When we first moved in, I remember remarking, “It’s so quiet here. We fall asleep to the sound of crickets, and wake up to the chirp of birds.” It was idyllic. It was tranquil. It was short lived.
Okay, that’s not really our street, (Did the age of the cars give it away?), but the scene was similar.
Apparently the water main on our street had something terribly wrong with it. A malady that required digging and hauling and street-patching to make it right again. And so, two months ago a construction crew arrived complete with tractors, digging machines (forgive me, I’m sure there’s a more technical term) and a port-a-potty. They set up shop and every weekday morning they drowned out the sound of the birds. For two whole months!
Image via David Kanigan
Which was bad enough. Then one day, we came home to find this.
Our mailbox, down for the count.
And I couldn’t have been happier!
I’m a firm believer that good design should start at–or extend to–the mailbox so we’d already agreed to replace ours. But the laid best plans…can be put off. Fortuitously, now we were forced to make that good design happen–sooner than later!
No, not like this, but these made me laugh. Image via Odd Stuff Magazine
First, we needed a design plan. For inspiration, I started studying mailboxes as I drove around town. Most of them fell into two categories: dull or unattractive. I was disappointed to note that even some very nice houses didn’t extend their great design to the mailboxes.
So I Googled “creative mailboxes”. And found this….
Points for creativity and wacky irreverence, but a demerit for “Neighbors Would Hate It!”
We wanted something more sophisticated. One of my favorite mailboxes is this one in Montecito.
It gives you an indication that the house just might be awesome, too. Which it is. Image via flickr.
This is the house that matches that mailbox. Neat, right? Image via Ed Hat
So we racked our brains to come up with something cool we could repurpose. And came up with zilch. Then I took Lilo for a walk in our neighborhood and my jaw dropped.
It was the best I had seen! But we couldn’t just copy it exactly; that would be a design no-no. But we could use it for inspiration.
Side note: When I gathered up the nerve to measure the mailbox (for reference) who was standing next to it, putting out the trash, but its owner. When I admitted I was coveting his mailbox, he couldn’t have been nicer and gave our planned mailbox-homage his blessing.
We started with–where else do all good projects start?–a trip to Home Depot….
Poor guy walked the plank and jumped on the hard concrete right after this shot was taken. (Bad mommy.)
Selected our numbers…(spoiler alert: we went with the large, nickel finished ones at top).
We plotted the width of the planks and used nails to determine the spacing between them…..
We framed and secured the box…. Well, JB did. I said supportive things like, “That looks really good!”
Next we plotted the spacing of the address numerals using the templates they came with.
Once we had the templates in place, we found it was easier to drill right through them rather than tapping a mark, removing the paper, then drilling–as the instructions suggested.
Ignoring instructions. Almost there….
And here it is…front left.
And front right.
We used a metal ruler as our flag as a nod to all things engineering and JB.
Both sides…a total delight! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself; it rhymed.
I purchased the Kangaroo Paw plant but the rest were cuttings from larger plants in our backyard. That’s the great thing about succulents, you can just snip, plant, cross-your-fingers-while-you-water-them, and they’ll reroot.
I’m looking forward to when they’re full-sized (especially the agave) and fill in the surrounding area so it doesn’t look so “new construction-ish”. And as the redwood ages, it will mellow out to a more subtle, silvery patina. But for now, it’s working for us and sets the tone for the rest of the house which we have finally decided (finally!) will be a little modern meets a little rustic.
What about you, have you driven around studying mailboxes too? Or am I the only one with mailboxes on the brain?