Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cutler Anderson Residence in Newburg, OR

Situated over a manmade pond, this simple modern home in Newburg, OR was designed to unify the home with its surroundings. It serves as a swimming hole for the residents of the home, and as a watering hole for the wildlife residents of the surrounding area. A tall, angled roof with a wall of windows overlooking the landscape draws your attention outward and makes the 1,440 square foot space feel spacious, open and welcoming. Also on the property are a 550 square foot guest house and a garage connected to the main home by a covered walkway.

A small patio outside the kitchen is the perfect spot to wake with coffee, or wind down with a glass of wine while watching the site's various creatures enjoy the pond.

Guests arrive to a parking area 150' away from the home so that they may enjoy the serene wooded landscape before the home's entry bridge comes into view. 

The facade is clad in Douglas fir with a wooden roof and a steel frame.

As soon as you pass through the front entrance, you're greeted with an expansive open layout and the amazing view. Large wood-framed windows in a unique geometric pattern allow the property to take center stage. Wooden built-ins, wood ceiling beams and a wood floor with radiant heating tie the space to nature.

Steel beams provide rigidity while a cozy concrete fireplace separates the living space from the master bedroom. Glass partitions allow light to pass into the bedroom to prevent it from feeling secluded from the rest of the home.

A spacious dining table provides ample seating for guests, or a work space for projects. The simple kitchen resides on the far end with a mudroom serving as a link to the garage.

Two stools at the kitchen island are ideal for a quick snack or breakfast. Concrete floors extend to the patio through large open windows, unifying the indoor and outdoor space. Simple cabinetry keeps it feeling uncluttered.

On the opposite end of the home from the kitchen, the master bedroom continues the uncluttered feel by incorporating a headboard into a dividing wall.

The home owners wake to the same peaceful pond and lush native landscaping enjoyed in all of the common areas.

A small diving platform sits just outside the living room's sliding glass wall.

Source: Dezeen & Curbed
Architects: Cutler Anderson
Photos: Carey Critchlow and Jeremy Bittermann
Location: Newburg, OR

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Magnolia Homes Shotgun House in Waco, TX

Although the decor is not what I would consider minimalist, nor is the style as modern as I normally like, this shotgun home by Magnonlia Homes featured on episode 14, season 3 of HGTV's Fixer Upper is what I consider perfect for a couple in terms of layout and size. Adding a second floor with a sitting room / office makes all the difference in terms of not feeling cramped. Not only does it gain a second living space, but the high ceilings bring an open and airy feel.

I would have liked to see the upstairs window made into a door so the front "deck" would be more functional, but that might have looked odd aesthetically.

The light, two-tone kitchen cabinets, light wood window trim and floors keep it from feeling too dark.

A simple, wall-mount TV in place of the mirror behind the door with a stereo credenza below would make it the perfect all-purpose living, lounging, entertaining space.

The staircase to the upstairs loft living / office space can be raised and stored out of the way via pulley system.

I love the large shower with a glass wall and simple, earth-toned tiles and ample storage spaces via two white cutouts.

The concrete dual vanity is a really nice touch, but storage may be a bit too minimal with only two tiny drawers alongside open storage for bathroom essentials in the vanity.

A stackable washer and dryer in a mudroom / laundry room off the bedroom is great, as are the french doors adding a second exterior entrance.

Source: HGTV
Architects: Magnolia Homes
Location: Waco, TX

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Minimalist Juvet Hotel in Norway

I live for vacations. I love seeing new places and I always look forward to relaxing in ways you just can't with a staycation. I reminisce about past vacations on a daily basis and would enjoy going back almost anywhere I've ever gone as much as somewhere new. Photography is a new passion of mine and vacations offer a chance to explore new areas in hopes of getting that perfect, frame-worthy shot.

Although I enjoy planning our trips, lately I find myself yearning for a more simple travel experience. One with no itinerary, no heavy camera equipment, no worrying about seeing it all. Just a long relaxing stay in a peaceful destination. Wandering around, enjoying the restaurants and taking in the scenery during the day, then relaxing with a glass of wine and a view in the evening. That's why The Juvet Hotel got my attention. Simple, modern accommodations in a beautiful setting designed with no distractions. What more could you ask for?

Hotel: The Juvet Hotel
Photos: Knut Slinning
Location: Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Are home ownership and minimalism at odds?

Even if I don't live in a mega-compound like the one pictured above, owning a home is feeling increasingly at odds with the concept of minimalism. In my quest to find simplicity in the ownership of less, I continually struggle with one area of the house more than any other - the garage. Standing there looking around I'm almost overwhelmed by all the stuff we seemingly "need" just to live in a home. Here's a quick rundown of just some of it:

• Lawn mower
• Weed eater
• Gas can for the mower
• Oil/gas mix can for the weed eater
• Leaf blower
• Wheel barrow
• Fertilizer spreader
• Rakes (leaf and dirt)
• Shovels (multiple types)
• Gardening tools (handheld shovel, gloves)
• Brooms
• Tree trimmers
• Axe
• Sledge Hammer
• Hoses (three - one to reach each side of the house)
• Hose hangers
• Hose nozzles/sprayers
• Lawn and leaf bags
• Extension cords
• Ladder
• Step stool
• Paint cans
• Paint brushes, rollers & trays
• Bags of potting soil, fertilizer, mulch
• Buckets
• Sprinklers
• Workbench (this is a list in and of itself)
• Random twine, zip ties, stakes, etc.

This is not a complete list and I realize some of these are definitely not needed by all home owners. However, owning a home means owning stuff to maintain it. There's no doubt about it. While moving to an apartment would greatly reduce the amount of home-related stuff we'd need - as well as freeing up loads of time currently spent mowing the yard, raking leaves, watering plants, washing windows and replacing broken fence planks - I just can't bring myself to share walls with anyone else.

I remember the sounds of apartment living all too well. The heavy-footed upstairs neighbor that seems to stomp his way from room to room. The crying baby or incessant dog barking next door. The twenty-something parties downstairs that seemed to go on all night long. Not to mention being constantly aware of not making too much noise myself. Then there's the fear that a careless smoker will fall asleep with cigarette and cause a fire that displaces us all, or worse.

Now, I know the idea of a single-family home may be more of an American concept, and one with it's own negative ecological impacts, but it is certainly a lifestyle choice that I prefer. Even if home ownership turns out to be a bad financial decision. Besides, there is no way my wife would ever consider apartment-dwelling again and with three large dogs (and the potential for more rescue dogs in our future), it just makes more sense to have a fenced-in yard.

So, what options does a would-be minimalist homeowner have when it comes to home-related stuff? Borrow from neighbors? Maybe, in the case of a wheel barrow, ladder or even a lawn mower, but that doesn't really seem feasible for many items. Imagine unraveling your neighbors hose and hauling it down the street and back every time your plants need a drink. For now, I guess I'll leave the garage for another day and go shred some papers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Modern Weekend Retreat in Sonoma County

Aside from being located on a secluded lot in one of my favorite areas of the country, Northern California's wine region, this modern home by Dowling Studios is probably my favorite house of all time. Comprised of two perpendicular 1,000 sf wings, it has all that you need - and not just for weekend living.

The expansive single living, dining and kitchen space brings the family together. Slide open the NanaWalls and the simple covered patio and pool area feel like they're a part of the home. It's simply decorated with warm, comfortable, inviting furniture and just the right number and style of accents. It's perfect!

Architect: Dowling Studios
Photos: Matthew Millman
Location: Marra Road, Sonoma County, CA

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I am not a minimalist

Hello, I'm Corey. I'm 37 years old, I've been married for nine years, I live in Austin, Texas and I am not a minimalist. Not yet, anyways.

Like a good American Dream-seeker, I currently own a 2,400 sf home full of all the normal trappings of everyday modern American life. We have three dogs and we've chosen not to have kids. Up until recently I drove a Corvette. Not a minimalist's car by any stretch of the imagination.

Although I've been reading about minimalism for a few years, I just recently began paring down my belongings in a more intentional way. Thanks in part to eBay and Goodwill, I'm slowly letting things go. It's just a start and I'm moving slowly, but it has been a very freeing experience thus far.

I strive to own less and live a simple, content and relaxed life. My wife does not share my desire to simplify. That's where this blog comes in.

I hope to use this space to document my progress, slow as it may be at times, as well as allow for discussion with other like-minded individuals. I hope to share and learn from those who also live with family-members that are not so keen on living a minimalist lifestyle. I believe that the things you do own should be useful, thoughtfully designed, beautiful, original and reflect who you are. I am a sucker for clean, modern design.

With this blog I have no blueprint. No set strategy. No defined parameters. Thanks for reading and don't be afraid to chime in with your thoughts.