A Stair Story

Scotland 2011 023 (4)For all of our ingenuity, we haven’t yet figured out a more efficient method (in terms of cost, energy, and space) of changing vertical levels than by walking up and down stairs. This true whether you’re inside or out. The stairs above above are under the Forth Bridge in a forest bordering the Firth of Forth just outside Edinburgh, Scotland. Those below are from Kings Valley, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey. Continue reading “A Stair Story”

Window Trappings- part 1

2014-03-10 02.58.22Some windows are dramatic enough all on their own. These at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, for instance, don’t need any accoutrements to increase their impact. In most homes, however, windows typically require enhancement. In the SoMoToHo, as in most residential applications, window treatments of some kind were not only desirable from a design standpoint but also necessary for privacy concerns. As importantly, we needed something to block the sun. Particularly in Texas, you can get too much of a good thing in a hurry when it comes to sunshine. Continue reading “Window Trappings- part 1”

It's the Little Things

Versailles fence post

Transforming a house involves lots of big things – changes that immediately shift one’s perception of the entire space. Exterior paint. Windows. Those kinds of things. But it’s the smaller things that add the flavor. Some, you might not even notice unless they were pointed out. The cap of moss and lichen stains on the concrete fence post (Versailles – 2009) above, for instance. Or more mundane things like this window sill: Continue reading “It's the Little Things”

SoMoToHo Windows

Back after a trip to Mexico to see one of our sons married. Maybe we’ll do a travel blog, too, one day. That would be a kick. But for now – windows.

Ireland 2011 091 (22)

Windows aren’t just holes in the wall. Even the one in the pic above (taken during a trip to Ireland), which actually is a hole in the wall, has a definite design element. And windows in your house make a huge statement, both inside and out. Here is what we started with in the SoMoToHo:

2015-01-07 3I need to confess a prejudice right here – I don’t like divided lights – you know, crisscrossing a window pane with pieces of wood or metal to form small sections. Historically, it made sense. It was a practical concession to the difficulties and expense of manufacturing large panes of glass. Today, however, there just isn’t any reason to do it and, in my opinion, plenty of reasons not to.  Continue reading “SoMoToHo Windows”

SoMoToHo Library Transformation Part 2

2015-01-24 23.09.03There’s that bit of wallpaper wrapping the light switch plate that we briefly considered leaving as a reminder of just how ghastly this room was when we started. That kind of kitsch can work sometimes. Not this time. We decided to go decidedly decorative with Legrand adorne. The wiring in the SoMoToHo is bizarre, as I’ve found is often the case in our transformations, particularly where dimmers are involved. (A pet peeve of mine – designers are mad about rheostats. I hate them.) As  you can see by the round dimmer switch in the picture above, that was the case here. So, it took a lot of this: Continue reading “SoMoToHo Library Transformation Part 2”

SoMoToHo Library Transformation in Progress

Those of you who followed the transformation of the mid-century modern may recall how Debra and I love dedicating some space to books and reading – a library, a spot to relax without electronic distraction (e-books excepted, of course). In the SoMoToHo, we knew immediately which space that would be.

2014-10-19 22.01.00This room is to the right, immediately as you enter the house, sunken about 6″ below the foundation grade (why, I have absolutely no idea). In another configuration, it might have been an office – you know, if they had separated it with nice french doors and built in some bookcases or a credenza. As it is, there is no separation. The original intended purpose of the room was a mystery until Debra was able to find some old listing photos that showed it furnished as a dining room. Continue reading “SoMoToHo Library Transformation in Progress”