Architect Bio: Ken Tate

Ken Tate’s work draws upon a wide range of influences, from ancient to modern, and high style to vernacular.

Architect Ken Tate established his firm in Mississippi in 1984 after gaining experience with architectural visionaries Bruce Goff (Texas), Richard Davis (also in Texas), and Sam Mockbee (Mississippi).  He attended Auburn University and is the recipient of the Institute of Classical Architecture’s 2008 Shutze Award as well as three-time winner of Southern Progress Corporation’s Southern Home Award.  Ken Tate’s work draws upon a wide range of influences, from ancient to modern, and high style to vernacular.

Beautiful and classic.

I really like the touch of Southern charm you see in Ken Tate’s work.  His homes look a little stately, but the thoughtful, intimate details impart a subtle European flair.  The overall impression is one of clean lines and beautiful proportions.

Hay residence in Kentucky
A traditional exterior.
New Orleans residence inspired by French Indies Creole plantation.
Columbis, Mississippi residence with a French provincial style exterior.

Ken Tate’s use of historical details with his own subtle twist gives his work an added unique element.  These are the kinds of details I just love!  They give each residence a finished, layered feel.

A great detail.
Interiors also show careful attention to detail.
Stairway detail.

To see more of Ken Tate’s projects, visit his website or pick up a copy of A Classical Journey:  The Houses of Ken Tate or New Classicists.

 

Amazing Doors

Your front door is not only the opening to your home. It’s also the first thing to greet guests when they arrive at your house.

Your front door is not only the opening to your home.  It’s also the first thing to greet guests when they arrive at your house.  The door can make a big statement or have a quieter impact.  Details such as carvings and nail heads form intricacies that tell a story and hint at the personality and style of your home’s interior.

I love the idea of using a unique door, maybe something reclaimed or salvaged, for the front door, a wine room, or a butler’s pantry.  I once worked with a contractor who had a collection of such doors.  They were all amazing, which made it so hard to choose!  You can modernize a reclaimed door or dress it up with stained glass or antique mirrors.  Turning the door into a work of art is a fun way to make something special out of a prominent feature of your home.  If you need further inspiration, try looking at elaborate doors from around the world!

What kind of statement does your front door make?

Windsor Smith

I adore Windsor Smith’s designs, from her interiors to her own home line.

I adore Windsor Smith’s designs, from her interiors to her own home line.  She’s an amazing designer and very clever about choices, making the success of her many ventures no surprise.

One of my favorite projects involving Windsor Smith was her collaboration with Veranda magazine on the House of Windsor.  This first ever Veranda concept house, located in Los Angeles, California, featured Windsor Smith’s architectural design as well as the skills of several other notable designers such as Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kathryn M. Ireland, Richard Hallburg, and others.  The creation of this dream house was a very cool concept.  Proceeds from the open house ticket sales and VIP events benefited two charities for children, the Children’s Action Network and P.S. Arts.

Veranda’s website about the House of Windsor is really interesting.  It shows the floor plan of the concept house as well as 360 degree tours of each room in the home, including exterior areas like the courtyards and stables.  You can even browse specific designers involved with this project and watch videos featuring each designer’s thoughts and experiences.  The House of Winsdor was a huge undertaking based on a truly grand vision.  Veranda’s unveiling of the home showed it to be very well executed.

House of Windsor floor plan.
Entry hall, designed by Windsor Smith, is wide enough to serve as a dining room for entertaining on a grand scale.
A graceful room with back to back sofas for increased seating and entertaining.
Geometric pattern on the carpet offsets the chinioserie on the walls.
The use of a corner sofa is very smart, and the wallpaper is beautiful!

Windsor Smith uses beautiful products in her designs.  I love the way her rooms are layered and how everything looks perfectly collected.  She can be bold, but her interiors never look too decorated.  They seem effortless and timeless.  Windsor Smith’s own collection reflects her design style, featuring furnishings that are as well thought out and executed as all of her other projects.

Samantha scroll arm chair.
Moroccan ottoman: Great style and size.
Mirrored console: Super chic!
Colony breakfront.
Insignia printed pattern: Great for window treatments. Check out all of the color ways.

To see more of Windsor Smith’s designs, visit her website.  You can also see her Collection, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest.

 

At Home Magazine’s A-List: Winner and Finalist

I am so happy to be included in this talented group of renowned designers as an A-List Winner for my pool house design and a finalist for my dining room design.

The Winter 2013 issue of At Home Magazine, which also happens to be the A-List issue, is now available!  As always, the magazine looks beautiful and is full, cover to cover, with incredible design by this year’s A-List Winners.  I am so happy to be included in this talented group of renowned designers as a winner for my pool house design and a finalist for my dining room design.

The A-List Award Winners this year comprised a competitive group of people I truly admire.  I felt so sad to miss the award ceremony in person.  So many special designers that inspire and pave the way for others were there, and I really missed being a part of that event.  I know Moffly Media threw a fantastic shindig!  It really feels so great to receive this kind of recognition from designers who are a driving force in the design world.

Greece

Like other places I feel drawn to, Greece features an incredible environment surrounded by water.

Like other places I feel drawn to, Greece features an incredible environment surrounded by water.  The contrast of those white buildings with the blue Mediterranean Sea is just very appealing.  Combined with the fact that my father’s family is from Greece, it’s easy to see why I’d love to visit this amazing country.

Scenery and family history aside, some of the most appealing aspects of Grecian beauty lie in its vast history, represented by mythology, carvings, relics, and architecture.  Looking at the Acropolis and Parthenon, you can’t help but wonder how such incredible achievements were possible without modern tools and technology.  In fact, the influence of Greece’s classical, ionic architecture has endured across centuries and can be seen all over the world.

When I do make it to Greece, you’ll find me in Santorini or Mykonos, enjoying the white sand beaches, the calming backdrop of beautiful women in linen, and the fantastic, rich texture of Greek history and scenery.

Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, is definitely on my travel wish-list!

Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, is definitely on my travel wish-list.  I think it’s such an inspiring place, with its incredible architecture.  Of course, anything near water resonates with me, and combined with that aged atmosphere, Turkey has everything I’m drawn to.  I’d love to spend time there, taking in the context of a different environment.  Istanbul’s long history and prominence on the Silk Road have led to a multitude of influences on the city, from Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman to Baroque and Renaissance Revival architectural styles.

Istanbul
Amazing architecture.

I love the culturally specific aspects of Istanbul.  How people dress, the richness and color of the building, the vibrant markets, all contribute to inspiration.  Imagine borrowing details from an intricate ceiling, using bits of pieces of the pattern, or developing a palette based on the area’s spice markets.

Intricate ceiling.
Ciragan Palace
True inspiration for a color palette.
Blue Mosque Ceiling

Alongside these historical and beautiful places are more modern examples of fine architecture and design.  The House Hotel has such a calming, modern vibe.  I love the juxtaposition of this against the more ancient aspects of Istanbul.

The House Hotel Lounge
The House Hotel Dining Room

 

Ram’s Gate Winery

I came across a spread in the June 2012 issue of Interior Design magazine featuring Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma, California, and was immediately struck by the beauty of the place.

I came across a spread in the June 2012 issue of Interior Design magazine featuring Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma, California, and was immediately struck by the beauty of the place.  A collaboration between designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy (of ODA Design Associates) and Backen, Gillam, and Kroeger Architects, Ram’s Gate Winery sits right at the entrance of of famed Sonoma Valley and features a stunning design worthy of its location.  It is just so beyond gorgeous, inside and out.  Diaz-Azcuy wonderfully embodied the vision of winery manager Jeff O’Neill when creating these sophisticated interiors that retain a casual, rural feel.

Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, Norway

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.  It is such a visually amazing place, just a rectangular box within this vast, gorgeous land.  The scene is almost too far-fetched to be believed, like nothing I’ve ever seen.

The pavilion is used by the Wild Reindeer Foundation, a charity which acts to protect Europe’s last wild reindeer herd.  Set against the backdrop of the Dovre Mountains in Norway, the Wild Reindeer Centre was designed by architectural firm Snohetta.  The exterior is constructed of a rectangular steel frame with one wall of glazed glass forming an observation point from which the entire sweeping landscape can be viewed.  The pavilion’s interior is dominated by an organic wood core built from pine beams by Norwegian ship builders.  Visitors reach the pavilion by way of a mile-long nature path.  Once they arrive, they can sit on the wooden form and be warmed by a hanging furnace.

When discussing the building’s formation, the architects state, “This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.”  I find it fascinating how the pavilion’s shape exudes a sense of permanence while the sweeping curves of the interior reflect the mountainous lines of the distant Dovre.  What an incredible place this must be to visit in person!

Cover image by Klass Van Ommerman.  Other images by Ketil Jacobsen and Diephotodesigner

Uruguay

I think most people have a bucket list of places around the world they dream of exploring. I’ve been so fortunate to visit some beautiful places, but there are still many sights I’d love to see in person. Once such place is Uruguay.

I think most people have a bucket list of places around the world they dream of exploring.  I’ve been so fortunate to visit some beautiful places, but there are still many sights I’d love to see in person.  Once such place is Uruguay.

Uruguay may not be an obvious choice, or even a spot on the map most people can immediately point out.  When you think of South American destinations, it’s probably not the first place that comes to mind.  However, for me Uruguay seems like such  an interesting combination of development and wildness.  Its rolling plains and low hill ranges form a striking geography completely independent of the beautiful coastline.

The appeal of Uruguay for me lies in the contrast between the wild beauty of the landscape and the architectural lines of places like Fasano Las Piedras in Punta Del Este.  This is an experience I would love to have, walking up through this dramatic greenery with the clean lines of the modern buildings that still manage to look like an organic part of the area.  There’s no commercialized clutter, just this stunning architecture among a rugged landscape.

Fasano Las Piedras is a luxurious estate comprised of 32 bungalows designed by renowned Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld.  Weinfeld combines natural materials and sophisticated textures, weaving together the sensual and the severe.  His modern style has produced an artistically beautiful environment at Fasano Las Piedras.  Almost all of the color comes from the surrounding plants, a perfectly landscaped area that still feels casual and true Uruguay’s unique beauty.  It seems perfectly fitting that this resort is comprised of private bungalows instead of traditional hotel suites. The privacy and isolation of the bungalows simply reinforces the dwarfing effect of Uruguay’s sweeping skies.

What’s the most unusual travel destination on your bucket list?

Viceroy Anguilla, Caribbean Beach Resort

With its white sand beaches, lush landscape, and luxury accommodations, it’s difficult to imagine a more sumptuous and relaxing destination than the Viceroy Resort at Anguilla.

With its white sand beaches, lush landscape, and luxury accommodations, it’s difficult to imagine a more sumptuous and relaxing destination than the Viceroy Resort at Anguilla.  The most stressful part of a vacation here could be deciding how to spoil yourself rotten.  Snorkeling, swimming in picture-perfect pools, treating yourself to an incredible spa day, enjoying drinks at the cliff side beach bar, experiencing authentic local culture, or playing at water sports are just some of the ways guests can while away their tropical days.

But what makes the Viceroy Resort so stunning is the  incredible design of the resort and its guest accommodations.  The 116 guest spaces, from private villas to bluff top guest rooms, showcase amazing design by Kelly Wearstler.  The resort’s modern architecture interacts seamlessly with the surrounding nature, while the interiors feature organic, locally-inspired palettes, and textures.  Sophisticated and contemporary, with natural, complex textures, everything about the decor immerses guests in luxury.