Photos of Good Architecture

I¬†enjoyed spending snapping photos of cool houses and buildings here in North County San Diego over the past couple of weeks on our Christmas vacation. The first photos in the gallery below are snapped from a book I got from the Encinitas library. (The book is called the Not So Big Remodel, an edition of Sarah Susanka ubiquitous Not So Big series about home design.) The rest of the photos are from residential and commercial buildings I’ve seen around town. What does these buildings have in common? They all make me happy.

This last photo is epic. I went shopping on December 22. I scored the most awesome parking space. Ever. There are 1000s of cars in this parking lot, and this parking space was closer to Crate and Barrel than the handicap space. I didn’t even know those spaces existed! I was so thankful that I took a photo to commemorate the event.

Neutral Colors Light Me Up

I hang my ironed clothes along the top of the wainscoting that wraps my living room and kitchen. When I am finished and all of my clothes are all pressed, I gather them together and head upstairs to hang them in my closet. These pants? All subtle variations of khaki. Notice, too, that they’re hung against white paneling that stretches beneath a taupe wall covered with white and black framed photos. The rest of my house looks pretty much the same.

And if you want to look beyond this very photo, you’ll notice my website looks pretty much the same way. Yes, I designed my home and my website with the same palette.

Both of my cars are black.

The reason why I record this here is that it’s ridiculous that I’m so enamored by neutral colors. For my entire life I’ve been fixed on anything bright and obnoxious. I was once famous for having a 40-piece Hawaiian shirt collection. I even wrote a blog years ago about my infatuation with the color purple.

Norah’s Two Step Stools

Norah is most happy when she is clean, which is why she asked either me or Candyce to lift her up to the kitchen and bathroom sinks several times throughout the day. It’s been this way since she was about 15 months. Although this is a cute ritual for a parent, you get kinda tired of leaning over the sink while a heavy child lathers up and slaps around water. So when Candyce told me that she was going to buy a $30 stool to give Norah independence, I knew I had to make something instead. How could we justify a $30 purchase for something that I could easily build for about ten dollars? Take a look at the end result below. Look for notes beneath.

I asked Norah to stand on the stool to give a sense of scale. The X you see there is made of scrap redwood from a different project. Although it looks cool, the braces are to keep the stool sturdy. It’s inevitable that this stool is used by more than my 30 pound daughter.

The stool in the back was the first one I built. Unfortunately, the cool X is hidden from view when it’s pressed against the kitchen cabinet. So on the 2nd stool I sliced the X at the center and used each section to brace a different stair step.

Here’s my original sketch. On the lower left is my plan for cutting each part from a single pine shelving board from Lowes. I like the idea of adding in the handle, but I ran out of time on the project. I can always cut those out later.

The most satisfying part of this project is seeing how much Norah enjoys them. She gets such satisfaction every time she bounds up and down the steps.