Here’s a look a the Dana Point abode where two artists-in-residence reside. The place itself has become an original. Like a canvas, it’s full of potential, welcoming expression, then re-expression, never necessarily finished.
The tract house, now customized. Click on pictures for a larger view.
Just about everything has been changed since we moved in back in 1978 35. In that time we’ve moved overseas twice, renting it out, then renovating again after. There was an arch, but in time that had to go. The wood trim has long since been scraped and roughened, attacked with my machete to give it a real “hand” look. The white is a recent return to classic California mission style stucco. The long ascending roof belies the second story addition.
Too bad the Pennsylvania Blue flagstones don’t show up much here, nor the large “speak easy” hole in the door, not open in this photo. It’s a nice feature for the afternoon breeze in the summer. Being just a bluff away from the ocean (though out of sight) it’s naturally cooled. But I’m beginning to sound like I’m trying to sell. Not so.
The living room
Stepping in, it’s a collection of memorabilia from travels over the years and the various countries we’ve lived in. The paintings and prints rotate around or are replaced with new fairly frequently. A number have been sold since this photo shoot, and replaced by others.
Partial collections hinted at: churches, knives, bits of fabric
In my thinking, a house serves as many things: it’s a museum, a gallery, a studio, a resort, a library, a theater, a love nest, a monastery. Someday it’ll be an old folks’ home. For us!
From the living room off toward other parts
Every piece has a story, including the furniture, like the heavy chair from India (actually very comfortable), or the narrow Indonesian table with stool under, or the Swat Valley cabinet in the rear, traded for a painting. (We both got art on that one.)
That chair was my gift to Anne at our first anniversary. I’ve re-upholstered it once in its 44 years. There are other such gifts all around the house, mine to her, hers to me, ours to us. That’s another definition of a house: a collection of gifts reminiscent of a shared history.
Matching chairs are few in house, the dining table equipped with used office furniture (like the chair on the left here) or the hand-hewn hardwood piece from India (right).
More under the loft
The dolls are from Peru, of ancient cloth, the figurines from Mexico and Africa (and one of Anne’s making in high school), the wood conquistador stirrups from trips to South America, the rocking horse from Mexico, the old clock from France. Drawers full of fabric from our living in Guatemala. And on it goes, everything with a story. Most of our artifacts are small, suitcase size.
Enter the dining room kitchen
It’s Anne’s green cabinets that get the comments here, that and the Mexican floor pavers, our first customization, many years ago. Since then the ceiling’s been lifted (not shown) and lodge-pole beams installed. The trunk from India, the table from Mexico, the bowl from when we lived in Papua New Guinea, the painting from a photo taken in Japan, and on it goes.
The work station (one of them)
Here’s the corner of the house where I could say the best work gets done. Anne does as well in the kitchen as at her press, an artist in many mediums. That faux painted horse over the stove is representative of one of her past pursuits, as well as are some of the baskets, some of the pottery, etc., etc.
Beams and bells and beauties
Here’s the other wall of the kitchen. Again, the art changes: sometimes lined up with Anne’s prints, and even here there’s one on the right. The bells are from various travels, wood yak bells, camel bells, cow bells, a big jingle bell. (Strangely, no dinner bell.)
Doors closed. They’re also great open, and from the other side–a guest room.
Here’s an addition since the bulk of this photo shoot. They’re doors from Bali, eyed by me for several years on trips to Ojai. Finally I just made the purchase and found a place for them in the house–in the same wall as the previous picture. We can no longer show a big piece of art in that spot, but then, this is a piece of art. We love it. So do the grandchildren.
The downstairs guestroom
The house has five bedrooms, or did when we were raising as many children. Now they’re living around the country and the world and rooms are converted for other uses (though doubling as guestrooms again when necessary). The place has even served as a bed and breakfast. The bedspreads are Anne’s creation, of fabric from India, imported by one of Anne’s favorite stores near where we lived in Vancouver, Canada. The dolls in this room I picked up in Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa. My painting and Anne’s print on the wall are representative of the work that moves around and sometimes sold during our shows.
Downstairs Guest Bathroom
A very tiny room, as the architect would have it, but everything fits. That’s including a place to change a baby (or a grand-baby). As we have eleven, going on twelve, that’s a very real possibility. (Though none of them live anywhere near us.)
Downstairs Guest Bathroom
Another view. We love those wonderful wabi-sabi textures in these old wood surfaces. We select the cabinetry by what will fit and customize it to work. The sink and plumbing was our addition.
New walls, new doors, opening up an otherwise tiny room.
Tired of the stock white tiles that lined the shower, one day I decided to just paint them. Acrylic paint! Of course it would wash right off, right? But not when I applied three coats of marine varnish. Has worked fine ever since. Much cheaper than re-tiling, and a more custom look.
Second Floor Guestroom and Studio Overflow
For this floor Anne used printmaking technique. She rolled brown paint on a 12″-square plastic “plate” and placed it face down on an already-painted black floor. It was a marvelous exercise in originality, and a lot of work.
Here’s where the work happens, each of us using half the room. That’s my clutter at left and Anne’s at the far wall, with her hand press on the table.
Another view of the studio
Anne’s prints drying on the rack near the balcony doors, a few a my paintings in partially finished stage or ready for delivery. It’s hard to show the volume of work that fairly overflows the house but this gives an idea.
A typical day in the studio. (Click photo for larger view.)
This is a wall that’s constantly changing, depending on current projects. The three pieces taped to the wall are canvases yet to be stretched, an approach I sometimes take. A lot of paintings have been painted against that wall, and some very large.
Living room wall.
I designed those stairs years ago when the first addition was just the loft. They’re steep but there was no choice. I did want them visually “airy,” not to overwhelm a not-large room. As with all the other walls, the selection of paintings changes.
Here’s the living room again, with the some of the furniture moved around. Did I say every piece has a story? If only it could talk. (Then again, it does.)
View from the loft
It’s not large, though at times has held pretty large groups of people, even with this “balcony seating.”
The back patio and garden
A rest for the eyes and the soul. A reading place, a jacuzzi dip, and a place for every summer evening’s meal. We’re grateful.
Every slide show (and every day) ends in sunset.
One more shot. This, though not the best angle for it, displays the “new” garage doors. They are new, and technologically up to date, but the wood is reclaimed from a 150 barn in Michigan, compete with wonderful wearing and unevenness . . . lovingly applied, like so much else that happens in this home.