Aloha From Hell

My original vision of turning this half-acre into our own private midcentury tropical oasis was obviously stronger than my common sense. Because if I saw the original property listing now, I’d scream “Run! Run away!” to my husband, and yank out the power cord on the laptop.

Life’s a Breeze-Block!

If there’s a single midcentury architectural design element that makes me squeal like a polyester-clad teenager at an Elvis concert, it’s the breeze block. Depending upon your geographical location, you might also know these as screen blocks, decorative cinder blocks, hollow concrete blocks, textile blocks, Besser blocks (in Australia) or architectural blocks. But regardless of…

I Like To Move It, Move It

“Hot damn, we have a money-tree!” I shrieked after David told me the high valuation our sod landscape crew had attached to the Japanese maple growing inside a barrel next to our back patio. “No, a money-tree is something that gives you money. This is likely going to cost us money. Especially now that I know it’s value and…

5 Ways Landscaping Projects Prepare You For Prison

So I’ve never been to prison. And I most certainly don’t plan to go. But owning a midcentury house with a half-acre of land requiring continual rehabilitation has given me a new and interesting perspective. I’ve definitely shoveled enough rock in the blazing hot sun to make me feel like I’m in the joint. The…

Grass For Days

“Will anything even grow back here?” David asked, bending down to inspect the bare, sandy soil that looked as if horses had just trampled through it. We had just closed on the Retro Ranch and now owned 10,000 sq. feet of dirt that we had absolutely no idea what to do with. “The hell if I know.…