Nudity in Ruined City Landscapes

Sasha Kurmaz is a Kiev-born photographer. In his 2013 book, Concrete & Sex, the artist reveals that his personal interest in architecture stems from his graffiti background, where he trekked the city in search of good locations for his art. “While walking, I kept looking over the city. This is the magic of these brutal shapes; functionality, and a frank expression of materiality,” he says. “During these trips I have always done pictures to remember the place and go back at night to paint – sometimes I just shoot the landscapes of the city.”

Via dazeddigital.com

How to Research the History of a House

housesoldEvery house has a story and a history to it. You can find out when your home was built, who lived there, and how they changed it. Once you begin peeling back the old wallpaper, taking up the old flooring or wondering why someone put a door in such an odd place… you might want to know more about the history of your house and the people who decorated, renovated and lived in it before you.

You can find this out for a house you are interested in buying or just interested in for any reason at all. You don’t have to live in a house or a property to be curious about it. I like to find old, abandoned or derelict places and find out more about them. The main thing is to start somewhere.

Where and How to Get Started

Take a look around the property and the house inside and outside yourself.

Conduct a search of the house and its yard. Don’t forget the garage, any kind of shed or outbuilding, the basement and attic if your house has any or all of these. A little knowledge of architecture would help you find more about the features of your home and their original use or importance.

This is a great way to introduce yourself to the neighbours.

Ask neighbours about the neighbourhood, how long they have lived in the area and what they know or can remember about the house you live in. You don’t have to feel you are being a snoop or a gossip if you are asking about the house itself.

Talk to people in real estate, especially your own agent if they are local to the area.

Real estate people should be willing and able to find background information about your house (especially if you are interested in putting in an offer to buy the property). Real estate agents will have access to property records from services like land surveys, assessments and such which you might not consider tracking down yourself.

Go to city or county records offices, court houses, the local library and historical societies.

Deeds, tax records, property abstracts, city directories, census records, insurance maps, and actual road maps will help you track down the past life of your house. Your city or county records office can help you begin. Some libraries will have a section or a whole reference room dedicated to local history. You might even find a photo or illustration of your house from it’s earliest days. Ask the librarian for assistance. (Check if they have searchable archives of the local newspapers too).

Find out if your property/ house is considered historically important.

Check with societies preserving local, historic architecture to see if your house is on the list or has been considered. Even if your house is not listed, ask them about your street, other houses on your street and which are the older houses compared to your own house. If your house is considered historically significant you will have to talk to the local government planning office before you do any renovations or changes to the structure. (If you are considering buying the property this is an issue you need to think about).

Articles About Researching House and Home History

Make Your Own Impact for Future History

Just for interest, try exploring your house and the yard with gadgets which let you see more than your own eyes are able (like a metal detector). If you are renovating a space in the house keep an eye out for anything interesting. People sometimes leave notes when they are renovating a house.

We the same when we wallpapered my old house. Each of the four kids and our parents signed the wall when we had all the old paper off. We added the date and a message to whoever finds that bare wall again in the history of that house.

More About Storybook Houses

Storybook Houses in Wikipedia.

A Storybook House refers to an architectural style popularized in the 1920s in England and America.

The storybook style is a nod toward Hollywood design technically called Provincial Revivalism and more commonly called Fairy Tale or Hansel and Gretel. A primary example can be found in the 1927 Montclair, Oakland firehouse, and in a more traditional English cottage-style in the 1930 Montclair branch library. Idora Park in north Oakland, California is a four square block storybook architecture development begun in 1927 on the grounds of the old amusement park.

The primary architects that worked in this style are: Harry Oliver, W.R. Yelland, W.W. Dixon and Carr Jones among many other local architects.
Oliver is noted for his Spadena House in Beverly Hills, and the Tam O’Shanter Inn in Los Feliz (Los Angeles).

Yelland is noted for his (Thornburg) Normandy Village and Tupper & Reed Music Store, both located in Berkeley, California. Yelland designed homes in Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley, San Leandro, Hayward, Woodland, Modesto, Clarksburg, Sacramento, Kensington and San Francisco, California.

W.W. Dixon noted for his work with developer R.C. Hillen in creating the Dixon & Hillen catalog of homes. Dixon is noted for Stonehenge & Stoneleigh villages in Alameda as well as Picardy Drive in Oakland, California.

Carr Jones is noted for the (il Posinto Restaurant) post office in Lafayette, California. He designed and built one-of-a-kind homes in Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont, California.

Resources:

Storybookers: A fan site for the storybook homes. Best source for information.

Storybook Homes – Homes designed in the storybook theme by Samuel and Tina Hackwell. See their group on Flickr: Storybook Homes and Gardens.

Salon: Ticky-Tacky Houses from ‘The Painter of Light’. – The links to the village sites are not working, at least not tonight.

Hendrick’s Architecture: Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland

Hendrick’s Architecture: Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage

Flickr: Houses as in Fairytales International photos.
Flickr: Storybook Ranch Houses – Ranch homes from the postwar era – that are classified as Storybook Ranch houses. Ranches with Hansel & Gretel bric-a-brac.
Flickr: Storybook Suburban Architecture – The houses with a mid-century ranch structure, but adorned in quaintness and Olde Worlde pastiche.
Flickr: Whimsical Architecture
Flickr: Cottage in the Woods
Flickr: Arquitectura Fantastica Mundial
Flickr: Fantasy Vintage Home – Illustrations.

Screen captures from Fiddlers Green, a well done post about storybook houses.

From Storybookers:

COMMON FEATURES OF STORYBOOK ARCHITECTURE

Some of the terms used below are a bit technical; an illustrated glossary of terms related to storybook architecture will be added to this page in the near future.

CONSTRUCTION: Predominately stucco (often roughly troweled), frequently with half-timbering (often curved); use of rubble stone, crazed brick, and clinker brick are common; all-stone, all-brick, and all-wood construction are sometimes used. Turrets with conical roofs are a common feature, as are faux dovecotes.

WALLS: Often sloped or curving; almost never square or rectangular; wing walls are not uncommon.

ROOFLINES: Always curved in some way—swaybacked, sagged, concave, undulating or sharply pointed; never flat and seemingly never of the straight- and equal-sided triangular form; gables are usually jerkinhead or very sharply pointed; eaves are often rolled; use of catslides is common.

ROOFING MATERIALS: Most often wooden shingles, wooden shakes, or slate laid down in a seawave or other intentionally irregular pattern; though the original materials have frequently been replaced over time, the irregular pattern is sometimes imitated in the more modern material.

DOORS: Round-topped or batten (occasionally both), often with a peek-a-boo; doors are frequently set in an arched doorway lined with stone; when turret is present, the building’s front door typically opens into this.

WINDOWS: Sometimes wood-framed but often steel-framed (presumably to more closely resemble medieval windows); on older homes, the glass (unless replaced) is leaded or wavy; figural insets of stained glass are not uncommon.

CHIMNEYS: Chimneys are seldom regular in appearance; most feature a combination of stucco and seemingly haphazardly-placed stone or brick.

IRONWORK: Wrought iron door hinges, handles, knockers, and locksets are common, as are other wrought iron embellishments.

OTHER: Most storybook structures are fairly small, though many make use of deceptive perspective to trick the eye into perceiving them as being larger than they really are; larger storybooks are often constructed to appear as though built up gradually over time, one addition at a time. All (or nearly all) are based upon a fanciful interpretation of medieval European homes; a number of the true masterworks have been artificially and intentionally aged, lending them the appearance of structures built centuries in the past.

LOCATION: As befits their faux-rural heritage, many storybook homes are surrounded by trees and shrubbery; as most were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, the greenery can conceal these structures from the casual observer.

What Kind of City Dweller are You?


You Are a Hip and Artsy City Dweller



You love that the city is always changing, and you’re always on top of the latest trends.

You don’t try to deliberately keep up, you’re just naturally curious. And because of your curiosity, you discover hidden gems just before they get popular.

You truly love the city, and you’re inspired by the urban landscape every day. Living in the middle of the hustle and bustle keeps you creative.

Even if you aren’t an artist, you can’t help but take pictures, write, make art, or play music. All of the energy around you is contagious!

  


You Belong in Paris


You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.

You’re the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.


You Are Shy and Silent


You are thoughtful and contemplative. You enjoy spending time alone with your thoughts.

You are very introverted. You generally prefer quiet time by yourself to most social interactions.

Money is very important to you. You like to have lots of nice things… and you don’t care if you’re being greedy.

You are curious about ideas. If you had the means, you’d like to explore the whole world.


Your City is Moscow


You are fast moving and quick changing. You aren’t exactly sure who you are right now or who you’ll end up being.

You have a rich, complicated past, and an exotic appeal that takes a person’s breath away.

You are naturally stylish and classy, even if it’s a bit of an illusion. You crave true wealth, power, and glamour.

You love adventure and risk. You are a natural gambler and charmer. You are often very lucky, but sometimes your luck does run out.


You Are the Suburbs


You’ve got a bad rap, but you think people are just jealous of how good you’ve got it.

You prefer to live somewhere that’s clean, safe, and cheap. What could be wrong with that? You’re not going to apologize for liking chain restaurants and good schools.

While you may not be as sophisticated as the city, you’re content with your life. Plus, there’s more to do in the suburbs than people think.

Besides, you can visit the city anytime you’d like. And when your fun in town is done, you have a comfy suburban house to come home to.


You Are Downtown


You’re a funky spirit that requires freedom to live.

You need adventure, diversity, and great ethnic food.

You don’t like anything stuffy. You prefer wacky and eclectic stuff.

You’ll take a cheap slice of pizza over a four star restaurant any day!

Middle Name Meme

From Laura at the Lunatic Fringe, the Middle Name Meme:

You must post the rules before you give your answers.

List one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name. Each fact must begin with that letter. If you don’t have a middle name, just use your maiden name.

At the end of your post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name.

D- Driving. I miss driving. Mainly getting to and from work or being able to get out when I have a day off. Taking the bus and taxis is not comparable. I also am frustrated cause now that I have the new camera I am stuck at home, no change to get out and take photos of more abandoned places. I really wanted to do some of them with the snow too.

E- Exploring. I love looking at old and abandoned buildings. I always have. They call it urban and rural exploring. I’ve been reading a little about architecture and buildings to learn more of the correct terms for parts of buildings and how they work together to make the whole.

E- Escape. I find at this time in my life I want to avoid any further responsibility, expectations and all that sort of thing. I want to have room to grow, make choices and do things my way.

I pass this along to the usual bloggers and those who just want to share their middle name with the world, you know who you are.