kriselkeeper: April 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

6235 Lubao: courtyard and kitchen

The house has a beautiful courtyard adjacent to the den, the garage and a breakfast nook area.  The fourth wall/boundry is frosted glass and makes up part of the entry way path.  

We left off with the backyard. This is a picture I posted before. The sliding glass door on the right has the breakfast nook on the other side of it. 
This is a view in through the sliding glass door. The kitchen in on the right and the breakfast area is on the left. You can see the brick that carries through from the outside all the way to the courtyard. 

And this is the reverse view looking out. 

As I mentioned before, my girls were with me so you'll see them quite often in these pictures.  So now here you can see the sliding glass door to the right leads outside. The door where my daughter with the purple hat is standing, leads to the courtyard and my youngest is in the kitchen.  The bright overhead light in the kitchen is a skylight. The skylight was an add-on Rudy designed. None of the other homes originally designed by Krisel have skylights.  I love the transition of these spaces.  And remember Rudy had an herb garden right outside the door that goes outside. How amazing to pick your basil for pesto sauce right outside your kitchen door?! You can even do it in your slippers because you're not trampling through an entire muddy garden. 

Here in this picture you can really see the brick leading all the way through from the courtyard to the breakfast nook and it continues past the other door/window. 

The courtyard made the entire house feel zen.  There was another couple looking at the house when I was taking pictures and I heard them mention a few times how calming this space made the house. The choice of plants and stones was perfect of course. On the other side of the frosted glass wall is the entry to the house.  

This door to the garage provides a short cut directly into the kitchen. I thought it was so brilliant for when you come home fully loaded with groceries!  

This kitchen is so well designed. Remember this was done in the 70's. Look how well it translates into 2014. It fits with the era of the house while still looking modern.  I love the details like this pull out cutting board. I've seen these in many kitchens including my childhood home, but the boards are always rather small.  This one is nice and big.  Another detail not missed!  

Ok, thats it for today but more pictures to come! 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

6235 Lubao Interiors: backyard

I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph this house!  Who knows who will buy it next and I want to remember it as Rudy (the owner) had left/designed it. This is exactly how it was intended to be!  I'd also like to copy many of his details for our house.

I took many, many pictures.  With Dave out of town I had both girls with me.  You will see them quite a bit.  You will also notice many tilted shots and other peculiarities but this is as good as I could get it on a Sunday afternoon after a long weekend.  I'm so grateful to Hilary and Debbie for letting me come in at the tail end of their open house! 

Because I shot so many pictures, all worth sharing imho,  I'm dividing them up by sections. Today will be the backyard.  The first thing I noticed in the picture above was the great large tree at the southwest corner of the lot. It was giving the backyard amazing shade at 3pm when I took these pictures. The tree is ideally placed. 

You'll also notice that the back patio isn't parallel to the house. Instead it jets out and I'm not sure why but this positioning propels you out into the yard and also draws you back into the house. 

 There's a path that circles the backyard and it starts off with a perfect fountain!  Perfectly placed and perfectly designed. 

Outside two of the bedrooms there is a row of olive trees and just past them is a rose garden. From the inside you feel shaded by the trees with highlights of the roses. The brick pathways seem to "announce" the outside. In a portion of the house that integrates the inside and outside you will see how these particular bricks play a part in the continuation and delineation of spaces. 

I love the garden art. 

I love the lines of the house from all angles. 

At the far northwest corner of the house there is a huge silver dollar eucylaptus tree. When you look out towards the back yard  the two large trees at each corner anchor the space. Then there are two sections with multiple trees that have obviously been kept shorter and the same height.  I'm not sure if the electric/phone wires are dictating the height or if it was a stylistic choice. 

I love the different heights of the garden. So smart!  And I love the hanging vines! 

These cement rounds line one fence. Not sure why. I sense it's a function thing and I like the solution.  

I love the different types of brick and how they coordinate/complement one another. 

This is the north wall of the house. The kitchen and dining are on the other side. The dirt patch is where they kept an herb garden. I love the genius placement of the herb garden and how useful, not just ornamental, the outdoors was to them. 

This is part of the area I mentioned where the brick integrates indoors and outdoors. Inside the sliding glass door is an indoor patio that follows through to a courtyard. The brick sets the three spaces apart and unties them: the outdoors, the indoors that feels outdoors because of all the floor to ceiling windows and the outdoors surrounded by indoors. Brilliant!

A fence detail.  Just having redone part of our fence I loved seeing that this is the same fence style we used for the back.  Except, he capped it with a plank which makes it more refined and Mid Century. The plank might also help keep water from going inside all of the wooden planks below.  Better to replace one plank than all of them! 

Details of the recessed exterior lighting in the patio. 

This is sheer genius. He left spaces where the wiring could easily hide instead of it hanging out and messy. 

I love his philodendrons. I love his pots. I love the brick. I just love it all!

If you love Mid Century architecture and you want to see the house call Hilary and Debbie!  
I'll post more of the interiors tomorrow!

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

What ugly AC unit?

 We're being audited.  The worst of the worst right?  I set days aside to get a sitter and coordinate with Dave's work schedule so I could focus on financial paperwork continuously. But before I was forced to sit for any extended amount of time I had to work off some of my agitation with a much needed project.  Cutting, painting, sanding would help me focus on the minutia of receipts. 

Our AC unit is ugly. I think everyone's is...right? And ours is smack dab in the middle of our backyard living space. It desperately needed a cover not just to be out of sight but to get shaded. It gets blasted by the afternoon sun, specially in the summer. Any shade will help it's efficiency. 

Although this was not a complicated thing to do I felt stumped for a really long time. First I had never used a saw, but I learned how when I built the side gate. One fear conquered!  But I'm still afraid to use a saw on a 4x4. I hear kickback is a bitch so I outsourced this part. I found a local lumber yard that cut the 4 pieces of 4x4 I needed. (Not shopping at Home Depot anymore!  They weren't able to do what I needed anyway! Surprise surprise!) Obstacle #2 conquered!  

The rest was pretty easy. I'll post again with steps and sources I used. It was actually so easy I did it with Gemma. You know if a 2 year old can help it's not complicated at all!  Our backyard living space looks so much nicer with this eyesore covered up! The most miraculous part of all was that for the first time in six years I was able to start and finish a project in TWO days!  

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Clean Walls

My mom came to visit recently. Her time with us is usually spent in a semi-vacation mode but this time was different. My goal was to get projects done. One of the much needed items on the list was to do paint touch ups all around the house.  

Once upon a time, when I only had one child, I repainted entire sections of our walls every 3-4 months. Young children and husbands who can resemble rhinos turn white walls into brown walls with multi colored smudges. But I was diligent and our house was pretty much immaculate. I was quite proud of my accomplishment. Then I got pregnant with our second. No paint fumes allowed. Then we had a newborn. No paint fumes allowed. Then I had a toddler. No paint fumes allowed. Then I looked at our walls and was very embarrassed.....

My mom was going to do the painting but I found her scrubbing the walls instead. They were looking pretty awesome but I was still incredulous. She then told me a story:
"In my day paint was very expensive. Only the very wealthy repainted their homes. The rest of us cleaned our walls. My mom, your grandmother, had a maid who came once a month to only clean the walls. I loved helping her. Now, we can of course afford to paint. However, I find it rather discomforting to paint over dirt instead of cleaning it." 

She was right. Some of the "dirt" on our walls was actually food from little hands. I knew some stains by heart. The thumbprint of jam. The hand print of pasta sauce. The smear of cheese from mac and cheese, etc, etc. And dare I mention the boogers? 

My mom used Bon Amie, a clean scrubbing sponge and a little bit of water to scrub off the dirt. Then she wiped the walls down with a damp clean towel until the towel came off clean with no soap residue.  The entry hallway now looks spectacular. It even looks bigger! 

I absolutely love cleaning the walls!  I can do it with the kids around, that was the major draw back to painting. It's really hard to juggle open paint containers or wet brushes with two young kids in the vicinity.  I've continued to clean other walls in the house and remain fume free.  It's been glorious! It's amazing how far we've come in one generation. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

6235 Lubao is for sale.

There's one house in our neighborhood I've always wanted to see on the inside.  A few days ago "for sale" signs went up and yesterday I saw an "open house" sign AND the nanny was with Gemma so I felt it was a sign from God! So many signs!

I never thought this house would go up for sale. The owner, an architect, rebuilt it himself after a fire that nearly burnt it to the ground back in the 70's.  Some sort of structure must have been preserved because it has the same bones and layout as ours. Except it has a second floor office/loft. Sadly, once I spoke to the realtors I found out why it is for sale. 

The owner passed away a few months ago.  He was still working, designing a new home up until two days before he passed.  He and his wife, also gone, have two daughters. One of his granddaughters became an architect because of his inspiration. She got married in the backyard this past weekend before putting the house on the market. 

The house is immaculate. The details and his understanding of the Mid Century philosophy are seen in every single room. Every closet has built in storage which he made. Beautiful built in storage that would cost you a fortune to install today.  Every room has beautiful floor to ceiling windows with gardens right outside.  The flow of the house is seamless. It is a retreat.

I left the house feeling immensely sad. I regret never visiting him. I regret not getting to know him. What was left in the house was enough to tell me that he was an inspiration. You can tell he saw the world through different eyes and with a different sensibility than most.  I think his name was Rudy.  I spoke to him twice, very briefly. Once he said our house was looking good. And the second time he said basically the same, that it was coming along and I said it was taking a long time. He said houses do take a while to get where you want them. Often decades but they eventually get there.  

When I walked inside Rudy's house yesterday I remembered his compliment "your house is looking good", and I realized what a HUGE compliment that was coming from him. 

If you are true love of Mid Century architecture you must come see this home.  I pray whoever buys it keeps it as is and continues to take care of it and preserve not just the era but the spirit of this man. 

You can see the listing at Lewis and Associates

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I Won't Shop at Home Depot Anymore

Home Depot has never made me all that happy.  I've had numerous bad experiences, dating back to when I was in my teens. I've always shrugged them off because where else does one go. Right? Besides I'm just buying paint or screws not life insurance. I can put up with rude, ignorant sales people.  

That was until I bought the dishwasher.  It was a double whammy of ignorant, rude sales people combined with lying customer service reps.   First, Dave a salesman in appliances at the Woodland Hills store on Variel was incredibly rude to me and then gave my husband, David, all the wrong information.  

I first went to HD to look at dishwashers.  I had both of my girls in one of their shopping carts. As I maneuvered in the appliance section I got caught in a "dead end" where I couldn't get through.  Palettes of goods were placed so close together that the shopping carts couldn't make it through. I wasn't in a double wide stroller. I was in their shopping carts. They obviously didn't consider leaving enough room for customers to walk through with carts.  I had to turn around. When I did Dave the salesman was talking to another customer. I waited for a little bit because I didn't want to rudely walk through their conversation. He looked over at us and didn't move or say a word.  Finally, I had to say "excuse me but there is no other way for me to get through". And he rudely replied "we're in the middle of something here."I shrugged it off, whatever, rude salesperson.  Like I said, it's been happening for decades. I managed to talk to another sales person who gave me the low down on the dishwasher I was interested in and the sale special they were having at the time. 

My husband, David, went back to HD the following day to look at the dishwashers himself.  Dave their salesman gave him the wrong information about EVERYTHING! He told my husband that there was a delivery charge, a charge for the disposal of the older appliance and that the dishwasher we were looking at needed an outlet to plug into. It wouldn't work otherwise, it could not have a direct line into the electrical. All of this was wrong.  HD had free delivery, part of the promotion was free disposal of old appliances AND the dishwasher could be either plugged in or hard wired.   

When David, my husband returned home we started butting heads over the misinformation until I asked who had helped him. When David described the older man who had helped him I knew it was rude, older man, white haired, misinformed Dave.  Unfortunately David, my husband said he was certain Dave gave him the right information about the outlet. We would have to call our electrician to have an outlet installed.  

Our electrician came over, installed an outlet and took out the old dishwasher to the garage. I went to HD to order the new washer. Lucky me, guess who was the only sales person who could help me?  Yup, good ol'Dave!  He started out rude.  Then he got nicer when he realized I was truly buying an appliance and getting a credit card.  

To make a long story at least a little shorter, I'm jumping to two weeks later when the dishwasher arrived. I won't even tell you the disorganization of the delivery company.  They install the dishwasher and it's sticking out about 2" beyond the cabinets.  It's not flush because the dishwasher is plugged in.  The installation guys tell me that it should be hardwired.  And they tell me they can do it but not right then.  Thanks for nothing.  I'm angry!  We had everything right but Dave the salesman gave us wrong information and we had an outlet installed.  Seeing that I'm angry at how this is turning out the installation guys stopped doing the install.  Laziness is dripping off of them like a 17 year old stoner. I pointed out that regardless of how far the washer was sticking out I still need my dishes cleaned.  

I called Home Depot and spoke to Miriam Bocci, Specialty Assistant Manager Home Depot 6632 and I tell her the process of events.  She told me to call our electrician to fix the problem and they would pay for it.  Just email her the invoice she would make it right.  Again fast forward to three weeks later when I got the electrician over and I emailed her the invoice.  I hear nothing back.  I email again. Nothing. I send a third email saying that if I don't hear back from her by the end of the day I will assume she had no intentions of paying for the fix. Nothing.  I also gave her the heads up that I would share my story on here.  I think everyone should be warned that Home Depot lies about being truly customer service friendly.  

So here I am. I've hit the last straw with Home Depot.  I've done several DIY jobs since then and have not bought a single thing from Home Depot and I am a million times happier. I found a local hardware store who is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. They are also very patient with my children and with me as I teach them about skills and products. They are not condescending or liars like Home Depot. 

I also found a lumber yard nearby where I was able to get everything I needed at a much better price. Again, they were helpful and kind with me as I do what I do with my two daughters.  

If you leave a Home Depot feeling like an idiot because some idiot in there was trying to make you as ignorant as him, I highly recommend finding local small vendors instead. I guarantee they'll be much more helpful and you will feel empowered to do more with your projects. 

Good bye Home Depot. I don't miss you one bit.