Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bradbury Building -- Steampunk or Cyberpunk?

All the Bladerunner references in the recent Jake von Slatt interview reminded me of this link I had tucked away for just such an occasion. The Bradbury Building in LA was the set for J.F. Sebastian's home in Bladerunner, and even though Bladerunner is seminal cyberpunk, there's some definite post-apocalyptic Victorian industrial style here.

The Bradbury (almost certainly, but not conclusively proven) designed by George H. Wyman, reputedly based on a science-fiction novel set in the year 2010, was built towards the end of the 19th century.

So what do you think? Steampunk or Cyberpunk?

Credits: Images and history from Found in a steampunk context on MovieGeekette. Jake von Slatt interview found via BrassGoggles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Library in a staircase

We love libraries, don't we? Ben just pointed out this library in a stairwell from Apartment Therapy (with the comment "we should do this"). Not stylistically steampunk, but it has the library appeal and the secret spaces appeal, so I deemed it blog-worthy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

eBay find: drafting stool

eBay currently has a great maple and iron drafting stool listed.

Starting at $175, or buy it now for $225, its a bit more expensive than the CB2 version for $129, but this one has tons more style.

Thrifting Steampunk Style

I've had a couple of comments recently about budgets and the cost of many of the wonderful hand crafted items that show up on this blog.... While I don't think anyone wants me to stop featuring the wonderful, horrendously expensive works, I do want to make steampunk style available to the rest of us. I've not been adverse to featuring things from Ikea or Target, but the best source for steampunk goodies for the person with more time than money is your friendly neighborhood thrift shop. Although I know my born and bred cheapness doesn't always come through in my writing, I shop thrift stores on a weekly basis and have found a lot of wonderful furniture, accessories, and project materials

Above is a child's wrought iron table that I *didn't* get for the steampunklet and have been kicking myself for ever since. It was $20. Below is a Spanish Gothic looking table I spotted at a local Salvation Army store. The Edison Bar had one just like it tucked into a corner. I didn't need a table, so I passed, but it was a lot of style for just $165. (Looking again, I see that the table is extremely similar to the one in the Minimalist Steampunk post.)

To the left is a gear teal light holder -- my sister scored 8 of these for me for Christmas at a small town junk shop for $1/each. I'm working on converting them from a very chrome bicycle finish to a more brass steampunk finish.

The point to all this is to show that it can be done -- with persistence and a good eye you can find all sorts of neat things for your steampunk home, without blowing a budget.

Goodies for making things. Nothing was over $3. The box on the right became my mad scientist lamp.

p.s. While it would be fun to feature thrifted goodies that you, dear reader, have discovered, I think that might be a bit too frustrating to everyone else to see too many one of the kind, unreplicable finds. If you are interested, though, feel free to post them to the (new!) Steampunk Home flickr group.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Small ceiling fixture on eBay

Remember Gary and his Steampunk Sink Alcove? I just got an email from him showing off his newest creation, a ceiling lamp fixture, and letting me know he's selling a second one on eBay.

Brass, copper, wood, glass, crazy wiring -- it has a definite mad scientist appeal.

Friday, February 15, 2008


A reader identified only as Introspect Services pointed this out to me today.

A house? A boat? The last remnants of a once powerful empire? Your guess is as good as mine.

It's from tredowski at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Maximalist Steampunk: Roger Wood's Studio, redux

And just in case I horrified you yesterday with my minimalist and decluttering posts, here's some images of Roger Wood's -- the original steampunk magpie -- Klockwerks studio. (just for you mouthful...)

The above is from a flickr set by Cory Doctorow, documenting Roger's studio. The below is one of a group from flickr user Studio-Eleven.

You can't have steampunk both ways, but you can have it your way.

Earlier posts on Klockwerks:
Roger Wood's Studio
The Klockwerks Newsletter

Happy Valentines Day

Steampunk Valentine by *rsandberg on deviantART

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Primer: A Place for Everything

A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

(This is the first of a irregular series where I share my decidedly amateur wisdom on how to decorate a home in the hope of helping you move from ideas and inspiration to execution. I call it The Steampunk Home Primer. More shortly.)

Whether you subscribe to the minimalist approach or not, if you have too much stuff, it’s hard to do things that make your home beautiful – it’s hard to rearrange furniture, to paint the walls, or to install flooring. I also believe that a cluttered home weighs on your mind and adds stress to your life. Your home should be a retreat, and oasis of tranquility for you and your family. Having clear tabletops for eating and working on projects, open expanses of floor for kids to run through without tripping over anything, drawers and shelves in which you can find the things you know you have – all of this makes your life calmer and more in control. (But enough of my soap box…)

I learned about clutter “management” from Flylady, an online housekeeping coach. She has a book, a website, and a mailing list. The mailing list was the kick in the rear end that I needed to learn routines to keep my house in order – 20 or more emails a day, reminders and motivators and positive toned “lectures” that taught me habits of thought and activity that I still use, years after unsubscribing, to keep my house in order. If you are overwhelmed with clutter, this is where to start. If you just need a little bit of help, buy the book, browse the website, or try some of the ideas below.

One of the Flylady techniques is a “21 fling boogie.” Despite the silly name, it’s a great technique for making progress on cleaning up a room with minimum pain or commitment. Here’s how it works: Grab a trashbag and walk around a room, with a goal of grabbing 21 things to throw away. When you’re done with that, do it again with a goal of finding 21 things to give away. That’s it – you’re done. Do it again tomorrow, and the next day, etc, and eventually your room is clear enough that it becomes easy.

Another technique is to identify your “hotspots” – areas that collect clutter on a regular basis – and clean them up daily to keep them from getting out of control.

Another good source for decluttering advice is It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh. Here’s two good tricks:
1) If you really love something, then you should honor it by giving it the space and prominence it deserves in your house. A shelf with three carefully edited knick-knacks shows them off better than one filled to overflowing with ten.
2) Figure out how much space you have for something, and declutter down to that space. Example: let’s say you have a lot of DVDs, and a 3 foot shelf dedicated to their storage. Measure how many dvds will fit into a foot space, multiply by 3, and you have your target quantity of DVDs to get to. Go through your DVDs, deciding if each is special enough to merit space on your shelf. When you get down to 3 feet’s worth, you are done. If you buy another DVD, make room for it by getting rid of one. (This method also works well for clothes in closets.)

The best filter I have, however, is “If you do not know something to be useful or believe it to be beautiful, get rid of it.”

One of the most important insights I’ve learned is that clutter often represents unfinished work – or unfinished projects. Because you see the potential in something, it’s hard to get rid of it. Since steampunk has such a strong “do it yourself” component, this is becoming a problem for me, and maybe for you. The best advice I can give for this is to designate specific spaces for this sort of material, and not to let it exceed its space. (My “in progress” steampunk material currently lives in a laundry basket in the garage, for instance.)

Unsolicited advice, just in case you want to embrace minimalist steampunk, or just need help getting started on your home.

Minimalist Steampunk?

There's a design style called minimalism that is based on an the philosophy of removing extraneous things -- too many objects, colors, details -- in order to have a calm and simple house where everything is well thought out and carefully placed -- or removed.

To a certain extent I agree with it -- I do believe that less is more, and better is better -- that you should focus on winnowing out the things that don't bring you pleasure every time you look at them, and be willing to slowly build a home that reflects your style and values, without all the extraneous goods pushed on us by the relentless pressures of our consumer society.

So the question is: Can you have a minimalist steampunk home?

I ran across this old Anderson Windows ad yesterday, shortly after reading Zen Habit's Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home, which started me down this road.

It's a pretty minimalistic steampunk (with a lean towards the Gothic) room. It's obviously designed to show off the window (lovely, indeed), but I think there's a lesson here as to what works. Small amounts of beautiful furniture, sparse accent pieces, along with "good bones" like the window can evoke a style without having to go overboard.

While ruminating on this, I was reminded of this picture of Jake Von Slatt's monitor & keyboard -- the pieces of craftsmanship are left mostly alone to garner attention.

Then I was reminded of Mr. Watter's Steampunk Dorm Room, which manages to do a lot with very little.

The styles that steampunk inherits from are generally not minimal, but the wonderful artwork and objects that are being created in the steampunk style deserve to be highlighted, on their own -- imagine a Klockwerks clock sitting in the center of the mantel, with not much else around it; a mad scientist light alone on a side table, garnering admiring glances and comments from guests; a Datamancer keyboard sitting on a clean desk, bringing you pleasure every time you use it or look at it.

So what do you think? Is minimalist steampunk a possibility or an intrinsic oxymoron?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wine accoutrements for the Steampunk

A collection of objects from all over that would suit your steampunk bar or wine cellar.

Spinning Brass Corkscrews -- such a nice patina!

Wine Settler - impractical yes, but when did that ever stop the desire for a gadget?

Steamship Wine Coaster -- Wine and Rivets!

Beaker Glass Decanter -- every mad scientist needs something to serve his or her potions in

Globe Wine Server -- Wines of the world, for the steampunk with an explorer bent

More things for the tabletop.

Tell me what you think -- none of this objects would have made the cut for a post on their own, but together I thought they might be interesting enough. If you like it -- or hated it -- let me know in the comment. Thanks!

New Zealand Tap Lamp Company

Sometimes this "job" is just too easy. The editor of the Alrededor del Mundo “Steampunk” Spanish language blog linked to The Steampunk Home (I know this because I scour the web looking for mentions, of course) and he had a number of interesting posts. My favorite was the Tap Lamp Company, in New Zealand.

At this very moment in a picturesque, provincial New Zealand town named Christchurch there labours a skilled, mastercraftsman creating superb, functional artworks with a most unique purpose. He pours scores of hours of fastidious concentration into his creation of objets d'art which serve not only as items of collectable beauty but also as sources of evocative, mellow lighting for key areas of your home or business. The craftsman is Gareth Donnelly, founder-owner of the New Zealand Tap Lamp Company Ltd. His craft is also his artistic passion, and he is offering to the public the opportunity to peruse his recycled, lighting masterpieces.

The Lolly Jar -- Each of the 6 pipe elbows used in this lamp were sourced from a vegetable-processing machine imported earlier this century from Sweden.

Pigtail -- This Tap Lamp features what is called in the industry a 'pig tail,' a looped pipe which before it was found by Gareth operated as a protecting device between a pressure measuring guage and a main steam pipe. The loop was filled with water which absorbed the shock waves caused when quantities of steam were withdrawn from the system.

I like how the square elbows in the Lolly Jar echo the squareness of the glass shade, while the Pigtail's curves are echoed in it's spherical shade.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Desk or Fish Tank?

Originally uploaded by benchun
This is a desk that the owners are turning into a steampunk fishtank. Personally, I'd prefer the desk to the fishtank, but I look forward to seeing the fishtank when it is done. (Especially if they put squid into it.... can you even get squid for fishtanks? )

See more on Instructables.

Pulley Lights

Am I the only one fascinated by pulley lights? Functionally, I love the idea of having an adjustable height light -- position it high for dinner, then pull it closer when you are working at the same table. Aesthetically, I like the exposed pulleys and cords.

There are a number of different models and styles available, many for about $200.

Architects and Heroes, a hometown favorite, makes a wide variety of these clever lights.

There are a lot more around, just google "Pendant Pulley" to find even more examples of these neat lights.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Metal Bathroom

Bathroom Interior
Originally uploaded by laughalita
Just ran across this bathroom remodel. I know, I know, it's corrugated steel -- but just imagine it in copper or brass? Note how the designer (laughalita) used pipes for the towel racks, and very steampunk style lighting fixtures. I love the sink.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Need a pen?

The 1010 -- named after the "magic moment when the hands are in perfect balance" -- is a limited edition pen inspired by the wathmaker's art produced by Caran d'Ache.

(The links are to a very loud and flash heavy site.)

Another great find by Gary.


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