Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Travel Inspiration from Turkey

Monday, November 19th, 2012

At the end of September I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to explore and become inspired.  The people, architecture, patterns and colors will forever leave a mark on my designs.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

The view looking towards Sultanahmet.

Beautifully detail roof at dusk.

Interior view of the Blue Mosque…stunning.

Inside the Aya Sofya.

Ceiling detail of the Aya Sofya

Brightly colored ceilings inside the Grand Bazaar.

Shopping for textiles.

The runner that came home with us!  It’s from Dhoku and made from recycled rugs that have been patched together.

A metal shop within the Bazaar.

Hello, It’s Been a Long Time…

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Things have been busy over the past few months; it’s been hard finding the time to write.  So what’s been happening at Paradigm?  Here’s a briefing to bring you up to speed…

  • We are growing!  Well, my family that is.  My husband and I are expecting our first child in February.  We are super excited and will be sharing the transformation of the office/baby’s room as it progresses.  The space is small and challenging but I’m excited to share the results and ideas on making small spaces multi-functional.
  • I have started a furniture company, Artistory, to develop furniture designs that I’ve sketched over the years, up-cycle great market finds into a new life and create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for my design clients.  It is a slow progress but the website will be up soon.  Until then, you can get a quick snippet of my first pieces on Pintrest.
  • We are now on Pintrest (Dawn Chau)!  I have started posting all great finds from magazines on Pintrest to share with you (instead of adding to my forever expanding binders in the office).  This helps me stay organized and will also be a place for you to see what inspires me.
  • I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey and the South of France at the end of September.  I was so inspired by the mosques and amazing people of Turkey.  I’ll be posting some pictures next Monday.

I hope that summer treated you well and you are beginning to nest for the fall.  Cheers!

A New Home in NYC

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

As some of you may know, my husband and I have recently moved into a new place in New York City.  We are thrilled to have an updated, warm and quiet space.  I wanted to share  pictures of it in progress and then I’ll post the afters as they happen.  I’ve found that it’s WAY HARDER to do my own space.  I know too many great vendors and want to use them all!

A bit of background on the place.  It was built in 1910 and the last owners updated the kitchen & dining area before moving.  It is a duplex, which in NY means the unit is two floors, not side-by-side.  It has a great layout for entertaining our friends and family.  The first floor consists of the kitchen, dining, living, main bath and a great little patio out the back door.  Down a tight, little  spiral staircase is the basement consisting of two bedrooms and a half bath.

Giang and I live very casual lives.  We love being home and entertaining which means lots of cooking.  We tend to use what we have until it falls apart.  We don’t like having lots of tchotchkes around and prefer a pretty low maintence home.

The kitchen is small, but we have a Wolf!  It beats our last stove that was so uneven that we had to prop up the burners with aluminum foil “pads” so that the pans would be level.  I probably won’t be doing much with this room but it needs a rug and a shade to for the window by the dishwasher.

The dining room is one of my favorite rooms.  It’s large and comfortable.  I love that they hide the refrigerator in the wall of cabinetry (far left).  The center of the cabinetry was this strange, large cabinet.  We didn’t want a TV so we made it into a bar.  I painted the inside red and built the small bank of drawers to store more utensils and charge our iPad.  The dining table was built by yours truly out of reclaimed NYC water tower wood and I found the legs locally.  The last bit to do here is find art for the wall.  We painted the core color a pale yellow you see pictured.




The living room is probably one of the few rooms that came together quickly.  Our furniture came with us from Denver and we added the coffee table by Palo Samko.  We plan on relocating and hiding the TV in a wall at a later time.  The wall of photos were taken by Giang and I on our travels around the world.  We selected pictures that are serene yet graphic.  Some of the shots are recognizable, some are not.


The main bath will become more of a powder room (without removing the shower) once we finish the basement bath.  The basement bath will add much needed storage for all our toiletries so we can remove them from the main bath that everyone sees.  I plan to put carrara mosaic on the floor, install an interesting vanity with some storage, add better lighting and replace the mirror and toilet.

Our little staircase to the lower level.

This is where it happens!  The dreaded office.  It’s only dreaded because it is the room I spend the most time in and will likely be the last to be complete.   I thought about doing a large built-in but they realized I wanted the space to function differently so the plan is:  I want to make this room come to life.  It’s DARK!  There isn’t much natural light so color and accessories are where it will happen.  I’m currently making a long desk to replace the existing one we have.  This will split my husbands space from mine and not protrude so far into the room.  I’ll also be making new storage pieces to replace the plastic ones.  Also on the drafting board is a plan for a large magnetic chalk board with a high gloss white frame so that I can post even more inspiration pictures.  And let’s not forget, we need wallpaper or paint!  Behind the door is a little temporary book case made out of wine boxes.  I recycled a shoe storage rack on the back of the door for storing fabric samples, samples and paint decks.



The master bedroom is also a work in progress.  We have two bikes that are currently residing in here and I need to find them a better home.  Art above the bed is a must!  Another project is building nice night stands…but, as we all know, all in time!

Basement bath as is.  The cabinet is being made and I’m selecting the top today.  This should be done within the next few weeks.  Yippeee!

It’s patio season.  We are working to finish the patio in the next couple of weeks as well.  We’ve found some dining chairs, have all our pots, have a rug ordered so now it’s just a matter of planting all the greenery.  I’ll post pictures on Facebook and Twitter as these projects come to life.


A Visit to the Sunshine State

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Last week my husband and I headed to Miami, Florida for a little sun and relaxation.  I had planned to do some design hunting and architectural photography after researching about the Art Deco district in Miami but that quickly changed when we  learned of a music festival going on.  Not just any music festival, but a loud techno music festival…jazz would have been a wonderful surprise, techno was not.  The outdoor party life that defined Miami last weekend reconfigured our plans – quickly.   We ditched Miami for the Keys so I could sleep (Giang could sleep through a jackhammer in the room).  The vacation turned into a road trip searching for great food and outdoor activities and all was found.

Beautiful colors and water that was common along the route through the Keys.

Time to stretch the legs and explore on our paddle boards in Islamorada.  We paddled for a couple hours through the mongroves.  My turning radius was vastly improved upon seeing two crocodiles right in front of me.  Luckily, no limbs were lost and I can still draw.

…and some time in a kayak.  We paddled out to Indian Key island that was once inhabited but burned down in the late 1800′s.

The view from our quiet hotel patio in Key West.  We headed into town for a little breakfast at Blue Heaven.  Their outdoor patio was great and adding to the atmosphere they have live roosters crowing from the roofs and wandering round.

A cute little pineapple topped fence in Key West.


Our last night we had to stay in Miami for an early flight so we hit the Art Deco district for dinner which made for some great people watching.  Our favorite restaurant was Joe’s Stone Crab for the great seafood and key lime pie.  Need some Key Lime Pie?  Here’s their recipe.




The Acropolis – Athens, Greece

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Ever since I took History of Architecture in school I’ve always dreamt of seeing the Acropolis in person.  The Acropolis contains the famous Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and other buildings built atop the raised plateau.  They believe the Parthenon was completed around 438 BC.   I love this building because they actually curved it in certain areas to counteract optical illusions.  A couple examples - the floor that the columns rest on has a gentle arc to it; the ends being lower than the middle.  Additionally, the columns on the corners are actually a bit larger than all the rest because they knew the columns on the outer corners would appear smaller against the sky.


The Parthenon from the back (front had scafolding covering it)

detail (2)

Detail of an Ionic styled column.  I’m always amazed at the detail that is achieved in a stone as hard as marble without today’s technology.  I wonder how long these pieces took to carve?


The Erechtheion with the view of the Caryatids on the far left.


Closer shot of the “porch” with the six Carytids supporting the roof.  All Carytids are casts of the originals which are now in the Acropolis Museum (with the exception of one that was taken by British Lord Thomas in 1801).  When we saw them in the museum they were being carefully cleaned, of all the pollution that had accumulated, by a laser.  It was being filmed so that we could watch it live.  It was a slow but amazing process!


Corner shot of the Erechtheion showing some of the remaining details.  Note where they pieced in new marble (lighter color). 


Detail of the Ionic column and the egg and dart detailing above.


The Acropolis from a nearby rock.  Far right, small building is the Temple of Athena Nike.

Greece – Color Inspiration

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

My fall vacation took my husband and I (along with 4 dear friends) to Greece for a little R&R.  We traveled to Mykonos, Santorini and Athens.  Below are some of my personal photographs from the islands showing the style and coloring.  I will do another post on Athens and the Acropolis at a later date. 

I have always wanted to go to Greece, mostly for the food and islands.  I fell in love with it because of the food, the friendly people and the scenery; the colors are subdued yet dramatic against the arid landscape.  The island architecture was reminiscent of Santa Fe’s adobe style although they paint everything white making the hills look like snow-capped mountains.  They often use vibrant colors like blues and the occasional red to accentuate the architectural features.


Windmill on Mykonos

   stair with grapes














Entry with grapes drying on the steps – Prygos, Santorini

pale colors

An example of the soft, pale colors – Fira, Santorini

zannos church

The church from our inn, Zannos Melathron – Pyrgos, Santorini

Oia fishing rest

The small restaurants below Oia that sell fresh fish – Oia, Santorini


If you’re a lover of sunsets, Greece is the place.  Up next, the Acropolis.