Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blogging is the best form of procrastination

So I should be grading papers right now, to return to students tomorrow. But instead I am blogging and getting ready to go to a friend's house to watch Jeff Green's professional NBA debut (one of the downsides of not having a tv).

I am headed out to the house on Friday to review the HVAC work, get some more boards down on the deck, maybe stain some cedar, and meet with a guy who I hope can drill the faucet hole in our kitchen countertop, which was on our original Simplex punchlist (we've been washing dishes in the bathroom sink). For a host of reasons this didn't get done before the house shipped - another thing on my to-do list is to get a comprehensive punchlist posted, detailing all the items that needed attention after the house was delivered. We didn't have anything big, and Simplex has been attentive to my requests, but I'm sure it'll help folks to see what sort of stuff goes into the post-delivery phase...

Want to spend some money?

I've been meaning for awhile to post some of the sites I've been trolling for furniture and other fun stuff. A couple of good ones: BetterLivingThroughDesign and GrassRootsModern. I'm going to put them all together in one set of links on the sidebar one of the these days pretty soon.

This guy, who built his own very fun house himself, recommends them as well.

Looking to lose yourself in the world of modern building blogs?

LiveModern is the place for you. They have begun aggregating all the modern building blogs out there, and there are lots of them. The interface isn't great yet (they are just posting all the posts from all the blogs, instead of letting you look at which blog is which), but I bet they'll get the bugs out soon. Lots of good stuff in there...

The LiveModern community used to be really vibrant, but has quieted down quite a bit over the last couple of years. The forums are really productive when they hit on something that is relevant for you; hopefully they'll get some more traffic and liven things up again.

Going once, going twice...

Today's Times has a piece on Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House. (Not having spent any real time in California to speak of, I am intrigued by this place they call "Palm Springs.") Anyway, down at the bottom of the article we find the names of the architects responsible for its renovation: Marmol & Radziner, who of course have another noteworthy home in the California desert. There's something about that landscape that really lends itself to modern design. The endless views? That it's dry as a bone? A much different aesthetic than a cabin in the woods. (We don't have scorpions.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't call us, we'll call you

We got a call a couple of months ago from the reporter who wrote this article in the NYPost on Res4; but she never followed up and apparently we weren't good enough for her. (Actually she said it was probably going to be much easier for her to interview someone local.)

All these cookie-cutter articles about prefab seem to read the same after awhile...

Monday, October 22, 2007

85 and sunny

Hard to believe the leaves have just barely started to change. I was working in shorts and a tshirt this weekend. Strange fall. [UPDATE: 29 degrees last night, just about one week after this was originally posted. So fall's here.]

Made a lot of progress on the deck - the ipe is almost all down:

The trench and hole for the gas line and tank are dug, but apparently my HVAC guy is still at least a week from being finished:

One of the BIG downsides of being your own GC is not having continuing relationships with trades. I'm sure I'm at the bottom of this guy's list, and I don't have a whole lot of leverage. So we're just crossing our fingers that we have heat/hot water before it gets too cold...

Monday, October 15, 2007

What I imagine it would be like in a submarine (a really nice submarine, with lots of windows and cool furniture and deer on the outside)

It was cold at the house this weekend, and we don't have heat yet, so we were shut in tight and bundled up in sweatshirts and all that. And for as much as we've imagined all the glass in the house as really opening up to the outside (and that's how it's been most of the time we've been out there - all the windows open, breeze and birdsong coming through), it was a really pleasant experience to be sealed in the house and looking out, instead of feeling the outside coming in. Michael shouted DEER! at one point, and sure enough, out the windows on the hill above the house was a line of six deer, just slowly making their way along one of the deer paths, stopping to nibble on trees. That didn't happen during the day when it was warm out and we were making noise for everything out there to hear. But now it feels kinda like we're inside a bubble, and the woods is alive and undisturbed all around us. And we get to watch.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The magic of TV

Though we are nowhere near finished with anything, our friends from TV land were out at the house again this weekend for the "house is finished" segment of the show. Actually was great, cause it meant we had to clean. Now the upstairs really does feel like the space we've been waiting for:

Of course our first piece of furniture arrived as the camera crew left...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You could have come to my house

We don't have a tv. (Well, actually, we have a tiny little tv, but we keep it in the basement and we don't have cable.) This drives some of my more tv-literate friends crazy. We don't have an ideological stake in the whole no-tv debate (and our kids watch the occasional dvd or youtube video on our computer). We just gave it up when I went back to grad school and never went back.

But here's what we're missing: according to prefabcosm, Bob Vila is doing a whole series on the construction of a modular home by Simplex. Well, Bob, if you'd visited our little cabin you'd not only have gotten to see the Simplex modular process but a fun modern design to boot! (And maybe we'd be finished by now...)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Guinea Pigs

The first flatpak house is finished. Built in Massachusetts by artist Amy Goodwin. Took a couple of years, apparently. But pretty great looking.

As an aside, I some day would like to be a guinea pig. "Donate" some land to an architect, tell em what I like, and then say "go!"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Buying Spree

Though we are absolutely out of money, we have begun shopping in earnest for furniture. There are some pieces that we have always wanted to have - modern classics, you might say - and now we feel justified in actually buying them. And I've been wondering - is it worth it to us to have originals of design classics (like the Noguchi table and the Eames LCW)? How do you decide? There's the quality question. There's the vanity element of owning the real thing; there's the financial element (though they'll hold their value, maybe?); there's the integrity element (are you really getting the same design?). There's the legal question, which interests me more in the very esoteric sense of who owns good ideas. And there's the whole democratization of design thing. So what to do?

Like I said, we're out of money, so I think I know what we're going to do...