June 30th, 2011

Knocked down all the knee-high weeds but everything is still a horrid mess.

Being full on freaky for furniture, I wanted to check out how the table looked in the side yard (and at least free up some storage space). I kind of feel like it might be too nice to leave out here…but maybe that’s all the ghetto looking surroundings working their magical guilt.

The ground is super uneven and it’ll definitely be a long time before that final “look” is achieved. We still have a bunch of stuff to do to get this area looking and functioning like that fancy virtually landscaped yard.

Wait? But what things?!

Things like this:


+ Rototill soil
+ Level/grade dirt
+ Drip irrigation
+ Plumb/filter pool
+ Run electrical
+ Weed barrier
+ Weld metal edging
+ Decomposed granite
+ Concrete paver walkway
+ Stain/seal fence
+ Plants
+ Tree
+ Lighting

Look at that beat up table top. This thing was ridden hard and put away wet. The teak will do well outdoors though.

I’ve got a ghetto tarp covering up the table to protect it from the harsh sun for now, but it still needs a nice weather resistant cover to keep it from getting too abused. At least I know rain won’t be an issue. Thank you wicked dry desert climate!


In other unrelated thoughts and boring stuff:

I’ve been working on the show with Laure again, as well as tirelessly on the shop and other sneaky ventures. Summer time means that it’s 8,000 degrees in the desert and working on the house is a physically torturous and sweaty nightmare. Admittedly, I’ve been phoning shit in around this old blog as of late, but in all honesty, I just got nothing. No great ideas, no fun content, no big projects I can share. I’m exhausted and totally uninspired and the house is a disaster pit that I just awkwardly walk around while trying to ignore random piles of laundry.

Otherwise, it seems that I’ve been straying away from blogs and spending more time on twitter and instagram and other micro-blogging (I hate myself for even typing that) formats which are easily accessed on my phone. As I’m traveling more and spending less and less time at a computer, these little venues feel like an immediately accessible option and are seemingly where more and faster interaction is taking place.

So, to you – you fine summer loving and attractive folks – here are a few things I’ve been asking around about:

How do you deal with crappy uninspired creative lulls?

Have you noticed a shift in the way peeps are interacting with blogs and the blogging community (please punch me for writing blogging community)?

Anyone feeling slightly burnt out? Please say it’s not just me feeling completely cray-cray crazy lately.

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  1. Ryan on 06/30/2011:

    Baby steps right? Looks good though. Cannot wait for this to commence. I, like you, have been waiting for so long for Landscape!

  2. Logan Potts on 06/30/2011:

    You’re so right, shit gonna get crazy & at the end of the day you have to ask yourself, am I having fun?

    Take a vacation, stay out of the thrift stores & enjoy yo self.

  3. Susan on 06/30/2011:

    I go OG blog surfing. Which means spending an embarrassing amount of time thumbing through cooking magazines and books – at the book store. And, yes, I’ll judge a book by it’s cover.

  4. Jes on 06/30/2011:

    The truth is that lately my blog bores me. I can’t afford to do the cool ideas for projects that I want I do half-ass projects for the blog. There, I said it, and I feel better. I don’t know if the blogging community shifted..but yeah, Twitter takes less time and I don’t have to worry about grammar, so I’ve been spending more time there.

  5. Jennifer on 06/30/2011:

    …summer is a time to slow down… and spend time doing nothing. It’s in those moments of “nothingness” that we discover new things. Don’t rush though. Wallow a little. I am always inspired by your blogs.

  6. katherine on 06/30/2011:

    my blog has beem boring me, too. and truthfully–i look back at some of the posts from two or three years ago and it embarasses me. i don’t say “lovely” and “charming” in real life so why did i say it on my blog? i say shit and other nasty things.

    i actually took a break from my blog/twitter/flickr from december until just now because we bought a house and ended up renovating the whole damn thing and i wanted to be able to focus and really enjoy the process with my little family and not look back later and realize i missed out on moments with them because there was a zoom lens in between us waiting to capture the perfect moment for a blog post.

    i’m not saying that blogs are bad or that i have any intention of abandoning mine completely, however i totally advocate taking a step back to breathe and not forcing posts when creatively you are not feeling it. it’s natural for creativity to come and go, and anyone who hassles you for that or for not posting often enough is an asshole.

  7. d r e w on 06/30/2011:

    i just started a blog and now everyone is saying blogs are over? oh lord, help me. i can’t keep up.

  8. sally ogilvie on 06/30/2011:

    Drew – I feel exactly the same way. Did we miss the memo??

  9. Matt on 06/30/2011:

    Blogs aren’t over, and getting burned creatively when you’re required to be creative on a 24/7 basis is just a fact of life…There’s still a lot of projects you need to do on your house, but let’s face it, most of the huge undertaking is over, right? Right now it’s too hot to do anything. So when the fall comes…kick some arse and get it done with lots of pics. πŸ™‚ Right now you’re basically restoring old furniture and selling it, why haven’t we seen more tutorials or something for those? I’d love to know how you’re doing some of this stuff. I can’t even reupholster a chair and make it look right… Also the fact that you have people commenting and “fans” should be enough inspiration to keep socializing on the blog.

    Keep bringing the awesome, it’s worth it. πŸ™‚

  10. Venus on 06/30/2011:

    I agree with Matt! I just got here – don’t tell me you’re leaving us.

  11. sudha on 06/30/2011:

    wonderful work on the table!!

  12. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/30/2011:

    I don’t think blogs are over, not at all. I guess I just see people interacting more as well as more freely via other venues.

  13. Jill on 06/30/2011:

    Morgan! I stilll don’t get twitter? What point am I missing there? I like photos and stories about the progress of The Brick House, but also about all of your creative endeavors. What the hell is micro-blogging? Is it visual? Keep the blog coming. It’s like a never ending great book that we don’t want to put down.

  14. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/30/2011:

    Twitter is like having a quick conversation with tons of people and you can share pictures. I am a total convert.

    I’m still going to blog the hell out of crap, but I think the heat is turning my brain and willpower into putty. I just can’t think of anything to write that’s longer than a sentence.

  15. Florian on 06/30/2011:

    I’m with Jill, concerning the twitter. I just don’t get it. I like proper sentences, I like pictures, I like paragraphs. I like a really long post. So there. I refuse to learn! I’m just to lazy. I must be getting old. The stupid video recorders came and went. I could program them, fat lot of good that did me. So twitter can go and twitter itself to death. I’m just not bloody interested.

    Burnt out? Absolutely. Hell, yeah. Work, gym, house work, marriage, social life, projects. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. How do I deal with it? I don’t. I just muddle through. Actually you asking that with you blog an tv show and design consultancy and furniture restauration projects is kind of insulting to normal people with much less energy.

    Anyhow. I love your blog! Twitter is bad for you. It will probably give you wrinkles and early onset Alzheimers. Stay away from it and post nice pictures here for us. Those tweety folks over there, they don’t love you like we do!

    And now for some harsh criticism. The table does look out of place. It’s a stunning piece, but all nice and shiny like that it looks totally indoorsy and wrong in the great wild outdoors that is your side yard. Look at your wonderful aging fence – it’s dull and rough and textured and pretty. I think you should get rid of your ghetto tarp and let the table go grey (or maybe stain it black, although teak really doesn’t deserve to be stained).

    Looking over your post again – I said it before and I’ll say it again, your photography makes everything look totally cool and nice and not awful at all. Tabletob – looks just fabulous. Side yard – add some models in checkered shirts and cowboy boots and you got yourself a Generic Designer Jeans advertisement.

  16. yhbhs on 06/30/2011:

    take some time off! enjoy the summer. and yes, there are days, i hate my blog, but i keep going back.. so, i understand completely your feelings… perhaps good things around the corner, bigger than blogging!


  17. Andrea on 06/30/2011:

    Table outdoors on a deck under a roof could work, but outside to get ruined….hmmn, less sure of that.

    As for blog stuff. It comes in phases I think. I blogged back in 2002 for a few years, and then stopped, and now I am back. It happens.

  18. Tonia on 06/30/2011:

    I have to admit. I’m totally brain dead and bored as hell w/ my blog and just don’t know what to do….but with that said I came across and blog where she had stopped blogging for whatever the reason…..but one thing she did say was “Don’t live to blog, but blog what you live” If you have to step back then that’s what you do…Great advice. Makes it easier.

  19. Shannon (8foot6) on 06/30/2011:

    UGh, my blog gave me morning sickness for 3 months…ok, it was the baby inside me that gave me morning sickness, but every time I thought about sitting in front of the computer, my stomach would roil. After a short (long) break I feel excited to be back again! Double posts in a day!

    Don’t force it!

  20. Joy on 06/30/2011:

    I love your blog and thank you for all the work that goes into it. I think your readers totally understand that creating quality posts requires a lot of time and effort; being that it is an unpaid job and after-hours from your regular gig, it is understandable that you cannot post daily and may be experiencing some creative burn-out. Please just keep the blog going at whatever pace works for you.

    As for the twitter question, I do have an account and follow you, but I do not have a smart phone (yet) so I never check it. For those of us without smart phones, we’re left out of this phenomenon. I look forward to getting one in February when my contract is up.

  21. Creative lulls are totally normal. It’s not a switch you can just turn on. My best suggestion is to take some time off. Don’t feel like you HAVE to blog, accept that you need a break and go do something else. What has inspired you in the past? Thrift store shopping? Traveling? Movies? Art? Pick something and do it because you want to. Inspiration will follow.

  22. L on 06/30/2011:

    Love your blog and admire the fact that ANYone could post pictures and commentary (witty commentary, at that) about their lives on a practically daily basis. I sure couldn’t! So don’t worry about being crispy around the edges right now — just R&R and when the weather moderates I betcha you will be energized again. If not, I’m sympathetic, but sorry.

    Never will I become a Twit; don’t understand it, don’t care for it, ain’t gonna do it. But if that’s your thing . . . I understand. My escape from actually accomplishing anything when I feel like it sounds you do is: stacks of murder mysteries from the library, a comfortable chair that doesn’t overlook the mess, and a tall glass of something good nearby.


  23. KeLLy Ann on 06/30/2011:

    It’s Summer and the Womb Weebles are at home, along with the high 90s that we’ve been having since May. It’s hard to be creative when you have to hear “What’s for Lunch? Can I have cOOkies? Can we go swing? Hey Mom, look what I did! etc. etc.”
    The only reason my blogpad got anything done on it this month was because it’s Space invaders. My whole attitude towards July is “meh”.
    What do I do? Crank up the music really Loud.

  24. charleeP on 06/30/2011:

    Peter is an old friend of mine – terrific guy – what a nice gig.

  25. tara on 06/30/2011:

    Oh goodness, you read my mind. Bored out of my skull. Waiting for vacation. Uninspired.

    Blogging, meh. I seem to update more in the summer, I have more time. But I am reaaaallly tired of reading other blogs and noticing nasty comments. Honestly, if people don’t like something on someone’s blog, they should just not read them. It is kind of a bummer. I don’t know if that is what you meant about the way people are communicating with each other on blogs, but it is something I’ve noticed a lot lately, and it makes me sad. I even tried (in a funny way) to defend a blogger in comments, but I got a nasty reply from the poster of the original nasty comment. And they were hanging out, posting as “anonymous”.

    Maybe everyone is just hot, tired, and cranky.

  26. pixyofwhimsy on 06/30/2011:

    I’ve been feeling burnt out as well. I’m in Northern California, so instead of the unbearable heat, we’ve had schizophrenic weather, but I understand what you’re going through. I’ve been experiencing daily guilt from neglecting my blog, but these days, it’s hard for me to deal with my email accounts, let alone chronicling my weekend warriorness. It’ll get better. September can’t come soon enough, though.


  27. Pam on 06/30/2011:

    I agree with Matt and Florian. And, I think you should only be doing this if you are enjoying it. Wanting to enjoy it is not the same thing as actually liking it. Life is too short for you to do unnecessary stuff you don’t want to do. And, I assume you are spending all of your non-bloggy time feeling guilty about being all non-bloggy- yuck. Take some time off if you don’t have anythign to report here. Tell your readers that is what you are doing so they don’t get all cranky.

    Also, if this is the Year of the Exterior, most of your projects will be outside. Right now is NOT the time to be doing them, when the weather makes it impossible. Go do inside stuff with the doggies. Go sit in your pool and stare at your nice fence.

  28. misa on 06/30/2011: i feel like an old woman. i think i’ve gotten saggier just writing this comment. usually the only way i can gain any momentum is to go spend a bunch of money i don’t have on something for the house and then i feel so guilty about it that i don’t want to shop for a few months and i spend every weekend fixing shit.

  29. rivka on 06/30/2011:

    Honestly? You are such a wonderful writer and so funny and great that even if you wanted to write about doing your laundry I’d be so interested!

    Do what’s best for you. We want you happy.

  30. Erika on 06/30/2011:

    You’re preachin’ to the choir, sister. Not only do I feel totally uninspired as of late, but I tend to not even check out other blogs these days for fear that they all say the same shit as mine. Pretty. I actually just had a convo with a big-wig social media guy about this very point. He believes there are so many blogs out there preaching/showing/talking about the same stuff, that at some point readers will be overwhelmed and start going back to true “experts” for advice and inspiration as opposed to the self-proclaimed. I don’t know about you, but I see a definite shift happening here in the near future. Or maybe I’m just cynical because it’s supposed to be 119 up in this bitch this weekend. I’m just sayin’.

  31. penny on 06/30/2011:

    I am also walking around my house trying to avoid piles of clothing. I’m pretty burnt out too, I went to Texas to visit my parents and helped mom out with her house (after I had painted a hallway, bathroom and living room in my own house) Just give yourself permission to take a break πŸ™‚ I am totally excited when I see a new post of yours though.

  32. Sophie on 06/30/2011:

    The table turned out great! Looking forward to the pictures of your first backyard party!

  33. Jennifer on 06/30/2011:

    It’s definitely not you. Haven’t posted in (just looked — eek) 10 days. Oops. Because my blog is all about cooking, when it’s hot I just don’t feel like cooking. Kinda creates a little problem.

    Getting right on it…

  34. courtneyoutloud on 06/30/2011:

    Damn girl – reading that list of yard work made me tired and I don’t even live there. Good luck this summer and take some mini-breaks… deserve to enjoy the summer as much as you entertain us with your awesomeness…

  35. Swann on 06/30/2011:

    Damn, if you think that’s a beat up table top, I’d hate for you to see my furniture! Maybe it’s the light, but it looks pretty great to me. Almost too great to be sitting out in a yard covered with a tarp – where I come from, that called West Virginia redneck style. I love the way it looks with the chairs but it seems like you should go one way or the other with it – sand off the finish and let is sit uncovered and let it age in the weather, or put it under the covered area and keep it nice and shiny. However, I have zero design sense and often look at design blogs and wonder what’s supposed to be so great about what is pictured, so my opinion should count for less than zero. I actually love your blog and I used to follow you on twitter, but after a while, I stopped reading the tweets. I can take snark when it’s mixed in with your writing, but many of your twitter posts just sounded mean and judgmental. Maybe it’s just the heat where I am. I’m a real bitch in the heat and I don’t care if it’s a dry heat – HOT is still HOT.

  36. The brick house on 06/30/2011:

    I’m a dry snarky asshole pretty much twenty four hours a day.

  37. Rocky on 06/30/2011:

    I feel ya on the motivation/inspiriation issue! Usually leaving town on a weekend helps me with new ideas for the house. It is something about the change of scenery and not drowning in the laundry pile at home. When I finally get home I am happy to be back and excited to work on my “projects” ( there are always about 10 going and unfinished around our place).
    I still love reading blogs, it tells more of a story than twitter.
    Working 50+ hours a week at the day job is killing any motivation to come home and work around the house. I’m hoping the 3-day weekend ahead and some cold beer will help me push through the rut πŸ™‚

  38. Donald on 06/30/2011:

    There’s this other website that does a Pets on Furniture thing with photos submitted by readers, once a week, totally adorable. Maybe you could do something similar…a Jeremy on Furniture post?

  39. big-dewey on 06/30/2011:

    Love you and everything you do. Very jealous of your desert habitat, somewhat tempered knowing you get weeds in your yard just like me.

    How do you deal with crappy uninspired creative lulls? Leave it alone as long as you need. Find something else and you’ll find your way back soon enough.

    Anyone feeling slightly burnt out? yes. born that way. punch me for saying that

  40. cathy on 07/01/2011:

    I love your blog–even when you don’t think you have anything to say. It’s your style, not necessarily the specific topic that makes for great reading. I don’t have a smartphone, and I don’t twitter. So, please, take the summer off if you need to, but don’t roll up the blog.
    RE yard work: No one else has said it, but I wouldn’t bother rototilling your side yard. You’ll just disturb new weed seeds. If you want everything that grows there gone, you’d do better to either dig it out (or have someone do it for you) or just cover the whole damn thing in really good weed barrier cloth. (I’ve been told the gray stuff at Home Depot is better than the thinner black cloth.) Add compost on top, plant in that, and cover with A LOT of mulch.
    I love the table. But doesn’t it rain once in a while–even in Hemet?

  41. The Vintage Cabin on 07/01/2011:

    Ditto to all of your issues these days (including the part about being a 24 hour snarky bitch face). Also, I would imagine that getting 50+ comments on every post from some of your readers wanting to micromanage your style & choices might get really annoying and deflating. Maybe you should go on a peyote trip in the desert for a few days to try and get the creative juices flowing again. That ought to do it…

  42. modernhaus on 07/01/2011:

    If you rototill the side yard, won’t that disturb the bodies?
    I’m sad about the wavy field of wheat stalks getting cut…I had just planned a romantic picnic there with Ruben.
    That table is an awkward dinner party waiting to happen. Sign me up!

  43. Kate on 07/01/2011:

    i think you’re pretty much sheer genius, but please won’t you cut those picket tops off???????

  44. erin@designcrisis on 07/01/2011:

    I don’t even know why the fuck I’m still blogging. I’m so tired and burned and it shows. But I just… can’t… stop. It’s a disease.

    And I really want to like twatter but it’s not happening for me. Help.

  45. Erf on 07/01/2011:

    I love your blog and look forward to new entries, but understand you gotta take care of life and blogs come after. Makes for better blogging. I prefer regular blogs to twitter, but I do both. Having said that, how do I find you on twitter?
    Thanks for all of your energy!

  46. simone on 07/01/2011:

    Why don’t you switch to a spanish schedule? They start early, sleep during the very hot hours (after lunch) and work until the beginning of the evening. I’d take the nap in my pretty stainless steel pool if I were you. You’ll be the coolest person on the block.

  47. Fat Cat on 07/01/2011:

    Let’s face it, for most people this time of year means it’s been almost a whole year since they’ve had a real holiday/break. So I think, it’s normal to be tired and uninspired right now. I know I am anyway πŸ™‚

  48. Nick Klaus on 07/02/2011:

    I came to realize that I could either blog about the things I was interested in, or I could do the things I was interested in. I have much respect for the people who do what they love and can find the time to write about it. I am not one of those people right now.

  49. Kim on 07/02/2011:

    Looking good! I LOVE the combo of the worn wood on the fence, the more polished look of the table & the modern chairs.

  50. bigBANG studio on 07/02/2011:

    Morgan, just came over here for some catching up, and HULLO, it’s SUMMER IN THE DESERT. Be a good desert creature and seek refuge in the shade, dear one, or go sneak a swim in Glen & Steve’s silo pool up in JT. Brick House is one of my cherished favorites because of your completely original, witty voice, so if you need a break, take a break. Blogging shouldn’t be a chore.

    We’ll all be waiting for you when you come back.

  51. Guenevere Brown on 07/03/2011:

    Just a thought – we just rented a sod ripper from Home Depot for about $90 bucks for a day. You could “rip” the sod out, taking out the layer of weeds, then put down your “pre-emergent” (will keep new weeds from growing) – check with the local landscape supply, then layer of multch or gravel. We have been doing this in our yard, where eventually there will be plants, but we want to keep it looking crisp and maintained. Just finishing up weekend three of getting all the sod pulled up and multched. Still not finished, but man it’s great.

  52. Misty on 07/03/2011:

    I have been reading your blog on and off for the last 2 1/2 years. My husband and I bought a bank owned house in orange feb 09. We closed the month the banks started clapsing. The world was scary and unsure but I was in heaven clipping out pics from magazines, watching nothing but DIY and HGTV and reading your blog. I felt like I had a connection with you because I was also turning an unloved beaten up home into my canvas. We knocked down almost every wall, gutted the kitchen, and jack hammered concrete. I know this house inside and out because my husband and I built our house. I know the true meaning of blood sweat and tears. I am burnt our also so I will take a break. I will focus on my shoe collection. I will learn to pickle some vegi’s. I will tend to my garden. I will play with my dogs then when my inspiration is back I will finish my home.

  53. Wow! That table came out great. It looks really nice. I know what you mean when you said before about it being too nice for the outdoors, but it’ll be fine. My only suggestion is to spray paint the chairs because the white and teak don’t look very good together. I can imagine a nice midnight blue on those chairs would look pretty good next to the teak or another complementary color. And spray painting furniture is a no-brainer that takes hardly any time at all.

  54. John Hedge on 07/04/2011:

    Drew, I just started a blog too. They aren’t over, they just change like everything else. I finally started using my Twitter account that I signed up for forever ago too. It’s kinda fun like Morgan said. I can’t wait to see the deck around the tank pool that will be tight!

  55. Michele Holt on 07/05/2011:

    I fucking hate Twitter. Get your Twitter jones on and then, please, turn it off. It’s so … tween. OK, that’s just me. I like the blog format; more like a magazine. But, you know, just take a break. Repost old shit and see if anyone notices.
    It’s just hot, that’s all. It’s hot and it’s summer…you’ll be back with a vengeance (who knew that had an e and an a?) or when you find some crazy thing that fires you up again.
    PS As long as I’m being kind of assholeish…I’d stain that privacy fence or hire yourself a graffiti artist to funk it up. Graffiti is very in now. Again. Still. Oh, and I’m a gardener. DO NOT rototill. You’ll stir up shit you never knew existed. Call your local tree service and ask them to deliver you a couple of truckloads of FREE mulch (they all do this). Lay down about 4,000 large pieces of cardboard (Hello recycling!) then put all that mulch on top. Wait until NEXT fall (or maybe this spring since you guys don’t get rain) and your soil will be grass/weed free and you can start from scratch. Scrape the mulch away where you want to put your gravel paths in and plant the rest. Use the mulch all around the plants. (Sounds so easy when you write it.)

  56. my little apartment on 07/06/2011:

    uuuuh yeah. late in the game here, cause I have been neglecting my blog (and reading everyone else’s) since I left my day-job at the beginning of June. I’m focusing more on my biz and am just super all over the place and busy. I haven’t updated shit and I have little motivation to blog at all. it’ll come back. buuuuuut, yeah. I’m with ya.

  57. Tamoto on 07/08/2011:

    I really like the idea of laying down cardboard and then mulch.we have had a few loads of mulch from tree trimmers and it’s nice but can sometimes do a layer of that and then a layer of nicer mulch from your city yard collection people thingy.its so so worth the work.weeds either don’t grow or pull right out,and your soil gets nicer.I’m gonna do that cardboard thing. Also..what about some advertising? Maybe if your blog was making a little dough it wouldn’t seem like as much a chore. Please don’t go the way of decor no.altho I guess I understand.damn you iPad stop correcting me!decorno

  58. Chelsea on 07/20/2011:

    nope. it’s not just you. i feel like I have been crazy-lazy lately. i get inspired and then the creativity only takes me so far – i.e. I get shit done but have no motivation to post it. as you can see, I’m only now just getting to actually catching up on my blog reading…

  59. Hannah on 08/21/2011:

    I saw this outdoor wood table with wire chairs and it made me think of you. (yes, I’m a lurker/stalker of your awesome blog).

  60. juan on 08/27/2012:

    The table is part of a desk by arne vodder if complete itΒ΄s worth $2500

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