Thursday, September 27, 2007

On This Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon, as you know, is the full moon that occurs closest to the painting of the Yum Yum Farm House interior, which commences next week. In some cultures, however, it is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. Whatever.

This picture was taken from the east deck on a beautiful September night.

This is the view out the other side of the house within minutes of the last photo. In fact, if you were sitting at our dining room table, if it were in the house, you could look out the east window to see the Yum Yum Moon, and out the west window to see this lovely sunset. This is a particularly pretty time of year, as far as views from the dining porch are concerned, because the sun is setting due west of that part of the house.
This is likely to be the last view of the house we'll have looking like this. The drywall is complete, sanded, and ready for the finish surface to be attached or applied. The sloped ceiling pictured here will be painted black, then covered with strips of maple plywood in a staggered pattern, with narrow reveals that will create the illusion of depth behind the pretty wood. This is recalling narrow openings you would see from an interior view of a barn roof, realized with more modern materials. The west wall, with the window, will have a light texture, and a finish color that is attractive, and allows the different materials to make their statements without detracting from them.
Here's a fun little trick we played with the camera, and some of the finish materials we'll be using. From top to bottom; a piece of Sheetrock, a strip of scrap wood, and a sample of our floor. The Sheetrock is painted with the wall color, the scrap with the trim color, and the floor is the floor. These were placed against a piece of wall, then we zoomed in to get a sense of how this color combination would work with the salvaged wood floor. This photo is a bit dark, but can give a sense of the process. In case you're interested, in natural daylight, we were very happy with the colors. While they may look a little plain here, remember, they are a part of a pallette, that includes salvaged flooring of vertical grain douglas fir, maple plywood, Anamosa limestone, FinnForm, stainless steel, and the various colors of the furniture, and the landscape that is visible through the ample glass space. Next week's posts should show better views of this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Dan at Heartland Custom Woodworking has just about finished all of our cabinetry, and it's gorgeous! His craftsmanship and the level of finish is top notch, and we couldn't be happier with the results. Kudos also go to John DeForest who designed these beautiful cabinets. Thanks team! In the picture below, you'll find the following: at the bottom or front of the photo is the kitchen island, which will include storage space, the cooktop and ventilation system, and a small counter eating area. On top of it is the media cart, which will hold A/V equipment, and be located in the living room (or bedroom, since it has wheels!). The tall unit at the back will be on the north wall of the kitchen, with the refrigerator placed to the left. The large opening just to the right of the tall, thin cabinet will contain the two ovens. I put this picture first so you can expand it to examine the detail (for some reason, only the first picture on each post expands. If you want to see any pictures expanded, let us know in the "comment" section, and we'll place that picture in its own post. If you ask really nicely. Note the detail in the cabinet doors. Dan took care to match the grain of the wood on adjacent pieces, with such skill that the entire unit appears to have been cut from one piece of wood. The red on the side of the A/V cart is the red FinnForm, that you saw in an earlier post. If you were paying attention.

This is part of the desk/bookshelf that will enclose the loft on the east and south sides. What you see here will constitute the south "wall" of the loft, with space on top for office machines, etc., and below for books, files, nieces and nephews playing hide and seek, cats...
Here's the front view of the cooktop island. We've chosen to forgo handles and, instead, use cutouts that will never loosen, break, attack our funny bones, or simply look outdated (thanks John!). There is also a certain playful quality in these cabinets, which, we feel, reinforces our requirement that the Yum Yum Farm house be fun! Once again, note the continuity of the wood grain on the face of the island.

2007: An Architectural Odyssey

This is the south elevation of the beautiful John Deere World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois. It's about an hour or so east of the Yum Yum Farm, and during our visit with our amazing architect, we wanted to see at least one of the Upper Midwest's architectural masterpieces. The Deere headquarters certainly did not disappoint! Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1959 (or so), this steel and glass structure sits in a beautiful wooded area, full of oaks and, of course, deer. The deer, we discovered, are not actors, but were so impressed with Saarinen's design that they decided to make the surrounding woodland their home. Sadly, the architect did not live to see this building completed. He died in 1961, 3 years prior to its opening. You may recognize him via his other buildings, which included the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

This photo of an office on an upper floor shows the interplay between the rigid geometry of Saarinen's building, and the gentle dance being performed outside by the colors and forms of trees, sky, water and sun. The extensive use of glass in the structure brings the outside in throughout the entire building (think Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, or Phillip Johnson), creating a very pleasant work environment and adding a lightness to a very sturdy structure. Those lucky enough to work in this building are conspicuously proud of it, and their company's commitment to maintaining it in a manner true to its original design is impressive and laudible. Guess what color our tractor is going to be?
"I don't know, I think it would look great in green and yellow. Rust is so...1961." Here's that amazing architect I mentioned earlier, John DeForest (right), visiting with our tour guide, who generously gave his time to show us around this beautiful facility. This was the first building cloaked in Corten steel, which, if I remember correctly from eavesdropping on the conversation pictured, is steel, coated with nickel, and coated with steel. The outer steel rusts, but creates a type of protective coating over the other layers. Or something like that. This process has given the building a patina that blends in well with the surroundings in any season.
Remember that remark about bringing the outside in? Well, they literally did it here in the west addition, constructed in 1978. Architect Kevin Roche, who took over the original project after Saarinen's passing, created this addition which honors the original, and then some! While admiring this atrium, our tour guide noted the boulders, where they keep the spare key to the building. Just kidding.