Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm a Fresh Face!

Yeah! Fresh Home magazine asked me to offer a soundbite on how Bryce and I are using green practices in our home building. They made me a Fresh Face! Wahoo! 

Mine's the black and white mug if you haven't seen my profile. 

Unfortunately I didn't figure it out that I should get a pro head shot until after they asked for one and that was the only one I had at the time. I just recently got a head shot done at Nichole Jordan Photography and I totally love it! I highly recommend Nichole! 

Here's a fun shot we took.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Walk Uptown - A Break from Building Last Weekend

Here on Vashon Island the main drag is called Uptown. It's very cute. I have only been on the island for just over 3 years and Bryce has been here for nearly 6. It's a quiet destination hub with about 47 art galleries (slightly exaggerated) and some great eateries.

Honestly, I haven't stepped into many of the galleries. The median age, I just found out in the Seattle Met magazine "25 Best Places to Live" article (only in print), is 47.5. Lucky us. That, coupled with the penchant for quiet, rural surroundings, the art in the galleries tends to be, shall I say, a bit crunchy. The shops have flowy batik shapeless dresses and they really like things like "intuitive arts" and I overhear people ordering chakra aligning teas and such. Not my thing. 

But to my surprise, this weekend Valise Gallery is showing Paco Rollins' personal art. He's a famous tattoo artist and his work is incredible. The gallery generously let me snap some photos. I have collected a few snaps into a collage of oranges, yellows, reds and black. This was such a refreshing site here on Vashon! I love the irreverence! 

Paco Rollins' personal art collection featured at Valise Gallery

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clock Tower

Houzz posted an excerpt on using clocks as a focal point. I love this since a clock is about the only piece of artwork we have at this stage in building/decorating. Our clock is from CB2.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Classic Pacific Northwest Architecture

Freshome blog posted a feature on a Seattle-area home designed by Finne Architects. This home is quintessential Pacific Northwest architecture that I have grown up with here. Homes like these appeared on on our coffee table and I flipped through with lust and envy sitting on shaggy cream carpet in a boring split-level in Portland suburbia home.  

The need to let in as much light as possible is the binding theme in Pacific Northwest (PNW) architecture. You see, sometimes we go for months with only seeing the sun poke out of the grey for a day here or there. Why do we stay? Well, for one day of summer here, it's worth all of that grey and rain. So we hearty PNW'ers just fuel up on organic fair trade shade grown coffee with a splash of local goat's milk with a drop of free range bee honey (of course only from local bees to boost immunity from allergies), and design cool buildings with a gazillion windows.

This home is classic - HUGE windows everywhere. We don't have to worry about privacy because there are trees everywhere. I say "we" because it's the style from region. This is very much like our situation on 3 acres of trees and 110 windows. Granted, our windows aren't 6x9' like in this house, we couldn't afford that.

I could see a house similar to this in California, but the difference is in the roofs. Flat roofs up here are an architectural mistake. It rains too much. So these architects obviously have experience with our area.

Another thing that I love about my native architectural style is how creative we get with wood. There is a lot of it here, so it's a fantastic medium with which to create art. I love this door. I wish I knew what wood it was. The firm focuses on sustainable design, of course, so I am sure it's something cool.

The kicker in this house is this bathroom. Look at how well placed those mirrors are against the windows and the reflection of the trees. It took me a second to discover the mirrors - very well considered. The article mentioned that the goal of this design was " create the most amazing fortress, protecting the inhabitant’s needs for for a stress free lifestyle." My mischievous imagination runs wild as to the inhabitants - over-worked, over-caffeinated new parents barking orders at the architects .... I will leave it there in case they might actually be a cute little old retired couple like my parents.

This article made me realize that I have always had a love for architecture but didn't know it. Maybe it was because Dad was a Civil Structural Engineer. He engineered the Salmon Springs fountain in Portland. In college my roommate was in interior design and I sort of thought her studies were easy, but then again, so was English.*

It wasn't until I got up to Seattle and started working on this house did I discover that interior design was my calling. My passion. My daily life. "I don't have a 2nd guest bed and 3 ladies are spending the weekend, time to build a daybed! We can't afford for me to go out and buy lumber, I will work with scraps!"

Our house, on the other hand, is clearly not classic PNW architecture. When we figure out the architectural style, you will be the first to know.

Bryce found a great archive: the original architectural design for the house. We can't cite the exact architect because it was a blueprint sold to a company that sells house plans, so as soon as we go through our logs of where we got this plan, we will cite it. This design is definitely American, but a bit more East coast. Bryce made extensive changes to the plans but obviously fell head over heels for the gist of the design.

Here is a WIP shot of the same angle.

Not a far deviation from the original, but more modern PNW. We will see how it progresses ...

*Bryce makes fun of my college career, "How hard could it be to major in your native language?!" Clearly an Accountant.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blogging is harder than I thought it would be. At first I thought it would be really easy, just throw up progress photos and post a how-to if I created something cool and easy to make. Then I started to get traffic. It was no longer just my mom and my sister only reading my posts. Then I started really studying other Shelter Blogs and I started to freeze up. "Our place doesn't look that perfect!" "My photos really suck!"

Then I start taking this blogging course and it reminds me that blogs are only cool if written from the heart. This is easily forgotten, remember how I discussed this same paralyzing feeling then pushed myself to just blog it how it really is. And also to go ahead and share what's only partially completed or what is in progress or what we're going to have to live with for awhile.

This is just our reality until the stars align and make the following happen:

  1. we get a mortgage --> need occupancy permit --> need stairs and floors
  2. I suddenly get a high-paying job so we can pay someone to finish miracle #1
  3. the stairs and floors finish themselves
  4. we win the lottery, thus negating needs #1 and #2 
So instead Team Harpole trudges along in sudden bursts of energy here and there, which seem to be farther apart these days going into our 3rd year of "DIY-Own Damn Home." [Here Bryce's two years of labor aren't included because we weren't a "we" then, and that's a whole other series of really awesome blog posts when we can figure out where his photos are.] 

It appears that the hubs and wifey are tired. So, in order to keep from killing ourselves or each other, posting progress as it truly is might just save some unsuspecting, energetic family from embarking on a similar Odyssey. Building a house is sometimes easier than it looks, and sometimes harder. Your house some day will be a page turner (like a spread in Architectural Digest), but until then, you feel like you're living in a Clean House : Messiest Home in America marathon. 

Seriously. Construction. Is. Messy. Why. Would. Anyone. Live. In. A. House. While. They. Are. Building. Or. Remodeling. 

Because we are lunatics.

So. Without further ado, here's our living room tiling job almost, 90%, just about there, near done.

This is a very reasonably priced little lamp base from Target (apparently the shade isn't listed on the site, but I purchased it in store). As you can see, everything is temporary until one of #1 through #4 above happens. But on the bright side, we have 90% of the first floor of tiling done!

[Don't DIY-Own Damn Home]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wedding Present from Dad

It was REALLY cool of Dad to make us these. They are going to be inside furniture for a long time, methinks. 

It's funny, we received them a couple of weeks ago and I approached him with the idea of making us a couple simple ones before we got married (September 2009). We kept asking about them and he was working on plans. Then he built their dog an ergonomic-height food and water dish stand. Then he bought 5 new saws. Then I think he made 12 prototypes. Then he built one chair and it was perfection, so he built the second one. And on then on the seventh day he rested.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Master To Do List

I am a list maker. My husband is too, although his lists are molecular, mine are paper. Makes for REALLY fun house building at times. My background is in project management. My husband's background is in loathing project managers. Makes for REALLY fun house building at times.

To keep the newlywed bliss ("newlywed" = ironic since we've been an old married couple for 20 years), we have to strategically work through our personality-type differences. I just don't show him my lists.

Since we are in the home stretch, pun intended, I thought some motivation was in order. Cue my secret list.

I started to put owners, time estimates and money estimates on this list and it only overwhelmed me. So here it is, just items for us to review and strike off and toast.

Breakdown Room by Room

Living Room
drawings for built-ins           
Floor tiles
Fireplace tile
Fireplace built-in
Fireplace rug
Ottoman or bench
Second rug for round area
Chandelier for round area
Chandelier for fireplace seating area
2 Table lamps
6 Roman shades (31x72” = 12 yards fabric + lining + interfacing)
Repurpose existing sofa
Reupholster 2 club chairs

Living room before (current)

Middle Living Room Area
drawings for built-ins
4 flush-mount ceiling lights
Area rug
Entry table
2 accent window tables
2 table lamps for window tables
Semi-circle entry rug
Floor tiles
final tile

Middle living room way before
Hang floating shelves
Adjust cabinet doors
Sand and seal counters
Island built-in
Island worktop
Finish wall under island
4 stools
Wire island switch
Island task lights
Window trim paint
Toe-kick panels
Re-grout floor

Kitchen current, still a lot of finish work to do
Dining Room
8 dining room chairs
drawings for built-ins
Wall art
Cabinetry and built-in lighting
Desk chair

Dining room current. Need finish work and furniture.
Half Bath
Paint touch-ups
Door trim

Half bath before trim and accessories.

Phew. I am tired and that's only the first floor! Oye! I am taking a break and off to happy hour.