NEWS

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.

German – WELT – Feature

Thank-you WELT for the feature article this weekend, we are so thankful for the interest our prefabricated house is receiving from around the globe. WELT – originally called “Die Welt was founded in Hamburg in 1946 by the British occupying forces, aiming to provide a “quality newspaper” modelled on The Times”. It is a large german publication, and has been recognized as recognized as one of the “World’s Best-Designed Newspapers” by the Society for News Design. We feel honored for the featured.

Here is a google translate of the article …. not sure if it is correct … but here goes:

Homestory: Preserving Instead of Modernizing – A House Like a Time Capsule

Black grids, rectangular areas of color in red, blue or yellow: when you first see the rows of cubes between the large, shady deciduous trees, you inevitably think of the abstract works of Piet Mondrian.

He led the art people art people into the promised land of abstraction

But this is not about Dutch art, but about American design – and legendary: The so-called “Frost House”, a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan, is one of the rare so-called “Modular Houses”, a prefabricated house from the 1960s years. The special thing about it: The modern construction – consisting of a steel framework, in which glass walls and aluminum plates were used – can be put together in a very short time.

All the more beautiful that the house, named after the original owners Dr. Robert and Amelia Frost, preserved today in its original condition. The new residents, Karen Valentine and Bob Coscarelli, including their dog Banksy, who bought the house in 2016, have at least made it their mission to keep the charm of the house after their purchase, rather than modernizing it.

In particular, they fell in love with the original furnishings, which fortunately were still completely intact. The entire furniture was designed by interior designer Paul McCobb in cooperation with the world-famous furniture brand Knoll. Bob Coscarelli can still remember his first visit. Before he looked at the rooms, he turned the furniture around and saw all the Knoll stickers: “That was a great feeling, because I knew that Knoll had installed the furniture there as well. It felt like a time machine. ”

Accordingly, the two dealt with this legacy carefully: “We felt obliged to leave the pieces as far as possible in their original environment,” says Coscarelli, only a few private pieces and a few Knoll new acquisitions have added them to the collection.

And so the house still breathes the spirit of the no frills midcentury design and revives in the mind’s eye directly the time of the A-line dresses, suede miniskirts and pixie cuts: In the living room soft earth tones harmonize in carpets and built in wardrobes. In one corner stands a cognac-colored leather “Womb Chair” with matching ottoman by Eero Saarinen.

Another mid-century dream

An expressive contrast is the canary-yellow and co-lime-blue laminated cupboards, which are embedded in the walls in the other rooms. Small splashes of color in orange and green tones balance the heaviness of the partly wood-paneled walls. In the dining room “Tulip Chairs” are grouped around an oval table with walnut wood top and in the office there is finally a simple desk with the “Number 9” lamp by designer Isamu Noguchi, in front of it a Bertoia “Side Chair”.

In addition, the new owners started to research. At first, they did not know much about the exact genesis of the house. Only through magazine contributions and brochures did they finally learn that this was a design by Emil Tessin, Vice President and Chief Designer of Alside Homes Corp. from Ohio. In the hope that the project would quickly make school, it was patented by the manufacturer at that time. 200 homes per day should leave the company headquarters, that was at least the ambitious, self-imposed goal in an old company brochure; in fact, in the end, only a handful was built, as Valentine found out.

Karen Valentine and Bob Coscarelli have made a name for themselves with their love of detailing history. On the associated website and an Instagram profile, they provide insight into the latest findings of their gradual review of the past.

More design stories can be found under the name ICONISTdesign on Facebook and Instagram.

Paul McCobb – Glass Partitions

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One of our favorite features in the house are the Paul MCobb designed glass partitions. There are two of them in the house. The first greets you as you enter the Front Doors, and the other separates the sleeping area from the dressing section in the Master Bedroom. We get requests for detailed shots for inspiration to enable home-owners to recreate the look or idea in their own home, so here we are sharing details.

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The Glass was a collaboration between Blue Ridge Glass Corporation, based in Kingsport – Tennessee, and Paul McCobb – as apart of their patterned glass collection. We haven’t been able to find the company or details on what happened to them [we found this]. If you have any vintage magazines, keep your eyes peeled for some advertisments like the one below, apparently you could mail in and request a ‘project booklet’ for ideas on what to do with the glass.

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We are not handy people with a hammer or any tool for that matter, so we can’t wax poetic on the process or details of construction. We can, however, take pictures and you can share these, or utilize them yourself [hopefully with more skills and technical know-how than us] to translate the construction methods.

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The framework is the same on both sides with the glass sandwiched in-between, and is secured to the ceiling and the floor.

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A few details of the glass itself – it is ridged on one side and smooth on the other.

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We love waking up to see them greeting us in the morning.

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Well – we hope these photographs and brief details help. Ask away with any other questions, and we will try our best to answer them.

Palm Springs 2018

If you are into Mid-Century Architecture and you want to immerse yourself in it like a kid in a candy store, then get in a car or on a plane and head to Palm Springs. Be prepared however for sensory overload – there is so much mid-century – it is mind-blowing. Dare we say it – it is at times overwhelming.

This trip was our second visit, we came in 2014 for our 10th wedding anniversary, and it was not during Modernism Week. This year we were there for Modernism Week as guest speakers. It was busy, and by the time we got organized all the tickets to ‘draw-card’ events [home tours + cocktail parties + design talks] were sold out [at least for the days we were in town]. Not to fear, just driving around aimlessly and exploring, stopping to take in exteriors and garden is entertainment enough. There are so many good: roof lines; breeze block walls; entryways; desert gardens; sculpture; house numbers; mailboxes; and cars, plenty of eye candy to keep you on the move. Inspiration galore.

Not one for crowds – we found it a little suffocating at times as we joined a tour of the Twin Palms Estate. Being purists – we were attracted especially to the homes with largely original features and furniture. We still appreciated, and enjoyed ever so much the renovations that provided a modern interpretation of mid-century-modern. There are times we wish we had ‘new appliances’ at the Frost House, but there is no way we will ever change them.

Anyway, just wanted to share some of the eye candy we captured as we drove around, we were too busy admiring to capture them all. Admire the view.

Frost House – Interior Colors

There are 3 key colors utilized throughout the house: yellow + green + blue; accented with black and white. We are getting ready to spruce up the interiors and exteriors so we went to the paint store to find some matching colors and here is what we found.

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Paint by different brands:

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Valspar has the most direct match with the colors that are present in the house today, but they are all pretty close to one another that it is splitting hairs when looking at Sherwin-Williams + Olympic. As for favorite names for colors: Valspar Golden Treasure because that is how we feel about the yellow, although Rise-n-Shine from Olympic is more what it screams at you in the AM, Cheerful is for sure the best way to say it – we agree Sherwin-Williams; we are not really into any of the names for the greens or blues, Flyway is not bad for the Blue, but we see it more like ‘Clear Skies’, although we have been calling it ‘peacock blue’;  and as for the green we have always referred to it as ‘kelly green’.

Once we get started on the painting we need to do all the blues + yellows + greens inside and out to keep them coordinated. That is going to require a mix of satins + matte + gloss….. and plenty of it. Oh! And there are a lot of louver doors to paint, and of course not leaving any details unthought of, the interiors of the closets are all painted too, and we are not talking just the back of the doors – we mean the interiors of the closets.

Colors by rooms:

Kitchen is a bright ‘good-morning-shine’ yellow.

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Family room is a calming ‘sky’ blue.

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The Grand room or formal entertaining / dining area, uses the calming blue in the bookshelves only [ignore the messy shelves – WIP], the rest of the walls are either white or walnut panels.

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The family bath is also a calming blue.

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The kids bunk room is bright ‘kelly’ green, it’s a color that is sparingly utilized in the house, found on the front door and one small closet.

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The hallway closets are blue on left hand side and green on the right.

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The guest bedroom is bright yellow, along with the master-bedroom & master-bathroom.

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And there you have it – Frost House by color.