Dwell May/June 2020

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3 min
city house

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT AN… URBAN GARDEN ACCORDING TO BROOK KLAUSING OF BROOK LANDSCAPE New York, New York We’re always thinking about longevity and an element of timelessness in our designs. In urban areas, people purchase real estate like clothing. It gets bought, torn down, destroyed, and then bought again. If you have a really classic design template and a base of plantings that maintains over the decades, it’s touched less with every transition. Leaving flexibility for different people to utilize things in different ways is important In terms of plantings, we always try to provide a base layer of 60 percent solid, easy-to-maintain plants that creates the environment and sets the tone. That way, if the clients want to play with their own ideas, they can take a risk with some temperamental plantings. You’re…

3 min
new old solutions

As the world faces an unprecedented environmental crisis, our cities must implement innovative, sustainable solutions to survive. But what if the forwardthinking fixes we need lie not in new technologies but in something older? “We commonly think of sustainability as bringing plants and trees onto buildings, but what if our most sustainable innovations were rooted in cultures that figured it out a millennia ago?” asks Julia Watson, author of Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism. “There are hundreds of nature-based technologies that need to be considered as potential climate-resilient infrastructures. It is possible to weave ancient knowledge of how to live symbiotically with nature into how we shape the cities of the future before this wisdom is lost forever.” Here we present four case studies, taken from Watson’s book, that show how native…

2 min

“We practice gratitude and find the joys in simple things as we slow down life and try to stay sane.”—Nicole Schmiedl, Denver, Colorado Feedback You ask about “shoes off” in the house [Dwell Asks, March/April]? I would encourage you to take a moment to readdress this question in the age of Covid-19. This is not a personal preference issue, but a public health question. The dirt and grime on shoes (whether seen or invisible) carries millions of microbes along with it. Why bring that into your house? Be safe, be clean, and take off your shoes! SHANNON FOSTER, MD, READING, PA The house in Sydney, Australia [“Mission Statement,” March/April], is extraordinary. I appreciate the architect’s efforts to harness the climate for solar gain, food production, and bringing real life into the home. Love the…

1 min
what are you doing to spruce up your space while hunkering down?

Nurturing indoor plants to improve our physical and emotional wellness.@opiarydesign Finally painting our common areas four years after moving in. Bye-bye, avocado-colored “accent” wall! @melissa_moe Um, we just ripped out our kitchen on Friday…so there is that! @benjakaiden Decluttered the kitchen, made a “coffee bar,” cleaned and reorganized all the kitchen cabinets. Bathrooms are next. @desert_lisek We urgently needed places to work for everyone in the family, so we found pieces of wood in the garage, got some shelves at the hardware store, and mixed and matched to construct desks. These times call for being creative. @melbacarolinareid Renovating our front porch…and mixing afternoon mai tais. @sbwhippet Anxiety-induced cleaning! @violagirl285 We set up a homework station on the kitchen island and shoveled the snow around in the backyard so we could set up a trampoline. @kakisv Pretty much shuffling art and decorative items to different spots…

4 min
batteries included

When architect Richard Schuh installed solar panels on his Mayacamas Mountains home in northwestern California two decades ago, going completely off the grid wasn’t a real consideration. He just couldn’t quite abide the banks of ugly leadacid batteries he would have needed to store that amount of excess solar power. Today, it’s a different story. Two sleek Tesla Powerwall lithium-ion batteries hang inconspicuously on a carport wall, ready to supply nearly all the energy his home needs, even during blackouts. “They constantly interface with the grid and with the solar panels to optimize usage,” says Schuh. “It’s a very smart system.” The software that manages the connections between the grid, panels, and batteries keeps the transitions from one to the other seamless. Schuh says his family doesn’t notice when it switches…

4 min
the big reveal

Mark Motonaga and Guy Clouse’s home might be smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles’ vibrant East Side, but it feels like a secret hideaway. Steps from a street lined with apartment buildings, modest older homes, and commercial warehouses, the house, with just a single window on the front facade, looks inward, becoming more open as you move through it to the surprisingly lush backyard. The 5,400-square-foot property, on the edge of the Atwater Village neighborhood, was in foreclosure when Mark, the creative director of L.A.’s RCH Studios, and Guy, an artist, first saw it. After living in a Hollywood Hills apartment for more than a decade, they wanted something on one level, but with an industrial, loft-like feel. They also longed for a garden. The couple considered replacing the…