Saturday, August 21, 2010

Home Afloat

If you already got a sneak peek at the unfinished version of this post in your reader, you can thank Clover for that. She jumped on top of me and my laptop as I was working on it yesterday, publishing it prior to completion in the process, doh!

Anyhoo, I’ve been busy of late working on home stuff. Specifically, attempting to turn our second bedroom into a sweet room for Clover, complete with new big girl bed, while also carving out a creative corner/workspace for me (aka Thrift Candy headquarters ;)

For inspiration, whenever I get to thinking about how I want to arrange and display things in my home, I will inevitably turn to my little collection of treasured 1970’s handmade homes and interiors books, thrifted on a very lucky day about a year ago when I entered Sacks and found all five of them sitting out on a table priced between one and three dollars each.

The set (I'm assuming they were all donated together by the same person) includes this amazing book, so wonderfully blogged about previously by Heather, as well as this one published later by the same authors. There’s also one called Living Places and another really cool one about loft spaces.

I’d been holding out on blogging about them because I was really hoping to get my hands on a scanner, which didn’t happened, then I just didn’t get around to it. Until now that is!

Photos from the handmade houses books, awesome as they are, have already been blogged, flickr-ed, and tumblr-ed quite a bit, so I thought I’d share my favorites from this awesome book about converted and handmade Houseboats as I’ve yet to come across it anywhere else.

Still no scanner, but I did my best taking photos of the photos and cleaning them up in Photoshop. All italicized passages were taken straight from the book, which was published in 1977, enjoy!


A carpenter and two seaworthy felines share a boat hidden alone in a tiny cove.



"I'll stay on the water always. It's moods constantly change. The fog lifts. The tides roll in. That's one of the beauties."


Alone in a cove with evergreen surroundings, a young woodcarver and his wife picked a homesite where there was plenty of driftwood. "We didn't buy a stick of wood. And the wood we found on the beach was full of nails, so we got those free too!"



"You just start cutting holes in the walls and putting in windows!" What was once an old wood hauling barge, then a neglected houseboat layered with red and black paint, blossomed after months of scraping and scrubbing. Plant garlands trail past stained glass and exquisite carvings... products of the tiny workshop in the bow of the boat.



"I feel like I'm living in a childhood fort. I guess I took Peter Pan too seriously." "Retiring" to a home on the water, an ex-school teacher joined two cabins from the ribs of another boat. On summer's first warm day, she unceremoniously moves kitchen, complete with stove, onto the deck! Behind her casual mooring is her mini-farm... blooming with flowers, vegetables, goats and chickens.


Inspired by Balinese masks, Annie makes her own creations from paper mache. They stare fiercely down from the walls. And near her bed, a collection of neglected flea market dolls has found a new home.


Transported in parts around the Horn from the East in 1870, this stately old sidewheeler ran between San Francisco, Mare Island, and Vallejo until 1948. Inside, the Vallejo sparkles with the paintings and sculptures of her former occupant, Jean Varda.


Dragons, puppets, and play costumes were designed for "play days," a new adult therapy developed by Vallejo occupant Mariam Saltzman to recreate the carefree magic of childhood.


Vallejo quarters are shared by young artists and poets... who celebrate sundown with a musical interlude on deck.



Kids and water? The mix is a happy one on this World War II landing craft. The ever-present life jacket protects them from an occasional tumble off the deck. At night, the tides rock them to sleep under the patchwork windows of a "free form" geodesic dome.


Charmingly cluttered rustic kitchen spaces.


Cozy built-in bed nooks.



Nestled at the foot of Manhattan Island. Moored in the heart of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Tucked into sun-speckled bayous near Pierre Part, Louisiana. In the midst of Sausalito's 'hip' culture. Houseboats reflect a hedonistic Great Gatsby lifestyle, a homespun simplicity, a mellow oneness with Mother Nature.


They create envy in the hearts of us confined to the stability of land. They reflect a colorful past and hope for the future... But most of all, they reflect their people.

"When you live on a houseboat dock, you're in God's pocket."

While delving further into the colorful past of The S.S. Vallejo, home to artist Jean Varda and Zen philosopher Alan Watts during the late 60’s in Sausalito, CA, I came across this interesting site about it’s history and got caught up in reading the fascinating transcripts from an event called The Houseboat Summit which took place on the Vallejo in February of 1967, the winter leading up to The Summer of Love.

It was a publicly held counterculture-centered conversation (intellectual, philosophical, political, spiritual, and at times just plain silly in nature) between Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, and Allen Ginsberg. I found it fascinating to read about their thoughts on the future during that pivotal time from the perspective of the future they were speculating about.

My favorite exchanges are when Timothy Leary goes off on some wacky “turn on, tune in, drop out” tangent and Gary Snyder pipes in, quite eloquently calling him on his crazy, so to speak, while often putting forth something profound in the process, he was definitely the voice of reason in this group!

It’s interesting stuff though, and actually kinda hilarious and entertaining at times. Here’s a lighthearted exchange that I thought I’d share for it’s obvious relevance to this here blog ;)

Watts: But the thing is this. I've found so many people who are the turned on type, and the circumstances and surroundings under which they live are just plain cruddy. You would think that people who have seen what you can see with the visions of psychedelics would reflect themselves in forms of life and art that would be like Persian miniatures. Because obviously Persian miniatures and Moorish arabesques are all reflecting the state of mind of people who were turned on. And they are rich and glorious beyond belief.

Ginsberg: Majestic.

Watts: Majestic! Yeah! Well now, why doesn't it so occur...It is slowly beginning to happen...'Cause I've noticed that, recently, all turned on people are becoming more colorful. They're wearing beads and gorgeous clothes and so and so forth...and it's gradually coming out. Because you remember the old beatnik days when everybody was in blue jeans and ponytails and no lipstick and DRAB--and CRUMMY!

Snyder: What! (laughter)

Watts: Now, something's beginning to happen!

Snyder: Well, it wasn't quite that bad, but we were mostly concerned with not being consumers then...and so we were showing our non-consumerness.

Watts: Yes, I know! The thing is I am using this as a symbol because the poor cons in San Quentin wear blue jeans.

Snyder: The thing is that there are better things in the Goodwill now than there used to be.

Watts: Yes, exactly. (laughter) But the thing is that now I see it beginning to happen. Timothy here, instead of wearing his old--whatever he used to wear--has now got a white tunic on with gold and colorful gimp on it.

Ginsberg: Gimp?

Watts: Yes, and it's very beautiful, and he's wearing a necklace and all that kind of thing, and color is at last coming into the scene.

["Gimp?"...haha, that part totally cracks me up. Not so sure where Watts was goin' with the poor cons in San Quentin thing though?]

17 comments:

Justice Pirate said...

house boats have always been SO beautiful and interesting to me. I really would love to have one of those but I guess I sometimes wonder, what happens if a storm hits? but otherwise it is really pretty and I would love to have to go on a kayak to get to my car to go places haha.

moonshinejunkyard said...

oh my word, holy wow. this entire post has me glued to the screen! those cozy bed-nooks, the "homespun simplicity," and rustic elegance of these water-dwelling homes! i want to live on water. i don't think i've ever even been inside a houseboat, but if they are a tenth this gorgeous and cozy, sign me up!!! the cats, the quilts, the vines, the stained glass, the moveable kitchens...sweet jesus i'm in love. and thanks for the shout out darlin. if i ever come across any of these types of books i nearly faint with joy.

and that snippet of conversation is hilarious! can't wait to check out the rest. gotta love gary snyder's wry comments, and i love that you are posting about him after my "japhy" reference; he's been on my mind lately and i love his casual carefree zenned out blissful attitude. i met him once, and my sister served him sushi from time to time in nevada city. still a true hero going strong.

Teenysparkles said...

My favourite line.."Snyder: The thing is that there are better things in the Goodwill now than there used to be." What a picture rich post! Loved it Missa...can't wait to see what you come up with for your new magical space.

Zohar said...

gorgeous! Especially the bedrooms - especially the niche bedrooms! But i guess it's a little scary for me - the thought of living on water.
Also - I love your new header Missa, is very pretty :)

Milla said...

I can't wait to see Clover's big girl bedroom (maybe this winter). These pictures (and all 70s hippie home pic) are a real delight, because while there's no chance in hell, I'll ever have a home like the ones in the selby, or finnish life style blogs (one in the country with lacy curtains and clean rustic-y styles) I surely have potential for a cluttered, dusty, book and herb-laden hippie house like these. In fact, these houses look like some of my favorite land-bound Island homes.

Violet Folklore said...

I love you Missa for finding this little exchange between these mighty men of the mind. I have had some serious hero worship for all of them since my teenage years, and reading this is like stumbling upon a hidden gem on a mountainside of words and theories! I am never going to be ashamed to wear my psychedelic prints again!

What an interesting story, an interesting happening.

And the photos here- dreamworld. Especially the bed nooks. So cozy. These are the kind of images that tugged at my heart and made me want my own family and home and baby- and now here I am! Not on a houseboat, and no bed nook, but it's still pretty sweet :-)

StickyKitten said...

Wow, this post was awesome. Perfect reading for Sunday afternoon! I've always been attracted to houseboats and hippies :) Thanks!

kelly.danielsen said...

my dad had (and still has) the handmade houses book, i used to love looking through it when i was younger. i'll have to check it out again next time i'm there. i like to imagine what it would have been like to live in one of those woodsy dwellings...
i adore your blog by the way, it's so nice to see another girl my age wearing such pretty outfits! perhaps i will start a blog of my own one day : )
kelly

Andrea said...

I did get the sneak peek the other day - so I'm glad to see you've got the full post up :) My favourites of these pictures are the ones with the cats - something nice and slightly spooky/dreamlike about them.

anne said...

so very cool missa! i thoroughly enjoyed this post. i can't wait to see clover's room. i'm sure it will be amazing :D

Madeline said...

my goodness! incredible! just....wow!

Mamushka Marie said...

oh my lord how inspiring!

Tera said...

Really enjoyed the vallejo website:Reading the Houseboat Summit transcripts-Starting pt 3 actually.
Really cool!!!!!!!!

sally said...

missa, all these pics are so amazing! i wish i had a little all wooden houseboat complete with the built in bed. i grew up near the sausalito houseboats and always looked upon them as the ultimate in bohemia...they aren't that way so much anymore, but i am so glad there are pics like these so we can all see what was and what we can potentially create for ourselves now! thanks for posting this!

Eyeliah said...

I’ve always wanted to live on a house boat, these images are fantastic thank you.

mc said...

found this post via marvelouskiddo.blogspot.com--thanks for sharing these images! they warmed me up this morning. we grew up visiting a family friend on her houseboat in florida and those are some of my most magical memories. thanks for stirring them up.

Food, flora and felines said...

Amazing post thank you so much! I am going to try and find myself a copy of that book. I have always dreamed of living on a house boat with my cats on day :)