Lakefront Living – October 2018

 

Thank-you Lakefront Living for featuring us in the local Magazine and naming us a ‘local landmark’. We are working towards having the house listed on the National Historic Registry, and making good progress. In the meantime – we will accept your kind words of adding us to a list of other local historic landmarks. Also thank-you to the lovely locals that have reached out to us with stories of your own about the house, we love hearing them.

Soho House + Grey Goose Pool Party

We had a wonderful time partnering with Soho House Chicago and with our party sponsor Grey Goose hosting a summer soiree with Soho House Members. Everyone got to enjoy a private tour of the home and then sat down to a BBQ feast served family style on the back lawn. In between tours and feasting there were plenty of Grey Goose – Vodka cocktails served. Guest enjoyed their cocktails with some croquet of the lawn, swimming + lounging by the pool, meanwhile we soaked in and admired the serious display of period appropriate attire [caftans + turbans], we love even more that some brought, and made, wardrobe changes. If only every Saturday in summer had a soiree like this, we will just keep dreaming and in the meantime will share some of our favorite photos from the event.

Grey Goose – Cocktail Options [Soho House Chicago Photography]
Pool right before the guest arrived. [Soho House Chicago Photography]
Dinner table [Soho House Chicago Photography]
Here are a few more photos taken by Bob Coscarelli.

 

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

Frost.Pool.6.18-0478C

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.

The Frost House - Pool Garden Plan

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!

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.

 

 

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.