Go: Dwell + Marin Magazine Marin County Home Tour

Photo by Matthew Millman

Fans of modern architecture already know that Marin County is veritable trove of mid-century finds.  Eichler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Raphael Soriano, John Bolles, Francis Joseph McCarthy, Cliff May, and Claude Oakland have all designed homes in the area (or a Civic Center, in the case of FLW), not to mention a new generation of local architects who are taking up the modern mantle.  Later this month, arch-nerds, mid-century fanatics, and lookiloos are invited to get their design fix on the 2nd Annual Dwell+Marin Magazine Marin County Home Tour which will take visitors inside ten of the most notable homes in this picturesque area, starting in Cavallo Point on Friday, April 27th with a Meet the Architects reception for true devotees.  The self-guided tour which takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th from 10am to 4pm will explore Southern and Central/West Marin, respectively.

We wish we could go, but we can’t.  So you guys go and let us know what you think!

Check this out for more information about modern Marin County architecture, in case you’re in the market to buy one.  Or buy tickets to the tour here.

Spotted: Landscape Art-chitecture by Cao | Perrot Studio

Since I was born I’ve have suffered from an unfortunate affliction: the dreaded black thumb.  For this reason, I’m always in deep awe of people who can not only keep plants alive, but use them as a natural medium for artistic expression.  In particular, I love the work of LA- and Paris-based landscape art and design studio Cao|Perrot Studio.

Vietnamese-born, adopted son of Los Angeles Andy Cao is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.  Native Briton Xavier Perrot was awarded the Lauréats des Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes” (Emerging Young Architects and Landscape Designer Award) by the French Ministry of Culture.  Together they seem to make nothing less than magic.

Cao Perrot Studio

From ethereal gardens for the modern abode to compelling public art installations, this studio pushes the boundaries of landscape architecture as a discipline and bravely explores landscape design as a form of art, expression, and experimentation.  Their work is whimsical and fantastic, ranging from magical floral arrangements to conceptual spaces shaded by hovering, shimmering cumulus clouds.  They play with materials to create experiential and unforgettable landscapes.

I’m thrilled to think that we’ll soon get the opportunity to work with Andy on an upcoming project.  More details to come soon.  All we can say for now is that spring in LA is about to bloom, big time.

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Strike #1 and #3 Off the List

How did March creep into our calendars so deftly and quietly?  While we’re not at all ready for tax season, St. Paddy’s, or Easter, we’re happy to announce that we’ve been super busy at Secret Agent HQ paying some much-needed attention to, well, yours truly.  Our new year’s resolutions were not in vain.  Strike at least two off the list…partially!

#1: The Cobbler with No Shoes is Getting Some Chus!

We’re finally working on our website. For the time being, we’ve pulled down the old one so just look for us on Facebook or call us on our swanky phone lines if you need us. (Be sure to listen to the WHOLE message!) Brand spankin’ new site: ETA this spring.

#3: Movin’ on Up and Out to Lincoln Heights!

The secret agents are officially shacked up with the sumos!  We’ve moved into a new space at the Lacy Studio Lofts with Attack! Marketing.  We’re still putting on the finishing touches but hope to open up HQ for a little par-tay in April as well.

Now if only I were this good at keeping my personal resolutions…

The Mini Skirt Turns 50

Photo by Romano Cagnoni

Being stuck in traffic has its perks, namely catching really good stories on the radio (thank you KCRW, KPCC, and now BBC World!).  The other day  BBC World’s Witness show featured an interview with fashion designer Mary Quant celebrating the 50th anniversary of the mini-skirt.  Without Mary, who knows where our hemlines would be today?

Apparently still sporting her trademark Vidal Sasson hair cut, Mary Quant is still designing today.  But she’ll always be remembered for leading a fashion revolution and single-handedly creating a look that came to embody swinging London.  Taking the hemline from the mid-shin to way above the knee and only slightly below the cheeks, Mary gave women a new sense of freedom.   Her skirts made the likes of Twiggy famous, and probably made countless other women resort to pants.  But love it or hate it, the mini skirt is a pretty symbolic little piece of clothing.

Among her other ingenious creations?  Colored tights!  I have a few friends who would be pretty naked without their colored tights!  So thank you, Mary.  And happy birthday, Mini Skirt!

Listen to the awesome story here.

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Spotted: Hotel Endemico in Baja, CA

Hotel Endemico, Grupo Habita, Luis Garcia, Garcia Studio

Six years ago when Brian and I headed to Guadalupe Canyon for our camping honeymoon, we had to drive across a giant (and extremely bumpy) salt flat and boulder-crawl up the side of a mountain to get to a bunch of palapas and hot springs.  It was awesome – don’t get me wrong – but a stay at the new Hotel Endemico might have been a bit more comfortable.

I just caught sight of this amazing little piece of heaven on Archilovers (which is like the new Architizer?  Either way, we love them both!) and followed the link love to Inhabitat and Condenast Traveller to find out more.  Designed by Tijuana architect Jorge Gracia, the Endemico offers 20 minimalist structures set on a 40-acre winery overlooking the valley below.  Each luxurious 20-sq ft room features a bathroom, a terrace, a clay firepit and views of the valley.

There’s  apparently a food and wine explosion happening in Baja and Grupo Habita is only the latest to stake a claim in the Guadalupe Valley.  If you believe Johnny Jet, crime stats are down in the area so there’s no reason not to check this place out.  Even though the days of spring break are long gone for us, I wouldn’t mind skipping across the border for a bit of R&R (&vino)…

Photos by Luis Garcia

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