is! Is that plush carpeting I see in the living room? Look at the beautiful, unstained cedar walls and exposed beams.

The original copper pendant lights and a burl bar.  I'd take the rope off the bar.
The original floor to ceiling stone fireplace and hand carved beams.
Spiral staircase and original brick kitchen. The floors may have been replaced with unfortunate laminate. However, nothing appears to have been updated in the home, so it could be the original hardwood floor. They're well cared for, as it looks like the rest of the house has been.
Are the burl table and chandelier included in the sale?
Sold me at the sunken purple bathtub! I'd rip that carpet out, though. Please, the carpet does not belong in the washroom. Gross. I'd put in a light-colored heated stone floor of some sort.
There you have it. For more images, check out the realtor's website. It would be a shame if the home was bought strictly to be torn down and replaced with the ever-popular West Van Baroque Craftsman.


Remember these little guys?

images © North Shore Realty 

Dec 16, 2014

West Vancouver Home Demolition Before and After

 Remember this beautiful old gal with the solid bones and amazingly restored hardwood floors? I posted about her back in November 2013.

Well, this is what replaced her. To think the contractor told me the new home 'wasn't going to be that big'. 

Nov 26, 2014

Quote of the Week - H.P. Lovecraft

stacy reynaud

I have frequently wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong. Beyond the Wall of Sleep

Nov 24, 2014

Suggestions For The Business Wardrobe

I was recently contacted by a gentleman who is changing careers. He's confident in his decision but not his current wardrobe. He asked for some suggestions on where to start. These tips are gender-neutral!

Let's start here:

  1. Know what you like and what you don't like. What suits you and your style of living. This particular individual didn't want a baggy suit. He liked the mod suits from the 60s but not the super skinny trousers. He told me he liked Diplo's suits, Booth's suits from Bones and Terrence Stamp's suits (see my post on his classic look here).
  2. Know your clothing's priorities and each day's sartorial demands. Meetings, luncheons, golf (an unfortunate part of business, my apologies to golfers), and the cursed casual Friday. You want to be sharp and dressed appropriately for each. What are the corner offices wearing? Take cues from them and notch it up by one.
  3. Versatility. Maintain a flexible wardrobe. In my retail days, we were taught the foundation of the fashion equation, 2+2+2+5 (Men = two trousers, two ties, two jackets, five shirts. Women = two skirts, two trousers, two jackets, five tops).
  4. You want to be known for your unique ideas - that being said, limit it to one unique idea per outfit.

Originally published December 20, 2010.

Nov 5, 2014

A (Bed) Room of One's Own

Master Bedroom Boyd House Architect Ron Thom image Stacy Reynaud

Brought up the topic of separate bedrooms this morning to be greeted with, 'Should we each have our own house too?' Geesh, sensitive.

Architectural trends reflect our culture, but how far do these trends reflect our instincts?

My first thought was that the shared bedroom is a socioeconomic thing—lots of money = lots of house. Not so much money = not so much home. You know what I'm talking about, so let's not go into tiny house living choices or the cost of a 435 s.f. apartment in Vancouver because I'm simply talking about the concept of the shared bedroom.

My second thought - brought into fruition by a comment regarding prudery - is an image of a lovely Homo erectus couple snuggled up under a muskox blanket in front of their amber-hued, crackling cave fire. The shared bedroom now becomes a mammalian instinct. Stay warm, stay safe, and have sex (in whichever preferred order).

My next thought - is Lucy and Ricky's bedroom - sure, it was fictional (somewhat), and they were shown in separate beds due to TV regulations of the 1950s. Still, I'd argue that it was actually the result of the continuous evolution of Western socioeconomic and mammalian instinctual concepts.

Okay, let's leave it at that - I want my own bedroom, and ignorance is bliss.

image: Boyd House, Ron Thom 
© Stacy Reynaud

Oct 31, 2014

Wallpaper is Wallpaper

The other night, I dreamed of wallpaper. Well, not really. It was actually an image during a little 
gong meditation journey I was on. Eighties lovers sculpture comes to life in a Fauvist equatorial rainforest (think Henri Rousseau). The backdrop was impressive, and I want wallpaper like it! It was so vivid that I felt I must've seen it before. I'll leave the philosophy of consciousness dialogue alone right now.

Similar vibe to this Rousseau painting.

It was black with sparsely placed tropical leaves but not palm fronds.

More like ficus leaves

and they were electric green.

This pair of tights is pretty close

but on a larger scale.

This shirt actually might be a closer fit than the tights but without the flowers and more vibrant green.

Whatever, it was a rewarding journey and I'll get hit with deja vu soon enough.

PS I hate how wallpaper isn't wallpaper anymore - according to search engines.

Oct 30, 2014

Another West Vancouver Significant Home Demolition

Dan White House Orchard Way West Vancouver image stacy reynaud

I'm in a dysfunctional relationship - with West Vancouver. I moved out of West Van in July. I was getting too bitter about the clash of ideas concerning housing, being ripped off in rent, and all the bloody traffic on Marine Drive. Well, I'm moving back. 

Turns out I'm not the only one that's getting fed up, though:

West Vancouver Council moved unanimously to commence community consultation and draft a bylaw addressing form and character in West Vancouver homes. Jeremy Shepherd, North Shore News. 

You can watch the 'boisterous' council meeting on video and read the full meeting agenda from October 20th here.

Thanks to Brent Richter's Twitter feed for bringing this meeting to my attention.

I touched on this topic in February 2014  when West Van held its first public Info Session. What came from the Info Sessions were recommendations from West Vancouver's Manager of Community Planning, Stephen Mikicich. You can read those recommendations from June 2014 here.

So, back to the title of the post. Which significant home is gone? Well, it's Dan White's Vernacular Orchard Way home that I've posted many times about (search Dan White at the top of the search box). Mr. White is also the architect the Museum of Vancouver just finished a retrospective on.

I can't help but see the correlation between what's happening in West Vancouver and what Alan Weintraub and Alan Hess discuss in their book Forgotten Modern: California Houses 1940-1970.

Except for a few hometown architects (Whitney Smith, Harwell Hamilton Harris) and a few stray writers and professors (Jean Murray Bangs, Jack Hillmer, Esther McCoy), almost no one knew of them, [Charles and Henry Greene], except as relics of the past (Hess 2007, 8).

Dan White's Orchard Way Vernacular once stood here.

view from Mathers Ave.

Sep 19, 2014

Ingrid Bergman on the kiss

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.

Aug 25, 2014

Quote of the Week - Leonard Cohen

from the collection of stacy reynaud
There are always meaningful songs for somebody. People are doing their courting, people are finding their wives, people are making babies, people are washing their dishes, people are getting through the day, with songs that we may find insignificant. But their significance is affirmed by others. There’s always someone affirming the significance of a song by taking a woman into his arms or by getting through the night. That’s what dignifies the song. Songs don’t dignify human activity. Human activity dignifies the song.

more Cohen from the same interview here

Aug 18, 2014

Trend Spotting - The Equipale Chair

In 2012, I spotted some equipale furniture in a late 60s decorating mag. This Mexican handmade leather furniture has been popping out at me right, left, and centre within the last month. Traditional Equipal furniture is handcrafted from tanned pigskin and cedar or rosewood strips. Each piece is unique; like all unwaxed, natural leather will improve with age.

Take a look at the different styles. I can't decide which one I like the best - probably the lounge chair and peacock chair (of course).

images via

Aug 6, 2014

10 Ideas for Living Windows

A million years ago (2009, actually), I did a post on 
How to Accent Windows - let's consider this post the 2014 version. Vintage paned windows are perfect for framing your plant collection for indoor and outdoor appreciation.

Make sure you pull the dead stuff off - that is of course if they're dried flowers. If you follow feng shui decorating practices, make sure you keep the energy fresh and the meaning special - don't let the dried plant simply become a dust collector/clutter.
Less than ideal view? Use the plants as a living wall. They're much better than keeping the blinds down or the curtains closed.

Lucky enough to have a window like this in your washroom? Block your sexy silhouette from the snoopy neighbours by hanging a plant in front of the window. Ferns love the humidity from the shower and if your window is facing east even better!

 Indoor plants not your thing? Bring the outside in with a glass wall.
Strangely enough, plants love fluorescent light. Keep a little light on above the plant in the evening to give it a little extra oomph in the dark winter months.

Jul 25, 2014

Architecture - and spectacles - Expo 67 Montreal

One of my UBC art history papers, way back when, was on Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 (he was working on the Vancouver Public Library at the time). 

Safdie originally conceived the project as his Master's thesis in architecture at McGill. It became a thematic pavilion at Montreal's Expo 67 (in which the central theme was Man & His World - with housing as a subset).

Already having a fondness for the architecture of Expo 67 - based on my past research, as well as spending a few summers teaching Québécois university students English - I was pretty interested in The National Film Board of Canada e-newsletter that arrived in my Inbox this morning.

Impressions of Expo 67 is an eight-minute promotional video for what was considered the most successful World's Fair of the 20th Century.

As I mentioned, the architecture of Expo 67 interests me. Still, it takes time to find a thorough list of designers of the pavilions. 

If you know any more - on top of the ones listed on Wikipedia - please leave them in the post's comments section.

A few:

Sandy van Ginkel - chief designer and planner of Expo 67

Arthur Erickson - consultant, Canada Pavilion

Buckminster Fuller - designer, USA's geodesic dome pavilion

Images of Expo 67 Pavilions can be viewed at the Library and Archives Canada page Expo 67 Man and His World - Pavilions and the Canadian Design Resource Site page Expo 67

So take a peek at the architecture in the short video, and while you're at it, check out the fabulous late 60s design of the visitors' sunglasses.

Images of Expo 67 Pavilions can be viewed at the Library and Archives Canada page Expo 67 Man and His World - Pavilions and the Canadian Design Resource Site page Expo 67

Jun 20, 2014

Quote of the Week - Kierkegaard

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.

Jun 11, 2014

Quote of the Week - Edgar Allan Poe

 from the collection of stacy reynaud
 It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.

Jun 4, 2014

One of The Most Important Chairs of The 20th Century

If you've been following my adventures on Instagram and Facebook you're already aware of my dream kitchen dining area and my three chairs for $25. The chair above is one I sold last year. If you follow me on Twitter, you know we're moving again (bipoloar, ADHD or sane decision - you decide). I also decided to sell my mid-century dining table and chairs - which has left us - once again - without a table or chairs.

So, now is the perfect time to acquire my dream kitchen dining area! Out with the old, in with the new!

As I was perusing Craigslist for Best of Craigslist Vancouver content, I thought to myself, 'There sure are a lot of those Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs around. How can I tell what's a fake?' Well, turns out the Cesca chair was never patented, (blame it on Mart Stam), and is therefore in the public domain. Le Corbusier is turning in his grave. 

There are actually two Cesca chairs - the B32 manufactured and mass produced by Thonet from about 1930 to the end of WWII, (stay tuned for my Thonet tubular steel rocker adventure) and the cheaper version manufactured by Knoll from the 1950s to present.

1928 designed version:
  • warm beech patina
  • back and chair each made of a single bent piece (bentwood)
  • back has a marked curve
  • caning was done by hand and sewn into the bentwood frame
  • slight incline to the front edge of the seat
  • curves of the tubular steel frame are even
  • large bolts
After the war, Breuer made some changes to the original design. The seat back and chair were altered, the bentwood frame thickened and the size of the bolts decreased.

All that's left of the more expensive original 1928 design:
  • hand-caning
  • chrome plated steel caps on the tubing
  • rods inserted to maintain the curvature of the tubular steel shape 
For a fun read on comparing multiple copies of the Cesca - and a Cesca chair checklist - check out this article from the New York Times archive.

last image: B32 version via the V&A

The Satanic Majesty's Request