Friday, August 29, 2008

City of Ember

City of Ember is a movie coming out in October based on a young adult book set in a post apocalyptic world where the only remaining people on earth live underground with light and power provided by a generator. The generator is failing....

I haven't read the book, although I just ordered it, but the movie preview shows some very promising sets centered around an aging industrial electrical environment... one might even be able to call it steampunk.

The trailer:

These photos (and more) at IGN.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Navison Audio's reaction to the "brave new world of Ones & Zeros"

Cornelius left a comment pointing to Navison Audio, who manufactures audio equipment that I can only assume sounds as good as it looks (which is pretty good indeed!)

They make amplifiers, preamplifiers, and a CD player. I'm not going to say much, other than 'vacuum tube circuit design', but let Navison's website speak for them.

Culminating from our journey into vacuum tube circuit design Navison engineers set out to design a digital source component that simply got things right. Digital technology has certainly changed the world in many positive ways but music lovers have always been concerned that those magical moments caught in the recording process may get lost in this brave new world of Ones & Zeros.

By combining leading edge digital technology with Navison’s unique approach to vacuum tube circuit design this player gets to the heart of those special moments when everything in the performance and
recording process goes right. The Reference 228 captures the whole of the music performance allowing the listener to hear more then just nuance and really get the true message the artist intended.

Of course we made sure the Reference 228 looks as good as it sounds. Using our signature Barian Kingwood, gold plating and textured black finish this player is the same visual tour de force Navison preamps and amplifiers have become known for.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Steampunking Ikea Cabinets

Speaking of modding Ikea cabinets, here's a set of Ivar cabinet doors that Rafael Fabre modded for his office.

The "raw" Ikea "Ivar" doors - unsanded, unstained, and uncoated

Ikea "Ivar" doors that are sanded (twice), stained (twice), coated (twice), projected placement of wood designes (blue/black base [salvaged from another project], and highlighted with a copper paint pen]). Also, the two squares above and below the "center square" on the door are actually from earrings from a 2nd hand store going out of business (50 cents per pair of earrings!)

The wood grain really comes through nicely.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

MetalloArts -- Traditional Style Metal Kitchens

Kevin Ritter of Timeless Kitchen Design also pointed out his friends at MetalloArts. They do metal products for the kitchen. While I've been limiting my metal to backsplashes and dreaming of metal countertops, they create custom vent hoods, countertops, cabinets, and appliances with zinc, pewter, copper, and stainless steel.

I think the cabinet above is incredibly beautiful. (Could you possibly mod something like Ikea's black Sorbo cabinet doors to get a pale imitation?)

There pewter countertops are by far the most expensive countertop option I've seen ($400 per linear foot) but it's got definite style, and the MetalloArts edging adds a very traditional feel to the material.

We love kitchens! See all of The Steampunk Home's posts on kitchens.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Writing on the Wall

My friend Patrick recently took this beautiful picture of the ceiling in the reading room of the main building at the University of Texas. Built in 1937, it made me realize that while using text as a decorating element has risen in popularity in the last couple of years, it is by no means a new phenomenon. (It says "The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused though a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government. -- Sam Houston")

Here's another example from my library/dining room:

("I get a warm feeling among my books." --Anthony Powell) Although a less lofty sentiment, it suited the ambience of the room. While the reading room's phrase is painted, mine is done with Wonderful Graffiti, which makes it incredibly easy to create something suited perfectly to your environment -- you choose the color, size, font, and words. It goes on like a sticker (it's a bit harder than that -- you have to burnish it with a flat edge -- but easily done in an evening), and can come off without any permanent damage to your walls. (It's perfect if you rent.)

What quotes to use? At first I came up nil, but then ran across this one at the beginning of Cory Doctorow's new story: And I won’t always be this way, When the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away. —Jonathan Coulton, “The Future Soon” It has just the right sort of quirky appeal that I'd put into a bathroom. In my experience, if you just keep your eyes open, an appropriate quote will come across your radar. (And please, share any good ones you come across here.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Concrete Counter Tops

When I requested help for my kitchen countertops, a number of people suggested concrete.

One of them -- Kevin Ritter of Timeless Kitchen Design -- even sent a link to a kitchen he did that featured tin wall tiles and concrete countertops. Looks good, doesn't it? I've also experimented with staining concrete (your garage floor is a great place to experiment), and you can get some nice color tones -- copper is one of them.

There's an Instructable for making your own concrete countertops, if you'd want to take that on. It looks challenging and time consuming, but quite possible for the handy.

In addition to staining, there's lots of possibilities in concrete -- you can embed things in it, or score it, or combine ideas to make something particularly spectactular.

I don't know what I'll end up doing, but concrete is definitely worth thinking about. It would add a nice industrial edge to my traditional cabinetry.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brassing up the old dishwasher

Lee sent me a link to these instructions on how to make old appliances look "new." The new they are referring to here is faux stainless steel, but the same type of contact paper is also available in brass....

In fact, I think brass contact paper could have a multitude of uses in a steampunk home. (Or copper, if you prefer.) Covering a boring side table? Papering a wall in a bathroom? Adding interest to the interior of a bookshelf? Any other ideas?

Now, if only someone can come up with a way to antique it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Poseidon Undersea Resort

Need a last minute summer vacation? Have a couple tens of thousands of spare dollars lying around?

Poseidon Undersea Resort is the world's first seafloor resort. The luxury resort is accessible by elevator, and you sleep 40 feet below surface. They'll even teach you to pilot one of their 3 passenger submaries and "explore the abyss."

So the decor is a bit disappointing compared to what it could be, but there's a lot of potential. Too bad it isn't steampunk.

Thanks to Mr. Jon McDougal for pointing this out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Goods from Anthropologie

Ms. Heather Morris, a reader, spotted some rather steampunk finds recently at Anthropologie.

The "Old World Lamp" incredibly seems to combine distressed cotton-linen, a globe, and a light into one perfect piece. I'd put this into my Airship Room, if I actually had one.

Also charming are the colored chemistry lab vases -- I suspect lab glass was never actually made in these colors, but then I also find that clear glass ones tend to get "lost," visually, in a room, so this might be a good antidote.

Ms. Morris also points out the tea bowl lanterns and inlaid pearl light switch covers.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Steampunk Design Panel

Mr. von Slatt was so kind as to point out his recording of the Steampunk Design Panel at Readercon.

It's a lovely rambling panel that covers the politics and philosophy of Steampunk Design (I'm not a purist, nor were most of the panels) -- DIY was deemed a core part of the approach, but it doesn't actually have to carry steam to be considered Steampunk.

Holly Black (author of the Spiderwick Chronicles) mentions her Tudor home that she's redone with hidden passageways, etc. I'll see if I can track down or wheedle pictures of same.

There's some nice references to the Steampunk Home, as well. *blush*

They wrap up the panel brainstorming what a "Steampunk Gibson Chair" would look like -- as best I can tell, it's a steam-warmed hovercraft chair, with armature for dealing with creatures of the night. Fun!


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