Thursday, March 25, 2010


We present to you the knitty gritty of the design. You know, details. Here are some thoughts on why we're doing things the way we are and what our mission is, along with some of our scrapbook clippings.

:: The Scullery
A funky blend of practicality and retro design. The laundry machines are our own reliable Danby models anchored by the salvaged cabin sink. A built-in pantry/larder, along with metal cabinets from the ReStore, and a studio-sized range complete the room. Oh yeah, and maybe a Hoosier cabinet from Antika. I adore it. Can't wait to get to work in there. [The first picture is the scullery that gave us the original idea, the next one is some features I'd like, and the last one is the style that we'd like. Also, we've heard from a lot of folks that our kitchen is too small. We don't think so and the scullery is why. It basically doubles the size of our kitchen.]

:: The Mudroom
Our current mudroom is less than 3 feet wide, causing my perpetual-bag-carrying self to constantly knock coats, hats, gaiters, boots and egg cartons (it's true) off the walls. This mudroom is perfectly dreamy with room enough to spin circles with a gym bag, salvaged lockers to hang assorted gear, and a hand-shower for muck boots and Labradors.

:: The Master Bath
It's kinda decadent, but I've always really super wanted an ofuro tub. Ours is to be the Osaka from Neptune. Slightly sunken and surrounded by corner windows. The shower is a walk-in with a step up to the tub. Some inspiration photos:

:: The Master Bedroom
Corner windows, a shoji screen wall closet, and a wool clad curl-up reading chair. All sited on the Northeast corner of the house for calming light and piney views. Although rumor has it that the same clutter-creating people will be moving into this room from the current house's Master bedroom.

:: The Cupola
Ahhh - there it is: the room that broke the house. Not exactly, but kinda sorta. It would be much simpler and cost much less to not deal with a second story, stairs, roofline, etc. But we're banking on it being worth it. This is our reading nook, quiet space, observation tower, knitting corner, sleeping porch, away room and sanctuary.

:: The Living Room (and Dining Room)
We expect a lot of living to go on in here. We wanted some kind of blend between an open floor plan (no coziness) and separate rooms (no flow). We hope we can get good interaction between the kitchen and dining and living rooms while using a few design tricks (ceiling height changes, flooring surface changes) to separate the spaces. The fireplace is largely a feel-good thing and room divider. The corner windows and door leading outside were major design drivers. (Corner windows is a big FLW thing that blends the indoor/outdoor line. We had some in our place in Alameda and they're awesome.)

:: Outdoor Spaces
Our views are on the "wrong" side of the house (to the North) so we're going to need to adjust our outdoor spaces a little bit. But this photo is of a house we lived near in Alameda and it has the ideal patio/porch/garden space that we're looking for, with an arbor off of the living room and a glassed room (how we envision the screened porch) adjacent. Of course, they're northern CA gardens and climate, but still...
And this: a Green and Green Pasadena craftsman with amazing clinker brink work

and here is a great screened porch:
I don't have anything to write about the spaces, but here are some inspiration pictures for the main bath and the kitchen:

Met with the architect last week and meeting the contractors (potential) today and tomorrow. We're getting there. Both exciting and terrifying. As always, we'd love your thoughts on the details here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who's mourning?

So this weather is highly unusual. And there are some die-hard winter fans in these parts and this family, to be sure. However, despite late-short snow and snow going to all the wrong places, we will not be mourning winter. Turns out, we will be embracing spring. Spring! This week we
:: did a little spring cleaning and purging and trimming
:: signed up for our CSA
:: rode bikes and trikes
:: traded (snow) boots for (mud) boots and shoes
:: saw grass in the backyard
:: ate supper outside
:: ventured out without jackets or hats
:: felt the sun on our backs
:: traded yard implements

We do love our snow here. Except when it's spring, I guess. I had forgotten (as I seemingly do every year. Spring never ceases to surprise me.) just how good it feels to open the windows, embrace the return of the light, and step into spring. 
What have you been doing in this weather?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring fever

Wasn't it just the other day that we were sneaking out under the light of the moon to ski? Perhaps, but not this weekend. Holy wah, we were harboring some serious cabin fever that Sunday went a long way to cure. It was like we were on vacation.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Running Tally

I'm feeling very bookish lately. I mean, I usually like books, but lately with all the travel and audiobooks and sickies and reading with cats on couches, I'm just feeling very booky. Blogspot doesn't really let you have pages or links or anything like some other blog hosts do. So I'm creating this post to serve as a list holder (did I mention I like lists?) for our favorite favorite books. We're book people, you're book people, it's like my little book journal Books to Check Out, but digital! How fun! (Well, for me at least. Perhaps not very interesting for you, the family, friend, reader. I guess I realize this.) I intend to keep it updated. We'll just see how that goes.

::On deck
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

::Recent reads
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan
Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver et al
The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
(I appear to be stuck in a rut)

Wright-sized Houses - Diane Maddex
Hmm - there's more here. I'll have to work on this

::Crafting & Making
Seams to Me - Anna Maria Horner
Handmade Modern - Todd Oldham
All those Storey handmade candles, soap, paper, herbals books

Home Cheese Making - Ricki Carroll
Home Sausage Making - Peery and Reavis
Stocking Up - Hupping
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving

::Gardening & Homesteading
Storey's Basic Country Skills
The Encyclopedia of Country Living - Carla Emery

Charlie Harper's 123s
Charlie Harper's ABCs
Spring is Here - Taro Gomi
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb - Al Perkins

::Favorite Authors
Any and all Agatha Christie, but preferably Miss Marple
The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by McCall Smith
Anything and everything (but particularly The End of the Road series) by Tom Bodett
I also really enjoy John Irving, Tom Robbins, and John Steinbeck

Please, please, indulge me. What are you reading? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pub Crawl

I've said it before, this winter has been a burst of knitting frenzy for me. I've knit socks, mittens, hats, sweaters, scarves, bags. Always keeping some project of some sort going on (actually, probably way too many projects - I'm wondering if I have a committment problem) so that I can just pick one up and go. I've knit in bed, on airplanes, in the car, on the couch, at the library, at the neighbors, by headlamp, and while watching Joan Hickson (who else?) as Miss Marple on BBC. And now, at the pub. Soon to be a habit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well folks, here it is: the floor plan. I'd love to say "so far" and I'd love to say how much it's changed since we started this process. Oh yes, we are still debating some things. The main bath layout for example. But at some point you draw a line in the sand, say uncle, cry mercy, give up the ship. And we've been with the same basic layout for the past several months; moving walls a foot here, 2 feet there... the end result is that the iterative design process could go on forever. And as much as we want to get it right, I need to acknowledge that there is no perfect solution for this (unless you ignore code, get it all gratis, and are generally an easily satisfied person. A-hem). I also feel fairly certain (based on past experience, see) that at some point in our lives, we may change our minds about what exactly we want, what's making us happy at the moment, and what color the floor should be. Actually, that point may be Monday, after we meet with an architect friend who is reviewing the plans. Hmmm.

All that to say, I think it's good. Better than good, great. We're happy. Darling did an awesome job putting the drawings together. The house is certainly not perfect (see above), but perfect for us: an endearing blend of dreaminess and practicality and compromise and surrender. Best of all, we're still in love. Without further ado:

(Click on the plans to bring up a larger, kinda blurry, image.)