Bon Voyage!

ArchitectDesign posted about l'Opera Garnier the other day as he's off to Paris this week. That post reminded me of this photo I took of the balustrade surrounding the opera house. Yes, I'm a geek and I take pictures of parts of buildings. I love this shape, I'm totally trying to figure out who could translate this into big pillar candlesticks. Picture it in turned wood with a waxed finish.

The opera house is an amazing building because, like so many buildings in the city, it's chock full of beautiful details. There's just no end of things to see. I'm looking forward to reading his impressions upon his return. (Post your sketchbook too!)

Have a great time Stefan!

Resto finally makes a move

For a long while now I've been completely apathetic towards Restoration Hardware. They have some handsome furnishings of course, but nothing I thought was especially inspired, and nothing I was at all anxious to own. And while I know that choices are good, the streamlining of things into collections, with every frame available in every fabric, it just rubs me the wrong way. It's like they sucked any little bit of specialness out of everything they offer. Until today.

The catalog came yesterday but I didn't pick it up until a commercial during Wipeout tonight, and I'm completely serious when I say that the first 65 pages made me squeal. Reclaimed wood, aged steel, architectural and vintage inspiration, chunky proportions, lighter colors, polished Finally some pieces with some attitude. I won't comment on everything, but I wanted to post some favorites. Enjoy.

And this doesn't include the upholstered pieces covered in what looks like vintage linen with that gorgeous, chunky texture. I'll stop in this weekend and see if it's all as good in person.

Oh eBay, I've missed you

Things have been busy lately and I've neglected my eBay addiction, so before bed last night I took a spin through the ironstone listings. What did I find but this 11 inch footed bowl in need of some love! I was at the workshop starting on another secretary tonight, so I set a reminder on my phone so I wouldn't forget to bid. As it turns out I got home with time to spare, and there was no flurry of last minute bids which meant my late bid was good!

There's a small rim chip, but other than that it appears to be in pretty good shape. A spin through the peroxide bath at Connie's house should brighten it right up. Connie, if you're reading, make a list of painting and/or framing projects you'd like help with, me and my dirty whitewares need to come see you when Sparks is over.

There's another of these bowls on my watch list for later in the week. It's in pristine condition so I don't expect to have as easy a time of it, but I'll bid my best.

A little bit of California in KC

Phyllis held our place open today, and we actually had a couple people come through! And even better, there's a showing appointment for tomorrow morning. So we (and the dogs) had to clear out for the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and other than the barking and nose prints on my just-washed-yesterday car, we had a good time.

Don Drummond was a builder here in the 50's and 60's, and he used a number of plans made popular in California by builder Joe Eichler. If you'd like more information on how that came to be just Google either of their names and you'll find a number of blogs and websites that tell the story.

In Kansas City, if you say "It's a Drummond house," most people will know exactly what you're talking about. They tend to be clustered together in a few little enclaves throughout the metro area, and they're vastly different than everything around them.

We'd seen one online and tried to go look at it last week, but the open had been cancelled. It was open again today, and had a huge crowd.

Here it is from the front. This plan has a two-car garage, which is a little bit rare. Often they'll have a large carport, which stylistically I love, but doesn't work so well with our winters.
Walls of glass, big beams, and slanted ceilings are the hallmarks here, and what make Drummond homes so different from the ranches, colonials, and capes that fill our neighborhoods. We spoke to a neighbor who's Drummond is for sale by owner, and she explained that there are no load-bearing interior walls, which make them easy to reconfigure as needed.
This room, currently used as an office, looks out onto the outdoor dining/lounge area. It was a nice size for either this or a TV room.
This is the other outdoor patio, set up as a lounge area. It's accessable via sliders from the kitchen/dining area as well as the master bedroom.
The paint colors wouldn't be my choice, but I do like the sliding shoji screen doors and the fact that the tile flooring runs pretty much throughout the entire house.

And the deal-sealer, a pool big enough to splash around in, and small enough to easily maintain. Brett's in love.

We're not buying, as it's way south of where we'd like to be, but if there was a house that was going to pull us out of the target neighborhood, this would be it. They had a continual flow of people in and out, I'll be surprised if it's not under contract by the end of the week.

Damn you JCrew

It's no secret I'm a big fan of the Crew, so when an email popped up this afternoon letting me know there were new arrivals online and in-store, I couldn't get to fast enough. I was not disappointed.

I like tee shirts, and I like vintage-inspired tee shirts even more. I've found that while I don't love the majority of their novelty tees, occasionally they'll put one up that I do, such as the Hudson Graphic Tee.
The Crew is also a favorite for sweaters, and I'm totally digging this, the Military Mockneck Wool Cardigan. It also comes in a blah brown called Heathered Earth, but I much prefer it in black.

I stopped by the store on the Plaza tonight. I wanted to see the sweater and I thought I might pick up the tee, but they hadn't received either. The manager James is extremely nice (Brett thinks he has a crush, I think he's just helpful) and said he'd give me a call when they come in.
What was in was the Fatigue Jacket. I tried this on and it's really great. It comes with a button-on hood (which James helped me remove) and it's really much better without. Washed and just slightly distressed, stand-up collar, a bit shorter than I imagine army-issue would be, and a deal at 168.
It's totally going to be my fall jacket.


Happy Birthday Baby!

Tonight: You, me, and JP Wine Bar. And then presents, and then...

Love you-

Grey floors

We've had a few showings lately here, which is good news. The house we want to buy is still available as well, and I'm starting to wonder (foolishly perhaps) if something isn't afoot. Are the real estate gods conspiring to put us somewhere new? Is that somewhere the place we hope? There's no way to know of course, but in case it is, we can prepare.

As I've been reworking that house in my head, a task that will take years to complete unless we happen onto a pile of cash, there are two issues I've been unsure how to handle. The first problem is a pair of walls, one which should (and I believe can) go away, and the other which should change. I can't explain it coherently here without drawings, but I've figured out what we'd need to do.

The second problem is the floor. I hate broken up floors, which is what this house has. Stone in the entry, parquet straight ahead, hardwood to the left and right, and eventually linoleum in the kitchen and a different tile in each of the 2.5 baths. Looking at photos I discovered that a quirk of the house could be the saving grace for my floors.

The family that lived in this house for all but the first two years of its existance owned a carpet business. As such, the living and dining rooms, as well as the hall and bedrooms were always covered in wall-to-wall. And under that carpet, the original oak flooring was never finished. It's there now, raw as the day it was installed.

More importantly, it's a standard three inch oak plank, still available today. Which means that the stone entry and the "family room" parquet can be easily replaced. Same for the kitchen. I don't know what's under the lino, but if necessary I can install what I need. I can even run it into the powder room, a far better answer than the pink mosaic you'd find there today.

The photo above is an engineered wood from Berti. I'm not a fan of engineered wood, but this is exactly the color I have in mind. One unbroken surface of grey-stained, satin-finished oak, as far as the eye can see.

This warm neutral ground also helps me in the kitchen, where I want dark base cabinets. A lighter floor means those cabinets won't blend in and disappear.

We'd end up with exactly two flooring materials in our home, an idea which appeals to me greatly. The master and second full bath get a carrera marble herringbone mosaic bordered in six inches of China Black marble. Everything else is warm grey wood.

Hunger for Handmade

We're thinking about another trip next year, Paris again, because we love it, and Amsterdam (sort of again) because that one day on the way home last time wasn't nearly enough. This time the sightseeing will be more lesurely, with more time spent roaming and shopping.

I've been looking around online for a while now, and ran across Matieres a Reflexion. Leather bags, handmade from carefully selected vintage jackets, retaining the vintage details. Each is produced and numbered right there in the studio/shop. The bag pictured is from the Army line, made from old French Army jackets.

In Amsterdam the sightseeing will no doubt be more intensive, but we'll still make time to simply get a feel for the city. The shopping must-do is Denham the Jeanmaker. The website is beautiful, but a bit cumbersome to navigate. Still, I've read about Jason Denham from a number of sources, (his blog is interesting if you like clothing from a historical standpoint, I'd kill to see the Denham Garment Library) and I'm dying to see the clothes, which he describes this way:

"Our customer is not going to settle for less than jaw dropping, mouth watering, gotta have pieces. The only way we know how to make them is to create our own unique balance of deep authenticity, inventive contemporary detailing, and a distinctly modern attitude."

As much time as I spend painting you'd think I'd work the creative urge right out, but I've found myself wanting to make things lately. Not big things or furniture, but things I can hold in my hands. And a side effect of that desire seems to be a search for things not mass-produced.

A Sunday Buzz

We were at loose ends today. We'd slept in, had breakfast, picked up the house and cleaned up ourselves. It was too hot to go to the workshop, and Brett didn't feel like going to his office, so we ran out south to Crate and Barrel to look at a couple things I'd seen in the catalog.

Nothing we had to have there, so we swung by Baby Gap to pick up a first birthday gift for Brett's god-daughter Maya. Being the good gay uncles we are we bought the cutest dress in the store, and a little cardigan that should make it work further into the fall.

Those errands out of the way, and a little too early for dinner, we needed a snack. JP Winebar is right there at 119th, so off we went.

This is exactly what a hot Sunday late-afternoon needs. One bottle of Riondo prosecco, and the Spain cheese flight. Three delicious cheeses on a bed of fruit, nuts, pickled vegetables and crackers.

It was likely the cause of my two hour nap when we got home, but I still heartily recommend.

Have you read this?

I read it last Saturday. It was in the contestant's gift bag we got Friday night at the reception for the Fuzzy Fotos contest. (We finished 7th with just over $3,000 raised by the way, completely respectable in a field of 21. And the event raised just over $52,000 for No More Homeless Pets KC and KC Free).

If you're a dog person and you haven't read it, give it a go. The story is told from the point of view of a dog at the end of his life. You'll laugh, you'll get angry, and fair warning, at one point you will bawl like a baby, but you'll still enjoy the book.

It took most of the day, but I read it in one sitting, so it's not so long as to be grueling. (I do that sometimes, as I did with The Lovely Bones, and even The DaVinci Code, although that took all evening and night.)

If you have read it I'd love to know what you thought.

Broadsided again.

Ok, so I had a little bit of a thing today with some woman, and I'd like to know your thoughts. I had to run to the antique mall to pay my rent and pick up my check. I'm sitting at the light at 83rd and Mission. My windows are down, I'm listening to music, and I'm done with my cigarette. (lets set aside the whole issue of my smoking for now)

My arm is resting on the window sill, and I toss my butt out the window. Suddenly, the woman in the white VW van in left turn lane slightly behind me sits on her horn. I turn and look, and she's saying something, but of course her window is closed and I don't read lips so I turn back to face the light.

Woman then pulls up next to me, and this follows:

Screaming Woman: "Don't you have an ashtray?"
Me: "Not one I'm prepared to use."
Screaming Woman: "That's disgusting blah blah blabbety blah!"
Me: "Oh my God."
Screaming Woman: "You're shocked that someone would blah blah blah..."
Me: -rolls up window-

Ok. I'm fully aware that by throwing my cigarette out of the car I've littered. But I also know that on the floor in my back seat, is a collapsable waste bin that I bought at the auto parts store. In it you will find coffee cups, cigarette boxes, receipts, bags, and all sorts of things that will be deposited into a trash can when next I clean out the car.

I believe that while not perfect, I deserve some credit for not just tossing everything out of the car. I remember the indian chief and that tear rolling down his face as he stood by the side of the highway, and he made a difference. I also know that while I enjoy cigarettes, they smell bad when they're dead and I've NEVER used an ashtray in any car I've owned.

The result here is not that I'm ashamed of dropping my butt on the street. The end result is that I feel like a doormat. If VW woman was trying to shame me into not tossing butts from the car she has failed. I've spent the remainder of the day not regretting what I did, but regretting that my first words to her weren't "Who the fuck do you think you are?"

I see things that I disagree with every day. The way people drive, the way they handle their kids, their lack of respect for people and surroundings. The world is full of things I think are wrong. And you know what I do most of the time? I keep my damn mouth shut because while it may effect me in some small way, mostly it's not my business.

Brett thinks she was wrong to scream at me, but more than that he doesn't think I should throw my smokes on the street.

How about you, any wisdom to share?


I'm dangerously close to putting myself on another news blackout, and this woman is one of the reasons why. Meet Orly Taitz, self-appointed Queen of the Birthers. She's a lawyer somewhere, and refers to herself on her website as Dr. Orly Taitz, Esq. (Link? Not a chance in hell.)

Now you know I have nothing against the practice of law, indeed it's what keeps the lights on and the pantry full at Chez Malaise. But even the resident attorney here can't stand the sort of self-important, blowhard lawyer that appends Esquire to the end of their name, and I concur. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

It's become too much, the continuing coverage of these loons who, in the face of all proof to the contrary, continue to scream that the president isn't a citizen and therefore ineligible for office. Ms. Taitz's website proudly features a large scale photo of the (disproved) Kenyan birth certificate for your perusal. Even though everyone now knows it's a fake.

Her site also proudly proclaims in bold, blue type that "Dr. Taitz is approved to handle cases before the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C." Impressive! What she doesn't say though, is that pretty much any lawyer can be "approved to handle cases" before the Supreme Court. Hell, the Kansas Bar Association sponsors a trip each year for it's members to travel to DC, be introduced by a member of the Supreme Court Bar, pay their fee, and bam, they're admitted to the bar as well.

Forgeries and half-truths, she represents everything that is wrong with America.

I simply can't wrap my head around this pathological need to belong to something, even if that something is a group that does nothing other than keep screaming questions that have long been answered.

I'm full. I've had enough of birth certificates health care reform. I'm over the republicans AND the democrats. I've seen all the tearful press conference apologies I need to see, and I've learned more about Islam than I ever cared to.

I know what everyone drank at last week's "Beer Summit," yet I don't know if the President is serious about ending Don't Ask Don't Tell.

The arguing never ends. I need a break.

Things I love: Industrial Chic

The latest Crate & Barrel catalog came in the mail, and there's tons of new goodness to be had. A couple of really good lamps, an armchair with nice lines covered in a peacock blue velvet, a really beautiful collection of drum tables sheathed in a gorgeous walnut veneer, and my favorite, the Turner barstoool.

I love a few industrial pieces in my mix, and I'm racking my brain trying to figure out where I could use this. Vintage-inspired (yay!), blackened iron finish, seat adjusts from 18 to 24 inches.