...because home doesn't happen overnight.
09.12.14 / Made Me Smile

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So last week I mentioned we didn’t own a cat. Then, in a strange turn of events, there was a kitten in our house the very next day. It’s a long story. I’ll share it next week. I know I’m not the first human to ever own a cat but when you’ve labeled yourself “not a cat person” for 35+ years and then all of a sudden there’s a kitten in your lap, it’s kinda a big deal. Life is weird like that. Anyway, we’ve been having fun with the newest addition to our family. Lots of cuddles and smiles this week.

More smile-worthy links…

*Textile artist, Maryanne Moodie, shared her home tour on etsy. I loved seeing how she mixes her weavings into her décor.

*Renovation inspiration.

*Hello, my name is Dana, and I am a house stalkerIt looks like I’m in good company. Search the hashtag #housestalker on instagram for more stalkers’ finds.

*An introduction for children (or adults) to modern houses and their architects. (Thanks for the heads up, Heather!)

genevieve gorder living room

*She’s baaaaa-aaaaaack. Genevieve Gorder launched a new website and magazine app. I hear she has a spread in HGTV magazine, too. I’ve always loved her so it makes me happy to see her doing well.

*Ikea’s version of a rock climbing wall.

*I couldn’t help but think of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road when I posted this week’s giveaway. Many of you bibliophiles made the connection as well.

Happy weekend! I hope you get a chance to curl up with a good book in your favorite reading spot.

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Genevieve Gorder

I shared the top 10 features of my dream home a few weeks ago. I thought it would be fun if Steve made a list, too, for comparison. He was game and created his list before reading mine to keep things unbiased. I asked him to mainly think about the shell / structure of the house – not so much about the location. I asked him to choose a few images to demonstrate the features he most desires in a house. As with my list, the images aren’t exact interpretations of the dream home in Steve’s mind but, hopefully, they give you a better feel for it. (He mentioned that the houses shown are all larger than the dream home in his mind.) Here’s what he came up with…

open loft layout

open loft layout

metal sliding partition in open loft

1. Open floor plan. Steve’s dream home has an open kitchen – living – dining space as opposed to separate, walled-off rooms. Movable partitions would be used to close off certain areas for added privacy.

right-sized modern, minimal exterior

right-sized prefab cabin

2. Just enough square footage. Call him Goldilocks. Steve’s dream home isn’t too big or too small. It’s just right. There’s no wasted space and every room serves a purpose or three.

high ceilings with exposed ductwork

high ceilings with exposed ductwork

high ceilings with beams and exposed brick wall

3. High ceilings with exposed ductwork / brick / beams. The “just right” dream home feels spacious and airy thanks to high ceilings. Interesting structural features like exposed ductwork, exposed brick and wood beams lend a loft-like vibe.

vaulted ceiling featuring beams, tongue and groove, skylights

4. Lots of natural light. Big windows, skylights, sun tubes and open air access let light pour in.

5. Solid flooring throughout. Wood, cork, concrete, tile or vinyl plank flooring is a must-have with area rugs thrown down for comfort.

separate modern workshop / shed

6. Detached workshop. Since we’re dreaming…Steve’s dream home is accompanied by a dream workshop / shed. It’s spacious with electrical and plumbing and maybe even small living quarters on the second level. In addition to the one shown above, he also loves the detached outbuildings seen here (designated as ph-1) and here.

7. Great outdoor space. A nice lawn with simple low-maintenance landscaping, a deck / patio and a big ass grill or smoker (Steve’s words exactly) make his dream home just as livable outside as it is inside. He’s really drawn to this outdoor space but prefers a less urban setting. And he basically wet himself when he found this built-in, floating, cantilevered grill setup.

8. Energy efficient. The house is inexpensive to heat / cool and includes a well-organized mechanical room.

9. Well-designed storage. A mixture of freestanding furniture and built-in cabinets provide adequate storage so that everything is in its place.

10. Side or rear entry garage. Also, his dream garage wouldn’t have disassembled bathroom fixtures sitting in it taking up precious space. I’m just guessing on that one.

For reference, here was my list:

1. right-sized
2. plenty of natural light
3. connection to the outdoors
4. open living space
5. high ceilings
6. architect-designed
7. warm wood tones
8. flex space
9. dark exterior
10. prefab construction

When Steve and I compared lists, it was reassuring to find that many features of our (non-existent) dream homes were the same: open layout, right-sized, high ceilings, an abundance of natural light. It was also nice to discover that we both dream of a more intimate space that can be closed off (perhaps with a movable partition?) from the main living space when necessary.

When we exchanged lists, there were a few “Ah! Why didn’t I think of that?!” moments. For me, it was his #5 (solid flooring throughout). I definitely want solid flooring in my dream home. For Steve, it was my #10 (prefab construction) if his dream home was a new build.

I found it interesting that I seemed to focus a little more on how my dream house would look (architect-designed, warm wood tones, dark exterior) while Steve was more concerned with how his dream house would function (detached workshop, energy-efficient, low-maintenance landscaping, well-designed storage). But that’s pretty indicative of how we approach projects in real life. Typically, I’m more focused on the aesthetics while Steve tends to think about how things will be used or how things work. Together, our concerns usually lead to outcomes that address both form and function.

Finally, it was fun to see what images Steve chose. His aesthetic is sleeker, more industrial and more modern than my decidedly warmer vibe. But we both agreed we wouldn’t be upset living in any of the spaces shown on either list.

Have you and your significant other ever exchanged dream home lists? If you like houses (and I’m assuming you do since you read this blog), I’d encourage you to try this exercise. Not only is it fun to see the hits and misses between the two lists, but I think the lists are actually a good jumping off point for buying or renovating a home. Identify the features you both dream of and make them a priority. Then compromise on the other stuff.

If you do happen to make some lists, feel free to share them in the comments section!

images: 1) Bethany Nauert for Apartment Therapy 2) Laure Joliet for Remodelista 3, 6 & 7) Lincoln Barbour for Remodelista 4) House Design 5) Method Homes 8) Morten Holtum for Bolig magazine 9) David Butler for Apartment Therapy 10) Cultivation Design

Have you heard of Indiegogo? I was recently introduced to the global crowd-funding platform which is democratizing the way people raise funds for projects. If you’re an entrepreneur or a do-gooder, you can present your idea, product or cause to the public for funding. Or, if you’re a potential supporter, you can browse all kinds of campaigns and make monetary contributions to the products and ideas you’d like to see through to fruition. Basically, it’s a simple way to make ideas happen. Sounds pretty cool, right?

One particular campaign driven by Indiegogo caught my attention. Meet JIBO, the world’s first family robot. JIBO can take pictures, vocalize electronic messages, read bedtime stories, welcome you home, order takeout and so much more. Essentially, the robot acts as your family’s personal assistant. It’s been dubbed the “robot with a little humanity.” If it sounds like a product worth backing, you can contribute as little as $10 or go all out and pre-order your own JIBO!

After watching the JIBO campaign video, I couldn’t help but think of The Jetsons‘ Rosie, The Transformers‘ Bumblebee, Small Wonder‘s V.I.C.I., Her‘s Samantha and Apple’s Siri. Obviously, we humans have been thinking about the concept of a family / home / humanistic robot for a while. What should it be able to do? To what extent should it interact with us? Should it be personified as “he” or “she” or not at all?

I showed JIBO to Steve and, of course, (as an engineer) he finds the idea of a family robot fascinating. He says the human-robot relationship is inevitable. I have mixed feelings. I do find humanistic robots interesting (this TED talk on the subject is intriguing) but, honestly, I’m a little weirded out by the idea of them, too. I mean, they aren’t real. We’re just starting to see what happens when human-technology relationships replace human-human relationships. But I’ve never been the first to jump at new technological advances either. (I clung to my flip phone up until I was pregnant with Mabrey. Steve forced me to upgrade when only a few wires were holding the two halves of my phone together. I started texting just last year!)

Who knows? Maybe family robots will be commonplace in a few decades. Maybe sooner.

jibo

I will say JIBO is pretty cute…for a robot ;) FYI – That image is a mock-up.

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on family robots. Yay or nay? Won’t it be fun to look back at this post and the commentary twenty years from now? If they still exist, that is.

P.S. – Check out a few more home technology-related campaigns currently running on Indiegogo: the TouchPico turns any surface into a projector and Reemo allows you to control your world with gestures. Steve wants to try them both.

*This post sponsored in part by Indiegogo. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

media: 1) JIBO 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

09.05.14 / Made Me Smile

summer greens

It’s hard to imagine these jade and fern plants as 3″ babies. They once lived in a wall planter near the kitchen sink but it wasn’t long before they outgrew it. I transferred them to a large outdoor planter last summer (Mabrey was itty bitty!), brought them inside for the long winter then put them back outside earlier this summer. I can’t believe they’re still alive. And they aren’t just living – they’re thriving! Some of the biggest jade stems are now over 3″ in diameter. They are erupting out of the planter. I can’t say plants living to overtake their containers has ever been a problem for me. It’s a good problem to have.

More good things…

*You can buy happiness (and it’s cheap).

*A local NPR program name-dropped the company, Human Nature, more than once today while discussing green roofs and softscaping. Out of curiosity, I visited their website and, lo and behold!, they designed many of my family’s favorite local parks.

*I fell down the virtual rabbit hole ogling this kitchen remodel.

josie moran's farmhouse living room

*Doesn’t Josie Moran’s cozy, homey farmhouse just scream FAAAAAAALLLL?!

*DIY. It’s a family tradition.

*As if moving wasn’t stressful enough. (I dare you to keep a straight face.)

*The sweetest pregnancy announcement.

*On the other end of the spectrum, why haven’t you had kids yet?

*I’m flattered to be included in the current issue of Rosieteapot magazine. Have you ever wondered what the mirror image of my bedroom looks like with a cat in it? Well, it made the cover. (And, no, we didn’t get a cat.) I also answer (surprisingly hard) questions like “what is happiness to you?” and “describe your perfect day.” I still can’t get over the fact that Rosie publishes the e-mag all on her own. She is one busy mama!

Have a happy weekend!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Melanie Acevedo