Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Me & me Mum (day 1)

Arrived at London's Heathrow Airport and the critically acclaimed, "Terminal 5" so I was really not expecting to disembark the plane... straight onto the tarmack! Are you kidding?! C'mon queeny. At least finish the thing before you hype it all up and then stick us on a shuttle and let us wait for an hour to go through customs. What was done was really cool modern, techy design... I did like that.
Upon renting our Toyota Prius, (which by the by, allowed us to avoid the congestion charge in downtown London. Magic.) we planned to head through Stratford upon Avon and then on to Nottingham to our friends the Adcock's. Well, as it happened I noticed a sign for Warwick Castle and mentioned how cool it was, having been there with my family a couple years back. Me "Mum" said she'd like to see it and could we make the diversion so I literally hurled the car into the left lane and up the exit. Very last minute you see. That pic on the intro entry is of Warwick Castle soooo, check it out. Really beautiful place!
Next we cruised into Stratford and strolled around town and down by the river. It was an uncharacteristically sunny day and people were sunning themselves and just generally enjoying the day. I'm always taken by the thought of Shakespeare and the like strolling around on the same streets that me & mum are experiencing that very moment. Wow!
From there it was on to a friend whom I had not seen since she'd moved back to the Stratford area a couple years back. She had no idea I was in the country but with the help of her employer and a co-worker they got in touch with. When her boss, John handed me the phone she had no idea who it was. What a great surprise! Me mum and I stopped by for a visit with Sharon and her parents in their back garden and it was lovely. Really good to see her and meet her folks and get a sense of her world far away from Starbucks (Village at Coventry). Great to see you Sharon!
Finally, we got ourselves to Nottingham and to John & June Adcocks house. It had been a few years since they'd last seen each other and we all sat up late talking about everything from family to Obama to national health care. Great fun.
As I walked outside to take a short walk, I was stricken by just how different the UK is from America. So very different. Different words, different architecture, different lifestyle... different everything. Good different but different. I was really looking forward to my time in Nottingham. Back where I played as a boy. Fairham Comprehensive School for Boys on Clifton Estate and Saturdays in downtown Nottingham, running wild and shopping for a new table tennis bat. Playing in the woods at Wollaton Hall on the zip line and going through the Hall specifically to gawk at the stuffed gorilla and it's fully exposed private parts. That was one big gorilla... musta' been Italian.
Hope you're enjoying it... I sure did.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Me and me Mum"

This is gonna be a short one but the first in a series of "The Travels of Tym". I recently had the privilege of accompanying my mother, Norma (Michener) De Santo, (cousin of author "James Michener") to the UK for 10 days to visit friends and places from her/our time we lived there. What a lovely country and a page right outta history, er, is that "Bedrock"...well I guess it is history since the pages came from it and not the other way around... 'ish?
Seriously, it was a very refreshing and reflective tyme for me with visits to a number of favorite haunts. From my 2nd form year, (8th grade) at Fairham Comprehensive School for Boys in Nottingham, England and Saturdays riding the bus into downtown Nottingham for the day with my friends, at 12 years old. Whoa, Mom & Dad, (posthumously & lovingly on the Dad side) what were you thinking! I would barely let my kids, (@ 12) ride their bikes to a friends house, ("oh, and be sure to call us when you arrive") much less let them go hang out with 3/4 of a million people I DON'T KNOW in a strange country... c'mon. Hey, I mean strange to us, not strange-wierd. Yeah, back to the point.
Well, this is the introduction for my 10 part travel blog to the UK. Be sure to check back often as the images will be brilliant!!! I was able to spend some time with my long-time friend and amazing internationally acclaimed photographer, Greg Allen. Greg was kind enough to come into London our last two days and shoot a few fantastic photos of "Me & me Mum".
Hope you like it! Cheers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another sunny day in California! Just back from a week in Santa Monica with my family where we had the privilege of working on a few families homes with Habitat for Humanity. Plenty to do and plenty of fun. Billy and Bethy were the consummate site supervisors always keeping things moving and we met some great people who had given their day to help out. I was pleased and impressed with two architects, Eric and Patrick who are pursuing new employment opportunities who decided to jump in and build with Habitat in the meantime... Go Guys! In fact everyone there deserves a big thanks for getting involved!
My son Rio and I spent most of our time laying sub-floor in the bathroom and my wife Dawn and Rio's friend Cole nearly caulked a whole house... sore joints and white latex fingers to prove it. A big thanks to Alison with Hollywood for Habitat who does such a great job working with the entertainment industries involvement with Habitat for Humanity!
From 70 and sunny in L.A. to 35 and light snow in Chicago we headed home to enjoy a bit of spring weather. Oh, it's coming... just takes a little while to get going.
I'll be speaking tomorrow about getting inspired and inspiring others to get involved in a great opportunity in Ft. Wayne, IN. With millions of dollars available in grant money to rehab foreclosed homes and breath new life into a number of Ft. Wayne neighborhoods, I am looking forward to an exciting time!
Through adversity come some of our greatest opportunities and for Ft. Wayne, it's one of those moments. To find out more about the NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization Program) go to:
Inspiring people in their everyday journey... that's what it's all about.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just back from LA and reflecting on my visit to the Eames House in Santa Monica... what a serene tyme! Caught me a little off guard imagining Charles and Ray living in such a responsibly designed and built structure in the midst of LA excess. They moved into the house in 1949 and lived there until their deaths in '78 & '88 respectively. The main house at 1500 sq ft and the studio at 1000 sq ft are all they required to live, love and inspire a generation of Americans!
I was re-inspired, (if not a bit teary-eyed) as I realized their contribution to my, (and my design co-hort Dougal's) sense of the creative. Thank you Charles and Ray Eames!
Please check out the link for a bit of perspective and when in LA, make an appointment and visit the house. The best $5- you'll ever spend!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ah California. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is in CA. If you've never been there... go there. If you've been there before... go back for another visit. 
I'm out in LA for some great meetings and on my down-time I try to do some fun and some educational things while keeping up with the workout schedule. If I can combine them all the better. Yesterday was a shining example of just that.
Awake @ 3:45am in Indianapolis
Fly out of Indy @ 6am
Arrive in LA @ (you gotta love the @ symbol... it's so hip) 10:50am with a full day ahead of me to relax and enjoy. I was amused at (the grammatical "at" that is) the perspective of the woman sitting beside me on the plane who remarked upon hearing that the outside temp was 50 degrees, "oh my, it's freezing outside" to which I felt compelled to respond, "hey, to a Hoosier who spent his anniversary in Chicago, walking 4 blocks to the restaurant for dinner in -18 below weather... this is not freezing baby". Of course I didn't use the "baby" with this kindly old woman but you get the point. 
So I disembark (that doesn't even look like a word) rent my Toyota Prius hybrid, (what a great car) and head for the Topanga State Park where I rent a mtn bike for a two hour ride into the Santa Monica mtn's. Wow! What a fantastic ride! I rode up and up and up until I found myself at a dead-end overlook where you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean. To the north were the mountains above Malibu that looked like velvet brains pouring into the ocean. To the west was, duh the Pacific Ocean, (really gorgeous) and the coast line with all the beach cities stretching as far as you could see. Finally, there was LA's downtown popping right up out of the valley as if someone had sprinkled some seeds of architecture and it just grew on it's own. 
Once I returned the parking lot I decided to venture into the neighborhood and check out the local flavor of residential homes. My cruise through the Topanga Canyon streets offered a fascinating display of all things California with everything from 70's hippie hold-ups to amazing terraced landscaping hosting some fully modern homes. Really great, inspiring houses!
Thanks Topanga Canyon!
Later this week I'm heading to the Eames Museum for a bit of mid-century design inspiration, (and worship)! Can't wait. If you're not familiar with Charles & Ray Eames, they were arguably the most celebrated [furniture] designers of the 20th century and man were they talented! Google them and check them out... you'll love their incredible and truly classic designs.
That's it for now... more to come. Type ya soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Change is good... pass it on.

HAPPY 2009!!!
Hope it was a great holiday season for everyone! I WILL be blogging regularly this year so I hope you'll check back often and enjoy. 
If you haven't checked out my recent feature in Las Vegas Home & Design mag yet please do so. I was so honored to be included in the fall '08 issue and Wow did they do a great job! It's the link on the top right of my homepage if you missed it.
Take note of the three design pics that are in that mag. The Shanklin Residence will be featured in an upcoming "Trad-Mod Makeover" video I will be offering soon. I know many of you have older, traditional home's that you'd like to update in a fresh and modern way without losing the character and integrity of the original homes design... well this video's for you!
I'll also be making some major changes in my own home with video tips from that one too. Full-on creative mayhem that will show how my crazy creative head works in the whole process. 
Oh, and yes I'm way behind on the furniture but... the Frank Suspended Lounge Chair & Ottoman is nearly done and will soon be on the site. It will be worth the wait!
So much more coming this year. Heading to L.A. soon for some meetings... sssshhhhh (!)
And what do I do for inspiration in Indiana in the winter. Check out these pics of Villa Dakota (my abode) covered in ICE and mountain biking in freezing temps on a frozen lake bed with friends Adan and Peter. Hard to not be inspired when you look at those barren trees rising out of the lake, eh?
Change is good. Pass it on!
Cheers, Tym