Los Angeles Hobbit House is a vintage treasure

Created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence
Created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence

This fantastical home was recently listed for rent in Culver City, California. It’s so beautifully awesome and intact.

Here’s the entire ad:

Enchanting 2 Bedroom Cottage in “The Hobbit’s House”

Property Address
3819 Dunn Drive | Culver City, CA 90232

Located in prime & hip Downtown Culver City, Here is a rare opportunity to live inside a Storybook cottage straight out of a Fairytale. Known as “The Hobbit’s House”, this unique property was created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence who spent 24 years creating between 1946 and 1970. This cottage features rustic stone hewn walls, leaded glass windows, and magical looking ponds filled with fish and a family of turtles. The main house features 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, plus a huge bonus room that could be an office or den. The living room that is situated around an original stone fireplace features stained glass windows, nautical details and a bar that is perfect for entertaining. The quaint kitchen comes with a mini-fridge that is built in. 2 bedrooms sit behind a wooden plank door and offer great sunlight, and a view of the fountain and pond at the front of the house. The sparkling green tiled bathroom features a tub/shower combo with a large vanity and great custom built ins. The house also features a 3rd bonus room off of the kitchen that could easily be used as a extra bedroom or entertaining space. This is a truly enchanting cottage that is located just moments from The Kirk Douglas Theater, Trader Joes, fantastic restaurants in Downtown Culver City, and The Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Center and easily accessible to the 10 and 405 freeways

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Created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence
Created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence










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A visit to the home and studio of Whoretense Face Pillow

I was recently invited for a tour of Whoretense FacePillow’s new home in South Seattle, and boy was that a treat! A visual delight of whimsical creations and folk art throughout this comfortable home. Below is a short video from my visit!

And now, a house tour in haiku by Whoretense herself:

beneath airplane noise
a view of oaks and cypress
vinyl window search

manufactured shed
beside manufactured house
short sales aren’t pretty

mechanic’s dream shop
house a neglected ruin
mechanics hate irony

grandma’s old curtains
missing from new white windows
vinyl looks like wood

old wooden windows
freshly painted on long days
young again for now

old wooden windows
in houses with new carpet
one time were saplings

Stardust Home

Unusual home

I was showing homes for sale in Seattle and we went to see a home that was repossessed by the bank, located in a gentrifying neighborhood just South of downtown Seattle. I forgot to take a picture of the exterior, but there was nothing remarkable about it…. but when I went inside, boy was I surprised!

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Someone with a fanciful sense of imagination went to town with paint and a brush. It was actually quite charming!

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There was no indication who lived there or if they had children, but if they did, I imagine they thought they lived in a fairly land!

extreme home, seattle

My buyers didn’t want the house, but it did end up selling. I wonder if the current owners kept the paint colors?

Weird house

I think my favorite thing was the floor that appeared to have been sprinkled with flow in the dark stars. I would have loved to see it at night!

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I took a short video just so you could see it in all of its glory!

Square Celebrities’ Curvy Homes

Is there something about “square” entertainment legends that makes them commission really cool, curvy houses? Two examples (both on the market in recent months) might suggest so.

Via ABC News.

Exhibit A: the Malibu, CA hillside estate of American Bandstand host and “World’s Oldest Teenager” Dick Clark. Media articles about it invariably compare it to the house on another long-running ABC TV series, The Flintstones.  Originally listed last year at $3.5 million, it’s now been reduced for quick sale to $3.25 mil.

Via FastCoDesign.com.

Exhibit B: the Palm Springs, CA desert mansion of comedy legend Bob Hope. Designed in 1973 by acclaimed architect John Lautner, its vast copper roof was intended to resemble a volcano. There’s a giant boulder in the middle, and a putting green and al fresco dining area outside. It can all be yours for a mere $50 million.

Save the (Plywood) Cows!

Via roadfood.com.

For sale: One herd of cows (ceramic, plywood, fabric, paint, etc.). Comes with a supply of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls and a classic cafe.

After 25 years, Jeanne Mae Barwick is retiring from Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. She’s put the place up for sale, and threatens to close it in March or April if an appropriate buyer isn’t found.

Via PhinneyWood.com.

There’s been a cafe at this location since the 1920s. But when Barwick took it over in 1988, she transformed it from a neighborhood destination into a city institution.

Michael Stern at Roadfood.com describes it as “a multi-room cafe decorated everywhere with pictures, statues, blow-up dolls and every sort of nick-nack imaginable, all depicting cows (an ode to the proprietor’s Wisconsin roots).”

On weekend mornings, it can take as long as an hour to get seated. Besides the cinnamon rolls (baked in-house), it offers large portions of your basic American breakfast and lunch fare, plus such specialties as trout and eggs.

It closes at 3 p.m. daily; in offering the business for sale, Barwick notes a new owner could make more money by opening for dinner and offering alcohol.

In an email sent to customers, Barwick says she may hold an “open house and garage sale” at the cafe in March. Depending on what items a new owner may want to keep, the sale could include the cafe’s cow-shaped salt and pepper shakers “and other miscellaneous moo-morabilia.”

Barwick also says she’ll continue to host her popular “Karaoke Bingo” once a month at the Greenwood Senior Center.

Via roadfood.com.


Luxury hotel made entirely of salt

Check out this lavish hotel, made from salt.

Sitting on the edge of the largest salt flat in the world stands an amazing and unusual hotel and spa built with one million blocks of salt.

The Palacio de Sal, located in Bolivia, took two years to reconstruct after being dismantled in 2002 and almost everything is built from the salt flat. This includes the chairs, tables, beds and even the swimming pool and golf course. Hotel employees say that many guests are caught licking the walls or furniture just to make sure they are made of salt.
The hotel has 16 twin rooms and 8 double rooms, a sauna, steam room, whirlpool and of course, their own saltwater baths.

A hotel spokesperson states, “Our dining room is indescribable. Guests can enjoy our exclusive and exquisite meals prepared on the basis of salt, flame and lamb meat from the region, or salted chicken.”

Some parts of the hotel need to be maintained and rebuilt each year after the rainy season due to water damage.

Situated 12,000 feet above sea level, stunning sunsets and sprawling starry night skies are an every day event.

Bolivian Salt Hotel

Luna Salada

Street Scenes, Unseen

Via messynessychic.com.

“Quite possibly the most important street photographer of the 20th century was a 1950s children’s nanny who kept herself to herself and never showed a single one of her photographs to anyone.”

That’s quite a statement. But it may also be true, in the case of Vivian Maier.

Maier’s works are now on display at the Photographic Center Northwest Gallery in Seattle, through March 23.

How Maier’s pictures were found and brought to the world’s attention is a story at least as fascinating as the pictures themselves.

As the site Messy Nessy Chic puts it, Maier’s discovery begins in 2007, when

…in 2007, a Chicago real estate agent and historical hobbyist, John Maloof, purchased a box of never-seen, never-developed film negatives of an unknown ‘amateur’ photographer for $380 at his local auction house.

As Maloof inspected and developed some of the negatives, he discovered a treasure trove of images, taken between the early 1950s and the late 1990s. They depict thousands of unposed instants of life on New York’s and Chicago’s streets.

Via vivianmaier.com.

Maloof tried to track down the pictures’ enigmatic creator, only in 2009 to find her Chicago Tribune obituary. She’d died at the age of 83.

Maloof’s own site, VivianMaier.com, describes what he’s learned since then about Maier:

 An American of French and Austro-Hungarian extraction, Vivian bounced between Europe and the United States before coming back to New York City in 1951. Having picked up photography just two years earlier, she would comb the streets of the Big Apple refining her artistic craft. By 1956 Vivian left the East Coast for Chicago, where she’d spend most of the rest of her life working as a caregiver. In her leisure Vivian would shoot photos that she zealously hid from the eyes of others. Taking snapshots into the late 1990?s, Maier would leave behind a body of work comprising over 100,000 negatives.

Maloof hopes to complete and release a documentary video, Finding Vivian Maier, later this year. (Here’s a preview trailer for it.)

Via vivianmaier.com.

For now, Maloof has a 144-page coffee-table book compiling part of Maier’s legacy, titled Vivian Maier: Street Photographer.

The Life of the Garment

Photo by Karolina Wallace; via Henry Art Gallery and Interview magazine.

There might be no more intrinsically “feminine” art form than fashion.

And perhaps no other art form holds so much meaning within each of its products.

A single garment can contain a myriad of stories. Stories about its design, materials, and manufacture. Stories about who would wear it and when. Stories about the social and economic status of its intended wearer.

These are some of the tangents explored by Seattle textile artist and costume designer Anna Telcs. She has an exhibit, “The Dowsing,” at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery through May 5.

According to a gallery blurb, “Telcs explores the liminal space between form, fashion, presentation, and performance. Her recent work attempts to question existing perceptions about manufacturing, worth, and beauty – ultimately seeking to delve deeper into the armature of the fashion object itself and the systems and structures that contextualize and regulate it.”



We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day

“Out of work Sith Lord.”

The Emerald City Comicon, held at the Washington State Convention Center, has become an annual sign of Spring’s impending arrival in Seattle. It’s March! Time to shake off that Gore-Tex and wool. Time to reveal the unencumbered Real You to the world, by becoming your favorite fantasy character.


Like most “comics conventions” around North America, including the giant San Diego Comicon, the Emerald City Comicon is only partly about comic books and mostly about fantasy film/TV. This year’s special guests included Star Trek: TNG and X-Men star Patrick Stewart and ’60s Batman stars Adam West and Burt Ward.


But the real stars every year are the attendees themselves, channelling their copyrighted-and-trademarked icons.




Perhaps nowhere was this smelting of commercial art into folk art more obvious than with the guy who played the Star Wars theme on bagpipes, while riding a unicycle.

(P.S.: For a viewpoint on Comicon from an actual comics creator, check out Donna Barr’s blog.)

Spellbound in Seattle

Talisman Store

Having trouble with the bad neighbors next door and their barking dogs? Try throwing some special black salt over the fence and see what happens. No money? How about some “Attract Money Lucky Money Oil”? Having trouble selling a house? Try burying St. Joseph on his head near your “For Sale” sign.

If you luck is so bad lately that you think someone may have accidentally given you the evil eye and put a hex on you, get yourself over to El Talisman shop and get some of jinx-busting powder or lucky bubbles for your bath and start feeling better in no time.

Chock full of spell kits and Chakra oils, candles, Rosary beads and santos, plus herbal remedies, statuary and perfumes, this little shop tucked into a strip mall in Burien, 10 miles South of Seattle is sure to please and surprise anyone wanting to bring good luck into their life. El Talisman features fetishes, amulets, charms and potions and is located at 227 SW 152nd in Burien, just West of Seatac Airport.

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Dreams of the Last Butterflies

Dreams of the Last Butterflies is a mini-epic, live-action “Dark Faerie Tale” short film, with a unique environmental message.

Unusual Life is proudly helping to fund this project. Please join us in lending a hand to the butterflies and the production costs of this film. Thank you very much.

Dreams of the Last Butterflies is a unique vision with a powerful environmental message, full of wonder, dreams, and otherworldly performers. Combining cutting-edge cinematography, fantastical costumes, epic faerie-tale poetry, and a sizzling electronica soundtrack, it will feature stunning performances by tribal bellydancers, ballet stars, fire masters, contortionists, and many more.

Dreams of the Last Butterflies is a tale about the loss of butterflies in our world, and why they are disappearing – as told by the last Butterfly Queens themselves.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Zina Brown, with new music by electronic rock artist and singer Kai Altair, the film is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to begin principal shooting in the autumn of 2012.

Here is a link to the Kickstarter Page. Every pledge counts in making this project a reality.

Join the Facebook event page to show your support and get updates as we progress on the film!

Follow our Tumblr blog for exclusive new images and content!

• Check out Director Zina Brown’s most recent short film, “The Hidden Sister”  – screened internationally at 11 film festivals last year, including the Miami Short Film Festival; Melbourne, Australia’s Sexy International Film Festival; and New York’s VisionFest 11:

Obscura Day celebrated around the world April 28, 2012

Each spring, Atlas Obscura organizes a global event called Obscura Day.

On Obscura Day thousands of people, all over the world, go out and explore interesting and unusual places. Sometimes they organize the event, sometimes folks organize it themselves! Over the past two years nearly 10,000 people have attend over 200 different events on Obscura Day.

The Atlas Obscura is the definitive guidebook and friendly tour-guide to the world’s most wondrous places. User-generated and editor curated, the Atlas is a collaborative compendium of amazing places that aren’t found in your average guidebook.

And this month, Saturday, April 28th is Obscura Day, an international celebration of unusual places, full of expeditions, back room tours & explorations of the hidden wonders around the world.


Since we’re located in Seattle, we’ll tell you about Atlas Obscura’s two places in the Seattle area that are weird and wonderful enough to be included in the official Atlas Obscura Day celebration, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art and a tour of the Inscape Building and the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore.

Tour #1: Atlas Obscura Day at the Official Bad Art Museum of Art, sponsored by Hendricks Gin, a “Gin made Oddly”.

All day is Atlas Obscura Day at Cafe Racer and the Official Bad Art Museum of Art.

Doors open at 10AM Saturday, April 28th. Have breakfast, peruse the Bad Art in the OBAMA, enjoy some “Hendricks Obscure Punch”.

Schedule is as follows:

2:00pm View in amazement an incredible array of bugs, marine invertebrates, isopods and lepidoptera from “Bug Man” Don Ehlen.


3:00pm Musical performance by Operadisiac, a surreal opera comedy duo that is sure to delight


4:30pm Performance by God’s Favorite Beefcake, featuring Shmootzi The Clod of Circus Contraption fame, with music and sword swallowing and God knows what else.


6:00pm (or thereabouts) the Nu Klezmer Army will entertain with their honkin’ versions of old time favorites.

… The hijinks continue until 1am.

Tour #2: Tour of Inscape building and Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore
Peek into Seattle’s past with a tour of the city’s 77,000-square-foot former Immigration and Naturalization Services building, plus a visit to the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore for rare D.B. Cooper, UFO, and Bigfoot-related artifacts.


Green homes, literally

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Dorknob found this great fake grass-covered home located in an Austrian hillside by GRID Architekten.

Here’s another “green” home, almost completely covered in greenery.

You could almost miss this whole home while walking by on the street, buried as it is under dense layers of climbing greenery that wrap up and around on three of four sides (as well as the roof).

Here’s the same house, from the front, showing the walls of windows:

HomeDesignFind features a very modern eco-luxury vacation villa set in the Costa Rica rainforest features a series of energy-conserving thick green roofs for natural cooling and lush velvety greens that contrast with the stark white of the walls.

More “Green Images” from Home Design Galleries: