A Good Read

I am going to take the rest of the week off and work on next year’s homeschool curriculum, but I don’t want to leave you hanging with nothing to read. (Because surely I’m your one and only, right?  Right?)  Of course I’m not assuming that I’m your one and only blog–that would be preposterous and silly.  But, if you need a little TPH this week and you’ve already exhausted the archives, please check out what Nester is writing about this week on Nesting Place.  It is the cottage through Nester’s insightful eyes.  Enjoy!

I’ll see you soon.  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Westbury, Houston

Our first home purchase was in Westbury, a post-war neighborhood in Houston, Texas.  A three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch, our house was duplicated over and over throughout Westbury–an early example of the ubiquitous tract home.

Our first little rancher, how I loved you.

A typical street scene in Westbury.

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Not long after we moved in, we discovered the ruins of Westbury Square on West Bellfort; and it immediately became a thing of my dreams.  Developed by William J. Wortham, Jr., Westbury Square was the hub of the neighborhood in the 1960s and 70s with shops, restaurants, and theater–a forerunner of the new urban living such as Glenwood Park.   By the time I moved in, Home Depot had claimed a portion of the land and the remaining square had long fallen into disrepair, yet a few businesses remained.  I would often stop by one of the antique shops to catch the latest rumor of its revitalization.  There always seemed to be some buzz that someone was going to resurrect this old relic.  I stopped by this last February, and I’d venture to say that all hope is gone.

Those who grew up in Westbury during the Square’s heyday, have lots of good memories to share.

Click here for Westbury images from the golden years.

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Nearby at the corner of Chimney Rock and West Bellfort is the Westbury Centerette, another place I had hoped would be renewed.  Right now it is vacant save one laundromat at the very end.


You are an optimist if you don’t see the irony in this photo.

They still have soul, don’t they?

A Slipcovered Cube

Does your bathroom cabinet have a cutout for a chair?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t sit down to put on my make-up or do my hair.  The make-up vanity is too Joan Crawford for me–I imagine her sitting there all sour, doing her hair and makeup before she goes to beat her child with a wire hanger.  Not good.

I don’t like that gaping hole but didn’t want a bench or a chair with a high back.  Then I figured a little upholstered cube would fill the space nicely–but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I had some extra fabric from a chair I had recovered and figured it would make a great slipcover.  So I headed to Marshall’s to see if there were any cubes that would work.  This is what I found on clearance for $25:

The slipcover cost $25 to make…wish I could sew!  And, as it turned out, I use this little cube more than I thought I would.


$50, not bad for a custom upholstered piece.

Cottage Guests

Look who I found at the cottage last weekend:

La senorita de la casa pintada con The Nester, ole.

The Nester of Nesting Place came with her family for a little fun in the mountains in exchange for some ad time on her wonderful blog.  It was great meeting her–she is as adorable in person as she is on her blog!  Funny, cute, and engaging.  But I was hoping that she would maybe do some rearranging or re-decorating at the cottage while she was there, but I was sorely disappointed to find upon her departure that nothing had changed.  Darn!

And kudos to her for cultivating a thoughtful design eye in her handsome boys.  They patiently followed, room to room, as I gave a tour of the cottage.  At the end, the oldest said, “Hey, Mom, IKEA chairs.”  Nester, you’ve done well.

Thank you for coming out!  So, when are you coming back?

You can read all about her stay on her blog.  Oh, my, she is so generous and sweet with her words!  Thank you, Nester!!!

Touring Glenwood Park, Atlanta

Yesterday I joined other Atlanta bloggers for lunch and a tour around the Glenwood Park urban development.   Many thanks to Terry Kearns of the Architecture Tourist for organizing the afternoon.

Glenwood Park, located off I-20, is a model of new urbanism with over 375 residential units and over 68,000 square feet of commercial space situated on 28 acres of redeveloped land.  After lunch at Vickery’s, we walked across the street to the office of Historical Concepts.  The architectural and planning firm resides in a corner residential/commercial unit on Brasfield Square.  These particular units are designed for people who desire a live-work type space, with two separate entrances (public and private) to the units.  Domenick Treschitta, architect with Historical Concepts, met with us and guided us on a walking tour of the neighborhood, sharing highlights of their work in Glenwood Park.

The Historical Concepts corner office.

Their conference room on the bottom floor with lighting by Eloise Pickard.

It was a grown-up field trip with a look at the studio where the renderings happen.

The view from the roof-top deck of their office.

The 2005 Southern Living Idea House, designed by Historical Concepts.  The porch is sublime.

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We also met with Beth Fore of Cablik Enterprises, a residential/commercial builder who also offices in Glenwood Park.  Cablik built the favorite Liotta Residence from the Modern Atlanta Home Tour 2010.  Fore detailed the elements that qualified the home for LEED certification–including accommodations for solar panels, reduced waste during construction, a garage plug for an electric car, and the underground cistern that collects rainwater and cycles through a gorgeous water feature around the front of the house.  She also showed us renderings of current projects.

Hopefully we can see this house in person next year during the 2011 Modern Atlanta Home Tour.  I’ll be there!

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Sweltering it was walking around Glenwood Park, but it didn’t keep us from enjoying the homes.

Realtor Bruce Gaunt joined us for the tour and showed us this Glenwood Park home for sale.

Sweet, isn’t it?

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I’m so intrigued with this type of urban living.  I like the idea of a historic-looking home without the headache of age-induced problems.  I like the idea of a high-density, walking community.  And, I think this concept of living grows more charming with age as it develops its own unique personality as communities do over time and develops a little patina to take the edge of newness off a bit.  Did I just contradict myself?  Anyway, it is a wonderful spot to explore.  Thank you so much to Bruce, Beth, and Domenick for their valuable time.  And, thank you to thoughtful Terry for organizing the day for us fellow Atlanta bloggers, who are just the nicest, of course!  It was great to meet Ally of From the Right Bank and Emmie of Aspirations of a Southern Housewife–check out their blogs.  Here is Terry’s post on the day.

Me, Terry, and Emmie.

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