Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’m A Giant (Weirdo)!

Dear Readers,

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!

Love,
Orlando

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D.I. Why? Orb-lando

Dear World,

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.

4. Needle Nose Pliers (get the kind that have the cutting mechanism so you don’t have to keep picking up and putting down tools):

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.”):

PROCESS

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.

STEP 1

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).

STEP 2

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).

STEP 3

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.

STEP 4

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.

STEP 5

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).

STEP 6

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).

STEP 7

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.

STEP 8

As a reminder, you can add your chain now and hang the thing.

STEP 9

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.

Love,
Orlando

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The Golden State: 1970s

Dear Reader,

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.

Love,
Orlando

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Blast From The Past: My Old Studio

Dear Diary,

In 2007 I moved into a little studio apartment in Los Angeles. It was my first time living alone and only my second apartment ever. My little apartment was in an old Spanish style building in Hollywood near Runyon Canyon. For some reason my block was totally gross and disgusting, but every other block surrounding was gorgeous. Anyway, it looks a little cheesy now that I’m four years in the future, but I loved this shet out of that apartment.

This is my kitchen. The floor was a DIY featured on Design Sponge a while back. I still love the way those stripes look.

I stole that red trunk from my parents. Then I gave it to a friend when I moved back to New York. Is it weird that I want it back even though there isn’t really a good place for it in my new apartment?

From 2005-2008 I was a constant “Yay” sayer. So much so that I thought it was appropriate to put a “YAY!” decal on my window. It seems dorky but it was a nice reminder to be appreciative for what I saw out that window (the lovely Hollywood Hills).

This is a sconce I made out of an old manzanita branch I found in my parents attic. I still like it, but would probably use different electric components if I made it again.

Some of my old artwork.

I love this piece and I miss it. A close friend (and architect) helped me design and construct this baby. Totally impractical but so fun.

A bed designed by my architect friend, Noel. Since the space was small I needed something with storage for all my books and t-shirts.

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Fake Joan Didion Quote of the Week: Xanadu

“I’m taking my ass home and watching Xanadu.” - Joan Didion

* This statement was not made by Joan Didion. This phrase was actually uttered by Cort Hightower, actor and Olivia Newton John historian. 

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How To Make Lame Art Cool

Dear DIY Diary,

I bought an awesome, yet stupid, painting at a thrift store recently and I was looking for a way to make it more challenging. I knew I wanted to add text but didn’t really want to invest the time in painting it so I decided to use vinyl lettering.

Here is what the painting looked like sans text:

Here are the letters I bought from Koonz Hardware in West Hollywood. If you live anywhere near Los Angeles and you love old timey hardware stores, you have to check out Koonz. It’s totally awesome.

And here’s the text I added, which changed the painting from cheesy coastal tourist town art to something more intriguing.

Anyway, feel free to steal this idea. Buy a dumb painting for $20, get some stickers, and write something wacky on it. It’s a great conversation starter (which is why I hung mine in the dining room).

Glamour.

Love,
Orlando

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The Golden State: 1960s

Dear Reader,

It’s time for more vintage images of California, this time from the 1960s. These are some of my favorites. The fashion, the glorious matte colors, the oppressed look in everyone’s eyes. Since I love quoting Joan Didion, here’s what she has to say about California:

“The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion will live here in only the most temporary way.”

- Joan Didion

Of course my family doesn’t necessarily believe this illusion – we’ve been in California for generations. All these old photos express a carefree, glamourous lifestyle lived in big houses in the shining sun. However, everyone knows that all families have problems and worries. I prefer to imagine that things were as golden as they look in these images:

I love this picture of my mother, who now is obsessed with terrariums and bonsai.

This is my grandmother’s backyard, where I spent much of my childhood playing and looking for pennies to buy slurpies at the nearby 7-11. Her neighborhood was pretty much identical to the one in ‘Edward Scissorhands.’

I love these fashionable coats!

My mother and her twin.

My grandmother somewhere Back East.

I hope you enjoyed the 60s in California through the lens of my ancestors and all these pastel-filled photographs.

Love,
Orlando

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