Web tour: House Enthusiast MeMe nomination

Me, me on the family Seawind KetchMuch to my surprise John Black, who blogs from northern California via A Verdant Life, nominated House Enthusiast for a MeMe. 

I featured A Verdant Life as a web neighbor last spring in hopes of sharing John’s wise and witty posts on garden design, landscape design, and, well, the verdant life, with House Enthusiast readers. 

I’m thrilled to accept the MeMe torch from John and to pass it along, which involves satisfying a few rules of engagement:

  1. Link back to whomever nominated you.
  2. Reveal seven tidbits about yourself.
  3. Nominate and link to seven other blogs.
  4. Notify your nominees with a comment on their blogs or in emails.
  5. Notify your nominator(s) when your “acceptance” post is up.

Seven formative influences on my passion for designing, discussing, and framing place in and around our homes:

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which I read as a child, introduced me to the magic of creating, tending, and sharing a place of one’s own.
  2. A Seawind Ketch was both family home and entertainment for many summers in the 70’s.  At 30-feet long it was close quarters for a family of five, cruising the shores of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.  It instilled my fondness for the Eastern seaboard and small, flexible, craft-like spaces.
  3. The barn behind my childhood home harked back to when our modest parcel was a portion of a sizable Connecticut farm.  The bents, hayloft, and board siding weathered years of benign neglect yet boldly reminded us of a venerable history, which I continue to admire in enduring work buildings today.
  4. Rebecca, Hitchcock’s 1940  black & white film based on the book by Daphne du Maurier demonstrated the power of a structure, like Manderley, to evoke a mood and reflect a personality.  It’s the boathouse, though, that really captured my imagination.  It's there that the great emotion of the film takes place, as if to suggest that intimate spaces are the most human of spaces.
  5. The black and white photography of Walker Evans, especially his photos of rural American structures, inspired my interest in photography as fine art.  His photos reinforced my affinity for the simple grace of worn, purposeful, vernacular buildings which bear witness to their inhabitants.
  6. My parallel rule from RISD guided me through architecture school and equips my drafting board today.  The tangible connection between hand, pencil, tools, and paper propel my architectural vision.  Drafting a beautiful architectural drawing may serve little practical purpose, but the craft delights me with its own reward.
  7. A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander (and coauthors) made its way into my psyche the year after I graduated from RISD.  I found its premise -- that beneath satisfying and viscerally appealing spaces are a series of simple, time-tested patterns -- refreshing common sense.  After years in the architecture profession, I aspire to a similar kind of cultivated design intuition in my work.

Seven inspirational blogs I'm nomimating for MeMes:

  1. Vermont Architect – Robert Swinburne takes his readers inside his thinking into the design process and shares his self-described “carpenter modern” residential aesthetic.  I featured him as a web neighbor in the spring of 2008.
  2. Happy Living Design is currently on hiatus, but architect blogger Erinn Wenrich plans to return to her effervescent, lifestyle blog.  Meanwhile, take a look at her archived material celebrating designers, artists, products, retailers, and creative home life.
  3. Beekman 1802 welcomes readers to enjoy a taste of country life at the Beekman Farm in upstate New York via three blogs.  Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell share their goats, gardens, and grounds with folks eager for a closer connection to the land we share.
  4. My Scandinavian Retreat chronicles blogger Pippi’s contemporary inspiration for her small retreat on the Norwegian coast.  New to the blogosphere but well worth the wait.
  5. Red.house provides more Scandinavian fare from “a Swedish designer in America...bringing you pieces of design inspiration from both sides of the Atlantic”.  Lots of quirky, colorful, hip (as far as I would know) artifacts.
  6. Coming Unmoored, Re-designing a Life in a Tiny Floating Home is Stephanie Reiley’s comprehensive compendium of everything small-house related, including life aboard her own slice of heaven on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon.
  7. The Company We Keep is where John Abrams, co-founder and CEO of South Mountain Company on Martha’s Vineyard expounds upon the ideas expressed in his book Companies We Keep.  John believes in “the promise of employee ownership and the importance – and challenges – of conducting business with community, people, and planet as our top priorities”.

For other recommended blogs and websites be sure to peruse the link section in the sidebar of this site, where I’ve sorted my recommendations by the five senses they provoke.

by Katie Hutchison for the House Enthusiast