This category contains 8 posts

{Review Pt.1} Our 3rd Year at The Austin Modern Home Tour!

Look who we ran into at house #3 – Robin Callan, design guru at Room Fu Knockout Interiors!! I was super excited when I spotted her last year and glad we got to chat it up again on this tour. I’m a big fan of her work and her wit, I recommend checking out her website and blog. 

I have anxiously awaited The Modern Home Tour each year for the past three years and each time I get more from it. The first year I was just beginning to train my eyes towards architecture and design so I didn’t really do much but decide on a very basic level what I liked and didn’t like. But now, I’m in it and on a mission. I critiqued each house, not as an authority (of which I certainly am not), but as a budding designer sculpting my own sensibilities about how we create the spaces we occupy.

My husband and I both have a specific idea of what it looks and feels like to being living “Austin-style” in Austin. Decidedly in our 9 months (me) and 4 months (him) of living here we still haven’t yet achieved that lifestyle goal. Before we moved here this tour has really made us feel like we’re in and a part of Austin. Making the trip down just for this was so much fun and I kind of miss that now that Austin is our home. Either way, touring people’s cribs is a unique way to experience the city and get a bit of that “how the other half lives”.

Speaking of “the other half” I must admit that co-existing with my excitement and love for these spaces, is a more disapproving set of thoughts and feelings. You see, on this tour I get to step into the residences of some lucky ass fucking people and after I’m done oohing and aahing it’s hard for me to have too much respect for all that luxury and privilege when I know so many people are suffering in the world. I tend to doubt most people (like the owners) are doing much about and I find myself looking at their nice things and thinking that such excess only exists because others have been deprived. I think they only have that killer pad basically because of the subjugation of  people all over the world. I’m not setting out to show how this makes sense here, but I know that it’s the truth in so many ways. Now in fairness I also realize that depending on who’s making the comparison, I’m a lucky bastard too and that this feeling of mine is largely based upon where I place the threshold of judgement. My frame of reference for luxury is American but my frame of reference for suffering is global – pretty ‘tarded I know. Yet I find a lot of validity in how I’m viewing this, but again this isn’t the post to get into all that, I just wanted to put it out because it’s extremely relevant to the kind of architect/builder I am going to be.

So, let’s move on shall we… and begin with my short list of Home Tour Tips:

  1. Don’t expect to see all the houses. The tour is 11am – 6pm and there are 16 homes. We have made it to exactly half of the homes each year, which is fine because we find we only have an interest in seeing about that many.
  2. Expect to remove your shoes before entering many homes, or be prepared to scoot around in the oh so fashionable medical-blue shoe booties that look like shower caps. And of course wear comfy shoes you can walk in for hours!
  3. Prepare foods in advance. Either plan ahead where you may want to grab eats, or do like we do and bring your own nosh and chow in the car so you don’t waste as much time.
  4. Take notes along the way. Capturing pics and thoughts as you go is the best method if you don’t want to forget something you saw. I also suggest bringing a folder of some kind to capture all the cards you may be picking up from each home.

If you’re interested in other Austin area home tours check out (although I haven’t been to any of these.):

And now for an exterior sneak peek pic coming soon in {Review Pt. 2} …


{Sweet Salvage} Architects Protect and Conserve via Dwell

Driven by “an evangelical zeal to save things,” Adam Hills and Maria Speake artfully repurpose landfill-bound materials at their London architectural salvage and design business, Retrouvius.

Read more: Protect and Conserve – People – Dwell.

This is really great. I dream of having my own sweet salvage shop where, in superhero style, I save the precious lives of useful discarded goods. It’s all about finding those diamonds in the rough and giving them that chance they were so inconsiderately denied. I have lots of love for people who interrupt that trip to the landfill and make gorgeous things happen.

Let us remember though that pulling it from the rubble pile and hoarding it to forever live in the “but it could be…” stack is no better. (Both situations literally cause an ache to appear in my belly.) **Crap, I just drifted off thinking about all the incredible stuff people throw away – wait, my hubby put a nice looking toaster in the trash the other day after trying for weeks to fix it. I am going to kick my ass hard if it’s not still there for me to retrieve in a minute. Why didn’t I stop that madness when I saw it!?? Oh yeah, because I’m still a lazy, privileged, indoctrinated American and sometimes I make dumb mistakes – which I shall go to correct right now.**

Update: Alas our folly was too great. The toaster is gone. I called the hubby and we acknowledged our mistake. This is a VERY rare occurrence and now that we talked about it it should not be happening again. I can only hope that someone will swoop in and rescue it before our appliance is carelessly buried for eons. We are sorry and we will do better next time.

Daylight House by Takeshi Hosaka Architects | Apartment Therapy

This is so beautiful, lakdn ;alkdfjsd lkfj alkdjflsdjfalk jfljflkfj ;lakjf;lksjfl;kajflkjld;fkja;lkf jslkfja;l;.

Daylight House by Takeshi Hosaka Architects | Apartment Therapy.

World Habit Day & Zeitgeist Moving Forward Release!!

What a big day today is! First I want to mention that I now have all the test scores from my first round of exams this semester and…. (drum roll please)…. I made a 96 on every exam!! It looks like I’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency in my newly applied study skills and I’m super excited; it’s nice when your hard work pays off.

Okay, moving on to other news…

Today is World Habitat Day. It’s a holiday enacted by the well known Habitat For Humanity and was created to raise awareness of global housing issues. I was actually going to work on a project for Habitat this past Saturday, but all the volunteer spots were full by the time I went to sign up. I support the work they do and when we’re fixing up our home we always shop at the ReStore near us. However, it seems readily apparent to me that none of our current efforts are really ever going to do a damn thing but achieve small, dis-connected successes- a lot like wading in water. If someone doesn’t eventually come to your rescue, all that staying afloat will end in your drowning at some point.

Housing the planet is my call to action; and I’m doubly planning for making strides forward in the current system and in the one I feel we must embrace. But the latter is the only place we’re actually going to see a planet full of people out of homelessness and poverty. I strongly feel that until we address, seriously address, the reasons we have so many people without even basic, adequate shelter, then we are doomed to being hamsters in a wheel, working hard doing the same old shit just to stay in the same place. And when you pull that thread and follow it back to the source, like so many other pulled threads, it leads to a total broken system based on the pursuit, acquisition, and abuse of money and power.

Which brings me to our next headline of the day…

The 3rd Zeitgeist film trailer has been released!! Zeitgeist: Moving Forward is set to release January 2011 and I’m so excited! If you haven’t seen the first two films and researched into it’s origins or the foundation of this movement, now is the time! There are still plans for a Hollywood style feature film on The Venus Project planned for the future, intended to be a major step in raising awareness – I can hardly wait for that one. In the mean time, we have more Zeitgeist goodness to look forward to right on the horizon.

Beautiful Desert Home’s Passive Ventilation Design

*side note: did I put the apostrophe in right place in the title? After hearing an NPR program on The Great Typo Hunt, it’s on my mind :)

Moving along, I just came across this year old inhabitat post that highlights a beautiful passive ventilation design on a modern desert home in California and I love it! At first glance it just looks like a stylish contemporary home, but then you might notice the industrial-steel-warehouse-storage-bay-canopy or the hacienda outback configuration and landscaping. Either way, it works both functionally and aesthetically – I love it!

Fabulous Photo Friday

Sometimes, like now, when I’ve got a lot on my plate and I’m loosing sleep and skipping meals, I have to visualize spaces and places that make me happy and remind me why I’m working so hard. This sweet and simple modern space does that for me, even though the landscaping is definitely lacking. I hope you enjoy it though- have a great weekend!

read full article on the picture here: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/06/ecospace_prefab.php

The Venus Project Music Video

Awesome, awesome, awesome!

9/11: Create the Problem, Provide the Solution

con•spir•acy – a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful; the action of plotting or conspiring

the•o•ry – a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained; an idea used to account for a situation or justify a course of action

It is easy to write someone off, labeling them derogatorily as a conspiracy theorist. But notice there’s nothing in those definitions about being “crazy” or “making ridiculous things up”. Scientifically speaking “theories have been tested and confirmed so thoroughly that new evidence is not likely to contradict them.”¹ When it comes to 9/11 “conspiracy theories” we’re talking about strong evidence that indicates foul play by certain people and/or groups, it’s not “I’m bored, let’s bash the government.”

Until the absolute truth comes out and we can all call it for what it really was, I will not refer to the events of that day as a terrorist attack; it was a tragedy and we can all agree on that. Repeatedly using the word terror is in itself an act of terrorizing. That act is most certainly charged to the government and mass media who have constantly used the term to agitate and sway public opinion, despite the known skepticism and doubt towards the September 11th events.

Today I am remembering all of those who passed away horrifically and those who had their lives directly affected by having lost someone or by being called to deal with the aftermath. We all deserve, and should DEMAND, the absolute transparent truth about what happened and why. My being of the opinion that we have all been grossly lied to means I also believe the hardships endured across the board have been in vain. I hardly have the words to express the disgust I feel for the unbelievable devastation caused by those who are so misguided that they have little to no regard for life. Those who perished and suffered the greatest are long overdue the respect of an honest explanation, however history shows that we have a well documented past of injustices that never received retribution, so I believe we will have to fight hard to get it.

I encourage you to take a look at what the mass media has not been discussing or even fully acknowledging. Consider the motives, the hierarchies, histories and lack of accountability there often is in the press. Countries have very different accounts of the same events, certain people and corporations hold sway over how something is presented and we get the short end of the stick. I mean, we’ve been in a war for the better part of a decade – A WAR! – but how much bloodshed have you seen? How much of the true cost have you been exposed to? Have you looked at the comparative statistics of the financial costs? Who are you getting your news from and whose control are they under? There’s a big picture here many of us are missing.

I do believe we were attacked by terrorists on 9/11 – the ones we elected to office and let run our country. They created a “problem” and provided the “solution”. As the public, I’d say we’re a pretty easy fish to hook in a  system designed to lure us to our own demise. We get lip service from public officials who are highly skilled distractors that masterfully keep us detached from the realities and blind to the truths. For 9/11 it’s easy to get lost in the bureaucratic rhetoric, redirected focus onto things like Weapons of Mass Destruction,  and emphasis on patriotism. Still, we must do our best to (non-violently) silence their propaganda, question, and hold accountable these authority figures to the highest degree and extent we can. And we must be relentless, because they certainly are.

Supplemental Sites to Visit:

If you are ready to take a stand and petition our government for a truly independent investigation into the events of September 11th, 2001, then go to the website Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and make your voice heard. The petition is open to everyone and they will verify your information, you don’t just digitally sign your name and go.

Sign the Petition Today!

¹ beautifully stated by genesyz on answerbag.com

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