Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Allowing for the full expression of your creativity without undermining your peace of mind (overextending yourself financially)......again and again.  To us, much of the allure of St. Vinnies and Goodwill is the flexiblily it allows you.  Our home is in constant flux.  As anyone that visits would attest the only constants are quality and change. As these pictures show, we completed a full transition from a heavily patterned antique style to mid-century modern affordably and in a very short time.

We were very content with our earlier style, then we brought home our $24.50 Hans Wegner dining table and that changed everything.  We fell in love with mid-centruy design, not just the clean lines and quality materials but also the personalities behind the pieces.  All of a sudden we could put a face to the furniture and follow the creative process of one of modern times most dynamic movements.
                                                       This is the table that started it all....19th century Italian ornate meets 1950 Danish.
The Hans Wegner is now our desk and a stainless and glass  Brueton table has replaced it in the dining room.  As we said constant flux!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This is the first post of Build it Once Design.  That isn't an actual business but it is a style of building that we are becoming more and more fond of.  Northwest style is generally lots of wood, preferably cedar, which of course means lots of maintenance.  We now know ourselves well enough to know that we are pretty good creators but not stellar maintainers.  So instead of wood, we now build every arbor, fence or wall out of steel and or concrete.  We may use wood as an accent, but no longer use it structurally.

The wall is inspired by artist Richard Serra, we love his work, and by our strong desire to create and move on and leave it, literally, forever.  No rotten fenceposts, no yearly staining etc. We are developing a creative love affair with rust.   It has always been, and always will be with us so we might as well utilize it.

The upper arbor is made from steel salvaged from our local scrapyard. The posts have salvaged rebar interiors with cinder block exteriors and are then filled with concrete. The patio blocks are poured concrete.

When we were building gardens, professionally, many jobs consisted of replacing wisteria arbors.  Left unattended wisteria can literally (we saw this) take down a house and at the very least, they dismantle the structure built to support them.   With steel and concrete that should never be an issue.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

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This chair epitomizes our philosophy, in fact an alternative title could be "A Hans Wegner for Every Man" because many feel that Hans Wegner is unobtainable.  We never believed that!  We have his 10' drop leaf dining table, (another post)  two side chairs and our Papa Bear chair to prove it.   This is the before picture of our Papa Bear chair.  It had been recovered in what we call "Eddie Bauer plaid", which is fine, but not for this chair.   We paid $34.50 for it at St. Vincent de Paul.  For anyone that doesn't know....Hans Wegner is the most sought after mid-century designer of Danish Furniture.  This chair is vintage 1952.  Why not sell it?  Because we LOVE it!
My wife and I love chairs, all furniture really, but we have a special thing for chairs.  We are driven and moved by art, gardens and architecture.  Seeking and creating beauty is what makes us tick.  All of that makes up our nature, but we have had very little money to fuel these obsessions. Somewhere we got the idea that we could enjoy and own the material essence of beauty without having to pay for it, at least not very much.  On the end of a shoestring there could be beauty and abundance.  Our vision of decor was never limited by our income.  Though our careers have been multiple and varied, often in flux, our focus on beauty and that quality without a name (C. Alexander) has been unwavering and laser sharp.

What we seem to have is an endless desire for beauty and balance.  What we have lacked is the means to pay a high price for it.  Our dilemma  has been how to bridge high standards with limited means.  How do you allow the full expression of your creativity without undermining your peace of mind?

We managed to bridge this unbridgeable gap through goodwill and the blessings of St Vinny or rather the Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul.  I will write in length, later, about the great works of these organizations, but for now, suffice it to say, that they have made a world of difference in our lives as well as the lives of many of our friends and family.

What we know for sure is we will always find beauty.  It is ours to have and quality is ours to enjoy.  It is all around us.  You just have to know what you are looking for.  Throughout this blog we will try to help you to recognize it and help you to live, "he who seeks finds."