Posted on April 23 2010
Being in the business of exteriors, you'd think we'd be down with all the latest and greatest in siding etc, but we tend to be navel gazers for the most part, and check only for doorbell buttons when we slowly cruise by any mod dwellings. Not that we don't notice, we just happen to be very focused on one very small thing. Micro destroys macro in our vision. In this fine story, The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Pinkwater, a man named Mr. Plumbean "ruins" his Levittown-ish street after a seagull drops a can of paint on his roof. Instead of cleaning it up, as his neighbors request, he uses it as a starting point for a wild whole-house mural. Neighbors come to talk some sense into him, but he replies "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams." His gospel spreads down the street, and eventually all the neighbors express themselves architecturally. Beware all die-hard modernists: this book celebrates useless ornament in all its glory, but I love the absurdity, the death of cookie cutter houses, and the idea that our built environments can reflect our identities.
As an added perk, "Mr. Plumbean" is a great code name for any architectural eccentric in your hood. We are pleased to have at least three within blocks of our abode.
But when I was poking round all the fantastic submissions we got from Design Milk readers during our giveaway last month, I found this awesome duplex done by architect Nicole Blair of Studio 512 in Austin. For once, the siding made me look. It is nice to see color for a change, and the tone and dimensions play without being too much. I'd be curious to know how much upkeep it requires, but for now, I will just say: nice. We were also pleased to discover a nice shot of our Delight button on the Studio 512 website, and we are always happy to find that great architects already know us.