Savvy Lifestyle

The Emerald City
December 21, 2008, 7:13 pm
Filed under: architecture, travel | Tags: , , ,


I’ve been working in Seattle for the past couple of weeks and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was my first time to visit, so I was anxious to explore all the city has to offer.  Alas, I couldn’t skip work during the day, so most of my site seeing was done in the dark or quickly over an hour lunch break, but I still managed fairly well.  It’s cold there and those that know me well, know I’m not a fan of that, but the temperature plus all the christmas lights helped get me in a much more festive mood. 

Here are just a couple of the highlights:

The Boat Street Cafe– my favorite restaurant that I visited, and I’ve been eating well, so that’s saying a lot.  It’s a little gem kind of tucked away off the beaten path.  The ambiance was amazing and the food was delicious! 



The Seattle Library:    


Obviously a must see in the city.  It’s by Rem Koolhaas and it opened in 2004.  Last year it was named one of the 150 best structures in the US by the AIA (American Institute of Architects). 

The Olympic Sculpture Park:


Unfortunately, I only saw this briefly in the rain & cold, so I don’t think I really got to experience how wonderful it is, but I’m definitely planning a trip back during the summer months and this will have to be my first stop.   It just opened last year.  It covers 9 acres and was a brownfield site occupied by oil and gas companies until the Seattle Art Museum had converted into a public park.

Tom Douglas restaurants:


I’d never heard of Tom Douglas before, but based on a recommendation, I tried one of his restaurants and afterwards made it a goal to try as many of the rest of them as I could during my stay.  I tried Lola, The Dahlia Lounge, and Serious Pie.  They were all amazing!!!   Potato Leek Ravioli with carmelized onions, truffle oil, and a little creme fraiche on top… Need I say more?

I’m obviously barely scratching the surface here.  There’s so much to do and many neighborhoods to explore.  If it weren’t for the weather, I’d seriously consider moving. 

Rebecca _SF


Dominus Winery
November 20, 2008, 2:03 pm
Filed under: architecture, san francisco, travel | Tags: ,
I had the unique privilege of touring Dominus winery by Herzog & de Meuron yesterday.  They’re notorious for not allowing tours or tastings, but once a month to do allow a small architectural tour and I was lucky enough to tag along with a group.  The builidng is Herzog & de Meuron’s first in the U.S. and for those of you non-architecture geeks, they’re the same architects that designed the De Young Museum in San Francisco and most recently the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Olympics in Beijing. 
Fall has come to Napa and the colors were amazing. Enjoy!
the vineyards
the main arch/ entry

offices on the 2nd floor



The Margarido House

I had the privilege of touring the Margarido Houseon Saturday.  It’s Northern California’s first LEED platinum home and the first home in the nation to be both LEED-H certified and GreenPoint Rated.  The place is absolutely gorgeous!  It’s located in the Oakland hills and has stunning views out over the bay towards San Francisco.  I had no problem picturing myself with a glass of wine in the roof top garden watching the sunset over the city. 

You can check out a video tour below from Sally TV.

As is to be expected of a LEED platinum home, it has all kinds of sustainable features like:

-Solar panels on the roof providing all heating & hot water, and most of its electricity

-4,000 gallon rainwater cistern that collects all the water on site

-Living roof covered with native grasses and succulents

-Exterior cladding and interior flooring made from Heath Ceramics’ used kiln shelves

-Reflective cool roof

-All LED/ CFL lighting

and much more…

The owner/developer is Mike McDonald with McDonald Construction & Development.   He partnered with his brother Tim McDonald from Plumbob architects in Boston and interior designer Ian Read from Medium Plenty.  McDonald Construction and Medium Plenty had already partnered on the 24th street house that was featured in Dwell Magazine in their June 2007 issue.

They’ve definitely shown that going green is not a sacrifice.  If you ask me, they’re living in the lap of luxury.  I’m hoping homes like this will inspire people and we’ll start seeing a lot more green homes around the country!


San Francisco Green Building Ordinance

On August 4th, San Francisco took another huge leap in its effort to lead the world in environmental initiatives by signing into effect a new Green Building Ordinance.  The laws were developed over a 6 month period by a Task force on Green Building set up by Mayor Gavin Newsom.  After long negotiations these new laws have finally been set in motion and I’m excited about the prospects.  New residential, new commercial, and renovation projects will all be affected and the changes will start to take place almost immediately.   It’s all part of a 5 year plan for the city.  The initial requirements will have to be met starting with projects going for permits after November 1st of this year.  The focus is clearly on reducing energy and water use as well as the amount of waste created during demolition and construction.  They’ve broken building types down into several categories.  Here’s a brief synopsis of some of the new requirements:

– Small & Mid-size Residential projects will have to meet an increasing number of Green Point credits (similar to LEED) each year.

-High Rise Residential projects have to be LEED certified begining Nov. 1st and LEED silver by 2011.

– Mid-size commercial projects (5-25,000 SF) will have to fill out LEED checklists (but not necessarily comply) starting in November of this year, with additional requirements for energy & water conservation as well as waste diversion being added through 2011.

-Large commercial projects (25,000 SF or more) will have to be LEED certified beginning in November and LEED Silver by 2009

-Large commercial interiors projects and renovations (25,000 SF or more) must be LEED certified by November, LEED Silver, by 2009, and LEED Gold by 2012. 

This means big changes for architects, developers, and owners.  San Francisco is  hoping to set an example for cities around the world and inspire others to follow suit with their own regulations.   I for one, am very excited to be a part of the efforts. 

Rebecca_ SF