Moroccan Riad

The above picture is of a riad in the western Moroccan city of Essaouira, photographed by Christine Oakley.  The riads of Morocco are traditional palaces with interior gardens or courtyards.  Wikipedia explains the riad concept:

The riads were inward focused, which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. This inward focus was expressed in the central location of most of the interior gardens and courtyards and the lack of large windows on the exterior clay or mud brick walls. This design principle found support in Islamic notions of privacy, and hijab for women. Entrance to these houses is a major transitional experience and encourages reflection because all of the rooms open into the central atrium space. In the central garden of traditional riads there are often four orange or lemon trees and possibly a fountain. The walls of the riads are adorned with tadelakt plaster and zellige tiles, usually with Arabic calligraphy, with quotes from the Quran.

I greatly enjoy this particular riad.  Its use of dark royal purple curtains contrasts wonderfully with the trailing green of the hanging vines.  The intricately decorated lamps, dangling from exaggerated chains, cast a nice subtle glow on the brown and black walls and hand railings.  It has just the minimal amount of light, and every part of the scene is a carefully thought out work of art.

Published in: on December 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

5 Interesting Ways to Dispose of Your Corpse

Thinking about taking your last breaths and wishing there were a method of disposal for your body more interesting than simply being stuck in a coffin and left to decompose in the ground?  Well, there are many more interesting options!

1. Life Gems

LifeGem is a company that will take your cremated ashes and turn it into an actual, certified diamond.  The company extracts the carbon from your remains, purifies it, and subjects it to intense heat and pressure.  The gem can then be mounted on a ring and worn by a loved one forever.

2. Eco-Burial

A Swedish company called Promessa Organic will freeze your corpse until it becomes brittle, and then subject it to powerful vibrations that turn it into powder.  The powder is then poured into a cornstarch urn, which can be buried and composted in a shallow grave.

3. Buddhist Sky Burial

The hard, rocky ground in Tibet does not serve well for digging graves, and coupled with the region’s many reincarnationist Buddhists who believe that the dead human body is an empty vessel that has no more use, the tradition of sky burial has become quite common in Tibet.  If you so prefer, you can have your body dismembered and crushed into a pulp, which is mixed with barley flour, tea, and yak butter.  Buddhist monks will then feed your remains to hungry vultures in the desert.

4. Burial in Outer Space

Forget burial in ground or at sea.  An American company called Celestis Memorial Space Flights now offers to launch your remains outside the Earth’s stratosphere.  Celestis offers four different burial options for your cremated remains: you can orbit the Earth for a while and then crash back onto the surface ($695), you can orbit the Earth permanently ($2495), you can crash onto the surface of the moon ($9995), or you can be launched into deep space ($12,500).

5. Human Taxidermy

Cut decomposition out of the picture entirely.  Let your loved ones remember you in death as you were in life.  Human Taxidermy Services can stuff and mount your corpse, just like they can do for any pet.  Whether you simply want to be lying down ($2000), you want to be giving a military salute ($5000), or even something as novel as the pose of Michelangelo’s “David” statue ($10,000), HTS puts the “fun” back in “funeral”!

Published in: on December 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm  Comments (1)  

11 Ways to Make a Modern House Look Victorian

Have you gotten stuck with a boring, plain, modern house?  You can easily turn it into a charming Victorian one.  Here are some simple and effective ideas:

1. Install Exterior Trim

2. Put Up Crown Moldings

3. Surround the Property with an Iron Fence

4. Switch to Vintage Plumbing

5. Mount a Few Gargoyles

6. Use Wooden Doors

7. Vintage Light Fixtures

8. Build a Greenhouse Conservatory

9. Frame and Display Portraits of Your Ancestors

10. Use Victorian Window Frames

11. It’s All About the Wallpaper

Published in: on December 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm  Comments (2)  

The Galen C. Moses House (c. 1874)

The Galen C. Moses House was designed for Mr. Moses, a successful area bank president and philanthropist, by the architect Frances Fassett in 1874, and then redesigned in 1901 by John Calvin Stevens.  Situated on “the handsomest residential street in the state of Maine,” this veritable museum of a home is on sale in Bath, Maine for $624,900.

With a new coat of nice grey paint, a well-sharpened wrought-iron fence, and some thorn bushes in the landscaping, this home would make a wonderfully haunting estate.

Published in: on November 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rustic Lanterns for Your Dungeon Hallways

These aged, ornately decorated, iron lanterns are the perfect fixtures to illuminate the dank, stone passageways of your subterranean dungeons and torture chambers.  Or, perhaps merely your front porch or garden.  For less than thirty dollars, such quality is practically a steal.  It’s little items like this that make the Victorian Trading Company one of my all-time favorite online merchants.

Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 12:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Alice In Wonderland Garden Statues

From the wonderful Victorian Trading Co.:

Springing from the imaginative pages of Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic, the three main characters will mingle with the garden flowers or grace an interior. Inspired by the antique illustrations of John Tenniel. The story was comprised of ridiculous personalities hailing from Carroll’s own life. The author deemed himself the “Dodo”,  given his serious stammer.
Mad Hatter. 20″.
White Rabbit. 14″.
Alice. 19″.

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm  Comments (8)  

Cement Factory Turned Mansion

Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill has made this Barcelona cement factory into a luxurious home, art studio and workspace.  With 33,368 square feet of floor space, plus gardens, and a house area of 5,382 square feet, this grand project was completed in 1975.  One has to admire the enormously high ceilings and the dark, rustic decor gracing the interior.  The look, both inside and out, is akin to a Medieval gothic castle.

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Classical Planter

These Greek-inspired Victorian wall planters would be just the thing to spruce up one’s garden:

Published in: on March 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Putting in a Wrought Iron Fence

There’s nothing like a wrought iron fence to protect you from crazy neighbors.  Or, perhaps, to protect the neighbors from you and the rest of the kooks that live in your house.  Either way, I highly recommend Diablo Iron.  Check out their website, for information on all the different gates, fences, and railings you can install to give your property a classy, old-fashioned air (just make sure you keep the spikes atop the gate posts nice and sharp).  Here’s a few of my favorites:









Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Photos of Beautiful Carnivorous Plants

Here’s just a handful of quality photographs of beautiful carnivorous plants to feast your eyes on:

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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