Archive - August, 2009

Regrets? I’ve Had a Few

When I was in high school, I desperately wanted my bedroom to look like this. Substantial charcoal-gray paint. Minimal furniture. Plenty of glamour. And just enough artwork and embellishment to make it so that friends who visited my bedroom would envy my limited living space.

charcoal gray bedroom

Unfortunately, I was in my teens without money or anyone to teach me the finer points of decorating and finishing a space, so my bedroom ended up looking more like a very sad goth hideout with posters and clicky-clacky hangings and all the other silly things teenagers seem to like so much. If only I had known then what I know now. C’est la vie, I suppose.

Artwatch: James D. Griffioen

feral houses

Photographer James D. Griffioen takes gorgeous and fascinating photos of little houses, lost neighborhoods, and a fresh look at everyday architecture, among other things. Things like, well, feral houses. What’s a feral house, you ask? The photog describes them thusly:

I’ve seen “feral” used to describe dogs, cats, even goats. But I have wondered if it couldn’t also be used to describe certain houses in Detroit. Abandoned houses are really no big deal here. Some estimate that there are as many as 10,000 abandoned structures at any given time, and that seems conservative. But for a few beautiful months during the summer, some of these houses become “feral” in every sense: they disappear behind ivy or the untended shrubs and trees planted generations ago to decorate their yards. The wood that framed the rooms gets crushed by trees rooted still in the earth. The burnt lime, sand, gravel, and plaster slowly erode into dust, encouraged by ivy spreading tentacles in its endless search for more sunlight.

It’s cool to see someone documenting the decay of society rather than society flourishing. Both are inevitable aspects of humanity’s control of the planet, but one is heralded while the other is, I don’t know, mourned? I thought this quote was telling: “Sometimes cities shrink. Sometimes neighborhoods get turned into something else. It’s nothing to get depressed about.” Indeed.

Oh Deer!

deer head

This trophy is just a little cheeky, no? Canadian Tristan Zimmermann, grad of Ontario College of Art and Design, invented, ahem, Plastidermy, seen here in this life-sized trophy head, lasersmithed of pure Swiss glacial acrylic. Sending $485 to A+R (a terribly fun and pricey shop) will net you a flat pack parcel of crystal clear deer head parts that are easily slotted together and mounted to the nearest wall.

Perhaps just the thing for vegetarians looking to impart their domiciles with that oh-so-American hunting aesthetic?

Good Things Come In Small Packages

caravan rental

What’s on the outside doesn’t always correspond to what’s within. This little caravan for rent doesn’t look like much until you open the door and have a peek inside at what turns out to be a surprisingly stylish interior.

caravan rental

Yes, those are the Ikea dog butt coat hooks!

caravan rental

caravan

The rental information is below, if you can read it.

caravan rental

Orange and Green — Not a Pumpkin

I never thought I could like orange and green together until I saw this kitchen in House Beautiful. After all, I am an American, and thus have been trained to associate the two colors with Halloween and its trappings. While the designer of this French country kitchen calls the color on the walls terra-cotta (and it is!) my brain still parses it as orange. But here I am loving this kitchen! Not thinking of pumpkins!

French kitchen

Do you ever have trouble disassociating yourself with common color associations, or is it just me?

A Downturn Can Be Your Upturn

If you can put up with a lot and invest yourself in your neighborhood, buying in an economically depressed area can mean getting more bang for your home-buying buck. An article in the NYT profiles economically hard-hit Flint, Michigan’s Carriage Town neighborhood, which has its issues, but is for all intents and purposes on the upswing. Once the area with the highest crime rate in the city in the 80s, it has benefited from the presence of urban homesteaders and people with a talent for renovating the many Victorian-era houses still standing on its streets.

Economic Downturn

That’s good news for buyers looking for a deal, though like I said it takes a certain degree of commitment to live in Carriage Town.

Ms. Caudell, 31, a horticulturalist, has focused her search on Carriage Town, the neighborhood where she leases a blue two-story house with pink and purple trim that she shares with three friends, paying $300 a month for her rent and utilities. Ms. Caudell hopes to find a home that won’t cost more than $50,000, including renovation expenses.

No more than fifty thousand? Makes me wish I hadn’t been so picky when it came to deciding where to live!

Economic Downturn

Then again, the new Carriage Town is still recovering from a lengthy downturn, which means that those with the fortitude to find the perfect (read: renovation-ready) home have to fend off speculators, cope with more than a few abandoned houses, and accept that code-enforcement isn’t a priority because the money just isn’t there. That said better days are obviously on the horizon for Carriage Town, as more and more dedicated neighborhood fixtures are making it their life’s work to take back the area’s former glory.

Inspiring, no?

Serious Espresso

nicole-miller-2.jpg

How cool are these? De’Longhi recently commissioned 10 professional artists, interior and graphic designers from the US and abroad to create original designs that were laser-etched on the front panels of De’Longhi’s Perfecta Fully Automatic Espresso Machines.

mario-hugo-5.jpg

The engraved Perfecta machines, produced in limited edition, are set to be auctioned to the public through eBay Giving Works from October 4-17 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Oxfam America. Expensive? You betcha, but that’s the whole point. If you think that the Artista Series will be just a wee bit out of your budget, there’s always the EC5 steam driven 4-cup espresso maker, which costs less than fifty bucks. You can’t beat that!

jonathan-calugi-6.jpg

Junk In the Trunk

When I was leaving for university, my mom and I came across a trunk when we were shopping to furnish my dorm room. It wasn’t anything fancy — not a lovely vintage steamer trunk or a handcrafted leather trunk or anything like that — but it was nice to have. Funny, it wasn’t even particularly good for hauling stuff since the handle wasn’t comfortable and it was kind of bulky. After I graduated, it languished in the basement until I moved into an apartment in Massachusetts, where it gained a new life as a coffee table after my new oversize couches made having a full-size coffee table impractical.

trunk coffee table

Now my living room is even smaller, and I’m still trying to squeeze in a good amount of furniture. That shoddy old trunk is still pulling its weight as a coffee table and as a storage space for boardgames, old Nintendo consoles, and video game cartridges. And you’d never know that we hide our secret immaturity in there, since it looks rather highbrow in an old fashioned sort of way.

trunk coffee table

Both of the above trunks are available at Pottery Barn, though I’d recommend scouring garage sales and estate sales for some old trunk lovingly battered by college students and other assorted youngins. It’ll have more character that way… and be wicked cheaper.

Pick A Purple!

As you may have seen yesterday on Manolo for the Brides, I had Pergo installed in my kitchen yesterday. I have to say I am very pleased with the results, though it rather saddens me that it looks *better* than the hardwood floors I have everywhere else, and those were refinished fairly recently. Now that the very, very ugly blue and white vinyl flooring is gone, I can finally divorce myself from the impulse to use so much blue in the kitchen. It was a little monotonous, actually, for my living room is done in two shades of blue. When we moved in, all the doorways in the kitchen and hallway were edged in dark blue to match the color of the vinyl and we didn’t bother changing it since we had planned to redo the floors before anything else in the house.

Now we are faced with a conundrum. We’re more or less committed to the idea of keeping the walls white because I like a lot of color in the kitchen, but I like it on the counters and such. We all know I love purple, so I’m leaning toward that, but The Beard is unconvinced. I was thinking that painted kitchen cabinets would provide just enough color to make things interesting. The question now is which purple? Here are some I like, as found on My Perfect Color:

Glidden Black Tulip
Glidden Black Tulip

Color Your World Purple Prince
Color Your World Purple Prince

Sherwin Williams Izmir Purple
Sherwin Williams Izmir Purple

Dutch Boy Purple Velvet
Dutch Boy Purple Velvet

Ralph Lauren Athletic Purple
Ralph Lauren Athletic Purple

Ralph Lauren Studio Purple
Ralph Lauren Studio Purple

Vote in the poll to tell me (and by extension The Beard) which purple you prefer!

A Puzzle Ready to Be Solved

colorful flooring

Sometimes working with color can take major cajones, especially when it’s not paint or a new couch you’re talking about. When it’s the floor that’s colorful, you can’t just slap on a coat or throw a rug over it when you get a little bored. You’re in it for the long haul. Colorful flooring can be anything from painted wood to linoleum . In this case, I am pretty sure designers Tham and Videgard Hansson used tinted hardwood to create rooms that flow into one another like seasons.

colorful floor

White furniture is used throughout the house, which makes a lot of sense since each individual room reflects some of the color scheme of the surrounding rooms. It’s harmonious as a whole, meaning that working with individual rooms would be difficult, if not nightmarish. Plus, white furniture lets the flooring (and walls, in case you hadn’t noticed) take center stage.

colorful floor

I think I’m in love!

Here’s the floorplan, in case you’re wondering how it all fits together:

patterned floor design

(via)

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