Thursday, December 07, 2006

Like a reverse movie, I'm going to put the credits on top as I wrap up this blog and focus on the next adventure: bookbinding (see thebindery.blogspot.com -- woohoo).

I already finished a long-held commission and am putting together a Chinese-bookbinding workshop starting in mid-January. Space is limited, so if you're interested e me at Manaobooks at gmail.com.

The studio is so suited and essential to this fresh, uh, chapter in life that I can't believe it was just a patch of weeds two years ago.

Here's the people who helped make everything happen, with hopes I haven't missed anyone:

• Mom, for seeing the spaces before anyone else could
• Dad, for taking me to the hardware store
• the banker, for looking after Galusha
• the architect, for the tower tip and listening & executing
• the pro-forma magician, who took out the fear factor
• the builder and his crew, for the care and the craft
• my friends, who put up with constant overscheduling
• my co-workers, who overheard much of it
• Grok God, for endless classy publications (and outlining!)
• Dwell magazine, for inspiration
• my family, for understanding the obsession
• and Mabel and Galusha, for being there first

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This morning as I was going out for my ritual cappuccino I was amazed to see my fave member of the builder's crew trundling up the driveway with his big ladder in hand. I kid you not. I was so happy I hugged him.

After ten months of pestering the builder, one rainy season and another one looming, we were finally going to get the roof patched! Yippee!


Soon as the guy tilts up the ladder on the house, climbs high, and
disappears out of sight, the clouds start roiling. And the rain starts
coming. Then it officially poured.

It was so dramatic, like the time the guy in China was going to give me the all-important stamp to renew my visa in Beijing: His hand pushed the seal down hard in the inkpad, he lifted his fist -- I held my breath, transfixed -- ... and the phone rang. His hand dropped weakly to the side of my visa form, despite all my ESP urgings for it to fall directly upon it, and a lot of fast Mandarin followed.

Let's just say I didn't get the visa.

And let's just say the roof isn't fixed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

After months of no posts, I'm back to the blog -- for a few reasons:

1. I miss it, the chance to meld the details into cohesive blurbs. 2. I've got my second wind of love going for Mabel, now that the bookbinding studio's in business -- yay! And 3. It's funny (not really), but the house isn't done yet.

Granted the punchlist now is tiny, but the glacial speed at which it is attacked is, well, unperceptible. One might even say nonexistent, but that sounds foreboding.

The joy I get out of the bookbinding studio, though, was unexpected. I went to work in it Friday bright and early, as the sun warmed up the fall day outside. I had the garage and front doors open to the golden light, the rustling of the tall grasses in the courtyard, and the neighbor's KMHD jazz.

It was lovely to work padding around the bamboo floor with all my rolls of bookcloth and paper and scraps of bookboard within arm's reach. How could I have waited so long to get started? I know, I was busy with the parties, the wedding planning, the dishwashing, the sweeping -- all the chores that can absorb so much time while your life unspools wildly, unconsciously, unconscientiously (?).

So there I was, happily cutting board for that conservation project that came in, ahem, last fall and I had the revelation that put the ever-widening grin on my face: This is why I built the house. This is why I put off the bookbinding dream for two years. This is what all the hassle, headaches, and work went to. This is it.

This makes me ecstatic.

Never mind the punchlist that never fades, I've got bookbinding and dreaming to do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I forgot to mention one of the best parts of the family visit earlier this month, how two little girls, ages 8 and 11, broke in the tango bindery doing large-scale artwork on the big foldout table that comes off the wallbed. It's just the kind of activity for which the space was built, and the artists' chirpy voices and scratching pens traveled as music up the stairs.

Then there was the real breaking in, when we had the big party Friday. Some of those who came hadn't been there since the groundbreaking show in August 2004, and boy had things changed: No more dirty, ramshackle carport, no packs of rats or raccoons, no weeds up to your wallet (no nuisance notices from the city either).

But I'm burying the lead here, because in case you didn't notice, I finally posted pictures at right. No scrolling required!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mabel is flawless in just about every way except: She kills birds. The third one came to rest Friday night (?) on the driveway just below the kitchen window, where Monkey Man saw it and wondered why it wasn't moving so fast, or hardly at all. I ran upstairs and saw the telltale smudge of feathers from the inside and felt sad.

I'm sure Monkey Man thought he was cheering me up, saying, Well, it's not a native species. I begged for him to lay it to rest among the Hinoki cypresses, but we waited, and when we came home that night, the bird was gone. I hope for the best, that it finally stopped seeing stars and started soaring again.

The first inkling we had of this problem was when we found our first bird, one that hit so hard on the tower that it spiralled itself into the ground below like a missile. Luckily, the window cleaner came after that incident.

So I'm extra-delighted that the blinds have arrived, and I started putting them up last night. It should also help put an end to our kitchen window looking like a television screen to the neighbors. I can just imagine, Let's see what's on the Mabel channel tonight!

The window-manufacture guys were out last week for an inspection of the tower window that failed and has looked foggy ever since. They went away saying four had failed, and the glass will be replaced. Apparently, the windows are guaranteed for as long as we own the house, so that's the good news. But they didn't seem so surprised at the failure rate, which makes me wonder how high it is.

On the happier side, I'm still practically floating around on a cloud of disbelief, brought on by the closing of the sale of Construction Headquarters. It was the easiest house sale ever: no inspection, no haggling, no labored paperwork. I'm still in awe!

Last weekend's yard sale brought in $456, and priceless relief. The best part was the endgame, when we pulled the neighbor's truck up to the pile and took the entire shebang to Goodwill. I'm reminded of the other advantage of yard sales, that it's a social deal and you open the door (sorta) to lots of introductions and gossip. The new neighbors made friends with other folks nearby, and even made friends for their parents. Plus we sent off all that secondhand stuff to new lives elsewhere, so there's wonderful synergy.

Ten more days till I give up possession of Construction HQ forever, and I can't wait. The builder and the concrete guy already are poking around as to the next project they're doing on it for the new owners. It's an irony that soon as we're done with construction, more is set to begin.

Remember all that nostalgia I had for construction? Here we go again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Construction HQ represents the third house sold in this whole project, and it might be the easiest. Sure, I had a lot of help prepping it for the market (a huge thank-you to you-know-who-you-are), and I still have a window to replace and a bit of painting to do, but overall, it is a spit-and-polish done deal.

This morning I picked up the forms to complete the transaction -- $16 and change, and -- as the clerk noted -- no commission to boot.

Buyers accept the as-is condition so well I don't think they're going to do an inspection. If they do, it will be for informational/future renovation purposes only.

See, the third time really could be the charm.

Meanwhile, I still have plenty to do! The builder and I met this morning, almost delighting in the fact that the punchlist is now down to one page (albeit both sides of that page -- let's not get carried away). A couple of the more major items include replacement of the tower window, which has fogged up on account of a broken seal, and an interior sort of burn mark within the firebox of the Rais stove. Other than that, it's pretty much just paint touch-up.

Oh yes, and the cabinets. The cabinetmaker reports that he's added more artistic joinery to the tower shelves, so they will probably be even more beautiful than forecast. Even if delivered as late as possibly forecast!

In talking with the builder today, I finally got the chance to tell him what a first-rate crew he has -- every one of them capable, good-humored, and sweet. And also, in the words of the new neighbor, what a phat pad he created. We love living there.

In my morning walks to the coffee shop, I always make a point to walk by the architect's new project, a commercial building just a block away, and it is forever humming with activity. Yesterday, I heard the whir of the concrete trucks and saw them out waiting in line, ready to spill their churning contents of creamy cement. I can get pretty nostalgic about it! I loved the days of hubbub, when so much happened in just a shift, whether it was entire walls set in place, a roof overhead, or a beaming countertop.

I even loved the staccato of the hammers, punctuated by the guys' chatting over intermittent clinks of the toolbelts. Speaking of gear, monkey boy has kept me regularly stocked in Carhartts, one pair already so spattered with paint that I can't seem a poseur wearing them. Right? (Of course, they look cool.)

And in other happy news, I delivered all the financials to the accountant for tax time, and yay. If you look at the bare stats, a lot went on: two houses purchased, two houses built, and -- cross fingers -- three houses sold. I hope, though, it doesn't add up to much on the tax bill.

BTW, for those of you suggesting it, I will post final pictures, but I'm waiting to unearth the photo-transfer dealie that I need to upload them. Promise, and thank you for continuing to ask!

Monday, February 13, 2006

I admit it: Mabel sorta scares me. Most of the construction workers grew up with her and spent more time inside than I have ... yet. So these creaks and groans signal Mabel has her own ways of moving, pushing back against gales of wind and shedding water through pipes embedded in mysterious walls. Clearly, we will take some time getting used to each other.

After staring at the drawings so long, I felt Mabel would just become home, as easy as it was to just walk over there and start living. But no. Not to anthropomorphize further, but Mabel commands respect. It's not every day such a huge (comparatively) structure rises in the neighborhood, and that achievement now seems to have morphed into something akin to responsibility.

And we do love living there. Last night, I was trimming out shelf liner at the dining room table (perhaps the only downside of ordering oodles of cabinets) and Monkey was surfing via free wifi that beams in through the living room window, and it occurred to me the scene was one I'd wanted to foster all along. Community, independence, work, play, companionship, ambience ... awesome.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wow. All's I can say is that once the construction dust settles, the moving party arrives and the construction loan rolls up to deadline time, it's disconcerting to realize that this is all over. I mean, here we are -- at last -- living in Mabel. And loving it, too.

I'm astonished how much natural light beams into the place, so much so that we don't need to turn on lights in the daytime. And I just love the feeling of moving through such clean (albeit now cluttered with moving boxes) spaces, which seem to signal, even encourage the next steps of life.

There's still plenty of stuff to do, however. The cabinetmaker, a wonderful one-guy operation, will end up practically living with us for the next month. I'm so excited to get doors on the cabinets that I can hardly stand it. It would help empty some of those aforementioned boxes.

The new neighbors, the ones who bought the spec house, threw yet another party Friday night, and it was wonderful. I love the huge canvases they have hung on the walls -- one's so perfect there that all I could do was stare at it. And I love to see people enjoying the space and making it their own. I couldn't have imagined better neighbors, and here they are.

I feel so lucky!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We started moving Monkey Boy's stuff into Mabel this weekend, promptly filling the bindery to bursting. It makes me wonder if those lovely rubbery nubbins that provide the cushion under the bamboo can lose their bounce-back ability? We'll find out.

I almost got an offer on Construction HQ, then started feeling all silly that I might have put the price too low. I am still learning this real-estate game, although it truly has gotten easier.

Thankfully, the offer never materialized, so I can stick with refined plan of fixing up the place even more and getting a good price. As one sage said, $100 of paint could add $10,000 in value. Maybe it'll pay for the wedding?!

Even though we don't have occupancy yet, Monkey and I love sleeping in the bindery, our only complaint being that it can actually get too hot. New neighbors say the radiant heat system's so effective they have shut off their second floor hydroponic units completely. We (builder, architect, me) always knew the concrete first floor would collect and ooze heat, but we never guessed how much.

Meanwhile, I dream of boxing up all the stuff in Construction HQ and clearing it out. It occurs to me that house represents the beginning and end of this whole deal. Everyone said it would take two years, and guess what? I closed on the house and lots March 5, 2004, so I am right on schedule.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Even though construction's tapering off, the ups and downs keep coming. In the positive column, we have a working sink and toilet! That came in handy when Monkey and I stayed overnight in Mabel (shhh, don't tell the city) on the brand-new wallbed on Christmas! I don't know if it was the champagne or the cozy accommodation, but we slept like rocks.

Also positive: "padre-brown" finish goes on the concrete, the driveway's just 1 pour away from done, and the dishwasher went in (within a day of the one in Construction HQ kicking into high buzz-breakdown mode). If I have to carry dishes over to Mabel for cleaning, well, I'm going to curse Maytag all the way. Actually, I already do.

Big negative: the $367 heat bill! Now I know what happens when the crews hoist up all the garage doors in the middle of winter.

This will be a big month. It is The Month for final everything, plus the mortgage rollover, and getting Construction HQ on the market. I worry least about the latter, and most about the former.

New neighbors have a thank-you party for the crew going this evening. The builder talked them into allowing a few more concrete pours, even though they planned to empty their moving truck today. He said they'd "only" have to walk a few hundred feet and then offered to send some guys their way to help accomplish it. So that explains why the builder was in the driveway this morning, madly calling up any available crew and scanning the street for a load of furniture.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

You use a computer for a long time and when it starts feeling mucked up and slow, that's when you "defrag" it. It occurs to me that's what I've got to do with my mind, now that construction is completed on the spec house -- and it's sold to boot.

And Mabel is pretty fit for living, save the odd spit-and-polish tasks. This morning, I let in the wallbed guys, who are installing the bed in the bindery that will go into use as soon as this weekend. It's great to have company for the holidays, even better when you have two houses at your disposal.

But, about the defrag. I still find myself almost panicking about details that I'd thought of for so long, I also forget they're resolved. Perhaps it's just the Virgo in me, but I need to clean up the hard drive in my head so I get a fresh perspective going into 2006.

Then there are these hundreds of notes piled up around Construction HQ and tucked into books and three-ring binders. I can't clean without a few swirling free. Some are lists for the builder, or questions for the Grok God, or merely reminders to myself. All recall dilemmas that popped up, then got addressed or became moot. Thing is, I feel like I have to read them all over again, in case I'm missing something. So this morning, I happened upon a scribble of "ext sconces," and then "can dim halogen?"

It's enough to set the brain whirring again.

Oh! I forgot the most amazing, biggest relief of all! The bank sent me a form letter saying my loan was done Jan. 1, which sent me into a state of panic. Then the loan officer explained it was a computer glitch, so that -- yes -- my due date still is Feb. 1. How often does a bank's computer mess up in favor of a customer?

Must be my early xmas present from WaMu.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

OK, so what's a few weeks in blogworld when you've sold a house, undertaken payment of the last construction bills, watched the new owners move in, and gotten engaged! (Next blog: love-is-the-answer.blogspot.com -- 'cause I just can't stop it.)

The two-year anniversary of this blog's coming up, and that might be the time to pull the plug on it. After all, Mabel and Galusha have risen and marched into lives of their own. Still, Mabel's not quite done. I marvel each night at what the crew has done (last night it was the bamboo floor in the tango bindery!) and at what still isn't: the dang driveway.

Even so, I can feel my tasks tapering off, at least vis-a-vis construction. The final stress moment came when the buyers' money deposited in my account the same day the city denied us a final permit. That gave me a chance to be amazed about having sold a house that couldn't be lived in. The inspector showed up a few days later, understood the in-progress situation, and signed off on the final anyway. So phew.

The landscape looks beautiful, especially with the artful Columbia basalt wall encircling it (destined, I'm told, for portfolio fodder at www.petewilsonstoneworks.com). Today I talked to the stonemason and reminded him that a chisel was left behind. Apparently it's part of the trade that a chisel is buried in every project. He said that the landscaper kept helpfully fetching it out of the rocks -- and this may be it. Now how to get it back in the wall?

I will post pictures, promise, but suffice to say Mabel is gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Any day there's a concrete truck rumbling outside the house is a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Frost on the lawns this morning. It's time to break out the sweaters and the Brazilian records.

Best news of all is I sold Galusha. Yes! To a coupla artist-types of my tribe, no less. Each time they came back they spent an additional hour, until I had an offer to sign.

Now pressure of selling has been replaced with pressure of finishing!

I'm so starved for concrete that I feel like flagging down any cement truck I see: Over here! We'll need five more of your friends, too.

The real estate market was meant to have cooled recently, but I think I also have enough interest in Construction HQ to sell it just by calling the shortlist of people who expressed interest. Neighbors, too, say they know friends who love the neighborhood and keep asking after the house.

Wouldn't it be swell to have real estate transactions all over and done by the turn of the year? Then I could put down profits on the Mabel mortgage and call it good.

An anecdote from last week: After many showings and a couple of well-attended open houses, I decide to go through Galusha afresh, looking at it as a potential buyer would. In the main bath, I yank open the top drawer of the vanity and there's a big piece of blue tape, obviously meant to hold something together while glue dryed. On it, in thick black Sharpie written by one of the crew: HANDS OFF FUCKNUTS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

As the Grok God said, "You can't walk into Galusha and see something special is being done." So it is I glow with all the positivity shown by people visiting the house. Most of them, they see it for the first time, and they get it. The two open houses this weekend helped me put the couple neighbors' criticism in perspective, and to realize how well the elements have come together.

One real estate agent left a showing this morning, shaking his head, "I've got to think of who's worthy of this house." Another potential buyer turned on her heel within ten feet of the door and said, "You read Dwell magazine!" Others, too, just reach for the finishes, some stooping to feel the radiant warmth of the slab floor or to stroke the front of a bamboo cabinet.

Sorry if I'm sounding advertorial (hey everybody: I have a house for sale!), but I'm riding the good feeling. Many friends at the first informal open house Saturday asked if I'd ever believed I'd see the day it was done. And, sure, there's relief; there'll be a whole lot more when an offer's in hand.

In other news, I get so excited looking at the cabinetmaker's plans for Mabel's spaces. It was so fun to imagine the perfect bookbindery, and now here it is, mapped out on paper. I took more photos this morning (and will post them shortly). Some show the bit of landscaping done last week just for the open house.

Landscapers also started putting in trees in back of Galusha. You can see the forest pansy behind Galusha while standing in the Mabel bindery. I love its pretty sherbet-y colored leaves.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Now I realize why developers are famous for being behind on their bills. I get stacks of mail when I check my post office box, and probably 75 percent of it is construction-driven. There's a notice every time the inspection folks visit the steel-fabricator or test a glob of concrete. Then, I get a bill for each look-over.

And now I get electrical bills for three houses and am girding for more ... water, gas, and so on.

This is not to mention all the lien notices that land in my mailbox at home; I don't even bother picking up the certified letters anymore. Riding in the Tour de Clackamas every day also means I'm never in the neighborhood during post office hours.

Because I can never feel like I'm on top of the paper piles, I devote one night a week to them. And it's still not enough. So, even me, someone who prides herself on paying off the credit card each month -- and early -- starts to fall a bit behind. Worse, I keep uncovering stacks of the bills where I've absentmindedly shelved them, amid the lighting-fixture boxes, say, or in the briefcase or the 3-ring binders devoted to each aspect of construction.

Did I mention I was going to be glad when this is all over? (Just typing that puts me in awe that there will be a time when it's "all over." Goodness, what will I do with myself?)

Today I confided my worry over schedule slippage to the stonemason, who suggested using a velvet hammer. Obviously, he doesn't know me well, but I had to smile later, wondering what a velvet hammer would do for a stonemason. My hunch is, Not much.

Latest crisis is steel balcony rails unsuited to the architect's vision, and I get the deciding vote.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm sorry for the three identical posts below, but every time I go in to delete the repeats, the 'puter crashes.

Galusha is really coming together; now there are doorknobs, light fixtures all over, and a finished wheatboard floor that positively glows. The downstairs cement treatment looks neat, too. So we are getting there. However, in my seemingly daily meeting with the builder this AM, I watched as the guys realized there was no water line into the house for the radiant heat. All I could do was shake my head and say, "Late for work, gotta go!"

Makes me wonder what other surprises are out there, lurking ...

Open house for neighbors could be as soon as Oct. 15 but more likely the 22nd. After that, it's all systems go for a buyer. My strategy now might be to first try selling myself, then getting help after a few weeks if I need it. Mostly, I just need an MLS listing.

An interesting article recently ran in The Wall Street Journal that the monkey found for me, citing services that help with pricing a house, so I might try it. Still, I know that my thing's so unique -- new single-family construction in established neighborhood -- that it's all in finding the right comps.

Even tho we're sliding into winter, with the rain to prove it, it seems market is holding. Cross fingers.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A bunch of stuff I keep forgetting to mention:

Looks like Mabel's exterior will be combo of Pratt & Lambert "powdered nutmeg" and "brick dust." Sounds yummy, huh?! Let's hope it looks so.

Things I've learned lately include the fact that it's dang hard to get a ventilation hood in the wake of a hurricane disaster that takes out much of the South. I was wondering, Why vent hoods? Maybe it's all that fried food.

I also learned that the surprises, by their very nature, will keep on coming. Like when David and I were looking at the sweet bathrooms in Galusha, and I said, "Now what about the shower doors?" And he goes, "What shower doors?"

Meanwhile, the carport rises at Construction HQ. It's taller than I thought it would be, but it also looks good in the space, providing a kind of visual and literal turning point between old and new architecture.

One good surprise is that the concrete finisher's only charging about $650-$700 for staining the first floor of Galusha a shade of "Faded Terracotta." I checked in this morning on the still-wet application, and it looks neat-o.

I'm getting calmer about all the criticism, my last little venting occurring on account of having to deliver all my newsletters Tuesday night in the usual hurry, which gave me chance to wonder at all my complaining neighbors who do nothing else for the neighborhood. Then I get mad at myself for thinking such bitter things. Construction can't end soon enough for all of us.

Speaking of, I'm already strategizing on the sale process and the open houses. First one will be just neighbors, then Galusha goes to market in earnest. I wish I'd kept a sign-in sheet of all the people who've come through for a peek these last months, especially ones who actually seemed interested in a move.

Note new photos. Finally.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I have so many conflicting emotions these days about the development. Altho I'm in awe of how beautifully the houses are coming together, especially Galusha as it enters the end game of finishes, I keep coming up against a lot of negativity -- however warranted -- from neighbors.

First there was the neighbor who sent the op-ed into the paper, which the letters editor promptly forwarded to me, asking, "Is she talking about your development?" I'll paste it at the end of this post just for kicks, bad grammar and facts and all. It's her sentiment that's of interest.

Then, today, a neighbor in the house to the south came to ride the builder and me about the plan for the concrete driveway between our houses. He said he was ready to up and move and likened buying their bungalow to a "big mistake." It made me sad and frustrated because I've tried to be as upfront, accessible, and sensitive as possible.

Earlier this week I got a complaint for another neighbor about construction noise that started at 5 a.m. that I'm pretty sure wasn't even our project.

So, everyone (including me) is getting nervy over the traffic and the mess overall. It is the last few months of a project that began in earnest about a year ago.

Plus, I'm trying to keep up my optimism for selling! One idea I have lately is try to go FSBO for first few weeks, then list it if I get impatient.

I wonder if there's huge hurdles standing in the way of a final certificate of occupancy.

Here's the op-ed, followed by the architect's response:

"For submission:
"When I voted in favor of retaining the urban growth boundary so many years ago, I understood that meant I was voting against urban sprawl and for condensed living with its eventual companion, more traffic. 
"I was okay with that as long as it meant retaining our farmlands and not building strip malls all the way to the coast.
"I also understood that condensed living meant new housing units springing up in our oldest neighborhoods, some in areas of Portland which have oversized lots.
"The influx of condos on the west side of the Willamette is nothing new.  What is new is the proliferation of row houses and lofts appearing, as if overnight, on the eastside.  Like an invasive weed, condensed living has taken root, on both sides of the river. 
"Some long-time homeowners have sold-out or have been gently-persuaded by one means or another, to move out. Oftentimes, the old house is razed and in its place, a trio of houses is built.  Developers know, "If you build it, they will come". 
"In spite of a weak economy and a dysfunctional tax structure, our region is growing.  People continue moving to Oregon. 
"I was still okay with condensed living until recently when it spread to my neighborhood, hitting too close to home.  Admittedly, I have a NIMBY attitude.  This year I witnessed dual units being built two streets away.  
"One savvy homeowner who came into a windfall did what any savvy homeowner who comes into a windfall, would do: bought the bungalow next door and proceeded to have plans drawn up for a flag lot with two new units behind the two existing homes.
"From the start, many neighbors were displeased but I tried to refrain from passing judgment.  I saw this as one citizen taking advantage of personal circumstances to secure a future nest egg.  Isn't that the American way?
"I reminded myself this is the definition of condensed living and I voted for it.  I wasn't alarmed; that is, until I saw the design of these new homes: essentially, both boxy with flat tops.  Ach!
"In my neighborhood, most houses were constructed in the 1920's.  It's easy to see the classic American bungalow-style dominates the area.  Even easier to see is that the contemporary architecture of these two new homes is so very out-of-place. 
"There oughta be a 'law of aesthetics' which states that new homes/ condos/ lofts or rowhouses constructed in old Portland neighborhoods conform designs to fit within existing surroundings.  
"Apparently, the homeowner-turned-developer was not concerned about fitting in.  Surrounded by A-frame houses, there now sits two big boxes which resemble a retail complex and stick out like a sore thumb!
"Condensed living is here, whether we like it or not.  I'm not so sure anymore."

And here's what the architect said:

"Discourse like ______'s is pernicious and pointless. Its like spitting at somebody in a rain storm. Its a safe, toothless way to express dislike in the absence of the strength required to actually affect change. If she thinks 'There oughta be a 'law of aesthetics' ', then let her pursue the process of implementing a design overlay that will preserve her precious bungalow neighborhood. Until she's ready and able to do anything other than spout her opinion, she can spout all she likes. Anybody other than those stuck with a fundamentalist approach to the evolution of the built environment say your development is refreshing and new. The contrast of old and new makes the fabric of the neighborhood stronger and more interesting. She professes homogeneity. Wouldn't it be great if we all had the same color skin and lived in the same kind of house and went to work in the same kind of building and ate the same food? No.
"Es macht nichts. It means nothing. Red herring."


Friday, September 09, 2005

Ack, it's hard sitting down to write when so many tasks, details, and errands swirl about in my mind and my schedule. For instance, I am focused on finally finishing up lighting, which I'll remember as the biggest chore associated with this whole project.

If I did it all over again, I would hire a lighting designer like all the smart people do. Then again, I've taken the crash course ...

But. I did get the major order in this week, and will fill out remaining bits and pieces with trips to fixture shop tomorrow and Bruck dealer next week.

Right now, tho, the builder says he needs towel bars and toilet-paper holders by the time I leave for Flathead!

This week a neighbor -- one I'd been friendly with since I took her mosaic class a couple of years ago -- sent in a long rant to the newspaper saying, "There oughtta be a law" against modern stuff in bungalow neighborhoods. The architect sent me a nice anti-rant back, making me feel better, but the criticism stings. Anyway, Mom pointed out Mabel and Galusha have ability to spark debate, and isn't that at least better than boring?

We are getting closer on color choices for Mabel, lately settling on a couple of shades of "amber" or "mango." (The Grok God doesn't let me say "orange.")

Landscape bids are next on agenda, so we must be coming into final lap. I've got to get on marketing, so that Craigslist (my new realtor) and I can get Galusha sold FSBO and ASAP.

Heck, I've already got 3 people seriously nibbling on Construction HQ. I love that I can offer homebuyers the choice of 2005 brand-spankin'-new construction or 1930 classic bungalow.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

On Friday, we discovered an air compressor's gone missing from the site. So I'm all creeped out that someone went back there to steal stuff. And I worry that if they got something one time, they'll keep coming back.

The builder has gone hypersecurity, locking up stuff in Galusha.

Turns out the shower in Mabel's first-floor bath wouldn't have passed code because it was too deep. Adding to the problem was that the space got framed in so tight meanwhile that we couldn't get the shower out to return it. So there was some post-pulling going on Friday just to extricate the thing and send it back to the warehouse. I will end up with the now-classic tub-surround combo, which isn't a bad thing considering art projects that may need soaking.

The Grok God came and picked some more formica patterns for Mabel. After choosing so conservatively for Galusha, it's fun doing Mabel and getting a little crazy. OK, not too crazy, but there is this pattern called "Paper" that has me all excited. Also, I'm _this_ close to ordering up the wallbed.

Oh yeah, and the crew hit my neighbors' house again ...

This better be a better week.

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