Web tour: Cottage, cabin, converted Airstream, and more

Lately, I've been stumbling upon some of my best finds while looking for something else. Such was the case when I came upon this tiny cottage in Oak Bluffs while en route to the annual Cottagers Cottage Tour. The gothic-revival steep roof, peaked-arch window, carved barge boards, mini porch, and delicate foundation plantings are all a delight. Which got me thinking, 'tis the season for back-to-basics living. Time to enjoy playhouses, cabins in the woods, and camping trailers (and, of course, garage/garden rooms like this KHS design in Manchester, Mass.).

Get started with the July/August 2013 issue of Design New England which features an intriguing grouping of four new getaway cabins on Sebago Lake in Maine. With vaulted standing-seam copper roofs, fieldstone foundations, and cedar siding, the warm-tone cabins appear to grow naturally from the site, peacefully nestled between rock outcroppings and trees along the lake's edge.

Head over to Sunset online to find a young, landscape architect's Airstream trailer converted to home and his accessory trailer rendered portable office. His unique and creative housing/office choices are sure to inspire.

Pick up the HOUSES 2013 issue of Fine Homebuilding to read Sean Groom's article about accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Pacific Northwest. These buildings and spaces, which are smaller than 800 square feet, accommodate a whole host of uses often better than conventional alternatives. It's high time that financing and zoning regulations friendly to ADUs are more readily adopted in New England, too. (Also check out Michael Litchfield's In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes.)

Let these back-to-basics accommodations inform your getaway, office, guest quarters, granny-flat and home. It's summertime and living should be easy.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 2:23PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Hardscape footwork

Architects and designers orchestrate movement through space, both inside and outside the home. It's one of our great challenges. As frequent House Enthusiast readers might recall, I believe most any and all constructed space is architecture, including the patio, garden, driveway, footpath, tool shed, etc. That's part of the reason I enjoy the temperate months; they allow me to explore the architecture beyond our homes' walls.

This space in between -- in between inside and outside, in between house and fence, in between porch and garden -- beautifully steers visitors and occupants as they transition from street arrival to private home and onward.

I'm particularly enamored with the random-sized and random-coursed slate pavers set on an angle that intermingle with brick, and create a jagged border of grass and plantings along a curved, stone-edged, raised bed on one side and a slightly elevated brick and granite porch patio on the other. The organic yet intricate footpath reminds me of my teen figure-skating days. On a small plan sketch of the rink, my coach would choreograph where each spin and jump in my freeskate programs would occur, and I would invariably ask, "But how will I get there: from camel spin to lutz?"  Her answer, "With footwork." Indeed, it's inspired hardscape footwork that brings folks arriving at this home from feature to feature.

The contrast of color, texture, angle, even elevation enrich the experience of this procession, giving clues that both orient and delight. The footwork is as intriguing as the highlights along the way.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9:51AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Vertical garden

I saw my first vertical garden in California. There, tackling the vertical surface seemed the next logical step in zone-14 garden evolution. Little did I imagine, it was an idea readily adaptable to our hardier clime. Avant Gardens of N. Dartmouth, Mass. has figured out how. Follow this link for their hardy, drought-resistant, succulent, vertical-garden how-to.

I snapped this shot of their vertical garden in situ on their garage. Naturally, the garden planting itself required design savvy, but so too did the size, fabrication, orientation, and placement of the vertical garden. The cedar garden surround in a width similar to the cedar coursing helps "ground" the box, and the proportion beautifully echoes the proportion of the door panels and lites. The colors work together brilliantly, too.

Having attended the vertical garden demonstration at Avant Gardens this past weekend, I now also understand that vertical-garden size is critical; the larger the box, the heavier and the more unwieldy to mount and maintain.

I'm dreaming up a few of these beauts for my south-facing side wall. Time to start acquiring succulents. So far, I have one. It'll be a while...

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast 

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 5:37PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Meandering footpath

There's something to be said for taking your time to get somewhere. This footpath in a tight space between a home and side fence wanders off the straight and narrow. And, in the process, creates little eddies of space for miniature boxwoods, hostas, and statuary.

The seemingly improvised paver placement, with some in the middle lanes crossing into the next, contributes to the meandering handmade vibe. Slightly elevated edge pavers subtly differentiate the boundary without introducing the added complication of contrasting edging material.

To think that this is merely the garden access; you can't help but anticipate the marvel of a garden that awaits at the journey's end.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 1:55PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Continuing education: Better-late-than-never summer 2013

I'm late mentioning these summer offerings; both start shortly: June 16 (FAWC) and June 17 (Studio North). But it's never too late to open your mind and continue your education, whether your older or younger. I've written here before about the great rewards of continuing education. Whether you sign up for one of these workshops now or next year, you'll be glad you did.

Fine Arts Work Center

Instructors: Mark Adams and Elizabeth Bradfield
June 16 to June 21, 2013 9am-Noon
Tuition: $600
Returning Students: $550
Open to all

"We want to dedicate this week to cultivating the art of being present in a journey through the specific world of Provincetown’s dunes, forest and beaches, bringing together the arts of writing and drawing in response to the natural world.  You do not need to know how to draw and you don’t need to be an experienced poet to come along on this journey -- you only need to want to walk through the forest, the sand and maybe a little bit of water, and be receptive to new possibilities.

We’ll write in relation to what we hear, touch, smell, taste and see using the building blocks of metaphor, sound and imagery.  Poetry will be the foundation of our writing and reading, but all genres are deepened by close attention to world and word.  We’ll learn drawing techniques adapted to outdoor field settings (such as blind contour and gesture drawings, drawing with ink and brush, and watercolor wash drawing) rooted in observation and learn field-based drawing techniques, keeping a journal for sketches and writing. Both Mark and Elizabeth are naturalists as well as artists and, as residents of the Cape's tip, bring deep knowledge and love of this place.

Bring an unlined sketchbook journal (9X12 or larger) and some bold pens and pencils (flair, felt tip, fine point sharpies, ebony pencils and any other writing/drawing materials you prefer).  Additional materials will be provided. Be prepared for the full range of June weather. We’ll have a wonderful time.

Studio North

Building small-scale rural interventions

Instructor: architect Keith Moskow FAIA and Robert Linn AIA

June 17th - June 22nd. Plan to arrive at Constable Farm, Norwich VT (1285 Union Village Road) by 9am, Monday, June 17th.

The workshop fee is: $1,000.

"Studio North is a six day intensive building workshop. The workshop will offer students the opportunity to engage with the rural landscape and to imagine, develop and construct inventive design solutions. An architectural education is best experienced through engagement in all aspects of the building process. This workshop will be a fully immersive design experience.

The workshop will take place on a 117 acre farm in Norwich, Vermont. Each session will investigate a particular interest and respond with the design and construction of a complete prototype structure. The workshop will be limited to ten participants and lead by architect Keith Moskow FAIA and Robert Linn AIA of the Boston based firm, Moskow Linn Architects.

Studio North is currently seeking applicants for the workshop of Summer 2013. The workshop is open to interested students of all abilities. Previous construction experience is not required."

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

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:59AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off