Hansel and Gretel immediately comes to mind. Or, perhaps a dacha in Russia, after the Bolshevik Revolution. So does Tiny, A Story About Living Small. This house is magical, set back among the white pines. The color scheme is obviously not for everyone, including myself, but it catches me off guard every time I pass it by. It’s the insulation (called “chinking”) between the logs that ultimately draws me in. The bold white lines appeal to my graphic self. Yesterday, as we sped by and I let out my now predictable gasp, P. kindly turned around and pulled off the road so I could traipse onto the property for a few close-ups.
Sometimes the smallest things grab your attention. When going through the mountain of paper at my mother’s house I came across this tiny folded piece of paper. It was an orphaned set of instructions to a long-ago lost Architector Set #12. The copyright says 1944. I searched online for any reference I could find but came up empty-handed.
Update: I did discover, thanks to Paul (see link in comments), who found a set on ebay, that the Architector Sets were designed by professional architects to encourage young people to pursue that field of study.
We are moving soon. Right now though, we still don’t know where we’ll end up. Dumbo has become so outrageously expensive and, while the location is great, we are both ready for a change. We actually want something smaller and simpler, if you can believe that. If we didn’t have our place upstate, I might be singing a different tune entirely. Thanks to Cabin Porn for the unending inspiration. For more, click here.
When I was young (3-6 yrs. old) and living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, there was an abandoned house next door to ours. Actually, I think it was a garage with an apartment upstairs. But because I was little, it seemed huge. And scary. In part because Mrs. O’Brien, an ogre of a woman who lived in the main house, was meaner than mean. I believe she once hit my father with a rolled up newspaper, or an umbrella, because she was angry about our barking dog. She may have had a point. Anyway, my parents, heeding the laws and perhaps some hidden dangers, forbid us to go inside. But try squelching the curiosity of two small children eager to defy the rules. When we did finally sneak our way in, we found boxes and letters and lots of broken glass (the danger part!) scattered among three-legged chairs and the mustiest air imaginable. Sorry, I digress. I just found a few photos from a little jaunt my husband and I made over to Governors Island a year or so ago. The city decided to open up some of the buildings — the fancy officers houses and the red brick dormitories — to the public. It was truly amazing. Peeling paint, everything fallen into decrepitude, and many many closed doors. It brought back that crazy childhood impulse to trespass in a big way. The photographs don’t even begin to do it justice. So, this summer, if you have a chance, hop on one of the ferries, take the seven minute ride, and go! Read about the history of the island here.
Dave Gilligan (a very talented photographer and graphic designer) and his new bride were not your typical newlyweds. As he tells it, they didn’t want to go on a typical “sun holiday” so instead opted for a far more interesting honeymoon on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. These photographs of windows were taken in Irkutsk as well as around Lake Baikal. Apparently, all the windows are painted a shade of Green, White or Blue to hopefully ward off evil spirits. Each and every one seems to me like a small fairy tale. If something about these images grabs your imagination, there are two books on Siberia that I would highly recommend reading: Colin Thubron’s In Siberia, and Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which was released only just last year.
As a kid, my fantasy was to live in an RV. I was fascinated with the idea that everything had a dedicated spot and that there was essentially no space for anything extra. Dining tables converted to beds in the evening, and there were built-ins galore. Like a lot of people, my dream house has since morphed into a series of small sheds: One for sleeping, one for cooking and eating and relaxing and definitely one for working. If need be, I could easily combine both of the “non-studio” structures into a single unit. When I came across the Just Sheds site I found myself plotting some teeny future compound.
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes in NY I forget to look up instead of down or straight ahead. But the reward of training one’s gaze skyward needs no explanation. There is no trickery to the scale in that last picture. It’s of Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle Restaurant in Spokane Washington — well worth a detour for a crazy delicious burger served with hand-cut fries and some of the best milk shakes you can imagine. The thing is huge. And, crazy as this sounds, it’s not the only giant milk bottle in town. It’s actually one of two in Spokane, built by the Benewah Diary Company back in 1935. The other one is a Democratic Party headquarters.