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hey! look at this Houzz article! Knight Architects is featured again!

this project was just starting construction when i first arrived back in 2009 so i can’t take any credit for any of the drawings. except that Cathy Knight let me design/draw the fireplace mantle. {mostly she suggested what i should i do and then i drew it… let’s be honest because it was my first fireplace mantle!} that and i also helped stage the pretty pictures!

i’m so proud of Knight Architects for getting a little bit of press again!  to see the full article click here.


if you’ve missed any of my other japan posts feel free to click on the links: part 1 or part 2}

IMG_1267_osaka subway map

on another day we rode a subway and a couple of trains to a little town outside of Osaka. part of the adventure was getting there!  as you can tell from the subway map above… we didn’t have much to help us if we got lost.

everyone is read for an ad-ven-ture!
IMG_1269_family in subway station

dad reading up on the subway of the town we are headed to:
IMG_1272_dad in subway

Tondabayashi. it is an historic town that wasn’t bombed during WWII and has houses that are 400 years old! this architect-girl was excited.
IMG_1275_family i took my 50 lens which wasn’t really perfect for getting good shots of an entire building. so i focused on architectural detailsIMG_1280_japanese house this map showed where the historic houses were:IMG_1281_tondabayashi

this was in the public restroom. old gargoyles and pretty rain “gutters”:IMG_1283__tondabayashi house

gargoyle faces up close:IMG_1284__tondabayashi gargoyles

these little vents were pointed out in all the brochures for some reason… never explained in english, so we’ll just say this is a pretty roof:IMG_1285__tondabayashi roof

and all the houses are still lived in!IMG_1288__tondabayashi house

and i loved this. an open site has a sign for house floor plans you could buy. what cracked me up was that the lot size was probably the size of a standard american -in-the-city lot that would fit 1 house rather tightly! it has 5 lots in that space. FIVE.

i was also entertained by the floor plans. i took lots of pictures of it but i won’t bore you with that. :)IMG_1292_tondabayashi residential ad

a giant temple in the middle of a neighborhood:IMG_1304_tondabayashi shrine a pretty roof edge. i liked that this house had a person in place of the normal gargoyle: i think i read that it was supposed to be an old relative of the person who built the house watching over them. kinda cracked me up. lol. IMG_1305_tondabayashi roof detail a HUGE gate:IMG_1307__tondabayashi family in front of shrine gate and a little lantern. you notice the hole behind it? they had their drainage systems as about 8-12″ wide ditches on each side of the road. (they are all over japan). my little sister calls them “tourist traps” because actually it’s really hard not get your tire stuck in it when you’re driving! hahaIMG_1315_tondabayashi street light

up close and personal with a gargoyle:IMG_1322_tondabayashi gargoyle


and because i have to remind you that we ate while we were there: That night we had a Tempura party! IMG_1334_tempurait was delish! maybe my favorite meal. we tried all sorts of kinds of tempura and mom and i also tried the plum wine. yum. :)

{to be continued… it’s taking me forever to edit all these photos!}


i think it’s kind of fitting that as we walked to the second half of our first day, we came across this sign for the zoo: IMG_1230_osaka zoo sign

because let me tell you. it felt like we walked into the zoo! well, more like NYC Times Square meets China Town. it was sensory OVER LOAD. it was a shopping district that was totally over the top.

are you ready for this? we were not warned. i’m warning you… there were so many people, so many things to look at, so many signs and so many…everything.

Tinsekai: IMG_1232_tinsekai

that little gold budda idol thing is a “happy god” aparently though his arms are too short to reach his feet so as you walk by you’re supposed to itch and tickle his toes for him. hilarious.IMG_1235_osaka shopping district

kind of a helpless god if you ask me… lol

the abundance of materialism was amazing. IMG_1236_osaka shopping districtyou could go up in this tower to get a view of the city. but since we already had done that this morning we opted out. it reminded me of the space needle in Seattle though. i think it was built around the same time.
IMG_1238_osaka tower and signs

they had large figures above all the shops. i think this was a donut guy or something:IMG_1239_store sign

and i don’t know what that was:IMG_1241_tinsekai

but this is a crab obviously. the legs moved. ha! apparently you need to see a giant sculpture-moving no less- of what you are about to go order at a little window… to eat:IMG_1254_osaka crab

you can see Becca laughing at my parents puzzled faces. i WISH i had caught dad’s look! his eyebrows are sofocused! haha. IMG_1256_family

can you see why we were totally overwhelmed? this went on for street after street! it felt like there was no end! IMG_1258_osaka

and of course, octopus. the japanese like to eat octopus, in SO many different ways{as i will show you another day}. this shop though was for octopus in fried-donut-like balls. at every place like this there was always a long line. we opted to pass and not stand in line to wait for these little delicacy’s. i don’t know, maybe we missed out… but i think we were ok with that.IMG_1260_octopus phew! exhausted and over-stimulated, our guide took us down a couple of alley ways to this shrine. it was just in some back corner behind all the shops, but it was still highly frequented:IMG_1261_osaka shrine

i love that there is moss growing on their idol. they toss water on it when they pray so the moss just grew over time!IMG_1264_osaka shrine

i think the lanterns lined up in a row are rather pretty though:IMG_1265_osaka shrine

so after that, totally, exhausting day, we actually ended up at starbucks. Becca was so excited because there are only a couple of places “close” to her where she can get a starbucks coffee! {granted, i think we hit EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. …and my family doesn’t even drink coffee normally!! lol} this picture was from a different day, but you can see her affection:

Becca and starbucks

then we found dinner in the basement of a department store. yes. that’s a real thing. the whole basements of department stores are near the underground subway/shopping areas so they are filled with food vendors! think of the makeup/perfume counters X 1,000 and put food prettily displayed behind the counters and you’ll understand what i’m saying. :)

in the department store there was a little french shop where we bought a couple of rolls and bagels for our breakfast the next morning… we needed a little break from all the strange food… what can i say? hee hee.

{to be continued}

ok, are you all ready for some Japan photos?!

OH. my GOODNESS! i took way too many photos.SO… I apologize already for a massive photo dump over the next few japanese posts. i’m really excited to share them with you though! :)

we traveled to Japan to visit my little sissy who is teaching english to a bunch of junior high kids in Yabu {a tiny little town outside of Osaka and Kyoto}. my parents were super kind to offer to take me along! it was such an adventure!

we start with photos from our first breakfast on the morning after we arrived in Osaka. i know, weird way to start a blog post about Japan… but you guys, this breakfast was just so different than what we were used to! Dad was excited about it though:
IMG_1153_Breakfast1 please note: only chopsticks to use.

please note #2: they don’t use napkins. they give you a wet washcloth or a toilette at the beginning of the meal to wash your hands… and that’s it… kind of difficult for a my super-uncoordinated-self. just saying. ;)

please note #3: about all you recognize in the picture below is the rice and the tea… right?! :) hahah. ya, me too.  lucky for us there was also salmon, steamed eggs, pickled plums and vegetables,  some sort of meat that had the consistency of worms, miso soup, and more pickled some sort of vegetables.  hee hee. did i mention this was an adventure? from the very beginning! IMG_1155_breakfast

my little sis is already becoming japanese. peace signs all around!  i love how you can see my dad in the reflection of the wall next to us. mom LOVED the pickled plum and had one every single day!  {slight sarcasm there}IMG_1156_breakfast

our tour for the day started out with a trip to Osaka castle. smack dab in the middle of the city there is a big moat and a few towers:

some very large, impressive gates:IMG_1175_gate

that lead to this castle: {i think i remember that our tour guide said this wasn’t the original castle because the original burned, but the walls and gates are! }IMG_1187_osaka castle

and look at that: so picturesque! a real japanese garden! and the castle reflected in the pool! IMG_1197_osaka castle nice

what’s funny is that while we were trying to take our pictures a sweet elderly japanese man was determined to help these foreigners get a good picture. but he didn’t speak english. so, he spoke rather loudly in japanese and made gestures that we should turn our camera vertical so that we get a better picture! haha. i did that to appease him, but i actually like this one above the best and guess what… it’s landscape… lol.

again, Becca shows off her ability to fit in: 

IMG_1203_osaka castle and fam these fish are like 4′-0″ tall! they are adorning the castle because it was believed that since they are water creatures they would protect the castle from fires. {since the original building was all wood… and apparently the fish worked so well the first time…}IMG_1208_osaka castle fish

it was impressive and really cool to see the unique architecture. what we later found out though, was that the japanese culture takes so much from the chinese. throughout history japan copied a lot of chinese culture because china was such a large civilazation! i was fascinated by that. our tour guide said that this style of architecture really came from china but was slightly adapted with longer eaves and a few other things because of the rain that japan gets.

it was a museum so we actually got to go up in it! very interesting. IMG_1212_osaka castle

you’ll notice throughout my next few posts about japan that i seemed to have a fascination with the different roofs that we encountered. they are all so beautiful and i love all the different lines!
IMG_1217_osaka castle rooflines

i loved the corner details:IMG_1219_osaka castle

as we finished the tour of the castle we walked around the other side of it. these are the “defense towers”. but they are so pretty:

IMG_1226_osaka castle towerthe cherry trees are just starting to blossom in Osaka. we were so lucky to be there at that time!!

my family walking {with the tour guide} off to our next adventure:IMG_1224_family walking

{to be continued} 

on wednesday.

doh. if it helps i did this ON TUESDAY.  epic blog fail. oh well. life is crazy!

anyway, i thought it was fun to look at what a difference it makes to color a sketch.

see: first one is black and white. second is colored. elevation sketch

and wala.  even just a little bit of coloring makes all the difference. have you colored any of your sketches lately?

xo-kimberly renee

first of all, i’m sorry for neglecting my dear little blog. life is a bit crazy right now,  and i hope to share more with you soon!

but all right, today’s post is about Houzz dot com.

who hasn’t discovered Houzz yet?! i mean, seriously, this website is AWESOME. :) i’ve been on it a lot lately for a couple of projects. a couple of kitchens, a fence project, a couple of powder rooms… and so when i need inspiration, i go here and start searching for images that inspire!

do you need help figuring out what style of kitchen you should go with? they have an article and a million links for that.

do you like vintage looking kitchens and need confidence that you can pull it off? they have an article for that too. :)

Yup! do you recognize that kitchen? It’s from my photoshoot adventure my  best day of work ever! Kinda exciting that my old firm is finally getting the recognition they deserve for this project! She actually received an award for “Best of Houzz 2013″ woot woot! Knight Architects has a nice little portfolio on Houzz that you should totally check out.
Or maybe you need direction for a fence or gate you want to build. There is inspiration for that.
and of course, there are a million powder room inspiration examples! it’s the designer’s dream, really, to be able to peruse such an abundant collection of inspirational photos! so, you know what i’ll be doing today…
go check Houzz out! :) it’s very fun.

today’s sketch comes from a project i was working on  last week.

see, we’re “playing” with a new design. technically, i’m not allowed to say “playing”. it doesn’t sound professional and it may come across like i’m wasting time or something. but really, when i’m just sketching and trying out different ideas… i feel like i’m playing with the ideas.

sketch A perspective_blog

this sketch was for an addition that wants to be a breakfast/sitting room with all windows because to the right there is an awesome view of the ocean.  the room includes a bar and bathroom, it has asian influence, and we have to include space for the client’s antique jade horses…which means that my 5th grade fascination with drawing horses actually came in handy at work. who knew?! hee hee.

sketch B perspective_blog

this sketch is a little off- i think i’m missing a couple of feet because it looks too narrow- but it shows how we were playing with different locations for the bar area. in the first one the bar and the bathroom are across from each other. in the second one the bar is next to the bathroom on the left side of the sketch(you can’t really see it). the wall for the bathroom would be paneled so that the it would seem like a piece of cabinetry(…the door would be “hidden”)

sketch cbts_blog

so of course i had to draw an example of the cabinetry. with the asian influence i thought of course the cabinetry should feel like a chinese apothecary cabinet! hee hee. playing at work is fun!

thanks for being here! if you’d like to see more of my sketch for tuesday posts, click here.


Today’s sketch is really an exercise looking at fence design. This is just a concept for a project I’m working on…


how about a little post on some pretty architecture?

this is not a project i worked on… but last week i photographed it for my boss. he finished it this summer.  he’s done little bits and pieces of renovating all around the historic house, but this sunroom addition…

this sunroom was the icing on the cake.

because look at that view!

wouldn’t you love to sip your morning coffee or  tea in that room? IMG_0520{project by ZW-Architects and Solar Innovations}

i just wanted to give you a little reminder that the 25% off code for my etsy shop only lasts until the end of this month! you can use the code on anything in miss grace designs but one of the most popular items is the rendering of your home.

renderings make the perfect christmas gift for parents! :)* wink wink, hint hint*

when i gave my mom this rendering she started crying.

our houses are homes because of the memories we’ve created in them. when i think of “home” it’s not necessarily the house that i grew up in, it’s the family and memories that happened there. i think she started crying because the renderings of her house were artistic renditions of the memories that happened there.

i gave her a set of 3 renderings, printed on nice paper and framed. my parents recently built this house so the renderings were little glimpses of the future memories that will happen there. check out more information about the renderings here



right now i’m working on a rendering for a friend’s family’s cabin on a lake. i’m thinking this would be wonderful to print on cards or to send out little prints to everyone in her family!

last year, some people had me work on renderings for the house they grew up in and missed, or for all the houses that they’ve lived in as a married couple, or a house that their husband built and just finished this year… these were awesome gifts.

maybe you can think of someone who would love this gift too?

xo-kimberly renee