Let's Take This Outside
It is fall here in New England—my absolute favorite time of year. The chilly, clear air, all things pumpkin and apple, and our wedding anniversary... I can go on about what I love about this season. As we begin to turn our attention toward indoor projects in anticipation of the winter months, here is a recap of a summer project we completed this year.

When spring 2014 rolled around, our attention was on the exterior of our building, as it is EVERY year when the spring thaw reveals, yet again, how atrocious our landscaping—or lack thereof—is. We have an interesting property with its own landscape design challenges. We are in a city and our building is very industrial (it was converted from commercial to residential before we bought it). Which we love! But it is tough to find the right materials for our desired look that will also survive New England Winters.


THE BEFORE
We had removed a rotting, raised planter made of railroad ties with a dying tree in it (bottom left).



THE SKETCH
In Photoshop, I quickly dropped images and illustrations over the before photo. It's super handy in discussing your vision with potential landscape designers (who will really do this properly!) and your condo association mates.




THE AFTER (PART 1)
So, here's the thing: landscaping and hardscaping are EXPENSIVE. But what we were able to refresh in the immediate timeframe was the door, the address area, and address numbers—a terrific and totally affordable first step. You don't have to go all or nothing on these projects. Unless the section you are working on connects to everything else, go ahead and make partial updates. They give your place and your mood a nice boost!




MATERIALS

Dark Gray Paint:
"Deep River" (1582), Benjamin Moore Exterior

Yellow Paint:
"Sunshine" (2021-30), Benjamin Moore Exterior

Address Numbers:
Nickel-plated steel, $6 each. These, at Home Depot.

Cedar Board:
Boulter Plywood


 


AFTER, PART 2?

Hopefully, the raised concrete planters, and new entry stairs with landing next Spring!


 
Lines We Love: Ferm Living


I'm very drawn to Ferm Living's simple geometry and unexpected color combinations.
Their "spear" design, below, is a fantastic color palette—I'd never expect to like pastels like this!










 
Art Obsession: Sanna Annukka
I have loved Sanna Annukka's work for so long, so I am very overdue to add her to our Art Obsession series. Her work is greatly influenced by the childhood summers she spent in her mother's home village of Paltaniemi in Northern Finland. From camping in Lapland, to staying in her Grandmother's old wooden house, she came to call this part of Finland her spiritual home.

Themes in her work, such as pattern and mythology, are influenced by the Northern Finnish landscape and traditional cultures like that of the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Since prehistoric times, the Sami people of Arctic Europe have lived and worked in an area that stretches over the regions now known as Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula.

Photo by Erika Larsen

Photo by Lola Akinmade

Photographer unknown: please let me know








Sanna describes the story behind the "Soul Bird",  above: “In Karelia there was an ancient belief in the Sielulintu or Soul bird. The Sielulintu was thought to deliver the soul to newborn babies and also to transport the soul to the afterlife at the moment of death. It was believed the Sielulintu protected a persons soul at it’s most vulnerable; when dreaming, and it was tradition to keep a carved wooden bird by the bedside to keep the soul safe during sleep.”

Below, her illustrations for the new print of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir Tree":





You may be even more familiar with Sanna Annukka's work through her collaborations with Marimekko. The "Kanteleen Kutsu" print below depicts a scene from the Finnish classic, The Kalevala, in which animals gather to hear Väinämöinen play his stringed instrument.





Below, "Raanu" patterns from the 2012 Holiday Collection:





Below, "Taikamylly" fabric from Spring/Summer 2008:






More sources I love for Scandinavian products and art: 

Son & Dotter (My friend Sabrina Bello Sandberg and her husband run this shop! Check it out!)


About Us


Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.