So, MOMA, I hear you want to expand. How nice for you. No, really. That’s actually good news for New York. We do love a good art museum. Love it more when it’s a suggested admission and not some crazy, rip off price that’s too steep for actual working artists to afford, but I digress.
It seems a bit … oh, I dunno, ironic, that in order for you to expand, you want to tear down a 12 year old architectural work of art by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Do you think that only canvases and sculptures should be considered art? Does it not matter to you that these architects CREATED this building?
Excuse me, but how is this any different than taking a torch to a Warhol? Could you imagine the outrage if someone went and bulldozed a pile of Pollocks? You even have an architecture and design department in the museum, for fuck’s sake!
Do I love the building in question? Not really. I don’t have much appreciation for anything new. I’m all about the antique and vintage. But that doesn’t mean I want to see someone’s work being torn down. It’s not a cheap-ass brick Fedder’s building. It’s someone’s imagination being brought to life.
And I think you, MOMA, of all institutions, should not try to tear down anyone’s imagination.
posted @ 9:05 am Comments (0)
Can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind to do a house in “Flintstones” style. But “The Simpsons“? Never considered the house to be anything special…until seeing it in real life. Now I totally want a cartoon house!
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Call for submissions from artists, designers and architects to put Rockaway back together again. MOMA PS1 started work on the temporary Rockaway dome that will house proposal exhibitions. Dome is set to open to the public in April. Progress, peeps!
posted @ 7:42 am Comments (0)
The house had been sitting empty since the fire in 2003. It always seemed so crazy that a once majestic home was allowed to deteriorate while real estate in this pocket of Bed Stuy has remained tight.
I heard that it was going up for auction. First I saw the “suits” meeting out front. Then came the rubbish removal truck. I knew something was going down.
Today I weaseled my way into 91 Macon while my neighbor was waiting to let the water company in. He was put in charge for the day, flashlight and all. Since I’m a licensed real estate agent and it IS officially on the market, it wasn’t verboten even though I felt like I was trespassing.
So here’s how crazy real estate in Brooklyn is. They are asking $900k as is. Word on the street is that they intend to renovate but leave any detail that’s there (Praise God) and that price will be $1.5m. Public record shows that they purchased it at auction for $600k a few months ago. That’s a hefty profit although not quite the $300k it may look like. Perhaps there were other liens and taxes, clean up costs, legalizing “stuff”, getting rid of squatters or dead bodies…
In any case, high for Bed Stuy? Homes in the area have been hitting over a million. Although $900k seems steep, $800′s seems almost fair. It’s 4000 square feet. I’m gonna predict they either get $850k as is, $1.1 on a crappy flip or $1.3 on a nice restoration.
posted @ 6:43 am Comments (0)
The Stables (our rental)
I’m baaaack! This reclaimed chick couldn’t have stayed at a more appropriate accommodation in County Mayo as an appreciater of reclaim-ed-ness. Who knew? Twas my brother in law who picked the cottage, not moi.
The 100 acre farm has been in the Keane family since the 1600′s. There are still cattle roaming about. As a vegetarian, this made me sad, but I will say that at least these guys looked as happy as they can be even though their lives will be short.
The idea of converting the barn, granary and stables into vacation rentals was the idea of this generation’s Momma Keane. These impressive “country folk” have an awesome sense of design and style. Or they just hired realllly good architects and builders.
On to my horrible iPhone pictures!
The Main House (not for rent)
Our Stone Fireplace with gorgeous beam
Sliding door that I want to show my carpenter (pay no attention)
Pitch Pine floors reclaimed from a nearby town
Antique tools and parts act as sculptures throughout the property.
Stone patio overlooking the cattle. They come to get treats just like dogs.
posted @ 5:18 am Comments (0)
I’m doing a marathon home search of Ulster County today. A 2.5 hour drive up, look at nine houses and drive back. All by my little self. It took me most of the day yesterday to sort out the listings, map out and schedule my day and make appointments. Last time I looked for a house in the country, the realtor did that for me AND took me out to lunch. Now I have a license and I can save a few bucks on the purchase by doing it myself. But ya gotta hand it to agents outside of the city. They work twice as hard and earn less than half as much.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I came across this house in High Falls and was briefly interested until I realized that it’s a trailer with extensions. At least that’s what I think it is. My husband thinks it’s a modular home. In any case, that is one funky high rise for $50k.
Not sure if it’s still available. I found it outside of the MLS.
posted @ 5:43 am Comments (0)
It’s not often I get a fun AND informative expense paid weekend. Once again, thanks to the Plastics Make it Possible campaign for inviting me along to the Solar Decathlon in DC. I was honored to be included among such bloggers of awesomeness as Jetson Green, Dwell, Shawna Coronado and Ugly Duckling House .
The weather wasn’t exactly cooperative, but we struggled through it like troopers. The first home we toured with Brooks Utley was the Caltech Compact Hyper Insulated Prototype or CHIP. I’m not gonna lie. The interior was nice, but this house was alllll about the exterior for me. Anything that looks like a space ship is fabnificent in my book. The CHIP does not have any insulation, not because they are from sunny California and don’t need it. It’s because that funky puffy “siding” acts as the outsulation, a word they are trying to get into the dictionary. CHIP’s skin is made of heavy-weight (24oz/yrd) recycled white vinyl. White was used to reflect as much of solar radiation as possible, reducing cooling load. The “siding” is highly durable and waterproof.
Florida International University also had an impressive exterior. Their perFORM[D]ance House has layered walls designed to protect the house from undesired elements. Check out their website for energy performance on the walls and windows. It’s the louver system I want to discuss. The PVC and aluminum panels shade and protect the house as well as provide hurricane protection. Looks a bit nicer than the plywood or duct tape people were using here for Irene, no?
The winner of the 2011 Solar Decathlon was the University of Maryland with their Watershed project. They best utilized sustainable design for running the entire house.
Check out the home’s control panel with an easy button thrown in for good measure.
The dehumidifier is a work of art. The Innovative Liquid Desiccant Waterfall (LDW) system was developed by Maryland’s 2007 LEAFHouse team. A high-saline solution absorbs humidity from the air as it falls through back lit plastic “jellyfish”. It’s beautiful AND smart.
My personal favorite was New York’s Parsons School of Design. Not because I’m partial to NY (I am). Not even because I thought the house had the best overall design. It’s the story behind it that I fell in love with. The EmpowerHouse is a Habitat for Humanity home and of all the houses we toured, this one felt like a HOME. It’s probably because the lucky family who are inheriting the house were there on hand. Their photos were on display. This was actually someone’s home and I got a little verklempt when I met them.
My own honorable mention and the winner of the People’s Choice Award is Appalachian State’s Solar Homestead. Whereas some of the entries felt a bit cramped, this home had space and style. Once again, it was the exterior that blew me away.
The modular porch with outbuildings is kept dry by a bifacial PV canopy that acts as a net zero energy source for the home. The technology allows each 195 watt panel to collect sunlight bounced from below as well as above.
But honestly, the had me at the bark siding. Yes, this is durable and water resistant as long as it’s not sitting in a flood zone. The bad news is that it’s expensive.
Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on some other innovations I saw and easy DIY techniques we can steal for you kids to try at home. The bark included. Yum!
posted @ 10:02 am Comments (1)
I was just looking back on some old Flickr photos of my Bed Stuy renovation and realized that I never blogged about my fabulous parlor floor hallway. (Nor various other little projects)
That’s the before shot you see above. The previous owners “renovated” the house. Oh please, don’t get me started. Everything in the hallway was painted a glossy shit brown…the bannister, the newel post, the doors and the molding.
We took the double doors down and stripped and repaired them. They were in pretty bad shape and needed some fill in material. The back door with that badly home made transom was switched out for an antique door that actually fit into the frame.
Ah, but my pride and joy is that newel post! The one that was there when we bought the house consisted of four pieces of plywood boxed together with a Home Depot doodad on top. We found a gorgeous salvaged newel post that would have been original to a brownstone of this era and replaced it with that. The post was stripped and stained to match everything else.
The Victorian light fixture and ornate radiator were also salvaged finds.
This stuff doesn’t really take much design skill. It’s kind of just like putting back what was taken out.
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Having grown up in NYC, I take many things for granted. Architecture is one of them. 45 years of seeing the same buildings. Why would I stop and look now?
Well, over the weekend I visited the Museum of the American Indian for the first time in the downtown location. Walked into the building and was blown away by the interior. Seriously, blown away.
The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts buildings in the city. The winding staircase! The rotunda with the huge skylight (it was leaking)! The marble everywhere! I’d be beyond thrilled to have a living room as nice as the ladies room.
Go visit. The museum is free because it’s a government building. Good museum too!
And look at all these other beautiful government buildings. I just pass them all the time. Maybe now I’ll stop and say hello.
posted @ 7:10 am Comments (0)
Just grabbing some photos from the World Wide Web today for your enjoyment. Click on images for more info.
posted @ 7:02 am Comments (0)
Much enjoyed touring my own area of Bed Stuy yesterday with Andrew Dolkart, Brownstoner’s “Montrose Morris” and Save Bedford Stuyvesant‘s “Amzi Hill”. Since I didn’t take notes, I’m just posting some pics and referring you to the links above for your own research. Because I’m lazy that way.
Or…perhaps some kind reader will comment on what we’re looking at.
Full Flickr set.
posted @ 8:40 am Comments (0)
Come see why I love my neighborhood so much! Bed Stuy is HU-UGE! This area is the proposed “Bedford Corners Historic District” aka “My Neck of the Woods”.
posted @ 6:22 am Comments (2)
I loves me some haunted houses. My perfect house is one that looks all scary and haunted but in fact has some pleasant, helpful spirits floating around. Here’s some cool Flickr imagery.
posted @ 5:22 am Comments (0)
Energy efficiency begins with your windows. Signature Contractors will help you find a qualified window technician to lighten your house but not your wallet.