part of the @tlas 'Scenic Interiors' series

text by TerboTed photos by Olivier Laude interior by ShaG.

so this is all about what our house looks like.
if you really want, you can see the quicktimeVRs of
our Kitchen (slow and slower) or Sewing Room (slow and slower).

The story goes, we needed a new place to live. Lizard and myself. We had been living on Haight Street in San Francisco and all our roommates were tweakers and that totally sucked cause we don't do amphetamines. We walked all over town, and after calling like thirty places, we finally found one 4 days before we had to move. The place was trashed, a rental flat, South of Market, located near where I was working at the time. Rent is only $750 for the place, that's totally cool.

All the other places we looked at were all nicely remodeled and that always puts us off, cause we're into creating our own space... We'd always ask 'Can we pull out this new beige carpet?' and whoever was showing us the place would look at us like they would kill us. So we hate carpeting. And we never would paint a place all white, so boring.

So this flat we're in, like I said, was totally trashed. I think that if you were homeless you would rather have slept outside. It had sat unoccupied for about 90 days, an eternity in this town. We didn't even have to pay a security deposit. The last inhabitants had been these teens who had kicked holes in the walls, covered it with graffiti and so on. It was partially furnished with urine stained furniture; it had been carpeted with recycled barroom carpet that was nailed to the floor with roofing nails; every door in the place had been kicked in, the front door, back door, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, etc. The place hadn't been painted in over twenty years and every surface was sticky to the touch, greasy gritty gross.

our coffee pot

Our landlady gave us the keys even before we gave her any cash, and we immediately set about cleaning it and preparing for a rush paint job. Scrubbing and sanding. Tore out the carpet (someone had carpeted over dried puke in one of the rooms). Removed the furnishings. We used four gallons of plaster on the walls (and its a small place). I removed all these telephone and electrical outlets that went absolutely nowhere, hadn't been used in decades. We removed all of the bedroom doors, and opened these beautiful sliding doors which had been nailed shut. Rented a sander and smoothed the softwood floors for painting. One room, which became the sewing room, was covered with staples, we called it the staple room, there must have been 400 staples in the walls. Nails were sticking out all over the place, remnants of long gone curtains or pictures. The landlady's son fixed the broken windows. We reattached bits of door molding that were falling off. Put new locks on the doors. This all happened in the first day and a half... we still had to paint, pack and move in two and a half days...

We went to the paint store. There's a store near here that stores all of their 'dump stock' in the back, the mis-tints or customer rejects, and this stuff is usually lurid, odd and totally cheap. Picked out the craziest colors. We did have them mix us some blue deck paint which we used for the floors, and a couple of other cool colors just for fun. We painted the whole place, including the floors (but not the kitchen-more on that later) in one long session that lasted 24 hours, ending at 10am. We had all these gallons of weird colors, we'd look at a room and decide green? purple? orange? blue and red? yellow trim? and then just do it, mostly randomly. We only had time for one coat of paint, it had to be clean.

Then we moved in.

the hot water heater in our kitchen

The kitchen was too much of a task for the short time we had. This would take another two weeks for us to complete. The floor in there had all of these layers of delaminating linoleum tiles, a huge burn in the center, and rotting wood all around the sink, which leaked out of numerous different locations with the ferocity of a small brook. The gas stove, a beautiful vintage piece, was deeply deeply crusted with ancient black rotten scunge and was totally unfunctional. After using a chisel on one of the burners for a couple of minutes we finally got it lit. Lizard installed and re-tiled an entirely new sink, she's so cool. She also found these self-stick checkered black and white floor tiles for only 50 cents a piece, and after we patched the floor up really well she tiled it. The refrigerator was blocking the doorway to the dining room, so we moved it into the pantry. The walls behind the stove were damaged by burn marks. Lizard covered that area with aluminum sheeting (thats the background to this page).

Lizard does most of the decorating. She made, or, as she puts it 'rigged' all of the curtains. The ones in the kitchen are made from an old paisley velvet dress. Our bed has a beautiful mosquito-net and purple sequined canopy hung from driftwood with hand-coiled copper rings. She also has made most of our tables, shelves and some other furnishings.

Our house is full of toys. Some of the more obvious ones are from our trip to Japan this year. We love to buy silly things at the neighborhood flea market. Most of the artwork on the walls are prints of my computer work, which Lizard has framed in all sorts of unique and ingeneous ways. We have some bizarre paper mache sculptures we have made, the most prominent being Aphid, who's hanging from the ceiling in the hall, Aphid's about 4 feet tall and 7 feet wide. One of my favorites is our technicolor day-glo-in-the-dark kitchen table, which was painted by three friends and myself in one epic acid trip on the fourth of july, 1990.

me on the phone in the orange chair

We both work at home. We shifted rooms around a couple of times to get it where we are now. We have a bedroom, a sewing room and living room/computer room. Lizard makes custom clothing; the sewing room has her two sewing machines and all of her fabric, notions and other materials. The living room is where our computer, tv, stereo and all of my electronic music gear live. Our one telephone is on the wall between the sewing and living rooms, separated by the always open sliding doors.

Anyway, we've lived here about a year and a half and we want to move, its getting boring. We're having our first child in March (a planned homebirth), we want more space and are getting tired of our neighborhood. Let us know of any cool rental homes in need of some repair... we won't even stay there long-- I think we go crazy if we can't reinvent our surroundings.


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