Saturday, April 25, 2015

Candelaria Design ~ From Coast to Coast

It is official, Candelaria Design has gone coast to coast! From a home under construction in Montecito, California to a beach home in design on the far east tip of Long Island in Montauk, New York, to a couple of homes in design in Idaho to homes in the beautiful neighborhood of Cherry Hills in Denver, to finally a project in Albuquerque, New Mexico.....we are literally coast to coast and border to border!

I cannot tell you how fun it is to work in different styles and in different environments and settings. I also enjoy meeting new builders, vendors and craftsman - it definitely gets one out of the comfort zone and allows one to experience new ideas and techniques. Of course, it also means we need to work with different municipalities and governing authorities. I have to say, I love the Town of PV!!!! it is by far the friendliest and easiest municipality to work with. What I have found though is how important it is to make some face time with whoever you are going to be working with and really make a connection - especially with towns and their building safety departments.

People always ask, isn't it difficult to be halfway across the country and design a house? It's interesting because it is virtually the reverse of how we design homes here for clients who live in other parts of the country. With all the advances in technology such as FaceTime, Skype, GotoMeeting, it is really quite easy to work anywhere as an architect. I think for a builder it is much more difficult for obvious reasons - you have to be there. It is important we visit the site and get the context of the project in our mind, and then I like to stake the initial design on the lot and walk the design with the client. Then course we like to kick off the project with a ground breaking! Once under construction I like to come out for a framing walk through and an electrical walk thru. We can review shop drawings, samples, etc. by Skype and email. The key is to schedule bi-weekly meetings during the entire process so communication and progress are in a rhythmic cadence.

So what's on the boards???? Our home in Santa Barbara is a lovely Spanish Country Cottage in the hills of Montecito. This is a very exciting project for us as I have taken many clients to Santa Barbara for inspiration for projects here in Scottsdale. But to actually now design a home in Santa Barbara and see it now get built is so exciting for me and our Candelaria Design Team! What makes it even more fulfilling is that the client is a couple I designed a home for in Silverleaf in Scottsdale over ten years ago, and they then went on our Italy trip, attended our surprise wedding at Villa d'Este in Lake Como, and now we are under construction on their lovely dream home in Montecito. What I love about all this is we all share so many amazing memories and now capture all of that in this new home. It is the epitome of custom residential design. Homes are like a bottle of wine.....this home is a 100 pt. on the Wine Spectator List.

Then on the other coast we have started the design on a Hampton Style Beach Home in Montauk, NY for a client we just completed a historic renovation in Encanto. I have always been enamored with the Hampton Style....maybe because it is so different from the stucco and clay tile roofs of Arizona. I love the homes of Robert Stern and his book has been sitting on my office coffee table for years. Our client has been spending the summers  there for years and have had their eye on this property for some time. We visited the property for the first time in February of course in the midst of a blizzard! There is an existing home there that we will remodel in Phase I and then add a second story in Phase II. This is so exciting because our client is a designer and has exquisite taste so yet another wine on the 100 pt. scale!

Stay tuned as these projects come together.....Well - it's back to the boards!!! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sketching - Keeping the Art in Architecture at Candelaria Design

Anyone who knows me knows I love to draw and sketch. I think I purposely made the conscious decision to not learn CAD so I would not lose my passion to draw.  I have been drawing buildings, houses and whole cities since I was a small child. My clients love when I draw - it brings the design process alive and makes it an instantaneous adventure that engages and entertains my clients.

I remember when I first started in architecture I was blessed to work for the late George W. Christensen, FAIA who was an amazing sketcher and taught me to sketch upside down! He often had another architect, Bruce Kimball come in and do his quick sketches for projects. The two were amazing and left a lasting impression on me. I loved how clients would be mesmerized by them drawing right in front of them and seeing the details of the project come alive.

I am really saddened how this art seems to be fading and I notice each year the graduates who come in are so agreed towards computer rendering and modeling and I doubt many no longer even own a pencil or sketch pad. I still wonder what an architect does in the field or at a cocktail party - pull out their CAD station???? I have designed and drawn whole bird's-eye  sketches on tablecloths at restaurants with clients, or details and ideas on plywood sheets while out in the field.

We put a real emphasis on hand drawing combined with CAD and 3D Computer modeling. The two together really make a difference. The CAD and 3D modeling, although absolutely amazing and don't get me wrong I love it, when you soften it with the human hand something happens - I think its like making bread from scratch - some love goes into it.  Sketching forces the designer to think and consciously feel every inch of a design. With CAD you are always cutting and pasting large swaths of area and the thought process is just different. We are fortunate at Candelaria Design to have several skilled artists/architects on our staff and we all love to use and express our craft!

I personally feel a house designed with PAD has a totally different feel than a house all done strictly with CAD! One is personal and has spirit - the other tends to be stiff and lack life. At least that's how I see it....and draw it!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Brunch at Casa Candelaria - Leg of Lamb!

Happy Easter and Passover everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend - we sure did!

I don't know about you, but each year I debate - go out for Easter brunch or make Easter brunch? Going out is pretty easy, make a reservation, get dressed and ready, gather the troops and head to some swank resort hotel for brunch. Of course there is no prep time and no dishes. Unfortunately, we have had some real misses at brunch and then you get the tab and think geez we should have just cooked. Of course making brunch involves shopping, prepping, setting the table, cooking and of course cleaning!

Last year I took the girls to New York City for Easter so this year it only felt right to cook at home!

Cooking at home was definitely the right choice! My oldest daughter, Tiffany, was in town, and my daughter Bella was with us and we were joined by my Mom and Dad and Isabel's Mom. So a party of 6 - no sweat for me having cooked for as many as 80 in one setting!

Giada De LaurentiisOf course I am a Food Network junkie as I always have it on on Saturday's while I draw in the morning and I draw and enjoy the creations of Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood, and the rest....Well last Saturday while watching, a recipe by Giada caught my eye - an Italian Springtime Lamb! So this recipe is totally Giada's with my little twist on it!!! Add Bobby Flay's roasted brussel sprouts with another Candelaria Twist and we were set!

Meanwhile, Isabel joined in with her amazing Challah Bread French toast and jasmine rice, her Mom would bring a salad, and my Mom would make a gluten free cherry cheesecake! Our brunch was in gear! We all pitched in and enjoyed a lovely afternoon enjoying a fabulous dinner and then watching a slide show from out NYC Easter trip!
 So here is the Italian Springtime Lamb recipe:

I bought my lamb at AJ's where they deboned it and butterflied it so I could stuff it and roll it up. You start with warming two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. You add the garlic, rosemary fresh from my garden, crushed red pepper flakes and I like to use piñon nuts instead of the walnuts in Giada's recipe. Toast this in the pan until fragrant and starting to brown. Stir in the raisins and then add the chopped spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook until wilted.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spread the lamb out flat, fat side down in a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly with the mustard, distribute the spinach mixture over the mustard. Starting from one side, roll up the lamb with the filling inside. Tie with the butcher's twine at 2-inch intervals. Season the outside with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Wipe out the sauce pan and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the pan over high heat and allow it to get hot. Place the lamb in the pan and sear it on all sides. Here is where I like to pour in some red wine to give the lamb crust a little flavor and aroma. Sear it on all sides until golden brown and toss the pan in the oven and roast for an hour and fifteen minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 135º. When done, place on a cutting board and let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before slicing.

While the lamb is roasting, prepare the gremolata. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the gluten free bread crumbs, stirring regularly, until golden brown. Add the parsley, lemon zest, pepper flakes and salt. Toss and set aside to the let the flavors mingle.

Giada's recipe is on the Food Network website Gilda's Italian Springtime Lamb  along with a video. It is really easy and very tasty. Don't be intimidated - go for it. You will like my twists on the recipe! Add some Bloody Mary's with bacon and shrimp my Mom's cherry cheesecake, Alette's salad and that delish french toast with homemade lemon curd from our lemon trees and - yes we had another Casa Candelaria feast! I'm glad we stayed home!