It’s high time for a coffee break…

There’s no rest for the weary. Though the suitably roomy L-shaped sofa has arrived, Gadora is still searching for extra seating for the 2nd Floor Lounge. I’m hoping it will be the place-to-be after all, so we’ll want enough space for the work peeps to enjoy it, thoroughly. In search of both a “floating” wall shelf and carved wooden stumps, last week I visited the folks at Delta Millworks, who recommended I meet Lee of Old Texas Floors (there’s a visual story here! but you’ll have to wait for it). Lee’s worked up a pricey quote for 2 stumps-to-turn-stools and to be sure…I surfed the interwebs for comparable items.

Turns out Lee’s wood stools—which were once beams anchoring an old warehouse—will be aaaah-mazing and at more than 100 years old, they are priced just right. While nurturing a cup o’ joe this morning, Gadora found a few items worth percolating over: home furnishings made from reclaimed coffee sacks.

VivaTerra's recycled seat

This hand-built chair inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona, is an upholstered version of a Mexican butaca. They’re made of machiche, a tropical Guatemalan hardwood, with well-padded cushions upholstered in reclaimed jute coffee sacks. I. Want. Two.

Close-up.

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2nd Floor lounge… coming together…

For the last couple of weeks, Gadora has been point person for the office’s 2nd floor lounge. The original vision: transform an otherwise pedestrian 19′ x 22′ office room with a well-appointed kitchenette into a vintage, yet modern, industrial space filled with plenty of seating, a phat TV and a bar. The room would be at once fun and FUNctional, durable and inviting. The original design team, to whom I’m grateful for passing their torch, presented a few spaces worthy of emulation: the Mohawk Lounge’s green room.

Green Room at Mohawk Lounge

And another (anonymous) spot: rich with woods and color, filled with interesting shapes and vintage, unique pieces.

Modern Victorian

Since having received said torch, Gadora has been on the hunt for fierce furnishings to fill the space. Not. A. Bit. Of. Pressure. The folks at the office are a determined and creative bunch. The new physical space would reflect our penchant for cutting-edge innovation in cyberspace. The concrete flooring had just been done—a stained concrete floor that’d make any UT fan proud. But the rest was bare…

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Making furniture (and such) out of car parts…

Sadly, Gadora’s Wonder Wagon was in a fender-bender last week. See my sad face? This week I was able to drive “The Paiger” to a few repair shops to see about getting her fixed back up. They’ll reload her with a new bumper and a refurbished trunk. Got Gadora to thinking, what might happen with my used and broken car parts?

Thanks DailyCandy for the e-introduction to Joel Hester, of Dallas-based The Weld House. L-O-V-E his work! He faithfully scrounges salvage yards turning mangled steel into coffee tables, consoles, beds and such. Hard to say he’d find this kind of inspiration from my Mazda wagon as he’s more an old school kind-of-guy… but he just might.

BEFORE: A beater with a personality begs for transformation…

62 Ford Galaxie

AFTER: As Joel says, “the hit the car took buckled the hood but the skin separated from the underside of the hood and the sheet metal was not kinked or bent. Once I cut the sheet metal skin from the hood’s underside, it was back to its flat condition. Lucky on many levels.” We’ll say.

Finished 62 Ford Galaxie

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Harnessing rain for a greater good…

Had this convo with a coworker yesterday: her In-Laws are on their way. We think. And while their arrival date is uncertain, it is clear when they do get here… they WILL do laundry. And LOTS of it. She had last years’ water bill to prove the family’s conviction towards doing loads of laundry… on the month they visited, her water bill spiked well-above reasonable human consumption. 50,000 gallons to be exact.

Last night, Austin’s skies threatened a downpour. I waited. Gadora is reminded of a neighborhood house I toured recently whose owner ripped out the grass in favor of indigenous and non-needy plants. She’d built this tank in her backyard that kind of made me jealous. That woman can collect some water. She would be happy, I was sure. Thought I’d touch on rain harvesting. A product of a heated ecosystem in central Florida that allowed the skies to open up quite regularly in the summers, I love the rain. And when rain happens in Texas, I can do nothing but rejoice.

Government Canyon State Natural Area

“Rainwater harvesting is one of the world’s oldest water supply methods and it is currently enjoying a revival in popularity,” starts EdwardsAquifer.net. “Rain has long been valued as a superior quality water because it is soft, free of sodium and chemicals, and is excellent for landscape use. Collecting rain also reduces flooding and can help utilities reduce peak demands during summer months.”

This “harvesting system provides 100 gallons of rainwater storage within an 8-foot vertical planted frame. Below right is the concept featured at the 2009 Interior Design Show in Toronto…..sure beats the typical barrel collection method!”

CISTA Rainwater Harvesting

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Longtime love: The Century Plant.

Austin has had an exceptional* rainy season. Besides the full-bodied trees and the flashes of color blanketing the roadside (Thank you Lady Bird), many Century Plants have been in full bloom. Their stalks are proud with patches of vibrant yellow flowers. Gadora’s Grandmother’s house boasted a gargantuan Century Plant. And it utterly mesmerized me.

Agave Americana

It was so out-of-place at her house, I remember thinking—I don’t recall there being another anywhere around. Hers was a Southern yard. Several stately Oak trees canopied the drive. A hearty row of bushes between her house and Uncle P’s provided plenty of fort-like excursions for we imaginative country kids. There was the spindly tree that bloomed the greenest figs. That is still my favorite color. And there was that Century Plant,** snugged so tight to the house I thought it might uproot it.

Adrienne C. Jones "Agave"

There was something magical about the way it unfolded, and those little needle marks left on the leaf closest. I’d run my hands up and down its soft, dense leaf-like appendages and play chicken with its quills. It stood taller than me. A Century Plant. It grows a hundred years. That’s like… forever. I thought.

Continue reading “Longtime love: The Century Plant.”