Posts in Design
House of St. Clair

I have a confession to make, I’ve been holding out on you. It’s partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I’ve wanted to keep it all to myself. It’s time to come clean though and introduce you to House of St. Clair. I’m not a particularly fashionable guy, but I’ve always thought that menswear is feeling fairly stagnant these days. That’s exactly what got me so excited about HOSC. They take deep inspiration from the past (like their Detroit influenced fall winter collection) but execute everything with a contemporary twist.

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O. Carl Happel

There are many architects names that are universally recognized, Frank Lloyd Wright for example. Then there are those names that are well known to local architecture fans like our own A. D Stenger. But for every well know architect there are countless others that go unnoticed, and not because they weren't talented or deserving of recognition. If you are a true architect nerd like me those names like Herbert Crume, John S Chase, Barton Riley, or Roland Roessner may ring a bell. Today I'd like to introduce you to another. O. Carl Happel. 

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Esby

If you get my newsletter you have probably heard me mention Esby a few times in the past. They are a local clothing brand founded in 2014 by Stephanie Beard. Stephanie comes from a background of designing menswear for major brands and started Esby to focus on quality clothing for men and women with a menswear mentality. What they mean by that is that the close are made to be comfortable, durable and worn often.

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Finding your space

Last year I was fortunate enough to have some talented friends over to help document our house and capture a few of my thoughts about what makes a good space. If you haven't already seen the gorgeous photos taken by Andrea Calo stop what you are doing right now and check them out here

Special thanks also goes out to Sisterwolf for getting me in front of a camera and picking my brain a bit about why I love architecture and the work I do. 

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Travel Report : Panama

2016 was a doozy of a year with plenty of ups and downs. Despite the bitter taste that certain political events had left in our mouths, my wife and I were intent on starting 2017 off on the right foot. When a few friends from Salt Lake City asked if we wanted to head to Panama for the new year we were all in. Beyond a few random facts about the Panama Canal, I knew almost nothing about the country. We ended up spending 7 days in Casco Viejo, the historic section of the city and 3 days drifting around the Pearl Islands. Here's a little recap for anyone curious or heading down that way.

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Building a house : Looking back

I know a lot of you have been patiently waiting for photos of my house finished. There are a few tiny projects I'm finishing up still and then I promised I'll share. In the meantime we are finally at a good stopping point were I think it would be fun to stop and look at how far we've come. The two biggest questions I get about my house are how long did it take, and how much did it cost. So let's start with the first. I've broken down a rough timeline below of major milestones and noted where we could have moved faster. Cliff notes: it takes a long time to build a house.

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Pop Austin Giveaway!

Austin may be well known for its music scene, but it also has a flourishing art scene that deserves attention. Despite having lots of legitimate local talent I've always felt like the city has been lacking a bit in exhibitions with well known national and international artists. Don't get me wrong, The Contemporary does a decent job but I'm super excited about the good work that POP Austin has been doing in the contemporary art scene here in Austin. That's why I'm super excited to be giving away 10 weekend passes to this year's show. So let's get to the details:

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Progress report

It's crazy to think the last update was all the way back in February. Since then a lot has changed. It's still not much to look at from the street, between the dumpster, the fence and all the scaffolding. We're just waiting for the rain to pass so we can do our last coat of stucco. It's a white stucco with integral color, when finished it almost looks just like white concrete. With that and some metal screens that we have planned over the windows it should be looking lots better soon. You can see now that thanks to it being set below grade it doesn't look too imposing, despite being two stories. I parked my classic Range Rover there to help you with scale. :)

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Taking shape

I just looked back at my post from a month ago when our house had just gotten framed up, and I'm surprised at how much progress we've made. It's that awkward time where almost every day something new happens, but it doesn't feel like we are making any real progress. The reality is things are moving right along. All the rough plumbing is done, as is all the rough HVAC. Three of our sliding glass doors have been installed and the big pocket sliding door should go in next week. The roof is done, and the walls have been sheathed and waterproofed. When I list it all out like that it seems like a lot has happened. Most exciting though is the fact that the house and the spaces inside are starting to take shape. Let me give you a little tour.

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Update : Framing

The crazy thing about building a house is that some things happen really really slow, and others seem to happen really fast. We designed and schemed for over a year, waited for permits and bank approval for months, and in a matter of weeks our house has gone from a bare foundation to framing in the shape of our dreams.  We can actually wander around the space and imagine what the rooms will feel like and what it will be like to live in this home we helped design. Mind. Blown.

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Austin Bouldering Project

Growing up in Utah I did my fair share of climbing. Despite my love of the outdoors however, probably some of my favorite climbing has been bouldering in gyms. For those of you who don't know, bouldering is a form of climbing where you ditch all the ropes and harnesses and stick to short routes with pads underneath them in case you fall. As soon as I caught wind of a bouldering gym in East Austin, I was super stoked.

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Roots of Modernism : Meet Mies

This weekend I'm spending a 4 day weekend in Chicago, and the windy city has got me thinking about the roots of modernism in America. I've been a fan of modern architecture ever since the day I discovered it. Over the years I have found that architecture, like any of the arts, is more meaningful and powerful when you know some of the context surrounding it. While you can trace modernism back to Bauhaus in Europe, where it really gets interesting to me is when the war forced all of that talent to flee Europe, much of it landing in the United States.

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SHED Barber Shop

Whether you are new to a city, or you've lived there your whole life, there is a deep satisfaction that comes with finding the right person to cut your hair. It's a hunt that can be at times daunting especially for guys like me who don't go around asking other dudes where they got their hair cut. Maybe that's why my hair has gotten so long over the last couple of years. Either that, or I'm just lazy. 

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Demo days

This week marks a monumental step in the progress of our house project, one that is met with mixed emotions. Our little house in east Austin is gone. In it's place is an empty lot full of dirt, a special pecan tree and most of all the promise of a dream come true. 

Designing and building a modern home has been a dream of mine for over 10 years. I started Grassrootsmodern.com in 2005 to document my journey towards that goal, and after many starts, stops, reboots and full on failures I find myself now on the brink of the beginning. It's thrilling, terrifying and most of all exhausting. 

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Just screw it.

I love a good project as much as the next guy, but lately I haven't had much ambition to take on anything too big. Ever since we moved into our new house we've had plan of installing some lighting above our dining room table, but the thought of putting more money or time into this house was a hard pill to swallow. Despite my laziness, when 8 new Plumen bulbs showed up on my doorstep, I just had to do something with them. So I took the easy way out. 

Enter the DIY Chandelier, just screw it edition. 

This idea has been kicking around my head for some time now. I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of it, I probably saw it on Pinterest or somewhere once upon a time. The secret to this chandelier is it's all about the bulb. You could dramatically change the look just by switching out the style of decorative bulb. 

So, here is what you need. 

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Evolving East Austin

This week East Austin lost another local landmark the Jumpolin Piñata store on East Cesar Chavez. It's not the first, and certainly not the last, but it has sparked renewed debate about the effects of gentrification in the city. I used to live a block away from Jumpolin, and have fond memories of buying balloon and piñatas there. You can read more about the demolition, and how it was done with all of the store owners products still inside the store herehere, and here. I'll let you come to your own conclusions. For me, the last straw is the fact that it appears the demo was all part of an application to have sufficient parking for a SXSW event.

Living in East Austin I've always felt a little guilty. I'm pretty much the exact definition of

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Morocco Recap : Part 3 - Fez

This week is the third and final recap of my trip to Morocco. We spent the last 4 days in the city of Fez. Talk to any Moroccan and they will tell you Fez is the heart of Morocco. It was immediately apparent as soon as we arrived that this was a city with nothing to prove. While I expected the same hard-sale hustle we experienced in the souks of Marrakesh, Fez proved to be much different. Don't get me wrong, the actually haggling was just as intense with opening prices often being 10 times what I ended up paying in the end, but here you were much more at ease to come and go at shops without feeling pressured to buy.

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Morocco Recap : Part 2 - Desert and Ocean

While the first part of our Morocco trip was all about getting lost in the city and the culture, the second part was more about relaxing. We scheduled an overnight glamping trip with Scarabeo Camp. It wasn't true desert camping as it is only located a short drive outside of Marrakesh, but we didn't have time to go to the Sahara. Despite it being a faux desert the camp itself was absolutely stunning. 

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Morocco Recap : Part 1 - Marrakech

If you remember from my earlier post, the whole point of going to Morocco was to gather inspiration for the construction of our home this summer. I fully expected to go there and find new inspiration I would want to incorporate into our house. Instead I found the backstory to all the design cues that Bercy Chen had incorporated into our design. I can honestly say I left the country with way more appreciation for the work Bercy Chen has done.

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