El Capricho Gaudí

Anton Gaudí designed exotic structures no doubt about it. I had the good fortune to visit the Capricho in Comillas, Spain recently. It was built as a country house for an industry magnate. Here’s a look at the main entrance.

IMG_0133As you can see, this is not exactly a mansion, but a building with many interesting attributes, such as a solar orientation to warm the house and support an integrated greenhouse seen in the next photo.

DSC_2628Note those amazing hardwood floors in the photo above. Below, another photo shows the side of the house.

DSC_2619Gaudí integrated the wrought iron benches into the railings on the porches as seen in the next photo:

DSC_2626The sunflower detail was carried through the entire building, including with exterior tiles:

DSC_2638Gaudí was a master, and his structures prove it. If you have the opportunity, visit them. One more look at the tower.

DSC_2637More Spain posts to follow. Stay tuned.


Published in: on October 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Scenes in Tile, Madrid

Of course Spain is famous for it’s tile work. I came across too many examples to include them all. However, one building, a restaurant if I recall correctly, truly stood above the rest. This place featured iconic scenes from each of Spain’s regions portrayed in beautiful tiles all along the facade. Here are five of them. Can you guess the locales they depict?

How about this one?

Come on! That was easy, the name is in the bottom of the scene. Try again.

Only a few more.

Okay. Last one.

Great work, isn’t it? I only wish some people here in the USA would go back to the classic style. All this modern architecture is quite sterile. It leaves you thinking you’re in a 1960’s Stanley Kubrick movie. I’d rather have the Spanish flair from some years gone by. Ole!

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Island Bathroom Project

My home in Aruba needed a new bathroom. There was only one bath for the entire house and it worked fine, but I decided to add a second one so that there would be a convenient alternative. Fortunately, the house had a large, walk-in closet off the master bedroom. This became the new bathroom. The tile and fixtures came from a place called BanjoLux, which is located on Schotlandstraat in Oranjestaad. Here’s a photo of their shop.

This place sells tons of beautiful items. Their selection is quite modern but not over the top. They also have qualified staff to help with making your selections. There are other places on the island and in later posts I’ll get to them. So, I took the closet and installed a glass block wall for the shower area as shown here.

 This worked out great, except for one thing: I should have used a darker cement between the blocks. No doubt that white will be difficult to keep clean. Anyway, the wall came out great, as did the glass block in the back, which replaces a window. I like glass block because it lets the light in, keeps the peepers out, and is a higher level of security than a window. The other advantage is that the glass block doesn’t get nasty the way a shower curtain does. You can wipe it down and you’re finished.

For hot water, I installed this simple, point of use hot water heater. The water in Aruba is already warm so you only need to raise the temperature a little to have a nice hot shower. The unit shown below has three settings and I rarely use more than the lowest.

In the middle of the room, I built a sink feature from the ground up. The basin and faucet came from BanjoLux; the granite slab came from Acero, another great store here in Aruba. Acero will cut and drill the granite to your specs. As long as you order by Tuesday afternoon, it’s usually ready by Saturday at noon. So, here’s a look at that sink.

I had to install a temporary plastic drain beneath the basin until I get a chrome one cut to order. No big deal. It works fine. I’ll install a pair of wooden doors beneath the granite, too. On the far wall, closest to the final drain to the septic, sits the toilet as shown here.

 The room does have a bit of the “corridor” feel, but I had to use what was there and did the best I could. Above the toilet I installed a new window to get some more light into the room.

My wife has picked out some great furniture pieces: an armoire-like unit for towels and things, a rack for toilet paper, and some clay pots and such to bring this bathroom up to snuff. Can’t wait to put them into place over the coming weeks.

Well, that’s a look at the finished product. I kept the horror photos out. Actually, there weren’t many problems with this project and I had the help of two very competent guys who can lay tile in surprisingly creative ways along crooked walls. I was impressed with their talent. The results speak for themselves.

Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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Spanish Tile

The name of this post should really be Spanish Tile, Part 1. There are so many fantastic examples of Spanish tile both in Spain and around the world that someone could easily earn a doctorate in the subject. I pulled a few examples from my photos taken within the country, basically representative examples of a few of the most traditional forms. Let’s start with this one, the mural at a restaurant.

I like the picture of the travelers on the little coach with the two guys following. Just out of the frame is another explanation about the place, in case the image doesn’t do the job. Murals like this are all over Spain. They liven up the street without the garishness of neon signs. Let’s take a look at another one.

Here you have a much more impressionistic piece of tile work. The glamour lady invites you in from the street. Subtle. Nice. And not bad advertising either. A more traditional front might look like the following:

The place above is looking a little worse for the wear. A few tiles are missing but the name lives on above the door. The monochrome scheme works well, though, and I would venture to say the person who created those tiles did quite a bit of work back in the day.

To my surprise, I found numerous Irish Pubs in Spain. This place, La Fontanilla, may use the term “taberna” but they aren’t shy about announcing the fact that Guinness is served inside. The fountain mural on the left is quite clear as to meaning. The woman on the right, is a bit confusing to me. Are they suggesting there are rooms to rent for weary women travelers? I’m not sure. Sometimes, you’ll see famous works of art recreated in tiles like this. I’ve seen works by el Greco, Picasso, and others recreated in tile and mounted on the outside of buildings in various places around Spain.

This is one of the great things about visiting Spain. There are millions of little discoveries like this, things that make the country eternally interesting and beautiful.

Published in: on July 17, 2008 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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