Still rad after all these years.
Monday, June 30, 2008
While our cabin is small, the bedroom is large, too large for my comfort. It is my least favorite room in the place, and thus it has been neglected. I am about to start work in there and wanted to share my inspiration images.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
And so for almost a year we worked…
…visiting kitchen showrooms the client insisted she loved that would make your skin crawl. Cheap materials. Poor planning. High pressure sales. Trying to make their plastic lacquer and fake wood work for us…
….deciding on custom cabinets, stained a lovely walnut. Cabinets (from local woodworkers!) to the ceiling for extra storage, counters in marble (from local suppliers!), shelving for her pottery collection in stainless steel (from IKEA…we’re practical after all!!)
And then I made the biggest mistake of my professional career. I brought her to our local green peddler, Build It Green, amazing expansive warehouse space filled with salvage items for just about any building project. We were looking for something to use as a work table, an island. A stainless part? A salvage kitchen bit? An old science lab table?
And then she spotted The Kitchen. It looked, even to my trained eye, like a large game of culinary Tetris. Counters, cabinets, islands, screws, hinges, and doors heaped on top of one another. It was clearly a kitchen of impressive means: Italian pedigree, fine woods, stainless steel counters with built in sinks (yes, SINKS). By the looks of it, The Kitchen was meant to be a U shaped set up with an amazing island fit for royalty in the center. Space for appliances was well spaced, one item per leg. It was the perfect kitchen for a loft or perhaps a little McMansion on the island.
And my client bought it the second she saw it. I begged her not to- I stood dazed that she was throwing out a YEARS worth of work to be green. I explained the ramifications, but the seemingly low price and oh, the GREEN of it all- I want to be green, we should all be green!!- took over her better judgment.
The contractor and I have had several meetings now, trying to figure out how The Kitchen is going to work in the clients 60 sq. ft. kitchen, when clearly it wants more like 400 sq. ft. to really work. We cannot find parts, and these kitchens are not stocked in America. The contractor will have to take it off site to cut down or alter most pieces. And, frankly, at the end of the day, I just don’t think it’s going to look that good or function any better than the horrible layout the client has now. The proportions are wrong, we’ve had to remove the dishwasher, and the client may have to settle for a 24” stove so that the behemoth pieces can be used. And we have not even started to install The Kitchen yet. It is still sitting in her living room, where its been for many months. And let’s not even talk about the cost of shipping, installing, and altering The Kitchen.
And people wonder why it’s so hard to be green? I don’t.
This morning, despite the fact that it is almost July, it is cold and foggy here in the woods. The only thing that cheered me at all (other than my coffee) was these prints I found in dazeychic's etsy shop. Please visit and read her bio...it seems that her darling personality really comes through her art.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
My father is a plant physiologist and deserves full credit for my sensitivity to the environment. My whole life he has helped me to understand the interconnectedness of all living organisms as well as helping me to see how much beauty can be experienced through the simple act of observing nature. A few years ago he and his wife bought a plot of land in Central Pennsylvania that they plan to build a home and live out their days on. Over the past few years they have planted trees and nurtured mushrooms on the land in preparation to build. They finally have a set of plans and are starting to build, and I am eager to help in anyway that I can.
In addition to solar panels and wind turbines, they are using as many locally found materials as possible to construct their "Ecotopia". I am helping with surfaces and finishes, and today I am sharing one of the materials that I proposed they use in their baths, Vetrazzo, a material made using recycled glass. The examples below are made with windshields, windows from demolished homes and glass food containers.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Enter Pamela Sunday. My love of all things science (yes, yes, geek indeed) caused immediate love. Giant ceramic atom structures? Yes! But, it's not just the science, of course, it's also the art. The texture, the scale, and palate all drew me in and had me commin' back for more. I can actually see using these pieces in a client's home or in my own. They're not hoaky or gimmicky. They seem like they could easily mingle amongst the everyday items that most of us have.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
My partner and I are currently in the process of buying a house, and although it is very exhilarating, it is also very emotionally and physically exhausting. If you have ever been in this process you will know exactly what I am talking about. The never ending twists and turns of compromises and firm decisions. The caring enough to make an offer but not caring enough to be crushed when you find upon inspection day the foundation to be completely unstable. The decision of neighborhoods (gay friendly? liberal? "hip" ?) while worrying about the price tag (of course I would love to live in Northwest - but that Million Dollar price tag is a LITTLE bit over our budget).
It seems as though the only thing keeping me going is my endless "scope of imagination" (as Anne Shirley would place it), and my sudden inspirations of ways to "design" our "house of dreams" (okay, that phrase should really be our "house of livable compromises which someday may be built into the house of dreams"). So enough of this talking already, what I'm really attempting to get at is my point: the direction I am taking my angle of this blog is in my house inspiration, construction, and design. What better focus to have but within the realm of my own life?
I start with my partner and my first inspiration: the retro cabin.
Yes, yes, when one thinks "cabin" those horrible "Roughing It In Style" decor, filled with wooden carved bears and trout fishing curtains.
That's where we need to focus on the word RETRO.
At her cabin in the Bradshaw Mountains in Arizona
Of course this style doesn't actually come at a "cheap" cost these days.
Okay, I also love these:
Now the only question is: what the hell do I call this new style?
Case in point:
"english black tea is thrown overboard tangled in brackish seaweed
yesssss.... or what about:
Opium Den Candle
"collapse into a languid, hazy cloud and submit to smoldering resins, opiates and tobacco"
Other creative scent combos include Coney Island (sea air and popcorn,
anyone?) and Tincture of Winchester (resins, gun powder, wood stock- of
Wood Plank Flooring:
ok, ok, it's not really wood planks at all, but a great water tolerant ceramic from Cypress Trading! Normally I would not go for such things, but the texture and coloration is great, and both the client and I LOVE it! I'm excited for the balance of the star pendant with oil rubbed bronze and this chocolate floor with all the pop of nickel. Each plank is installed just like its wood counter part (thin, thin grout!!) in planks that are 4' by 3" wide. Holla.
Brushed Nickel Accents:
The client has been calling this piece his "well" and I love it. This vintage feel faucet will go well with his pedestal sink and had oodles of charm for only $149. I'm focusing on objects and materials that look and feel "found" and not newly produced for suburban america. This faucet fits the bill perfectly. While I have my issues with mixing oil rubbed bronze (all lighting) and nickel (all fixtures) I think we'll be able to do it with lots of style if we just pay attn to the details (multi hued flooring, keeping everything on the same plane the same finish, etc...)