It's especially fun to write about the home Jason Craft and Mike Craigue share on East Side Drive, because Jason is the whole reason I started this blog. Jason and I met when he was a grad student in the English department in the 1990s. He left academia and stayed in Austin, and we've kept in touch over the years. About six months ago, I contacted Jason and asked him for some professional help. He's been a blogger and website designer and other things I can't even name over the years (he's now a software developer) and he was the one person I could think of who could help me figure out: with three books coming out in one year (which you, dear reader, can find here, here and, in January 2012, here), do I need my own website? No, Jason said. What you need is a blog, and you need to post to it EVERY TWO DAYS for SIX MONTHS. So here we are. Such is the power of Jason.
When Jason and Mike moved into the house in 1997, the area was, shall we say, affordable. "Have you seen The Last Days of the San Jose?" they asked me. I haven't, but remember South Congress in the 1990s--no business going on after 5 p.m. except drugs and prostitution. They said their house was "a shack" when they moved in; now it's a polished gem set in an inviting, well-used front and back garden.
Inside, the 1700-square-foot house is colorful and inviting. Almost everything Jason and Mike showed me they credited to a friend or family member. The beautiful curved glass-brick entry piece was suggested by their friend Mark, whom they call "Markitecht," apparently because he is an architect. His name came up a lot.
that make the relatively small space so functional. Jason admits to getting "nervous" when things get messy and says that built-in storage areas calm him down. The couple credit their friends Jonathan and Billie Jo with the color scheme, a different value of the same teal/turquoise color on every wall:
Jason's mother Donna also loves to buy them art. The pieces they display range pleasingly from treasured family heirlooms like this needlework motto made by Jason's grandmother Dot, which Jason remembers from visits to her Kentucky home as a little boy,
In the yard, these two big guys are trying to grow some food, mainly tomatoes.
Like all of us, they have to fight the birds and squirrels for them. They've hung red Christmas balls on the tomato plants and planted a bed of catnip to attract the neighborhood's feral cats into the yard,
They enjoy cooking outdoors on one of those cool ceramic eggs,
There's a nice outdoor dining area on the back porch and they also cook for friends at their "New York-style" Ikea pull-out dining table, which they keep pushed up next to the kitchen island so guests and hosts can visit while the food is being prepared. The Ikea bar stools they bought "for, like, twelve dollars" years ago as a stop-gap have not been bettered over the years, and indeed, they look great in the beautiful cook's kitchen. And that, my friends, is why Jason and Mike are not afraid of Ikea.