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Yesterday I strode over to the magazine rack at one of my favorite New York bookstores, Robinson Jackson, and picked up a copy of Dwell, when an attractive guy standing next to me said “our house is in there.” Slightly skeptical, I handed over the issue, he turned to page 82, and pointed out a beautiful image of a typical American colonial home, in a classic Dutch style, with a wonderful modern extension. “My boyfriend is the architect,” he expounded, gesturing to the equally attractive man in dark aviators standing next to him. “I like to put him on the spot.”

So this morning I decided to take a look at the boyfriend/architect Brian Messana’s website, and I am impressed.

The image above shows Ten Broeck Cottage in winter, surrounded by a blanket of snow. See it in summer, when the lawn is green and grassy, in the “Houses We Love” feature in the October 2008 issue of Dwell.

What a fantastic dining room table. They must have the best dinner parties here.

The oak blanks of the platform bed in the guest bedroom mirrors the salvaged 18th century wideboard flooring in the main house.

And this magnificent claw foot tub hints at the house’s long and varied past.

See more photos of Ten Broeck Cottage and more Messana O’Rorke projects at messanaororke.com

One day Rama and I started biking south from Friedrichshain, our neighborhood in Berlin. Since we don’t usually go this way, we really had no idea what we would discover. So we followed the path of the River Spree and ended up in an area called Rummelsburg where we found these incredible houses. I don’t know a thing about them, except that they’re gorgeous, and I would love to live in one someday. Or build one of my own.

Peterk Markli

On my way to Karl-Marx-Buchhandlung (the famous East Berlin book store featured in The Lives of Others), large black and white photographs caught my eye. The bookstore, I regrettably discovered had gone out of business, but just a few blocks up the grand socialist boulevard, sat a stunning gallery. No, this is not the gallery pictured, this is Im Birch School in Zurich, designed by Swiss architect Peter Märkli, and completed in 2004.

Peter Markli

I found, after parking my bike, and venturing into the clean, bright space, that the exquisite photographs that hung on the walls were of school auditoriums and campus buildings Märkli had designed. Just a small, but spacious box of a room, with a grey marble floor, the Architektur Galerie Berlin Werkraum acts as a profound backdrop to whatever lies inside.

The images above do not represent the work shown in the exhibition, but they do give an impression of the compelling minimalism that attracted me.

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