Tumble Moon (Update 1)

Posted on November 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm | No Comments


No paint colors have been picked for the house, but I felt these drawings could use some pizzazz. I do know what color it won’t be, white. The color pallet will come from the natural elements on the property, twigs, bark, leaves, and stone.

I finally decided on a name for my new piece of heaven, Tumble Moon. It’s the name of a Texas Dude ranch in an old campy film called Lightning Strikes Twice (1951). It seems that all the other name combinations that might describe my property’s uniqueness were already spoken for by multiple apartment complexes.

Below is a list of what’s happened since I purchased the property eleven months ago:
• December 18, 2014: My landscape architect Michael Parkey and I explore the property together and locate two possible building sites for the future tiny house.
• December 21, 2014: Michael sends me the first site plan.
• February 11, 2015: New survey finally arrives after waiting two months.
• February 24, 2015: Michael and I return with Mark Bulloch, the landscape contractor, to show him the property so that he can work up an estimate for erosion control, hauling off trash, installing the fence and gate, and clearing paths and drive.
• May 18, 2015: Mark Bulloch’s estimate is signed off on, and he moves his camper to the site and begins the work.
• June 12, 2015: Michael and I visit Mark at the property, where we decide on an ideal building site that hadn’t been considered before. We also determine that the entrance needs to be relocated. While out there, we met with several contractors to see about the feasibility of digging a well and installing a septic system at the building site.
• June 23, 2015: Michael and I return to do a survey of the future house site. We needed to know all the grade changes and distances.
• June 25, 2015: Michael revises the site plan to reflect the new changes and the survey’s results.
• July 15, 2015: Charley McKenney, my architect, and I meet up with Mark and Michael at the property. This is Charley’s first visit to the site.
• September 9, 2015: Charley McKenney presents his first set of schematic drawings, which have been enhanced for this post.
• September 22, 2015: With the dimensioned schematic drawings, Charley, Michael, and I locate the exact position of the house on the site and use stakes to indicate the corners and blue spray paint to outline the building’s footprint. We originally had thought that the house front would face northeast with only one stupendous view out, but Charley decided on a much better location which allowed the house to take in three different views. Of course, this meant a revised set of schematic drawings would be required to adjust windows and door locations, but the footprint would remain the same.
• September 24, 2015: Eikon Consultant Group is hired for geotechnical and structural engineering. The geotechnical phase to drill for core samples is scheduled.
• September 24, 2015: The extensive property behind me has been sold and not knowing the new owner, we decided to relocate the drive up to the entry gate. Originally the final portion of the route was to have been in between two neighbor properties on a rough drive that had been created for utility purposes, but was not intended to be a public-right-of-way. Mark Bulloch and I agree on his estimate to build a road access which will require a ton of road base and dollars. Here’s the new site plan for entry road.
• October 16, 2015: Mark Bulloch has now completed all the property and road work that’s required for now. There’s more work for him once the house construction has been completed.
• October 20, 2015: Charley McKenney presents the second set of schematic drawings. Along with window and door placements to take in the views, Charley has included interior elevations. He has also rearranged the kitchen. I will post these drawings when he has had a chance to incorporate the things we discussed.
• October 21, 2015: I received Eikon’s geotechnical report. All 36 pages of it.

Click on the link below to see the rest of the drawings, and remember that clicking on each image will give you a much larger version.

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Trick O’ Treat

Posted on October 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm | No Comments


All items were purchased from Oriental Trading.

The goodie bags are ready and waiting by the front door, stuffed with edible weirdness and kooky treats. I should have ordered more eyeball gum balls, but my math skills were missing when it was time to order. After doing these treat bags for at least ten years, you would think I would have this calculation skill perfected by now.

At The Reading Room

Posted on September 5, 2015 at 3:39 pm | No Comments


Photo courtesy of The Reading Room

by Lucia Simek
at The Reading Room
3715 Parry Avenue/Dallas
September 5 — October 3, 2015
opening reception September 5 from 6 to 9 pm

OCCIPUT by Lucia Simek opens tonight at The Reading Room. This solo show OCCIPUT, which means the back of the head, features short films, images, objects, and a pair of socks. Themes of exile, instability and insecurity found within daily life are seen through the lens of nature and the sublime.

Simek is an artist, writer and curator based in Dallas. Her work has been shown at Dallas Contemporary. Simek is co-founder of the artist collective The Art Foundation which organized Boom Town at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2013 and Fountainhead in 2012. She completed a MFA in sculpture at Texas Christian University in 2014.

A Single Man (2009)

Posted on August 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm | No Comments


One star of this film is the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner.

Tom Ford’s film, starring Julianne Moore and Colin Firth, is one of those films in which every frame is a visual feast and a must-see for all design fans. The “Mad Men” team of production designer Dan Bishop and set decorator Amy Wells provided the phenomenal sets and wardrobe. And it was their sets which helped illustrate and add dimension to the characters and story.

Set in 1962, the drama unfolds in Santa Monica and is filmed primarily in two locations. One is a lushly landscaped Pasadena residence that in the film is owned by Charley (Julianne Moore). It is decorated in an ultra-feminine cream-and-pink Midcentury Hollywood Regency scheme with a Moroccan accent. Far different is the austere monochromatic modern home of George (Firth), filmed in the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner (above).

The first third of the film is drained of color in much the same way George has been drained of life by sorrow. But as the film progressed, I noticed that when another human shared a frame with our single man, the scene’s colors warmed up and glowed.

I have decided not to provide captions for the following photos. That would be just too much. So just click the link and view 42 gorgeous moments from “A Single Man.”

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Finally! After a Four-Year Wait.

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm | 6 Comments


Please click on the photo for a larger version and notice the lacy details of the chain-link fabric. The silver spray paint on the poles around the hinges and fittings will have to be removed. Ggggrrrr…

My redesigned front gate has been finally installed. It’s been an extremely time consuming and difficult project that began in 2011 with the original sloppy installation. Because it is the front gate, a custom solution was necessary. Since chain-link fencing is no longer as popular as it once was, I could not find a fencing contractor who would give me the time of day on the phone, much less show up for a meeting. They didn’t care if I had created detailed drawings with specifications. The word “custom” caused them too much brain pain. Plus using the traditional galvanized pipes and fittings would make the panels too heavy, causing them sag in the middle. So my architect Charley McKenney took my drawings to the metal artist who had created my fire screen and worked out how to create the two gate panels. It was critical that each frame corner be a sharp 90 degrees and each lace fabric panel be completely inset to the inside of the frame—not merely attached to the frame itself. Eighteen months later, January 2015, the completed gate panels were finally delivered. I had aged considerably since this whole thing started. But wait! There’s more!

Who would do the installation? [crickets] My usual contractor wouldn’t be able to do it until after the first of 2016. The next time someone mentions that good things happen to those who wait, I’m going to slap them hard. It wasn’t a matter of just reattaching the panels to the original gate posts. The new panels were now taller, and the post next to the house needed to move in another 1.5 inches. Why are my smaller projects so difficult? Fortunately a friend of mine’s husband was starting up a construction business and was free to help me. He brought in a sub-contractor who not only showed up, but didn’t mind working out all the details.

We did run into one big problem. The gate panels were too heavy for the newly embedded support posts and caused them to lean inwards, which in turn caused the panels to sag and drag. So a week later, they came back with a brilliant solution. By inserting reinforcing bars (rebar) and concrete down into the support posts, they were able to ensure the posts would never lean in. We were afraid that a small wheel may have to be added at the inside bottom of one of the panels, but this proved unnecessary.

There’s still one final step remaining, and that is removing the silver paint the contractor used to cover the old galvanized fittings. This is something I told him NOT TO DO! But none the less, he had to gild that lily. Ggggrrrr… I’m hoping some paint thinner will do the trick and won’t remove or harm the finish on the new frames. The saga continues.

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Paris: Looking Up, Part Two

Posted on June 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm | No Comments


Hôtel de Soubise, ceiling detail of the Prince’s apartment on the ground floor.

Ceilings of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. I’m a bit overdue with this second part. I had forgotten that I had created this as a draft way back in January when I posted the first portion of Paris ceilings. Well, the photographs had been corrected and uploaded, but the copy hadn’t been written. And all this time I was thinking I had days of work yet to do. So I procrastinated.

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