I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things. Join me as I search for items for my house that combine the scientific romanticism of the Victorians with our real present and imagined future.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Happy Victorian Gothic Halloween
I can't get enough of red velvet curtains -- but tying them back with a noose is innovative...
Modify portraits with lace masks, decorate old spools with black lace for candleholders, use tarnished silver for a bouquet...
The best use of apothecary jars I've seen -- to hold creepy crawlies...
Many more photos and how-tos here.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Q&A on M.O.N.A.'s Drawing Room
Kevin Derrick, the Project Coordinator for M.O.N.A.'s drawing room in the previous post, was so kind as to answer a couple of my questions about the room, it's contents, and the design.
What is the mirror frame made of?
The mirror is oxidized copper tentacles, made by processing wax forms via an electroform tank. The copper solution "sticks" to the specially-coated wax and when complete, all you need do is torch the wax away. Pretty cool, huh?
How did you make the chandelier?
Why all the stuff on skinny sticks? :)
The letters on the walls -- do they say or mean anything?
How did you light the glassware on the corner table? (Showing off
clear glassware is a challenge...)
How did you pull this off? It's a bit eccentric for the more
"mainline" style of the house (although props to the dining room...)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Made on North American's Drawing Room
Usually designer show houses feature rooms designed in the most traditional and unrealistic possible sense (i.e. "The Girl's Room" is always pink with ballerinas, 4 books, and 3 sets of clothes.) Not so the Philadelphia SPCA's designer show house. Atop a set of stairs in an old Victorian Mansion lies the twisted traditional (if still unrealistic) drawing room designed by the collaborative innovators of MONA.
(Play the slideshow for lots of pictures and close ups.)
The historic mansion is open for viewing seven days a week through November 9th and benefits the Philadelphia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Tin Tile for the Dishwasher
Chris Kauffman at Just Beachy created the first one
...a recent Home Depot find , plastic which looks like old tin tiles which I used adhesive to attach to my dish washer , I think it adds a little detail.
Linda MacDonald at Restyled Home made it a focal point with shiny "tin"
Simple, cheap, DIY. Great!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Holly Black's Hidden Library
Our tour, guided by Ms. Black...
The bookshelf, closed
And now, open into the sorta secret library.
The secret door from the other side.
The hidden door is from hiddendoors.com and installed by our
contractor during the renovation. There are a few other small hidden things in our house, but this is really the most fun.
Looking into the library. There is a speakeasy door (ed. note: a door with a small window hole in it that can be opened to see who is on the other side.) on the other side, that leads outside -- the library is in the basement, but it's a walk-out basement -- which is why the library can only be sort of secret.
The fireplace surround is actually pressed stone. It's from www.mantelsdirect.com. They don't have the specific mantel I got any more, but it's a great place to acquire relatively affordable mantles that look like stone.
I can tell that a lot of love and passion went into this library -- can't you just see a hearty winter meal on that marble table, with a fire roaring and plenty of red wine?
I also wanted to draw your attention to the lighting design -- there's the great chandelier with the mica shade for style, but the library gets most of it's drama from the track lights that highlight the books, panelling, and objects.
More hidden doors.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Escher up the walls and outside
And molds for three wonderful concrete pavers, so you can make your own and tile a driveway or patio.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Escher on the Floor
The fundamental mathematics that make Escher's work suitable for floors (or walls) is that they are tessellations -- interlocking shapes that fill a plane. The easiest, and most popular, seems to be the cube tessellation that we saw yesterday. I found it done in concrete, in carpet, in parquet, and in stone tile.
Parquet at the Hotel Palomar
Tomorrow: even more Escher for the home.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Jay Walker's Library
You *must* go see Wired Magazine's article on Jay Walker's library. Sputnik? Check. Original Anatomia Universa? Yep. Old surgical instruments? You bet. TRS-80 and the WWII Enigma machine? Wouldn't miss 'em.
The etched glass balustrades with all sorts of scientific references are wonderful, as is the Escher like tile floor (about the only thing here that is recreatable on a professionals budget, instead of a Priceline founder's budget...)
Any area of scientific inquiry can be found here, collected in a beautiful setting that shows just what treasures they are.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Steampunk USB Drives
I try to keep The Steampunk Home, well, "home" focused, and USB drives are a bit outside of the home. (Mine are most in use when I'm *away* from my home.) but these two were too good not to share.
Carl Ulrich sent me this one:
I took an old flash drive and with the aid of a 2 dollar cigar for the
glass tube I made my own vacuum tube flash drive. The entire project
took under an hour and costs under 5 dollars.
I love simple steampunk projects!
This one, made by Dave Barton's dad, is not so simple, but oh so beautiful:
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It’s not just cool because it’s trendy — it’s cool because it’s inspirational.
Like being Goth without scaring your parents.... Whereas steampunks are — what? Weirdoes who take pocket-watches too seriously? What are they gonna do, vehemently tell you what time it is?
And the whole reason I'm quoting this:
[I]n practice, writers and artists and filmmakers and musicians are all starting with this basic aesthetic and then mixing in some fantasy, some horror, some superheroics. We’re seeing steampunk pirates, steampunk faeries, steampunk Wonder Woman, steampunk Cthulhu cultists.
Steampunk Pirates? Really? (cackle) Just the excuse I needed to get these ideas on pirate decor posted.... I don't really think they are steampunk, but I enjoy them and hope you do as well.
Let's start with options for a kid's room.
Beds! I was astounded at how many different types of children's pirate beds were available!
This one at Rooms To Go was my favorite
For adults, there's some pirate looking pieces like the Taka Trunk coffee table at Crate and Barrel:
Or use this barrel bedside table from Rooms To Go as a side table.
There's even a Cavalier door available -- a house in my neighborhood has this one, and it works surprisingly well on a apanish style ranch house.
The key thing to remember here is to "avoid kitsch" -- your goal is not to fill your home with pictures of pirates, but to project what a pirate of taste would surround him or herself with to remind them of their adventures...
What do you think? Can pirates be steampunk?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Forgotten Beauty: Julie Shiel Photography
Yikes -- sorry for the two week hiatus, but when life and work get busy, my blogging suffers.
Julie Shiel takes photographs of the abandoned and decrepit, and in the process makes art that reminds us that no matter how well built or beautiful, without care and attention things disintegrate into nothingness. To me, they seem to be the real life counterpart to Tuomas Korpi's fantasy interiors.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Ron Pippin's Skeletal Taxidermy Art
Ron Pippin works in skeletons and other remains, combining them with vintage science and electrical components in ways that are intriguing and creepy.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Spider Web Chandelier
Here's a kitchen/dining room from Metropolitan Home, July/August 2007. The fixture reminds me of the Edison Chandelier by Pottery Barn (although surely that is a knock off of this?). I love how it feels like a spider web. This doesn't seem that hard to build yourself -- I'm wondering if I have a room it would suit.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Dark Style Blog
A few of my favorites:
Dark Style and encourage her to keep posting.
Friday, October 3, 2008
If you plan to be in the Chicago area anytime from now to next March, check out the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre at the Museum of Science and Industry.
This temporary exhibit features a collection of 20 mechanical sculptures, called automata, which are intricately designed and full of humor. Their humor is brought to life by tiny cranks, pulleys and gears that allow the sculptures to move and take action.
Thanks to Jill Murtagh for sharing this!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
RetroFuturistic Travel Posters for your Home
My favorite is Sail Neptune.
Prices start at $11.95 for a small portfolio print on poster paper, and goes up from there for various other options. Probably the best deal is the calendar with 12 of these prints for around $30.