Tag Archives: back to school

Back to School: Divine Dorm Rooms

Despite the fact that I have spent over 15 years in university, I have never lived in a dorm room. I really don’t feel like I have missed out on much. I mean, who wants to live in a small, dark room decked out with ugly, utilitarian furniture that must be shared with a complete stranger?

(Photo: Crushable)

Seriously- I think there are prisons with more hospitable accommodations. Thankfully, some schools realize that quality of life can improve the quality of their students’ work and have designed some pretty impressive residences.

(P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S’ Proposed PUCPR Student Dormitory; Photo: ARCHIscene)

Can you imagine a futuristic skyscraper with 90,000 ft2 reserved for a mere 120 students? This is what LA-based architecture firm P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S has proposed for the Pontificia Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.

(P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S’ Proposed PUCPR Student Dormitory; Photo: ARCHIscene)

The daring design focuses on open spaces within the center of the structure to encourage interaction amongst students, while a series of outdoor walkways on one side of the building provide impressive views of the city’s historical center.

(P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S’ Proposed PUCPR Student Dormitory; Photo: ARCHIscene)

As much as I like the concept, I can’t imagine a university building such a large residence for so few students. And yet some schools have managed to put similar ideas into practice.

(Tietgen Residence Hall; Photo: Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitecter)

The award-winning Tietgen Residence Hall in Copenhagen is the brainchild of the Danish firm Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitecter. They designed the building in the round to focus on the communal aspect that dorm living provides.

(Central Courtyard; Photo: Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitecter)

As such, communal areas like the spacious kitchen and dining rooms (shared by 13 students) face into the central courtyard, which serves as a meeting area.

(Communal Kitchens/Dining Rooms; Photo: Tietgenkollegiet)

The exterior of the building projects out in varying lengths, stressing the individuality of the 360 residents. And there really is a sense of individuality here- over 90% of the rooms are singles, with private balconies and bathrooms. While the walls are utilitarian concrete, the included furniture is an attractive wood that is super-practical; the wardrobes are movable and create room dividers so that students can arrange their rooms to meet their own needs.

(Dorm Room; Photo: Tietgenkollegiet)

The ground floor is open to the entire community and provides necessary amenities like laundry facilities and quiet study halls.

(Laundry Room; Photo: Inhabitat)

They may be functional but they sure are pretty! I especially love the Pantone-esque washers and dryers.

(Study Hall; Photo: Tietgenkollegiet)

If more college residences adopted innovative design elements that stress practicality and comfort, I might just have to stay in school and give dorm-living a try!

Back to School: The Case for Crayons

Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.
– Mark Twain

A person is composed of mind and body — emotions and senses, muscle, bone, and brain with analytical and creative sides. Clearly, a person is a complex being to grow up to be, and becoming one takes more than just learning letters and numbers. If we are to take the advice of Mr. Clemens, there’s more to education than what schools teach.

To nudge the young ones towards the lofty goals of holistic personhood, how about showing the right side of the brain some love? You can nurture creative instincts by handing over a box of crayons — it’s very handy and fabulously versatile. You’ll  marvel at what can be done with these schoolbag staple.

Here's something that can be done with an interesting water-soluble type of crayons.

Crayons can be melted and cut out in these adorable butterfly shapes. Image from Butterfly Dreams. Click on the it for directions.

Another way to melt crayons. By Etsy user JKCreate.

Out-of-the-box thinking by Ryan Peter Miller -- using individual crayons as a pixel. Awesome!

Or you can just carve them, like Vietnamese-American artist Diem Chau does.

So stash some crayons in your child’s bag, and put a box in your own purse too. Here are a bunch of other little nifty things aside from crayons that you can pack in a backpack that’ll bring out the artist and creative thinker in anybody, whether child or adult.

Brushes Leveled Up

This is what talent can make out of the most basic materials, if it is nurtured and developed. Image created by Roz Wound Up.

Pocket-sized Music

No, we’re not talking about digital music players. But musical instruments to compose and create music with.

Image from Harmonica Songs

Young ‘uns can channel Bob Dylan or Alanis and put out some mind-blowing melodies with a harmonica in their back pockets. Or they can just take out their iPhones — if they’ve got music apps installed, like GuitarStudio or TableDrum.

TableDrum for iPhone turns tapping into drum beats.


Vintage Schoolhouse Styles

image via racheldenbow

I am nowhere near ready to kiss summer goodbye, still enjoying the long days and warm weather,  but the lure of fall is starting to work it’s magic. Maybe that’s why I’m currently digging all things ‘back-to-school’, from vintage school chairs to faded wall maps, and I don’t think I’m alone judging by the number of schoolhouse inspired looks I’ve seen surfacing on blogs as of late. With one part school days nostalgia and one part industrial chic, the vintage school look is one that can be incorporated in many different decorating styles.

Are you ready to head back to class? Check out these school ready finds.

Schoolhouse clock- vintageshelfandwall

This vintage schoolhouse clock has been upcycled with a quiet clock mechanism while keeping the original vintage frame. The bright apple-red colour and charming design of this clock will make this a great accent piece for a kitchen, or a child’s bedroom.

via apartment therapy

School lockers are probably one of the most useful pieces of storage furniture. I have one in my kitchen for linens and odds and ends.  A locker can also give your home an industrial modern edge instantly, or be practical and rugged in a mudroom or workspace. The styling of this craft room has vintage appeal and tons of storage.

1950’s School Chair-AMradio

This vintage school chair would be a wonderful decorating piece due to it’s interesting curvy shape. It’s fun to imagine who the child was who may have sat here and daydreamed away a class or two. Vintage and antique school chairs aren’t hard to come by, so keep your eyes open at flea markets and antique shops if you’d like to find one. Or you could purchase this beauty from AM radio. This chair or a similar one would also look phenomenal as a night table.

letter necklace by merriweathercouncil

Cursive lettering was never one of my strong suits. I remember copying letters into a lined book until I thought I might go completely bonkers. Do kids even learn how to write in cursive anymore? Regardless, these embroidered letter necklaces from merriweather council are sweet and have just enough old school appeal.

school collection- keeky27

This school supplies collection would look fabulous grouped on a shelf or mantle for some quick fall decorating. The chalk slate is a great find, as are the perfectly worn books and bookstrap. You really only need a couple well chosen accessories to get schoolhouse style without doing an entire decorating overhaul.

Get the Look

If you’re looking to add some old school charm to your home this fall here are a few ideas:

Colour Scheme: Red, White, Green and Black

Textures: metal, unfinished wood, chalkboard

Furnishings: lockers, vintage desk chairs, solid wood table, industrial light fixtures

Accessories: Globes, wall maps, typewriter, vintage books


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