Friday, June 30, 2006

He Shoots He Scores.

This past Saturday night, we went to a fundraiser for a local charity, and of course they found room for the ubiquitous silent auction.

I'm a closet fan of silent auctions. I usually find something, and they benefit a nonprofit.

Once at the event, we rounded a corner, chatting amongst ourselves, and there it was. A chrome Bertoia chair.

It looked nothing like the photo above. It was covered in these terrible brown nubby fabric pads that completely hid the form of the chair, front and back.

I lifted one pad quickly to see a perfectly preserved chrome Bertoia. And no one was bidding on it.

The minimum bid was only $150, so yeah I went there without blinking an eye. Our group left a bit later, so I didn't know until yesterday that I won it.

I brought it home today, pulled off the old brown yucky pads to reveal a perfectly preserved vintage Bertoia wire chair:

And the $150 went to a great charity.

How cool is that?

I'll be ordering the Knoll replacement pad. I'm thinking white.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cool Stuff: Adrift Mobiles

Our new friends at Land+Living recently featured these cool mobiles.

Mobiles remind me of the 70's and how hot Alexander Calder was back when I was a tyke. I'm not a fan of many mobiles these days.

Except Adrift Mobiles.

They are constructed using sustainable and planet-friendly materials, they're sleek and elegant, and they provide movement to a space. I like.

We have 13 foot ceilings everywhere in the new casa. I am wondering if a mobile isn't in order.

This centric design is cool.

And I also like the vessel model.

They have a retro feel, and I like it.

So get your shag carpet on. I'm having a fondue party so we can all talk about Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Be sure to tell Barb and Ron. It wouldn't be a party without Barb's clam dip.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shopping: Online Sales!

It is summer sale time, and that's exciting when you are moving into a new home.

Our friends over at the
D Home blog in Dallas recently reported a sale at the Moma store (thanks Todd!), and I am seriously in love with this awesome spice grinder:

If you cook, please consider toasting and grinding your own spices. Fresh toasted cumin seed, ground in your own kitchen, will make you want to jump up and slap your Momma. The difference in flavor is...arresting.

wood veneer carpet is cool, although my dogs would hate me for it. They like soft.

I just received the latest
West Elm catalog and one of those annoying cards fell out onto the floor, advertising their online sale, which just started. West Elm is the retailer I want to hate but can't help but love.

For example, just look at this stunning
brushed nickel arm sconce. For 39.99. I mean really.

Ikea who? Crate and Barrel what?

Recently, our art director at work decided to completely remodel our reception area just for giggles. She did it through West Elm for about $5.47.

Look at this fab lamp for a whopping 79.99. I'd probably change the shade.

And check out this metal pharmacy cabinet for one hundred bucks.

We need something to hold folded towels, potions and lotions and other shower sundries that can literally sit inside our huge shower at the new house. I was thinking teak, but for a hundred bucks this thing might be the answer.

I'll spend the leftover $500 on more Russel Wright!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fridge Glamour Galore

Barring final inspection and punch-list delays, we should be closing on the house within two weeks. Because appliance delivery lead times are often preposterously long, we decided to buy a fridge this weekend.

Since I cook like a madman, this was a pretty weighty decision for our household.

All the kitchen appliances are Jenn-Air, so we originally planned to buy the same brand, simply for some design consistency. This model was very attractive:

However, the Jenn-Air fridges we inspected don't necessarily fit our functional needs.

While the exteriors are always stylish, some of the functions were a bit clumsy. For example, one Jenn-Air "bottom freezer" model had a pull-out freezer shelf that was not on runners or casters and, when weighted with frozen stuff, would no doubt be a pain to use. And, because of the design, you would either have to get down on your knees to access frozen food or use the "pull out shelf" that resists pulling out! Absurd.

After much soul-searching, we invested in
this model, from KitchenAid:

It is also a counter-depth fridge, so it won't stick out and look awkward in the space. I like that. (Why didn't someone come up with counter-depth fridges a long time ago? Hum?) We're also pumped about the filtered water and ice so we can give our old Brita pitcher a final rest.

Here's the inside, shown in black:

I assure you it will never be that organized or empty.

Notice the fancy footed dish full of cherries towards the top. I always keep a footed glass dish of fruit handy in the fridge, as I'm sure you do.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Project Update: Actual Kitchen.

Ladies and germs, we have a kitchen. Look at this eerie and interesting shot that I didn't intend to take. No, it wasn't snowing inside the house. Who the hell knows.

I'm thinking we'll probably have to remove the stainless backsplash and replace it with tile. Because the room is so full of light, sunny weather makes the backsplash too bright and reflective.

Heath tile would soften up the space with a handmade feel, but keep it nice-n-modern.

There are some stunning glass tiles on the market as well.

This Erin Adam's Quilt design from Ann Sacks, for example, is so beautiful I want to slap someone. I'm craving it.

We'd only need about 50 square feet of tile, so it is an area where we could splurge on some high quality goods.

It'll be fun to find the right tile for that spot.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Modern Masters: Meeting Mr. Wright, Part 2

I've posted before about Russel Wright. A lot of modernists are familiar with his work, but I've found only a few who are passionate about it. I am definitely one of the latter.

Wright's first mass-produced tabletop line, American Modern, was once the best-selling dinnerware of all time. It is prized by collectors, and for good reason. The forms are beautiful.

However, it tends to craze (a term for the vein-like lines that appear in some pottery over time) and therefore it really isn't advisable to use it on your table every day.

So, I collect Iroquois Casual China.

Iroquois Casual was launched by Russel Wright in the late 40's. It is extremely durable and can go from oven to table. I also put it in the microwave with no explosions or visible tumors.

I have three colors. Sugar White:

Avocado Yellow:

And Aqua (note the vintage photo):

(And a few pieces in oyster.)

We use the Sugar White every day. I've dropped the plates on the floor and not had them crack, break or chip. The stuff is very durable. I've put them into the oven cold, directly from the refrigerator. I've abused them in general.

I recently bought the teapot, which is one of my absolute favorite designs:

I also collect pieces from Wright's collection from Bauer, which was a very short-lived experiment in the mass-production of art pottery.

The pieces were produced in Bauer's Atlanta factory and while they were critically celebrated, not that many of them survived the kiln or made it to retail due to very heavy glazing that popped and cracked.

Check out Mr. Wright.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Design Decisions: Water Feature

Someone needs to do a book on modern water gardens, stat.

We're hell bent on some type of modern water feature at the new house. What's surprising to me is how few resources I can find online or at Amazon for serious inspiration.

The master bedroom window faces the courtyard. We want the water feature to be visible from inside that window and completely respect the architecture of the house.

And I'm thinking of something along the lines of this. But ignore the palm. Way too Miami for Austin, Texas:

A simple concrete trough deep enough for some fish and a few cool plants, with some water movement, whether through a fountain or bubbler or whatever.

I'm desperately searching for inspiration. 99% of what's out there is nightmarish "natural" fish ponds that are rimmed in rocks and shaped into a fake mountain waterfall. Horrible.

Some inspiring photos I've found around the web:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Inspiring Houses: eXtra-eXtra small house

The eXtra-eXtra small house by Dekleva Gregoric Arhitekti. At about 460 square feet, this house packs a lot into an extremely tight space.

eXtra-eXtra-Small House is located in a highly protected historical area.

The architect's task was to integrate all residential functions into an extra small volume and to bring sunlight to the living spaces on the ground floor through the roof openings and indirect sunlight.

The house is an urban weekend home for a couple living in the country, and I'm sure it functions beautifully for that purpose.

Check it out.

I'm Never Leaving the Bathroom.

I really hope we can get a wireless signal in there so I can get some work done.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Update: We have Switches and Outlets

When your house is in the final 10% stretch, you celebrate the little things.

We have light switches, and they are utterly spectacular.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Cool Stuff: Lumicor Panels

A friend in Dallas built a great modern house not too long ago and had the coolest fence installed. It complements his house beautifully, let's light into the yard, isn't too private, and is just plain neat-o.

He used panels made of

Lumicor is a resin-based panel sheeting that is available in tons of finishes.

There are basic textures and rice-paper like designs, but I am most enamored with the botanicals, which are actual leaves and plant parts encased in resin. Fantastic.

The application options are extensive, including backsplashes, sliding doors, counters, furniture, sink bowls and all kinds of sundries.

Scratches can be buffed/sanded out, similar to many of the solid surface materials out there. It is half the weight of glass and comes in standardized sizes, similar to plywood.

If Russel Wright were around today, he'd be digging Lumicor.

Officially On the Market

As of this morning, the other three South Center properties are on the MLS.

I've gotten a ton of emails and I certainly don't mind answering questions, but if you have specific questions or are interested in the houses, you should probably just go see them. I doubt they'll be on the market more than a few days.

Here is the listing agent's website:

If you need a buyer's agent, our realtor has been amazing, and he has an assistant to make sure someone is available 24/7:

You can't buy one of these properties unless you have a habit of baking cookies and delivering them to your neighbors. I'm serious.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Shopping: Bamboo Coil Screen

This screen is reminiscent of the Eames plywood screen and is made of sustainable bamboo.

And at only $298, that's a lot of badass for the buck.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

On the Market

The other three houses in the set are not yet on the open market, but the listing agent has placed signs and flyers out front, so I feel comfortable sharing.

Tarek, the listing agent, asked me not to blog about them until they were ready to accept contracts.

Property Address: 900 South Center Street, 78704.

Prices: about $375,000 to $382,000


There are a lot of modern homes going in to this area. A Metrohouse is around the corner and two modern duplexes are being built just down the street on Garden Villa.

I'm not obliged to publish Tarek's phone number, but if you are interested, shoot me an email at the link in my blogger profile and I'll let you know.

Project Update: Appliances and Countertops

I went by the site earlier today, and there are appliances going in. Two of the houses have countertops. And, some cool landscaping is being installed.

Woo Woo.

This is a bath in one of the back houses. The countertop is a white flecked Dovae that looks really great in person.

Stainless JennAir kitchen appliances with a stainless steel backsplash across the back wall (the protective film is still on it, and we hope it stays on there until the end).

You can just barely make out the white flecked Silestone counters in upper left of the photo below, along with a glimpse of the big stainless steel sink in the island.

Our house will have black flecked Silestone for the kitchen counters and white for the baths. I think the white will look great with the glass tile in our master bath.

And here are a few landscaping photos. This cool concrete block wall was installed on our house this week, and they were installing plants early this afternoon:

A berm being created between our house and the one behind:

And a cool shot of the left back house with a nice palm that was just installed:

We're getting excited.

Eye Candy: Some More Shots

Here are a few more shots of the mini-development, just for fun.

These are earlier in the build.

This house is directly behind ours:

This one is caddy-corner to ours on the property and next to the house shown above:

And this house is at the front of the property, across from ours:

Here's a back view:

And here's the front of ours. It is likely that we'll end up changing that yellow finish on the front section to something a bit more organic. We'll tackle that when we can. You have to ignore the construction trailer and imagine the section behind it finished in wood: