Continuing education: summer 2014 abridged

vertical succulent planter (in-the-making) from Avant Gardens workshop last summerI typically suggest workshops that meet weekly or for a full week or a full weekend in hopes of encouraging you to take a prolonged break from your usual pursuits in order to concentrate intensely on a new creative endeavor. But this summer is different. My schedule is a bit crazy, and I'm thinking yours may be, too. So this summer I'm suggesting a continuing education opportunity that meets for a mere two hours. But they should be blissful hours spent engaged in a new creative undertaking. I took a similar workshop last summer at Avant Gardens that focused on creating vertical succulent planters. This summer's offering looks equally enticing and rewarding.

Succulent Wreath Class (living wreath)

Instructor: Kathy Tracey
July 12, 2014 2-4 pm
Class size limited to 10 participants
"Create an amazing living 12" wreath that can be mounted on a south facing door or wall. Using a sphagnum moss wreath base, you will "plant" dozens (hundreds?) of succulent cuttings which over the next several weeks take root. By September you will have an exquisite living wreath for your south facing door or wall.  Includes all materials. Bring clippers if you have them."

(Class and schedule are subject to change, so check program website for updates.)

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 5:59PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Potted garden bench

I have a weakness for re-purposed objects in the garden. Years ago, one of my favorite features in my mother's garden was my grandfather's antique side chair that my mother transformed by replacing the tired seat upholstery with a planted seat of moss and meadow flowers. This sweet bench with curvy arms, curvy back, and a curvy heart cutout punctuated by five offset terra cotta flower pots strikes a similarly charming chord. (BTW I spotted this bench at The Victorian Inn in Edgartown, MA.)

Re-purposed garden objects sited outside the garden can also be a delight. You may recall the wheelbarrow planter I featured some time ago.

There's simply something about the garden that invites us to play with expectations -- by transforming an object that's generally found indoors, into a strictly outdoor object, or re-imagining something meant as a work tool into a decorative display piece. What object might you transform as a foil for your garden? I'm thinking an old, galvanized watering can might make for a nice planter; just remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom. Drop me a note with your ideas over at the KHS Facebook Page.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:18PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

Primer: New regional vernacular (in Fine Homebuilding HOUSES 2014)

image courtesy of Fine Homebuilding magazineI first learned of a design approach that's come to be known as "new regional vernacular" when I was working for Mark Hutker on Martha's Vineyard some seventeen years ago. Then, this past January, I found myself back on Island touring one of Hutker Architects' stellar examples of new regional vernacular for a story Fine Homebuilding asked me to write for their HOUSES 2014 Awards Issue. The house, called The Nest, won their Editor's Choice award. The story brought me full circle: from my own introduction to new regional vernacular to an opportunity to introduce it to (and/or share it with) the readers of Fine Homebuilding and, now, you. 

To learn more about it, pick up the issue on newsstands now and/or peruse a PDF of the story from this link

Issue #243, Spring/Summer 2014. Reprinted with permission copyright 2014, The Taunton Press, Inc.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 12:06PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

My new book: Call for submissions

Happily, today, I begin a new endeavor, and I need your help. I'm looking to collect submissions for a book I'm writing for The Taunton Press about today's small houses. The book will feature houses that are 1500 square feet or less and serve as primary residences for their homeowners. (Plus, there will be a few bonus small retreats that are 800 square feet or less!)

I'm hoping to find creatively designed small houses in a variety of locations in North America: on the beach, in a rural setting, within a village, in town, and downtown in a city. Featured houses will primarily be newly constructed, but a few might be fresh renovation/additions to older houses. With the aid of the featured houses, the book will illuminate approximately ten fundamental design strategies for today's small houses. 

If you know of a new (or newly renovated) small house that you think I should consider including in the book, please let me know. For now, simply email me Katie@katiehutchison.com some low-resolution jpegs of the exterior, interior, and context, along with some background information about the size of the house, where it's located, who owns it, who designed it, if it has been professionally photographed, and if it has been featured in another publication. Also, please let me know if you're aware of any architectural drawings that depict it and its site.

I'll be collecting houses to consider for publication in the next few weeks and look forward to reviewing those that you may recommend. Together we can create a book that informs and inspires readers who may be embarking on their own small-house designs. Please join me.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast
Posted on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 10:26AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Book recommendation: At Home in New England: Royal Barry Wills Architects 1925 to Present

cover image courtesy of amazon.comI think I should probably change the name of this category to "Reading wish list", since, once again, I'm going to comment on a book I haven't yet held or read.

I was late to learn of Royal Barry Wills, a New England architect who launched his practice in 1925 and went on to win the National Gold Medal for a small-house design in Herbert Hoover's 1932 National Better Homes Competition. In his heyday, Wills penned several well-received books including Houses for Good Living, Better Houses for Budgeteers, and Living on the Level: One-Story Houses, among others. He was perhaps best known for his Cape-style house designs which were 1920's, 30's, and 40's interpretations of the traditional Cape Cod cottage. As architecture approached the mid-century modernist era, Royal Barry Wills's modest, straightforward, highly livable, traditionally-inspired residential designs were not in vogue with the architectural establishment but were beloved by the middle and upper-middle class homeowners who commissioned them or dreamed of commissioning them. 

While reading up on Royal Barry Wills, I was delighted to discover that Wills was a friend of Samuel Chamberlain (previously mentioned in House Enthusiast here), another champion of the Cape Cod cottage. Chamberlain is quoted on the Royal Barry Wills Associates, Inc. website as writing in 1937, "'No sham or pretense gives a false note to the true Cape Cod cottage. They are genuine, honest and sedate. They have no need to assert themselves like newcomers anxious to im­press, for they have been a part of the American scene for centuries. Decidedly, they are not a pass­ing mood of the moment, despite their current popularity.'"

The same could perhaps be said of the Cape-style house in the 21st century. And, indeed, the firm, now helmed by sole principal Richard Wills (son of Royal Barry Wills), appears to continue reinterpreting the Cape Cod cottage, as well as other traditional house forms, for contemporary living. I understand that it's these newer homes, from the past decade, which mostly populate At Home in New England: Royal Barry Wills Architects 1925 to Present. But, admittedly, my interest will turn more to the homes designed by the firm's founder. Nonetheless, it sounds like a monograph sure to capture the interest of New England house enthusiasts. It's certainly on my wish list.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 10:51AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off