Monday, August 10, 2009

Authentic Aesthetic

authentic  [aw-then-tik] - Not false or copied; genuine; real

aesthetic  [es-thet-ik] - Pertaining to a sense of the beautiful or to the science of aesthetics; having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty

Authentic Aesthetic.  This is my new term to describe truly beautiful things.

Truly beautiful things can be found anywhere – in the creek, in the garden, in antique store, at a garage sale, probably not at your local big box, unless you are buying plants. Boxwoods are authentic aesthetic. So are holly trees and coleus. And Astilbe. And a concrete birdbath after it has aged.

Authentic Aesthetic has character and a story to tell. It will be around a long time or a short time spreading much joy. Go out this weekend and find authentic aesthetic and let me know what you find.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Search for the Authentic Wood Garage Door

We have been searching quite a few weeks for a wooden garage door. Per my previous posting, I don’t want a “steel” door. The baked on finish is just bad, the faux wood look is a giant “fail”, the feng shui - don’t ask. I want wood. I want authenticity. 

This has been a very eye-opening search as the easiest thing to find is the ugly metal door. We could have had this door installed by now – fast, cheap, and ugly is on our doorstep.

To help the salespeople who don’t know they sell wooden doors, I have decided the above style of a style of garage door. I have received prices (including installation) from $3,500 (ebay craftsman) to $12,607 (big box hardware store) for this door. Some of the doors are better than others – some are insulated, some are not. Some qualify for the 30% energy tax credit, others do not. Our final decision will consider all of this information.

I was very encouraged to hear yesterday from a salesman at a local door company, that he is beginning to sell so many new wood doors to new construction, that he will have a sample door put in his showroom. There is no denying that the wood door is much more beautiful than any other model and once the people see it, more wooden doors will start to appear in local neighborhoods.

The surface is being scratched and authenticity is beginning to be craved by the people.

(The photo of the door attached is from

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where Has All the Sparkle Gone?

I love sparkles and glitter is one of my favorite things. I put it on my sidewalk in the winter to brighten up the dark nights. I figure, it's gonna be dark anyway - I might as well have fun.

Small details such as this adds such a great oomph to any environment. You may not notice on a conscious level, but your subconscious picks up on it and most likely puts any place that pays attention to detail in your memory as one the specials.

Remember when sparkly concrete was the norm? I am sure this decision to not use sparkles any more was made to reduce "costs" but there is a "cost" to everything. By saving a little bit of money short term, the long-term implications are huge. Concrete poured 40 years ago with no sparkles is still there. And it doesn’t sparkle.

I recently came upon this great product to add to concrete. It adds sparkles to reflect and dance in the light. It makes the place interactive because as you move, the light reflection moves. And it is functional as well – it aids with slip resistance.

Function and beauty – it doesn’t get any better than that! 

Check out






Thursday, July 30, 2009

Community Texture

Texture. Have you ever been to a place that the word "texture" describes? This word describes Yellow Springs, Ohio to me. We took a visit there recently because we heard it was a really cool town. Cool it was - and textural. Somebody in this community (jafagirlart) took the time to add a bit of color, texture and interest to every-day industrial parts of our lives. This is such an interesting view and such a beautiful way to soften and add texture to a place. Does anybody have any other examples of texture which contributes to the sense of a place?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener

The aesthetic of our lawns has long been one of our nations favorite past-times. There are billion dollar companies working to get your money so they can make your lawn green. Why is a green lawn so important as to pay somebody else to make it green? I know, I know – aesthetics.

When we moved to our house we thought that is what we needed to do fit in the neighborhood – pay a chemical company to come dump toxic waste on our lawn to make it green. Well, the cost was huge – not just monetarily and with a headache to get them to actually stop coming – but with the loss of life. We once had toads and snakes and other amphibian life. When we began to pay money to said toxic waste company – all of our amphibian life disappeared. This year – six years after quitting said toxic waste company - we finally have amphibian life again. We also have no grass due to our two dogs, but we have a toad and snake eggs. I am so excited to see this life in my piece of the world.

You see, the people are told to dump said toxic waste on their place to have a beautiful aesthetically green lawn, they are not told the cost. We have to search for the truth and not fall for every line of greener promises, despite the costs.

There is a new web-site ( and documentary movie (A Chemical Reaction) coming out this fall. The movie is about the town in Canada – Hudson, Quebec, who dared to fight the said toxic waste companies and actually banned said toxic waste chemicals from being used in their place. Big box hardware store actually pulled toxic chemicals off their shelves in this town as well. Check it out – do a little digging – learn how to get your lawn aesthetically green in a healthy way. Your toads and snakes will thank you – let alone your kids and dogs.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So it begins...

This blog is part of my quest to every day do something I have never done before. Needless to say, this is my first blog, and hopefully one of many to come. I have a lot to say about the lack of aesthetic in our big box society and this will be my place to do something about it - don't know how yet, but that will come.

I work in the design field and my first rant is that when signing up for anything  on-line, when asked what field do you work in - design is never an option. hmmmmm. Why is that? Is it a list somebody somewhere created and everyone uses? Why do people just follow the poor options and never try to make a change?

I am in the market for a garage door. Ours is broken, I think. It is old and it is wood and the bottom is rotten. I live in a wooded area and have a vision that a wood door will look beautiful stained against my brick walls and back drop of trees.  We just had a new roof, gutters and paint this year and will be placing our nasty white step (another blog) with brick. And if I need a new garage door, I want a wood garage door. If you look at garage door web sites, brochures or other information - the wood doors are the teaser. They are beautiful. Ya want one - until you try to buy one. I have called six door vendors and not a one sells a wood door. (Well one, but I had to actually tell them what was on their display (a big box store) so I won't go back there.) I am told by these vendors that "they don't know where they would get a hold of a wood door", "a wood door won't last as long as steel and do I have a steel door for you", and my favorite - "the government is trying to do away with wood doors because they want the "R" factor higher." I do have one door guy who has offered me two wood options and is searching for others, thank goodness.

My neighbors tonight told me that they have never replaced their door because they want wood and can't find it unless they pay a bazillion dollars. My other neighbors caved and got the white steel door - which they haven't yet painted to match their trim  - yikes.

Steel doors have their place. Buyers often don't know there are other options and sometimes they just want to go with the cheapest option to ease their purchasing a large item pain.  They don't think about the long-term investment of matching the door to the style of their house and communities not to mention that nice aesthetic is as green as you can get. Everybody wants a nice community, and we all must do our part to maintain the sense of place - which is the aesthetic – and think beyond the quick fix of big box and find the right solution for the space. And, if you are in the design field you have an obligation to help your neighbor through the maze of ugliness to help them to have a vision of a better place.

So it begins.