Modernism Week Recap

Hey all! I’m a little behind recapping Modernism Week, but we left, as always, with so much momentum that would be stupid to not act on asap. Major floor work getting done over here! The week was so great though! Such a packed, but fun visit. While I wasn’t particularly jazzed about the increased Palm Springs crowds – I think we tend to travel in off season/ghost town times so the traffic jams and restaurant lines were unexpected and annoying – there were many upsides to all the people. For starters, house creeps blend in with all the other house creeps, making us all super legit. Crazy ladies are given a pass to gawk this one special week of the year.

Of course, the obvious bonus to the madness was all the events and house tours. I only ended up doing two official house tours, the Edris House and the Frey House II (which I’ll share next time because they each deserve their own space), because most everything was sold out by the time we decided to go. I know I missed out on some incredible houses (like the Frank Sinatra estate and the Morse Residence), but I have ZERO complaints because Edris and Frey have been my top two favorite houses for like ever. Like, I’ve been unhealthily obsessed with them. I never ever expected to see the interiors of one, let alone both, and they were both FAR beyond expectations, leaving me feeling incredibly fortunate.

Additionally, I got to see the West Elm House and another really cool home for sale in the Royal Hawaiian Estates, both of which I’m sharing today (all iphoners). Lots of take aways!First up: I’ve had my eye on this listing in the Royal Hawaiian Estates for a few months and was so happy to see it in person. I love mid-century Polynesian madness, and this whole 60’s complex is top notch. Fun facts, Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison designed the estates (which, in this case, is a fancy name for condos) and they were originally for the 55 and older Jewish crowd. The place has an odd restoration story. The place was way run down by the 90’s and decisions by the board to remove, not restore, certain architectural details only intensified the downward spiral. But recently residents have taken big steps, including becoming the first Historic Residential District in the city, to restore the place to its former magnificence. This particular unit, in glorious original condition, was obviously decorated by someone who ran with the Polynesian theme, and who should be my best friend. Sadly, it won’t be our future vacation home, not that we’re looking, but not that I’m not looking, because I’m always looking. EEK!
Royal Hawaiian Estates Palm Springs mid century bedroom wallpaper polynesianRoyal Hawaiian Estates Palm Springs mid century bedroom wallpaper polynesianLook, they have a dressing room too!Royal Hawaiian Estates Palm Springs mid century closet wallpaper polynesian Royal Hawaiian Estates Palm Springs mid century yellow bathroom wallpaper polynesianShould I paint my kitchen yellow? I should paint my kitchen yellow.  I didn’t snap a photo of their iconic flying sevens or their colorful front doors, so you must get googling if you’re not familiar!

Next up, the West Elm house. This house is actually owned and was renovated by Acme House Co., a vacation rental company, meaning you can rent it! West Elm furnished it. The furnishings were fine and all, basically like a cool West Elm location complete with pulsating shopping music. But I was there for the architecture and renovation of the Alexander home, which had so many good ideas with universal (if you are me) appeal! Breezeblock, not original to the house, was incorporated successfully inside and out into exterior walls, outdoor bars, mailboxes, firepits, and a bathroom vanity wall. I was really inspired by all of it and am still trying to figure out how I can replicate the bathroom wall situation. The entire bathroom will serve as inspiration for our abandoned bathroom project if we ever decided to do a full renovation. The layout is perfect for our space and the shower flanked by a sliding door to the backyard is a dream. (The sliding door has a pull down screen on the exterior for privacy!)
I also loved the outdoor spaces. They turned a front yard dominated by a large U shape driveway into a few private patio spaces, one for every front-facing bedroom. The front door is a giant sliding door within the first patio.
West Elm House Palm Springs Modernism Week 2017 mailbox breeze blocks breezeblock

As if all the houses weren’t enough, the best bonus to Modernism Week was having so many Instagram friends in town! Meeting in real life was so much fun! I had the privilege of hanging with the good folks from Destination Eichler, Fogmodern, Ma and Pa Modern, and Dear House I Love You – all Eichler people (or Eichler painters…see @aaroneskridge for his awesome I Like Eich paintings that I’m sure you’ve seen all over) so you know they are great! I also got to spend a wonderful afternoon walking neighborhoods, drooling over houses, and just talking life with Audrey from @wildwoodmodern. She is the sweetest! The internet is pretty incredible, allowing you to connect with people you might actually really like. I put the intro in introvert and generally don’t like socializing or small talk or really any social conventions/norms (picture Larry David in lady form and you’ve got me), but get me at a table full of house nerds and I could hang all night. My kind of people! I definitely recommend you check out all of their houses and renovations if you don’t already follow them! Every one of them is doing incredible work!

I’ll be back next time with my favorite houses, while saying the word perfection far too many times. Thanks for reading :)

Flooring Updates and DIY Feelings

When it comes to this house, sometimes I feel like a super successful do-it-yourselfer and other times a complete failure. The flooring, the literal foundation for every room, falls into the failure category. But we are working on rectifying the situation, only 3.75 years into living here! Approximately half the house has had most of its wood floors installed for a least the last year or two, but lingering rows remained unfinished and abandoned under furniture. Preventing us from baseboards. Preventing us from any “finished” look anywhere in the house.

I’m so ready to move on with my life so I’ve pushed this project to priority status, though installing wonky boards is the last thing my husband wants to do in his free time. I’ve talked previously about our love/hate relationship with the hardwood floors we chose. They are so pretty, but have been THE WORST to install. Not like I’m doing any of the hard stuff. My husband has taken on that burden completely upon his shoulders (and knees, and wrists, and hands, and back…). But the installation has been so hard and so frustrating that the flooring is the #1 project that we avoid and ignore in our house. Which is unfortunate, because it’s not as is the flooring in your entire house can be hidden behind a closed door. I see it daily. It became that thing we were semi-blind to and forget how bad it actually is…or how much better it could be if we just put in a few days of work. This past weekend was dedicated to tying up some lose flooring ends and the few miserable days of work have paid dividends! Among other things, the flooring in the entry and adjacent coat closet is finally finished! hardwood floors diy install entry threshold bellawood maplesubfloor This part of our house was at one point an open hole to the earth below – we had to remove and replace subfloor because it so not level that floors couldn’t even be installed upon it. Only a few unfinished rows of floors remained, but it was hours of work that included refinishing the exterior wood threshold, custom fitting a new gasketed threshold under the door, and impossibly shimmying the puzzle pieces of the last row into place. You can’t see this, but the door even got some new hinges to help it hang a little better on our old crooked and shifting house (!). My husband does really great work and I’m so thankful for all the different kinds of hard works he puts in for our family.
hardwood floors diy install entry threshold For so long the first steps into our house were unfinished ones, a taste of what was to come. This seems to signify a great shift in our household! The entry is now leaving me with quite the good impression. I know why we pushed this project off for so long, but at the same time, why did we wait so long to do this??? coral pink front doormaple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsWe also checked off the den flooring, kitchen flooring, and dining room flooring this weekend, which means those rooms are now ready for baseboards. Which has brought us to another exciting but frustrating stop on our journey: picking out the baseboards! I am sick of making decisions and want someone to just tell me what to do. I’ve narrowed it down to something void of ornamentation, but I can’t land on a height. Really tall? 60’s short? In between? What is the answer internet? We could go with a super simple cove that is probably most like the original baseboards of the house, but it reads cheap to me compared with simple squared off options. NO MORE DECISIONS.maple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsThe next stop on this flooring journey is an irritating and unexpected one: the decision whether to continue as planned and hardwood the entire house (minus the sunken family room and the bathrooms) or to keep/replace carpet the bedrooms. I fully believe in cohesive flooring in a house so I’m against carpet in the bedrooms…but the pace, hours and scale of installing these stupid crooked boards ourselves is irrational, even for me. It would be perfectly reasonable to quit sinking money into floors that my husband swears he hates enough to never refinish (the only reason we bought the real stuff instead of the easier to install, incredibly straight engineered wood flooring). He would love to just pay someone to install new carpet in the bedrooms and never look back…and never give another dime to Bellawood. My kids would prefer carpet in their rooms too. And I’m sure my aging dog sides with all of them. It’s me and my choppy floor pet-peeve against them all, and I can’t argue with their rationalizations. I’ve conceded the final decision to my husband, so we’ll see what gets handed down. Choosing new carpet, something I never imagined myself doing, might be in my future…

I’m realizing that our renovation style is slow and unfocused. We jump from project to project as motivation strikes and disappears, rarely seeing things through to completion before moving on to the next thing, and then living amongst our half finished projects. (Evidence: the master bath project that went so bad and frustrating that we needed to take a breather, but now we’re living with an even dumpier space that we began with). I’m sure part of that is our personalities, but I think a majority of it is out of necessity because of our time/energy constraints. The massive undertaking of fixing up an entire house almost 100% yourselves while also juggling parenting and job responsibilities (add in homeschooling!) is crazy person business when you step back and think about it. I’m not complaining, because I’m the crazy person who again and again eagerly volunteers for this. But there are days when I step back and think why are we doing all this??? and it’s usually on hardwood floor install days. I also ignorantly assume that everybody else is spending their weekend plugging away at projects on their home, forgetting this isn’t normal. I can see why most people spend their weekends relaxing. Maybe one day I’ll be one of them – or maybe I’m not cut out for a life of leisure? High fives and pats on the backs to all you other DIYers out there! Keep up the good work and I get/like your kind of crazy!

DIY Weaving + Fiber Artists to Follow

diy weaving pom pom fringe brown openHey! We made it back from Palm Springs and came home with so much inspiration and motivation. We’ll see how long it lasts, but this weekend was packed with organizing/selling/donating/hardwood flooring. I have so many photos to share from PS that I’ll be back soon with (lots are on IG), but in the meantime I wanted to pop in, say hello, and share this completely non-Palm Springs related crazy little weaving that I recently made.diy weaving lap loomI love weaving because not a lot of skill is involved and you get to go to town creatively. There isn’t right or wrong, in process or materials, and nothing is irreparable. As long as you somehow get your yarn (or whatever) to stay woven, you are a great success. I purchased this loom for my kiddos for a couple of bucks at a thrift store. I see them all the time and think every home should have at least one! We were out of warp so I went with twine and used the negative space to show of its texture. I wove in pieces of leftover yarn and pompoms in mostly random patterns. Everything goes…my kind of project! diy weaving children's loomdiy weaving pom pom fringediy weaving pom pom fringe brown openMy husband is not sold on the weaving’s great big balls, especially in conjunction with the great big balls on that lamp (double double!), but I’m feeling them all.mid century lamp hugeNot surprisingly, fiber artists are some of my favorite to follow on Instagram. Their work is as inspiring as their ability to hustle that fiber into a business. This sounds just like a reiteration of that recent ramble about metal sculptors, but it’s so lovely to see fiber art having a moment. It is good. Check these talented artists out:

Meghan Shimek – cool, large fiber installations

Jeannie Helzer  – chunky weavings

Lauren Williams – swinging dyed tapestries

Erin Barrett – colorful chunky weavings (and a pretty rad house too)

All Roads Studio – textiles WITH ceramics

Jen Hewett – printmaker on fabric

Morgan Satterfield – best house blogger ever (the-brick-house.com) turned weaving machine

Judit Just – weavings in fluorescents

I just might have majored in Fiber Art had I stumbled into a class earlier. The tactile nature of working with textiles is so much fun and incredibly satisfying. Oddly, sewing is one of the most frustrating things in the world to me and is only kept from last place in craft enjoyment by the existence of scrapbooking, the dead-last worst! But weaving = addicting. Textile printing = dream job. Embroidery = pass that needle. Felting = let’s get stabbing!
diy weaving pom pom fringe brown openHave you guys dipped your toes into the fiber pool? Aside from sewing/quilting, I think it often flies under the radar even for crafty types. But it’s not one to be missed! I, for one, have never tried macrame (I KNOW!?), so that is next on my fiber list. xo