How They Live

small house

I admit it, I’m a closet, home and garden periodical junkie. I don’t care if it is the ultra-spare spaces of Dwell magazine, the New York Times’ Thursday home section, or the west-coast lifestyle publication, Sunset. If it lets me in the front door or garden gate, I can’t resist.   What’s going on inside the $8,000 per month SOHO apartment? Can those people really live with those chilly-looking floors and that Spartan furniture? Could there be an old sock behind that couch?

I’m equally curious to see what people do inside the much cozier Santa Monica beach-bungalow. Purchased for $400,000 it is almost within my reach. Of course it took another $600,000 to remodel it. Still, I search the photos for clues to what the daily life of the residents must be like.

I read these publications because I am truly interested in understanding how people live. The problem is that most often you only get a glimpse of how the rich or merely well off want to be portrayed, but if I’m to believe the Occupy People, these magazines are representing the 1%. That means I’m missing an awful lot of interesting stories.

I want to see more spreads on regular people who use their creativity, elbow grease, or materials at hand to build their paradise.

wall 2

Take the people who live in the low-slung apartments in a Portland suburb with a windfall. Literally. When a huge tree fell down near the abandoned house next door, they gathered the wood to build a fence separating their space from a busy road.

shore house

I want to know how the half blue house on the shore of the Columbia River ended up so. Who lives there. Why?

stone henge

Even the Stonehenge-like wall of my neighbor’s never-ending house project has a tale to tell. But will you see it on the pages of a magazine?


  1. I agree completely! I troll those magazines too, but they do seemed aimed at someone else. I think we all need creative tips to beautify and personalize our spaces that are financially viable and can be realistically accomplished and are also not just focused on throwing out the old to replace it with another inevitable landfill product. Got another blog/zine plannned?

    1. I’m glad you asked. In fact I plan to go paperless this spring. There will be some lost treasures from the blog, some new stuff, and best of all art that isn’t confined to the box and the column of this dang blog.

  2. You’re right, Bruce! We don’t see much of everyday places in magazines. That’s what I love about the blogging world. It’s how the other 99% lives. Thanks for putting a link to my Sauvie Island Journal on your page. Btw, I’ve long wondered about that half-blue house, too. Some kinda story there.

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