Take It Outside: Getting Down to Earth
One of the most unorthodox and controversial masters of 20th-century architecture was Frank Lloyd Wright. Over the course of his 70-year career, Wright designed and experimented with architecture in a provocative way. He believed that structure and space could generate and convey cultural values; values that acknowledged nature’s connection to the quality of life. Married to a landscaper, I can testify to that sweet smell of manure and the beauty that emerges from it.
Born in 1962, I experienced remnants of architecture’s mid-century style and its transition into the suburbia frenzy before leaving Southern California’s housing boom. My family relocated to rural Arizona in the 1970s. The move included a change in structure—our home’s structure. My father was in the mobile home industry at the time. He designed and built our ‘house-on-wheels’. The mobile home was created to maximized access and the view to our front yard which included the Colorado River. Here, I discovered nature was an intrinsic force. Living outdoors became my norm.
My dad passed away in 2001. I didn’t know much about his professional past beyond my early memory. While doing some online research, I came across a 1964 ad marketing a housing development called, Darcelle Manor. As Etched design editor, Laurie James, helped me dig deeper we discovered that this 1960s San Bernardino development was indeed, built by my dad and named after me.
Through teary eyes, Laurie and I read the advertisement which declared, “Name The 15 Most Wanted Luxuries In A Home And You’ll Find Darcelle Manor Has Them.” These ‘luxuries’ included: stylish two-story homes, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, carpet and drapes, refrigerated air conditioning, and even an “Automatic Dishwasher for Mother.” The features for the yard, however, resonated: decorator block fenced yards, covered patio with built-in barbecue, sprinkling system, and “Landscaped for Immediate Living.” It was clear my dad realized early on that being outdoors was an integral part of living a quality life. And that—he taught me.
The Outdoor Issue of Etched features those who, “Take It Outside.” These are the people who spend a life or make a life side by side with nature. Our contributors have researched the challenges of watersheds, the efforts to revitalize the forest after a devastating fire, and the history of those who assisted early on in the preservation of the land. Photographer, Nick Adams, ventured across the Arizona desert where rock buildings and wildlife are a common part of the scenery. And we share the experiences of others who have built, from the ground up, straw bale homes.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
It only seems fitting that I would marry a landscaper, working side by side with him outdoors as we built his company amidst the southwest landscape. I laid sod and cultivated planters for almost a decade. The payoff? A healthy lifestyle and a mind filled with creative dreams that manifested from the fresh air. I often miss trimming those thorny rose bushes ... and my dad. When I do, I simply ‘take it outside’.
Darci, Editor in Chief