Design, History

John Van Pelt Estate / John Van Pelt

John Van Pelt, a professor, conductor, and arranger of choral music, was also an early investor in LA real estate. In the 1920s, Van Pelt acquired a sizable swath of land in Los Feliz’s Franklin Hills section and subdivided it into 71 parcels. Claiming the largest lot for himself, he set about creating a private, picturesque little village with five English storybook-style cottages.

Ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, the cottages were painstakingly handcrafted between the 1930s and ’40s with mostly salvaged materials, including clinker bricks from the city’s demolished cable-car system and lumber from old ships. Nautical elements abound — one home even incorporates the anchor, banister ropes, and oars from Jack London’s boat, The Snark, along with porthole windows. Other notable architectural details include peg-and-groove hardwood floors, vaulted-beam ceilings, multiple brick fireplaces, diamond-pane windows, stained glass, and built-in bookcases, benches and bars.

The quirky compound remained in the hands of the Van Pelt family until 1975. Its second owner, a fiercely private antiques collector, went to considerable lengths to preserve the property, employing a full-time live-in property manager and gardener. Maintenance upgrades over the years have included updated plumbing and electrical systems and new roofs.

With the second owner having recently passed away, the estate is now available for the first time in half a century — via Curbed


Williams Residence / John Lautner

In 1952 Harry Williams commissioned John Lautner to design a house on a piece of land just below the Hollywood sign. Williams passed away in March, and his beloved home is now on the market for the very first time. Though close to 70 years old, the post-and-beam home at 3329 Ledgewood Drive looks practically brand new, not only because of its forward-thinking design, but also thanks to a respectful 2018 restoration overseen by Helena Arahuete, Lautner’s longtime associate who took over the firm after his death — via Curbed


Outside / CarpinAcker Shorts

A woman quarantined with her husband questions the reality of the threat keeping her inside her home and starts to believe he is holding her prisoner. Her mental state begins to unravel until she finally plots her escape Outside — via Youtube


Geometric Pattern: Intersect Circle: White / Red Wolf

— by Red Wolf

History, Science

For 21 Years, No-One In Britain Knew How Long An Inch Was / Tom Scott

In 1834, Parliament burned down, and the Standards of Measurement were melted or destroyed. So when there’s no agreed-upon standard for length: how do you fix it? Also: how you can still publicly check the length of your sandwich — via Youtube


Fungi found in Chernobyl feeds on radiation, could protect astronauts

Scientists have discovered that a strand of fungi in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant feeds on radiation, according to a Thursday report by Express. The fungi was first found at Chernobyl in 1991, five years after the nuclear reactor exploded, but scientists have just recently found that its properties could help protect people from radiation.

The fungi is called Cryptococcus neoformans, and it’s well-known to science, having first been described in the 1890s. It can be a nasty microorganism for humans if it gets into those with compromised immune systems, resulting in an infection known as cryptococcosis.

Turns out it may also be beneficial for humans — particularly in space. The fungi contains high levels of melanin, a pigment that turns skin darker.  That melanin absorbs radiation and turns it into chemical energy, similar to how plants turn carbon dioxide and chlorophyll into oxygen and glucose through photosynthesis, according to a study first published in 2007. This specific process, is dubbed radiosynthesis.

Melanin absorption is an intriguing property that could be used to protect astronauts in space.

NASA scientists are looking into the possibility of extracting melanin from Cryptococcus as a cost-effective way of producing a space-approved sunscreen. In Nov. 2019, scientists from Johns Hopkins University sent melanin derived from the fungus to the International Space Station. On the station, the melanin is being tested for its ability to protect against radiation in space via c|net


Honda CBX 1000 / Lys Motorcycles

Based in the northern French region of Hauts-de-France, Dimitri at Lys Motorcycles has been building custom motorcycles for a while but it’s only been a full-time gig for the past year. So he needed a personal bike that he could show off at events, and the Honda CBX 1000 sprung to mind — via BikeEXIF


Jamieson Residence / John Nance

When native Californians Joan and John Jamieson set out to build a house near a wilderness preserve just 29 miles east of San Francisco, they were inspired by Sea Ranch, the famed mid-century planned community on the Sonoma coast known for its sloped-roof wooden homes. Although the Jamiesons’ architect, John Nance, designed mostly commercial projects, he won them over with one of his few residential projects, which featured a shed roof similar to Sea Ranch’s Binker Barn.

The couple wanted the house to blend into the hillside site as much as possible and for nearly every room to have a mountain view. So instead of building on the ground level, they chose to sit the house atop 35 eight-foot piers, which are drilled deep into the ground and are connected by grade beams. This building method, which does not require excavating the land, also helps to reduce the environmental impact of construction as it does not contribute to erosion — via Curbed


Geometric Pattern: Intersect Circle: Stone / Red Wolf

— by Red Wolf


Amber II / Thirteen and Company

Kyle Vara of Thirteen and Company built a Honda CB550 four years ago nicknamed Amber.

Amber turned so many heads, Kyle got close to 20 requests from around the world to duplicate it. But like most artists, he’s more interested in expanding his portfolio than repeating the same formula. And then his buddy Jeff Campagna, proprietor of Steeltown Garage in Canada, convinced him to build Amber II — via BikeEXIF


Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette / Romain Gauthier

The new Insight Romain Gauthier Micro-Rotor Squelette uses hand-finishing techniques — including bevelling, softening, smoothing, and polishing along its bridges and mainplate — that it introduced in 2005. The new models are available in either a 42mm Carbonium case or in a 39.5mm case made of either precious metals or black-DLC-coated Grade 5 titanium — via WatchTime


Glass House / Joshua Nimmo

Designed by local architect Joshua Nimmo with interior design by William Nash, this 2017-built home in the North Dallas neighbourhood of Hillcrest Estates, was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and its iconic use of glass and steel. The single-story home took some 60 tons of steel to build and was constructed on a five-foot-deep basement with cantilevered I beams to create the illusion that it’s floating. It’s on the market for $7,495,000 — via Curbed


Defy 21 Ultraviolet / Zenith

The Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet (Ref. 97.9001.9004/80.R922) takes its inspiration from the human eye’s ability to perceive colours as visible light frequencies. It is priced at $13,100 — via WatchTime


Wolf: North: Rainbow / Red Wolf

— by Red Wolf

Design, History

The Long Return: Restoring The Tudor That Took A Bullet In Vietnam

Last September, we brought you the story of 1st Lieutenant Barry Jones, Corpsman Lorrie McLaughlin, and a very special Tudor Submariner that was able to reconnect the veterans some 50 years after the battlefield in Vietnam sought to tear them apart. If you haven’t watched the original video, please take a moment to learn the story of how this severely damaged Tudor came to be and how it was returned to 1st Lt. Jones in the exact same condition in which it left Da Nang in 1968.

So where does the story go from here? Well, what if we told you that, after having the watch returned to him its battle-damaged state, 1st Lt Jones had hopes of seeing his storied Tudor restored and ready for another tour on wrist — via Youtube

Art, Design

Discover a Japanese sculptor’s life-long mission to complete La Sagrada Familia

An architectural marvel has sat incomplete in a residential corner of Barcelona since its architect, Antoni Gaudí, died during construction in 1926. For decades, La Sagrada Familia has been an example of Christian fealty and Catalan ingenuity wrought in granite and sandstone; but little could anyone have guessed that ninety-four years after Gaudí’s death Etsuro Sotoo, a Japanese sculptor, would dedicate his life to completing the architect’s colossal work — via Youtube


Superman 63 / Yema

Put into context of Yema’s history, the Superman label is particularly apt. The name first appeared in 1963, and Yema has been releasing modern interpretations of the historic Superman models for the last few years. This iteration leans into the imaginative design from the early ‘60s with futuristic typeface present at the 12, 9, and 6 markers. The aesthetic traces its roots back to the earliest Superman watches. The Superman 63 will be made in a run of 1,000 watches, with a price point of $1,199 on the bracelet and $1,049 on the tropic strap — via Hodinkee


Zilker Park Ranch Home / Arthur Dallas Stenger

Built in 1956, this ranch home was designed by Arthur Dallas Stenger, a noted local architect heralded by mid century fans as a Hill Country Eichler. Characteristic of Stenger’s airy designs, this house comes with clerestory windows, vaulted wood ceilings, and exposed beams. A recent kitchen remodel and addition by Texas architect Stuart Sampley showcases a brilliant use of light avocado green on sleek cabinets — via Curbed


What Was Hygiene Like In The Victorian Era? / Weird History

Practically every book, movie, and TV show made in the last century that references the Victorian era romanticises the time period. Beautiful gowns, lavish homes, and passionate romance are staples of the now bygone time. But in much of the media we consume about the seemingly sophisticated Victorians, no one talks about where they got their water or went to the bathroom, or when they last bathed.

When you peel back all the layers of silk and lace, you’ll discover that the Victorians were actually pretty gross — via Youtube


Triumph Street Twin Sleeper / Ram Katzir

At first glance, this Triumph from Amsterdam looks like a regular Street Twin with a mild retro makeover. But it’ll probably get its rider from A to B faster than any other Street Twin in Europe, thanks to a heavily reworked engine and big suspension upgrades. It belongs to sculptor Ram Katzir, whose work is shown all over the world — from theaters in Tel Aviv to parks in Japan. And when Ram isn’t working on static objects of beauty, he likes to ride fast on his bike — via BikeEXIF


Wolf: South: Rainbow / Red Wolf

— by Red Wolf


Laundry Building Conversion / Greenport, New York

Constructed in 1930, the building in Greenport, New York was previously used as the town’s laundry and sits next to simple Victorians and a former boathouse. American film director Clay Weiner bought the home from New York City artist Rob Pruitt in 2006, and the structure was remodeled and modernised shortly thereafter. The listing offers two buildings, a 408 square metre live/work space and a smaller, neighbouring cottage. The larger of the two has a dark grey exterior covered in vines, a facade that hides an airy and light-filled space inside — via Curbed


Design Icons: Pac-Man / Game Maker’s Toolkit

While a nascent games industry was laser focused on emulating the success of Taito’s Space Invaders, one designer tried to make something completely different – and ended up creating our second design icon: Pac-Man — via Youtube