Colorful Kitchens: Lamps

Living with a house being remodeled during the winter seems like a huge headache, especially for a homebody like me. But if I can keep myself focused on the lights at the end of the tunnel it will help. I've had my eyes on these lampshades for a very long time. They are the product of a collaboration between Yellena James and Schoolhouse Electric (click on this link to the left to see all color options) up in Portland. Recently Schoolhouse Electric just engaged in another artist collaboration with another one of my fave Portland artists, Amy Ruppel. In fact international blogger Grace Bonney at Design Sponge just wrote up the event. Damn, we're lucky to be in the PNW where art and function collaboration abound. Truly what a wonderful idea to have artists help create great light fixtures. I'll let you know if either one of these end up in the new kitchen. Tell me in the comments section which lamp shades you like best.
From Design Sponge


Colorful Kitchens: Mosaic Tiles

Evit Tiles

Sunset Magazine, Thomas J. Story
As you know we've got kitchens and color on the brain. Should we go the more traditional route and add our kitchen color via the black splash? OR should we do something a bit more daring and add color in the cabinetry? Here are some pictures that demonstrate both ideas. What do you think? Add your two cents in the comments. I'm leaning one way and Mr. Monkey is leaning the other. David the architect is coming over tomorrow to share tile samples . . .  I'll keep you posted on the outcome.
Sunset Magazine, John Granen

Baltimore Rowhouse Blog, Click link for more pics


Giving thanks for Friends & Art

Well I already have winter vacation on the brain even though we've barely arrived at Thanksgiving. I'm just thinking ahead because this year I'm especially excited to spend some time in Santa Barbara (more on that later). Every year over the winter holidays Mr. Monkey and I take a vacation with some of our college friends. The groups shifts a bit depending on the year, who can make it, and where the meet-up is. Years past we've found ourselves hiking, soaking, eating, drinking, and generally enjoying each other's company in Sedona (AZ), Yachats(OR), Palm Springs (CA), and Baja (MX). In our little group we have many smart, creative, and overall deliciously delightful people.

One person who we find to be incredibly artistically talented has often  commemorated said vacations with a sampling of her artwork. About three years ago the crew rented a house on Orcas Island in Washington State. It was a very mellow year. I was recovering from thyroid cancer surgery and having my amazing friends around me while we all jointly recovered from the general stresses of life was a priceless gift. To top off the gift of her friendship Tucson-based Monkey Bobcat sent along the painting above. Sadly it took me awhile to find a frame for it. I desperately wanted to get it professionally framed but that wasn't happening and the wonderfully funny painting was sitting in a closet. I had to ultimately admit that professional framing was not in the plans and it was better to simply get it up on the wall. For the time being I found an inexpensive alternative for $20 at a big chain home store. Hip hip hooray! Monkey Bobcat's art is now up and I have a daily reminder of how dear friendship is and essential to our every day and overall quality of life. Just as the painting shows the waterways of the sound to be the "cardiovascular system" of the network of San Juan Islands I like to think of my friends and family as my life support system. I'm glad that this little painting made it's way out of the closet and onto the living room walls. Yay for art and yay for friends who make art!


Kitchen remodeling on the brain

We've got kitchens on the brain. We've finally met with an architect and plans are in the works. By the end of the year 2010 we should have plans which means we can begin construction in January! We've got tons of ideas but we're really leaving it up to David Schmitz, of Engage Architecture and to our limited budget of course. Below I've added some of our inspiration kitchens. The 3 features I love from the pictures are the colorful tile back splashes, the center islands with bar seating, and open floor plans. I think between Mr. Monkey, our architect, and I we will have no shortage of ideas. The challenge will be finding the best function/design/price balance. Most of these pictures can be found at this Sunset Magazine Kitchens link.
Sunset Mag, Richard Leo Johnson

Sunset Mag., Thomas J. sTory


Modern Times in an Old City: Boston & Cambridge

Hyatt Cambridge early morning view from hotel room.
Sitting area at Hyatt Cambridge overlooking the Charles River.
Well I've been a crazy workaholic as of late which has brought me to the east coast twice in the past month or so. The first time back in September I spent most of my time in Charlestown and Cambridge. The best thing about Charlestown was the meal I had at the Navy Yard Bistro and Wine Bar
Dinner at Navy Yard Bistro and Wine Bar.
The meal was delish, taking something classic and adding a fresh twist, local scallops and fresh arugula plus mashed potatoes with a bit of basil mixed in. The meal was really perfect despite the fact I was dining alone. Two times while I was in Charlestown I jumped out of surprise when I heard the sound of the canon from the USS Constitution being shot off at 7pm each night. The second time I was out for a run trying to squeeze some health in between work only to be "shot" at from an antique boat and its crew.
USS Constitution, Charlestown, MA.

Big comfy bed, with iPod alarm clock.

The Hyatt provides toothpaste. A modern take on the old shower cap offering.
After spending 2 nights in Charlestown I moved over to Cambridge and found a great rate that was less than my government allotment at the Hyatt Cambridge. The rest of the pictures here are of my room there. I gotta say I thought Cambridge was a great option for staying in but outside of Boston. The room was really big and super comfortable. The rate was very reasonable and the view from the hotel restaurant and many of the rooms is a lovely one of the Charles River. I really enjoyed being surrounded by notables buildings and architecture and history but going back to my modern dwelling at night. 
Bedside table and lamp with plug-ins built in.
Vanity outside of bathroom, next to closet, made for a nice changing room.


UO Campus goes Modern: Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes

Wolfram Burner's Flickr Stream - Coffee Shop

Wolfram Burner's Flickr Stream

from my phone - can't wait to sit by the fire sipping my coffee this winter
In the July volume of Metropolis Magazine there was an article titled, "The House the Phil Knight Built."  The article is clearly not written by anyone who has actually spent much time in Oregon claiming that the only reason P-town can support it's fancy pricey eateries is because of Nike HQ! It also stated that Eugene is close to the Oregon Vortex and from a Eugene resident I don't know anyone that has actually ever visited the tourist attraction which is over an hour drive away. If this is reporting than I'd like to actually like to seem some facts rather than perceptions. Truly the article is best when it sticks to detailing the logistics of the building itself but even then it misses the mark. So here's my 2 cents. I, as you might expect, love the building. I've only been in the lobby and coffee shop and most recently the bathroom! Don't worry no TMI shots here - just sticking to the design elements. I'll include the bathroom shots in my next post about modern bathrooms. You can check out a John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Students Athletes Flickr stream here showing photos taken by photographer Wolfram Burner. It may have cost $1,100 per square foot but it is a beautiful building right at the entrance of campus and I'm glad that student athletes do have very nice surroundings where they can study and attend their required tutoring. My only wish is that all of our UO educational programs and buildings could be equally as beautiful, cutting edge, and green. Maybe the presence of this building on campus will help highlight the disparity between the darlings of Phil Knight and the academic programs that generally are plagued by architectural problems like thin walls and inadequate lighting. The College of Education has just celebrated a year in their new building and it is also a modern space but unlike the Jaqua Center it was funded by hundreds of people including community members, alumni, and current faculty and staff.


Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon House in Oregon: the Kitchen

Here it is, the kitchen, my favorite room in the Gordon House in Silverton, Oregon. The house was built in 1963 with the purpose of a pre-fab prototype in mind. The house is not huge unlike many other FLW Custom Homes. The kitchen was my favorite because of it's forethought for modern living. Just check out the refrigerator  - it has wood paneling! The fridge was custom made for the kitchen, as was the stove top. Apparently Mrs. Gordon was not huge fan of the stove top, on the tour I learned that there were lots of problems with the stove top. If you look at the picture you can see the stainless steel backspalsh - except that it's not actually a backsplash it's a lid that can close and add more counter space when not using the stove. This is a wonderful idea that hasn't carried over to our generation of kitchens. The best part of the kitchen though is the sky light and the tall ceilings. While it's very nice aesthetically, especially considering there are no windows in the kitchen but the tall ceiling also served to aide in air circulation and one of the walls housed the chimney for the incinerator (hidden in the cinder block wall next to the built in oven). The kitchen in not huge and it is not connected to the main living space (through the open door above) but it is right next to the front door of the house and directly in front of the service door that Mr. Gordon used for his business and for coming in and out after working the land around the house. Mr. Gordon's office is also directly off the kitchen. So while most people today would be put off by having a somewhat closed off kitchen the reality of the Gordon House was that it was in the center of the action. The Gordon House is a lovely house in a nice setting (it's be relocated from it's original location) and I would encourage folks to go visit it. I'm already planning for the future when I can rent the place out for a special occasion. 


Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon House in Oregon

On a gloomy muggy day here I'm trying to ignore the piles of paper pounding on my mental door I'm traveling back in time to a more carefree month - August! It wasn't that long ago when Mr. Monkey and I with other modern monkey friends headed to the only Frank Lloyd Wright house open to the public in the PNW (pacific northwest). The event is a "Taste of FLW" which kinda grosses me out because I think of some cadaver tasting but I get it - local food and wine brought to you on the grounds of the FLW Gordon House. Around here we do often hear "Taste of Eugene" or "Taste of Portland" both are great fund-raisers and culinary carousels for the mouth. But I just think it's weird to have the name of a man after the words "taste of". Despite the zombie title the event was not stiff. It was a fund raiser for the up keep of the house and the food was great. Above you can see the view from the front of the house, that's the front door and the inside of the house, that's the view from the bathroom. Below are some pics of the bathroom. I love the built in wooden track for the shower curtain. At first I didn't even notice the shower head. All the molding on the windows is supposed to refer to a guitar neck and frets.  Next up the kitchen . . . 


Andaz San Diego: King Suite, Party Suite

Our tour of the Andaz San Diego continues with a few pics of our modernly furnished King Suite. After I caught eye of the bar I was wishing we had a bunch of friends in town to have over in our little living room furnished with a brown leather Barcelona couch.

The work space below was one of my faves from any hotel. The chair was beautiful and comfortable. The room itself had no real view so I guess having two large flat screen TVs was nice. There was one above the desk and the other on the other side opposite the bed. The curtains are drawn in part because the view was not a view simply an opening to other rooms and a peak of the roof top lounge.
When I saw the bar below I was wondering who we could call to come and enjoy it with us. Never before have I had such a complete bar in a hotel room - there even was a pair of slippers and an eye mask just in case you needed a relaxing refresher. The best touch was the drink shaker and jar of olives. It was a true southern California touch to have the non-alcoholic beverages complimentary except for the Red Bull.
Finally the bathroom, the sink was separate from the toilet and shower room. Which I always think is a nice touch when you have more than one person staying in a room. All in all we had a great stay and it was fun to live this modern glam SoCal life for 24 hours.


Andaz San Diego, Hyatt: Fun in the Sun

Andaz San Diego rooftop bar.

Andaz San Diego rooftop lounge.
private-ish poolside lounge area.
rooftop lounge with living wall partition.
I traveled to San Diego for work recently and Mr. Monkey flew in for the weekend to visit family. Along the way I learned that I was eligible for a Hyatt perk and so looked to San Diego to cash them in. I had to look no further once I discovered Andaz, San Diego. Once we got there we were upgraded. I'll place those pics in a separate post. The funny thing about this rooftop bar.lounge.pool area is that once a month it turns into the Skin Zone. I mean they didn't call it that but I did. Mr. Monkey and I sat back, me in my 10 dollar bikini top and 15 dollar skirt and Mr. Monkey in his shorts that were totally in style in 1991 (from a lost and found pile) and we had a couple drinks and soaked it all in - the sun, the skin, the bathing suits that were being worn that were never meant to get wet except for a touch of sweat here and there. It was the appeal of the rooftop pool that convinced me to stay here. Ah imagine the piece and quiet - did I mention the DJ? I think I forgot that. It was so loud it almost bumped the memory from my mind. There was a DJ and it was 4pm in the afternoon on Sunday and the place was bumpin' and grindin' with fake boobs, tans, hair, maybe even muscles - all glittering in the summer Sunday afternoon sun. Ahh, seeing late 20 somethings prance in string bikinis and 5 inch stilettos in front of the 40 somethings trying to look like 20 somethings made me glad for the cultural (using that term liberally here) experience and glad to come home to Oregon where our DJs play from boom boxes next to a sweet shady swimming holes or in the backyard while everyone wanders through the vegetable garden. Needless to say the pictures here were taken the morning after when the party had shut down. We wandered over to the Mission for breakfast where I saw some dude with Coolio hair and I said to Mr. Monkey in my southern california girl talk, "Dude who does that guy think he is, only Coolio can F*ckin get away with that hair. Sh*t man, that brother has some serious balls." Only to hear the table next to us say, "Oh my good is that Coolio, dude it's Coolio, let's go get our picture taken!" Just another morning in paradise!

Heywood Wakefield Lounge & Ottoman: The newest/oldest monkey

Friends, I'm just sneaking a few posts in under the August wire. It's been a busy summer life. Trying to fit in as much fun and work as possible. I think I'm doing well but I'm a bit tired. Oh well, that's what winter is for. So here's a recent Craiglist find from Salem, Oregon. I like to call it the newest oldest addition to the MCM monkey house. She's a beauty. Here's a few pictures of me bringing her over the threshold of our front door. The Crestview door and ottoman were winking at each other I swear. Seriously though she's comfortable and now where I sit daily typing away on this here lap top. Let's see what else can I tell you about her . . . I think she's late 50's early 60's, black vinyl, the head rest is often missing when you come across these or there is no ottoman. Here's a link to one I found as a price comparison - I paid less via Craiglist. At first the chair was priced at $875 and well I know I just couldn't pay that. So I sent a complimentary email to the post author saying how much I adored teh chair and would provide it with a good home if he was not able to find a proper home for his asking price. I offered him a price that was still a bit outside my price range but that I knew I was willing to pay ($500). the proud papa said thank you for your offer. I'll keep your number on hold and get back to you if no better offer materializes. Well lucky for me he lives in Salem and I'm in Eugene and well this type of furniture is not always flying off the shelf. After a month or so he sent me an email, yee haw! On my way to run errands in Portland I stopped with Miss Single Monkey USA and well there was no turning back. We've already received so many compliments on her and she's so comfy I couldn't be happier with my Craiglist treasure. See it's not all porn and massages on there! Seriously though this chair offered me the sophistication of an Eames Lounge chair but allows me to be unique amongst the MCM crowd - not everyone has to have an Eames Lounge chair. It's nice to mix it up. Another perk of this chair is that I'm buying the original and not a reproduction. Ahh here's to finding functional furniture that adds to our aesthetic surroundings. It allows me to enjoy even more my time somewhere in between fun and work.