Book takes a peek at coolest birdhouses

  • By Anne Colby Los Angeles Times
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:24pm
  • Life

Certain objects have been a perennial source of inspiration to artists, artisans and designers.

Think of the teapot, a simple vessel both functional and ornamental that has been endlessly reimagined over the centuries. Or the chair in its many permutations.

The birdhouse is another object that has inspired flights of fancy. Anne Schmauss, author and co-owner of the store Wild Birds Unlimited in Santa Fe, N.M., says she has sold thousands of birdhouses and has seen firsthand the fascination they hold.

For her new book, “Birdhouses of the World” ($22.50), Schmauss searched the world to showcase the “coolest” birdhouses and tell their stories.

And what fantastic birdhouses she has found, some habitable and others purely decorative.

Her book leads off with Thomas Burke’s massive Skywalker Ranch birdhouse, a replica of George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch that was installed on Lucas’ Marin County property in 2011.

The 600-pound home, suitable for sparrows and European starlings, was made from recycled and reused materials and is the size of a small car.

A simpler birdhouse, the Ralph, nods to Modernist architect Ralph Rapson’s iconic 1945 Greenbelt House, one of the early Case Study houses.

The handcrafted house with angled rooflines is made of sustainably harvested wood and built with birds in mind.

And then there’s Anthony Cateaux’s the Scream birdhouse, fashioned of welded metal and inspired by the Edvard Munch painting. Does this one attract birds or scare them away?

David Bruce’s more whimsical Weathered Wonders birdhouses incorporate reclaimed wood and old and new hardware.

More in Life

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Great Plant Pick: Pinus contorta var. contorta, shore pine

What: Who is not impressed by the beauty and toughness of this… Continue reading

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Jesse Sykes brings her evolving sounds to Cafe Zippy in Everett

She and Phil Wandscher make a return trip to a club that she values for its intimacy.

Compost: It’s what every gardener really wants for Christmas

A pile of decomposed and recycled organic matter is the gardener’s gift that keeps on giving.

Need a centerpiece? Plant paper-whites for December beauty

The white flowering plant brings the garden indoors in winter, even if the bulbs were never outside.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Ugly Sweater Party and Canned Food Drive at Whitewall: Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing… Continue reading

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

Most Read