Minutes of the Unofficial Boiceville Design Committee
By Jana Martin/MOLI
The local diner considers the "product of the day"
Thursday there's a meatloaf sandwich special at the diner. So I brought in some pictures of Dwell's products of the day and asked father and son builders Hal and Sal what they thought. Kassie the waitress went on break and threw in her 2 cents. Herewith, the minutes.
But first a little background on the committee members:
Hal: Head builder. Most of his work is on second homes for people from the city. He's now learning more about sustainable design because that's what people want. In his most recent job he was supposed to install a windmill but the buildings department couldn't figure out the permits. The clients want him to install it anyway.
Sal: Works for his dad. Sal has an engineering degree. He tried to point out that windmills cost way more than they'll produce for a weekend house. The clients scoffed and called him insensitive to the Earth.
Kassie: The waitress on break. She lives with a teacup chihuahua and her husband, a stonemason, who's the size of a house.
MOLI: Thanks for sitting down with me. So I'm going to show you these three products, and all I want is for you to tell me what you think.
Hal: Don't worry about that.
MOLI: These were highlighted by Dwell magazine as examples of great products. They break new ground or improve on an existing idea, or are products that use sustainable processes and materials. Dwell focuses on design and architecture and construction. Any thoughts on that?
Kassie: In terms of construction nothing's more sustainable than stone. That's what my husband says. Or so he hopes it sustains us anyway.
Hal: It's not that we don't understand global warming. It's that we have to make a living.
First object: Trendy Pet dog bowl.
Hal (turning the photo to get a better look): You said it was a dog bowl?
Kassie: She means dog bowl feeder.
Sal: Looks like the seat of a porta potty.
Hal: My wife would never let that in the kitchen.
Kassie: It's so cold looking.
Hal: My wife is the type to get this. She babies our dog like it's a —
Hal: But she likes warm colors. She'd want something in a natural tone.
Sal: Remember what happened when we tried to buy her a black refrigerator.
Hal: It was on special.
Sal: Some special.
Kassie: And they say this is good design because?
MOLI: You can measure your dog and then order the custom size feeder. It's ergonomic. And it supposedly looks better than other feeders.
Kassie: I doubt they have one for my dog. Her legs are three inches long. She eats on the table. She barks between bites if you go near her.
Hal: What magazine did you say this was in?
Hal: As in, In these woods ever shall I dwell?
MOLI: Who said that?
Sal: No one. He just made it up. He gets like that when he has to build for city people.
Hal: That's who would buy this thing. And then make me redo the counters and floors to match.
Kassie: So you think this is for city dogs.
Sal: For city people. You think the dogs care what they eat out of?
Second object: Axiomaudio Waterproof Outdoor Speakers.
Sal: These are cool. They're good-looking but not obnoxious. Great paint job. Are the wires waterproof too?
Hal: Who wants to hear music coming out of speakers outside? If my neighbors got these I'd call the cops.
Kassie: I could see a use for them, but only if you have a lot of land. Certainly not in a city. Someone's liable to shoot at them.
Sal: I can see them at a pool party. They look coated with something.
MOLI: They're painted with car paint and have a UV inhibitor coating and angled ports. They're specifically engineered to deal with the elements.
Hal: Elements? As in wind and rain? Meaning weather? This is mountain out molehill talk. Which is what I think about all of this.
Sal: I like them. They're for younger guys.
Kassie: Obviously for the younger guy who has everything.
Sal: It might be good for a pool party. But everyone would be paranoid they'd ruin your new speakers. You'd have to go around saying, "Hey it's okay, they're waterproof."
Hal: You mean element proof.
Third object: Earth Stool by Vivaterra.
Hal: Now what the heck is this?
MOLI: This is a stool made from the root balls of discarded Chinese fir trees.
Hal: Root balls? That's a fancy way to say stump. They're importing stumps form China now.
Kassie: It looks like it weighs a ton. It doesn't look comfortable.
Hal: So someone got the typical idea to take a bunch of stumps and make furniture. And Dwell magazine thinks this is new?
Sal: Didn't that guy Ingraham make stump furniture?
Hal: His were from oak and ash. Hardwood. And he varnished them to keep them from drying up and getting cracks. Is this varnished?
MOLI: I think varnish isn't eco-sensitive. Maybe they oil it.
Hal: Do they spray them first? Lot of wood-boring insects in China. That's how we got those wasps killing the pines now.
Kassie: And how much does this polished Chinese stump run?
MOLI: About 170.
Kassie: That's genius. I want a job like that.
MOLI: But do you think it looks good?
Kassie: if you're going for that crazy hermit look. Maybe someone who didn't grow up with chainsaws would find it cute in a rural kind of way.
Hal: I look at it, I see termites crawling out of it in all directions and heading for the house I just finished.
Sal: You know, I've been looking at it for a while and I finally figured out what it reminds me of.
Sal: Actually it's already called that.
Kassie: Just tell me. Really. What?
Hal: You know what.
Sal: At least it's biodegradable.
Kassie: Guess that's a plus.