Dear My Neighbor That Covered His Wall With Colored Tape,
That’s a cool way of doing graffiti without having to commit to anything. I love you.
So I’m still hard at work making my dollhouse for the I’m A Giant challenge. Emily, Corbett and I took a field trip to a dollhouse store (yes, they exist) in Torrance. The owners of the store are total dollhouse experts. They know everything about how to make a proper dollhouse.
I took a few inspiration pictures there, but didn’t buy much because I’m trying to make my dollhouse as cheap as possible. I do like this little globe though.
One of the Liliputians that lives in my dollhouse is an artist, so he’ll be needing one of these.
I’m not doing wallpaper in my house, but if I were I might use this kind…
Inspired by our trip to the dollhouse store, I went to Pearl Paint and bought a ton of foam core, wood, and other construction materials for my falling down barn. First, I drew the structure onto the foam core.
After I cut out the side pieces, I used books to figure out the correct height for the second floor. I use books for a lot of things because I am very smart.
Then I added the third floor and some walls.
I used a combination of pins and hot glue to connect everything together. Next, I started facing the barn with some wood siding. Eventually I don’t want any foam core showing anywhere.
And then on to making stairs, which is actually the hardest thing to design/make in the whole world.
These are the stairs I came up with. Eventually, I’ll face them with wood or some other natural material.
Now on to adding our wood floors! I chose a wide panel wood floor that I am going to stain grey. I used a hot glue gun to attach it.
This is the current state of the outside of the barn. I plan on staining it to look weathered and then adding some lichen and making it look as beat up as possible. I want it to look as if it’s rotting before our very eyes.
I have a long way to go but I’m off to a good start…
Why did you have to leave me? It’s too soon. Oh how I loved ye… For those of you who don’t know, Cinespia is a seasonal film series that plays each weekend over the romantic summer months in Los Angeles. What sets it apart from other film series is that it takes place in the beautiful Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year, Cinespia celebrated its 10th year and played a bunch of classic crowd pleasers. The final screening of the season was ET, which, like Oprah, everyone is morally obligated to love. These film screenings are see-and-be-seen events, filled to the brim with creative clothing and ugly sweaters. Everyone who attends dresses like it’s 1991 and they are getting ready to audition for the original 90210. It’s pretty much my dream world.
All photos by Cinespia’s adorable photographer Kelly Lee Barrett.
I can’t believe this picture was taken this year. There is nothing current about these lovely looks. Radical.
I like this dude’s sweater.
Oh, to be these people. So aloof and thin. I hate my life.
Left to right: Perm? Check! Fun colorful t-shirt? Check! Hairband? Check! I love these people.
Not sure what I like more, those awesome hats or that lovely patterned blouse. Totally gorgeous girls.
Who let these bozos in? (My shirt is totally unbuttoned! Loser).
I like that guy’s red sweater. And by “red sweater” I mean face.
I’m scared of these people. And that makes me happy.
These cuties were in front of us in line. I knew I loved them when I saw her awesome stonewashed denim jacket.
Naturally, Drew Barrymore introduced the movie. People in Los Angeles get annoyed when they go to a movie and it isn’t introduced by a celebrity.
I’m pretty sure Drew Barrymore is the cutest person in the world. If I were to kidnap any celeb and keep it in a cage so that I could stare at it forever and make it tell me jokes, that celebrity would be Drew Barrymore.
This is how the films are shown, projected onto the side of a mausoleum.
How fun is this girl? I want a glowing hula hoop!
These kids totally escaped from a Hedi Slimane fashion shoot. Their life is more fun than yours.
The moral of the story is that if you go to Cinespia, you better bring your fashion. Because no one actually goes to watch the movie. They go to watch your outfit. Which is really how it should be.
Dear Design-Loving Woodswomen and Woodsmen,
I’m sure all of you have heard of Yosemite National Park. It’s one of America’s treasures and was the first natural space set aside for protection by the U.S. government. It’s also my hometown. What most people don’t know about Yosemite is that people live there. There are about 1000 residents who live within the park boundaries. I lived there because my mom runs the little grammar school there and my father is the park’s dentist (because no matter where you are, you should never neglect your oral health!). As you can imagine, growing up there gave me a great appreciation for the outdoors. It also gave me a great appreciation for rustic woodland designs. I never really thought about my hometown from a design standpoint until recently, when I noticed I have an attraction to natural materials, cabins, and 60s architecture. In my fantasy life, I run away from the city and move into a rustic cabin in the woods with my husband, a gorgeous blond lumberjack with a lisp (named Sven). But enough about my future, let’s take an architectural tour of Yosemite!
The Park Service crest (at the top of this sign) is one of my favorite logos in the world. It’s so basic and classic. I used to pass this entrance sign on the way to and from high school every day (high school was located outside the park in Mariposa, California). The park has a lot of carved wooden signs, which I love for their dimensionality and tactile quality.
I am also obsessed with the signage at my grammar school, The Yosemite School. How adorable is that typeface?
The school was rebuilt in the mid 50s, so it has a wonderful mid-century vibe.
This is the Ansel Adams Gallery. Located on the “Village Mall” in the most touristy/congested part of the park, this is where I spent my high school summers earning money to squander on clothes and vegan cookies.
This is Camp Curry. Basically one of the park’s first lodging options where still can go and stay in a cabin. You too can live like a Steinbeckian hobo for only $105 a night!
This is the awesome Camp Curry sign. I want one of these for my house someday. Woodland glamour at its best.
These are tent cabins. Some of them are for park guests. Some of them are for local employees (during the warmer summer months). I’ve never been inside one but I’d definitely want one for a guest house when I move into my cabin in the woods.
The Yosemite Museum. The use of stone on lower portions of buildings is one of my favorite things about Yosemite’s lovely old buildings.
The Laconte Memorial. My friends and I used to play in the woods around here. I always imagined a witch lived inside. I was totally disappointed when I grew up and found out no one lived inside and it was a memorial dedicated to some naturalist or whatever. Boring! Just kidding. Kind of.
The gorgeous Titanic-era Wawona Hotel. One of my pretty aunties was married there. This hotel is the reason I thought Winona Ryder was named Wawona Ryder until I was 20. See also: Wawona Judd.
Ostrander ski hut. You have to cross-country ski or snowshoe 10 miles to get there. One time on the way down the hill from the hut I got lost and had to ski 16 extra miles. I was so late my father thought I had died but it was totally worth it because I looked totally skinny the next day.
This is the Rangers Club. I actually have no idea what it is because I’ve never been inside but I’ve always thought it was a cool old building. I imagine it’s just a place for park rangers to hang out and talk about their feelings whilst drinking hot toddys.
This is the Ahwahnee hotel. Think of this as our version of Eloise’s Plaza Hotel. When I was young, my friends and I used to run all over this hotel, lying to its wealthy guests and telling them we were homeless. We traumatized them and ruined their vacations, but it was so much fun for us!
I love this aerial view of the sprawling Ahwahnee grounds.
This is the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge. How pretty are those huge windows? This restaurant is the best/only place to eat in Yosemite.
The Village Store. This is both a grocery store and a gift shop. Total 60s glamour. I worked here when I was 14 and spent days at a time folding cheesy tourist t-shirts and rearranging the gift items so that tourists could throw them on the floor and spill soda all over them. Thus, I contracted OCD and learned to fold t-shirts perfectly.
Finally, my parents house. I wish I had a better picture of the exterior (if you look hard you can see Yosemite Falls to the right of that huge pine tree). You can see a few interior shots here.
Oh wait, here’s a picture of the house from the 80s. As you can see it looks like a log cabin. My neighborhood is mostly homes like mine (built in the 20s). Basically log cabins with a slight arts and crafts influence. There are also some cute 1960s houses with sloped roofs. Unfortunately, the Park Service has chosen to paint them all a terrible brown color with orange trim. Supposedly this is to camouflage them from airplanes that travel overhead. A fun fact about living in a national park like Yosemite is that you cannot own your home. All residents of Yosemite Village rent because the houses are located on federally-owned land. Since the homes are all historical structures, residents aren’t allowed to make permanent changes or do anything to the exterior of the home. It’s essentially like growing up on the grounds of huge resort.
Oh yeah, and here’s the back yard.
And you can’t have an architectural tour of Yosemite without mentioning the most important architectural feature in the park, our gorgeous granite cliffs. Here is the street sign for the road I grew up on.
Thus concludes my architectural tour of my hometown. I hope it has inspired you to buy a cabin and move in next door to Sven and me.
The other day I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when my friend Emily called me to tell me some exciting news. I was crossing a loud intersection (Crescent Heights and Sunset) when I heard her scream into the phone, “I bought a house!” I was both perplexed and livid, because I hadn’t heard a thing about buying a house. Emily is one of my best friends, so I was mad she bought a house without consulting me first. I get very excited about home buying, and sometimes force rich people to look at houses just because I want to look at houses with someone who can actually afford them. Therefore, I thought, it was a huge affront on Emily’s part to leave me out of the joy of her purchase. Anyway, she let a few minutes pass before she told me that the house she bought was a dollhouse, at which point I was totally relieved. Apparently she and my other ladyfriend Corbett had shared a cocktail and came up with the most genius idea ever: a blogger-fueled design challenge for dollhouses.
We are calling this challenge the “I’m A Giant” Challenge. After all, next to dollhouses, dollhouse furniture, and dolls, we are all giants.
Who, you ask, is participating in this maniacal challenge? Well I’ll tell you:
My Boss, Friend, and Lover: Emily Henderson: www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com
Morgan from www.the-brick-house.com
Erin from www.designformankind.com
Corbett from www.girl-domestic.com
Jenny from www.littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com
Nicole from www.makingitlovely.com
Kirsten from www.simplygrove.com
and Me www.hommemaker.com
As you may or may not have noticed, I am the only dude. So far. This is where you come in. I want as many Hommes as possible to participate. We will be sharing images from fellow bloggers, readers, and mini-enthusiasts on our blogs and will be choosing a selection to be shown in our closing ceremonies in Los Angeles in January 2012. So GIT EXCITED!
The whole idea is to create your dream house in the form of a teenie tiny dollhouse. This can be anything. It can be a crate decorated on the inside to look like a house. It can be a smashed up TV designed to look like the set of “Step By Step.” It can be a ten story mansion fit for Candy Spelling. As long as it’s creative, totally you, and you have fun doing it, it’s perfect.
I’m basing my dream house on a long-held fantasy I’ve held in my heart ever since I can remember. I’ve always wanted to live in a building that looked like a disgusting rotting barn from the outside. Old barns are wonderful elders that have so many stories to tell. They’re so humble and filled with so much history.
Look at this poor guy. Can’t get no love.
Uggg! Those dead vines!!! Priceless. I want!
Who wouldn’t want to live in there? So gorgeous (I’m serious).
This hole in the roof reminds me of Edward Scissorhands. Glamour.
So now that you think I’m completely bonkers, let me tell you what I want the inside to look like. I’ve also always dreamed of living in a huge New York loft. With pretty concrete floors, stylish mid-century furniture, and of course the best art collection in the world with plenty of Hedi Slimane photographs.
That’s a Damien Hirst above the sofa. In Donny Deutsch’s house. Not my favorite room but I love that his recent spread in Architectural Digest was all about his awesome art collection and his color pallet was very stark and mostly white.
I want these beams!
I know they’re slightly played out, but I’m totally putting in one of these hanging fireplaces. I love them so. And how open this room is.
My floor-to-ceiling shelving addiction will definitely be featured somewhere.
Because I couldn’t find any dollhouses that look like rotting barns, I decided to construct my own out of foamcore. Eventually, the entire thing is going to be covered with wood, plaster, fake mold, and other mini materials.
Want a sneak peak of my crazy house? Here is the basic infrastructure.
Yes, the lean is on purpose. I am a huge fan of asymmetry and it’s supposed to look like the barn is falling over. I’m slightly further along than this picture indicates. I recently had my floor guys (me) come in and install some hardwood floors as well as my siding guys (me) put some siding on the house. I have been toying with the idea of doing an addition in the form of a silo because I need extra room for a kitchen, playroom, and terrace. I can’t decide yet whether or not that will suit the miniature family that I’m building the house for. I’ll do another post soon about my progress, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you because the crazy news of this ridiculous challenge is kind of a lot to handle.
Finally, in only slightly related news, here is a picture of another miniature thing: MY BABY NIECE! (In the center):
She is the cutest and smartest baby in the whole world and if you disagree I might have to make an appointment for you. With my fist!
Now get into it, Hommes and Hommegirls, and let’s rock this challenge! The deadline for completion is December 15. Godspeed!
Do you want a chandelier that’s uniquely you, but don’t know where to start? Well, you’re in luck, because a few months ago I made a delightful Orb chandy I’m calling Orb-lando. AND SO CAN YOU! Emily, my secret lover, and I used this chandelier for one of my favorite Secrets From A Stylist makeovers. It was a contemporary makeover, infused with Japanese influence and a kick azz modern art collection. Anywayz, onto the chandy.
Here is the initial drawing I made for inspiration:
And here is how the actual Orb-lando turned out:
So now that all that boring stuff is out of the way, here’s how you make the thing.
Firstly, you’ll need the following supplies:
1. 14 Gauge Galvanized Wire (I used about 300 feet to do my 3′ wide orb):
2. Narrow Gauge Galvanized Wire (sometimes called “Craft Wire” or “Floral Wire”):
3. Any kind of chain meant for chandy hanging. If you’re smart, unlike myself, you’ll choose it in a color that corresponds with the color you choose to paint your orb.
5. A G 40 Light Bulb. That’s the biggest you can get without messing with normal wiring/electrical loads (Or something. The light bulb store dude sort of confused me because he talked for too long when I asked him if he had any bigger bulbs. He just went on and on and on about wiring requirements etc. Don’t people realize that if you keep blathering about something that no one wants to keep listening to you because it gets totally boring and drawn out? Ooops, I just did the same thing):
6. We had an old light kit from CB2 on set so I used that, but you can use any light kit as long as the cord is long enough to reach the ceiling:
7. I painted my Orb-lando with this metallic “Dark Bronze” color. We also considered painting it a fun color like red but the bronze gave it a nice aged look. If you leave it raw eventually it turns roughly this color anyway, so we just sort of sped up the process (this is a trick we TV people love to do, because we work on a tight schedule and spend most of our time talking to models and the cast of “Glee.”):
Ok, so now to how you actually put this dumb thing together. I took process pictures but they looked stupid so I’ve decided to draw cartoons to explain.
First, make three wire hoops (from the 14 gauge wire) the size you want your Orb-lando to be. For example, if you want a chandy that’s 2′ wide, make a wire hoop that is 2′ wide. These hoops need to be sturdy enough to maintain their shape, and 14 gauge wire can be wobbly if your chandy is big, so it’s probably best to make your hoop double-thick (made from two pieces of wire wrapped around one another, like lovers on a moonlit night on the beach).
Using your thinner gauge wire, attach the three hoops together so they look like this. To be honest, this is the hardest part because even when it’s double-thick this wire wobbles all over the place (to understand how wobbly it is, imagine that you just told Santa a hilarious joke and now you have to make a chandelier out of his belly – which shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly).
Add the chain. Come to think of it, you’d probably do this last but I accidentally drew it in and it kind of doesn’t matter when you add it. To connect the chain, use your 14 gauge wire for strength and your thinner gauge wire for extra support. On second thought, you should probably do this step last because it would be kind of annoying to do the next steps with the chain attached. Go on to step 4 and I’ll remind you to do this later. I love you and I’m sorry.
Remember Sigourney Weaver in Aliens? Well, for this part of the DIY pretend that your name is [Insert Your Name] Weaver and that your job is to weave and weave and weave 14 gauge wire together until your Orb looks like a giant scribble. The most important part of the weaving process is that whenever the 14 gauge wire intersects, you attach it together with a 3″ piece of the thinner wire (just wrap the thin wire around and point all the ends inward so they don’t cut anyone). This sounds easy, but it gets SUPER tedious because there are so many intersections. If you don’t bind your intersections the Orb wont be structurally sound, so it’s the most important part of the process.
Keep weaving until your Orb-lando is a lacy and complicated as you want. Make sure to leave a hole near the top big enough for the G 40 bulb to fit through. To test if your Orb is strong enough, try bouncing it on the floor (or any scratch-proof surface, preferably outside). If it can maintain it’s shape after a light bounce it’s probably strong enough to hang (if it’s too weak it will start to sag eventually, like my face).
Before you hang your Orb-lando, please choose a color to spray it (and your hardware) and do so in a protected outdoor area. You can leave your Orb raw, but know that it will probably not stay that bright silver color forever (it dulls a bit over time).
Add your light kit. Or have someone who isn’t deathly afraid of electrocuting himself do it. I don’t know how to wire stuff, so we had Contractor Chris (from “Secrets”) do it. My suggestion is that if you’re not comfortable you hire an electrician your wiring. I say that not only because I’m legally required to, but also because the only thing that scares me almost as much as me dying by electrocution is you dying by electrocution.
As a reminder, you can add your chain now and hang the thing.
Have a glamourous premiere party for your Orb-lando where you serve ridiculously expensive hors d’oeuvre and invite every celebrity you know. If you don’t know any celebrities, make one up! (“Oh her, that’s Auntie Flo, she invented the intercom and starred on ‘I Love Lucy’!”). Please be advised that if you refer to this light as anything but an “Orb-lando,” my legal team will be paying you a visit. Just kidding. Sort of.
Ok, well I hope you’re excited to make your own chandy. There will be challenges and there will be triumphs, but ultimately it could end up being the most fulfilling thing you do in your whole entire life.
It’s time to re-enter my family’s California photo archive. Now it’s onto the 70s. I feel a Joan Didion quote coming on:
“California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things had better work here, because here, beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.”
- Joan Didion
“Chekhovian loss”? Why so lighthearted, Joan? Anyway, here are my aunties and uncle in front of their childhood home.
Ok, just a warning that there are going to be a few pictures of babies in backpacks. Basically the only reason I want to have children is so that I can put them in a backpack. Is that wrong? Pictured here is my mother with my older brother.
I love this old courderoy sofa. In real life it was green.
One thing that defines California life is being outside. Preferably with a baby in your backpack.
My parents at Lake Tenaya in Tuolumne Meadows (California’s Eastern Sierras).
My mother with her mother and sisters. A bunch of powerful ladies who taught me and my siblings to be feminists.
My father riding to work. Behind him (on the left) is the house where I was born.
My father hiking with my auntie Julie (who looks a lot like my mother).
Californians love tubbing with their babies in huge wooden barrels.
My parents. How awesome are their outfits?
My mother with Joni Mitchell hair.
This is my dad graduating from either Berkeley or UCSF. With my proud grandfather.
Look at my mother’s little dress!
Hiking. Sadly, no baby in the backpack.
So that’s the 70s according to my family. It must have been dreadfully boring because I wasn’t born yet. Stay tuned, coming soon is the 80s in California! True glamour.