Thursday, July 27, 2006

Eye Candy: Sofa Unbound

Our sofa was delivered today from DWR. We ordered it exactly one week ago. Not bad!

When I first saw it, sitting alone in the great room, I somehow felt strangely violated.

We haven't brought in many pieces of furniture and I've come to enjoy visiting the empty, quiet white space at least once a day. It is so calming to be there. (What does that say about me? We'll think about that tomorrow.)

The sofa, at first, seemed absolutely enormous.

But after leaving it and coming back post-work (to water the new mediocre landscaping that will all be replaced eventually), I've gotten much more comfortable with it.

Now, I'm happy that we didn't order something smaller.

I'm making sense now and the feelings of abuse have passed.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Project Update: Landscaping, Sofa Ordering, Window Coating

Busy busy busy.

We're busy little bees.

We're meeting with two design/build companies to design the back courtyard and fence/wall/enclosure. I'll intersperse some photos that inspire me, although they are not exactly what we want.

We've met with Jackie Nadler from Seed Garden Design and we'll meet with Mark Word tomorrow. Both of them are up and coming garden designers who can easily create something that compliments the design of the house.

We decided to go with a landscaper rather than use the original architects because we want someone who will deeply explore and understand the planting possibilities in the design of the space.

In short, we like plant people.

We'll make a final decision on the landscaper tomorrow night, I think.

We also ordered the Bantam Sofa from Design Within Reach.

It should be delivered before Friday. I'll post photos.

And, this morning before work I met with a window film guy about having some UV film applied to one west-facing window and some frost film applied to our front door and just a few other key locations for privacy's sake.

I don't want window coverings, but we do have a few privacy issues we need to address. Frosted window film, which will make the glass look sandblasted and create a safety coating, sounds like the answer. I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Night Photos.

We made the commitment that, whenever we visit the house for any reason, we'll throw some stuff into our car and move it in.

Last night we went out to dinner and put some blankets, un-installed artwork and a few chairs into the car and visited the house afterwards.

It was the first time we've been there at night.

The house looks even better at night, with the recessed lighting and outdoor lights. Here are a few photos, although I'm very disappointed in the digital camera was not cooperating.

And here's a photo of my vintage refurbished Bertoia wire chair with new cushion from DWR. I posted about it before. Turned out nice, huh?

We think we've found our landscape architect. More to come on that front tomorrow.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Project Update: The Little Things

Is it pathetic to get really excited over a refrigerator?

The filtered water and ice alone sends me into orbit, and I haven't even used it yet.

Goodbye, Brita water pitcher....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Project Update: Finished House Photos

New photos, taken today.

The great room, facing the den, hallway and front door. I'm looking for something really cool to put in that corner to the left of the entrance wall. Maybe an etagere.

And this one is looking in the opposite direction, standing in the doorway to the den. The dining area will be near the alcove.

I can't for the life of me get a decent shot of the den. It is hard to get in the right position. This is the best I can do, and I was literally splayed on the concrete floor. It is certainly intimate. We'll have enough room for a comfy sofa, a comfy chair, a drinks table or two and a media cabinet.

The guest room, with a rectilinear window looking out to the courtyard.

And, with a window looking out to some old overgrown shrubs on the service side of the home.

Another shot of that horizontal window.

Now to the master bedroom, where you can see what we've already dubbed the cat's window. I promise you we'll have to move his food bowl next to it. He'll be mesmerized.

A bedroom window facing the courtyard. We hope that a future water feature will fit right outside that window.

And, every house has a few quirks, right? Here is ours:

That cubby is about 4.5 feet deep and 2 feet wide. And, it is in the guest bathroom. It is completely finished and flawless from floor to ceiling with no hint of function. The architect's plans supposedly didn't specify it as a closet, but an open space. We're in a quandary over what to do with it. An enormous sculpture? An aviary? Several sets of snowskis? A one-person sauna? Choices, choices.

And, some exterior shots.

The end of the master "wing", with cat window.

A different angle to the interior courtyard.

The entire back side of the house.

And last, the front. You better bet that we're changing that yellow on the stucco wall.

The yellow clashes with the wood trim on the right. A darker color would make the warm wood pop. I'm leaning toward a nice aubergine or gray/sage/green.

The front entrance.

And just for fun, a nice photo of one of the other houses in the foursome. This one is almost finished and the only one still on the market. Its lot includes the big trees.

Tomorrow: fridge delivery. Pray that it fits.

Tuesday: Meeting our first landscape architect. Lots of fun to come on that front.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Design decisions: Sofa Conundrum

We're in the upholstered furniture market.

Our new place needs a sofa and chaise, sofa and daybed, or sofa and two chairs. Or possibly two sofas, facing one another.

We're putting the living area in what the architects designated as the dining area. The space is a little constricting, so every inch in length and depth will count. However, we really want our living area floating in the middle of the main room, in front of the windows, rather than back against a wall. We can't buy a sofa longer than 75 inches, maximum.

They'll live right here, perpendicular to the wall of glass, with our cocktail table in between.

I don't get too excited about upholstered furniture.
I've posted about it before. Whether I spend $800 or $3000, upholstered pieces seem to lose their luster after about 3 years. And reupholstering is expensive these days and can cost as much as the original piece.

So, when it comes to buying upholstery, I'm all about value. I'll spend my money on lasting things like our cocktail table, designed by the master
Ludwig mies van der Rohe.

For about a thousand bucks, it will never, ever go out of fashion. I'll have it until the day I go to modernist heaven.

After a whole lot of retail sleuthing, we've narrowed it down to the following pieces.

Room and Board have some nice pieces that are very affordable. We originally thought this sofa and matching daybed were the answer.

I like the fact that they are the same exact length and would lend a very quiet, subtle look to the room. They are also available in about 8 different solid colors.

However, the finish on the pieces is a little casual. No welting. Not very tailored. The cushions look like they'd get lumpy and mushy pretty quickly.

Then, there's this diminutive guy, also from Room and Board.

At only 65 inches wide it's bigger than a loveseat and smaller than a standard sofa. It would certainly fit the space. And, at only $849 it is quite the bargain.

And finally, we've been tire-kicking this little number from Design Within Reach.

At 73.5 inches, it approaches the max on size, but it could still work. We just wouldn't be able to put a table on both ends, I think.

We like it in this fabric, which is a gray/sage/taupe stripe.

It looks a little chartreuse from a distance.

Today we went to the house with fabric swatches, spec sheets and measuring tape and tried to make a final call. We attempted impromptu cocktail table and sofa shapes out of leftover paper floor protectant, without scissors. We're crafty.

And we decided on the DWR model. The fabric won us over, along with the button tufting. Once we decided that it would fit, the choice was easy. It's a good looking sofa.

We'll look around for a few more days to make sure there's nothing we haven't unearthed within the size limit, but we're feeling pretty good about the decision.

Now I just have to find something to sit across from it. A cool vintage piece would be welcome.

Friday, July 14, 2006

We Own a New Home.

This morning at approximately 8:45 a.m., our hands were cramped, our carpal-tunnel syndrome was flaring up and our minds were awash with visions of 30-year debt.

We had signed all 2,387 pages of our closing documents and were the proud owners of our new modern home.

It is officially ours.

At lunch, we drove over there, turned the key, and entered in silence. We both walked from empty white room to empty white room, flipping light switches, turning on faucets, opening cabinet doors and looking up at skylights. All basically in silence.

The floors are satiny smooth, the walls are pristine, the windows sparkle. I have the urge to leave it just as it is, keep our rental, and simply go visit it from time to time.

I suppose there should be an over-the-top Whoopeeeee! moment. It will likely happen the morning after we move in and take our first sip of Whole Foods' Pacific Rim blend coffee in our first (and definitely not last) modern house.

More photos coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Great Stories: The Southern Bulb Company

The Goddess that runs D Home magazine in Dallas recently posted about The Southern Bulb Company and a New York Times piece all about it.

She wasn't exaggerating when she called this great story.

25-year old Chris Wiesinger, fresh out of a college internship, started an heirloom bulb company in the tiny East Texas town of Mineola, focusing on bulbs that thrive in the hot, humid Southern climate.

Most flowering perrieniel bulbs are imported from the Netherlands and simply aren't suited to our climate here in the South...or will suffer while adjusting to it. This guy focuses on bulbs that are prepared to thrive in our part of the world.

One doesn't encounter many 25-year old guys with a passion for heirloom flowering bulbs. We don't really see this as a trend. Which makes the story that much more intriguing and inspiring.

Hopeful, even.

Read it. Then buy a few bulbs. I'll be planting spider lilies.

My grandmother (in East Texas no less) had them. I've always loved them.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Random Posts: More New House Photos

A few more new images.

Another view of the back courtyard, which will be changed dramatically with landscaping.

From the kitchen looking toward the front door and the den on the left.

I've not shown any photos of the den, which is cozy and cool. It has good window placement. I'll work on that.

Here is an extremely uninspiring photo of the guest bathroom (the one with green glass tile) looking from the tub to the counter.

The guest bedroom, which has a long, narrow window looking out to the courtyard to the left, but not visible in this crap photo.

Hallway from the master bedroom to the master bathroom, with walk-in closets on either side. We consider this pure luxury.

Back hall to the guest suite. I think I'm a rare breed in that I like hallways.

And here's one of the Cute Sig Other checking out cabinets. The dining area is to his right.

These aren't quite as inspiring, but they show the rest of the house.

So there.

Inspiring Houses: The Dwell Homes/Resolution:4

We've written before about The Dwell Homes, a set of prefab homes designed by three different architects and manufactured by Empyrean. First, we explored the Flatpack House by Lazor Office.

Let's look at the home offered by
Resolution:4 Architecture.

The firm is based out of Manhattan and rode the first wave of the new prefab movement. At the beginning, Resolution:4 offered modern modular components that could be arranged in hundreds of configurations.

Dwell magazine's first dwell home commission was awarded to Resolution:4 and the design and build process was documented in successive issues of the publication. This project was dubbed "arguably the most high profile modern prefab house in America" by The Washington Post.

The floorplans.

The lower floor is composed of a living/dining/kitchen area that is rather compact, with a separate study/den behind the service core. Across the covered parking area is a flexible space that could be used for storage, a studio or workshop.

The upper floor includes expansive decks, a master suite, guest bedroom and yet another den/media room/flex space.

At over 2600 square feet, this Dwell Home has a love of living space, both indoor and outdoor. And plenty of flexible space as well. The downstairs study could easily be used as a third bedroom and the studio is completely open for interpretation, although it doesn't have plumbing utilities.

I admire the expansive decks and the ample square footage of the home. The house would interact with the outdoors and would be well suited to a rural or wooded setting.

However, I'm troubled by the fact that the living areas of the home are so chopped up. I don't know about you, but we live and entertain in the areas closest to the kitchen, and the main living/dining/kitchen area of this house seems remarkably cramped for 2600 square feet. I could see the upstairs media room gathering dust a great deal of the time and the studio becoming one big junk room.

That said, the fact that this house was actually erected and is being lived in is commendable and exciting. There are a lot of prefab homes on the market. However, you don't see many that actually get built.

And that's why the Dwell home was the most high-profile prefab house in America. It actually exists outside of paper and ink.

We'll explore the 3rd Dwell home soon.