kriselkeeper: May 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Barnes House

More inspiring pictures from D's work.  I just  know this house as the Barnes house. I don't know where it is or who owns it.  The views look wonderful. Sometimes I'm jealous of the places he gets to go. And it is when I see his work pictures that I understand why he was so finicky when we were house hunting.  How can you spend your days in homes like these and then buy a house with no architectural value. Not possible.

Images courtesy and copyright 2010 David S. Ferdig Photography


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Same Place. Different Time.

November 2008

May 2010
Rarely do I post about the same thing on this blog and my other blog, Mamma May I.  However, on occasion there are subjects that integrate both my house and child.  

Our 2.5 year old is now setting the table and getting some of her snacks on her own.  To facilitate this new found independence I moved all her dishes to a lower cabinet.  I installed a rolling basket from The Container Store for easy access and organization.  Our cabinets were not well designed for holding pots, pans, etc but this basket made the space easier to use.  I'm thinking of getting more for the rest of the lower cabinets. 

Watching P grab her dishes today I thought back to a time when she use to play in that same cabinet.  Before she was able to walk, P would pull everything out of there and fiddle with it while I cooked.  Looking at the picture from 2008 I remember feeling like we hadn't quite moved in despite being here for a year.  I felt like everything was still in boxes and the spaces of the house had not yet been defined.  

I look at the second picture of the same place from today and I see how much more we've made this house our own.  There are spaces that are still undefined but at least we have an idea of what we will be doing with them in the future.  Other spots seem to constantly be in transition and now I know why.  Our child is constantly in transition and her needs for these spaces continue to change.  This little nook is a case in point. 

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Play Space

During the summer, the most popular place to play is right outside the sliding glass doors to our backyard.  The space remains fully shaded until about 3pm.  P will spend hours out there. I like it because I can see her from the kitchen, dining and living room.  To make the space more inviting and cheery I bought a few fabric umbrellas in Chinatown and hung them from the patio cover. 

I took all my Starbuck's iced grande latte cups and turned them into creative art.  P painted, glued and glittered a few.  I strung bells  to them and then hung them from the wood overhang. Now, we have wind chimes that make the space feel even more kid friendly and I feel I have something to show for all the coffee I drink.  This is my cost-effective way of putting "lipstick on our backyard pig".


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orange Street Studio

When I need inspiration for our yard I often search the web for landscape design firms and browse their portfolio pages.  We're not in the position to hire any of these firms.  And, I'm not sure I'd want to, even if we had the money to do so.  I'm really loving everything I'm learning in the process of designing a better landscape for our home.

Besides plant knowledge I'm also learning about all the materials one needs to make a great landscape: rocks, decomposed granite, gravel, wood, fencing, etc.  Designing with plants is a whole other challenge I find fascinating.  There's so many elements to consider: color, leaf shape and size, height, bloom time of the year and flower color, soil, sun and water needs.  There's so much to consider but often just random things that pop up out of the ground work beautifully. It's a living puzzle.  

There is a landscape design firm in Los Angeles whose work I love. They would be who I'd hire.  I know nothing about them. I only know their photographs.  They are Orange Street Studio and these are some of the reasons why I like them so much:
All photographs are from Orange Street Studios.
I like the color of this house. Particularly because the framing of the windows is a dark brown just like ours.  We need to reconsider color choices for our home. I also love the rectangular concrete slabs.  I'd like to do a smaller scale version of that in our front yard and for it to extend past our median to the street.
I love the slender lines of grass in this back yard. Ours is a giant slab of concrete.  I like it because the kids can ride their toys on it.  I hate it because it looks so barren and it gets so hot. The lines take away the starkness of the concrete without taking away its use.
Love the bench.

I really like the trees and grasses in this landscape. I'd like something similar in our front entrance.

I'm very impressed how this company does drought tolerant so well.  

 Ah...there's the slabs running all the way to the street.  I also like the gravel and grasses in this picture. I'd like to incorporate some of these ideas, mixed in with some of mine into our home.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I went to LACMA on Friday with P.  An inspirational art trip was long overdue for both of us.  A new building is opening next month and it seems they were wrapping up the landscaping when we were there.  I LOVE the Corten steel walls.  I want edging like that, not as tall of course, for our house.  I loved the decomposed granite, the repetition of the palm trees and the agave.  I like agave, with it's color variation, but it's not something I can put in our yard with children.  Needle sharp leaves aren't exactly kid friendly.

On our way in, P fell asleep 5 minutes before entering the parking garage....of course.  But, I was able to transfer her into the stroller and walk around several galleries like a "single girl" again.  It gave me the opportunity to really look at things and take them in.  

There was an exhibit of Indian art.  D and I have been to India twice.  I've forgotten how much I love the works of their gods in stone and wood.  I'd love to have a large statue in our back yard one day.  Something along the lines of these:

As I wandered through other galleries, I also remembered that long ago I wanted a Spanish/Moroccan style home. The amazing frames on the Renaissance paintings reminded me of this.  I wanted a home with Spanish tiled floor and large wooden doors throughout the home.  I wanted brightly colored walls. large colored planters and thick elegant carpets. It's such a different style than a Mid Century home but it's one that hits close to my heart because I am Colombian.  I'd like to somehow, in small ways, bring this into our current house without deterring from out Mid Century style.  I'll have to think about this.  

It was great to go down memory design lane. Then P woke up and just like that I was back to my present state of mind and design.  


Monday, May 17, 2010


I really can't get over how much blog play my DIY bench project has received. I'm beyond flattered.  Specially because when I finished it, D said "I was expecting it to be more polished".  And no matter how many reference and inspirational pictures I showed him he wasn't sold on my bench, that I not only loved, but had worked so hard on.  All these features are kind of my "I told you so".  

Today's feature was on Ohdeedoh. It's one of my daily mom blog reads.  I really, really love the things they feature so I'm specially honored to be on here.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I think we've fallen into a new Mother's Day tradition.  I get to work in the garden undisturbed for as long as I want.  I must say it's heaven.  

By shear coincidence I ended up working on the same spot as I did last year.  I needed to weed the median that faces Calvert Street Elementary.  One year ago I planted this area with the grasses and Myoporum.  The grasses are at their most amazing when the sun is starting to fall.  They're also best seen from our neighbor's house one block east of our house.  If I happen to be driving home at this time and I see our house the song that immediately comes to mind is "Oh Beautiful"....for spacious skies for amber waves of grain.  It makes me happy.

Today I wanted to photograph the median from the best view point.  I worked hard and I needed this to feel it all paid off.  Then D photographed the P and me with the median to capture where we are at this point in, P and the house.  You can see I need to finish my beam project and our house desperately needs a paint job.  That's a whole other topic that's been on my mind since the day we moved in and even more so recently.

I was trying to think of something to do that was a typical Mother's Day activity.  Tea at a garden or something but that's not really me.  I wanted power tools for Mother's Day.  In a sort of round about way I got a new Neuton electric lawn mower and an electric blower and trimmer.  These are the things that make me happy these days.  

Through Los Angeles's lawn mower exchange program we traded our gas mower for a Neuton for $165!  Crazy good!  D got to use it first, but seeing his happy face while using it made me happy!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

John Lautner: The Goldstein House

Once again I have nothing going on in our house.  We were away at Yosemite for three days and then went to a wedding in Newport Beach the day after we got back.  On the 6 hour ride back from Yosemite I had the chance to browse through pictures on D's iphone.  He's got some goodies stored in there.

The Lautner Goldstein House is very popular for filming.  It gets a lot of fashion shoots along with films and commercials because of it's views and of course the architectural style.  These pictures are from a director survey, which is when the heads of each department get into a gigantic gas-guzzling Escalade and visit all the selected properties where they are going to film.  Any issues with lighting, camera placement, set dressing, props, etc are discussed on these days.  The more experienced directors get through surveys fast. They know what they like and dislike....we like these guys, they get D home in time for dinner.

All photos courtesy of David S. Ferdig photography and can not be used without permission.