Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jumping the Shark

We've come a long way on this little blog - it's served its several purposes pretty well, I think. Posterity for us, information resource for others doing the same thing, getting the word out about our house as a rental cabin. I'm not blogging a whole lot lately - not as much to do out there for me. I suppose I could turn this into a "what it's like to rent out your cabin" blog...

And though I'm sure I'll keep popping over here to blog about the house (I'm of course feeling invigorated as a blogger by the start of the academic year and the real world responsibilities blogging can distract me from), this post would certainly be the perfect way to wrap it all up. We've gotten a few inquiries from folks interested in writing about the house (Emily's blurb on Washington Spaces being the first to actually spill some virtual ink about it). An editor from the spectacularly-named Garden & Gun spoke with us a couple of times and actually asked for a release to use some photos from the blog, so I expect they will actually run something too (alongside what seems to be some pretty impressive content). And then last month I got an email out of the blue from Aaron Britt at Dwell, who wanted to know some details about our place and the narrative, see some pics, and asked whether we'd be interested in being in the magazine (some people apparently say no). I sent him what he was looking for and didn't hear back and figured that was the end of it. A week later and I get another note from Aaron that if we're still up for it, they'd like to run a story about our place in their upcoming prefab issue (Feb 09) in the "My House" section (a smallish column written in the subject's voice with pics and some nuts and bolts "how/why we did this" details). We were traveling a lot last month, and I went right out to the house when we get back to meet with a freelance reporter for a couple of hours (kicking some very understanding guests out of the house for a bit - thanks Heidi!). Then last week we met my mom and her husband out at the house for a couple of days. And after they left some fancy freelance photographers from NYC came and shot a day's worth of pics.  Which was exhausting for all involved, but I think they got some pretty good shots (our kids are pretty photogenic, I have to say), and they even took a couple with an extra fancy camera in the format they use for the cover...

We let them have some leftover soft tacos and wine:

We spruced up the house a bit - this piece over the bed upstairs is borrowed from Michael's friend Ezra, whose parents picked up this scrap of sheetmetal that some artist punched circles out of with plasma cutter - so perfect that we almost "lost" it on the way home:

Chris the photographer was persuaded by his assistant David and me to take a sunset shot of the house from the top of a tall ladder, which Chris wasn't thrilled about but his inner photographer trumped his fear of heights:

And our kids finally crashed after being troopers for an entire day of "go stand over there and smile":

All in all, pretty exciting. Who knows how it'll turn out - we'll see how well the writer can turn two hours worth of blabber into 700 coherent words. And even if I come off like a moron, I saw some of the pics (they take polaroids before they take the real thing) and I know they got some good ones. (It costs $3k/month just to advertise in the back of Dwell - a couple of nice pics and our website name in the middle of the magazine certainly beats the pants off of that! And for free!)

If this blog were a movie, this post would have to be the equivalent of the nerdy guy finally falling into bed with the beauty next door, roll credits. I'm sure I'll keep blogging and ruin this perfect ending. But if I ever have Blogger print this up into one of those book blogs, you can bet this will be the last entry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adirondacks in Appalachia

Love these chairs, btw. (The boys do too, I think it goes without saying.) Talk to Nate at Loll Designs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Easy Come, Easy Go

I'm going to tell the short version of this story so as not to reveal all the details of what a dope I am. The one-sentence abstract is "back up your stuff." I've been pretty lax about getting data from our laptop (a Powerbook) to our external hard drive, which I keep in the basement, and don't hook up very often, and blah, blah, blah. Computer crashes and lots of stuff from the last year is gone. Pictures and music, mostly. Including all 1100 or so pics of this project, which had been on my iphone until just days before the fateful moment. C'est la vie. Sarah doesn't want to even think about all the family pics that are gone. I feel terrible. So back up your stuff.

I will tell this part of the story in some detail: Apple sent me a brand new MacBookPro out of the kindness of their hearts, though I was one day past the expiration of the 3-yr extended apple car warranty. They probably could have just fixed the hardware problem on the old machine and been done with it (or worse, told me tough luck). So I've got a brand new fancy pants computer (albeit with no pictures or music on it). Now it's kind of their fault that all the data's gone from the old machine (they erased it in trying to fix some minor problems the machine was having), and it's kinda their fault that the computer crashed (it was fine when I sent it off to have the mouse pad - which was acting up - replaced just before my warranty expired). But they tell you over and over again to back up your stuff before you send it to them, and I didn't.

Anyway, they sent me a new $2k computer when they didn't really have to and when I fully expected I was SOL.

And back your stuff up.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Web Extra!

We've gotten a bunch of press inquiries from folks interested in doing a story about the house. Emily Ruane's Washington Spaces prefab article is the first to see the light of day - our first official press clipping!

Calder Court

The mall we used to go to when I was a kid had a giant Calder mobile in the center of the food court. It was built in 1969, and as this article in the Times recounts, the developer's wife basically held her breathe until he agreed to put some money aside to commission some fancy artists to install public pieces in the mall. Calder's was the centerpiece. (During a renovation of the mall in the 80s, Calder's mobile was packed away in storage and LOST! Sotheby's auctioned it for well over $1M in 2002.)

So I've had a bit of a love affair with mobiles (and Calder) ever since. (The Phillips Gallery here in DC had a pretty great Calder exhibit a few years back that focused on the close working relationship he had with Joan Miro.) I didn't actually ever buy one until Sarah was pregnant with Michael, and we managed to get my job to pay for her to meet me in Paris at the end of a long arbitration. We found a small mobile at the Picasso Museum that has hung over all our kids in their cribs. And now I've got this one:

Which is my new favorite thing about our cabin. It is just fantastic. So thanks again to Matt and Kathryn at Ekko Mobiles and HangingMobileGallery - check them out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thinks he's a rich guy...

I'm still on vacation, so haven't done anything with the house to really blog. But we have continued to buy stuff. I remember when I first started reading other modern construction blogs and I was seeing people throw absurd amounts of money around on furniture. We've been pretty good about reigning in the urge to go all out (even though it's easy to rationalize that it's all in the name of attracting renters, it'll pay itself back over time, etc.). Got all the Eames chairs used on craigslist; ditto for the coffee tables, beds, nightstands and Corbu reproductions downstairs. Lots of Ikea accessories. Only big purchases were the couch and the dining table, but even those were relatively modest. All of this is really to say that furnishing an entire house is expensive, and I have mixed feelings about the more recent - and expensive - things we've bought.

So we've been looking for lounge chairs for the deck for a long time, but nothing really made sense. All the chaises we really liked were a billion dollars, and the cheap ones looked exactly that. I've really like the loll adirondack chairs for a while, and being up here in the adirondacks got me looking at them again. Bit the bullet and got two (plus two ottomans - $1000) - they're recycled plastic, so we'll never have to buy another lounge chair. Nate, the sales guy there, was great - he'd come across our house online and was thrilled that we liked his chairs and gave us a trade discount and free shipping...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bare Walls

Sarah and I are still accessorizing. Been thinking about a mobile for over the stairs for awhile and finally pulled the trigger today:

Catherine at HangingMobileGallery was a big help...

Bring Your Own Firewood

Looking at the rain on the river from the porch of Sarah's parents' place this morning we watched a bunch of paddlers go by in canoes and kayaks. Figured there was a race going on, so we followed them along to the finish (of a 40 mile paddle from Saranac Lake to Simonds Pond) and saw one of these:

A Dutchtub! Fantastic. I talked with Todd, the head of the American version of the company, all about them. It takes about 2 hrs to heat the water (with a wood fire in the coils); you should change the water pretty frequently (some say as often as each use). We're still in the market for a hot tub, and I think this one's great. But for renters? Love to hear what folks think about renting a place that has a fire tub that requires this kind of attention to get going...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Nice Chairs

Our cabin certainly could have been included in this story about rental homes and their furnishings. I'd say in our case it's as much for us as it is to attract renters - no way we could get away with having this kind of modern furniture in our regular house while our kids are still accidents waiting to happen. But a treat to enjoy it every once in awhile when we get out to the cabin...

All Aboard

The Times has a fun story today about personal railroad cars, focusing on a trip a bunch of enthusiasts take from Petersburg, WV through the Potomac River Valley (just a bit down the road from our place).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Good Design?

Dwell's got a piece in the Aug issue about good design - what it is, where it comes from, if it's nessarily modern. Sarah and I are on the road taking pictures; made our way from DC to NYC to the Adirondacks. I suppose here's a range of form v. function.

Eliasson's waterfalls:

Richard Meier's glass buildings along the West Side Highway near our apt:

And finally our cousin Dane's spectacular homemade woodburning pizza oven: