Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I'm a stalker. Twilight is the best time, to walk about West Adams, and peer into windows (from a respectful distance, natch)--shades yet undrawn. The daytime sky is dimming, the contrast range narrowing, and interior lights are coming on.

I'm an architectural voyeur. Is the woodwork painted? Does the dining room light fixture look original? Leaded glass? Sconces?

The darker, the murkier, the more tantalizing.

The pearlescent glow of a NuArt shade, beckons.

Studio painting & flea market trip!


Hello and welcome back to Boxwoodcottage on a sunny Wednesday everyone! I'm so glad you came by to see what's new and hope you'll let me know you were here by posting a comment!

Today I like to show you what I found at our trip to the Bremen flea market last Sunday. I wasn't to our flea market for ages because I don't really like to get up this early on a Sunday morning while having to get up early for work all week long, but after all the successful flea market trips of my blogging friends I read about the last few month I decided that this Sunday I'll make it and with the help of my daughter who told me to hurry up the whole morning we actually hit the flea market in Bremen city at exactly 10.00 am lol I know it's late but I really did my very best for a Sunday morning. It was all worth it because I came back with this vintage case full of vintage goodies, what a pleasure! :)

I found lot's of gorgeous old German photos & prints from the 19th century as well as rolls of vintage satin ribbon in pink and vintage mother of pearl buttons:

But the best part were 8 old cardboard boxes full of vintage Christmas glass baubles in different forms, sizes and colors for just 15 Euros including the vintage case! :D

I felt and still feel like having found a treasure! :D Christmas in April yippieh!

I especially love this old fashion catalogue print, don't you? Click on pictures to enlarge and see more details!

Well like I hinted to you already in my Sunday post below, on Friday we decided that our loft room with my studio is too white and boring so we went and bought some turqouise and pink color (the colors my daughter loves too!) to give it a fresher feeling. Further I've painted this little kitchen table in a shabby white last week to have another little work space in my studio:

It really is just a small new space but I love it's new fresh look & colors:

Our cat Sammy loves to have a nap on the big cushion which I've put on our other big vintage case. So she can be around and close to us while we are doing some creative work, or blogging, surfing the net or whatever.

A few of my favorite tin boxes in the studio:

Can you spot them under my big working table?

I posted pictures of my space behind the wall back in January here for those of you who haven't seen the post yet and are curious what's hidden there!

I hope you enjoyed my blog today and I'll come around to check your's now!
Laters! xox
P.S. I've noticed a lot of quiet french readers recently that I can see on my "recent visitors counter" in the sidebar of my blog and that I'd like to welcome now.
Bienvenue les blogger et lecteur francais!
Je sais lire le francais aussie et j'aimerais bien trouve vos commentaires ici et faire la connaissance de vous et lire votre blogue si vous avez un !
Merci beaucoup et j'espere a bientot! :)
Il ne sont pas des accents sur les mots francais que j'ecris ici parceque "blogger" ne les aime pas!

When the Fun Starts

Monday, April 23, 2007


I've a loan document signing scheduled this week, one of the final steps in a purchase transaction. Typically, a home buyer signs the loan "docs" in the company of an escrow agent or notary.

I attend these signings, though it isn't customary for real estate agents to do so, to support my buyers. It also helps me assess their lender/mortgage broker. Did the lender provide that which was agreed? Were they available by phone during the process?

Generally, the buyer knows the details of their purchase loan better than I; still, sometimes I can help decipher some unusual loan broker-ese, or make sense of the cost breakdowns.

For a few buyers, it's an unpleasant occasion, unable to scrutinize all there is to sign. Some buyers feel as if they're "signing their lives away", cornered by an inhospitable financial superstructure. Other buyers sign without regard, happy to be nearing the deal's close.

After the signing, the documents are returned to the lender, where they're reviewed for one to two days, before "funding" takes place. After the loan funds, the change in ownership or "title" can be recorded, usually the following day.

Most contracts allow the buyer to take occupancy at 5 pm on the date of "the close". That's when they get the keys. That's when the fun starts.

Studio, Quai St. Michel 1916

Sunday, April 22, 2007


This painting by Henri Matisse is in the Phillips Collection. I was especially drawn to its elemental geometry and depth, the view from the lofty studio, of the Seine and the Pont Saint-Michel, and the blue roof of the Louvre.

Another Matisse in The Phillips Collection is more heralded, Interior with an Egyptian Curtain. It's a fine work I guess, but it hasn't herringbone floors.

Blue & Pink Garden

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I took a picture of our blue sky for all of you who still have no spring weather yet:

Blue is one of my fave colors in my garden too, these blue bells and white daisies are growing in my front garden:

The Aquilegia (Colombine) is growing in my mixed border at the moment:

As well as these Forget me not's:

My rosemary is als0 blooming at the moment:

And this Lavender is almost blooming:

Pink daisies (Bellis perennis) in my front garden under the window sill:

Pink is my second fave color in my garden. At the moment I'm in love with my bleeding hearts:

And my pink tulips are in full bloom now:

When they are fading my big pink Allium balls are going to bloom here:

My little lilac bush is making my patio pink along with the pink pansies:

Pink pelargonium and blue lobelias on my blue iron table:

Pink ranunculus:

I also love the pure white ranunculus right now:

We are experiencing the warmest spring ever as far as I can remember with temperatures always over 10 degrees and often up to almost 30 degrees celsius (with just one colder day yesterday, that was shocking only 8 degrees brrrr, but today we were back to 18!) and my roses already have big buds and I can't wait for them to bloom soon! My pink Wisteria is also starting to bloom now and last year it has bloomed a whole month later. The bad side of the warm weather is that it hasn't rained for weeks and the garden is very very dry. I hope for some rain now (at night please)!
I've now sold almost all the items I had in my little etsy shop thanks to you guys :D and I have a lot of new ideas, but with the good weather outside theres not much time for my little studio of which we have just painted a part in a gorgeous turqouise & pink color (pictures to follow soon)! If we are able to get up early enough tomorrow we're planning a trip to the flea market.
Happy Sunday dear blogging friends and readers and a wonderful week ahead and hopefully good spring weather for everyone of you! xox

Crime Part 2


Here's the thing I've learned: You can't convince someone, when convincing is necessary, that a neighborhood is safe. You can cite the crime statistics backward-and-forward, screen closed-circuit surveillance footage, wield signed testimony from the local SLO, it doesn't matter. People either feel comfortable or they don't, and the only thing that can change that is time.

Everyone has different visual triggers: loitering, the volume of parked cars, fences, the condition of painted surfaces, window bars.

Some cultures assume that window bars mark a place as unsafe. While other cultures embrace decorative metal security features as a home improvement item. Similarly, some cultures want to make all exterior space private, thereby making it more usable; whilst others condemn fencing, as isloating and symptomatic of social disjuncture.

Many older neighborhoods in Los Angeles have a large number of parked cars on the street because they haven't driveways, two-car garages, and easy off-street parking. Oftentimes the alley ways are decommissioned, the ipso facto exclusive domain of telephone technicians and kitty cats. This exacerbates street parking.

Metal security features are often pedaled door-to-door, and to older, more fearful residents, sometimes in the wake of a publicized event. Salespeople ask whether the resident feels safe, in a tone that evokes self doubt.

I drove through Larchmont Village recently and I noted plenty of bars, on sidelights in particular, and security doors. Does that make Larchmont Village unsafe? How dare I propose such a thing?!

I like my buyers to visit the site of a potential purchase both day and night, and on weekends. Typically, we walk around the block, and chat with a neighbor or two. Sometimes a real issue is identified, othertimes, an initial issue is ameliorated.

Safety is a serious issue in urban living, but you shouldn't judge a book only by the stain on its dust jacket.

End of the Season

Friday, April 20, 2007


The Los Angeles Clippers' 2006-07 season came to a close Wednesday. Rather than disparage obstinate head coach Mike Dunleavy, or goofus pivot man Chris Kaman, I shall instead recall the beautiful intimacy of the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and one St. Patrick's day.

I am not a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. They're the team for Westsiders, for the establishment, for stuffed shirts. I root for underdogs. I don't listen to the top 40, but I do like R & B oldies.

The Lone Tenement, 1909

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I didn't just go to the Building Museum when I was in D.C.. Nor did I spend all my time hunting for architectural salvage, or thumbing through the AIA guide, on the lookout for bullseye windows or some neo-classical detailing. Mine is not a singular focus. Obsessive, perhaps; but, given to a diversity of interests. I also went to a few art museums, where I took some digital stills....of my favorite cityscapes.

This painting, by George Wesley Bellows, hangs in the National Gallery of Art. My favorite details are the smoke-belching tug (on the East River) and the golden light striking the upper most story of the tenement, otherwise enshadowed by the Queensboro bridge.

When Architecture Turned Bland

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I have a cousin who lives in Lakewood, California. The Lakewood made famous again by D.J. Waldie. These are photos of houses on her block, or was it the next block? The one after?

The early 1950's can be a yawner. Mass homebuilding had come of age, most notably in post-war housing tracts like the paradigmatic Levittown(s), and in "instant city" Lakewood.

Idon't intend to embark on an essay about American post-war optimism and prosperity, expansionism, and pragmatism. I simply find the relentless near self-replication aesthetically reductive.

Some p.o.'d mod-commer'll write me now, with praise for post-and-beam this, and googie that. I ain't riffing about the modern or the moderne, only the vernacular suburban tract home that blots out large parts of the L.A. basin. Yeah I know, some still had wood windows and wood floors, a molding thicker than your thumb. Go tell it to your boomerang laminate or cracked ice vinyl banquettes. I've got some gingerbread I need to dust.

Gang Green

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Last week I visited the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.. Amongst the exhibits, The Green House: new directions in sustainable architecture and design.

It sucked.

Throughout, a lot of talk about conserving the earth's resources. Most all the case study houses were modernist trophy homes, in the San Juan Islands, the desert Southwest, on the Batiquitos Lagoon. Aggrandizing owner/builders touted bamboo flooring, precast insulated panels, and recycled agricultural waste composite board. They'll have plenty of time to feel good about themselves on their hour long commutes, or whilst using our extended grid.

What's really green? For starters, preservation, restoration, repair.

Yeah I know there's the occasional green in-fill, like in Venice, where modest colonials are detonated to make way for phallic towers with transparent thermal walls and fiber optic pendant lights. More often, these righteous green jeans-ers command some dreamy eucalyptus grove, verdant countryside, or wet-lands adjacent hillside. Being "sustainable" is the least they can do.

Still, the National Building Museum is cool. Originally the home of the United States Pension Bureau, its most stunning feature is the 300 foot long, 100 foot wide atrium/Great Hall, which soars to 159 feet at its heighest point. Supposedly built of 15.5 million bricks (in 1887), the "Old Red Barn" was designed by Montgomery Meigs, who had served as a quartermaster general of the Union army during the Civil War. The Great Hall is divided into three courts by two rows of colossal Corithian columns, painted to look like marble. The National Building Museum came to occupy the building beginning in 1985.

Spring Weather?!?

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Thursday's freak winds toppled the gerry-rigged trellis atop my unlikeable cinder block wall. My arch-enemy, the bougainvillea, capitalized with jail-break tenacity, surging across the alley, encumbering passage with a medusa-like sprawl.

My alley-mate, a metalsmith, offered use of his dumpster, and the great cut-back began. I need another project like I need a forced march, but here it is.

Elsewhere, we've reduced the price on 1522 S. Hobart Boulevard (to $749K!!!), targeting a quick sale. I'll hold it open today from 2 - 5:30 pm, and again Tuesday from 11 - 2:30pm. I'm requesting all offers by late day Wednesday.

An aside, I awoke last night to the thunderclap. My first thought: 'Oh no, attendance at my Sunday open will be compromised'. Okay, really my first thought was 'shit!'

1522 S. Hobart is blessed with sunny skies, a Mills Act contract, and therefore, startling low and transferable property taxes.

Could somebody please call me this afternoon with the Clipper score?

It feels like summer here!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


You won't believe it, but we had 25 degrees celsius yesterday (that is 77 fahrenheit) and it is supposed to stay this warm for the next three days as well! Everything is growing so fast now! I took the following pictures last Sunday and will take new ones this Sunday so I can compare what a difference a week makes.

Above is my new little autumn border, but right now I love the spring color blue with the grape hyacinths! And the blue of the pansies, anemones & hyacinths in the next pictures:

The only soft yellow in my garden at the moment comes from these daffodils:

The red bleeding heart is gently open it heart shaped blooms:

More gorgeous pansies:

And I love my ranunculus in all different colors:

Pink tulips soon to bloom in full beauty:

My Auricula is opening it first blooms:

All my roses are growing so fast! Yesterday I even saw the first buds!

My Magnolia has already finished blooming now, but I loved it's pure white flowers!

Some more eye candy picture from my garden for you:

Oh I know I have to put the Easter deco away now *sigh*

Now I have to go out in the garden, potting more flowers. Have a wonderful weekend dear blogging friends and readers! xox


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