Point-in-time: August 2018

At this time of the year we get to wake up to these amazing views out the front windows. All it takes is some rain + humidity + sun + mother nature. We can stare at these scenes all-day, but they only last a few short hours at best. It is always great way to start your day.

Here are a few others from last season, around the same time of year. It is fun learning the seasonal changes of the house and garden.

Band Visit – Jon Spencer

We recently had the honor to host Jon Spencer and his band for his current tour ‘Jon Spencer Sings the Hits‘ traveling the US and UK. Who knew that underground rock legends like modernism too, when they asked if they could pop in for a quick visit – of course we said yes. Besides, Bob is a huge fan and was totally in music heaven meeting some of his favorites, and possibly sneaking in some requests for autographs. After a tour of the house, espresso shots for all, Sam Coomes tested out our old-school piano in the basement, Bob Bert and M. Sord geeked out over the space, and answering the million questions on the details from Jon, it was photo time. Bob took a few snaps before they hit the road for their next gig. Thanks for stopping by lads – hope to see you again soon.

We think this one could seriously be an album cover, sharing a few more from the quick photo session.

Garden – Pool Area

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Last summer we managed to get a empty side-lot transformed into our little oasis. In four months we went from a grassy side-lot to a hidden swimming hole with a garden that blends with the established plantings. It was a fun process, and thanks to the design work by Julie DeLeon of Groundwork Design we can now enjoy our compound and watch the low maintenance garden grow.

Here are the plans for the side-lot, viewed alongside the house and the existing garden, that is essentially directly in front and behind the house.

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We had some changes that needed to be made to the designs to accommodated: budget; permits; city-planners; pool design; changes in terrain due to pool dig; and other countless design issues that occurred along the way. So things look a little different, as our plans evolved and looked more like the this plan [pictured below] …. again with some modifications. We have kept the existing garden as is, adding some plants into the existing beds, but it is largely un-touched. The area we impacted was the side-lot.

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POOL: We started the design with the pool selection and placement. We wanted to have long narrow pool that mimicked the shape of the house. Julie cleverly placed it in the back corner for a few reasons: 1] least amount of disruption to the large existing trees; 2] maximize our hours of sun on the pool finding the least shaded parts; 3] flattest area of the side lot (it is a basin and is lower by 4-6ft from the front side to the rear property line.

FENCING: We had to have a fence around the pool, and we wanted to also have it reach around the house to contain the dog. This was going to make a HUGE impact to the look of the house.

The design that we REALLY wanted came further into our front property, but the city would not allow it at 6ft to go past the front of the house. The ruling was made so it didn’t prohibit drivers from seeing cars backing / approaching the street from the driveway. We tried to convince them, that the placement left lots of visibility. We were able to get them to compromise, and we had to go with it. Otherwise it would have required us to apply for an exception – and that was going to be more time and $$$.

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So we ended up with this [see below] as a compromise. Because the change in location meant it hit an area where the land started to lower + dip – we ended up having to backfill under the fence to reach up to 4ft in some sections. We do miss that they fence was going to have a break and short turn. The short fence bridging the two long expanses, was going to be vertical bars, designed to be open to a feature a tree trunk and allow Banksy to have a view to the street. No clear view for the pup.

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As for the style .. we were inspired by our neighbors pool / yard fence that is made from aluminum & actual wire-mesh safety glass [pictured below].

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We also loved this image [pictured below] that our Landscape Designer – Julie shared with us. With that we were off to the races to find a solution for a fence, we have another post to give the details on the design … it can be found here.

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PLANTS: Julie choose plantings that matched those that were already in the garden, along with period appropriate options, in 1964 we didn’t have access to the vast selection of varieties that we do today.

FURNITURE: We have kept outdoor furniture around the house in the existing garden period appropriate with vintage pieces – all knoll of course. However, for the pool area we selected more affordable options that were still minimal in style, came with a warranty, and something we didn’t need to panic about as we witness them taking some serious use and abuse. We went with Design-within-Reach EOS furniture line in white designed by Mathew Hilton in 2011. They are proving to be durable and survived our winter. The only drawback the chaise loungers absorb the rain and hold onto the water – in a major way. The leaf blower is good for dealing with that issue, when turned on it pushes the water out fast, and they are relatively quick to dry. The umbrella’s are a classic, and we first saw them in Palm Springs at The Parker, you can buy them here.

Earlier this Spring we finalized some details, we need to add irrigation, and yet some details – like landscape lighting, have still not been resolved. The plants have a lot of growing to do for the hedges to form and the trees to mature. You can find us this summer in the side-lot admiring the view. It is so nice to be able to enjoy the pool and garden with friends and family this year without all the construction and mess. It’s cocktail time!

Screened Porch – The Aviary

The screened in porch, we call ‘The Aviary’ is our favorite spot in the house, it is a vacation just to sip coffee in or listen to the birds in the garden. We are entering into our third season using the porch and it is always evolving. Originally, it was furnished with Woodard ‘Rose Vine‘ outdoor furniture [as pictured below from the real-estate listing].

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These are a few shots just after we closed.

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Whilst we still have the original furniture in storage, we have replaced it with the design classic ‘sculptura’. We mainly switched it because we have always coveted the design pieces, and when we had the perfect spot to put them – we started collecting vintage pieces. They were all white when purchased from etsy + eBay + charish, and we had a local company powder coat them black for us.

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Year-after-year, the furniture remains in the same spot and is divided into two zones: a dining area that is located close to the kitchen; and a lounging area with views over the garden onto the pool. Planters are used to divide the ‘rooms’ up, and this year we are adding ‘flor’ tiles to make a rug. The rug will be placed under the main seating arrangement, just to mix things up, and to make it cozy under our feet when the sun goes down, the terrazzo can feel too cold for most of the year.

For plants, we have found that ferns seem to be the least maintenance, and will tolerate some hot weather and long spells without remembering to water them. The added bonus with the ferns, they can be found in Lowes in April and they last until January when the temps really drop.

The flooring is the original terrazzo Fritz tile, we found a box with some spare tile in the crawl space under the house. We used the same brand to add terrazzo inside.

Back to the Sculptura Chairs – we have been searching for a pattern, or an example of the cushions for the lounge chairs. I was able to buy a set of original pads for the dining table from F&F Vintage. As for the loungers, we had some made, they were expensive and not well constructed. So the search continues … but here are some photos of the original cushions in case anyone is looking for inspiration:

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Even in the winter the space is lovely. We switch out the screened panels back to plexiglass-glass and hope that the ferns make it thru.

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Lake Michigan – Mod Tour – Aug 18th 2018

We are excited to partner with Indiana Landmarks to host a home tour of the The Frost House this August 18th – 2018. We will be last on the tour so come join us for a drink by the pool. To attend you must be a member of Indiana Modern and/or Indiana Landmarks. We hope to see you there. Details can be found here.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2018

1 – 5 p.m. Central (local) time; 2 – 6 p.m. Eastern time
Sites in Long Beach and Michigan City

Sponsored by Indiana Modern, an affinity group of Indiana Landmarks.

Please note: The Lake Michigan Mod Tour is for Indiana Landmarks members only.Not a member? Join or renew at indianalandmarks.org/membership.

Lake Michigan Mod offers you the opportunity to tour modern landmarks in Long Beach and Michigan City on August 18, 2018. The tour, which is open only to members of Indiana Modern and Indiana Landmarks, begins 1 p.m. Central Time (2 p.m. Eastern Time), at the 1937 Coolspring School near Michigan City, designed by architect John Lloyd Wright. Son of the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, John was a distinguished architect in his own right—and the inventor of Lincoln Logs—who lived in nearby Long Beach for more than 20 years.

Next you’ll visit the 1931 Long Beach Town Hall, also designed by John Lloyd Wright. Once threatened with demolition and on our 10 Most Endangered Landmarks list, the International-style Town Hall instead was enlarged with an architecturally compatible addition. Stay tuned because we hope to add a private home in Long Beach, perhaps another Wright design.

From 3-5 p.m. Central Time (4-6 p.m. Eastern Time), you can tour and enjoy refreshments at the Frost House in Michigan City as the guest of owners Bob Coscarelli and Karen Valentine. The couple bought the Mondrian-like house from descendants of Dr. Robert and Amelia Frost who built the house in 1964. Famed furniture designer Paul McCobb assisted manufacturer Alside Homes with the interior design elements. Coscarelli and Valentine’s purchase included most of the original Knoll furnishings. The house was featured in Dwell, WELT and Indianapolis Monthly magazines following the couple’s restoration. They’ll lead tours followed by cocktails around the newly installed pool.

 

 

Glass Fence

We have had several requests asking about details on our ‘Glass’ fence. Let us start by pointing out our fence is a ‘fake-glass’ fence – it is actually made from polycarbonate material. We are not ones for long posts so we will break this down fast.

WHY A FENCE

Simple – we added a pool to the side-lot that came with the home, and state law requires the pool to be fenced. We also wanted to allow our dog Banksy to be able to enjoy the outdoors without us worry if he was playing on the road. The fence were were worried about – as we didn’t want to impact the look of the house – distracting from the original design and look of the garden – we started to lose sleep over the fence design.

DESIGN INSPIRATION

Luckily we didn’t need to look too far. We were inspired by our neighbors fence. Their gorgeous fence is an original pool fence to the house and it made from aluminum and actual safety wire glass. The minute we noticed it – we were 1] jealous 2] knew we had to do something in-the-manner-of to be period appropriate. Our landscape designer Julie DeLeon of Groundwork Design also provide some visual inspiration with black metal and glass fences, and we looked to our previous home for ideas too [see here].

MATERIALS

Here is a list of the materials that were purchased / utilized during construction:

  • Fake Glass: Mulit-wall polycarbonate sheeting we purchased through EPlastics, the material was made in Wisconsin, we had it custom cut and shipped direct
  • Posts: Standard 2″ square steel posts painted black [similar material – see here]
  • Post Caps: Plastic you can easily source these [local hardware or amazon]
  • Concrete: Used to set the posts
  • Frames: Steel hot rolled Angle bar [similar materials – see here]
  • Screws: Frames were screwed to the posts so at anytime if needed they can be removed.
  • Gate Hinge: Again nothing custom – readily purchased at hardware store.
  • Gate Handle: Simple and cost effective – here is something similar to what we used
  • Gate Plate: Custom made from plate steel, welded to steel angle bar painted black.

CONSTRUCTION

We had been working with, and still to this day, work with a local General Contractor, Juan Ramirez and his crew RASE Construction LLC – hold our house together and are not afraid of our crazy project requests. We are not handy people, and rely upon this crew to help us with our projects, they figured out how to construct the fence from all the pieces and put it together. The frames were welded off site and everything else was put together onsite. The poly carbonate panels are 3ft wide by 6ft tall, and are set into frames that are 2 panels across, attached to fence posts set every 6ft. We tried to do 9ft wide with 3 panels, but the wind made them too unstable. The rest of the details – to us it was magic. Sorry we are not of much use here as to the ‘how’, we truly are useless even with a hammer.

LESSONS

There was some trial and error with the fence, just like anything, nothing is really ever perfect and you just need to roll with it. Here are a few things we learned:

  1. Polycarbonate delivery was huge, the crates were custom made and hard to crack open – we needed a crew to help us off load a delivery that would normally go to a construction site with forklifts to offload – we had to do it by hand. It can be done, but be prepared with a crew to help you.
  2. Light. The fence creates the most amazing light shows all times of the day. It really obscures detail until you or the object is up close to the fence. You can see movement of people and cars going by, and night the headlights and tail-lights are like moving abstract art. And you can see the garden plantings and their movement too. So far no discoloration to the panels from the light has been observed.
  3. Weather. It is holding up well so far, it went in August 2017 and at time of writing April 2018 it is looking great. It has endured: heavy snow; high winds; tree branches; hot sun; and torrential downpours. So far we are giving it a thumbs up.
  4. Cleaning. It is low maintenance, with the hammered effect to the poly carbonate, to make it opaque it helps hide the dust and the rain splatter. A quick hose down get rid of any bark or soil.
  5. Channels. The polycarbonate is twin-walled so has channels for water and small bugs to make themselves a home. So far – the bugs haven’t been an issue. The first panels that were installed we used silicone and it created condensation issues. There is a tape to seal them that comes with the manufactures recommendation – don’t skip buying it, it seems to work to keep bugs out and condensation a way to escape [see photo below] It was only utilized on the bottom edge of the panels, the rest of the edges are sealed with silicone.

Oops this turned out longer than we thought it would. Well – we hope this helps, and please share your projects if you are inspired to create your own ‘frosted-fake-glass-fence’. And if you have any question please ask away we will do our best to answer your questions based on our project and experience to date.

 

 

Frost House – Art

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We frequently get asked about the art in the house, so we thought we would share some details for our art loving friends on the key pieces that we have hanging on the walls.

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First off [pictured above] is the most frequently asked ‘who is the artist’ piece. The piece was purchased from Trilogy Antiques in Three Oaks, MI about 7-8 years ago. It is titled Birds and was painted by Albert K. Pounian, a local Chicago artist and art professor who served for a decade as the corporate curator for Continental Bank’s art collection in its branches throughout the world. He died Oct. 25, 2000 at the age of 76 after battling with Parkinson’s disease. Here is a little more detail found in his obituary that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Mr. Pounian began to excel in art at a young age, said his brother, Arch. While a teenager studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, he was recruited by the Army to draw maps for military operations during World War II. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of second lieutenant and receiving a Bronze Star Medal and four battle stars.

After the war, Mr. Pounian received bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Art Institute, specializing in drawing, painting and illustration. He began teaching at the institute and other local art leagues and schools, including Barat College in Lake Forest.

Franklin McMahon, a friend of Mr. Pounian’s and a fellow artist, said his friend painted in the social realist style and later moved into abstraction–although his works continued to feature recognizable objects.

Mr. Pounian’s brother said he had a strong social conscience that led him to create paintings with social themes, such as his opposition to Vietnam War, and also to participate in marches in Selma, Ala., during the height of the civil rights movement.

Mr. Pounian was also known for his pen and ink drawings of landscapes and street scenes, and he traveled to England, Ireland and Wyoming to paint and teach. His work was exhibited at local galleries, schools and other public buildings from the 1950s through the 1980s.

He held leadership positions for local art programs, exhibitions and galleries, and was well-known among artists in the Chicago area.

From 1979 to 1989, Mr. Pounian was the corporate art curator for Continental Bank, managing the artwork the bank exhibited at its headquarters in Chicago and at branches worldwide. He also helped organize an association of local corporate art curators, serving as its chairman from 1981 to 1982.

You can read other articles here and see other works here by Albert K. Pounian.

When we purchased the house, we acquired this original piece that was hanging in the formal dining room [pictured above and below], it was created by a local artists Chiquita Mueller and it is titled ‘Muted Sun‘. It is a mix of oil and what we assume is local gravel & sand. We are doing some searching to see if we can find out more details on this artist. It came with the original receipt even.

 

Next up [pictured below] the ‘Jack + Queen + King + Joker‘ pieces came to  us through a instagram follower that alerted us to the story of the artist Mark Coomer. We loved the connection to the area and knew immediately we had to buy some pieces to add to the house. Most of the homes items that remained when we purchased the home were noted: to be made in America; and frequently sourced ‘locally’, so we saw these as an appropriate addition to the walls.

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Mark Coomer was born in Bay City, MI in 1914.  He studied in Chicago and Detroit.

Mark Coomer visited La Porte, Indiana with his wife Sally in 1952, and the relationship with our company to sell his serigraphs began.  They would only do 100 of each subject, to make these truly limited edition pieces of art.  All but the last 24 subjects were done on Masonite.  The larger ones were done on paper.  Mark and Sally loved each other and loved the art they created together.

He lived in the Chicago suburb of Prospect Heights for a while, and later in Arizona while exhibiting his paintings and limited edition serigraphs nationally.  Coomer passed away in 2004.

All the details can be found here at Midcentury Serigraph where you can also buy some of his serigraph pieces too.

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This piece [pictured above] was added to the collection in 2017, purchased from an instagram account called The Art of Object. We do not have a great deal of information other than: it is titled ‘Sadness’ and it was painted by Paul Werth. From some brief research it appears that he was born in Germany in 1912 and died in 1977. He is said to be a Work War II camp survivor. The piece has since moved from the family room into the dining room, to create a gallery wall.

We also purchased the following additional pieces pictured above: Far Left – from The Art of Object in 2017, a 1950’s French cubist still life, the medium is oil on board and the piece is ‘untitled’ by Jean Wullaert. We have searched for details on the artist and so far have come up with nothing; Top Right – this piece was picked up locally in Michigan in early 2018, from one of our favourite stores – Trilogy Antiques, actually these came from their outpost in Harbert, written on the back is Lappen Zimmerhan;  Bottom Right – came from Dial M for Modern, it is from 1972 and by R.Ball we have no other details.

The final piece we are sharing for now was also spotted on instagram. It joined us in August 2017 and came from an Atlanta store – Distinct Modern. It is an abstract piece by T.Webb created in 1964 and is also ‘untitled’.  We stare at it daily in the family room.

We have some other bits & pieces, and loads of sculptural pieces hanging on the walls – we will share those another time.