Want to give your backyard birdies some upscale digs? Try these sweet birdhouses from Anthropologie. Modeled after iconic homes in Philadelphia, each birdhouse designed by Austin + Mergold is meant to inspire ruminations on the ways in which we share our space with urban birds and how their habitats are strikingly similar to our own. As you might imagine, they’re not exactly inexpensive as birdhouses go and they may not bring you as much enjoyment as this modern birdhouse, but they certainly do look sharp!
If you’re looking to spruce up your home’s exterior on the cheap, why not upgrade your front door’s knob to something a little cuter? There are sweet vintage doorknobs and painted ceramic doorknobs and other fun options to choose from. Here are two of my favorites – the beautiful blue doors are pretty sweet, too!
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How amazing are these images of Detroit’s downtown captured by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre? It seems like a ghost town or the corpse of a city – and an eerie reminder of Detroit’s glory days, since so many of the structures they photographed are were obviously magnificent in their heyday.
Like so many of the visuals that comes out of this sad city, it’s depressing. But still kind of hauntingly beautiful.
You can see these and more in Marchand and Meffre’s book Ruins of Detroit – which is the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.
The cute all apparently got sucked into Martha’s Vineyard, where there are more than 300 dainty rainbow-hued Victorian-style cottages with elaborate balconies, turrets, cornices, and gables with all manner of adorable details.
This is the Oak Bluffs neighborhood – formerly campgrounds for Methodist church group retreats, the houses themselves were built in the mid-1800s by members of the church community and to this day surround a open-sided wrought iron tabernacle that seats thousands.
Color abounds here, as do themed embellishments like balcony cut-outs shaped like everything from gingerbread men to grapes to Martha’s Vineyard itself. And the houses, of course, wear their colors and cut-outs with pride, sporting names like Sea Shrimp Cottage and Big Enuf.
The one downside to all the tooth-melting sweetness you’ll find in Martha’s Vineyard is that the gingerbread cottages are often (though not always) extremely close together. I’m talking about distances like six inches between exterior walls – you might as well be living in a townhouse.
How cute is this white crested treeswift birdhouse from Anthropologie? Furthermore, it’s weatherproof and it’s cast from the Balinese baskets that hold betel nuts, which are offered to visitors as a sign of hospitality. And even better, it’s on sale for only $19.95! Alas, with renovations finally underway, I cannot simply buy any birdhouse that strikes my fancy, but if you happen to be in the market for a birdhouse for a special little bird, why not snap this one up in my stead?
Worried about what the neighbors will think because you’ve been thinking about painting the trim around your front door a sedate purple? Don’t. Your neighbors should just be happy you’re not taking it all the way, like uber-crafter Violette Clark, whose “spirit and artistic drive are completely uncontrollable” and who paints “whatever object falls beneath her gaze.” All right, so my chosen quotes make her sound a bit… wacky? But she’s really awesome, especially if a marker for awesomeness is doing whatever you want to do when it comes to your house and car.
Doing what you want to do – neighbors be damned – might even lead you down the path to a new life, as it did for Violette.
[She] always loved color, but she began saturating her home with it following the break-up of her marriage 14 years ago.
“When I went off and bought my own cottage, it was as if someone had given me a crayon and said I could do anything I wanted,” she says. “It was liberating. You don’t have to consider everybody else you live with.”
Embracing what she calls her “inner eccentric friend” has opened many doors for Clark.
Like creation a successful program of classes and workshops… writing a book… and generally getting famous within her chosen sphere. Pretty awesome to think that all that started with her painting her cottage’s doors!
Living, as I do, in a town where enough of the houses have remained relatively unchanged (outside, at least) from their construction in the early 1800s and late 1700s, I see a lot of real wood shutters. Real wood shutters on hinges that actually work, I mean. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of houses sporting vinyl shutters nailed directly into siding (wood and otherwise)… this includes *shudder* my own little Cape. Please trust me when I say we’re going to take care of this, but we’re focusing on the inside of the house where we, ya know, actually live first before doing much to the exterior. And yet, knowing as I do that we’ll eventually rip off the faded vinyl siding to expose the original wood shingles underneath and replace the ugly faux shutters with cute real ones that actually work, I am still mortified when I look at my house and see something like this:
What I much rather see is something a bit more like this:
Real shutters rock for so many reasons, not the least of which being that you can move them to clean behind them so wasps don’t have a chance to set up shop. Real shutters can be used for privacy and shade, and they just look nicer, being to scale (unlike oddly small vinyl shutters that wouldn’t even cover the window if they worked) and having all manner of nice hardware.
So why am I not rushing out right now to order custom wood shutters along with the appropriate hardware? Because custom wood shutters can be rather expensive – whether you’re talking board & batten, louvers, or panels, you’re talking $100 per half a shutter (ouch). The good news is that The Beard and I are finally getting off our butts and starting to do renovations that go beyond painting – think hanging drywall and so on – so we’re feeling pretty good about our ability to make our own working wooden board & batten shutters once we start tackling the outside of the house.