Category Archives: architecture

Converted Churches find Inspired Uses

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Luminaries broadcast to bring you this very interesting trend:

Churches Converted for Creative Uses

I haven’t been to any churches lately for the purpose for which they were designed. Mainly because the churches of Portland are NEVER OPEN.

nw trinity church portland oregon

But my all-time favorite, due to geographic location, has to be Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness, Scotland.

leakeys bksp fb page cover

Leakey’s has got it all: bloody history as a witness to the aftermath of Culloden, a roaring fireplace in the middle of millions of fragile pages, and not to be outdone, the best millionaire shortbread I’d ever had, at the cozy, 2nd level cafe.

What if you’re tied down to the East Coast of North America however, but you’d like your own patch of stained-glass sunlight, filtering down to entrance you as you peruse works of art? Never fear. Enter Colouratura, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada:

colouratura art gallery nova scotia

(By the way, I discovered Colouratura on my 2012 road trip to Nova Scotia, which also resulted in a certain Dulci’s Legacy…;-)

But what if you still can’t avail yourself of this pleasure, since you live all the way Out West, perhaps near Portland, OR? A-ha! On a Craigslist run for an armchair one day, I  came across this beauty:

battleground wa coffeehouse and deli

I asked about a casual, local spot, and the folks with the chair directed me toward a bunch of chain restaurants. Then they bethought themselves of one other place that I might like, ‘if I went in for that sort of thing.’ Boy, do I ever!

Let me tell you, their deli sandwiches are delicious, and hearty. And it seems like they’ve got some serious latte art going on, judging by their Facebook page. It was hard to get everything in for an interior shot, but here’s my attempt.

interior battle grounds cafe WA

 

So what do you think- will you be haring off to experience on of these finds What’s the best converted use you’ve seen for a church?

Images via BoomerPDX, Leakey’s Bookshop, Colouratura Gallery, and Taste Life Twice

 

 

Tax Day Antidote!

Uplifting Antidotes to Tax Day

Suspected dogwood- blaze of pink

Whether you stressed out all night Sunday following twisting bureaucratic rules, had to wait in line for 40 minutes at the post office, or had to face up to a whopping tax payment, yesterday might have been a downer.

Thurman St Bridge over Forest Park

So here are a few photos from my walk yesterday that lifted me out of my Tax Day slump. The bridge above was my first chance encounter with Forest Park, the country’s “largest wooded urban park.”

Clever License Plate: Why Ever Not?

The license plate on the car above gave me a whimsical giggle.

Tulips and Daffodils on a Lawn

And these flowers topped it all off! I was so happy to see them planted right on the lawn, drinking up the sunshine.

I hope you enjoyed Tax Day as much as I did. And for you non-Americans, just enjoy the pretty pictures.

Carpe Spring!

Ta for Taos

Mind opened by the very long drives between Tennessee and Oklahoma, and Oklahoma to New Mexico (that’s 6 states in 2 days!), I arrived in Taos.

A Black Bird With Snow Covered Red Hills, by Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe lived the latter half of her life in New Mexico and painted its skies, clouds, skulls, and landscapes.

What do YOU know about Taos? I had some vague impressions of artists and writers, combined with images of the Southwest landscape that were stark and foreign. Something told me that it would be a good place, though.

I stayed at another AirBnB listing, the host of which really made the experience less about Taos and more about human connection. I enjoyed exploring the town at my leisure (which meant in fits and starts, as it was pretty cold, feathery snow still dusting the ground).

I found the Taos Pueblo closed for repairs (apparently a common thing), but the Plaza and many shops and galleries were open and showed the local style of historical pueblo architecture anyway. Kit Carson‘s home is here, a ridonkulously huge bridge is 10 miles west of here, and many homes-turned-museums pay tribute to the area’s pioneer past.

I got in after dark, but the next morning, after a spectacular sunrise, I stepped out to explore some small offshoots from the main drag, Route 64. This included a stop at The World Cup Cafe, which had scrumptious organic scones and delicious Mexican hot chocolate.

It was fascinating to stay in the cafe for some time, as I observed many local neighbors meet, greet, and even hold court. It’s a sunny spot, with bar seats only, and everybody really knows everybody.

I came from what I would call a small town, but this experience had me reconsidering the definition. What constitutes small town, what suburban, what metropolitan? It’s not just population or size of sprawl, it’s more of a feeling of how frequently you’re going to run into people you know.

In Taos, the answer seems to be all the time.

In San Luis Obispo, it was more like once every 3 outings.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains Winter Sunset

I had thought that a small town meant ordinary, confining, repetitive. But here I was seeing eyes light up, jokes being howled over, life-passion projects being shared and discussed. It made me feel a little Grinchy.

Maybe the small town is worthy of reconsideration.

Especially in such a setting.

 

Images via Wikipedia and Wikipaintings