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Take a look inside Japanese-inspired NYC unit once home to Keira Knightley

Oriental influences all throughout this beauty

Japanese-style sliding doors in Keira Knightley's former NYC home. Image credit: Keller Williams[/caption]

For seven years, it languished on the market. Now a hip New York duplex once rented by Keira Knightley has found a taker.

Leased out to the “Collateral Beauty” actress for USD45,000 a month in 2015, the 3,820-square-foot pad along Tribeca’s Jay Street was sold January at USD6 million.

The study is divided from the other room with Japanese-style sliding doors. Keller Williams[/caption]

The listing previously asked for USD6.6 million, whittled down from the original asking price of USD8.4 million in 2009.

The current owner is a “fabric designer, painter and sculptor,” the New York Post reported.

The pad's striking cast-iron, mahogany staircase. Keller Williams[/caption]

More: Luxury Australia rentals for mystery pop star on tour

Knightley’s former home comes with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. On top of a dining bar that sits seven, the property offers a chef’s kitchen. The outdoor patio, which stretches for 900 square feet, is equipped with a day bed. Ceilings are impressively high, climbing 23 feet.

The spa-like bathroom has cream tiles and frosted shower rooms. Keller Williams[/caption]

Sculptures abound in the unit. One, framed by concrete columns with back-lit plexiglas panels, stands five feet tall in the patio. A cast-iron sculpture also helps anchor the elevated foyer.

[caption id="attachment_61483" align="aligncenter" width="740"]

The chef's kitchen. Keller Williams[/caption]

Welded into the apartment is a staircase of cast-iron and mahogany, backed by an oxidised, hand-crafted copper screen. Floor-to-ceiling, Japanese-style sliding doors delineate the study, while the master bedroom has walls covered with hand-embroidered silk “in the manner of a Japanese garden,” according to a former listing. The latter leads to a spa-like bathroom.

One of the duplex's three large bedrooms, with walls inspired by a Japanese garden. Keller Williams[/caption]

Read next: 5 reasons HNW travellers are opting for luxury apartments over hotels

17 easy steps to 'food producing architecture'

The new urban farming

[caption id="attachment_61059" align="aligncenter" width="740"]Orig Growroom Space10 The original Growroom. Alona Vibe/Space10[/caption]

When IKEA’s in-house innovation laboratory Space10 released last year The Growroom, a spherical vertical garden, the company imagined it would revolutionise sustainable, local farming. Then it dawned on them that shipping such a product, on the back of thousands of gallons of jet fuel, would defeat any such hopes.

So Space10 has taken the high road. The design lab last week made building instructions to The Growroom available for free download on its website.

The open-source version of The Growroom can be made with so much as plywood (17 sheets of it), a hammer, and a CNC milling machine (alternatively, a laser cutter). The assembly takes all of 17 steps, just like most IKEA products.

Measuring 2.8 x 2.5 metres, The Growroom was designed by architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum to jut out in overlapping tiers as to maximise the plants' exposure to sunlight and moisture. The structure is ideal for communal gardening and urban agriculture, obviating thousands of food miles for residents of any neighbourhood.

More: Zen and the art of landscape gardening

"At Space10, we envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities," Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of Space10, said. "Food producing architecture could enable us to do so."

Yet, while the plants get no dearth of life-giving elements, the structure serves as a sturdy human shelter from them. At the centre of the sphere is a sitting bench: “pause architecture,” as it were, for occupants amid a high-paced societal environment, according to Space10 creators.

"We’re inviting you to step inside the growing green haven, smell and taste the abundance of herbs and plants, and hopefully it will spark passion about growing your own food in the future," Hjort said.

[gallery type="slideshow" size="large" ids="61067,61066,61065" orderby="rand"]

Read next: Singapore’s ‘plant whisperer’ on why ‘green walls’ are now a thing

China gets ready for a vertical forest revolution

Stefano Boeri is taking his signature bosco verticale around the world

Artist's impression of the vertical forest in Nanjing. Image credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti[/caption]

The bosco verticale or vertical forest, a building shrouded in thousands of trees and shrubbery, will feel right at home in China.

The father of that concept, Italian architect Stefano Boeri, is transplanting the idea in a country whose cities are in dire need of carbon-clearing, oxygen-spewing organisms. However, his engagement in China will not be a one-off.

Boeri's firm, Stefano Boeri Architetti, has been commissioned to develop entire vertical forest cities. Masterplans for these cities are already underway in Liuzhou and Shijiazhuang, Blueprint reported.

[caption id="attachment_61968" align="aligncenter" width="740"] Stefano Boeri's vertical forest in Milan, Italy. Image credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti[/caption]

“It wouldn’t just be residential towers," Boeri told BluePrint. "It will be schools, hospitals, museums, everything that makes up a city.

"It will be a vertical forest revolution.”

Two of these forested skyscrapers are already rising in Nanjing. Set for completion next year, the buildings, located adjacent to each other, are expected to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide every year and exhale around 130 pounds of oxygen every day. At 650 feet and 500 feet, the buildings dwarf Boeri’s pioneering project in Milan, two side-by-side buildings towering 250 feet and 360 feet.

https://youtu.be/j__i5uA4iWc

More: A sustainable Chinese city? There’s no such thing

“Nanjing’s buildings will have different plant species than Milan because Nanjing has different conditions and its own biodiversity, but the philosophy and approach for the buildings is the same,” Boeri said.

He is especially proud of the Italian project. "It’s an ecosystem. For every tenant, you have basically two trees, eight shrubs and 20 plants.”

A Hyatt hotel will be housed in the Nanjing buildings, in addition to offices and a museum.

Aside from China, bosco verticales are also due to sprout in Tirana, Albania and Paris. A vertical forest in Lausanne, Switzerland will begin construction in just a few weeks.

Here's Boeri speaking at length about the forested structures:

https://youtu.be/jH4Q6ddchPc

Read next: Singapore’s ‘plant whisperer’ on why ‘green walls’ are now a thing

8 tips to avoid being burgled in the age of smart homes

Even Hollywood homes are not impervious to robbery

A spate of Hollywood burglaries is a reminder that thieves are getting high-tech. Lucky Business/Shutterstock[/caption]

A spate of high-profile burglaries in recent weeks in Los Angeles is being imputed to an organized crime ring.

The Los Angeles Police Department believes that social media may have unintentionally aided the suspects in robbing the homes of Alanis Morissette, Nick Young, Nicki Minaj, and Yasiel Puig.

"It's usually a lone individual trying to service their addiction. This is different. This is organized crime," Lt. Todd Hankel of the San Fernando Valley Knock Knock Task Force tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"If you are Instagramming that you are out of the country enjoying the weather in another part of the world, that can help [them].”

Thankfully, you can also fight fire with fire, i.e. technology with technology, and good ol’ sentido común. Here’s how to avoid getting plundered, 2017-style:

Install a video monitoring system


You can stream video surveillance of your property from anywhere with smart security systems. Several smart speakers on the market come equipped with HD cameras that give you crystalline feed, 24/7, of what is going on at your house.

Lose the keys for remote door locks


Even locks can be remote-controlled nowadays. It pays dividends in terms of security to purchase keyless digital door locks, which you can set to open at certain times. You can also remotely set these locks to grant access to certain individuals only.

More: Hollywood celebs are mixing paranoia with pleasure in safe rooms

Invest in sensors


With the advent of smart homes also comes the arrival of window and door sensors. Make sure to install such sensors in big apertures of your house. If you have a doggy door, you might also consider placing one there too.

Smart-lighting the way


Today's crop of fixtures smack of sci-fi capabilities that you can use to intimidate would-be burglars. So long as you're online, you can command there be light around your property from your phone or tablet. Or you can arrange presets, letting the lights switch on and off at designated times, or pass into different hues as the day goes by. Motion lights are always a good investment, and they too can also smartly controlled.

Avoid the appearance of being away for a long period


One way thieves determine if a site is good for looting is the sight of a dusty car. Therefore, ensure that you move a parked car from time to time.

Get out of view


Your valuables should, that is. Nothing looks palatable to burglars than a brand-new, gargantuan LCD TV set beckoning them through your floor-to-ceiling windows. Blinds are there for a purpose.

Reconsider green walls


Unless you’re a celebrity who is more concerned about an unhinged stalker than a thief, reconsider those thick hedges and bushes. A house concealed from view is an open invitation to criminals. Besides, they can easily hide in those green walls. However, some plants do make for great barriers against thieves.

Put away ladders


Thieving is an inherently resourceful crime, and robbers can literally climb your housing ladder if you leave them in the yard.

Read next: Why this Miss Universe prefers to live in Thai property

 

The Trumps hire Laotian-American to decorate the White House

Michael S. Smith's successor has 'charm'

Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump before a football game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Debby Wong/Shutterstock
One of Melania Trump’s first jobs as First Lady of the US was to hire an official decorator for the White House. One name sprang to the top of the curriculum vitae file: Thammanoune Si Kannalikham.

“I am honored by the opportunity to be working with the First Lady to make the White House feel like home,” Kannalikham announced last month through WWD.

Kannalikham’s hiring followed that of Lindsay Reynolds, the FLOTUS’ East Wing chief of staff. It also comes as Trump mulls a move to the White House after her son Barron finishes the current school term.

A previous iteration of the Red Room of the White House. Robert Knudsen/Wikimedia Commons


"Mrs. Trump has a deep appreciation for the historical aspects of the White House and with Tham's traditional design and expertise, they are focusing on a seamless integration of elegance and comfort into where the President, the First Lady, and (their son) Barron will be spending their family time and calling their home," Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, acting senior adviser to the First Lady, said in a statement.

Inside the East Wing of the White House, taken June 2016. Timothy Willis/Shutterstock

Kannalikham could make the White House great again even as Melania’s husband makes the case for extreme vetting and border controls. “I can vouch for her charm,” Architectural Digest decorative arts editor Mitchell Owens said of the foreign-born interior designer, who grew up in Stockton, California, studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and worked at Ralph Lauren Home.

The few examples of her work floating around the interwebs — her website requires a private login — “suggest the low-profile designer’s take on classical but comfortable decor just might be as successful as Michael S. Smith’s private rooms were for the Obamas,” Owens wrote.

President Barack Obama looks at a mirror in the Green Room of the White House prior to an event with Community Solutions, June 30, 2009. Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

 

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