Before we begin, let's review. Here's a photo of the not-so-lovely Anders original. This is where I used to live, along with the girl who owns the feet in the foreground - hey, Meggo! Ok, now on to the good stuff...
Bienvenidos a Anders South.
Our building. My apartment is the one with the plants on the deck, on the second floor. (In other words, we're on the top, so we get vaulted ceilings for free - whee!)
Maybe I'm the only one who will find this interesting, but folks here in Austin hate to disrupt any of the existing terrain or trees. Here you see how they've compensated for it on one of the apartment buildings in our complex. There's also a tree growing right through the middle of our parking lot at work and I've also seen them growing through the roofs of people's houses. Bizarre.
The pool and club house for our apartment complex. I've (attempted to) get many a tan here...
The hot tub. There was a big party here the night before (typical). It must've been a good one - they had to pull out the life preserver. :)
Time to meet the contenders. Left to right, we have Kyle (Colleen's boyfriend from California who's visiting), Colleen (the only one out of this motley crew who actually resides here), and our friends (and most frequent house guests) Peter and Patricia. Here we're at a baseball game playing the best game ever - Baseball Bingo. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.
And of course we can't forget the dog, Murphy. He's got a knack for posing nobly whenever someone whips out a camera. A border collie, Colleen got it from her mom when they realized he wouldn't be a show dog b/c he's only got one descended testicle. But, shh... I think he's still self-conscious about it.
Murphy in his more general appearance - being a lazy bum. :)
K, here's the first thing you see when you enter. This iron molded key rack came from Porchlight in Valley West Junction. One of my favorite stores - you should definitely check it out if you're in the area.
Living room. A huge thanks to Matt and Tara for donating their furniture (as well as mots of our kitchen utensils). We've got the curtain rod, but still are sans curtains and paint. I've got an idea to paint the window wall a solid color and then extend a multi-color stripe over to the entryway, which would be in the same solid color. Maybe that'll be next weekend's project.
Fireplace. Why people put in fireplaces in Texas I haven't quite figured out yet. None of the apartments I looked at up north had one, but here, where it's 100-friggin' degrees everyday? Sure! Let's turn up the heat!
Various decorations on display. We've got the gaucho belt that I brought back from Bolivia, a sculpture from like 8th grade, wood carvings from Hawaii and one that I bought from a little old man on the side of a mountain in China, a three-person carving out of a trunk that Rachel brought back from Ghana, and some of my dad's cigar boxes. Ian, you might want to take a look at the top of that glass jar.
The bane of my mother's existence. I made about 100 of these paper stars about four years ago with the intention of hanging them from my ceiling in my dorm room. That never happened, and I've been hauling them around ever since. Look mom! I finally did something with them!
We like to pretend we're literate. Colleen's books are the ones with the big words. Mine have pretty pictures. :)
Our deck. I'm keeping my eyes open for a couple of rockers or a nice bistro set that I could spruce up with some decorative cushions. Future project.
Kitchen. Yeah, we haven't really gotten this far yet, so excuse our mess. The flowers were for Colleen's party when she finished her qualifying (for PhD) exams - Congrats, Colleen!
Chef Murphé whips up something magical. Kari, you can't see them, but your engagement photos are hanging proudly on the fridge, along with some artwork from my cousins.
My bathroom doubles as the guest bathroom. Here, a random assortment of bathroom goodies arranged in a wood-carved tray I picked up in Schaumburg.
Bathroom vanity. I'd love to add some hardware to these cupboards (and the ones in the kitchen), but I think it's against apartment rules. Think they'd notice?
Toilet/shower. I love this shower curtain - it's got little birds and branches on it. For some reason, I've got a thing for bird prints (and rusted wrought iron pieces) lately.
Back of the toilet. I've got some bars of soap from a farmer's market in L.A. and some random seashells.
My bedroom. Believe it or not, that paint color has come along way. Three coats of paint later, it transformed from poop to baby puke to this funky green/gold color. I really like it now.
Bed/nightstand. More details about the headboard to come.
So Scott and Heather got me these elephant and giraffe candles about four years ago, but I've never lived in a place where I could burn them. So, they too have rejoined the ranks and are now on guard beside my bed, on top of a wooden plate from the Philippines. The photo is of my best friend Rachel and I on our way to Homecoming of our sophomore year. :) Good times.
Now for the headboard. I am proud to announce that I made this whole thing for under $30. It's made out of faux-tin ceiling tiles that I adhered to a piece of MDF and then laced them into place using strips of leather, woven between the tiles. The leather is attached to the edges of the board using a wider strip of leather and some decorative brads. A shot of paint, and it was good to go.
Closeup of the headboard. There're five different patterns of tiles altogether, arranged randomly.
For those of you who noticed this above my bed and raised an eyebrow, don't worry. I haven't gone all church-y on you - I just think he/she looks cool. Speaking of which, is this a boy or girl? Why are angels always made to look so Pat-ish (á la SNL)?
My desk area. I use it for both my computer and as a sewing table. Believe it or not, I pared my fabric collection down to just what you see in that shelving thing. (At home, it used to take up an entire room.)
A memo board I made to display some of my favorite things - the ones that make me smile. The board is wrapped in a green and gold tapestry fabric with zigzag velvet ribbon. The buttons on there I made at the Workspace using magazine images of trees and foliage. Everything else is just random. :)
I was finally able to frame some watercolors that I brought back from China. The letter rack also came from Porchlight, and the postcards inside of it I picked up from Copenhagen. They've got some crazy stuff. There's one in there of a naked man dancing with larger-than-life pretzel rods. I put that one at the back of the stack...for this photo at least.
Another watercolor from China.
I'd like to title this photo: "Shameless plug for the Honors Program." :) The wooden guy with huge teeth is actually a fertility god from Bolivia - if you lift his body up, a huge erect wooden penis sticks out. He's chillin' with a Bobblehead Buddha - they make quite a pair.
This one continues to perplex me. This is a decorative trunk I picked up, and I can't figure out what to do with it. I've got it sitting under my window with a tapestry I got from the Fashion District in LA, but I'm not satisfied. Should I fill it with dirt and make it into a planter? Any ideas?
Dresser I stole from my parents' house. I waited until they did all the hard work stripping it down and staining it. Then all I had to do was replace the hardware and clean it up.
See? What'd I tell you about the birds? This is actually an old Christmas ornament I made. It's just cut out of some pieces of plywood, painted, and lacquered up. The other side has some decoupaged flowers on it.
Now featuring Doris the Pig. Don't laugh - Doris is my grandma, and the pigs were a gift from her massive piggy bank collection. :) Plus, she's half ninja. Make fun of her pigs, and hiyah! The iron oak branch was my first antique purchase here in Austin, and the metal balls are friendship balls. You're supposed to put a message of good wishes in them and pass them on to your friends. They came from a volunteer function at Gilda's Club.
Entrance wall to bedroom. The bench is actually an old piano bench with a woven blanket from Bolivia on it. Framed is a cross-stitch piece that I made...much to Scott and Heather's dismay. I have them convinced that I'm actually about 85 y.o., as I spent one whole summer sewing that on their couch while watching reruns of "Golden Girls." Bwahaha - it has returned!!!
Closeup of the piece. The colors in this were the inspiration for the wall colors and décor in my bedroom.
This really has no story, but I like it. The hook is from World Market, and the beads were a decoration from a Christmas present wrapping.
Just behind our apartment is a small wooded area with some great hiking trails. Beyond that, this is the area we live in - up on a ridge of a huuuuge canyon. The views are amazing.
This one's for you, H&S. Damn, you've got good style. So good that somebody even made a store after you. Our apartment is situated between two really nice shopping areas. This one's at the Arboretum, hence the name of our area. We live in the Arboretum neighborhood of Austin. Lots of pretty upper-class folks, and if you go into the canyon, there're some amazing homes.
Somebody made a comment the other day about me working in "corporate America." Ha. Not quite. Here's my firm's office. Including me, there are five people that work at this third-generation architecture family firm. A far cry from the marble lobby with fountains where I used to work, but I like it here a lot.
Side of our building. The window with the awning is where my studio space is.
Our street is all made up of little craftsman houses that have been made over into all sorts of little businesses - art galleries, restaurants, graphic design firms, etc. There's also this restaurant at the end of our alley that always puts funny phrases on their sign, like, "Reward offered for a-hole who burned the Governor's Mansion. Perpetrator will be castrated."
Down the road is the Whole Foods headquarters. This place is incredible. Everything is so fresh, and there's a huge business in people coming in for lunch off of their buffets. There's also a cactus garden, an ice skating rink, and lots of offices here. Kind of a little world within a world.
Alright, so you might not have been blown away with our office, but some incredibly creative things have come out of that little house. Like this one, at the Lester E. Palmer Events Center. The firm was founded by my boss's grandfather who came here illegally from Japan. When he was to be deported, the town rallied against he government and got him to stay. His dad was the dean of UT's architecture program, and now they're naming a street after their family. Some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
Anther shot of Palmer.
Driving over the river that divides Austin and South Austin. There are excellent paths along the river and lots of people go boating and kayaking along it. Something I'm definitely going to have to do one of these days. My boss has a couple of wave-runners that we're taking out soon.
So that concludes your little virtual tour into my Austin world. And where was Murph the Wonder Dog during all of this? Yep, that's right. Sleeping. What a help...