my first article for dwell

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The Sarvis residence designed by Dencity. Photo by Raftermen Photography.

Dwell, my favorite shelter magazine, just published about 200 words by yours truly on its blog. I covered a wing-roofed Atlanta home with cantilevered sections that appears ready for flight. You can read the article and see six more photos here. Also, I toured the home in 2013 as part of Modern Atlanta and posted a roundup of my favorite design moments here.

As my time continues to shake loose from retail concerns, I’m relishing the chance to write seriously again. Having my first comeback in Dwell after a literary dormancy feels like closing a circle, because my old roommate PJ gave me my first copy of Dwell when I was writing a craft book in 2002. The modern interiors gave me a direction for Abode a la Mode’s “cheap chic” projects, and the magazine has been shaping my personal aesthetic ever since. I’m proud to be a part of it and will keep you posted on future articles!

modern ‘hood: lavista park, atlanta

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LaVista Park may have bumped Northcrest as my favorite atomic neighborhood in Atlanta. Why? Location, location, location! While Northcrest has more Brady Bunch-worthy ranches per block, it’s up in the sleepy suburb of Doraville. LaVista Park, sandwiched between busy Briarcliff and Cheshire Bridge Roads, is a short drive or bike ride to some of the best restaurants, shops, and parks in central Atlanta. Here are 9 midcentury and contemporary abodes that caught my eye on an afternoon drive. All photos were taken by me while standing on public property.

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click to see 5 more modern homes!

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portraits of today’s lustron owners

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All photos in this post by Chuck Mintz

When you live in a Lustron, you’re part of a story. The tale begins in 1948, when the Lustron Corporation debuted its prefabricated, all-steel homes manufactured in a former airplane plant in Columbus, Ohio. The company imagined an American landscape drenched in seafoam, pink, harvest gold, and the other enamel hues of its mail-order ranches, but it sold only about 2,500 over three years.

Photographer Charles “Chuck” Mintz picks up the Lustron story today, documenting people who are holding onto these quirky, increasingly rare homes. He has traveled the country over the past couple years shooting portraits of more than 100 inhabitants. After the jump, I’ll show you more samples from his series, including his shot of me and Andrea on our patio!

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daily to-do notes inspire, not overwhelm

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Small mission accomplished! Daily to-do notes are making my long list of home improvements feel manageable. Read on to print your own!

If you’re like me, your 2015 “clean slate” rapidly became scrawled with a to-do list. In the calm that followed our holiday travel, Andrea and I decided to tackle some home projects. Trouble is, that quiet time in early January became stressful as I imagined ALL the improvements our Lustron needs. The more I thought about my punch list, the more it sprawled (get better kitchen lighting, clean out the closets, shape the topiary pine, find the perfect fireplace, and on and on).

Just as DIY paralysis was creeping in, I remembered some advice from Jen Mazer, a teacher who helped me define a vision for Finely Crafted. Knowing that long to-do lists are overwhelming — and often lead this gal to plant her head in the sand — she told me to focus on a single task each day. Do one thing today to move your business forward, I recalled her saying, even if it’s as small as returning an e-mail you’ve been putting off. I decided to break my epic home enhancement list into single servings too, designing kitschy notes to announce the day’s chosen task. It was a fun project that tightened my grip on Photoshop drawing, and . . .  it’s working! Here’s a sample of back burner projects we wrapped this month:

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Setting daily DIY goals has helped us tackle lots of home projects this year without getting overwhelmed.

Want to check off some boxes of your own? Follow me after the jump to print sheets of to-do notes with midcentury style!

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tart cherry old-fashioned cocktail

Pitcher of tart cherry cocktail

I made this wintry cocktail for my friend Shannon’s wedding last month, and I think it’s the perfect drink to clink on New Year’s Eve, too! (Plus this photo shoot was a convenient excuse for breaking in my new silver-foiled glassware, heh heh!) Pure tart cherry juice has an earthy, almost herbal flavor that I like to balance with spicy ginger and sweet navel orange (avoid cherry juice blends, which are dulled with apple and grape). The booze is added separately, so any kids and designated drivers at your party can enjoy a virgin punch. Assemble as many hours in advance as you can to allow the orange peels to release their oils. Two days ahead is ideal, but I know, I know — this post is a bit late for that.

get the recipe after the jump!

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