Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Playing With Wordle

This cool graphic was created by Wordle at www.wordle.net. Wordle is an elegant software program developed by IBM Senior Software Engineer Jonathan Feinberg. So go play!

To Our Distant Neighbors: A Big Texas Thanks!

This is Sean Paul from Miami, Florida. He is one of the thousands of wonderful people who have left their homes across the United States to come to Houston to clean up after Hurricane Ike.

Thank you, Sean Paul! Thank you for cleaning up our neighborhood, our city, all of Southeast Texas.

Sean Paul and his Bobcat are taking away the debris left by Hurricane Ike. Today Sean and his crew are in Meyerland, the neighborhood of My Ranchburger.

Today, there is nothing more beautiful than Sean Paul and his Bobcat!
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Minimalist to Minimalist

Vitra Design Miniature, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, 1928

I confess: After witnessing Hurricane Ike, Tall Husband and I went house hunting, farther inland, where my son lives with his family. We did not find a house to our liking, so upon our return to Houston I continued my search on-line.

As Tall Son shares my aversion to clutter and kitsch and is a devout minimalist, I trust his design decisions, so sent this e-mail to him:

Mom wrote:

"What do you think of this one?" (I attached a photo of a new modern minimalist house, designed by a great architect; a photo I will not attach here, as I do not want someone to scoop the house out from under us.)

Tall Son responded:

"I like it but it lacks a few Southern touches:
  1. Stone hunting dogs flanking the entry way
  2. A two-foot rusty lone star over the front door.
  3. A junkyard sculpture of a longhorn in the front yard.
  4. Twin lazy boys in the living room facing a ten-foot TV tuned to college football.
  5. A pool table with a plastic Budweiser lampshade over it.
  6. A poster of a large-breasted bimbo in a bikini mounting a Harley in the garage (over the arc welder of course).
  7. A longhorn trophy over the TV that sings the "Yellow Rose of Texas" when you pull its tongue.
  8. Antlers mounted in every room for good measure.
  9. A flashing neon sign over the sound system that just reads "The King."
  10. Oh, and for the little lady: a velvet painting of young Elvis over the stove.
Tall Son"

He loves the house!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Han Feng's suspended flowers at Sotheby's
Photo: Courtesy of Han Feng's website

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Ingo Maurer's Fly Candle
Photo courtesy of Ingo Maurer's website

Things that appear to levitate are always fascinating. Two wonderful examples of such slight-of-hand are German designer Ingo Maurer's Fly Candle, and Chinese designer Han Feng's fresh flower arrangement at Sotheby's. Minimalism at its chicest.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

La Tortoise in Ranchburger Land

This is a story about a whimsical, minimalist topiary turtle that stands in Meyerland.

Max Ernst's Paros marble Tortoise sits in Andrée Putman's apartment in Paris. The photo is from the book Andrée Putman, A Designer Apart, by José Alvarez and François-Olivier Rousseau; Rizzoli International Publications Inc. Though this turtle is quite charming, it is not the inspiration for La Tortoise in Meyerland, a neighborhood in Houston, Texas.

Tall Husband stands beside La Tortoise to give you a feel for the scale of the boxwood piece (but remember: Tall Husband is Tall.)

In the neighborhood of My Ranchburger, there is a long-standing delightful surprise, a topiary turtle that seems to have been inspired by turtles the artist Max Ernst sculpted during the last century. For years I have smiled each time I drove past this boxwood creature, wondering who created it and why. This turtle has been maintained here for as long as I can remember (I moved here in 1976).

Determined to learn its origin, I recently caught up with the Meyerland Community Improvement Association (
MCIA) landscaping Crew. They told me that the turtle was first sculpted by a former member of their crew, whose name they could not recall. Since the retirement of the original sculptor, the landscape crew has continued to maintain the turtle. It seems that the inspiration for the turtle was the hundreds of turtles that once inhabited the nearby bayou and not by Max Ernst's creations.

A delightful, minimalist topiary turtle stands in Meyerland.

How wonderful to have an anonymous piece of living art bequeathed to a neighborhood. Thank your Sir, whoever you are.

Note: These photographs were shot before the hurricane but La Tortoise still stands after Hurricane Ike; a few less leaves and a bit frowzy, like the rest of us, but still standing!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Red Telephone

At My Ranchburger in Houston: here is our vintage Southwestern Bell telephone that kept us in touch with the outside world during Hurricane Ike and following, when power outages hit the entire Texas Gulf Coast. Doesn't she look sassy? Couldn't you just imagine putting in a call to Russia from the White House?

You can see our modern, digital wireless phone in the background. It will not work without electricity but Tall Husband was undaunted; he simply hooked up our vintage Southwestern Bell telephone and we had a land line. Thanks to At&T we never lost phone service. Both our AT&T land lines and cell phones stayed with us through Hurricane Ike and subsequent power outages.

Hurricane Ike update:
We now have water and electricity at My Ranchburger! We are giddy with power. We have won the electricity lottery! No Internet (Comcast) yet, so I am mooching Internet connections from friends who have such luxuries.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

I Don't Like Ike...

but I love these Texans.

The owner of this Houston home was grateful that this 60 foot tree did not hit her home when Ike blew it over.

The Texas Chainsaw Crew in Meyerland, Houston. This is one of many crews of neighbors who joined forces and resources to begin the horrific clean up that we face in Southeast Texas.

A crew of chainsaw-wielding neighbors clears the streets the day after Hurricane Ike blows through My Ranchburger's area of Houston. One of the crew insisted that I take a photo of the Poulan chainsaw. Guys love their chainsaws!

Ike's Landscraping

In Houston, many old trees were blown over; some narrowly missing houses, others smashing onto them. Power lines and poles were blown down. Water pressure is low, so water has to be boiled and conserved. There is no electricity and the weather is hot and humid. My Ranchburger and The Bunny Bungalow appear untouched by Ike...only tree damage and debris which we can handle. We Texans are a "can do" people. We don't stand around and whine about "when and what are they going to do for us." Houston mayor, Bill White, personifies the "can-do attitude." He has been on the radio (there is no longer television or Internet available to many of us) giving us encouragement, tips and real information about how we can help ourselves and our neighbors.

Larry, like all of his Meyerland neighbors, was out clearing his property as soon as Hurricane Ike quit blowing debris around.

There is a house somewhere behind those trees that Ike blew over.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Longing for an Edouard-Wilfred Buquet Lamp

Studio Bauhaus lamp from Neenas Lighting, was inspired by Edouard-Wilfred Buquet's 1927 Counterpoise task table lamp.

These lamps, inspired by Buquet's design are from Restoration Hardware and on sale! Hmm, should I?

This is an original Edouard-Wilfred Buquet Counterpoise table Lamp from the collection of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA.)

We must find replacement lamps for our bedroom at My Ranchburger. The one's we have were purchased years ago as temporary lamps. You know, just until we found the lamp of our dreams. Now one of those lamps has a transformer that is on the blitz. And the Edouard-Wilfred Buquet lamp is a lamp a modernist could lust after. But apparently no one sells a satisfactory reproduction; not even MoMA. A quick Internet search reveals that originals can be had for $4,000-$7,000 USD. This is quite out of my price range for a couple of lamps to put in the master bedroom. But they could look so cool on our grey Italian bed's credenza.

This will stir the ire of the purist but I had rather have a good reproduction with a halogen bulb. To my eye, a modern design does not look so chic if it's dented or tattered.

Sometimes one has to be content with longing. After all, it's not the lamp on my side of the bed that's blinking and fizzing; is it, Tall Husband?

Ferris Wheel: Downtown Houston

Ferris wheel as seen from the Architecture Center of Houston

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Admittedly, this isn't La Grande Roue de Paris (as seen on Daily Photo Blog à Paris) but it is a ferris wheel. I had no idea there was a permanent wheel in the City until I happened to spot it out the back window of the Architecture Center of Houston (ArCH) the other evening. It is located at the Downtown Aquarium on Bagby Street at Memorial Drive.
If you are a visitor or a Houstonian, you might be interested in reviews of the facility at Tripadvisor prior to planning a visit. According to most reviews, it is for young families.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Naü-haus Now

Paul Kittelson: Modern Conveniences at Naü-haus
September 6, 2008-September 30, 2008

Seen at Naü-haus: Floyd Newsum, Artist & Professor of Art at The University of Houston-Downtown and Artist Burt Long

Kurt Baxter, Owner of Designage in Houston and designer of The Bunny Bungalow blog card

Nancy Smith, Associate Director of Naü-haus

The man with two red shoes is not a spy, he is Dan Mitchell Allison, Naü-haus owner. Dan is also an artist. We have such an impressive collection of his art that My Ranchburger has been referred to as the Dan Mitchell Allison Museum.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

99K House Competition Opening Reception

Last night, the 2008 99K House Competition opening reception was packed with design enthusiasts. The Competition is sponsored by the Rice Design Alliance and the American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter. The challenge to the designers and architects was "to create an innovative design for a small house that is affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient." There were 184 entries from around the United States. The complete list of participants is at http://www.the99khouse.com/.

The competition winner was Hybrid/ORA from Seattle, Washington with Core, a compact, highly adaptable house. Core will be built in Houston. The City of Houston is donating a site for the house through the Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) initiative.

Architecture Center Houston

Houston's Mayor Bill White outlined an opportunity for the design savvy, who can qualify for FHA loans, to build a 99k home on inner city land. The city will assist the future homeowner or investor with low cost land and other aspects of turning one of these modern, energy efficient designs into a reality.

Some of the finalist's models above and below.

At such design events as these, the potential of running into friends with like passions is the big draw and this event did not disappoint.

More friends, some old and some new.

Another winner at this reception was Gourmet Familia, Charles M. Morales' catering company. Also, the gourmet marshmallows by Sharon Erisman of Queen Bee Marshmallows, were a true taste experience. Pictured above are the cayenne pepper with dark chocolate marshmallows, my favorite. Gourmet Familia is located at 12633 Memorial Drive, Suite 181, Houston, Texas. 832-526-8236; Queen Bee Marshmallows: 281-433-5235.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Grand Opening of Cork Wine Bar at Pearland Town Center

Scenes around the new Pearland Town Center

Yesterday evening we met friends for dinner at the New Pearland Town Center in Pearland, Texas.

After dinner, they invited us to the grand opening of Cork Wine Bar, a modernist bar with just the right touch of dark, sultry woods and beautifully done low lighting. One of Cork's bars is the traditional take on a bar with a bartender; then there is a long, sleek bar that has seating on both sides, a design which promotes face-to-face conversation. Then there is the knock-out, back-lit, wall-to-wall wine rack. This all adds up to warm, cozy chic.

Wall-to-wall wine rack at Cork Wine Bar.
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This has got to be the coolest wine rack conceived, from both a design and a technical perspective: the lighting is a high-tech lighting that remains cool, so as not to warm the wine.
Best wishes to owners, David and Kimberly Swartz. That's some cool wine bar you have!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

99K House Exhibition Opening

According to the e-mail invitation I received, the Rice Design Alliance and AIA Houston will open their exhibition of 66 selected entries to the 99K House Competition on September 3, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol.

A catalog of this exhibition will be on sale for $9.99.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
6:00-8:00 pm reception
6:30 pm Mayor White opening remarks
(no RSVP needed)

The exhibition will run through October 30, 2008.
ArCH is open Mon-Thu 8:30am-5pm; Fri 8:30am-3pm. Please see attached map.

Admission is free. For more information, please call AIA Houston at (713) 520-0155.

Click on the map below to enlarge.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Original Blog

The Bunny Bungalow, Historic Houston Heights, Houston, Texas

The Bunny Bungalow is my original blog. If you love Arts & Crafts with a minimalist touch and small-town ambiance in a big city, you will love The Bunny Bungalow and all the stories that reveal the uniqueness of this neighborhood. So hop over for a visit!