Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 Mid Century Modern Xmas Wishlist

It's probably safe to say most Mid Century Modern enthusiasts have a sizable wishlist, no matter what point they are in their depth of collecting. One of my most wanted items right now is a George Nelson Saucer Lamp. We currently have a cheap Ikea pendant over our dining table, a signature piece would look killer through the window from the street and mirror our next door neighbors Pear Lamp.

Sometimes the little pieces that can make huge differences. An Eames Hang It All from Herman Miller would look great by our front door and contrast well with the dark gray wall. With two little ones, coats + fashion = need for more storage.

Custom framing by Fab Frames for all of our collected Charley Harper Prints would allow us to officially hang them around the house. Wall space is a bit slim right now until we finish the studio & master bedroom. Framed in the same style & color, these three prints would look awesome on the wall above our staircase.

This is mostly a luxury wish, yet an Eames designed plywood elephant would find a nice home in our living room. Our kids like elephents, we like Eames, it's a perfect combination. Hive Modern carries them in a nice array of colors.

Last, but certainly not least is my all time most wanted 'will buy when the kids move out of the house and we can have white things again' chairs, a Eero Saarinen designed Womb Chair by Knoll. It might be the most comfortable of all Mid Century Modern signature chairs I've sat in. The Bertoia Bird Chair and Eames Lounger are close runner ups.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thrift Store Score - Atomic Taylorstone Cathay Dish Set

I made a really nice score yesterday, so nice I have to share. Having recently made many fruitless thrifting ventures, there I was shrugging off another thrift store stop with nothing gained. Then there it was, stacks of these super atomic dishes jumped off the bottom shelf, thank you peripheral vision.

In total we made out with a 31 piece set of Taylorstone 'Cathay' dishes. This collection was made by Taylor, Smith an Taylor in the late 1960s. Around the rims of the plates and bowls it features several atomic / mcm iconic shapes and icons in mint green and sky blue colors. It was love at first sight.

All in all we have 5 mugs, a creamer, platter, large soup bowl, a saucer, 8 bread and butter plates, 1 regular bowl, and 8 dinner plates. Although not a complete collection, a sturdy one if we choose to keep and collect them. We already have one vintage set of dishes, but no where near as cool as these.

The dishes certainly make for some photogenic MCM picture taking. Looking around the internet it seems we could collect to build a 12 person set plus extras, there is a bit of it floating around out there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Bright Spot in Fall

The past few weeks, the temperatures have been dropping, so have a crapload of leaves. A few weeks ago, I finally got around to seeding the bare earth around the newest concrete work which has since produced a nice bright spot in all the fall dreary.

To integrate the new hardscape, I left space between the new pads to regrade against and plant grass to seamlessly tooth the landscape and concrete pads together. Considering the summer drought torched our lawn, this is the only actual 'green spot' of grass in our landscape.

Here's the view walking out the front door. After clearing the leaves a bit, the lines of green prevail. We're hoping next Spring to replace the remaining existing concrete walkway with similar bars of concrete to finish off the front of the house. Attempting to get the rest of the yard as newly green will also be on the agenda.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thrift Store Score - Zenith Stereo Cabinet

I obsess about furniture as much as I do renovating our house. With as much thrift store stalking as I do, it's not often I make a killer score like a Lane Acclaim series credenza or a Flexsteel sofa. My recent find of this Zenith Stereo cabinet may top them all. Imagine my suprise having never known of these to find what seems at first to be a nice Danish credenza, a simple vertically layered box, splayed tapered legs. Doors open to reveal speakers and then . . .

It suddenly transforms into a vintage sound system. With my heart racing, sudden urge to pinch self to confirm reality, I immediately grabbed a thrift store employee who helped me plug it in to confirm it worked. Instantly I knew it was the newest member of our furniture collection. Its final residing place in our house is yet to be determined.

The top raises up smoothly and holds to reveal the operable turntable (needs a little work) and the stereo receiver. The original manual was still in record storage slot.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mid Century Modern Curb Appeal - The Gray Has Arrived

Without further ado, I've completed painting for the season after a month of priming and painting. This past Saturday the weather made it into 'paintable' conditions to which I took full advantage. With two coats on all surfaces visible from street view, the vision is complete, until next spring. The dark gray is very striking from the street, redoing the fascia was well worth the payoff.

And soon to be forgiven, but not forgotten is where we started 5-1/2 years ago. If you've been following along, it's been quite a slow, yet rewarding process. So long beige.

Friday, October 22, 2010

CF3 Coffee Chat - Adam / Goetz Residence

The October CF3 Coffee Chat took us to the other side of the Ohio River to Dayton Kentucky. Perched high on the hillside, the Adam / Goetz residence was built in 2000 by the current owners. Most of the Mid Century Modern homes CF3 tours typically have renovations, additions or other more modern time modifications, this was our first tour of a way newer ground up custom modern home. To the left the backyard has a small lap pool ripe for this photogenic moment.

Approaching the house, there's a lot of concrete, we know I'm game immediately. To get to the front door one must ascend either the concrete steps or ramp to the first level from the driveway similar to the Woodie Garber home in Glendale.

This is the main approach to the house. The plan is symmetrically balanced with the horizontal rooflines echoed with the cantilevering balconies. The house has a great view of the Ohio River Valley.

The house offers many photogenic moments which I took full advantage of prior to CF3 members arriving.

The structure of the house is a combination of concrete, steel and wood. Large I-Beams cantilever from the structure to carry the balconies. The cable railing is hardly noticable lending transparency to accent the cantilevered planes.

Inside, the house opens up immediately with full height glass and open floor plan. The house is undoubtedly influenced by Mary's House designed by the late David Niland with heavy symmetry & planar forms.

The main living space is central to the four corners of the house. Custom concrete countertops abound all the built-ins nooks around the house. A nice comparison shot of Mary's House can be found here.

The large galley kitchen heads the main living space off the entry with openings open the backsplash and cabinets. The white stays true down to the cabinetry.

More photogenic moments.

The formal front of the stark white house contrasts heavily against the natural hillside offering visual purity of the built object.

Monday, October 18, 2010

DIY Chimney Crown Repair

Uniquely, our house has a huge chimney, almost 12' long and 2'-6" wide. And due to 57 years of weathering, let's say it's seen better days. Our original intention was to have a new metal cover made for it as part of our roof contract. Since our roofer was unable to secure a metal band around chimney cap supplier, we ended up having to deal with the existing chimney crown. Every time we would get a heavy rain, we'd get a few drops in our fireplace, not good. I chiseled into the fossil like layers of said crown to the left only to find cmu coursing stepping up, thus the large mound of seeming concrete on our chimney.

With a little research, I found a great product called Crown Coat from a local supply website. One evening I did all the prep work to the existing cracks then taped it all off before applying the product. It's like painting thin concrete and dries pretty quick and evenly. Although a temporary fix, I'd say the money was well worth it for a 15 year warranty product. After a good rain I inspected the results to see the crown was shedding water as well as most of the new roof. The next step before winter is to do some tuckpointing repairs on the rest of the chimney. Hopefully I can find someone to fabricate a cap down the road, aka next year.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finally, A George Nelson Clock

And on the 28th day of September, Wendy bestowed onto me a birthday gift of pure delight, a George Nelson Turbine Clock. Being my favorite Nelson clocks, it made sense that it anchors our living area on the fireplace wall above the mantle and built-in bookcase. I'm really digging the shadow effect with the spotlight at night.

A shot of our living area with the new clock replacing the unframed Charley Harper prints. This spot seemed to balance the area and give the clock the proper wall space it deserves. Now we can also add some more Mid Century Modern accessories to the mantle. Nonetheless it's nice to add an iconic piece to our collection.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fairwell Red, We're Going Gray

57 years has taken a toll on our roof, the job would not be complete without doing it right. After the discovery of the deteriorating condition of the original redwood fascia, we opted to proceed with removing and remediating as much of the original material as we could, sort of a search and discovery DIY project, I'm game. We had to phase the project into a couple of sections due to the potential weather conditions. I ended up having to remove and replace the top 2x4 band that levels the top edge of the roof. The existing 2x10 framing is sandwiched by the new 2x4 on top and a layer of handtroweled cement soffit below.

Near the chimney there was a bit of water damage where water HAD passed through over time. I had to fasten the soffit up to the new framing to level it to its original place and provide a little more blocking for the fascia to go back into. This is a good example of the mottled look the existing concrete at the soffit and top of the wall. The jury is still out on whether we should paint this or not.

After carefully removing the fascia boards, the wounded soldiers are stacked against the house. The original red color of the house is tempting to keep and preserve.

Many, many more wounded soldiers. I was able leave a small portion of the bottom 1x10 band on the house to sand and prime in place. At this point we had already reinstalled the front area. Along the way the final roof trim had to wait until this job was complete.

The process of remediating the redwood involved planing down each board about 3/32" to reveal the original and very beautiful grain. I then glued any splits and filled all the nail holes before getting ready to do a final sand and prime. On a few pieces I was able to flip the board over to the opposite surface. It's a simple, yet time consuming process.

Doing all this remediation in our small back yard proved a fun challenge to use every square inch of space to allow the wood fill to dry. Two rounds of patch, sand, patch, sand, prime and we were ready for reinstall.

Here's yours truly getting busy priming up on the ladder. The right side of the house is pictured with the newly fascia install. I did have to mix in a couple of new 20' sticks of 1x10 and 1x8 to replace some of the super rotted sticks that we couldn't salvage. Having given the roofers notice they could install the final coping, time was limited to finish the rest of the roof.

Fast forward to a few weeks later, to the left is our current status report. All the fascia is reinstalled as well as the roof coping. After fastening the fascia to the house, I patched all the screw heads with exterior wood putty and sanded from the roof. It's was quite a process from start to finish, yet well worth it. We've since touched up all the primer for some consistent finish. The next steps entail priming the metal coping and beginning the final dark gray paint.

Since priming, color has become the big debate around the house. The argument is partially around that the primer light gray looks kind of good, so I had to reconfirm our intentions with a little Photoshop action to the left. Intentions confirmed.

An upclose view of the final installation. Be sure to check out the before shot here for the transition, makes this photo almost poetic.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CF3 Coffee Chat - Friedman Residence Tour

With summer in full sweltering session, CF3's August coffee chat took us to Amberley Village, a local suburb of Cincinnati loaded with great Mid Century Moderns. The Friedman Residence is a very modest house cared for with meticulous maintenance by its current owners. The home is also slated to be featured in an upcoming issue of Atomic Ranch magazine.

The house has a typical low pitched roof from street side, yet the roof partially zig zags to butterfly along the back of the house. Similar to our house, one walks into the compressed area only to have a nice release of space of the main living and dining areas. The large expanse of glass across the back of the house emphasizes the open space.

Inside the living space, it's obvious why Atomic Ranch is featuring the house, the original details are immaculate. A large brick fireplace anchors the large open area complemented by a recessed bullet light and Nelson Pear lamps beyond. The layout of the furniture is precise and cohesive, providing a very functional and open space.

A photo of the aforementioned fireplace up close. The roman brick wall and hearth are accented with different masonry patterns and limestone banding to create an asymmetrical composition. A built-in planter has been converted to a bench on one side and a Frank Lloyd Wright designed Sprite on the other.

A couple of super sweet freestanding Danish lights are at one end of the living / dining area. Newer cork floors keep it crisp.

I wish I had taken some photos of the original bathrooms, but I did grab a couple of the ultra 50's kitchen, almost perfectly in tact. The upper cabinets are outwardly profile with linear frosted glass doors are backlit. Underneath, Boomerang Formica counters are edged in stainless and cap base metal cabinets complete with the recessed door profile. It's not often to see these cabinets, let alone in such a great intact setup.

These cabinets deck out the entire kitchen. In this photo you can barely see the Nutone exhaust fan on the ceiling at the top of the photo, at the bottom a glimpse of the retro stove. Be sure to look for some more photos of the house in an upcoming issue of Atomic Ranch magazine.