Dwell March/April 2021

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United States
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2 min

Feedback Don’t the Berkshires get plenty of snow? Those minimally pitched roofs in “Full Circle” [January/February] seem like they’ll need a lot of roof raking in winter. Even if they can handle the weight, I’d be concerned about ice damming and leaks. FRED HALL, VIA DWELL.COM ARCHITECT ANDREW HEID RESPONDS: The Flower House’s roofs are designed for a snow load of 65 pounds per square foot, which is about 38 inches of wet, heavy snow or about 20 feet of dry snow. The Berkshires typically have very cold, dry snow, and the site is quite windy from the open exposures in all directions. The roofs are also sloped from 1:12 to 1:10, covered in a monolithic PVC waterproof membrane, and gutterless to enhance snow sliding, draining, or blowing off the roofs. Finally, the…

3 min
top-shelf tiny kitchens

HOW TO Kit Out Your Tiny Kitchen According to Kate Oliver, cofounder of The Modern Caravan and Airstream renovator extraordinaire It’s really important to think about how you cook. Are you a messy or clean cook? There’s a common misconception that we’ll change our behavior when we live in a tiny space, but it’s just not true—so create a design that reflects how you live now. And do not underestimate prep space. One thing I’ve noticed about poorly designed kitchens is inadequate prep space. Take things vertical as much as possible to get things off the counter. Something I really like is a tall and skinny pantry—about 15 inches wide—with 25-inch-deep, full-extension drawers. It’s a little bit of a luxury, but it’s also very practical to see everything you have without having to dig…

2 min
working the angles

HOW TO Pick Out Bath Fixtures According to Michael Hsu, architect of homes, hotels, and other spaces with memorable bathrooms Fixtures are like the jewelry of a space—they’re usually bright and shiny, and your eye goes directly to them. So even though they’re not the first thing we choose in a bathroom—we start with a design vision and fixtures are just one part of that—they’re really important pieces that you come in direct contact with on a daily basis. That’s why we always want to touch and feel fixtures in person when we select them. You don’t quite understand the quality of the finish and size until you see it. When choosing fixtures, think about the job of the bathroom. Primary bathrooms need to be utilitarian and functional, so we’ll stay with classic finishes…

3 min
breathing rooms

“We didn’t want to wedge something into the site that was out of scale—everything had to just slot in.”JASON KERWIN, ARCHITECT Just off a busy thoroughfare and a stone’s throw from a major freeway, Maria and Louis Gabriel’s street in Los Angeles’s West Adams district is an island of friendly normalcy—the kind of place where neighbors wave and kids ride their bikes and skateboards until the sun goes down. So when the couple outgrew the 1925 two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow they’d bought in 2010, trading up to a big house in the suburbs was off the table. “This community is so vibrant,” says Maria. “We decided to make our home a place we wanted to be in forever.” The couple had a big checklist: Redo the kitchen, add a bathroom, improve the connection…

3 min
paola velez

An Afro-Dominican woman from the Bronx, Paola Velez graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2009 before going on to work as sous chef to household-name chocolatier Jacques Torres in New York City. She was earning acclaim for her work in the kitchen at Kith and Kin in Washington, D.C., when the pandemic struck, and she was furloughed without pay in April. The sting lasted only so long—in May she found out she was a finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award—and she made good use of her free time. After the police killing of George Floyd later that month, Velez cofounded Bakers Against Racism, an international movement that rallies pastry chefs and home bakers to host bake sales for social justice causes. By year’s end, she had landed…

2 min
the household is changing

It’s already a cliché to say that the pandemic has accelerated changes in social norms that had been underway even before the first lockdowns. But nowhere does it ring more true than in how we share our homes. In the wake of the 2009 recession, many young adults moved home to live with one or both parents, but that's now true of more than half of Americans ages 19 through 29. A study by the Pew Research Center puts it at 52 percent, a figure unaffected by college campuses closing down and the highest since the Great Depression. While the United States is unique in its tradition of single-family living on single-family lots—with two parents and 2.5 school-age kids per household—this shift has happened to varying degrees in other parts of…