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Big Threefer

May 30, 2012


Going into a three-day weekend I always feel buoyed by the endless possibilities in having 72 hours to play with … but, I know that if I don’t set a plan for myself those hours will flit away with nothing to show for them Tuesday morning. So this past weekend I made a loose t0-do list, hoping to get to at least most of the tasks. But, by golly I was able to check them all off by Monday night. I got the garage (mostly) cleaned up; I sorted several years-worth of magazines into genres, then donated them to a worthy cause; I cooked breakfast, inverting the egg-to-veggie ratio in a frittata to cut down on cholesterol; I pruned our largest palo verde tree; you know, the small stuff. The large stuff — projects with more long-term benefits — were addressed, too; those are represented in the details above. Let’s take a closer look …


Remember this, our beloved temple area? A literal shrine to the visual and textural joys of concrete in all its forms, it was complemented by the juicy coolness of the many types of succulents planted there and backed up with the rusted charm of salvaged industrial window and gates. We loved it, and you did too …


As you can see, the temple is no more … It was dismantled to satisfy an idea I had to turn the space into an outdoor dining room. Keeping the window-gates as backdrop, I used their dimensions as guide for a new poured concrete pad that would form the floor of the room.


Now that the pad’s poured and fully cured, it feels quite ample and appropriately ‘roomy’. Using a variety of industrial furniture pieces, I’ve dressed it several ways as a dining room … and, now I’ve changed my mind. Exercising my prerogative as designer I’ve now decided the pad should be used as a lounge space; a lounge space that will include a water feature, a mural, and the softening effect of a green wall and succulents, both in-ground and in planters. The dining room? That’ll go outside the kitchen (duh!) on the deck there. To that end, I’ve removed a former privacy screen to open up that area; the screen’s wooden boards will be recycled for another use … more on that later. The step-up to the pad features handmade textured and colored concrete stepping stones by fellow garden designer/blogger Dustin Gimbel … that’s them in the first photo in this post. Love ’em, and love their new permanent home! That’s big project No. 1.


Project No. 2 was obtaining, and planting at the Rancho, a long-coveted smoke tree. We chose the purple-leafed variety of this gorgeous tree-shrub, and this one is perfect. Doesn’t it go great with rusted metal?


No. 3 is the most personal: Organizing my office. For awhile now I’ve neglected this important space, allowing it to become so cluttered and messy I could hardly think, let alone, work there. Spending most of this past Monday there, I finally got it together … even adding a huge self-portrait that was languishing unseen in the garage. Getting these three projects to their current stages of completion required focused attention, and, most importantly, time … but they’re far from finished, and will required even more of both to take them to their logical — successful — conclusions … I’ll  have to work on coming up with more of both those important commodities!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Deane permalink
    May 30, 2012 3:16 am

    Where, might one inquire, did you get the “long-coveted smoke tree,” and what size is it? Thanks for your great blog!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 30, 2012 4:09 am

      From local Paradise Nursery … they’re terrific! Find them at 7109 Dufferin Avenue Riverside, CA 92504; (951) 789-0386. The tree is at least 8-9 feet tall.

  2. May 30, 2012 3:53 pm

    Wow…no laying around relaxing for you!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 30, 2012 4:17 pm

      Currently, no … gotta keep moving!

  3. May 30, 2012 6:15 pm

    Exciting stuff — I’ve got a crete project in mind too but need to find those same important commodities!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 30, 2012 6:22 pm

      It took months, Denise, for all the planets to align so that we could get this done … and now I’m crazed to move on to the next step, if you couldn’t tell!

  4. May 31, 2012 6:34 am

    Love the step stones! 🙂

  5. June 3, 2012 1:51 am

    Ok well I saw Big Reefer when I read the title of this post. Wasn’t sure what I would see when I opened it !

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 3, 2012 3:33 am

      Well, I hope you weren’t disappointed, ks!


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