We are thrilled to announce ‘the improvised life’ latest giveaway: Abrams’ lush coffee table book Artists’ Handmade Houses, with text by Michael Gotkin and photographs by Don Freeman. It is a sublime collection of thirteen homes created by artists and master craftsmen, both infamous and little known. We first learned about it when we saw images of sculptor Raoul Hague‘s eccentric, inspired cabin in Woodstock, New York on Mondoblogo. The title of the post was “Who the Hell is Raoul Hague?“, which we didn’t know either. But we were smitten by Hague’s rustic, beautiful, wildly improvised home and workspace, especially his bedroom with its pivoting lectern rigged to make it easy to read in bed.
At first glance, Artists’ Handmade Houses might not seem to offer practical ideas for the ‘everyday’ person working on his own space. By the time we’d finished our first run through the book, it was studded with post-it notes, flagging the many compelling – and useable – ideas we found in the imaginative spaces. We love Paulo Soleri’s multi-level cantilever table at Cosanti that serves as a kitchen island, workspace and dining table (not to mention the strangely chic beat-up metal folding chairs)…
…and the simple asymetrical cabinetry in his bathroom that offers both closed storage and shelves for displaying beautiful objects…
From Russel Wright’s kitchen at Manitoga, we took the idea of a thick hardwood board acting as both shelf and potrack, and placing a shelf low above the counter to hide electrical switches.
Also from Manitoga, a moderne sideboard with dramatic rocks for legs. “The reversible Formica doors on the living room cabinet below are red on one side––for fall and winter––and white on the other––for spring and summer.”
…throughout Artists’ Handmade Houses, we found our eye being “opened” to color in a new way…
The book is a treasure. We’ll post more ideas from it in the coming weeks.
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is write a Comment (in the form at the end of this post) telling us something you’ve fantasized doing to YOUR space if you had the wherewithal (money or practicality is no object). The last day to enter is
Monday, July 18th. Tuesday July 19th. The winner will be chosen by random.org. and announced on Tuesday July 19th Wednesday, July 20th.
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131 replies on “book giveaway: artists’ handmade houses”
I’d do an elaborately plastered ceiling incorporating leaves and tendrils of my favourite plants – roses, wisteria, clematis, ivy….
If money were no object, I would own a theater and have an attached apartment. I’m an improvisational comedian, and my fiance is a musician, and it would be lovely to have a venue to showcase our own and our friends’ work and play as an extension of our home.
i’d build in storage everywhere – to hide most things but still have close at hand. and i’d use soapstone for everything possible…
I’d build a library loft in an unused attic space, if money were no object
I’d replace the door between two bedrooms in my little flat with a bookcase door that conceals a tiny hiding place. I don’t actually think this would be so expensive and I’m going to find a carpenter to help me do it! My grandmother had a secret passage between two bedrooms in her house, that’s where the fantasy is from.
a fruit orchard in the backyard. sigh.. first i’d need a backyard though! for now it’s potted herbs and strawberries on my little balcony.
A friend of mine has an old-fashioned card catalog in her living room. Would LOVE one of those.
I would build a place to do nothing on top of a beautiful rock shelf overlooking water below.
i’ve dreamed of making a secret door to an air:conditioned glass cube on the roof that I could watch the sunset… and then fall asleep without getting eaten by mosquitoes.
I would install sliding glass doors around the whole house with a wide porch all around too. I would have extensive gardens–vegetable & ornamental-and a full-time helper to help me realize my vision!
I would build an attached greenhouse to bring the forest into my house, and allow me to be closer to the forest.
Take down all the interior walls and build moveable storage walls to create multi-purpose spaces with fabulous storage. Have glass doors on external walls for light and easy access to the outdoors, and a second storey balcony or deck. Under floor heating – this would create a warm, light, flexible space. Oh – and an East-facing solar powered composting outside toilet; an outside solar shower for warm days. Picture rail with integral lighting for our eclectic collection of paintings. Oooh – fantasy!!
i would put a classic four-poster bed by a stream, deep in the woods, on the edge of a clearing and plant viney stuff all around it. i’d get a bed set, a bunch of pillows, a bookshelf stocked with books i’ve been wating to read, and climb into the bed with a big cuddly cat and take a nap. ahhhh…
I’d take off the ceiling of the charming but tiny house our son is living in, and expose the peaked roof. Then I’d rip out the existing kitchen (7’x7′) and redo it…and then once he moves out I’d move in.
I have always wanted to live in a tree house, like in Swiss Family Robinson, with a rollback roof to watch the stars. Alternatively, I would just like to build a strawbale house around a tree with a swing hanging into the living room from one of the branches.
If I owned the house I live in instead of renting, I would put sky lights in the roof upstairs, take down the interior walls and have a big painting studio. I can put my bed in the living room disguised as a couch. why not?
I’d make a roof garden on the flat part of our Italianate Victorian roof, because it’s high enough (two stories of 11 ft. ceilings!) to get some sun, whereas the yard is mostly in the shade because of all the trees we’ve planted. I love the trees in our hot summers, but I long for home-grown tomatoes. I’d also turn our garden shed (the old coal shed/root cellar) into a tiny perfect guest house, so our house guests won’t have to sleep on the hide-a-bed in my studio any more!
If money were no object: I’d design and build a straw bale home in the mountains of North Carolina. I would be completely off-the grid and the house would incorporate my love of Moroccan, Indian and rustic farm elements. There would be a large flower and vegetable garden just outside my 50’s inspired, Fiestaware laden kitchen. I would place a red English phone booth with rotary dial phone just outside the kitchen. I would then have a detached, good-sized, workshop to work on my quilts and fiber art projects.
I would convert the overgrown rock garden that Grandma French created 70 years ago into an outdoor kitchen and patio. Out the back door and tucked behind the garage and 2 metal grain bins on our farm, it is currently overrun with invasive plants. I want an extension of our kitchen where we can see the sky, watch the birds, and share meals with our friends.
I’d have a farmhouse in the middle of an orchard that was more porch than house, with a center full of fruit trees right in the middle, a la the Italians.
Take out the gross grey carpet from our bedrooms and replace with gorgeous reclaimed wood from an old barn. Also, take out the front lawn (except around the tetherball) and put in plum and pear trees. Adding solar panels would be a necessity too!
I live in a Philly ‘twin’ — two row houses sharing a common wall. I’d buy my house’s twin for my husband’s sister, who is also my best friend. Across the back of the two houses I’d build a huge screened porch for us to share, reading and eating and just hanging out. The floor would be a sprung dance floor, so we could invite friends over, push the furniture out of the way, and dance all night!
There are a number of practical matters that need attention in my cozy old bugalow (I call her Morning Glory Dacha – she is a 1930’s brick mill house in a rural SC town). The lady needs some foundation work (don’t we all as we age) and some cosmetic work too, but she has great bones and she’s comfortable. Now my fantasies for her include opening up the back of the house to let in glorious light and to hae access to the yard – french doors and a wall of windows looking out onto a porch would be delightful…a place to sit and sip adult beerages while we watch the fire flies do their dances and a sunny spot to sip morning coffee and make plans for the day’s adventures. I dream of opening up the ceiling and making a loft where I can cozy up with books. And, it would be loely to renoate the bathroom. So many ideas, so little time. Life is good and it is fun to dream. This weekedn we are building a pergola!
In Steamy SC
I would replace the very severe bathtub with one with more of a slope and a bit of a ledge behind it, so I could lean back in a hot bath and rest my aching back and neck. And I’d replace the plain white tile with a beautiful funky mosaic to gaze upon while I rest there.
I have an Arts and Crafts Bungalow in amazing condition. I recently added a 48″ Commercial Range and am adding back the claw foot tub with heated floors in the teeny-tiny bath which are what I envisioned the first day we moved in.
My future plans include finishing the partially finished attic as a master suite complete with Juilette Balcony and adding French doors from the main floor bedrooms to the back yard so the access is easier to the gazebo, water feature, and gardens we added the first summer in the house.
My dream plan would be to extend the master bedroom back in the yard about 12 Feet, finishing and adding to the attic and leaving the main floor additiona an open air room complete with fireplace and ceiling fans. The master bedroom would move upstairs leaving the old one an improvasational room to do with what I please, studio? library? breathing spac?
I would open up the back portion of our home and have an outside room complete with fireplace. The yard surrounding this would have to be landscaped,of course!
I’m forever daydreaming about turning my enclosed back porch into a Japanese tearoom. I haunt Craigslist looking for reasonably priced tatami mats, I search the internet for electric hearths (so far in vain–I may have to settle for a hot plate), I strategize ways to camouflage the cats’ litter box and teach them that tatami mats are not scratching posts. But most of all I try to keep alive in my mind the notion of how peaceful it would feel to wake up or to come home from work and whisk up a bowl of tea while the kettle steams softly, and to drink it slowly to the sound of birds singing. Just writing about it in this comment makes me want to do it even more!
P.S. Love reading everyone else’s potential projects–lovely dreams to keep us going!
I would ditch this rented apartment and move several doors down into the yellow pre-WWII bungalow with a huge screened in back porch (desperately necessary in Savannah to combat the mosquitoes and sand gnats). I would buy a second bed and sleep out there most of the year.
We live on the water.
I would create a dining room in the yard. The table would be long with seating for 8-10 ( this is a spot where one must involve all friends for a meal) and made of some componenet that will age beautifully despite the damp. Chairs will be high backed but comfy for long enjoyable meals as the sun goes down. A long white damask table cloth on some nights and other nights no dressing for the table. Tea lights placed down the center. Flowers or herbs lying amongst the lights.
An out door dining area for food and laughter.
Putting two sets of pocket doors that were removed 70 years ago back in, adding built-in shelving/storage on either side of the fireplace, renovating the attic into a master bedroom, adding a sun porch onto an updated kitchen, and mosquito-netting my wonderful front porch so that I can truly enjoy using it without being eaten alive.
An outdoor shower…open to the sky, on a bed of pea gravel.
I live in a 980 sq. foot bungalow– along with my husband, our 12-year-old son and an ever growing number of his friends (who we welcome with open arms, and an open kitchen), 2 dogs, and a cat. While I love our cozy 1918 bungalow and wouldn’t trade it for the world, every woman needs a room of one’s own- and that is something I am currently lacking. We have a wonderful backyard space with room to build a small studio. Basic plans have been drawn. Nothing too fancy- a 10×10 shingled structure, constructed from all recycled materials (bonus-husband is a carpenter, so we have lots of redwood, and some beautiful old wavy glass windows already in hand). Getting fancy would mean putting in plumbing- perhaps an outdoor shower? Getting lots of inspiration from this site. Thanks!
I would build a green house off our dining room and fill it with fruit trees.
We would build our own summer cottage from the ground up, using as much recycled material as possible, with solar-wind-graywater.what-have-you up to the gills.
12-foot walls lined with flooor to celing bookcases and one of those ladders on rails so I can travel from end to end and back again. The fourth wall would look out onto a green, green lawn with towering trees and daffodils and violets gowing wild in the spring. There wwill be reclining chairs and comfortable sofas my aging body can get in and out of easily with good reading lamps everyplace I could possible sit and baskets of needlework when I tire of reading.
I’d make a place well insulated with ecologically sustainable systems. it would be modern: the inside and outside would be accessible to each other. Library, kitchen, drawing studio, three season porch with dining for friends would look out onto a winter greenhouse and summer food garden. I’d ride my bike to work. and have enough energy so things would stay in one piece. I’d actually use this book for a color reference, although I really do love the cabinets and general feeling from the photos I’ve seen. Mondoblog. Peavey. Hysterical and compelling narration. That’s my favorite post..ever.
So many ideas & dreams for my living space…
I’d love to live in a strawbale house that I built with my own hands. Opportunities for sculpting details, little nooks, one-of-a-kindness. It would be a passive solar design, perhaps, built into an earth berm for modulating climate, creating built-in cold storage. Would definitely include a green roof, grey water systems, permaculture at every turn. (I love the work of the late, great Malcolm Wells)
With my city home I want to create hidden storage spaces, multi-functional/mobile spaces that transform depending on the day’s needs. I like a small space that’s used well. And I want to incorporate plants into the design as much as possible (being in a north facing, building-blocked apartment has its lighting challenges).
This book looks like it could be a great source of inspiration!
Windows, windows everywhere and surrounded by the woods.
I live in the most amazing apartment complex. It won major architectural awards when it was built fifty years ago. I have a thousand square foot deck and a view of the pacific ocean and the channel islands.
If I had the wherewithal I would hire structural engineers and contractors to update the earthquake readiness of all four buildings in this complex. It was rebuilt after the Northridge Quake. It needs more attention to mountainside stability for the next fifty years.
I would do whatever is politically and economically necessary to put rent control stability into the management structure so that the wonderful people who are here need not worry about the coming decades of financial change.
I’d update the kitchens with natural gas and new cabinet work. This place is well worth keeping in good order for another fifty or one hundred and fifty years. I’ve lived with everything from an outhouse to high victorian and is glad to be who and where I am right now. thank you,
i would build a greenhouse/studio in the back yard, a place where we could sit and read surrounded by light and plants and a place to be alone and work.
This book looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to have a library in my home but have never had the space. I end up giving my books away after reading them. The same goes for a soap studio. I’d love to have a large dedicated studio space for all my soaping supplies plus a stove and sink so I can make soap in the same room I store my supplies.
ahhh- I would silver foil the walls and ceiling of an entire room and then play with tarnishing it- as an alternative wall coloring scheme.
Maybe a gold room or two as well.
With cobblestone floors in the bathroom.
I’ve spent rather a lot of time considering what the most important elements — the most used places — of my house are. They should be the elements that give pleasure, to the eye or the body, and they are the elements that want to be safe and delighted with ideas. The rest can be quietly devoted to storage.
Most of my time is spent in the hammock, in the kitchen, and at the computer (on a drafting table next to the kitchen). The living room / dining room were turned into a studio long ago and the kitchen opened up to it; that’s where things happen, and that’s where guests eat and drink and talk. A “living room” is an artificiality. Most of us direct our lives at the kitchen sink, looking out the window — not in a “living room.” Everything that goes on in the house is steered from the kitchen; it functions like the cockpit of a sailboat. The day begins and ends in the bathroom, and less than a third of the day is spent in bed, so it can be quietly tucked in next to the bathroom.
Conclusion: the ideas, the “artist’s” touches that make me or anyone happy, the reclaimed wood floors, the tin washtubs, the re-painted and re-upholstered found chairs, the hacked pieces whose origins no one can guess, the cushions covered in fabric left over from a flowered wedding dress, the hat rack made from a rake, the easel with the perpetually-unfinished project — all spill over between the kitchen and the studio and out the door to the garden. It’s all visible from the hammock under the jacaranda, whence I can contemplate it all, with just a little wonder and more than a little satisfaction.
My home is, after all, my handmade world.
i knew raoul hague when i was a child in the late 40’s in woodstock – and later when i was in my early 20’s. my car broke down late one winter night not far from his cabin. he opened the door, gun in hand . . . that still in his studio ( see Mondoblogo link) was cranking out some really great applejack, which he let me try – it was memorable, delicious, the cabin was cozy and warm. i can’t remember what happened after that, it was that good! i’ve been attempting to brew applejack as good as his, it is good but not as good. maybe memories are better than reality?
as for what i would do to my space, well, it is wonderful as is, an old adobe in new mexico with clay walls and wood floors, but i would like bigger windows in my bedroom for more cool night air. and a mostly glass dining room off my kitchen where i could also grow some vegetables. solar electric on the roof and some sort of sustainable heat source for winter. a garage or carport and storage shed would be really useful.
How amazing to have met Raoul Hague the way you did, and to have such a memory. I wish we could see your view of that cabin, at that time. Thanks so much for the lovely insight.
Being an art teacher and an artist I would love to turn my back porch into a sun room with a bank of large windows where I could paint and grow plants, have a concrete wall to paint on. It would extend from the kitchen and include a fireplace. The whole would have a french flair!
I’d design a waist-high kitchen window that you could open completely so that you’re able to reach out and pick items from the garden. On the outside of the window, I’d grow an herbal garden that is the same height as the window and arm’s length. This allows the cook to pick fresh herbs while preparing the meal. It’d take the same amount of time as reaching into the fridge for the herbs but without the grocery trip or expense.
I would paint my bedroom lacquer red and install a giant black pagoda canopy bed as seen in “Raise the Red Lantern”.
I would love to build an old fashion front porch onto my house. Pillars and enough shade to sit and watch the world go by from, even eat dinner out there somedays.
“Living” roof deck with a firepole going down into the house! Did I say “house”? I meant “giant art studio with a bedroom”!
Opening transoms over all internal bedroom doors, to allow for cross-ventilation even when doors have to be closed. Oooo…
And a solar attic fan! But I’m afraid to do that because of a pusillanimous disinclination to make holes in the roof. If anyone has one, I’d really like to hear about it.
I fantasize all the time about building a giant room off of my daughter’s that is completely safe for her to walk freely in. She has a terrible seizure disorder but loves to be outside — her own room is covered in pillows but she can’t walk freely throughout the house because she is at risk of falling. The imagined room would have a glass ceiling with trees swaying in the wind over it (she loves trees) — lots of cushioning and texture — perhaps a mural of the ocean and a sandy area! Sounds crazy, right?
Thanks for the opportunity to perhaps win the cool book.
That kitchen at Manitoga is amazing!! If I were to build my own house from scratch, I’d probably spend the vast majority of my effort and money on the kitchen and a bathroom. I’ve spent a number of years living in tropical environments, and I’ve always loved the houses that have a courtyard in the middle which includes an open air kitchen. And one of my two favorite places in the world is a hotel in Bali that has the most amazing outdoor showers and HUGE soaking tubs. If money were no object, I’d replicate all that! Guess I’d have to decide where I could put that dream house because my current home in Boston, Massachusetts, just doesn’t have the kind of weather to permit such outdoor living!!
Been longing for a pergola connecting to a new car parking stucture/studio in my lovely if not raggedy back yard filled with 8 oak trees.
The local power company has been felling huge old hardwoods all over our area, and leaving big rounds to sit for weeks.
If I had more space, could lift them, could mount them onto some sort of mobility device (teflon casters, maybe?) and knew how to be sure they weren’t full of bugs without turning them into giant toxin emitters, I would bring several of these inside to use as side tables, stools, and footrests. Would be just stunning in a modern interior.
I’m planning to steal that rock-as-base-for-a-cabinet idea. I just don’t know when, yet.
We had a small house in Greenport, Long Island, NY, an old whaling port on the north fork and east end of Long Island. My fantasy was to build a Gaudi-like low cement wall around the front yard, paint it fanciful colors, and embed it with broken glass and crockery. I guarantee it would have had tongues wagging in the village.
been wanting to use a deer stand for a tower on my deck
If I could change anything in my home I would build my partner the kitchen of her dreams. With any money left over I would put a urinal in the bathroom for me.
If wishes were more than just wishes, I would raise the roof in my house and build a full floor studio, with sky lights, great ventilation and huge windows, so I could do my encaustic art while gazing up and around at the woods surrounding my home.
an outdoor shower!
ahh … so many ideas. here are a few: an outdoor shower, french doors from the kitchen, converting the garage into another living space, french doors from the bedrooms, gardens both flower and vegetable, flowing water fountains from old mill wheels, tile on the kitchen and bathroom floors and walls, a wide porch that wraps around the house with a sky blue porch ceiling and a floor painted in stripes …
Four years ago my husband, our daughter and I headed out to New Mexico to live and to build an adobe house. For the move we loaded up a small open trailer that we pulled with our car with what we were to live with for the next couple of years, we packed 6 plates , 6 spoons, 6 forks , white cotton sheets a favorite small painting a prized chaise, a small table 3 chairs, a colorful
rug, a favorite stuffed animal.. you get the idea. There we built a small 750 sq.ft. home of earth and lived with just enough. We did buy books, a few prized handmade things and made art. Having returned to our 1500 square foot home in the Hudson Valley, I am overwhelmed by all the space responsibility and stuff. There is something about the desert, an adobe house and a fireplace that allows for such simplicity. I look forward to the day , when the children are grown and I return to just enough.
I have spent a lot of my life making my home environment beautiful and comfortable on a mostly slim budget, and I have enjoyed it enormously. I’m old (79) and infirm now, and my house has my stamp on it. I like it a lot. However, I do have one fantasy. I still like to do writing projects, which means computer work. I prefer sitting in my TV room in my comfortable Ekornes lounge chair with my computer on my lap instead of putting in long hours at my office desk. The fantasy? I’ve been dreaming of a way to handle the computer, my printer, and work papers so that they are easy to access and easy to get out of the way when I’m finished working. What I envision is some sort of adjustable rack for my laptop that will hold it at the level most comfortable for work, perhaps with a printer stand on the floor beneath it. It would be a great improvement because my laptop is quite powerful and generates a lot of heat when it is in my lap. I also fantasize about a desktop that would swing around from the other side that has a copy holder, space for papers, a writing area, and mouse tray. I see this as a semi-circular device that unfolds in sections. Oh, and I would like it all to be attractive and compatible with my décor.
I know that is a fairly mundane fantasy, but I would be so happy to find something like these accoutrements. Please let me know if you have ever encountered specialized equipment like this. And thanks for the chance to win that great book. Artists’ houses are the best!
My fantasy is living in a house/apt where the walls and ceilings are all painted with chalkboard paint. Everyone that comes to visit would be asked to write or draw something. Nothing would ever be erased. I would love to live surrounded with my friends’ & family’s writing and art!
I’ve been saving old interesting windows for years. Hope someday to incorporate them into something fantastic! This book helps stubborn creative floodgates to open..Thank-you!
If money were no object, I would extend my quilting studio from the 10 x 10 bedroom into half of the living room, and build a huge design wall that would enclose the shelves of fabric.
Building a modernist art conservation studio in the woods next to our house in Vermont based on this inspiring private library project –
A big dream, and I do love my current studio in a small town 1921 Town Office/Opera House building, but this would be so incredible.
I often dream about a huge studio space with a glass ceiling. One wall would be made entirely of book shelves, one wall for storing fabric and rows of ribbons, one wall made entirely of cork, and the final wall would be glass doors heading out to a courtyard.
we have just purchased 3/4 of an acre in pt. reyes, california…it is a flat sunny lot..
a track house was built on it in 1988 and used as a rental all these years….
a blank slate with lots of gophers , wild birds, and sweeping view of tomales bay.
we have lots of dreams and very little money…so next spring we will move out and live in a tent while we gut the house…found a company called Sweetwater Tents.
it’s such a puzzle, we can’t extend the footprint of the house but i dream of clearing it all out blowing out as many windows as we can and putting in raised beds for vegetables and flowers and see what happens…see the best way to bring the new garden into the house…plant the garden first and get a big sink and shower close to the back door to wash off the dirt .
Would love to peruse this book and dwell on the spaces that the artists have concocted. Thanks so much for the insights.
I am the fifth generation to live in the farmhouse of our family. If money were no object I would hire a caligrapher to write down the many irish saying and quotes of a lively family. I would hire an artist to detail and paint on doors and walls similar to the charleston farmhouse in England, home to the Bloomsberries.
I don’t have enough room to store pantry items so I am making shelving from driftwood.
I would strip all the shelving, cabinets etc. that have been installed, toss all the furniture and start all over. I would keep it simple so that as my ideas change, I could
change the space, colors, treatments etc. I would then add a fabulous outdoor terrace. All the ‘treasures’ that one collects and has scattered around the home would be showcased in lite linear cabinets which would change and evolve. The books would have their own special place….to be determined, probably in the new library I would add.
I’d like to cover the walls with my favorite poems and quotes. And I want the chairs in the living room to be suspended–so they can be swings. And think how easy it would be to vacuun under them!
I’d try incorporating the environment into the house in a very direct way. Using the shapes and massing of the surrounding rocks and plants for the structures of the living spaces in an effort to completely blur the line between interior and exterior.
living in the very dry southwest (Santa Fe, NM), i would build mosaic gargling fountains in the front and back yards.
I would love to redo our small bathroom in an explosion of ornate patterns of tile from floor to ceiling. Many years ago, we visited Spain and I was absolutely stunned by the beautiful geometric patterns on every available plane. It would be a kaleidoscope bathroom experience.
I’m in the slow process of changing lots of stuff about my house – I remodeled the bathroom and put in a so-groovy mosaic in the half-ripped out tile in the shower, I replaced a boarded-over window with a greenhouse window and put glass tile around to hide the white vinyl frame, I’m adding tons of bookshelves. I’d love to put a shed dormer in the attic, and I’d love to put a slate floor in the tiny front room. And replace the vinyl siding with shingles. Oh, so many things.
I always thought it would be fun to add rooms that could be decorated in styles one might not want for daily living but would enjoy at certain times. A Victorian parlor for tea, a flouncy pink canopy bed with fussy dressing table and white french Provincial dressers, a sleek and glossy modern contemporary living room for cocktails and calculated conversation.
I have a vision for a studio building with lots of glass in the space beside our house. The lot is on a steep incline so the studio, even though firmly anchored with a conventional foundation would have the effect of being in the tree tops.
I would create a treehouse reading room In the back yard with a suspension bridge that leads to it from the bedroom.
Would love to do a reno in our 2-bdrm NYC apt to create better closets and much better air flow throughout. Not an exciting post, but it would be an exciting reno!!
I have a small (9’x10′) bedroom I sue as an office. I would like to rip[ the sliding closet doors off, build shelves in the closet to hold paper, art su-pplies, etc. I would then put shutters in front of the open space…since it si unlikely the space will ALWAYS be tidy. I am capable of doing all this work myself, but I stillhave a full time job.
I am already impressed with the flooring used as shelving from Russell Wright’s kitchen, as I’ve wanted to hang family pictures in a narrow hallway. The walls are plain but favorite poems and sayings would be grand surrounding the pictures.
If money were no object, I’d redo my backyard with a stone patio and and a pergole with lattice ends planted with spectacular roses blooming on one and grape vines on the other.
The book would be a delight for all to view!
In the upper midwest it is cold and sunless for a good four months and it gets tough to spend much time outdoors. Heating spaces surrounded by glass gets spendy. I’d like an outdoor light-filled space heated by renewables to relax in during the winter months. It should be filled with hammocks, comfy chairs and pillows, books, games and special (to me) found-art objects.
I would create a three-season kitchen (appliances on wheels that could be attached like trolley cars so they can be returned to winter kitchen) and adjoining laundry/sun room. I LOVE sunkissed laundry, and what better way to do a thing than alfresco?
I would build a small studio in my backyard with a sleeping loft. A place to do my quilting where I don’t have to put everything back in its place at the end of the day.
I would love to build an outdoor kitchen with an earthen for baking during the summer so I don’t have to heat up the house. It get’s HOT down here in Austin and every little bit helps the AC keep up.
Closet space is one of the only real complaints I have about our house in San Francisco. In my fantasy, I would add 8 feet onto the side of the house, incorporate the footprint of our current garage (which leaks from the rear wall inset into the hill), and build a “tower” next to the house that had a small elevator (we have 32 steps up to the house), for our aging selves, and a new room on top of the garage for my studio and closets, and an extension to the side of the house for more closets, and a big picture window in the (what is now a small) bedroom. Sigh. If wishes were horses….
If money was no object, I’d turn the old 1970s bathroom into a spa complete with Japanese soaking tub and a standing shower encased in glass with jets! Also, a heated stone floor, just because.
I lived in Japan as a toddler and again after college – I would love to build a moon viewing platform off the side of our house – we have a great view of the moon mid-summer from our bedroom, but higher ceilings and a Katsura like deck would be wonderful!!
move out of apartment-buy a yurt-put it next to an outdoor kitchen-mountain life outside santa fe
I wish I could line my bedroom with book cases, floor to ceiling. Blue walls, white shelves and all my books. Sounds like heaven.
My mid-century modernist home (built in 1957) has ceilings I can put my palm on without going tiptoe. I’d like to raise the ceiling (roof) about 3 feet and restore the unpainted tongue and groove wood ceiling and beams.
I have had 11 bags of Buddy Rhodes concrete waiting to be made into countertops for a year now. While they lurk in my garage I dream of cool grey slabs in the kitchen.
I added a 3-season room for my looms and spinning wheels and I still need to figure out where to put the outdoor shower.
I’d love to go solar and thermal so I can get off the grid.
I’d add a two story living space where my garage currently stands, with a bird’s nest of a bedroom on the second floor (with mountain views!) and a sewing studio at ground level…and maybe even a root cellar in the basement.
It’s as fun to read the comments as it is to look at those rich photographs. I used to dream of a “loft pool” for the backyard. The idea is like a loft bed–the pool would be up on stilts, so I don’t have to give up the little green space I have for a yard. I guess the pool would make it pretty shady, though. Maybe the pool could be transparent so the light would still come through. Be pretty fun to watch swimmers from below, also.
Two things I’d like in a house entrance: no steps, you just walk right in OR a grassy ramp, like the old midwestern barns.
I would love to add a garden room. A place to relax and grow some houseplants and herbs.
create a growing seasonal garden on the fire escape that still allows passage for safety.
Our small house was built with a small tuck-under garage, now walled off, and I’d like to convert the apron to some kind of driveable, walkable groundcover that could survive MN winters. Then I’d like to make our bluestone basement more inhabitable without covering the stone. We could at least use it for these sweltering July days. The old garage has no windows and would make a good isolation office.
Shoji as window treatment rather than sliding door. Obviously you’d need a lot of space on one or both sides of the window, but there’s a lot of time when I’d like to get some light from my windows without having it come via transparent glass. I also imagine that, done right, it could add a layer of insulation in winter.
I’d love an interior garden — like a patio inside the house with running water, etc.
Hi, I have never entered one of these giveaways before but when I opened my email this morning, I had to give it a go with this one. We’ve lived in our house – a 1930 Dutch Colonial Revival – for 3 years and done much to make it our own. One of the first things I suggested doing was to replace the old track lighting in our entrance with a paper globe, an idea nixed by the otherwise wonderful person with whom I share life. We still have the track lighting – it would be really fun to have the book.
I would love turning my garage into a working studio – glazing one wall for lots of natural light and judiciously adding a skylight or two. No fancy finishes just bare stud walls with a concrete floor. Light is most important. And heat. Would add a small gas stove. Hope I win this book!
I have two fantasies. One is to take our small bathroom and a small room next to it that was intended as a bedroom and combine them to create a larger bathroom and walk-in closet. Because we have only one bathroom, the new space would allow two people to use the room at the same time with some privacy (if you get what I mean ;-). The other is to turn our one-car, detached garage into a greenhouse. We already use it for storage, not for our cars, so thus would expand it’s functionality while significantly improving it’s aesthetics.
I am living in an 1840 farmhouse in Vermont. There is a restaurant/house that looks like a barn right adjacent. I would LOVE to put in some studio space for artists to come and work. The land is open and beautiful (see the website)…The tree joists that hold up the ceiling in the summer room (which probably once held hay above) are cracked and need to be supported. That would allow a beautiful studio with north light. How to do that without losing the original rustic feel? I LOVE this website. You have inspired, opened, enabled, encouraged, and shown ‘the light’ on so many days. Thank you so very much! chris
Living in Northern New York where the weather plays an important role in everyday life, it would be nice to have an inside/outside space connected to our Victorian house. A space where we could grow plants, eat meals, read, relax and enjoy the outside but be comfortable because we are inside in a controlled environment. Perhaps a smaller version of the glasshouse of Kew Gardens. And then so that this space wouldn’t look out of place landscape our property with gardens, secret nooks and other design features of English gardens. Thank you for encouraging me to fantasize for a few minutes.
I can’t top any of those entries…and yet there are a few changes I’d make to this home here on the Olympic peninsula. Because we sit on a bluff overlooking the tidal plains of Dungeness Bay where the ever changing view is a daily inspiration I’d find sharing the view with more people to be the greatest ‘bang for the buck’.
I dream of lying in a Japanese soaking tub surrounded by a screen of fragrant vines next to a garden room attached to the house.
I’d like to extend the house to enclose a central patio and fountain garden, build an outdoor shower and add a sleeping perch/porch in the tree that hangs over the yard
I would live to have speakers in every room that are connected to our computer.
We want to build a studio for my wife, a potter and jewelry designer, and me, an architect on our property. It needs to be tall enough to give a view of the close-by Gulf of Mexico.
Interiors a la Carl Larsson!
I’m a filmmaker and my husband is a violinist. We have created a house that suits our creative lives. But the backyard is a New Orleans jungle.
I imagine we add a bedroom on the back that opens into a lush wild garden.
Out there, we have a long table made of barge board. The table is covered with simple off-white muslin. Our friends and future children are gathered there eating a meal I made.
High on a mountain somewhere in Eastern Kentucky (far above the creeks and twisted dirt roads) the wind calls my name in a gray hollow voice. Nights are rich with purple dreams and days are achingly long. Crickets, grasshoppers, fireflies, mating calls. a featherbed by a sunny window, a potter’s shed out back. Dam this economy. The bubble broke and left a down to earth nature lover living in a small condo in a very busy area way north of Kentucky. But, my handmade home with a potter’s shed out back is still intact in my imagination.
I bought my first house ever last year – a little ranch on a concrete slab. Right now it’s a shell, due to some water damage this spring and insurance kaflamma. But I have lots of ideas: replace the crummy little windows with bigger windows, let in the east light, open the east wall of the kitchen onto a terrace, and build a sleeping porch on the east wall of the bedroom–can you tell I like east light? Right now the floors have been ripped out down to the slab. I’m hoping to put in radiant floor heating and stain the concrete or paint it. And solar hot water. And fruit trees and berries in the back yard. And, and, and, and… : >
I can’t figure out how to enter this; I’ve been round the page 3 times, where do I sign up for the drawing??
I lease a house that’s smack in the middle of a hilltop Pinot Noir vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. It’s a funky house from 1973, but the views are spectacular. I plan to stay here forever but would so love to pull out the wall to wall carpet and tile and replace it all with wood. The weird angles of the rooms, the too-many-doors, the old stained wood ceilings I can live with and even love, but the carpet’s got to go!
I wish one day I could have the courage to build up a simple open to the sky toilet in my house. With wooden floor and sorrounded by all kind of feathery plants. the only thing I succeed to do in my actual house ( in Buenos Aires, Argentina ) is to have the wooden floor, but the hole idea of being at the toilet in the middle of nature is on my wishing list at my next house. Its an idea I found reading “El elogio de la sombra” from Tanizaki.
Toward the continued pursuit of true inspiration, I would like to receive a copy of this publication. I live in such a space while working on my house in such a manner / manor. I fear that the deadline has passed for this giveaway – is there another for october 2011?
the things I have always dreamed about:
a bed under the stairs,
a sunken court yard,
a ladder to a loft,
a seat in the window,
a hammock in the garden.
i would love to design and build a art studio in my garden.
I look for and await inspiration anywhere and everywhere, having renovated several homes, and designed and built one straight from my heart.This book could only be an added source of inspiration!
Definitely have ideas. For one, a home for me must have flow, at least a natural figure 8 and a half to meander and get lost in. Plus definitely No toilet near the bathtub, icky how barbaric is that?
America, wake up!
And of course a Japanese soaking tub!
You never bath in, just soak.
No way a “hot tub”, no way compares to a Japanese soaking tub!
It’s like healing wow!
I have some features in my home, like separate toto ( toilet) , but, I’m tribal and thinking wooden yurt, tribal rugs, suzani’s, a shower panel in shower btw that rectangular or large round, like raining, and pebble heated floor for a great feel underfoot.
Def need help to build a cool wooden yurt with wrap around porch, and ceramic studio. Greenhouse. On a shoestring!!
Don’t get me started!
Your book sounds great!!!
I want one!!
Thank you soo much!!
i’d like to enlarge my bathroom and have a glass brick wall that let’s light, but not vision, in. i would like a center drain in the floor and the whole bathroom mural tiled (a mural designed and made by me) top to bottom–ie water-proofed. there would be a roll-in shower and tiny tub-just large enough to sit in completely, but saves water. the floor of the bathroom would be marble. a side door would go out to a deck, where there would be a long narrow lap pool and trees, plants, rocks, a small café work table. the sides of the pool would be high-18”-a height that a wheelchair user could easily get into the pool from. from the deck there is another entrance–probably french doors, into the main house room. (so there is easy access both to the bathroom from the pool area as well as to the main house).
dreams of health, beauty and well-being…
I love your imaginings…Visualizing always being the place to start to moving toward actual solutions, if not imaginary ones. Creative thinking always pays off in the real world.
I would finish my attic, install huge skylights and create an artist’s studio/sanctuary for myself!