Friday, May 20, 2011

Arroyo Vista Inn and Fountain Idea

The outside of the Arroyo Vista Inn has a nice fountain across from the parking lot, with a nearby bench.  Here's a picture:

The Inn is on a hill overlooking a somewhat noisy street.  The new Pasadena light rail system runs maybe two blocks away, and you can hear it pretty easily.  The fountain provides a bit of white noise to the parking area.  Our three-year old loved it; he could have spent an hour tossing pebbles into it.

We're thinking about using the idea of a fountain like this to provide some white noise to drown out the loud traffic that we can hear in the back of our bungalow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Arroyo Vista Inn, Pasadena

On our (literally) ill-fated visit to Bungalow Heaven in Pasadena, we stayed at a nice B&B called the Arroyo Vista Inn.  It is about 20 minutes away from Bungalow Heaven, on the other side of the 110 freeway.

The Inn bills itself as "one of the few surviving examples of architect Lester Moore’s Craftsman-style houses."  It is a beautiful old house.  Here's the entrance, where you can see the beautiful big veranda:

This view shows a bit more of the side of the house.  There are more rooms in another building just behind this one:

A view of the side of the B&B:

The house is beautiful.  They have a large common area downstairs, and a good-size dining room that seats 6-8 people at each of two tables.

There are three stories; getting to the top is good exercise, and wouldn't be easy for some older folks. 

One drawback to the rooms:  the windows don't open.  Climate control is fine, but we frequently like to get a bit of fresh air.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Berkeley Mills Saves the Day, Part II

About 2-3 weeks later, Dave had created from scratch a beautiful railing.  It progresses up the stairs and around the odd corners of the stairwell in steps itself.  Words don’t really describe it, so here are the pictures:

This first picture shows the woodwork at the bottom of the stairs.  You can see the quality of the wood, and the care taken to fit it perfectly into the molding at the bottom of the stairs:

Here's a view looking upwards.  You can see that at the landings in the middle of the stairs, the railing gradually bumps up, fitting together like an upward puzzle:

Here's a closer view of the landing:

And here's a view looking down the stairs.  You can also see where the railing fits back into the wall at the top of the stairs:

 What’s more, the price was far better than I expected (given the price of the beautiful couch).  This was not easy work, and it is beautiful.  

In my mind, this cemented Berkeley Mills as THE place to go for serious and beautiful carpentry.  

I should add that Berkeley Mills is not sponsoring this blog and I have absolutely no connection to them.  Nor would they likely recognize me if they saw me walking down the street; all this work was done a few years ago.  I just love their work and their professional approach (and general lack of pretentiousness).  Just blown away by their work.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Berkeley Mills Saves the Day, Part I

A few years after we got our sofa from Berkeley Mills, we faced a different sort of old bungalow challenge.  We had just become parents.  Our home has two floors, and the master bedroom is upstairs.  The staircase is a winding sort of thing – not a tight circle, but essentially two sets of stairs divided around a corner that also has a stair.

The problem:  No railing going up the stairs. 

Carrying a baby up and down the stairs without a railing?  Bad idea, we figured.  My general lack of coordination plus the lack of sleep that accompanies an infant?  I feel woozy just thinking about it.
At the time I thought to myself, “this isn’t a big deal.”  I figured I could put brackets into the walls and put a long and thick stick-like “railing” up each of the two sets of stairs. 

I expressed this idea to my wife.  Luckily, she was not impressed. 

I didn’t have a better idea.  Luckily (again), my wife did.  She thought of calling Berkeley Mills to see if they could do some custom woodworking to build us a railing.  I initially thought that they couldn’t possibly be in that sort of business and, if they were, the cost would be prohibitively expensive.

I was wrong.

We worked with one of the owners of Berkeley Mills.  He looked at pictures of our stairway and came in to take some measurements.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bungalow Heaven in Pasadena

Several weeks ago, I wrote with eager anticipation about our eagerly anticipated trip down to Pasadena for the annual Bungalow Heaven home tour.

On Saturday April 10th, we set out for the long drive down to Pasadena.  It was a great road trip.  Our 3-year-old did really well, especially given the distance.

We stayed at a nice craftsman-like B&B in Pasadena, which will be the subject of an upcoming post.  The next morning we had a decent breakfast, with some vanilla-flavored coffee.

We checked in and got our tickets at the fantastic park down the street from Bungalow Heaven.  My wife walked off to a class on gardening, while I stayed behind with our son to play at the park for about an hour.

About 5 minutes after she left, with our son playing on the playground, I knew something was wrong.  Very wrong.  Not with our son -- but with me.  Stomach virus.  For the first time in a decade (or two).

I didn't want to interrupt the gardening class.  I did want to do the tour.  I will avoid getting graphic -- but things were getting pretty darn grim for me.

In the end, I personally only got to see one of the six houses on the tour.  I'll post about that one soon.  My wife got a chance to see a few of the others.  She'll post about those.

And that's the cause of the delay.

Blog Roll

We've added several blogs to our blog roll.  Check them out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright Tour

Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago (about 10 miles west of downtown).  There are around two dozen private homes and buildings that Frank Lloyd Wright either designed or renovated there between 1899 and 1913.

Generally, these pieces of history are not open to the public -- that is except for the Wright Plus Tour offered in mid-May.  The Wright Plus tour offers the chance to visit a number of privately-owned Wright houses.  The tour is on May 21, 2011.

Examples of places to visit year-round include the Unity Temple, a Unitarian parish church that Wright designed in 1908, and where he was a member.  It is at 875 Lake Street, telephone (708) 848-6225.

Also, it is possible to spend the night at the Cheney House, a Wright structure.  The Cheney House was designed in 1903-04.

Other sites to visit:

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio:  951 Chicago Avenue at Forest Avenue (telephone:  (708) 848-1976).

Chicago Architecture Center:  224 S. Michigan Avenue:  Offers tours of downtown Chicago, plus tours that focus on Wright's architecture in Oak Park.

My son really enjoyed visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright house and going on the tour!