Saturday, December 6, 2014

Shoes Make the Invisible Man

Lui Bolin
Some may remember the Where's Waldo books, a children's reading saga that involved--not so much reading--as trying to find a man named Waldo in the pictures surrounded by dozens of other things that look just like him. Now we find Chinese artist Lui Bolin takes this one step further by not only blending in, but by being "one" with his surroundings. 

Bolin is known as "the invisible man" in worldwide art circles and he describes his work as "creating scenes that are statements about our relationship with our surroundings." Bolin is best known for his "hiding in the city" series, which is depicted in photographs some of which we show here. From what we can tell, the best way to find Bolin, is to find his shoes.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Haunted Houses OK for resale in PA---EEEEk!

    This from Courthouse News....(CN) - The sellers of homes do not have to disclose "psychological stigmas," such as murders, to prospective buyers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled.
     The state's highest court unanimously ruled Monday in favor of Kathleen and Joseph Jacono regarding the sale of their Delaware County house in 2007 for $610,000.
     The buyer, Janet Milliken, sued the couple for failing to disclose that a previous owner, Konstantinos Koumboulis, killed himself and his wife in the house in February 2006. Miliken said she learned of the deaths from a neighbor after she moved in from California.
     She sued for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violations of state consumer protection laws. The trial court later tossed the suit, holding the Jacanos had no duty to disclose the deaths and that they made no misrepresentation of material fact to support the claims.
     Writing for the state Supreme Court, Justice J. Michael Eakin agreed with the lower court that the deaths were not material facts that should have been disclosed. He noted that "the varieties of traumatizing events" that could happen at a property "are endless."
     "Efforts to define those that would warrant mandatory disclosure would be a Sisyphean task," the eight-page opinion stated. "One cannot quantify the psychological impact of different genres of murder, or suicide - does a bloodless death by poisoning or overdose create a less significant 'defect' than a bloody one from a stabbing or shooting? How would one treat other violent crimes such as rape, assault, home invasion, or child abuse? What if the killings were elsewhere, but the sadistic serial killer lived there? What if satanic rituals were performed in the house?"
     Although such events would disturb most people and make them not want to live in the house, the tragic events are not defects in the structure itself, Eakin said.
     "The occurrence of a tragic event inside a house does not affect the quality of the real estate, which is what seller disclosure duties are intended to address," the opinion stated. "We are not prepared to set a standard under which the visceral impact an event has on the populace serves to gauge whether its occurrence constitutes a material defect in property. Such a standard would be impossible to apply with consistency and would place an unmanageable burden on sellers, resulting in disclosures of tangential issues that threaten to bury the pertinent information that disclosures are intended to convey."
     If anything, the passage of time may make such events "historical curiosities" that "may even increase the value of the property," Eakin suggested. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ON Board with Jared Rusten

"Rusten" is a good name for someone in the eco biz. It sounds very organic, which is exactly how Jared Rusten of San Francisco, a prolific woodworker and furniture guru, thinks. He's best known for his "California" series which offers eager buyers desks and coffee tables in the shape of the "golden state."  All of his pieces are as pristine as the grand outdoor locations from which the wood originally hails, and they are oiled in low toxic tung and linseed. It turns out that the California state shape is perfect for wrapping a neat corner since it skirts the body so nicely. 

Since 2007, Rusten has been crafting this iconic furniture out of Claro Walnut. He said,"I can't think of a greater tribute to this material than to create from it, functional pieces of furniture in the shape of its geographic origin." In honor of that origin, he spends an extraordinary amount of time on every part of the construction process which makes his craftsmanship pure perfection.

He's on the look out for "Intense grains."

Unlike other wood species, Claro Walnut possesses a spectrum of colors and textures. Neither is it easy to find. Rusten has to source the materials from small lumberyards and independent sawyers. Then it has to be milled, laid out, joined, hand sanded, and buffed. All this this work is very time consuming. Add to that the fact that Claro Walnut is no longer planted in orchards to be regularly harvested, and you have to wonder at the relatively reasonable pricing of Rusten's furniture. The average cost of a small 56"L x 16'H coffee table is $1650. He sells through his website and also on Etsy.

To ensure the unique quality of his furniture, Rusten is always on the look out for Claro Maple that has what he calls an "intense grain." This attention to detail is what makes Rusten furniture special. Once examined, you'll appreciate the time expended on finding just the right pieces of wood. They are worth the wait; so eco smart, modern and chic that we can only say,"Happy hunting!"
Jared Rusten on board

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Insanely Efficient: How Much Space Do You Need?

"Open one of the closets and you'll find ten stackable chairs."

Buzzbuzz Home News, reports that New York entrepreneur Graham Hill, founder of  found a way to pack eight rooms into 350 square feet by designing his Soho studio as a transforming space.“The living room and office become the bedroom with a tug of a bookshelf,” explains a post on “Open one of the closets and you’ll find 10 stackable chairs that go around a telescopic dining table,,"  They call it "Goliath" and it sets the perfect size for larger dinner parties. An entire guest room with bunk-beds and a closet are revealed behind a wall that slides out on tracks. And in addition, there's a full, well designed kitchen, a bathroom with shower and a pull down seat which covers the toilet, basically converting the space into a telephone booth for private conversations. The room is also filled with space saving furniture from places like Resource Furniture. Also video'd here from BuzzBuzz: A home inspired by "origami" in Manhattan--450 sq. ft-- owned by third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider and in Seattle,182 square feet that's racked, packed and stacked and owned by engineer, Steve Sauer who shows to what levels space-saving can go!  


....BONUS The tiniest yet--108 square feet!