Hello to those of you still out there! I apologize that there has been no action here for a while. House and Universe was hacked. And since many of our readers have been blocked from accessing our site, I want to focus on getting things back up and running. And so, no postings. ): But I realize there may be a few of you who keep up with us via google reader or another RSS feed, so – let me send a hopeful transmission: House and Universe will be back. I just need to get into our files and fix whatever yickyness someone put in place. And things are changing and percolating here at HAU and we would like to bring you some new things when we return. Including some fresh energy in the form of a fabulous new guest blogger.
But for now – let me share this image with you. I double-gasped when I saw it. And on top of being bowled over by the gorgeousness of this image, and its connection to my own themes and loves, I’m also completely heartbroken that it isn’t my work! It is the work of Noemie Goudal and I would really recommend you check it out.
I hope all of you have been enjoying your summers. It’s been pretty mild in Portland but very nice. That may change this weekend with some hot days coming up. I hope my tomatoes enjoy it. They need something to bolster their spirit after I mistakenly pinched off any new flower bud that tentatively showed itself to my violent fingers. I’ve been doing this all summer until about a week ago when I learned that the tomatoes grow from there. Oops – novice gardeners. There are some new hopeful flowers and teeny-tiny tomatoes now and I promise to leave them alone.
My Zucchini were lucky enough to escape this treatment and this weekend I found – hidden in the middle of the plant – the hugest zucchini ever.
Can you tell that it’s a big zucchini? It is. LD’s hand is kind of big too so maybe it’s not the best to show scale. And it’s not the greatest image – every picture I took of it looks like I was trying to make some colorful joke. I wasn’t. Honest. This one was the best I could come up with. Sorry – I’ll practice my food photography.
Also, I’ve been promising some of you an update on my ecolawn. It’s growing really beautifully in some areas. But it’s turned quite brown and sad in others. We may have over-fertilized the area before we spread the seed and it could be burning the roots. But it seems so location specific that I’m thinking it may be from traffic? The only difference from our regular (and minimal) use being that we walked across that area carrying 100 lb trees. Hmm, I’m hoping it’s going to be hardy enough to stand up to regular usage once established. I’ve heard fine fescues (which it’s mostly composed of) are a little delicate. We will keep trying and will overseed in the fall. It still looks better than most Portland yards (which are always brown all summer because no one believes in watering), even the sideyard – which we’ve been totally ignoring all summer – is relatively green . Anyway, here are some pics – green and brown.
Vanillawood debuted their online shop today. I learned this thanks to @IDNews, however, on my first visit to their site I never made it to the shop, instead I was sidetracked by their incredible portfolio. Talk about inspiring! I have a serious design crush and if you don’t see me for the next couple of weeks it’s because I’ve moved into their showroom to huddle under a Walnut Slab table in the hopes of absorbing their amazing aesthetic.
Let me back up, Vanillawood is a “Design, Build, Live” studio in Portland, Ore run by husband and wife team James and Kricken Yaker. They offer full service architectural and interior design solutions and have an eye towards keeping things green. Their work is clean and warm. I especially would love to steal some ideas for my kitchen.
I know Joon & Jung has already circled the blogosphere but I can’t help but feature them on House and Universe. I love them so much – I am pining for them to be my product design bffs forever.
And this is so lovely the way it plays with the light. I have thought about trying to put images on simple shades and I think this would be the way to do it. I like the idea of the image being close to illegible. Like a fleeting vision.
And you sooo have to love their cloud stools. Even if I didn’t love clouds to the point of becoming one (okay – I’ll include the picture of me doing this – see below).
Becoming-cloud suit – by me and Tracy Featherstone.
The cool Portland summer, mixed with a yearning for the ocean – and the beautiful soft and worn styles and colors that seem to be fashionable everywhere, are making me dream of Agnes Martin paintings. I feel like it’s time for a resurgence of her work. So, hello world, bring back Agnes Martin. We are ripe for the kind of slow looking that her subtle and glowing paintings and drawings demand (and it’s a sweet kind of demand).
These digital versions are nothing of course compared to the real paintings. She constructs an atmosphere out of carefully drawn/painted lines and the canvases seem to radiate with the light of the desert (where she painted).
Actually some beautiful summer reading if you are feeling creatively inclined (or stuck) are the writings of Agnes Martin. They are strong, quiet and very inspirational in a no-nonsense kind of way.
Oh no! I just googled them to find them for you and see that they are out of print. Uh oh, I hope I can find my copy. Well, borrow them from a painter friend (make sure you return them) and enjoy!
I am loving my new set of dishes, made by the fabulous Kim Lust! (You may remember John Lust from an earlier post - talented family! And I haven’t even got to the amazingness of their daughter - known around these parts as toodleberries.) Anyway – they are stoneware with a lovely white glaze that feels natural and a little rustic because of all the rust-colored oxidized spots. I love the mix of stone and a white glaze because they feel relaxed and earthy but also elegant. Plus – they inspire me to make (and eat) nummy food! The wide salad bowls are my absolute favorite as they are perfect for holding summer bounty – delicious pastas and salads. Its amazing what a difference nice dinnerware can make; the way your food looks on it, the sound that your fork makes grazing across it. I also really love how the glaze ends before reaching the edge to show the raw material. So sensual! Thanks Kim!
P.S. for anyone interested, you may not see a whole dinnerware set on her site or etsy page but I do believe she does custom orders. yay!
I was just catching up on my Desire to Inspire reading when I came across the landscape design of Eckersley. All I can say is wow wow wow. The first two projects I really really want to steal from. The last project, based in Melbourne, is not as much my style but is still completely gorgeous!
As for our own yard. Not much progress since the last post. I tried to rearrange some of our thrift store furniture and came to the conclusion that we need to just get rid of it all and start fresh. Oh, one boulder has been moved into place! Now for the other one. Anyone know how to move a 900 pound gorilla?
Great simple structure and architecture in this one. I love the minimal plantings/color and subtle use of height. The grass looks so soft too, such nice texture!
Those trees are gorgeous. Again, love the retrained color palette; and like the way the green is coming up between the pavers. There is something magical about this one.
What?!? This place hardly seems real. The colors are just incredible. Oh to be a fauvist painter in this landscape. It also really reminds me of my (much admired) mother; her playful, bold and romantic spirit.
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend – enjoying the landscapes around you.
Does someone want to make this for me? It’s perfect for those days when it’s so hot you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and daydream. Via teenangster.net
Okay – so we’ve made some progress on the back yard. After I made the rough plan in sketchup we got to work on getting some of the main areas filled in (veggie garden, lawn and wooded area). To get the whole area ready, we tilled the lawn about 3 times, each time letting it sit a couple weeks in the sun to kill a new set of weed roots. After the third tilling we raked it and tried to get the yard as level as possible. (I think there is a much better way to do this, like hiring a landscaping company that knows how to level your yard and create a slight slope away from the house. But we didn’t do this.) We then rolled the area, spread compost and spread our ecolawn seed in our lawn area. Hooray!
AND we bought two big boulders for our wooded area! (600 and 860lbs!) Of course we haven’t exactly been able to move them into place yet (Did I say? 600 and 860lbs!) but I think they will be great once they are in their spot.
The ecolawn is coming in! It took about 9 days to germinate – it was so cute as it was growing. Now it’s been almost 3 weeks and it’s starting to look like a little lawn. It’s a bit patchy and we will reseed in the fall but it’s something. I love the round thin blades of grass. I’m hoping it’s true that once it’s established it pushes out weeds because right now there are all kind of sweet little new weeds in there too.
So things are starting to come together – but it’s amazing how ghetto our back area still looks. I think next on the agenda is clearing out the seating/hang out area of all our throw-away furniture and trying to get something decent in place to lounge around on. And then, once we get those rocks in place, perhaps some birch trees and scottish moss in our wooded area. I think those things will make a huge difference.
And also, here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
1) Make sure when you buy veggie starters that you look and see how many plants you are actually buying – I bought six for every one plant i thought i was buying. I ran out of room in my garden to plant them all and ended up with waaaay more lettuce than I wanted.ht
2) Get the right planting material the first time around. We were mislead into buying pure compost, sand and fertilizer which was did not make our plants happy. We had to unplant and replant our starters after a week. You may want to make sure it’s organic and a mix of soil and compost and well-mixed well for you. Trying to mix it yourself is hard and we got clumpy results.
2) If you are doing a big project like landscaping youself – ask your landscape centers for a contractors discount. They should give you 10-20 percent. Also, our local garden center has a “friends of” program that saves you 10 percent. It adds up.
3) Rocks are heavy. Really heavy. Heavier than you think they are. LD was certain we would just have them drop off the boulders and we would just “roll” them into place. Well they don’t exactly “roll” and solutions that seem easy (rent a bobcat!) really aren’t (oh – we would have to take down our fence and we would destroy our newly planted grass). Oh – and do rocks before anything – even a if its a comepletly separate area of the yard as you don’t know if you might need access to that area where you just planted some tender young grass.
4) Plant grass in May (or even better, September) – it’s a pain to wake up at 6 to water your lawn.
5) It’s really hard to make your yard level – and even harder to know how to make a grade (slope) away from your house. I still haven’t figured this part out – short of hiring someone. If anyone out there knows – please tell me.
I’m fascinated by the idea that rooms can be read, almost like a story. In this little collection I am seeing some similarities in the way the inhabitants (real or imagined) mix and combine objects. It feels to me like each object has some kind of totemic power. And the way they all mix together, it’s like they conjure a whole other environment or world that comes down to live in the space. (Also – the theme I’m getting from these is “hobo-genius.”) What do you think? What stories are you getting and how do you play with objects in your rooms? Do your objects remind you of other places? Other lands? How much of your space is real and how much is daydreamed?
After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison; This large-scale staged-photograph is by Jeff Wall. His work has inspired me since I first saw this image at Whitney Biennial in 1996.
The man who flew into space from his apartment; another installation by Ilya Kabakov (yes, a favorite). I believe he first created this installation in his own apartment in 1968 – in his words, “I built the installation The Man Who Flew into Space in the corner, I glued Soviet posters from inside of it and I would take it down after each showing for fear that they would drop in, understand, and that would be ‘the end of everything.’ “. The installation is a false document, and a subtle (and risky) commentary on soviet policy that conjures up a dreamer who wants to fly into outer space on his own.
The above two photos show the real life studio of Portland artist Evan B. Harris (via My love for you is a stampede of horses). You can easily see that the world he creates in his illustrations has also descended upon his attic retreat.
keep looking »
And finally, the work by an artist near and dear to my heart, David Hilliard. I think this is one of the first of the multi-paneled photographs that he did and if I remember the story right, he showed it to his Professor at Yale who commented on what a great job he did ‘staging’ this scene. (I think the professor was Gregory Crewdson known for his staged work – and also for being the guy who influenced the art direction of Six Feet Under). But it wasn’t staged at all, just a candid shot of part of Hilliard’s family hanging out in his room. If you are not already familiar with Hilliard’s lush photographs, I would recommend checking them out. He is a master at using space to reveal the poignant details of his subjects inner lives.