Remember the Great Marmoleum Mind Blow? Where I dashed all over town AND all over the internet to agonize over a Skittles rainbow of choices, each seemly more God-awful expensive than the last? We were into the $1,000 plus before installation, and besieged with dire warnings about "Authorized" installers? Worst of all, my fickle heart just did not fall in L-O-V-E with any of the choices. RISKY. 

You see, I kept getting confused by the fancy colors and forgetting that I want neutral. I like to mix things up- and hard coding in a vibrant floor choice does not achieve that. Fabric and throw rugs achieve that. So, I tossed my hands up and went whining to the good people of the Spartan chat board. And, some lovely genius posted a link and a testament to cork flooring. 

And, you know, it instantly made sense to me- visually, design-wise, cost, use. How much more organic can you get than tree bark? And it's much less expensive; about half the cost. Options for both glue down (non-toxic glues) and "click" style. AND... if I don't love it, I think I can even use it as a sub-floor for one day when the Marmoleum of My Dreams shows up, hubba hubba. And there's MORE! It's a sound and thermal insulator. It's "soft" and forgiving on the back. It's "sealed" so it does not require much maintenance and from what anonymous internet reviewers say (what? you don't consider the unwashed masses to be a reliable source of data?) it's not delicate. What could possibly go wrong here??? (Don't even think about telling me anything that can go wrong now that I can finally sleep through the night again.) 

And to my DELIGHT, it turns out that my cork was actually a popular material in the mid-century modern movement and was even the default in Eichler houses. 

Yeah. I know! B-I-N-G-O, we have a winner!!!

While no one is ever going to accuse me of running anything other than my own damn opinion on this blog, I feel compelled to tell you I Did Not Make This Up: 

"Cork was not a highly advertised material during the postwar era, but it was amply used. Builder Joseph Eichler automatically included it in all of his postwar modern tract houses in California, thanks to cork’s functional and aesthetic appeal. ... The natural, resilient material coexists well with modern furniture and accessories, and is easy to install and maintain. It is reminiscent of the look of some linoleums and vinyl flooring styles, and is considered rapidly renewable, therefore makes the greenies’ seal of approval. Cork is offered in a variety of patterns and colors... and is an excellent option in a postwar ranch home... It is less expensive, easier to maintain, sound absorbing, and striking in a modern interior." 

See? Someone else made it up!! How 'bout that fer fancy? Regardless, it's very satisfying to have a decision made. I feel like a detective; and for once I'm glad my project is moving slowly so I can research and agonize on my own timeline. 

What do you think of a cork floor for my Spartan? I'm feeling GOOD about it, guys. 
Oh hey y'all!! Thanks for stopping by my fabulous imaginary party 60 years ago. Here I am in my divine hostess finery and pearls. Time for a cocktail, yes? (I am, apparently, the inspiration for Paris Hilton's bad posture in the future.)

My last post might have seemed like a non-sequitur- the Spartan trailer and the Apple mouse. As I've been foraging for flooring materials I have been musing about elegance, clean lines and the elusive concepts of Good Design and Good Living. What makes the everyday more beautiful, more functional? 

I will spare you a scholarly side trip down mid-century lane, but suffice to say if you have any interest at all in vintage silver- bullet style trailers, this design aesthetic resonates with you. You get it- on some level, it speaks to you. Could be your rarified taste, could be nostalgia, who cares why, but you LIKE it.  Fair? 

I like it, too. Specifically, I like the idea of indoor/ outdoor living, the warmth of natural materials and open spaces. I like architecture that "floats". 
I've been spending quite a bit of time admiring architecture lately. This guy Eichler, one of the visionaries driving modern design, for everyone (he designed for the middle class) well, he saw a different way of living, of taking up space. This is so different from old-style traditional American homes; it was so much less formal. 

Annnd... back at my imaginary cocktail par-tay... what all of this really speaks to in me is that I want to spend more time with family and friends. I was BORN to talk and eat. I want to look at the natural world and connect with it. As I look at these spaces, what I think is how wonderful they are for filling with people and good conversation. In the photo above, my eye goes to the patio and I yearn to be out there. It looks like twilight, which is the BEST time of day. Work done, relax mode ON, time briefly suspended. 

In the photo below I want to turn the vantage point, to look out the glass walls. I want to throw open the doors. This inspires me when I think of building the Spartan camp. I want to be outdoors-indoors. I want cozy and open. I want to fill it up with people; interesting people I know already, and friends yet to be made. I want YOU all to be there. 

What do you think? Are you coming?? PLEEEEEASE come! I'm saving you a spot;) 
The Apple.... 
... does not fall... 
... far from the tree! 
The legend is that Steve Jobs grew up in an Eichler- style California Mid-Century Modern home. 
Check out this amazing Spartan trailer with a house built around it on a river in Texas. I have to say; generally, I am not prone to jealousy. Usually, I'm happy with what I have and not frustrated by what others have, even when I deeply admire it. 

So, I feel a little sheepish admitting that the green-eyed monster bit me when I saw this. OUCH! Want. Want. Wantwantwantwant. WANT. (Falls over, comatose) 

I had a real pity party- sulking that someone else is "living my dream!" (like I own it, ha!). And they QUITE obviously have the means to live it pretty luxe. I'm not fooled by "simple elegance"- I know high-end when I see it, damn it. Ugh. Those kind of petty feelings are SO miserable; it makes you so unhappy. Yuk. How do people endure it for long? 

But... I mean, can you blame me? Look again, DRINK it in, in all it's stunning photography: 
That is very, very breathtaking. No lie. The mirror image just slays me. 

Upon review, I realized that my feelings are closer to sadness and yearning. I have been trying to execute this concept for 5 years now. What I really want is MY beautiful trailer, sheltered with an elegant structure, in the Hill Country in Texas. 

And I will get there. It might not be on land quite as spectacular as this. It might not be as shiny. But. Inspiration is FREE, and there are lots of things going on here that are just so very well done. I started appreciating how cool these people are to choose this, when they clearly could have a much less unique place. 

I also realized that I don't want to obscure my trailer this much. I want it to be more visible, more focal. Which is to say: This is a Very, Very, Very Beautiful Baby. But it ain't my Baby. 

I hope someday I get to see this place in person and tell them how wonderful it is. 

And invite them to my place so I can share what my dream looks like when it's done. 

(Also, note to self: Take totally kickass photos!) 

If it is not clear by the giddy nature of my reports, the trailer is heaps of fun. The best thing bout the Spartan is the people. I could sit around, talk, drink, eat and listen to music with interesting people 24/7/365. I love it. Talk to me, baby. Let's HANG. 

The challenge is that getting the trailer out and about is no small feat. Frankly, she is slow. And then there is that whole backing up thing...  

While I don't ever see a time when I would permanently land-dock my trailer, she really needs a home base. Of course, it has to fit my vision. It's one of my favorite things to day-dream about these days. Land criteria is a) less than 2 hours from downtown Houston b) away from urban/ suburban sprawl c) a good place to camp, walk, see the night sky and possibly go swimmin'. 

Architecturally, I'd like to build a roofed structure to park under that would allow shade. I want to build screened in porches or pavilions for outdoor sleeping. I want outdoor showers and a good bathhouse. I want a stone fire pit with comfortable seating- and a small "barn" for storing things like outdoor cushions in. I want an outdoor kitchen area, with water to wash up and tables nearby. I want some paths that twist and turn to small gardens or places to meditate. 

When I think about my trailer "vision", I find myself leaning more to the modern  than the vintage. Spartans are elegant. They have that whole stream-lined, art-deco, sleek sensibility to them. I want to translate that to a modern inside/ outside space for entertaining and relaxing. 

I want: clean lines, function over cute or clutter, traditional local materials such as quarried stone and metal roofs, and amazing landscaping with native plants. I want solar panels, and good architectural design. 

So, as I focus my blog, expect to see some posts on things I find inspirational architecturally as well as posts admiring my friend's cool vintage trailers and campers... and the usual musings on my trailer-related experiences and inevitable ineptness.  

I love the way the architect of this wonderful home in the Houston mid-town area salvaged the remains of an old brick building- probably commercial- and made it into the good bones of a modern style house. 

My favorite aspect is the impact of the industrial gate with rusty iron patina. I'm a fan of patina, you may recall. And while this is a little more urban that I suspect my eventual design will be, I admire the use of existing materials, and the use of space. This fascinating little corridor could have been a crappy ally with a/c units in it. All the more remarkable is that it is surrounded by, what are, for the most part, completely uninspired contemporary town homes hastily erected by builders who rushed in to capitalize on this neighborhoods sudden resurgence. In time I think this will retain it's design integrity while many of it's neighbors will be very dated. 

Just look at the gate's enormous bolts- symmetry and punch- just enough detail to be interesting. And the grill with peep-through of the clean garden landscape and fountain takes the harsh industrial edge off. I like to think this is a post-modern take on the elegant iron grill gates in New Orleans and that offer a tantalizing peek at the secret gardens within.