design

Airport Codes, Decoded

This is too cool: Airportcod.es,В a site dedicated to the backstories of airports’ three-letter abbreviations.

Airport Codes

I’ve always loved searching for flights and discovering my final destination’s airport code. Some are self-explanatory: LHR, MIA.

Others have made me think, whaaaaaaaaa??—likeВ MSY for New Orleans, EZE for Buenos Aires. (Click the images below, if you’re curious!)

MSY

EZE

I’m glad that I now have an easy place to go to demystify them. Airportcod.es currently hasВ 369 airports from 91 countries, and the sites’ designers/developers, Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn are adding more each day.

Awesome Aerial Views of Airports

I don’t particularly enjoy the in-flight experience, but I do have an affinity for airplanes. They are, after all, the vessels that can take us anywhere in the world.

I have a pretty bad case of wanderlust, at the moment, so I’m particularly loving Holding Pattern, a wonderful Tumblr that showcases awesome aerial views of airports. It’s a side project from Lauren O’Neill, a Brooklyn-based designer and art director.

As she describes it:

During layovers, I often find myself observing the activity on the runway and thinking that I’d love to see this from above. With a creative block on a project, I took to google mapping airports and was enamored by the beautiful satellite shots on my screen. Since then, wanderlust has often inspired me to get lost in the satellite imagery of various destinations even when I’m glued to my desk.

O’Neill seeks out and crops all theВ Holding PatternВ images—and they’re stunning to behold:

RVV, French Polynesia, via Holding Pattern

RVV

CPH, Denmark, via Holding Pattern

CPH

MAD, via Holding Pattern

MAD

BOS, via Holding Pattern

BOS

ATL via Holding Pattern

ATL

(Images viaВ Holding Pattern; found via Chris Guillebeau)

Hurricane-Proof Beach Houses

I’ve mentioned a few times that one of my goals is to buy a beach house.

There are fewer places where I’m happier, than on a beach. (From the number of posts on the subject, I think that’s pretty clear!) And while I frequent the New York beaches each summer, it’s a long haul for me to get to any of them. My dream is to be able to spend most summer weekends at my own place, in a nearby beach town.

I’m not envisioning anything fancy. Just someplace bright, airy, and relatively quiet.

I do know the risks that come with owning a beach house, though. Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast’s seaside towns hard. Lots of areas are still recovering—including LBI, where I recently vacationed.

Knowing that, I’ve been poking around the web to see what can be done to help beachfront homes survive hurricanes. In the process, I stumbled upon two very different, but gorgeous, houses built to withstand natural disasters.

This seaside cottageВ sits on Hunting Island, off the coast of Maine.В The stones on the exterior walls came from the island. I love the juxtaposition of the rocks and weathered wood…

rustic exterior

…and how the home is just a few steps from the water!

rustic porch

That proximity to the ocean puts the house in a FEMA flood zone, which meant it had to built to code. Design firm, the Knickerbocker Group, oversaw the project: making sure vents could handle rushing floodwaters, ensuring that all wood was rot-proof, installingВ electrical wiring at least three feet off the floor. And that metal rod running along the roof, inside the living room? That’s to keep it from blowing off during a bad storm.

rustic living room

Scary to even think of that. Though I imagine falling asleep on most nights, listening to the sound of waves, makes the risk worth it.

rustic bedroom
On the other end of the design spectrum, is this Tsunami House, fromВ Design Northwest Architects,В on Washington’s Camano Island, in the Puget Sound.

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It, too, was built to FEMA code. The lower level is an expansive patio and seating area…

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…but since it would likely be underwater in the event of a hurricane, the main living space is nine feet above ground.

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The structure was built to withstand 85 mph winds and earthquakes.

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At first, I was really wowed by the Tsunami House. But after seeing the stone cottage, I feel like that’s more my style: simple and rustic yet elegant. Either way,В it’s inspiring—and encouraging—to see what can be done within strict flood zone codes.

Which house do you prefer?

(Images of the stone house via Houzz;В images of the Tsunami House by Design Northwest Architects, found via Weather.com)

NYC by Night, On a Scarf

Last year, I posted a stunning photo of NYC by night:

NYC by night

It was taken by NASA in March 2013. The picture astounded me. I was amazed at how clearly you can see the gridded streets that make up the city, along with the bridges that connect the boroughs.

Today I stumbled upon an NYC-based design company who was just as inspired by that image:В Slow FactoryВ creates silk scarves from NASA’s aerial city photos—including the one above:

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They also have scarves printed with images ofВ Paris, the USA and London (below) by night.

london by night

Just stunning.

(Top image by NASA, bottom by Slow Factory; found via SwissMiss)

A National Parks Checklist Map

When I was growing up, national parks weren’t really on my radar. I come from a very-NYC family—i.e. not outdoorsy—and our summer vacations usually involved relaxing on an east coast beach, rather than hiking trails.

And as I got older, I preferred to spend my vacation days exploring new countries rather than stateside attractions.

But over the past few years, I’ve found myself wanting to visit more national parks. I’m astounded by the diverse landscapes that exist in this country—everything from beaches to volcanoes, mountains to deserts. I’ve started to make up for lost time by visiting some, like the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Volcanoes National Park.

I’d like to see many more. Which is why I’m loving this National Parks Checklist Map by ElloThere, an awesome, Brooklyn-based, husband-and-wife design team.

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The map shows all the national parks, which are denoted by numbered green trees.

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It comes with numbered gold tree stickers—so after you visit one, you can mark it off.

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A cool whimsical extra: The map also comes with a little explorer’s patch!

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I feel like I may need to plan a national park trip soon…

(Images via Ello There)