Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from Ourhaus. We really have been enjoying our fall season here, highlighted with a vacation to Iceland which we look forward to telling you about soon. The change into this season always prompts change in interiors as well, particularly in preparation for cozier, indoor winter months ahead.

In celebration of my favorite season: an autumnal vase vignette. (L to R: Large white vase, Target; Small brown vase, handmade by me at Mudflat Studio, Somerville; Round bowl Atelier Stella vase from West Elm; In the background: Rex Ray print.)

Our dining room aglow in morning sun and autumn colors. Needless to say, we are incredibly grateful to have this roof over our heads. There is nothing more comforting and fortunate than to have a safe place to call (and make) your own to return to again and again.

Great Find!

I really wish I could be more frugal. I do. I am just not built that way, even though my parents are VERY sensible. Sigh...that generation is so good. It's an admirable trait that I have yet to get even close to honing. Oh, to be an eagle-eyed bargain hunter that actually ends up with GOOD stuff. There are inexpensive things and replicas everywhere today, but if you look closer and actually USE them, they are just crap. (I'm talking more about complex, larger-scale things that most people can't readily make, like a lamp or couch).

I want to own things that I love, that last, and even better if those happen to be art investments. Because I can't even count the number of things I have bought for the home + office (also: clothing and shoes) because they were cheaper compromises. And how much of that stuff ended up at Goodwill and on Craig's List.

That is why I am so t-h-r-i-l-l-e-d with my latest find that I actually love: this pair of ceramic lamps (and shades, sold separately) I scored at Target for only $38 each! Thirty. Eight. Dollars. Target is really killing it in the lighting department lately.

Here they are gracing our bedroom dresser. They have a quality heft to them, and while it's a bit difficult to tell from the photo, they have a really nice, natural white glaze on them that gives the surface a bit more depth and a handmade quality.

Cape Cod Modern

Last weekend we enjoyed a much anticipated tour of three (of ONE HUNDRED) modern treasures in the area) mid-century modern houses in Wellfleet, MA through Cape Cod Modern House Trust. CCMHT was established in 2007 to prevent the demolition of the abandoned houses by leasing them from National Park Services, their current owners. Founding Director Peter McMahon led the restorations and now shares the houses with the public through artist and scholar residencies, tours, symposia, and summer rentals.

We got a lift to each house from our tour guide, Milisa Moses, whose husband also worked on the restorations. We learned a lot from her about the houses before we arrived and had great conversations along the way. When we needed a place to grab lunch on our way home, she recommended Sun Bird Kitchen which was excellent! A great day all-around. Here's what we saw:

 

Hatch House

We kept describing this house as the quintessential surf "shack" of the East Coast. With open breezeways between rooms where you can picture towels and swimsuits hanging to dry, and slatted walkways to shake off the sand, the ever-rustic Hatch House seems to be one with the beach itself. It was designed by Jack Hughes Hall in 1960 for Robert Hatch, an editor of The Nation and his wife, Ruth, a painter. It was restored by CCMHT from 2012-2013.

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Weidlinger House

This one is my favorite. Not exactly rustic like The Hatch, but nestled in the woods on a lovely pond, it seems to be just the right balance of comfort and simplicity to serve as a perfectly quiet getaway house. Designed by engineer Paul Weidlinger, the house was built in 1953 across a small pond from their friend Marcel Breuer's home. It was restored by CCMHT from 2012-2014.

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Kugel/Gips House

The last house on our tour was designed by Charlie Zehnder in 1970 and it definitely has that decade's vibe. It is perched atop a massive cinder block base, a material that also strongly defines the interior of the house. The designer's interest in Frank Lloyd Wright's work can be seen in the cantilevering decks and eaves. It was restored by CCMHT in 2009.

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We highly recommend scheduling a tour through CCMHT next summer as well as purchasing the book to learn the full story of these Cape Cod Modern gems. 

Footloose and Tax-Free

It's tax-free weekend here in Massachusetts, and it is definitely hard to resist the urge to run out and buy a big item you have had on the wish list, or more likely, the need list. Currently on my WISH list is a Danish teak dresser for the bedroom. 

Here are some that have caught my eye:

Dresser by Arne Vodder, found on 1st Dibs. I'm a big fan of Vodder's pieces. I have a credenza and office desk of his design.

 

Danish teak dresser found on circa60. I think I need more drawers, though. :-)

I really love this one because of the ample drawer space AND that great little shelving and drawer feature in the center. The top 2 shallow drawers are perfect for my jewelry trays. Marked as SOLD on 1st dibs.

 

I always look for a dresser that has interesting, original-to-the-piece drawer pulls:

Found on Chairish from Circa Berkshires. Circa 1950s.

 

Found on Etsy shop mid2modandmore

 

Found on Etsy shop FarOutFindsNYC

 

This is beautiful and subtle. Found on Etsy shop Circa60.

 

I'm on the hunt, I'm after you...

 

 

Succulents Are Awesome!

Let me count the ways:

1. They can survive my black thumb. I do not have a gift for gardening. Frankly, I just don't enjoy doing it, either. These guys are HARDY plants that can take on terrible gardeners, like me, as well as the intense sunlight the front of our building gets in the afternoon. We added this mini-garden to our front entrance this spring and barely have to tend to it at all—and it has flourished! This is what it looks like now, in August:

This is the day I planted it, in May!:

We finally found an outdoor wall planter in the style we have been searching for in the Luna Wall Planter (and lucky for you, it's still in stock (8/10/15) and on sale!). Notice, also, the cool new door hardware—in the first photo, above—that Christopher recently installed.

The start of our ongoing front entrance and yard renovation here: Let's Take This Outside.

 

2. They are sculptural and graphic, which makes them work so well in mid-century modern and industrial-style settings. It's no surprise we associate them with this type of architecture since West Coast modern houses boast these indigenous, desert-like landscapes.

 

A gorgeous photo of Neutra's Kaufmann House at dawn, Palm Springs, CA, by Stephen Schafer.

 
 

Another Eichler home. Photo by Stephen Schafer via this NPR story.

 

3. They look cool in concrete planters. And we love concrete! Especially how it lends itself to clean geometry:

Planters by frauklarer.

 

We'd really like to add something like this to our property:

 

4. They look like they are from an alien planet and that is just plain cool. Nature never disappoints. 

Looks like an alien multi-eyed creature from the deep! "Baby Toes" Fenestraria Rhopalophyl from CTS Airplants on Etsy.

 

What the?!...Pleiospilos nelii from Cactus Art.

 

Flower of a small milk weed succulent, Huernia pillansii via Cal Poly Plant Conservatory

 

"Take us to your leader!" Photo via The Succulent Source.

 

Mother nature, you beautiful mathematician, you!

 

Check out more of our exterior design inspiration here: Spaces / Outdoor

 

Visiting The Glass House

Let's make this a "Throw Back Thursday" post and look back on a summer road trip we took with friends—4 years ago this week—to The Glass House, designed by Philip Johnson, in New Canaan, CT.

Summer is such a great time for road trips and we live in just one of this country's regions that avails itself by car to see a lot of great towns, historically significant buildings, and natural beauty. If you are in New England, be sure to visit the Gropius House in Lincoln, MA, too. And just over an hour away in Wellfleet, MA, we will be visiting 3 restored modern houses with Cape Cod Modern Trust in September. Can't wait! Tell us about the architecturally historic places you've visited that are not-to-be-missed in the comments below. Hopefully, we'll make it to some of them in our travels.

Approaching the house. View from the pool.

Approaching the house. View from the pool.

The house and pool from afar.

The house and pool from afar.

Enter the house. Pick your angle.

Enter the house. Pick your angle.

Living Area: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair, ottoman, couch, and coffee table, 1929 & 1930.

Living Area: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair, ottoman, couch, and coffee table, 1929 & 1930.

Living Area: Painting, Nicholas Poussin (attributed to) Burial of Phocion, ca. 1648-49

Living Area: Painting, Nicholas Poussin (attributed to) Burial of Phocion, ca. 1648-49

Bedroom: Wilhelm Wagenfeld and Carl Jacob Jucker Bauhaus lamp, 1924; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Low table, 1927

Bedroom: Wilhelm Wagenfeld and Carl Jacob Jucker Bauhaus lamp, 1924; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Low table, 1927

The Study: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Writing table, 1930; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Brno tubular chair, 1929; Walter von Nessen Swing-arm table lamp, 1927

The Study: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Writing table, 1930; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Brno tubular chair, 1929; Walter von Nessen Swing-arm table lamp, 1927

A serene sitting place, just outside the living area. Harry Bertoia, Bertoia Diamond lounge, 1952; Richard Schultz Petal (320R) side table, 1960.

A serene sitting place, just outside the living area. Harry Bertoia, Bertoia Diamond lounge, 1952; Richard Schultz Petal (320R) side table, 1960.

Bathroom: Turn the corner from the fireplace and this small but sparse room shares space in that same column in the middle of the house. Loved the tile.

Bathroom: Turn the corner from the fireplace and this small but sparse room shares space in that same column in the middle of the house. Loved the tile.

Shower: You are not seeing terra cotta tiles up on the ceiling. Those are panels of leather. I don't know why anyone thought that would be a good idea in a shower.

Shower: You are not seeing terra cotta tiles up on the ceiling. Those are panels of leather. I don't know why anyone thought that would be a good idea in a shower.

The Painting Gallery, entrance.

The Painting Gallery, entrance.

The Painting Gallery: Frank Stella, Darabjerd I, 1967

The Painting Gallery: Frank Stella, Darabjerd I, 1967

The Painting Gallery: Andy Warhol, Philip Johnson, 1972

The Painting Gallery: Andy Warhol, Philip Johnson, 1972

Sculpture Gallery, entrance

Sculpture Gallery, entrance

Sculpture Gallery Inspiration for the interior came from Greek island villages marked by their many stairways.

Sculpture Gallery Inspiration for the interior came from Greek island villages marked by their many stairways.

The Studio, a "hideaway" for focusing on work and writing. In the background, Ghost House, a sculptural element built on old barn foundations of chain link material.

The Studio, a "hideaway" for focusing on work and writing. In the background, Ghost House, a sculptural element built on old barn foundations of chain link material.

Pavilion in the Pond (foreground) plays with scale to make it seem much further away than it is. In the background, Monument to Lincoln Kirstein, 1985, that Johnson had built in honor of his friend and poet, Lincoln Kirstein.

Pavilion in the Pond (foreground) plays with scale to make it seem much further away than it is. In the background, Monument to Lincoln Kirstein, 1985, that Johnson had built in honor of his friend and poet, Lincoln Kirstein.

Stefan, Christopher, Jen, Jodi, and Stephanie goofing around in the gift shop at the end of our visit. These "toy" versions of the iconic glasses were for sale.

Stefan, Christopher, Jen, Jodi, and Stephanie goofing around in the gift shop at the end of our visit. These "toy" versions of the iconic glasses were for sale.

All photos by Jodi Vautrin.

Lines We Love: PIAWALLÉN

Swedish designer Pia Wallén's bold, minimal designs have already become iconic classics. She is inspired by her native folk craft tradition and puts a contemporary spin on it through an interesting mix of materials and rendering them in a quiet, elegant minimalism. Her color palette, use of felt, and the Swiss flag-like graphics in all of their European, clean aesthetic conjure images of coziness at home enjoying a fika during a quiet winter snowfall.

 

 

Art Obsession: A Tribute to Rex Ray

I was very sad to learn that San Francisco-based contemporary artist Rex Ray (aka Michael Patterson) passed away today following a battle with cancer. You can read about his life and passing here and here.

He was a prolific graphic designer and collage artist who also designed hundreds of concert posters and provided graphic design for artists such as The Rolling Stones, Björk, U2, Radiohead, David Bowie, and Patti Smith. I'm a huge fan of his collages on wood with resin and enjoy having a couple of reproduction prints of them around us here at Ourhaus. I regret that we will not see more work from this celebrated contemporary.







If you're inspired to keep his work living on, you can learn "How to Make a Rex Ray" in this aptly named video starring Rex himself.


Rex Ray also collaborated with a number of companies to create products for the home. You can surround yourself with his work in many ways. This collaboration with Blik wall decals is really great, as it gives you the freedom to interpret and position the shapes as you wish:









For another way to bring Rex's work into the home, check out his collaboration with Nomad Rugs—I think his aesthetic translated beautifully to woven wool:







Rest in peace, good sir. We're happy to have known you in your work.








Let's Take This Outside

It is fall here in New England—my absolute favorite time of year. The chilly, clear air, all things pumpkin and apple, and our wedding anniversary... I can go on about what I love about this season. As we begin to turn our attention toward indoor projects in anticipation of the winter months, here is a recap of a summer project we completed this year.

When spring 2014 rolled around, our attention was on the exterior of our building, as it is EVERY year when the spring thaw reveals, yet again, how atrocious our landscaping—or lack thereof—is. We have an interesting property with its own landscape design challenges. We are in a city and our building is very industrial (it was converted from commercial to residential before we bought it). Which we love! But it is tough to find the right materials for our desired look that will also survive New England Winters.


THE BEFORE
We had removed a rotting, raised planter made of railroad ties with a dying tree in it (bottom left).



THE SKETCH
In Photoshop, I quickly dropped images and illustrations over the before photo. It's super handy in discussing your vision with potential landscape designers (who will really do this properly!) and your condo association mates.




THE AFTER (PART 1)
So, here's the thing: landscaping and hardscaping are EXPENSIVE. But what we were able to refresh in the immediate timeframe was the door, the address area, and address numbers—a terrific and totally affordable first step. You don't have to go all or nothing on these projects. Unless the section you are working on connects to everything else, go ahead and make partial updates. They give your place and your mood a nice boost!




MATERIALS

Dark Gray Paint:
"Deep River" (1582), Benjamin Moore Exterior

Yellow Paint:
"Sunshine" (2021-30), Benjamin Moore Exterior

Address Numbers:
Nickel-plated steel, $6 each. These, at Home Depot.

Cedar Board:
Boulter Plywood


 


AFTER, PART 2?

Hopefully, the raised concrete planters, and new entry stairs with landing next Spring!