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catching up really fast.

May 16th, 2015 by

I just felt nostalgic, and like writing, and went back to read our first post, here. It has been a long time since I’ve written much, because I’ve been a little busy going to grad school.


It still feels weird to say it, and as my friend Stephanie Mahin puts it, I feel a case of impostor syndrome. But I’m starting the dissertation-writing process. And Kevin’s working for the whole big UNCGA thing, helping get an inter-campus online university going, which is incredibly exciting. Many changes, much still to come…it’s invigorating, but in some ways feels strange. Remember the way you felt in your twenties, roaring to go, seeing nothing but the future ahead of you, believing deeply in your dreams? Yep. But now my joints also ache most of the time, and the face in the mirror doesn’t always look as energetic as my mind feels.

This house helps. Waking up way too early (3am, 4am,…tonight 2am) and drinking coffee, just listening to the house, the crickets outside, talking to the cats. We still don’t have a finished hallway, which bugs me much more than it bugs him (hint, hint), but things are looking up and I’m looking at an eventful year.

A couple pictures from the past year help illustrate the sorts of things that have been happening here at Fred, and with his people….sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

May 16th, 2015 by

RoseBreastedGrosbeak 2014-08-04 12.25.52 2014-06-24 13.51.31 2014-12-25 06.40.16 2014-12-31 07.25.36 2015-04-28 06.46.02 AtTheRaces_Charlotte PRCampaignsDec42012 ChristmasDesk2012 St.AugustineBeach EnoWildflowers2 FredatNight2 EnoRiverCreek LauraKevinatraces KeepCalmGoHeelsThumb TodayIAmAnExpertIn FriendsSchoolRoadFeb142014 WhiteAzaleasOriginal KarensGlass KellyandJustin BrooksandKylah LauraPlantationHouse SadaWinstonJason lamarshall ProfsDoor 2012-07-13 02.20.22 SnowyBirdhouseFeb182015 2015-02-26 08.10.40 ProblemSolved hbm ScreenedPorchFeb262015 Laura and Wool E. Cemetery2 2015-02-26 06.02.13 DrivewayOutFeb262015

this is really starting to go to his head…

April 24th, 2015 by

Apparently we have a rival for Fred’s affection. It seems that we are not the only ones who love Fred; Dwell Magazine has decided that Fred is a house that they love too.

Fred and Dwell, sittin’ in a tree…

We’re not too worried though; we think it’s just a crush. We understand that all young modernist houses go through this phase. We just have to wait it out.

and the winner is…

October 9th, 2014 by


OMG!!!!! We don’t really know what to say! We’d like to thank the academy, and all the little people behind the scenes that made this possible…

OK, enough. What the heck am I talking about? Well, this:

2014 AIA North Carolina Residential Awards

Fred officially has his first architecture award. Hopefully it won’t go to his head, although come to think of it, he has been a little more demanding ever since he found out. Hmmm.

Here are some of the pictures that won Fred his award. (click on any image to get a full-size gallery)

All kidding aside, we are truly flattered, and all the honors rest squarely on the shoulders of our architects (insitu studio), builder (L.E.Meyers), and designer (nBaxter Design). We are very proud to live in Fred, and living here is everything we had hoped it would be. Not a day goes by without one of us remarking—in either english or cat—about how much we love living here.

We’re glad the judges of architectural goodness saw it just like we do: Fred is the best! (Be sure to click on the pictures to see Fred in all his jumbo-sized glory…)

almost ready for his close-up!

April 17th, 2014 by

First, my apologies that there haven’t been any updates to the blog for over a year. That’s bad blogging of the highest order. The reason is that we’ve been a little busy with life, school and stuff. My lovely bride is well on her way to getting her PhD, hot on the tail of completing her M.A. last year about this time. Somehow I got sucked into the higher education vortex as well, and thanks to a guest lecture gig arranged by my favorite grad student—yes, I do mean my wife—I landed a job teaching a ‘Concepts of Marketing’ class to advanced undergrads. I really enjoy it, but it does tend to take up more time than one might think.

So, enough about us; what about Fred? Well, he’s finally going to get photographed next month—at least the parts of him that are comfortable in front of the camera. In the interim, I thought I would post a couple sneak-peak beauty shots that I took last Fall when the colors were at their peak. (click on the pics for the in-full-glory versions…)

Fred's lovely front side...

Fred’s lovely front side…

...and his, err.... side-side?

…and his, err…. side-side?

He’s looking pretty good if we do say so ourselves, and with only a small bit of Photoshopping involved to boot!

saddest blog post ever…

April 9th, 2013 by

We said a final goodbye to our eldest boy yesterday.

George was a brave cat. He had been fighting lymphoma for over three years; much longer than any of his doctors said he would survive. But eventually, the disease and his chemotherapy-compromised immune system wore him down. Yesterday was a bad day for him; the worst he had ever had, and it was time.

I’m especially gutted, because I wasn’t able to be there. I was in Tennessee, picking up some veneer for future projects, including some that we hoped George would be able to climb on and enjoy the view from. We knew it was coming, but it happened suddenly, and it would have been only selfish and cruel to keep him hanging on until I could return home. I was able to give him a few head rubs and whisker strokes on the morning that I left for the trip, so I do have some closure, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t gut-wrenchingly painful to know, as I was driving back, that I would never see him again.

Because we knew the end was near, we had made arrangements with a vet that specializes in euthanasia house calls. George was able to lay in a sunbeam on the carpet in our bedroom, and sniff the spring air through an open screen door, and be petted by his mom as he left us. So much better than yet another irritating, car sick, agitated trip to the vet.

I’ll always remember the first time he walked over my head, and shoulders, and down my chest, and curled up in my lap. (Because of his size, he often approached people from above, rather than from the more traditional cat direction. Plus, it was always very clear to him that he truly was in his rightful place when he was above a human.) It was when I had only known Laura for a couple weeks, and she told me later that she knew right then that I must be an OK guy, because her guardian trusted me and liked me.

I’ll miss his gentle request, via a single paw laid on my hand, to be petted. I’ll miss him walking on me when he wanted to be fed. I’ll even miss the times that he scared me half-to-death by coming silently into my office, standing up on his hind legs while I sat at the computer, and tapping me on the shoulder with his paw. (He was a very large cat!)

Time and disease kept him from doing that lately, and he was pretty lean and weak as of late, but here is a picture of him in better times; the way I will always remember him.

Rest in Peace buddy; I’ll always miss you.


the grand conspiracy

March 12th, 2013 by

OK, so it’s been awhile since I posted.

The astute reader will know that I am not dead, as I show up in a random house picture now and then, but I will admit that my contributions to the blog have diminished appreciably as my time has become occupied with building, as opposed to journal-ing.

Nevertheless, I thought it important to expose the seamy underbelly of the architect-builder conspiracy. Namely, they get you all excited with beautiful renderings and images of what your house can look like, and only very late in the process do you see the actual reality of their work.

For example, here is the rendering that we have shared previously:

Lovely rendering of a house named Fred


And what did we end up with?!?



See? It’s complet…, well, I mean there’s a huge differ…, uh, well, hmmm.

I got it! They left out a tree!

I tell you, you can’t trust anyone nowadays.

Let’s be careful out there.

how to get a hot tub onto a porch, in ten easy steps.

March 1st, 2013 by

strategy in design

February 20th, 2013 by

Spent the afternoon being part of the process of tiling yesterday (though, as the afternoon wore on, your flu-stricken reporter became less and less a part of anything).

An interesting process to watch, and be part of: the carefully asymmetrical layout of kitchen backsplash tile, starring Nicole Baxter and Nathaniel. It’s going to be quirky and beautiful, like its designer.

tile and snow

February 19th, 2013 by

Weird juxtaposition, but the two things came up on the same day.  Two days after my birthday (we’re no longer counting years, so don’t ask), I went to see Fred and take some new pictures.  It also happened to be the day of the first serious snow of this North Carolina winter, which is also usually the last serious snow of the winter.  (I know there’s a month-old post here that says “snow,” but that one didn’t compare to this one, with flurries all day long that didn’t stick but made the air pretty.)

Fred is getting down to the final stages now, with most of the exterior done (except for zinc and fine details) and the majority of the work happening inside.

Herewith, pictures.

house exterior in snowThe requisite exterior shot, showing plastic over the now-concrete driveway and paint on the Hardie panels and stucco.  The silvery portions that are not covered yet are where the zinc will go.


Tile wall in master showerThe master bath tile is just about finished, now, with the cool accent tile (“Palm”) grouted in a lighter color so as to really show it off.  I was worried all that grey would be dark and forboding, even though I liked the tile, but with the big window over where my tub goes it isn’t dark at all.  Even on a grey and snowy day.


kitchen interior with cabinetsThe kitchen cabinets look beautiful with the nearly-matching floor.  Countertops go in today and/or tomorrow, and the black accents will set off the light wood nicely, don’t you think?