Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MCM Jim Alexander on Oregon Trail

Awhile back I had the opportunity to tour and consult on a potential remodel project in Wyoming, this one a sweetly suprising Jim Alexander designed MCM tucked in the western neighborhood labyrinth of Wyoming.  The house has had a few additions, similar to the other Jim Alexander house featured here a couple years ago.  This one had come and gone, and come back on the market again, if we were 5-8 ahead of where we are now, we may have jumped on this one ourselves considering the reasonable price and Wyoming school district.

The house is sited high from the road one house away from the corner lot with a heavily wooded backdrop, especially helpful to the long slate of floor to ceiling glass.  From the road the house looks small with the carport alongside a later extension of the private area containing the bed and bath rooms.

From the corner of the lot, where the secondary parking is, you can get a glimpse of the overall house with the flat carpot roof juxtaposed against the sloped open volume.  Yes, it was love at first sight.

A carport is something we lack at our house, and I always raise the jealousy level to heightened when I see something like this with the integral storage.  These boxes also serve as a screen wall to the living space you enter into beyond.

I almost forgot to mention this house was teasingly featured back when we toured some Atomic Indy folk, I had never got to see the house up close.  Appropriately, this house has its house numbers front and central on the vertical wooden cladding.

The moment between the flat carport roof and the sloped house roof allow a brief peak into the heavy tree canopy above. 
From the back yard looking toward the street, you can see how the house is composed of two long narrow tubes.  The screened in porch and associated roof and the room behind it were late additions.  I'm totally into the sloped roof overhang profile and note how awkwardly narrow the site for this house is, there is barely a side yard along the deck and a small grass area out back, leave it to the modern mind to lay out a house on such a site.

Although the side yard is small, the two decks are lushly discreet from the neighboring houses and make the most of extending the interior living to the outdoors.  Some of the glazing has been upgraded to insulated double pane.

I nice little swan sculpture in the side yard came with the house.  Just a bent ribbon of aluminum becomes MCM lawn art.

Inside, a brick fireplace greets you, complete with a Jere 'Birds' sculpture with a killer operable aluminum bullet light fixture.  The fireplace tools are mounted permanently to the brick wall to complete the composition.

An original white double cone sconce on the interior wood paneling at the entry, drool.  This light is just too freakin awesome.

Last but not least, is the dining light, of which I cannot name the designer, anchors the dining space, hovering all atomic like from the high ceiling.  Beyond the drab kitchen (yes it needed my upgrading design skills), with the living room beyond.  A nice post and beam Alexander special, and just down the street from my Laramie Trail kitchen project no less.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Modern Landscape - Summer 2011 Progress

For almost every weekend since winter has past, we've been working hard to finish selecting plants for the enclosed concrete landscape beds along the front of our house.  Before we begin, have a look at where we started with beige 80's mania.  Lately, everything has started to fill in nicely, we are sitting back enjoying our new view(s) so it's time to share our progress.  On the left side approaching our house we have two tiered beds, and along the front we have one really long bed that gets varying levels of sun and shade which has made our plant selection tricky.

On the far left we have a full sun perennial garden and closer up the higher bed is half sun (angularly) and half shade.  We've always done well with a couple of annuals, the rest are perennials.   This bed is in almost full summer bloom and adds a nice splash of color against the front of the house.  
A close up of the mixed color.  Echinacea flowers in the rear add a natural screen wall to the far side of our house.  Up front are some summer phlox, veronica candles, different echinacea, and balloon flowers.  Behind the tall echinacea, we have our herb garden. 

Over in front of the concrete porch we poured a few years ago and adjacent to the newer walkway slabs we poured last spring is our other full sun perennial garden.  We've tried to mix a lot of color throughout the seasons to contrast against the gray color of the house.  Next year, this bed should be a slow fireworks display of color. 

On the other side of this bed is a totally different color array of flowers.  The long planting bed is made up of three different sections predicated on the quantity of sun each area receives.  We've tried to stick to only flowering perennial plants in this section. 

Looking straight at the full sun bed, there's a mix of agastache, echinacea, geranium, salvia, liatris, & shasta daisies. We are planning to add   allium bulbs to have some early spring blooms.

The middle section is full shade due to our thriving Magnolia tree. We've kept is simple here with impatients and some spiderwort clusters. Over time the spiderwort will take over a majority of this area hopefully.  It's a finicky plant, only blooms once a day in the morning for a short period.

On the far side is our almost full shade garden. Last year we had planted 5 azaleas to anchor this bed. Unfortunately, due to an accident by our roofers we lost two of them. We moved the remaining plants spacing the 3 survivors evenly and added some columbine, astilbe, and irish moss along the back side. The astilbe and columbine are spring bloomers and looked great when they were in bloom.

Walking pack along the paver path to the front door we added phlox down the entire length of the bed, previously we had only done half the length.  It now anchors the whole bed and is slowly growing over the edge of the wall.  This also flowers in early spring before almost anything else.  Behind the phlox is a row of shasta daisies.  

From our front door looking straight on the walkway.  We've prescribed to mostly geometric, linear arrangements, this bed is the anomaly, but it's a good thing.  We scored the large planter shortly after moving in the house at a DWR warehouse sale and have it stuffed full of cascading flowers.

Trying to catch a little color in front of the dark gray.  All this is the culmination of several years of work, we are glad to be at a point of completion.  You'll have to forgive all the kid toys in the photos, this is the way we roll most of the time with two young kids you have to keep it real.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thrift Store Scores - Misc. Recent Finds

Lately, I've been hitting up thrift stores more than working on our house.  In all honesty we've been working our asses off on the landscape every chance the sun comes out, more on our progress soon.  It's been hit and miss around the thrifting scene lately, giving cause to pull out the modern eagle eye and search the filled aisles of shelves that most thrift stores have.  Here's what I've scored lately:

Just the other day I scored this wood Roadrunner.  Searching Google I found a few similar ones floating around but nothing exactly like this one.  It's unmarked yet totally has a Danish look, looks like we're going to start collecting more birds.

Hiding under a few things Wendy found this little Jere-esque copper / metal flying bug.  It's really small but totally reminds me of Curtis Jere's work.  The body is an old thick nail with wire legs and copper wings.  It had a single antennae that has since fallen off with the slightest touch, you can see where it originally had two. 

A Danish candlestick is always a MCM household staple for generally any flat surface whether it be a mantle or credenza.  I usually prefer these in pairs but couldn't pass on the profile of this one.  It's made by a company called PEET with purpleheart wood, the tapered part is about 1/4" thick, probably wasn't easy to turn this wood so thin, but it's rock solid.

If you scroll back a few posts, you can see we've been on an Art Glass search and acquire mission. Not only does this piece weigh about 5 lbs, but has a nice cone profile on the inside void creating a cool atomic profile.  It has a sticker on the bottom 'Made in Czechoslavakia' but I know nothing more about it other than we like it.

Last but not least, is this metal bird, I wasn't kidding about collecting birds, eh?  It instantly reminded me of a Cardinal with the Eames bird kinda look.  It doesn't fit with our wooden bird original scheme, since it's just our 3rd bird, we'll let it hang around until the next score.

Another shot from above of all the latest additions to our collection.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cincinnati Concours D'Elegance 2011

This past Sunday was Cincinnati's 34th Annual Concours D'Elegance, a world class exhibition of motoring excellence benefiting The Arthritis Foundation and Children with Juvenile Arthritis. The show takes place in the formal gardens of Ault Park and features over 200 collector cars spanning almost the entire history of automobiles. This year’s special exhibit featured Ferrari's and Fire Engines, so appropriately I have some tasty examples of Mid Century Ferrari's up front followed by a few other fine other gems I saw at the show. 

1956 Ferrari 410 Super America

 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Drogo Coupe

1959 Ferrari 250 Cabriolet (Series 1)

1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 

1967 Ferrari 330 GTC

1962 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

1963 Studebaker Lark Wagonnaire

Late 60's Fiat Dino 5400

1958 Porsche 356 Speedster

Late 50's Porsche 356 Speedster

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eames Armshell Restoration Project

A little renewal has been in order for awhile, not just the blog, yet also the latest addition to our household, this Greige Eames Armshell with original lounge H-base.  A byproduct of a facebook giveaway, this little guy was traded for a couple of other pieces we were looking to sell, win and win.

Initially it looked as if I might have got the bad end of the trade, the chair was a mess.  It had a huge rust stain or something on the seat, the fiberglass was gritty, and the base was rusty, all probably from years of being outside.  With a little resilience and persuasion to my wife (still can hear her echos of "We're not taking that home!") it was soon in the back of the wagon and on the way home. 

Now's the point where I point to where credit is due.  Starting with the Brick House's DIY Eames Restoration post, I followed pretty much the same steps taken to restore it to original beauty.  One of the unique characteristics of this chair to me was the rusty lounge base, so I ended up stripping, sanding and repainting the base in black.  Otherwise I left the original shock pads on and sanded, sanded, and then sanded some more. 
Fast forward to completion and oh my what a difference.  I ended putting several coats of the Penetrol to get the shiny finish, being patient for the oil based product to dry and air out a bit was necessity.
I'm really digging the low lounge base, we have one rocker and the rest 'normal' H or X bases in our Field of Eames living room.  Sitting low, as demonstrated by my offspring scale figure, propping my feet up on our sectional sofa ottoman has never felt more appropriate.  Be sure to also check another great very thorough Eames restoration post that recently was put up by friends over at Plastolux.  Someday I would like to do the Eames color wheel  of side shells around our dining table. 

Doesn't it look right at home?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MCM Zenith Console Manual

Last fall I scored a super awesome mid century Zenith stereo console. Since then I received a lot of great feedback and even stories from others around the country that have found the same piece. Recently a few requests have been floating around for a manual. Luckily the original one for our unit is still tucked in the album niche and now it's here for anyone who needs it. The full PDF can now be found here, cheers!