Whatnot – Week 17

Suburbia
The Neighborhood

I think I mentioned it long ago but I am fascinated with the suburbs and suburbia in general. Much of my childhood was spent in a motel, on a busy street in Hollywood. There was no neighborhood per se. Just a string of buildings crowded together. All day long the parade of cars and people gave me something to look at but I never had the suburban experience that I had seen on TV. Until my adult life, anyway.

The photo above was taken on my walk around the neighborhood. It’s well-established and a mix of old and new but mostly old. We have cul-de-sacs like the one depicted in this famous Bill Owens photo from his Suburbia collection:

Bill Owens, Fourth of July Block Party, 1972
Bill Owens, Fourth of July Block Party, 1972
Bill Owens, Street with Boy and Dog, 1999
Bill Owens, Street with Boy and Dog, 1999

And the photo above reminds me of the housing boom we’ve had. Houses everywhere. We lost the cul-de-sac at the end of our street due to expansion. They opened it up to improve traffic patterns after we got trapped during a brush fire evacuation. Now there is a lot more traffic on our street but our commute across town is cut down by quite a bit since we are able to access the main road now.

I just love to walk around the neighborhood and during this shutdown I’ve been doing it often. Before then, I never knew my neighbors, or their dogs. Now it’s like a social event every time the pup and I head out. I love to see what they are doing to their homes too because with the shutdown came a renewed focus on home improvement.

There is a section of homes that are all pastel colored and every time I walk by I think of Edward Scissorhands.

Pastel houses from Edward Scissorhands
Pastel houses from Edward Scissorhands

Not your typical “What Not” post today but thought I’d break it up a little. Later, I may attempt to stain two side tables because now they don’t match the new couches all that well. Debating if I should do white with distressed brown coming through or go dark, espresso brown. See what walking around the neighborhood does? It sparks creativity.

Do you have any DIY projects you are working on right now?

If you want to take a trip down memory lane, check out Bill Owens and his Suburbia collection. Such fun and interesting photos.

12 thoughts on “Whatnot – Week 17”

  1. What a fascinating post, the pastel houses was fun to look at as well. I’ve mostly always lived on streets with just a few houses. One was 5 houses with a cut-de-sac and another was just 7 houses. Now we live in a pretty large condo complex with lots of units and green space. I love that they keep it up nice and we no longer have to do anything outdoors.

    1. I’m going to grab a shot of the end of my street where they busted through the cul-de-sac to gain access to the main road. You won’t believe how many homes they built. I will grab a shot this weekend.

  2. I grew up in a housing development in a pine forest about seven miles from the small town where I still live. There were only four houses when we moved in in 1965. It grew rather slowly to about a hundred houses in my late teens. Now it’s about two hundred houses and my dad built a new house in the back of the neighborhood on two acres and lives there still.

    1. That is so cool that your dad still lives there. Our city grew so fast. I have another pic to share this week that will post on Wednesday. From it, you will get a feel for how crazy our development has been lately.

  3. I love Edward Scissorhands! And I loved this post. I grew up living in a duplex, so I didn’t get the neighborhood vibe that you mention. It’s only now as an adult that I get it. 🙂

  4. So, I’m back in the house I lived in when I graduated high school. And it feels SO tiny. I wish our neighborhood had sidewalks but it’s walkable, still with wide enough barely ‘busy’ streets.
    Have you read The Library Book? it is SO Los Angeles.

    1. I haven’t read The Library Book but it’s about my childhood library. I remember when it burned down. It was devastating.

  5. I lived in a small, old mill town. Our house was older than the town and was once a railroad shed used for ties and those kinds of things. It was right on the other side of down town. We all knew our neighbors, but it was mostly a keep to yourself kind of place and the other side of the river was always busy and noisy…kids hung out at the gas station/mart all hours. I do like the look of those suburbia pictures. I guess that’s kind of where I live now, except for the cul-de-sacs.

  6. What a fun post! I live on an island that’s mostly nature preserve now… very strict regulation on development, etc. My walks used to be on the beach but, since I broke my ankle last fall, it’s been mostly along the road or on the multi-use trails. We haven’t met many people in our new neighborhood because we moved in during the pandemic, but I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone after we’re all vaccinated.

    I grew up in a small village in central NY where we could walk or ride our bikes almost anywhere we wanted to go… and knew everyone in town!

    1. People tend to be pretty closed off here so although I’ve met lots of neighbors on my walks, there are so many that never come out! That’s really the norm here. After being locked down people were desperate to get out, as was I.

  7. When I got married we moved into a brand new house on a cul-de-sac in a new development. It was great because our houses surrounded a preserved wetland (think birds, animals, etc) and every house had couples with new children. It was a real “suburbia” feeling, with sidewalks, street lights, etc. Great for raising a child. Now, 20 years later, most of the homes are rentals for UCSB, which is about a mile away. My ex is one of the few original homeowners.

    The funniest thing about moving into that house? Everyone said, “oh you’re so close you can walk to Costco.” Really? What am I going to buy at Costco that I can carry home?! 🙂

    1. No kidding. Who could walk back from Costco? No one. I am going to take a photo of the end of my street where the cul de sac used to be. You won’t believe how many homes are there now. TRUE suburbia. The pup doesn’t like to walk in that direction so I will have to go on my own.

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