Renovation Work on the White House, ca. 1950

During the War of 1812, British troops stormed Washington destroyed major portions of the city, including the White House. By the time that President Truman took office in 1945, the building was near collapse, and the third floor of the structure was called "an outstanding example of a firetrap." Truman petitioned for a major restoration before Congress, although he reasoned, "It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely. In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation."

Only the exterior remained, while the internal structure was completely gutted. The photographs are are from the U.S. National Archives and detail the exhaustive renovations begun in 1950, and completed in 1952.

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Located in Hiroshima, Japan, the Toda House is an endlessly clever and classic response to the dwindling living space of big cities. As we've learned over centuries of urban sprawl, the lesson here is: if you want to live big, build up. Architect Kimihiko Okada has done just that with the Toda House cleverly turning a family's property into twice the real estate, with a cozy and yard and garden nestled right underneath the house, which is on stilts. Apparently, sometimes the only solution to limited legroom is to build your own legs, but taller and better than everyone else's.

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I seem to have inherited a lot of my design sensibilities from stories like A Little Princess, Kiki's Delivery Service, and A Wrinkle in Time. What do those all have in common? Each of the main characters has a room in the attic, and magical things unfold there. Sara Crewe, the little princess, sleeps inside a chalk-drawn circle to stay cozy in the wet, drafty attic, and Kiki discovers a talking cat and her abilities as a witch while renting an attic room. I don't know the exact science of these things, but it just seems like attics invite more witchcraft and life-affirming experiences than other rooms in the house. 

Ever since then, I can't resist an attic. It just seems endlessly mysterious and exciting to me, and the ratio of adventures to attic rooms is just too promising to ignore. This two story attic in Stockholm, Sweden, is bright and spacious, and seems roomy enough for all kinds of adventures.

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Adrian Adolph Greenberg (March 3, 1903 — September 13, 1959), known as Adrian, was an American costume designer whose costumes were featured in The Wizard of Oz, for which he custom-designed Dorothy's ruby slippers, and other MGM productions. Adrian only designed for women, and his assistants created costumes for male actors. Adrian often worked in period films, and his clothing appears in Marie Antoinette (1938), Anna Karenina (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936) and Pride and Prejudice (1940). He was credited in films as "Gowns by Adrian".

Published in Today's Birthday

If you need big sound without big equipment, this sleek ceramic subwoofer from Joey Roth will make your ears and your design sensibilities tingle. Watch the video below for details.

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Friday, 01 March 2013 17:35

Table & Tennis: All Work and All Play


Table & Tennis is officially the only workspace you'll ever need. Not only is it a beautiful hardwood table for all of your work meetings and international conference calls, but it also becomes a ping pong table in moments flat. Who doesn't love multifunctional furniture? Think of all the major business deals you'll land when you end meetings with a friendly but intense game of table tennis. It's decided – you need it.

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Thursday, 28 February 2013 15:15

Portable Power: The Kymera Body Board


After spending a few summers lugging a 16-foot boat back and forth from the lake, Jason Woods wanted a more portable option for zipping around the water. Woods came up with the Kymera, a 35 pound, portable and motorized body board. He built the prototype himself, the first of which included lots of duct tape. Woods won the 2011 PopSci Invention Award for his fourth iteration of the Kymera, which gets up to 15 mph. The newest model, however, reaches 25 mph and has been tested favorably for its search and rescue usability. Woods is currently developing an electric jet board that will be specifically used for search and rescue.

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Designed by Nick Mastandrea, Mycestro is the patent-pending creation that will make your couch potato dreams come true. You wear it on your index finger and control it with your thumb, so that you have full command over your computer even if your fingers are too fat to dial. Mycestro works fluidly with gaming, word processing, designing, by registering your finger movements as three dimensional commands. It's just a touch more practical for daily use than those robotic dresses from Anouk Wipprecht. Mycestro is currently getting lots of attention on Kickstarter and has been featured on Engadget. 

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New York is currently stuck in that seemingly never-ending state of flux between winter and spring, which means being properly dressed for the weather about half the time. During this transition period, we long for the warm breeze and dress ambitiously, thinking that perhaps the weather will follow suit. In that spirit, let me show you this balmy beach resort which is only a hemisphere or two away...

From Australian studio Grose Bradley BNV, in collaboration with LGI Architects, the Alinghi Residence is a beach retreat on the coast of Queensland, Australia. Clean lines, tall ceilings, and lots of glass paneling make this place the perfect space for summer. The bare and straightforward concrete structure offers a beautiful contrast with the rocky, rugged landscape of the Queensland coast.

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Is it a frog? Is it my mother? No, it's not even a Rorschach test, it's the work of textile connoisseur Seetal Solanki. Her work features mesmerizing patterns that would fit in comfortably on the set of Nicholas Roeg's Performance or simply hang on the most fashionable tote bags in town. Solanki's textiles have been commissioned by brands such as TopShop, Zara and even Alexander McQueen.

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