Imaging Inspirations - Friday, November 15, 2013

With this backyard raised patio and fire pit project, created for Go Pavers, the challenge was in appearing to "remove" the older pergola and showing what the planting would look like on the steep backyard slope.  For the front yard, showing a new driveway (with or without the red car), a retaining wall and entry steps there were several steps and wall-related changes to get it "just right."






Featured in…  Imaging Inspirations - Friday, November 15, 2013

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Imaging Inspirations - Saturday, November 9, 2013

An upstate New York snowy backyard doesn't stop imaging that displays changes turning into springtime.  From an icy backyard "Before Photo" with a combination of 3D design elements -- walls, fire pit and related hardscapes -- overlayed on a 2D image, the customer can see the potential for an outdoor gathering & entertainment area.  2D & 3D imaging morphs a blank canvas into "visual" living spaces.




Featured in… Imaging Inspirations - Saturday, November 9, 2013

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Imaging Inspirations - Friday, November 1, 2013

During long, hot summers, small yard homeowners often have large dreams of Olympic-sized pools.  However, the reality of their postage stamp backyards drops them quickly back to earth. Now, technology allows the installation of "endless pools" perfect for aquatic exercises in tiny spaces. 





See Larger-Sized "2D-Endless-Lappool-Tiny-Ojai-Backyard" Images... on Houzz...

See Larger-Sized "2D-Aguanga-LapPool-WealthCorner" Images... on Houzz...

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Blog Post: Why I spend too much on coffee...

Make mine a latte!

An Ojai friend, Jodi Womack, makes a good case for allocating a generous latte budget under client advertising and business networking...

Blog Post: Why I spend too much on coffee

"Yesterday, we talked about the “Latte Factor.” He estimated that 40% of his business comes from people seeing him around town! Folks see him and say, “Oh yeah, I was just thinking of calling you…”
Imagine that for a moment… 40% of your business coming from enjoying lattes, eating out for lunch and hanging out at happy hour."

Some final pointers from her blog post...

Here’s my spin on 7 benefits of “Jodi’s Latte Factor”:

  1. Going to the coffeeshop gets me up, showered, and dressed for the day. (No working in my PJ’s all day for me!)
  2. I see what’s new in the world; skim a few newspapers, post to Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter on my phone.
  3. I get introduced to people I might not otherwise socialize with. (*Note: this works both ways. Sometimes I work on building stronger boundaries…)
  4. I share what events I have scheduled, talk about my business, hand out business cards, and listen to their questions.
  5. I schedule back-to-back-to back meetings there. (*Super efficient: I save tons of time by not driving all over town.)
  6. I’m visible and in person, in an otherwise virtual company.
  7. I caffeinate!

So, consider adding some public appearances to your morning routines. Build in a little latte time and a budget, and see if it creates some new business connections.




Smaller Footprint Lifestyles… Not So Big... To Tiny Home...

Welcome... to a Journey of Curiosity… from a “Not So Big Home” to an Ojai “Tiny Home”… 

(NOTE: Lots of photos below.)

Had a blast this past weekend dashing from tiny green places to greened permaculture & aquaponics spaces, all hosted by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition for the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour & Home Show.  Since I’m a member, and also volunteered on the event, it was the culmination day for a lot of us aficionados of “deeper green” living.

Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to the concepts of downsizing one’s life into tiny spaces (in my case it would need to be multiple ones) and have been following the “Tiny House” movement from the sidelines for several years.

Fascination really took hold when I learned more about Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big House.” 

It seems she really started the “thinking smaller” homes movement.

A slightly dated but insightful DVD is, the not so big house, home by design sitting on my video shelf, and trotted out from time to time for inspiration.

A search on YouTube will uncover all sorts of Not So Big videos.  

On the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour there was a wonderful example of a small Craftsman Bungalow, owned by Dianne McCourtney, that embodied the "Not So Big" designs with a green twist:

Inspiration in a not so very big package.

Next, for a time, I dove into the idea of designing a semi-mobile trailer referred to as a “Park Model Home.” (Also called PPT’s Recreational Park Trailers). 

It’s more of a customized RV – sort of – and designed to be under 400 square feet and up on trailer wheels so city planning groups could not treat it as permanent residence/structure, and property taxes would not be accrued; only RV-like sales tax would apply.  (Sounded good to me.) 

It also has the ability to “shift” locations when you do. 

Spent hours and hours Internet searching for, and downloading, a plethora of floor plans all with the idea of redesigning something mobile and smaller, “my way.”

But "what if" you could have multiple "smaller" homes?  Almost pod-like, each with a different living function? 

Create your own personal eco-village?

It is important, at this point, to pay inspiration homage to an amazing yet fanciful SoCal artist and architectural designer, James T. Hubble

When I first visited Hubble’s artistic compound up in Julian, California (before the site was severely impacted by a runway forest fire), what captured my imagination, beyond the unusual molded buildings, was the idea of breaking up a home into separate buildings and “living” spaces.

In Hubble’s demonstration of grounded art, the living room/kitchen area was separated from the Master Bedroom area by walkways through gardens and about 10 to 15 feet.  The children’s quarters, known as the Boy’s Room (that survived the fire), was quite separate and across the swimming pool.  An art office was yards away from the artist foundry and stained glass workroom which was two stories high and even farther down the meandering paths. 

Seeing the exploded out spaces was a “revolution” in lifestyle re-thinking for me. 

Ever since, I just LOVE the idea of creating multiple, living, playing, working, and living spaces all surrounded and interconnected by living gardens. 

(Seems like a self-designed Eden.)

At one point, went on a greater San Diego area Hubble House tour and took these photos of places and spaces designed by Hubble:


Google Search “James Hubbell House” and you might be intrigued with the idea of living inside “hobbit” art too. 

Been playing with those multiple living spaces ideas and finally have the 3D software to show concept, at a later date. 

(Mona Lisa smile.)

Then, a few years ago, a friend sent me a link to Tumbleweed Houses which is an even more diminutive version of the Park Model trailer. 

Voila!  Discoverd the “Tiny House” (and blog) movement was underway. 

Each year, I have intended to take the Tumbleweed workshop to learn “how” to construct a home of my own.   It’s just gotta be easier than a strawbale or cob house stuck-in-place construction, right?  

That, and the fact that they are mobile just makes the travelling concept for me -- a long-time high-tech gypsy -- salivate

(As a kid we did a lot of car camping across the Western United States, High Sierra backpacking, and both Youth Hostel and Volkswagen Bug camping throughout Europe, so keeping moving on, was inbred.)

All this brings me back to last weekend and the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour... Tiny House... 

For the first time, I was able to actually step into a 120-ish square foot “Tiny Home” custom designed by a friend, Vina Lustado, of Sol Haus Design

My breathing stopped. 

There is nothing quite like touching and feeling a long-held dream. 

Vina’s “Tiny Home” is just stunning

There is no other word for it. 

Although my quick snap iPhone photos don’t do it justice, at least I'm finding out other photographers on the tour did.


Within Your Space: Ojai 5th Annual Green Home Tour 

Tiny House Giant Journey:  Ojai – Green Home Tour

Additional Photos By "Tiny House Giant Journey"

Was also lucky enough to be the afternoon volunteer docent for the more rustic “Sugar Box” on the Green tour.

It’s a, now permanent, 397 square foot rectangle mini-home placed on a virtually vacant, dusty half-acre Ojai city lot.

(Read both the above articles and you’ll see more photos.) 

The green dreams, by the owner T.J. Thyne, to morph the property in a flowering cluster of eight secret gardens populated by smaller “activity” and living structures just speaks to my heart… and a journey of re-definition about what an ideal life, living smaller, might look like... is rekindled.

Thank you, Ojai Valley Green Coalition for the jumpstart.

Time to breathe again. 

And get on with designing 3D visions anew. 

(Along with setting up a new Houzz Ideabook for "Tiny House on Wheels.")

~ Diane