Tag Archives: Architecture

Magnolia Pearl was a jewel more like diamond in the rough


When something you see on the side of the road causes you to turn around and double back, you know it must be something special.

magnolia-pearl-frontMagnolia Pearl was one of those surprising delights on the road taken recently. This magnificent building is new, believe it or not, built entirely from reclaimed wood. It’s the flagship store for Magnolia Pearl, a women’s clothing line I would described as distressed, wrinkled and ruffly (it’s not cheap either; T-shirts start at $95). While the clothing was not my cup of tea, the building was amazing and aptly mirrored the designer’s aesthetic.

Described on its website, the “old German grain barn-style building” reflects the architecture of nearby Fredericksburg, a quaint German nestled in the rolling hills of Texas wine country.


Even the office looked inviting. The interior was decorated with a fantastic mix of sleek industrial and beat-up antique pieces.

When you walk inside, you’re surprised by the openness and light. It’s built exactly like a house might be (if you ever built a barn to live in). There’s a kitchen, and the bathrooms all have bathtubs.”Among our store’s grand architecture is a hand-crank platform elevator that was used in the late 1800s in an old cotton mill,” the website says. Looked like work to raise, but that elevator was a beautiful addition to the environment, not an eyesore. I saw a recently engaged couple getting their picture taken on the stairway, it was that picturesque.

The old oaks surrounding the building encouraged the illusion that it had been there forever. Magic had been worked there.


Airy porches filled three sides of the building; this is the back.

Magnolia Pearl is absolutely worth a stop if ever you find yourself on Highway 290, east of Fredericksburg, Texas, and you’re looking for a new frock or some architectural inspiration.


My kind of town, Chicago is

Navy Pier has nothing on this Chicago tourist attraction.

I got this hot tip last week from a member of one of my audiences for “The ABCs of Photo Organization,” and I want to share it with my friends who might visit Chicago at some point.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a must-see stop. My parents and I visited today, and we enjoyed it immensely.

Chicago Model City Exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

The foundation has an ongoing exhibition of a 320-square-foot, three-dimensional model of downtown Chicago in its atrium gallery at 224 S. Michigan Ave. It’s a way to see all of downtown, all at once. Next door is the foundation’s gift shop, filled with all kinds of interesting inventions (such as cool ergonomic kitchen gadgets), architectural pieces (including LEGOs) and artwork (in the form of stationery and calendars).

Chicago’s real skyline, seen from the deck of a Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise.

From there, traverse eight blocks to the Chicago River and take the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. Don’t be duped by the copycats. This cruise has a volunteer docent describing the history and architecture of some of Chicago’s premiere landmarks including the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and Trump Tower. You’ll come away from the tour feeling smarter and having a much better understanding of Chicago’s skyline.

The displays at the Foundation’s headquarters are free, and the 90-minute river cruise is $38 (day of cruise).

If you’re lucky like we were, you’ll get a blue-sky day and mild temperatures. What a good day!