Elinor’s House

This is the TENTH in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.
I’m a widow with two children who grew up here and went to East Lansing Schools and Michigan State University. I now have five grandchildren and a great grandchild on the way in June. I’m an RN and a Real Estate Broker; having sold real estate for more than 30 years. I’ve served on several Boards and Commissions over time and hope I’ve helped moved the needle in public service.

What’s keeping you busy these days?
I just sold a home in East Lansing which I had purchased to renovate and sell. I’m really pleased with the outcome and had perfect buyers who appreciate the care and attention to detail. I like to think I’ve brought beauty, value, and good neighbors to the community. Currently I’m engaged in a couple of projects in arts and culture which will keep me occupied for some time to come. I’m pretty immersed in the life of the community.

What brought you to East Lansing?
Back in 1958, my brand-new husband, Larry, and I came to East Lansing from the Grand Rapids area so he could get a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science. He was already a civil engineer with a Masters in Physics. We stayed as we started a family and all our friends said that East Lansing had a wonderful school system. He had a great career at the Michigan Department of Transportation as Director of the MDOT Materials Research Laboratory and initiated a joint risk management project with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

How long have you lived in your home? Since October 1967

What drew you to this house? It was clearly designed by an architect who was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright– large expanses of south facing floor-to-ceiling glass, capacious overhangs, large private yard, and fantastic location. It turns out that the Lantern Hill neighborhood homes were designed and sited by Hugh Stubbins, a notable architect. They were small and affordable and could be easily expanded.  The neighborhood is featured in Susan Bandes’ book Mid-Michigan Modern:  From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie.

Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting? Absolutely. We had been house-hunting and had lost out on a similar home on Roseland. A friend was bicycling and saw a tiny “for sale” sign and we immediately went to see this home. As we walked in the front door, I gasped audibly and my husband poked me in the ribs. It was love at first sight though the home had been rented at one time and in need of love. We bought it immediately.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? I think it was within the week of moving in that we began to rip the fake marble panels off the bathroom walls and broke up the hideous linoleum tiles on the floor. They were probably asbestos, but who knew at that time?

Have you done it – why or why not? We did everything we wanted to do with this wonderful home. It is quite modular, and accommodates additions and renovations beautifully.

What has been your favorite project so far? Hard to say. We had a wonderful time designing our master bedroom/bath addition in 1992. Being amateurs, it took a whole year to get the right design so it would be natural to the house and have a seamless exterior. We renovated the kitchen and added on a living room addition but those were easy, thanks to Larry’s engineering background.

Summer Solstice Jazz Festival Fundraiser held in 2019

How has the pandemic affected your daily routines? Yes, like everyone else. Pre-pandemic, I had an active social life and saw my family often. I entertained at home, both indoors and outdoors. I’ve been isolated except for grocery shopping and necessary appointments. Now I Zoom meetings and Book Club gatherings.  

Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live? Not at all. It is large enough to have great spaces and the outdoors is part of what I enjoy every day even in winter. I never tire of living here. The home is a long ranch and low to the ground and I designed the gardens so they are visible from all windows. I can watch birds and wildlife. Serious wildlife. Deer, rabbits, foxes, skunks, chipmunks, a raccoon or two.  They think they own the yard and they do.

What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing? SideBar, Beggars, El Azteco, Peanut Barrel, East Lansing Public Library, Hannah Center. When Covid has been contained, I’ll be walking downtown again and into the coffee shops, Saper Gallery, Goodriches Grocery, and just enjoying living in East Lansing.

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home? Now that I’m semi-retired, I can structure my days, get up late, read the New York Times, watch a MasterClass (Billy Collins), talk to my family and friends, and hopefully, I’ll be seeing them in person soon and partying in the garden again.

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Lightning Round:

  1. How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging? I have two TV’s, one for entertainment and one for watching the news as I exercise. I’m bingeing on “The Bureau”, a French spy thriller series on the French CIA which is a combination of John LeCarre and Graham Greene. Just finished another French series, “Call My Agent”, which is terrific.
  2. Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? Yes, and can’t wait to entertain again
  3. Can you fold a fitted sheet? No. Should I try?
  4. What’s your “at-home” equivalent of Inbox Zero? My Eames chair and ottoman and a good book. In summer, my screened porch, Papasan chair and a good book. I bought the Eames chair and ottoman from Roy Saper many years ago and it’s the most comfortable chair I ever sat in.
  5. What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat? Tiny Oreos so I think I’m eating less calories
  6. What is your favorite splurge for your home? A huge bouquet of fresh flowers in midwinter. Or daffodils I can enjoy early and then plant outdoors.
  7. Do you have an organizing hack to share? No. I have a haphazard and spontaneous approach to organizing my household
  8. When I say hygge, you say…. Same as #4
  9. What do you want to know about your neighbors? I hope they appreciate the beauty and history of the homes and the neighborhood. I believe they do–it’s a great neighborhood and fits the East Lansing walkability model.

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Thank you, Elinor! If YOU would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at realhousesofeastlansing (at) gmail (dot) com (written out this way to prevent spam). Thx for reading!

Lindsay’s House

This is the ninth in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.

We live in Bailey. Living in our house currently is my husband, and three of our four children. Also at home is our dog (Brooks), cat (Pumpkin), and our four hens (Mable, Charley, Blanche, & Queenie).

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Fortunately, so many different things at the moment. First, I am a small business owner. While it’s not outdoor photography season just yet, there’s always a little something business related to be done. My other passion, gardening, also keeps me very busy. Even right now. If you were to venture into our basement today you’d find all sorts of lovely green starts, both flower and veg, under lights. In addition, the veg I grow for us, I plan to offer some cut flower bouquet sales this summer! Additionally, just a few weeks ago one of my local friends purchased the Wild Birds Unlimited store up on Coolidge and Lake Lansing. Currently I’m over there with her a few days a week helping her out with all things backyard bird. It’s was an opportunity that came out of nowhere at an ideal time, and I am really enjoying myself. People who come in to feed the birds are turning out to be just some of the sweetest people!

What brought you to East Lansing?

We moved here fifteen years ago this March for my husband’s career. Fortunately, within months it felt like home and now is where we always picture ourselves being. 

How long have you lived in your home?

It is hard for me to believe, but this June will mark 5 years in this home. Prior to this home we lived in the Walnut Heights neighborhood, which as you know is how we originally met, years and years go.

What drew you to this house?

About seven years ago I became fascinated with the idea of living smaller. I felt really restless about it. We got slightly serious with the idea one spring and looked at a much smaller home in the neighborhood we were in at the time. We then backed down from the idea for about a year. But I just couldn’t shake that I really wanted my family to be in a cozier home. A home where we really used all of the living spaces to their fullest. In the end, we made the leap. We bought the smallest house we’ve owned in our marriage, and we never looked back. It was a really gratifying move for both us, even if my husband did question the idea in the beginning! So the much shorter answer is we were drawn to this house because it was small! But, we also happen to think it’s really darling too.

Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?

Selling our previous home happened before we were expecting it to, prior to us listing it. So when we suddenly found ourselves house hunting there was almost nothing on the market. And I mean nothing! We wanted to stay within the Marble boundaries, with children still at Marble. There was one home in Bailey that sort of checked some boxes, and one rumored about coming to market soon in Lantern Hill. As we were nearing the moment of moving forward on the listed Bailey home we heard the home we are now living in would be coming on the market in a matter of a week or so. It was a home I already adored because I use to marvel at it’s beautiful weeping cheery tree each spring. And I do have a thing for Cape Cods. So honestly, before we even stepped inside I just knew it would be perfect for us. And it really has been that, and so much more.

I also just have to share, we really ran with the Cape Cod theme. In subtle ways, but in ways that make me so happy. My grandparents lived on Cape Cod for most of my life. My Mandy (grandmother) was a painter, and I have a painting she did of myself, my sister, and my cousins on the Cape. I have another landscape painting of hers from Cape Cod too. Those paintings hang prominently in our living room. We then painted the 1st floor walls in the color “Sea Salt” and the bathroom with “Sand Dune”. While my Mandy passed a couple years ago, we were able to share this with her through pictures before she did. And it thrilled her. 

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?

Oh yes! The second bedroom on the first floor had been converted into one big master closet. Which made a ton of sense for the previous owners. Especially since the 1940s master bedroom closet is about as tiny as they come. But, with our family size, myself working from home, and additional reasons, we needed to convert that room back into a room. We had all of the lovely custom closet organizational systems moved down and reinstalled on the utility side of our basement. Which has worked out great for seasonal storage.

What has been your favorite project so far?

The veg garden, hands down! We are located on a corner. And so this lot has a decent sized patch of yard on the side. It was all grass, with one small tree. While the tree was beneficial, that patch of lawn was never ever used, and definitely not beneficial. So, two Aprils ago my adult son came up for a week and we tore it all out. Together we built a picket fence around the area. Next we built five 4×8 raised beds. I’ve had raised bed gardens at previous homes of ours, but never so publicly! It’s always been hidden in a backyard. But now here we were turning a front lawn into a vegetable patch. Yes, technically it is on the side of our own home. But it is adjacent to our neighbor’s front yard, it runs right up to the sidewalk, and you drive right by it. While I was beyond excited to have a growing space again, I admit I spent the night before wide-awake counting all of the neighbors surrounding who would have to stare at our garden from their own home. But I have to say, I get such an abundance of positive feedback. And people tell me they go out of their way to walk by and check-in. [Editor’s Note: I am one of those people!]

How has the pandemic affected your daily routines?

Oh, where to start! Since I work from home I was very accustomed to having the home all to myself during the daytime. But honestly, while the circumstances are beyond crummy, I’ve loved having my family home. We have an older child who is out of the house and off and living his adult life in another state far away. I’ve experienced just how quickly everything changes. We also had the opportunity to be in Georgia for a bit of an extended time this past Fall. I spent so much time with my 97-year-old Poppop who lives in Savannah. More time than I’ve spent with him in my adult life. And I will cherish that time the rest of my life.

Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live?

Many people have cracked that perhaps we wouldn’t have moved to a much smaller home if we knew we’d have to be together all day long for a year and then some! But neither of us feel that way. We love this home. Though, depending on the moment, our kids my have a very different answer for you! But, honestly, this home gave us a sincere and deep peace-of-mind when everything first came down with COVID. Simply put, living in a much smaller home with fewer and smaller expenses gives us a lot of margin. If things really got turned on their head, like job loss or severe illness, that margin sure makes a big difference in what would happen next. 

What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing?

Love love love heading to VanAttas or Horrocks in the Spring. Those are absolutely my places of joy! And when the weather warms up, I particularly love strolling and doing my photography work at MSU’s Lewis Arboretum. My family also loves anything we can walk to right downtown here. And Fosters Coffee is a frequent destination. 

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?

Long coffee mornings. I’ll admit, if I can’t get a long coffee morning in on a Saturday, I’m a little bit sad. Especially in the winter! Make the coffee, grab the blanket, turn on the fireplace, and sketch next seasons garden.

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Lightning Round:

How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging? Three. And watching The Crown nightly right now.

Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? Crafty?

Can you fold a fitted sheet? Oh goodness no!

What’s your “at-home” equivalent of Inbox Zero? Spotless first floor.

What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat? A grilled meal on our patio.

What is your favorite splurge for your home? Garden-related things.

Do you have an organizing hack to share? For the busiest seasons in life, set a Monday through Friday menu and stick to it. Literally dish-by-dish. Monday Chili, Tuesday Tacos, Wednesday Salad Bar, Thursday Spaghetti, Friday Chicken & Rice. Whatever it might be. Not only will you not have to think about what you are cooking each night – which we know can exhaustingly feel like one more thing you have to think about – but it also saves you a lot of time and money at the market because you are buying the same exact thing week after week. I think people think, oh, that will be so boring, And after awhile it might be. But we’ll take boring over stress. 

When I say hygge, you say…. Fire!

What do you want to know about your neighbors? Can you hear our chickens? lol

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Thank you, Lindsay! If YOU would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at realhousesofeastlansing (at) gmail (dot) com (written out this way to prevent spam). Thx for reading!

Down the Rabbit Hole with Hideo Matsunaga

Perhaps my favorite thing about East Lansing is the diversity of folks who live here. Because Michigan State University draws scholars and educators from all over the world, our community comprises people of all different races, ethnicities, and faith traditions. As someone passionately curious about others, this is exciting!

It is in that spirit, that I head “down the rabbit hole” with Hideo Matsunaga, a Japanese-American architect from Los Angeles who recently passed away due to COVID. He came to my attention when his family home was listed for sale. It’s a beautiful, simple mid-century modern house in the Hollywood hills. *

via real estate listing

From the realtor’s listing, the house “incorporates walls of glass sliding doors, skylights and decks to create a sense of spaciousness and bring the outdoors in, typical of Matsunaga’s designs”.

via real estate listing

The living room (here) opens onto the narrow balcony shown above.

via real estate listing

The kitchen has ample storage space with all of the wooden cabinetry. It feels like a cozy place to make a good cup of coffee.

via real estate listing

The concrete terrace is off the combined kitchen/dining area and features separate areas for sitting and dining outdoors.

via real estate listing

This lower level sitting area opens onto another, lower outdoor balcony and has a feeling of airiness.

via real estate listing

The property has many mature trees including lemon, avocado, fig, and loquat. Imagine being able to walk outdoors and pick the avocado to use in your breakfast!

via real estate listing

The laundry room has an especially raw charm. I like the mixture of different colored fiberglass shells and wood vs. metal legs on the Eames Eiffel chairs around the table. Framed art and some other decorative touches have made this utilitarian space feel pretty.

via real estate listing

Check out the listing to see the rest of the photos, the floor plans, and the 360-degree street view.

via real estate listing

Matsunaga’s family home is similar to one of his other notable properties — 420 Lakeview Road in nearby Pasadena. This house was built in 1960, two years before his family home, and is about 50 percent larger with two additional bathrooms. Like Matsunaga’s family home, 420 Lakeview also features balconies and terraces, paneled & beamed ceilings, and lots of big windows.

via real esate listing

Here, you can peek inside the house to see the spiral staircase that leads to the lower level and, outdoors, the large deck.

via real estate listing

Another lower-level sitting room, this one opens to the terrace behind the house. I like the gallery wall inside!

The house was for sale in 2018 and featured then on Dwell. It was either sold, or perhaps re-sold, at the end of January 2021. The above photo comparison shows the changes that were made to the kitchen in those three years. I rather like the way the current kitchen flows around the island. It can feel somewhat claustrophobic to work in a peninsular kitchen like the original. However, the footprint of the older kitchen, including the lower profile backsplash and smaller counter stools fits the midcentury modern bones of the house better.

Part of the rabbit hole includes the following links:

FORT on Instagram

The Friends of Residential Treasures (FORT) tour includes an interview with Hideo Matsunaga and is a must-see when visiting LA.

via Ruby Home

Whether Los Feliz is part of the Hollywood Hills is another aspect of the research I undertook. If you are in LA, you would be much more specific. It’s the difference between Lansing and East Lansing. To residents, it is totally not the same. For our midwestern perspective, though, calling the location of Matsunaga’s family home “the Hollywood hills” is close enough.

One of the public buildings that Hideo Matsunaga was involved in designing was the Center Building in the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center complex. It is a five-story Brutalist structure “softened by upturned roof eaves and stylized brackets that evoke traditional Japanese pavilion and pagoda architecture”.

Matsunaga’s obituary. He had a kind face. May he rest in peace.

Clearing the Cache

Today marks one year since I purchased this blog on WordPress! Because I have a tendency to get in my own way, it took much longer before I started posting. It has only become something that I look forward to very recently, as the number of homeowner interviews has increased and I have developed some new series like “clearing the cache” — my list of links.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

Buy it from the Raven Bookstore

Do you have a love-hate relationship with Amazon? Loving the convenience but feeling skeptical of how they treat their employees and destroy small, community-based businesses with their extra low prices — well, so did a bookshop-owner in Kansas. He’s featured in this important story in the New Yorker.

The New Yorker article also mentions the importance of Bookshop.org to the survival of small, indie shops last year during the closures related to the pandemic. Real Houses of EL has a shop there — you can browse design books and books about urban planning & historic preservation. Your purchases help to support this site as well as small bookshops!

Jacobsen Architecture via the New York Times

Modernist architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen died earlier this month at the age of 91. He designed homes for Jackie O, Meryl Streep, and the founders of Crate & Barrel. His obituary in the New York Times notes that: “Natural light … was a fixation for Mr. Jacobsen” which is admirable! Although Washington, D.C. was his home since his teenage years and was where he founded his architectural firm, Jacobsen was been born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One of his notable public buildings is the Alumni Center at the University of Michigan.

Speaking of East Lansing’s rival — er, Ann Arbor — check out this fantastic house that is for sale in Barton Hills.

via Zillow
via Zillow

The site location is fantastic, as you can see from the view in the living room. I also really like the way they use color in this house. The exterior is a minty color and there’s a bright pop of red on one of the exterior doors. The kitchen cabinets are teal, a deeper shade than the house’s exterior, and they’ve accented it with red padded chairs. This color scheme seems to be drawn form the slate flooring used in the dining room. I could live there — for $1.25 million!

Shop the Look

From classic midcentury modern pieces like the Womb Chair, designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll and featured in this week’s Down the Rabbit Hole with Arthur Erickson to lemony kitchen cloths inspired by the Oscar de la Renta dress that Dr. Jill and Meghan Markle both recently wore – these are the products on my mind.

You can learn more about the origin of the womb chair here.

Buy additional kitchen cloths here and here as well as dish towels here and here. These are a great way to break the paper towel habit!

After enjoying the photos from Coca Cola’s debut in France in the Clearing the Cache post this week, I stumbled upon a Coca Cola advertisement from the late 1950s featuring Santa Claus resting in a Womb Chair! There is nothing like a cold Coke in a glass bottle. Buy them locally at Campbell’s Market Basket in downtown East Lansing.

One of the ways that readers can support the work involved in hosting this blog (and others!) is through affiliate marketing. To that end, I have started a bookshop account – it’s a way to shop for books online that have been curated by me and fulfilled by small bookstores from around the country. Please check it out and let me know if you have suggestions of what you would like to see.

We also now have a new dedicated email address for the blog: realhousesofeastlansing [at] gmail [dot] com — written out this way to prevent spam.

Diana and Charlie’s House

This is the eighth in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.

I’m Diana Farmer and my husband, Charlie Richardson, and I live at 946 N.
Harrison Road. I purchased this house in May 2001. My husband moved here
from Colorado nine years ago, and we were married in 2013. We first met in 1982,
while working in Harlan County, Kentucky, with a home repair program. Some 31
years later, we wooed, and got married. We have a Cavachon dog, named Phoebe.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Since retiring from education last spring, I did a lot of work on the presidential
campaign. Now I am learning to lean into retirement by doing art, writing,
walking, and looking forward to social gatherings! Since the pandemic began, my
husband’s band, Jackalope, was able to perform numerous shows in our backyard,
and to do so safely. He plans to retire from his full-time job on April 2nd!

What brought you to East Lansing?

I moved back to Michigan after 12 years in Virginia. I was eager to be closer to
my family.

How long have you lived in your home?

I have lived here since May 2001; Charlie joined me in 2012.

What drew you to this house? Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?

I love living in a walkable city. I love East Lansing, and many of my family
members, including myself, are Spartan alums. I love how well-built this house is.
The builder lived in this one, and designed many of the houses nearby. My
favorite features are the bow windows, plaster walls, brick exterior, and
hardwood floors.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?

The one project I was most interested in was a kitchen remodel. Two years ago
we finally got around to it. While the original kitchen WAS very retro, this
remodel has been my favorite one!


How has the pandemic affected your daily routines? Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live?

Charlie and I feel incredibly fortunate to live in such a wonderful neighborhood
and city. All of our neighbors have reached out to each other, sharing and
swapping meals, and enjoying outdoor socializing, including at least a half dozen
Jackalope concerts in our shared backyards.

If there were ONE THING I would change, it would be that drivers observe the
speed limit on Harrison road of 25 mph! There are numerous small children, all
around. If I could extend my wish, it would be for Saginaw Street speed limit to
be reduced to 35 mph. Many of the cars go 50-60 mph!

What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing?

Peanut Barrel, Georgios, Sultans, Maru, Campbells Market. It was hard to see
Mackerel Sky close.

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?

We like working on house and yard projects, making music, and spending time
with friends.

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LIGHTNING ROUND
How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging? 2 TVs; we watch: Chef’s Table, documentaries, movies, Schitt’s Creek, The Crown.

Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? YES! Both of us are handy and able to cook. I am in a year-long art class (online) as well as a weekly writing group that began April 1, 2020, and is going strong. Charlie plays his guitar, sings, and is often composing original music for his band. He is also a residential energy efficiency expert and has made numerous improvements to the house to make it more comfortable and efficient.

Can you fold a fitted sheet? Yes; Martha Stewart taught me.

What’s your “at-home” equivalent of Inbox Zero? When a manageable list of chores are done, and I’m making art, or reading a book.

What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat? ? Homemade stuff.

What is your favorite splurge for your home? Leaded glass window inserts in the dining room windows.

Do you have an organizing hack to share? Put “like things,” together; try to store things in the areas where they are being used.

When I say hygge, you say…. (Diana) comfort food, gas fireplace lit, music and
reading; (Charlie) “High G!”

What do you want to know about your neighbors? We actually know our neighbors pretty well! That’s really what feels so great about living in East Lansing.

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Thank you, Diana and Charlie! If YOU would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at realhousesofeastlansing (at) gmail (dot) com (written out this way to prevent spam). Thx for reading!

Down the Rabbit Hole with Arthur Erickson

One of the least well-known of modern architects may be the late Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. I stumbled upon his work recently when the Eppich House 2 was listed with Sotheby’s. He had called it his “most complete work” and it is magnificent. Its curves feel Art Deco/Art Moderne so I was surprised to learn that it was built in 1988. In fact, no one had ever used curved metal the way that he did here with this house.

via Sotheby’s

The wall of glass tiles in the living room most likely added to my impression that it was built in an earlier era.

via Sotheby’s

This article on Vancouver is Awesome shares additional details about the house including that Erickson designed the curvilinear furniture found inside and which is being sold with the home. The house is in West Vancouver and listed at nearly $10 million Canadian (which is about $8 million US currently).

via Sotheby’s

Look at that view! The Pacific Ocean is just beyond the trees past the lily pad-like carriage house.

via Sotheby’s

The carriage house fits so well in its natural environment. Just as it resembles a lily pad, lily pads can be seen in the pond that it faces. The chairs and ottoman are by Eero Saarinen, designed at Florence Knoll’s request for “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows — something she could really curl up in.” 

Watch a video tour and interview with Mr. Eppich, the original owner who commissioned the house, here.

via Sotheby’s

The house is one of the locations in the Liam Neeson-movie Cold Pursuit.

via Sotheby’s

There is also an art house film, called Impostor Cities, that will be shown at the Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious international art and architecture exhibition. Per the Arthur Erickson tumblr, the film “highlights the importance of Canadian architecture, and the role it has quietly played in shaping the world’s cultural narratives through film”.

via the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Once I started down the Erickson rabbit hole, I realized that I was familiar with his work if not his name. I had admired the Robson Square “stramp” (stairs + ramp) as a beautiful way to incorporate accessibility with aesthetics. It won the American Society of Landscape Architects President’s Award of Excellence in 1979. However, UX for Architects describes it as beautiful but flawed.

Accessibility experts have expressed concerns about the way the ramps switch back and forth, as well as how steep they are and the way the steps are all the same color, in this CBC story. The story also points out that Erickson’s father lost both legs in World War I, and thus Erickson was ahead of his time in being concerned about making buildings accessible for all.

Erickson died in 2009.

Read more about him on his website here.

Clearing the Cache 2

In an attempt to limit the number of literal tabs open in my internet browser, I have started this little links series. The only rule is that I have to actually read the link that I share before I post it here.

Here’s what I have been reading this week…

Pride of place — this article from the founder of Strong Towns posits that it’s smart NOT to sink extra money into a home in an economically disadvantaged area, which I extrapolate to mean that cities MUST do better to take care of those areas of their community.

Coca Cola Debuts in France – America’s champagne was not a hit. Lots of great photos!

Both First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Meghan Markle wore this springy dress from Oscar de la Renta recently. I’m a fan of both of these strong women. Happy Women’s History Month!

I couldn’t stop thinking about this story about midcentury modern design legend Ruth Adler Schnee. Her family came to Detroit when she was a child to escape Nazism; she is still going strong at age 97. I hope she lives forever.

This story about how to handle white supremacy and toxic masculinity was interesting.

via the Washington Post (paywall)

Yo-Yo Ma performing in a gymnasium after his COVID vaccination was utterly beautiful.

Check out this website to get on the list for your shot.

Shop the Look: Neutra Rabbit Hole

There was so much that I liked in the Rabbit Hole post earlier this week that I thought it would be fun to be able to shop for those things, or for similar items. One or all could be added to a space to give it some freshness and a fun pop of color!

Clockwise from top left: Slim Aarons Poolside Glamour – two sizes, either black or white frame; Noguchi lantern – variety of sizes; Shibori pillow – 22 inch; Note to Self via Etsy; Shibori pillow – 16 inch; red Smeg refrigerator – comes in seven other colors, hinges on either the right or left side; Vernor Panton table lamp; and lumbar Shibori pillow (low stock).

Want to buy less expensive lanterns? Check out this post from Apartment Therapy.

Want to make your own Shibori pillows (and other things)? Check out this DIY here.

Carrie’s House

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Today’s post is with your hostess with the mostest — me!

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.

I live with my husband, Phil, and teenage children Griffin and Bela in the Lantern Hill area of East Lansing — we are so close to Marble Elementary School that we can hear the bell ring during normal times.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Besides this blog, I work full-time for a nonprofit organization. I have been there since 2008. Due to the pandemic, I am currently working in our basement. I also serve on the East Lansing Historic District Commission and write the Eye Candy and Eye for Design columns in the Lansing City Pulse.

What brought you to East Lansing?

Originally, I came here to study at Michigan State University when I was 18. My ex-husband and I lived here after college. After my divorce in 2009, I moved to a small village at the edge of Ingham County to get back on my feet financially (it was much more affordable). When I got engaged to my current husband, we decided to move back to East Lansing to be closer to the kids’ schools.

How long have you lived in your home?

We moved here in December 2013 – over seven years now!

What drew you to this house? Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?

Its location near both Marble Elementary School and MacDonald Middle School was a major attraction. Bela was in second grade so I knew we would be within close walking distance of school for her for many years. There was a nice moment when Phil and I were touring this one that we looked at each other and both knew that this was the one we wanted to buy. The house itself had a good feeling of space.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?

I think we both thought we would enclose the carport to create a garage. Instead, we built a shed in the backyard, which has helped a lot with storage. If there were walls where now there is only open space in the carport, it would be so much harder to park both vehicles (as it is, we have to shimmy).

What has been your favorite project so far?

This past summer we removed ALL of the carpeting in the house to expose the hardwood floors beneath. It was a lot of work but it looks much better than the (previously beautiful snowy white) wall-to-wall carpeting after seven hard years of living with kids.

My favorite, though, is the replacement of our front and back doors. They provide so much more light now.

Before and After of the Back Door

How has the pandemic affected your daily routines? Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live?

We are all home all the time now (although my son recently went back to in-person learning for his senior year of high school). I wish we had a bit more space overall, specifically a big pantry and a separate exercise room vs. machines in a guest bedroom. I also really want to build a patio in the backyard for socially-distanced get togethers. While I always wish we had a pool, it would have been super nice last summer when the public facilities were closed!

What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing?

I’m grateful for all the good options we have for grocery shopping including Campbell’s Market Basket, Fresh Thyme, and Whole Foods. I like the Tiny Target in downtown East Lansing. Flat, Black & Circular because I’ve started a record collection. Curious Books is an institution. The Broad Art Museum and MSU’s campus are wonderful.

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?

Wake up early, with everyone I love in one place. Drink coffee outdoors, read a book, maybe do some yoga and go for a walk in nature.

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LIGHTNING ROUND
How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging? Six (!) We just finished Ted Lasso and I LOVED it!

Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? None of those, really, but I do like to decorate!

Can you fold a fitted sheet? Yes!

What’s your “at-home” equivalent of Inbox Zero? An empty sink

What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat? Flowers

What is your favorite splurge for your home? We bought Lovesac couches, which are super easy to put together and can be configured in different ways. They’re pretty comfy too!

Do you have an organizing hack to share? Use a paper yard waste bag for clothes and housewares that are going to be donated (I like the Goodwill on Lake Lansing near Groovy Donuts and the good liquor store for easy drop-offs).

When I say hygge, you say…. A fire in the fireplace, a warm sweater and wool socks, eating cake or chocolates and drinking coffee, after a walk in the snow.

What do you want to know about your neighbors? Everything! That’s why I started this series. 🙂

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Thank you, me! If YOU would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at mrscarrsamp (at) gmail (dot) com with “Real Houses of EL” in the subject line. Thx for reading!