Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Stahl House

Last year, at this time, instead of shoveling snow and fussing over shelters for the neighborhood cats, J and I were in sunny (albeit surprisingly chilly) Los Angeles. We spent 10 days there. J had never been, and I had only been on business, so it was a new city for both of us and we found all sorts of fun things to do.

One of our favorite excursions was to the famed Stahl House. You know it, even if you don't recognize the name. It has been photographed and filmed hundreds of times, it is the quintessential image of Los Angeles living.

See? I knew you would recognize it. Buck and Carlotta Stahl purchased the property, a piece of land balanced precariously on the side of a steep hill, in 1954. For years the Stahls worked with the land on the weekends, shoring it up so it would be stable for a foundation. Buck, a graphic designer, sketched out his vision for the house and spent years trying to find an architect who was willing to take on the challenges of building it. Pierre Koenig, then a young architect took on the project and submitted as a Case Study House for Art & Architecture Magazine. By 1959, Case Study House 22 was move-in ready. In 1960, Julius Schulman photographed the house and the above image became an iconic symbol of mid-century Los Angeles.

One thing J and I love to do is go on a house tour. We enjoy looking at different architectural periods and styles. Our combined favorite is mid-century style, and I wondered what kind of house tours we might run across in LA. I was so excited to find that the Stahl house offers tours. I booked the Wednesday evening tour, which starts around 4:00.

You drive up an incredibly steep hill packed with houses and come to a somewhat unexciting garage. By the way, they have strict parking rules because the house is in a residential neighborhood. Be nice to the neighbors please! After the group is checked in, you go through the gate and Bam! All of Los Angeles is laid at your feet. The tour is very relaxed, our guide was extremely personable and knowledgable, and although he told great stories about the history of the home and the Stahl family's life there, you had the freedom to wander around at your own pace.

I was so glad that I booked the Wednesday evening tour because you got to watch the sun go down over LA. Gorgeous! If I remember correctly, we were there almost three hours. Mainly looking at the views and chatting with the group while lounging around pretending that we owned the place (at least I did).

This house is not only a Los Angeles landmark, but also a design landmark. If you are at all interested in architecture or mid-century design, then I can't recommend this tour enough. Also, once you have finished with the tour, you might roll on down the hill and into the Chateau Marmont for a drink. It's a great way to cap off the event.

*If you love modern architecture then I think you will really enjoy the film Visual Acoustics, about photographer Julius Schulman. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Triumph in the form of a Turquoise door

Triumph is, perhaps, too strong a word, but never in my dreams did I imagine that given the choice, J would choose turquoise paint for the front door. He has an aversion to any turquoise or teal or aqua. Which of course, I love, resulting in the butting of heads from time to time. However, I presented him with 5 paint chips and this is the one he chose. (A few days later we were looking at a whole page of paint chips and he specifically said that he didn't like this color, which I pointed out to him that he had just chosen for the front door. Then he backpedaled. I think he just doesn't want to admit to liking it.)

I love it. So much so that I ran into the retaining wall that frames one side of our driveway because I was too busy admiring our front door (neither retaining wall nor vehicle were hurt). On the right side of the porch we have an old metal glider that is currently a gross dark green. I have enough of this paint leftover that I think I'll give that a lick this spring. Also, we have light pink and yellow tulips planted along the front walk which will look so pretty with the new door!

As for J not liking aqua, this poster showed up on our doorstep to add to our Pearl Jam Ames Bros. poster collection. That background looks awfully aqua to me...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

L'Invitation au Voyage - Venice

Spectacular, wouldn't you agree?

Go ahead, watch it again...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Front Door Contest

So, once again we are having Will Johnson perform a concert in our living room. He will be here on the 20th and I always like to use that as an excuse to execute a long awaited project on the house. This time I'm thinking I should paint the front door. It's something we've talked about forever, but it just hasn't gotten done. But what color?? We have a bright green mailbox, so I've narrowed down colors that will coordinate with that. But I still can't decide. What do you think?

Here is our front door. In the spring obviously. It's too cold and dark out now to take a better one. But, you can see how dark the front door is. Gloomy. Here are our options. 

Classic cream. It's bright and matches the rest of the trim. 

Match the mailbox and go green. This is what we are leaning towards. 

Maybe it's because we are surrounded by a riot of fall leaves, but how about orange?

And, my favorite, a blue/teal. J's least favorite color in the world. Probably not going to happen, but I wanted to throw it in there anyway.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Catch Up

So, it's been a while. Since May? Whoops, time does really fly. The time has come, however, for my self-induced blog vacation to cease, so as a quick catch up, here is what's been going on...
I went to Quilt Market in Portland with Indygo Junction, the pattern company where I now work.
I dabbled in gardening
Went to Nashville
Waited out a 2 hour rain delay to see Pearl Jam
Played on E's farm
Successfully talked my parents and sister into taking two kittens each!
Had a birthday and ate lots of cake. Which then led to the adoption of the Paleo diet and an agonizing sugar detox
And found myself at Quilt Market in Houston.

Thing should be a little more exciting around here now, so stick around. There has been talk of a blog re-design and all sorts of goings on! That all depends on J though and how quickly I can talk him into doing things, so we'll see.

What have you been up to this summer?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

House for Sale!

Well, you all know that E is making the big move to the country this year. Now her midtown-KC house is for sale, and we are having an open house this Sunday from 1-3! The house is an adorable bungalow from 1905, and E and her husband have done a ton of work on it, including a brand new custom kitchen. See more about the house on the Reece and Nichols website, and if you are in the market, stop by and see us this Sunday, June 2nd.

Also, if you know anyone interested in buying, feel free to send them the info!
This adorable purple house is located at 3326 Bell Street, KC MO

The master bedroom has a lot of light and a huge closet!
The custom kitchen is gorgeous, with high-end appliances and finishing. E is sad to leave it!

The kitchen is also a nice big space that looks into the dining room, great for entertaining!

The living room and dining room share a curved passthrough with beautiful woodwork 
The house also has a really nice patio in the back and a huge garage that would be perfect for a studio or workshop. If you need any more information, please feel free to email!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Backstage at the Kansas City Ballet

A few weeks ago I got to take a tour of the new Kansas City Ballet facility, which, by the by, is gorgeous. We wandered all through the building, saw rehearsals, and met the Costume Manager. Then we got to go into the closet.

 Oh friends, I had to hold myself back. It turns out (to my crushing disappointment) that they don't let random people try on costumes. Even if they really, really want to. If you ever have a group that needs an outing, I highly recommend going to the ballet tour, they were really lovely to us, and took a lot of time making sure we enjoyed our tour.

You do know that I ran right home and put on my old pointe shoes, don't you? Tried a few moves, and immediately ripped them back off...those things hurt!!! I'll stick to tap shoes, thank you very much. (Oh, wait until you see my recital costume!)