Here in Malibu
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May 31, 2014

Let's peek inside...

Here's the inside of the place I'm kind of interested in, untouched (can you see the avocado green appliances?) since 1969.

I'm thinking cottage. The dogs are thinking 'more shag carpet, please!'.

shall we make an offer?

maybe, baby

the next project?

hello, 1969. Don Draper misses you.

May 30, 2014



Happy weekend, everyone.

May 29, 2014

Monarch in the canyon



May 28, 2014

Then was then

Paradise Cove pier at sunrise

Paradise Cove pier, winter 2012

May 27, 2014

Talk about gentrification

Even if you haven't read about the mobile home in Paradise Cove that sold for its $3.95 million (no, not a typo) asking price a few days after being listed, just stroll around and you'll get the picture about the newest wave of trailer park dwellers.

millionairs take over Paradise Cove

May 26, 2014

May gray

Headed for the beach this morning to catch the sunrise and--

hello, malibu

...there it was, a wet and chilly wall of May Gray. I almost cheered.

No, it won't keep the crowds from the beaches today, and yes, it's burning off even as I type, but after the weird and awful and catastrophic and just plain frightening change to our annual weather pattern here in California, a bit of appropriately timed coastal fog feels like a reprieve.

may gray

In other news -- wet dogs.

the chase

May 25, 2014

That was then...

blue beach

Summer, 2012.

May 24, 2014

Signs of Saturday: For Sale (???)

For Sale. Next project?

The plan was is was is to rent for a while, to relax and unwind from this 12-month slow-motion remodel. (Pix are here and here and here and here. Oh, and here. After living through -- and in -- the reno in real time, the instant payoff of the before-and-afters is addictive.)

I've been looking at rentals, I really have. In the Santa Monica mountains around here your money goes pretty far, a two- or three-bedroom house with a yard. In Malibu, Venice or Santa Monica, the same money gets you 500 square feet over someone's garage. I wish that was an exaggeration. So the trailer above, untouched since 1969, has caught my eye. The listing agent for this place has been pretty great, letting me poke around and bring different parts of my crew to evaluate and consider.

I've said 'no thanks' a couple of times, then called back to say that actually, I'd like to show it to the plumber, the roofer, the lead carpenter. Each time the agent tells me that in fact, she just opened the house up for me to take another look. Go figure.

But I'm thinking I'll pass. It's a lot of work and a lot of time and oh my lord, the endless mess. You always run into unexpected problems, feel bad about bothering the neighbors, and in every reno there's that week when you're down to a single faucet and maybe no toilet and the only place to sit is on the pile of joint compound bags stacked between the air compressor and the table saw, so yeah, I'm going to pass.

Oops -- gotta run. The AC guy just arrived to give me a bid on the ducting.

May 23, 2014

The goofball

You know how sometimes a dog's lips get dry and stick to their teeth and, well, this?

love that goofy toothy smile

I look at the photo and can't stop laughing.

May 22, 2014


morning lake

Some mornings, for a little minute, you don't hear road noise or jet sounds or even dogs barking. It's just breeze and birds and the rustle of some small busy creature earning a living in the underbrush.

May 21, 2014

A little more time travel

This the master bath in all its 1971 trailer park glory:

master bath before

And here it is now:

master bath after

May 20, 2014

How quickly they I forget

The house is sold and already I've found a potential new remodel because apparently I forgot that at first the second bedroom was this:

2nd bedroom before

And then (we fixed the subfloor, filled in the jack-and-jill door to the 2nd bathroom, drywalled, added baseboards, painted, installed hardwood floor) it became this:

2nd bedroom after

May 19, 2014

A cloud!


This is what passes for weather these days -- the quickest glimpse of a cloud in the sky.

May 18, 2014





Weird, right?

May 17, 2014

Good night, moon

moonset in the santa monicas

goodnight, moon

santa monica mountains

moon sets

Here's the last of the moon, setting this morning over the Santa Monica mountains. (And, I think, a fingerprint on the lens.) (St. Veronique, the patron saint of photographers, has just ordered an early-morning shot of tequila.)

May 16, 2014



So cute so cute so cute...

May 15, 2014

Sealed and delivered

jacaranda and blue sky

If Los Angeles ever secedes from California, jacaranda against blue sky should be the new state seal.

May 14, 2014


I wish I could show the gorgeous coyote at the lake this morning, bold, agile, fur lit up in the sunrise, but since all the camera caught was a tiny Labrador's tiny derriere as she vanished in futile pursuit (the coyote laughing, I'm pretty sure), let's look at the Cove pier instead.


paradise cove pier at sunrise

May 13, 2014

Let's keep talking about the weather


Hot. Bright. Windy.

May 12, 2014

Weather report

Hot today.

oh sweet Maisie

Hotter tomorrow.

taking a break

May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

happy mothers day

May 10, 2014

Pink *


I'd say this was clarkia but the foliage is wrong. And it kind of looks like wild radish, but it's not. So no name for this tiny flower, smaller than split pea, at least not yet.

*Filaree -- that's what it is. Yay!

Thank you, Liza.

May 9, 2014

More ducklings!

These photos are as soft and fuzzy as the newest ducklings at the lake but still, ducklings!

the newest ducklings at the lake

more ducklings!

May 8, 2014



It's wildflower season up in the hills and despite the drought, the variety is stunning. I'm kind of in love with these -- common fiddleneck? -- with their curve and their fuzz (yes, those are technical terms) and those sprays of tiny gold flowers.

May 7, 2014

Point of view

Look up and it's the scrubby green of the Santa Monica mountains:

santa monica mountains

Look down and it's a different story:

tiny flowers

May 6, 2014

Ducklings on the move

The ducklings at the lake are growing so fast --

the family

They've left that roly poly bath toy stage and are entering their awkward period, all bristling pin feathers and gangly angles.


Still adorable.

fuzzy ducklings

May 5, 2014

Sea glass

sea glass

Even between moves, when everything's still in boxes (oh the life of the serial renovator) these pieces of sea glass, two of my favorites, never get packed away.

May 4, 2014



Every bit of the landscape matters to the wildlife around here, even long-dead yucca blooms.

May 3, 2014

Signs of Saturday: Well that was fast

sale pending

Yikes. Ten days on the market and gone. (Of course the many delights of escrow are still to come, so fingers crossed.)

Meanwhile, how we got here. Before/after of exteriors and gardens are here. Also this one and this one of the kitchen area.

Now it's time to figure out if there's another place to buy and if not, what comes next...

May 2, 2014


sycamores in the canyon

We're more than a month away but the light in the sycamores says summer to me.

May 1, 2014

Reverse angle

I know, I've shown you the kitchen a couple of times, but this time it's with the before-est of the 'before' photos I could find, so that makes it not redundant, right?

This, with the '70s-era dropped ceiling and fluorescent lights--

kitchen before

Is now this.

kitchen after

And that oversized gold window (and the tile and cabinets and linoleum and, well, everything else--)

kitchen before


kitchen after

We took out the wall on the left and added a small support wall in the center of the house. Filled in the doorway to that front room, then shortened the wall to match the length of the opposite wall and make the kitchen into a true rectangle. (Before it was a trapezium.) (Yes, I had to google to find that word.) (The fact that it exists makes me almost as happy as the finished remodel.)

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