Monday, February 28, 2011

Exterior Colors And Design - Phoenix Edition (and some MCM)

BY FAR and I mean by super freaking far, the entry on this blog that gets the most traffic is the one on exterior house colors. Which I can only assume means a lot of you agonize over the decision about what to do on the exterior of your house. And if you've looked at my blog at all by now - I'm not a big fan of beige...or anything very boring. Which brings me to something I kind of love -

MY AWESOME NEIGHBORHOOD and MY AWESOME part of Phoenix , which is generally anything but boring.

So one day I figured I would just pop the camera in my purse and every time I saw someone with a house I especially liked something about the exterior, I would take a photo. And honestly, the ones I took are only a very SMALL fraction of the ones I could have taken - and probably will take, if I continue the project and continue to see the kind of search results that I usually do on my other exterior house color post.

So having said that, here are some really great houses I like in my 'hood. Many are MCM (mid century modern) - I would guestimate the age of most of the houses to have been built somewhere between the 1940s and the 1970s (but early 70s). Which is pretty typical of our neighborhoods in this part of Phoenix.

Enjoy, and let me know, which ones you like the most!

It's a smidge hard to tell in this photo but the green is trimmed with a purple. It's a bold idea, but it really works. It works so well, the neighbor across the street has tried to do the same thing. :)

I just really liked this because it was such a great butter cream yellow (which is NOT easy to find in the right shade) and then they went with this kind of perfect sagey green to go along with it. It's really great. The cute little metal table and chairs on the porch which are quite Mid Century Modern sort of pull it all together perfectly.

Same house - just two different angles of photos, and I really really love that green door!!!! Oh gosh I just really think it looks so great.

What's cool here is they did some sandblasting on the exterior to make it look more updated and modern and then they added the great red garage door and the side gates in red. It really works.

this house used to be hideously ugly. I can't even describe it, it was just awful. But they hired a landscape architect to come in and fix the landscaping to something more southwestern and spare and then they saved it by painting it white with all the brown trim and the great metal and glass garage door. It's like a whole new house!

It may be slightly disingenuous to use my own house but I really do like the red door with the brick and the dark trim on the eves.

These are all from houses in the same little neighborhood where they've sand blasted the exteriors to expose similar gray block walls and then added cool details with metal - or like the detail of this wall made with mesh metal and full of river bed rocks. See even the cute little birdie likes it. :)

I drive by this house about a million times a day and every single time I think "good choice on the orange fireplace dude!" They have a matching mail box.

This guy lives near me and is always remodeling. It's like this really really long on going project, but I really love all the stuff he comes up with to do with his house and it's always fun to walk past and see what he's up to lately.

This is a girl (well and a guy) I know who recently bought this house. So they are still in the middle of re-doing a lot of stuff. But I love that one of the first things she did is paint that front door bold yellow. ADORE!

Who REALLY has little picket fences in their front yards? Well these guys do. I actually know this couple too, and they have done a lot to make this little house darling. It has amazing curb appeal.

I so much love the neighborhood where all these houses are - the designs are just so uber uber cool.

do you dig that fence or what???

Who's going to put those colors together? Nobody! And if you showed some friend of yours "oh hey, look at these paint chips, here's what I'm think I'm going to do" they would give you ten kind of crap (which is why you shouldn't listen to your friends too much, unless they are amazingly cool and have awesome taste). This turned out SUPA SUPA FAB!

Same house, two views. I just can't get over how much I love this. And I wish some day someone who knew them could get me an invite inside. DIE for...possibly my dream house.

Love the plexiglass panels outside here...

This is a green which some people might not have tried, but I have always really liked it, but what I like even more is how they paired it with that oddish orange trim. Really works for me.

Just an example of how a blue house doesn't have to look ridiculous. They CAN look cute and quaint and charming when all the right elements are in place.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Having No specific design, purpose, method or other words unsystematic thought process'

Self-Abnegation n. the denial of one's own interests in favor of the interest of others.

First of all, I really don't remember ever hearing this word before. I mean, you know, how could I have NOT heard it? I think it's a pretty common word. Second, is it is a bad thing or a good thing? Because I think selfishness is a terrible thing. And I think selfishness leads to all kinds of unhappiness in other people AND in the person being selfish. So Self-Abnegation, which is seemingly, on the face of it, the opposite of selfishness, would seem to be a kind of a positive thing.

Except I'm not so sure anymore.

This is just one of my recent random thoughts. I have many. Feel free to hop in any time and add some of your own. It's that kind of blog entry.

I'm starting to think some of my own personal problems have stemmed from a complete mis-understanding of the application of self-lessness, as opposed to avoiding selfishness, and to an adoption of self-abnegation which has done harm to myself and to probably, possibly, if not many people around me, maybe, just maybe, everyone around me.

So there you are.

Also today I randomly rented a pay per view movie which I had kind of wanted to see, but which I suspected was going to be kind of disappointing. You know how you just get that feeling sometimes like the trailer is going to be a lot better than the actual movie? Well, that was kind of true. Kind of. But in the end, I think, maybe in the last 15 minutes of that movie, it pulled it out for me and turned it into just a diversion (which literally, I was not watching closely enough clearly because I was actually finishing an open book test while I was watching it). But in that last few minutes there was just this beautiful sequence of life-affirming goodness that made it all worth while. So if you're thinking of seeing it - I'm not telling you it's fabulous or mind-blowingly good or anything like that - but the last 15 minutes made it pretty darn great for me. And made me feel like - Life really is kind of beautiful you know? Some days, my life is just filled with so much that is ....well, not really beautiful exactly. And I love it when something reminds me that DAMN IT! It is beautiful. Just look around a little more.

Also, lately I've been in the mood to take photos again. And I can't tell you what a relief that has been to my soul. And I don't have time to upload them right now. But I will. Like very soon. And maybe they won't seem all that cool. But I don't care. Because it's the act of wanting to DO IT, that matters.

I read the most interesting except from an article in Vanity Fair yesterday (yes it was the Justin Bieber issue, but guess what kiddo's? I didn't even read that article. And probably won't) the interesting article was about JD Salinger and WWII and how it affected him and how it affected Holden Caulfield who really, was a part of Salinger in many many ways. There were just some beautiful parts of that article. And I'm looking very much forward to the book itself, which is a biography of Salinger coming out in the fall I believe. But let me quote this bit that really really had me. (first let me explain a bit that Salinger wrote Catcher all during WWII, and he wrote it mostly as a serious of short stories, which after the war he had to try to piece together into one entire novel, and so Holden shows up in other short stories Salinger wrote, but which never quite made it into in this particular story, Holden's older brother Vincent is in charge of a group of soldiers on furlough, and he's required to make some hard choices about who is actually going to be allowed to go to the dance hall and who isn't, because there are not enough girls to go around for all the guys who were allowed off base to visit the dance hall, and as he's going through this moral dilemma, about who do you exclude, he's also wrestling with the fact that Holden has been listed as missing in action and he can't get it off his mind and so the following ensues in the short story): "One soldier dismounts and slips away. Vincent was and finally sees another soldier emerge. as the figure comes into the light, the image of a young boy is revealed. All eyes are fixed upon him as he stands in the downpour. "I was on the list", the boy says, almost in tears. Vincent does not respond. In the end it is the lieutenant who orders the boy back into the truck and arranges for an extra girl at the party to match the extra man. The boy's appearance is the climax of the story A figure emerging from the darkness. He is vulnerable and distressed. He is the spirit of Holden. Vincent reaches out and turns up the boy's collar to protect him from the rain. As the story concludes, Vincent pleads to his missing brother: "Just go up to some-body - and tell them you're Here- not Missing, not dead, not anything but Here."

This of course, made me cry.

And then later in the article the author says this:

"For Salinger himself writing Catcher was an act of liberation. The bruising of Salinger's faith by the terrible events of war is reflected in Holden's loss of faith, caused by the death of his brother Allie. The memory of fallen friends haunted Salinger for years, just as Holden was haunted by the ghost of his brother. The struggle of Holden Caulfield echoes the spiritual journey of the author. In both author and character, the tragedy is the same: a shattered innocence. Holden's reaction is shown through his scorn of adult phoniness and compromise. Salinger's reaction was personal despondency, through which his eyes were opened to the darker forces of human nature Both eventually came to terms with the burdens they carried, and their epiphanies were the same. Holden comes to realize he can enter adulthood without becoming false and sacrificing his values; Salinger came to accept that knowledge of evil did not ensure damnation. The experience of war gave a voice to Salinger, and therefore to Holden Caulfield. He is no longer speaking only for himself- he is reaching out to all of us.

Once again, Thank you JD Salinger, for making my life more rich because of your talent

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Red Hot Valentine to You

Valentines it the day I both love and hate all at the same time.

First of all, if you're romantically involved, it might be a day when you get a diamond tennis bracelet and feel incredibly happy even though you know that it's a completely contrived holiday to fuel consumer spending and has next to nothing to do with anything substantive. I mean, who really cares when you're getting some fabulous jewelry right?

On the other had, if you're not getting a diamond tennis bracelet today, you might feel like it's your duty to inform everyone today that it's a meaningless holiday meant only to fuel consumer spending. And make everyone sort of hate you in the process.

It's a holiday fraught with potential doom and gloom as far as I'm concerned.

Have said that, I made sugar cookies with my kids today, and that was fun.

So while I'm of mixed emotions regarding the 'holiday' - I do think I would like to express my love to my dear readers, whoever you are, and wherever you may come from, with a red hot valentine of great red hot design.

So here goes:

This might be my very very fave. I have a small space in my house where I think I an get away with doing something like this and it sooooo inspires me.

This is so spare. I love it thought. Just beautiful and simple design.

I probably could have easily paired this with white images. BUT I have to say I super mucho mucho dig that table. I had a table to similar for a long time, and I totally regret that I gave it up.
Red bedrooms just sometimes look really over the top. But this one strikes a great balance with all the black and white and bedding that doesn't take itself tooooo seriously.

again, a lot of white here. But don't you love that chi chi little chair in their with the bust? That paired with the retro tile and the tent striping shower curtain makes this an incredibly happy bath room.
Yeah, it's a kids room. And maybe I should have saved it for a kids blog entry...BUT, don't you just adore it? I tend to think those crazy huge white polka dots against the red background could work just as well in a lot of other rooms - especially a grown up bedroom.

I currently have a room in my house which needs a door. And a closet which needs a door too. And as soon as I saw this I thought: Hey! Maybe this is a viable and inexpensive alternative until I can afford the doors I really want! So I really like the solution to a design problem a lot of people face. I mean, if I have two of these dilemma's myself, other people must have this problem too!

Happy Happy.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


Sometimes when I'm looking through notebooks or writing journals I find little elegiac verses that I composed when nothing else quite expressed my mood.

Sometimes nothing else will do.

Coca Cola

Cinnamon is the secret flavor
of Coca Cola
once you figure that out
it's appeal makes a lot more sense
as you get older
things you thought you'd come to regret
you don't
like that one time
at that one place
and you couldn't know then
all the defining moments
are different
than we think
and you realize
14 year olds
really do fall in love
and maybe adults
never really do
because love takes a certain innocence
that adults lack
the time before you knew
or had awareness
of too many things
no more days
of eating orange creamsicles
and driving around
in that boy's car
with no where to go
and no one
you have to be
just full of questions
because they hold promise
questions hold possible
the wind in your hair
is just fine
sipping on that coca cola
you know it's good
straight from the bottle
sweating cause it's so cold
and you don't know why
you don't know about the cinnamon
you just know
it's delicious

if i exist

the way i see it
a sort of someone
sent from no where
and nothing
just air
it's all just make-believe
almost real i guess
in another time zone
it means nothing
or everything
all at the same time
no where
no one
but a reminder
i suppose
that i still exist somewhere
if i do


the poverty
of your soul
makes me sad
because when my soul
knew yours
it was rich
and powerful
beyond measure

how do we deplete the treasure?
of a soul like that?
how did you?
was it easy?
or was it hard?
did you give it away?
or was it stolen?

i was going to lend you enough
shiny gold coins
i was going to give you enough
shiny gold coins
to start over


it seems as though
you are now a bum
who likes to look for change
in the gutter

and i can't get you to look up
long enough
to see what i'm offering you

all these brilliant coins
right here
in the palm of my hand

and i watch
while you fish
through the fecund puddle
picking up dirty pennies

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stuff I Kinda Love...

So of course, because of valentines, everyone is talking about love lately.

So I was thinking...besides my really awesome children, what do I really love?

There are some feel-good things I love, like doing things with friends, or helping out people in ways that are really gratifying, or learning something new and surprising. I love beauty and good design and stunning imagery. I love an awesome sunset. I mean, these are all the really good things in life. But what about stuff that's maybe stuff you love but you don't think about it that much...

There are a few things that come to mind. Some are almost embarassing, but still, they are just a part of who I am, and things that I love all the same.

1. Independent Films

These have been my life saver this year I swear. In a year that has been super stressful, where I have sometimes just wished I could close my eyes and disappear on command, good films have almost given me the means to do that. You go into this completely dark room (and often, this is something I like to do by myself so that it if I happen to be with someone who doesn't love the film, it doesn't spoil it for me) and you just lose yourself in this other world.

2. The Real Housewives, especially the Beverly Hills Variety...

Okay I know, I'm an easy target on this one. What redeeming quality does this show have? I'm hard pressed to tell you. All I can say is that it's endlessly fascinating to me. It's purely purely entertainment, but I find myself using some of my psychiatric skills while I'm being amused. Really Bravo tv has been another life saver this year. Almost any given night of the week around about 11 pm (after the kids are in bed and I have the house to myself), you can find me on the couch watching my friends the housewives, or Jeff Lewis, or Top Chef, or Tabatha's Salon Takeover, or some other bravo show of the moment. The one thing I've learned with no guy around the house to share the tv control with is that I haven't seen a single episode of Mythbusters or the Worlds Deadliest Catch or Ice Road Truckers or Survivorman all year. The other thing I've learned is that when the tv is on and I am in the room, it's pretty much a steady diet of Bravo or HGTV.

3. Pinterest

What is pinterest? My new internet love. This week my son wrote an email home and this is what he said about missing his laptop computer: I miss like owning my own world in my computer. Its like when you are a kid and you wish you had like a secret box that could hold infinite amount of stuff, like your giant jawbreaker you got from the fair, and your 3 dollars you found on the floor but didn't tell your mom, and your flashlight that you use to read at night past bedtime. A computer fulfills that never ending box childhood dream I had. I can put like endless amount of stuff into it and play with it and then put it back and save it for later. I loved that. And that's exactly what I think of pinterest as. A special little box with all your cool stuff in it, you can take it out and look at it whenever you want. If you don't know what pinterest is, check out my pinterest page here: (and if you want an invite to pinterest let me know, I have a few left).

4. There are a host of other random things I love too - interesting color combinations, feta cheese, my dogs, bubble baths, the cool and unusual, and a good book. Oh yeah...and of course, John Cusack.

Do you have stuff you kinda love that saves your sanity?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Are you On Trend with your colors? Gris, Honeysuckle & Amerinthe

I'm almost finished with the bedroom remodel project I started, hopefully photos and a blog post about that will be forthcoming within a week or so (I just have a few finishing touches I want to work on before I'll feel it's finished). I never actually thought I would paint a room gray, but I do like it.

I don't actually worry about trends when I'm planning a room re-do or a new color. But having said that, it's hard not to let what's currently popular sink into our collective unconscious. I may think I suddenly decided gray worked in that bedroom, but the truth is I was probably highly influenced by the gray trend of the last year or so.

There are 3 major trends I see in color right now:

One is Gray (especially paired with yellow, but really, with any color as an accent).

The second is a bit of a difficult color to pin down - Pantone's color of the year is something called Honeysuckle. If that doesn't immediately call to mind a color, then you're not alone. I really had no idea what they were talking about when they said that. It's a pink. But not a true 'pink'. It's a color I've heard people refer to as 1. Salmon, 2. Coral, 3. fruit punch 4. guava, and the super vague number 5. reddish-orangeish-pink. So now that that's totally clear here are a few examples.

The third are purples, of all different shades. That trend kind of started last year, but I'm still seeing it more and more

If you were going to change a room color this year, what do you think you'd be changing? Are you interested in trendy colors, or do you have your favorites that you stick to all the time?


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