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Its In The Details

by - Monday, June 04, 2007

My name is Wanderluster and I’m an HGTV addict. There I said it. Most any night, you can find me watching any number of home decorating shows. Divine Design, Sarah’s House, Home To Stay, and my new favourite Property Virgins… if there is a reno show on, I will find it. And I don’t think I’m the only one. It seems that each one of my friend’s and family’s homes has had at least a little bit of “design TV” influence. Neutral walls, good space planning, wood floors throughout… I don’t think we all came about having this ‘good taste’ in design naturally. Which leads to an entirely new problem… when everybody is playing by the same design rules, how do you make your place stand out?

This weekend, HandyMan and I had the chance to walk through the Royal Ontario Museum. It is simply a stunning place, inside and out. And since we were fortunate enough to actually tour it mid-construction (as part of our book research), we got to see the Before & After. The Before was a study in chaos… angled walls, precarious catwalks, 19 massive steel beams joined in one connection. The After is much more polished but just as much an assault on your senses – which is surprising if you consider that everything is painted the same shade of white. What makes this place GREAT and not just GOOD was Libeskind’s attention to detail. If you look closely, you’ll notice the one-inch reveal around the perimeter of the floor, a small gap where floor meets wall… you ask the question “why did he do this”? You’ll notice the cut-out windows, some high up on the wall, others just rising above the floor level, small enough for young kids to crawl into (which many were doing, by the way). And though you may not see it you’ll definitely notice the gentle upward slope from the front entry to the Crystal Court. It leaves you uneasy and off-balance. All these things combine to make a very unique and memorable space. Like all great spaces, I can’t exactly remember the ‘place’, but I do remember the experience of being there. What will our new place make you feel when you step inside? I’m not sure, but I hope it’s a place you’ll want to come back to.

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