Category Archives: Architecture

The Neutra Residence in Los Angeles – a modern glass house built in 1933

The front of the Neutra house. You can see the address, the font is distinct to many of his buildings.

Last weekend it was beautiful out, so we decided to stop by the Neutra VDL Studio & Residence located in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. Built in the 1930s by Richard Neutra, it was considered radical for its time. He lived here with his family and also worked here as well.

I think the description on the web site explains the architecture well: “a “modern” two-story house: a markedly horizontal composition with a repetition of identical casement windows running from edge to edge of its box-like form; a simple volume defined by a skin like enclosure and capped by a thin flat roof plane; a façade without the distractions of color or ornament. This house was the embodiment of then current European avant-garde design scarcely known to the people of Los Angeles. Its architect was equally unknown. Yet in years hence his name became famous and his works associated with modern architecture in California. This house was Richard Neutra’s own, his third building in America and the house in which he was to live and work for nearly three decades.”

Following are a few photos from our trip there. It really is an amazing house and certainly worth visiting. For $10 you can get a tour of the house and are then free to wander around and take photos after.


– Stephanie,

The rooftop. In the background notice the gravel on the ground. This area was originally filled with a shallow layer of water, creating a moat like feature around the glass room.

Mirrors were used on a number of walls throughout the house. Here, you can see the moat filled with gravel. It wraps around the entire room. There are plans to renovate this feature and fill it with water again.

A low seating area.

The "modern" kitchen. It even has a dishwasher! It is interesting to note how much smaller the spaces in this house are compared to many of the houses today.

A detail from the kitchen.

The hallway leading to the bedrooms. Neutra and his wife each had a separate room. I really like the long horizontal lines in this space.

The open stairs to the roof top.

The back courtyard.

While we were there, actors were practicing a scene for a film that was set to be shot in the house. It was kind of strange, wandering around while this drama was going on!

They must have done this scene four or five times. The first time the actress threw herself to the floor, the actor was concerned and asked, "Are you ok?! Are you hurt?" Her reply..."Oh, its nothing, I used to do roller derby."



Filed under Architecture, Travel

Gorgeous Art Deco Buildings in Los Angeles

The stunning entrance to the Eastern Columbia Building.

Walking around downtown Los Angeles, the amount of stunning Art Deco buildings is really quite amazing. It seems nearly every other building is a testament to the energy and optimism of the jazz age. What I also find particularly interesting is many of these buildings seem to be rather uninhabited. They are frayed, either abandoned or under utilized. However, strangely enough, this makes them even more interesting to me for a couple of reasons…

I live in New York City. Of course, there are a great many beautiful Art Deco buildings in Manhattan as well. However, for the most part, they are used, lived in and have pretty much always been since their construction. In Los Angeles, this downtown is a place of such potential, whereas Manhattan already seems so done, so developed. Here, there is so much possibility. At night it is rather desolate here, downtown. The streets are rather bare, save for the handful of people sleeping on them. However, there are signs of small cafes, independent book stores, restaurants and little galleries popping up. People are seeing the beauty of these buildings and slowly moving back into them and creating something new where there was once just a boarded up shell. It is great to see a downtown in such transition, especially one with such beautiful architecture.

Anyway, here are a few photos from my wanderings around the city. Don’t be surprised if some of these patterns pop up in our designs in the near future.


– Stephanie,

The clock tower on top of the Eastern Columbia Building. The blue terra cotta tiles are beautiful!

Love this tile pattern. Have no idea what building this is.

Another unknown deco building.

An Art Deco building located on Broadway.

There are a number of Art Deco movie palaces lining Broadway. Most of them have seen better days.

Another movie palace.

A building that is neo-gothic in style. I would imagine it was built around 1915 or so, or right before Art Deco. It is a great example of a lovely building that seems rather empty now but has so much potential.


Filed under Architecture, Art, Travel

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House – aka the Blade Runner House

The Ennis House, large and imposing, set atop a hill in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

This weekend my husband and I also explored the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. I have to say, I absolutely loved this area. Set on the hills, the houses are all so lovely and quite charming, which made the Ennis House stand out even more. Most of the houses appeared to be built in the 1920s to the 1950s. As much as I love living in Brooklyn, I think I could be very happy in a place like this, too.

So, here are a few photos we took of the Ennis House. Some of you might recognize it as the house featured in the Sci Fi classic, Blade Runner. Seeing the house on a bright and sunny day really gave it a very different vibe than it was shown to have in the movie, where it was depicted as dark and cold. Quite a difference to see the house in real life.

The Ennis House as shown in Blade Runner, dark and dreary.

It was built in 1924 for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the Ennis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, architect Lloyd Wright. It is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four Los Angeles-area “textile block” houses, which feature patterned and perforated concrete blocks that give a unique textural appearance to both their exteriors and interiors. The house spans 6,200 square feet and is constructed of more than 27,000 concrete blocks; all made by hand using decomposed granite extracted from the site.

Unfortunately, the house was not open for tours, although I believe it is during certain parts of the year. However, we still enjoyed walking around the area and taking some photos.

– Stephanie,

Another view of the house.

A view from in front of the house. A number of people were taking photos.

A beautiful and ornate gate. There was an amazing view of the city beyond.

A close up of one of the concrete blocks. Notice the block on right is cracked and it can be seen there is some damage to the blocks in the other photos. This is due to deferred maintenance, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and record rainfall in 2005.


Filed under Architecture, Travel

Our Gold Letterpress Chanukkah Cards: Inspired by the Architecture of Eero Saarinen

Our Gold Letterpress Chanukkah Card.

Last night we went to press to print our holiday cards. First up, our gold, letterpress Chanukkah card. We are so excited with how it turned out. We already have them up for purchase in our Etsy store.

As inspiration we used the architecture of Eero Saarinen. Especially, the Gateway Arch and it’s clean and beautiful lines. We also wanted to do a card that was a little different, with an uneven cut and a surprise when it is opened.

On the outside, the pattern looks like an abstract dot design.

But when you open it up, you can see the dots are actually part of a Menorah.

A detail of the Menorah.

And, as promised, here is a link to our FREE, Chanukkah card printable. You can just download the PDF and it is all set to print with crop marks. The cards measure 4.25×5.5 inches so you will need an A2 size envelope. We printed ours on 92lb Savoy paper. It is a rather simple design, so for a little added sparkle, we added a single Swarovski crystal to the star. You can purchase Swarovski flatback crystals on many online shops, like this one. Also, you will notice we spell Chanukkah with an “Ch” or an “H”. We spent quite a bit of time looking this up and it seems either way is fine.

Our FREE Hanukkah card printable. We spiced it up with the addition of a Swarovski crystal and added a grey envelope for contrast.

Happy holidays everyone!

– Caroline & Stephanie,

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Filed under Architecture, Holiday, Letterpress

The Etsy Holiday Gift Challenge – Buying a Gift for My Dad

My puppy Pascal with a mini John Deere. My dad's hobby is restoring old tractors.

Another day, another gift list. Just to recap, I plan to purchase all of this year’s presents from Etsy or other small businesses/artists and my budget is $50 per person. On to my dad. This list is kind of odd, but then his interests are rather varied. He is a retired chemical engineer who likes chocolate, bacon, tractors, cycling, history and travel. He is from Missouri but has lived in New Jersey for the last 15 years. So that about sums him up…

First off, we have these delicious looking dark chocolate and rosemary truffles from estheraguirre. I love chocolate and I love rosemary, so I imagine together they would make a brilliant combination! This etsy shop also sells dark chocolate/wine truffles and cream brulee truffles. All sound amazing, not sure which I would pick!

Rosemary and dark chocolate truffles by estheraguirre.

Next up, this great vintage globe from 1947. I think my dad would really like it since he was born in 1948. Also, he has traveled all over the world, so this would nicely bring together his love of travel and history. You can find it  over at vintagecals shop.

Great vintage 1947 glove from vintagecals.

As I mentioned, my dad is a big history buff. As far back as I can remember, he has always had an interest in WWII. Ask him nearly anything about it…from the battle of Midway to what happened in Normandy and, most likely, he can write you a report about it off the top of his head. Anyway, I thought these WWII era rations looked pretty interesting. A great piece of history and, actually, rather pretty. I thought maybe they would make an interesting piece if I framed them. You can find them over at RememberMeEmily.

WWII rations from RememberMeEmily.

I found this great John Deere tractor t-shirt and thought it would be perfect for my dad. He loves tractors, especially John Deeres. He has a few mid-century John Deere’s that he has brought back to life. You can find this t-shirt over at TJaysTees.

Vintage John Deere tractor t-shirt from TJaysTees.

Besides being a hard-core chocolate addict, my dad loves bacon. There is pretty much not a day where he goes without it. When we lived in Saudi Arabia, probably the most difficult part about it for him was the lack of bacon…and the turkey bacon was a poor substitute 😦 I wonder if he would like these maple bacon cookies from KEcookies. I don’t even like bacon, but I have to admit, these look pretty great!

Yummy maple bacon cookies from KEcookies.

While searching for John Deere on Etsy, I came across this vintage John Deere farmers pocket ledger. Looks to be from about 1955, I think my dad has a tractor from about that year. I bet he would be really surprised to open a present with this inside! You can find it over at vintagetwice.

Great vintage John Deere pocket ledger from vintagetwice.

My dad is from Missouri. While searching for Missouri, I found this interesting map from 1893. I can’t see close enough to tell if his town is actually on it, but it really doesn’t look like there is too much in the way of highways going on. I think he would love to have this map framed and hanging in his office. You can find this map, and tons of others, over at Holcroft.

1893 map of Missouri from Holcroft.

For many years, my dad was a chemical engineer. This has to be the most beautiful periodic table I have ever seen. I have never thought of it in terms of beauty before, but this table of elements poster  from HeyMomByPromise makes me see it in a whole new way. Would also look great framed and hanging in my dad’s office. It is over my $50 budget by a few dollars, but it was just too great not to include.

Retro periodic table by HeyMomByPromise.

Here is another map of Missouri. This one, from 1873,  is just of St. Louis and more like a painting. You can see, there are no tall buildings, no Gateway Arch. I especially like all the steam ships dotting the Mississippi river. This map would also looked great framed. You can find it over at Imagerich.

Antique map of St. Louis from Imagerich.

I couldn’t believe it when I found this t-shirt! It is too perfect. It combines my dad’s love of bacon with science. I think I might have to get this for him! You can find it over at CrazyDogTshirts.

Great bacon t-shirt from CrazyDogTshirts.

I fell in love with this poster the moment I saw it. It has a great vibe and my dad loves the Gateway Arch. The architect, Saarinen, is pretty amazing and this poster was a planning sketch commissioned by the City of St. Louis. I think this might be it! You can find it over at midmoderngoods…that is if I have not already purchased it. It is a little above budget, but I couldn’t pass it up!

Amazing poster of the Gateway Arch from midmoderngoods.

My dad loves riding his bike, and he also loves wine. Have not really seen him do the two together, but if he decides to, this present from oopsmark would be perfect!

Bicycle wine rack from oopsmark.

Keeping with the wine theme, how great are these vintage german wine glasses. I love the green glass stem. Totally different and unique. You can find them over at CypressHouse. I would love to have them for myself!

Great vintage wine glasses from CypressHouse.

I’m not sure if my dad already has a bike bell, but I really like this one. I could even get it with the letter “R” for his first name. You can find this and lots of other great bells over at SpokeNWheel.

Bike bell from SpokeNWheel.

These chocolates from PetitesMorceaux are just lovely. These little gems are so pretty, they are like little works of art, too pretty to eat!

Pretty chocolate truffles from PetitesMorceaux.

And last but not least, this great poster by  Mandipidy –  “New Jersey, where we pump our fists and not our gas.” It is true, in New Jersey we are not allowed to pump our gas. In fact, it has been so long since I pumped gas that I don’t even know how to anymore…how embarrassing!

Great New Jersey poster by Mandipidy.

Now, I know my dad would get the part about pumping gas, but I don’t think he knows what Jersey Shore is. I think I would have to explain that part to him…

Me: Dad, do you know what Snooki is?

Dad: Geee, Snooki? No, what is that?

Me: It is a type of animal, kind of like a really large rodent or opossum. The proper name is Psnookidocherius Peregrines, but in regional dialect it is just called a Snooki.

Dad: Gee, I have never heard of that before. Where do they live?

Me: Their natural habitat is along the coastline of New Jersey, from Staten Island down to Seaside.  They grow to be about four and a half feet long and can range from 90 to 150 pounds. They subsist on a diet that consists of alcohol, men and depravity.

Dad: What? Alcohol, men and raspberries?

Me: No dad, depravity…not raspberries.

Dad: Gee, now I know you’re talking nonsense.

Hmmm, I think maybe I’ll just get the New Jersey poster for my brother 🙂

And maybe I will give him a set of our letterpress word find, any occasion cards. This card works for any occasion, just find and circle the word that works for you, from Happy Birthday to Congratulations on Your Graduation to Happy Anniversary! You can find the wordfind card in our PressedInBrooklyn Etsy shop.

Our letterpress word find card from PressedInBrooklyn.

– Stephanie,

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Filed under Antique, Architecture, Greeting Card, Letterpress, Shopping

The stunning photography of Candida Höfer…and an amazing option for those of us who can’t afford it.

A library in Lisbon by Candida Höfer.

Sometime back, my husband introduced me to the photography of Candida Höfer. Her work is absolutely amazing. She focuses on large-format photos of empty interiors and social spaces that capture the “psychology of social architecture.” Her photos are often taken from a front angle or sometimes a diagonal. Often, her empty and actionless rooms are shot from an elevated vantage point near one wall so that the far wall is centered within the image. From her earliest photos, she has focused on depicting public spaces such as museums, palaces, libraries, places of worship and theaters that are lacking any type of human presence.

While I am in love with her photos, I am unfortunately not so in love with the price. Short of winning the lotto, I am not sure how I am going to ever get one of these gems into my apartment. Not to mention, these photos are HUGE….to the point that I don’t even think I have a wall large enough for one. The cost for a 10×20 foot photo of hers can go for between $35,000 and $45,000.

But, don’t despair, I believe I have found a viable and much more affordable alternative, on Etsy, no less.  So below, I have a test. Three of  these images are from Candida Höfer and two are not. Two of the images below are from the Etsy artist, Mable Tan, and are a much more reasonable price of $215 and $90. See if you can guess which photos are which!

Biblioteca dei Girolamini Napoli

Palacio Nacional de Mafra

Trianon Palace, Chateau Versailles, Paris

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, Paris

Palazzo Corsini, Firenze

Ok, so could you guess the three photos by Candida Höfer and which two photos were by fellow Etsy artist, Mable Tan? You couldn’t? Photo 3 (Trianon Palace, Chateau Versailles, Paris) and Photo 4 (Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, Paris) are by Mable Tan. I think both photos are lovely and capture a similar beauty and detail as Hofer’s photos. While Mable Tan’s Photos do not measure 20 feet, they are still a very good size of 16×20 inches for the Hall of Mirrors and 20×32 inches for the Trianon Palace photo.

You can check out Mable Tan’s Etsy shop here for all her amazing photos. If you have $35,000 burning a hole in your pocket…or you just want to see some absolutely stunning photography, you can check out Candida Höfer’s work over on Artnet, which is where all these photos from her can be found.

– Stephanie,

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Filed under Architecture, Photography, Travel

Our Rome Inspired Letterpress Wedding Invitation/Card – finding inspiration in the architecture around us

Our Rome Design

We recently letterpressed our Rome design. We were thrilled with the way it turned out. This design is very detailed and we were concerned that it would not translate well to the plate and paper, that the lines would be too thin and would not show up. We were pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

So, we thought we would take the time to talk about our inspirations a little bit. Sometimes, we find, when we are a little bit stuck for ideas, we should just look up! Living in New York city, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by stunning architecture…from art deco sky scrapers to ornate brownstones. Sometimes, believe it or not, it is even possible to get inspiration from a store like Home Depot, just look up at the exposed ceiling beams and the patterns that can be found! Art and beauty are all around us, we just need to be open to the possibilities of seeing it, even in the most unlikely of places.

Fair enough, this design is based on the ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome, not the tile pattern on the floor of a Wal-Mart. How could you not look up and admire the beauty of the intricate carvings and the impressiveness of this ancient dome?  While in Italy on vacation, Caroline took this stunning photo of the ceiling.

Our photo of the Pantheon in Rome.

She suggested we use it as design inspiration. One look at it and I agreed! Instead of using the more recognizable square pattern, we focused on the tiny pattern around the opening. See the detailed shot below and a detail of our card pattern. It took a long time for us to redraw, straighten and adapt the pattern to paper, but we think the effort was worth it.


A detail of the Pantheon.

A detail of our card design.

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Filed under Architecture, Letterpress, Personal Stationery, Wedding invitation, Weddings