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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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.

Schindler House

We didn’t know that much about the Schindler House when we visited. We love Architecture and enjoy learning by exploring spaces, we did know that the home is considered the start of modernism in California, and has greatly influenced many who came thereafter. So we put it on the radar for a visit to learn more.

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Visiting this house is easy to plan. Turn up Wednesday – thru – Sunday between 11am – 6pm pay at the gate and in you go – no advanced reservations needed. It is a self-guided tour, and there are frequently art exhibitions going on at the same time. We won’t give you the spoiler alert on the history, and stories of it occupants over the years, we have instead opted to share some images and thoughts.

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A few things stood out to us: 1] The house is in smack in the middle of West Hollywood, and surrounded by taller 3-4 story structures, it was originally surrounded by open fields – the house feels a little suffocated; 2]  it was designed for communal living for 2 families / groups; 3] everything was designed with not a lot of predefined usage of each space, so it allowed for lots of fluidity of use by the occupants; 4] the ornamentation is minimal; 5] the ceilings are incredibly low (the FLW effect); 6] the gardens are gorgeous drawing your eye from the inside out.

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It had a very calming effect on both of us, and we could totally visualize this house rebuilt with the same layout, but with new materials, it would be a really lovely place to live in today’s world. We have been know to, on more than one occasion, get into rearranging furniture and artwork in the middle of a dinner party, so we can relate to the idea of ‘flexibility’ in the usage of rooms. Moving a bedroom / study as the seasons change, or just to keep things interesting (cheaper than moving house). And total admiration for their HUGE veggie garden so neatly organized and tucked away behind some growing bamboo screening.

Added bonus: Across the street you can also view, from the exterior only, the equally intriguing, and very distinguished – Rootenberg-Markham House built in 1952.

 

 

Morse House – Palm Springs

We first met Joan & Gary Gand through Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond in 2017 when their non-profit organization, which celebrates and promotes 20th century modern architecture and design, did a tour of The Frost House. When we headed out to Palm Springs for Modernism Week they kindly invited us over to their home – the Morse House [1961].

The original home owners where Teddy & Claire Morse. Teddy had selected a ranch model in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs. This area is know for it’s Alexander Homes, and the house model originally chosen is suspected to be a design by William Krisel. Claire Morse, a fan of Harold “Hal” Levitt designs [a modernist architect for Hollywood elite] wanted something fancier than the standard.  So they hired a builder to intervene and add the ‘Levitt’ design effect to the partially finished home.

The previous day to our visit, we had aimlessly being stalking homes, randomly driving up and down streets, we stopped outside one particular home and said to ourselves “OMG – now that house I want to peek inside”. It really stands out from the crowd. Fast forward to the next day, Joan texts their address, we slap it into WAZE and head on over. When we turn the corner, and WAZE announces you have arrived – OH BOY! had we arrived – right to the very house we wanted to peek at. As it stood right before us – we squealed – EEEEeeek! We couldn’t get out of the car fast enough, both rushing to the doorbell, dying for the door to open. WOWZA – what a house.

Nominated by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation as a Class 1 Historic Site, and it deserves to be, and needs to be on the list – totally AMAZING. The minute you enter – you feel like you are apart of a glamorous MCM moment – walking right into a ‘set’ – it is so mid-century perfect. We gushed over every room – every view – every detail. We are still gushing thinking about it. This home wraps up into one perfect parcel – everything quintessential about Palm Springs Mid Century Modern. The Architecture coupled with the Gand’s impeccable taste in art and collectibles makes this house feel that way. Now – how do we get ourselves invited to the next cocktail party.

Look at that garden. We could be happy here living outside in the pool on a float, where we can admire the garden and be mezmerised by the kinetic sculptures as they dance in the wind. Those windows you see, they are giant sliding doors that open the house up to: the swim-up bar; and the sunken living room.

Back inside – who doesn’t love a Malm fireplace in their master bedroom? A dreamy house – every room is fabulous – see we are still gushing. For sure this is our Palm Spring MCM fave. Thanks for the invite Joan & Gary, and thanks for putting up with our ‘teenage fan club’ behavior. You can read more about the house here and here.

And one last note, that is equally impressive – the living room / pool is the subject of this SHAG piece of art called “The Impostors” you can purchase it here. Gary Gand is sporting a hat on an eames lounger, whilst Joan Gand is looking glam sipping a cocktail – seated on the stairs. Can you see why we want to go to party here – this piece captures the feel of the home perfectly. Cheers!

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Dezeen – Design Magazine

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Thanks Dezeen for the feature. Fingers crossed this story telling will lead us to some new connections with information and/or tales of life in an Alside Home. We are close to finding 30 of the homes .. out of the known 96 that rolled off the production lines and there is a possibility there might be as many at 200. Check out the homes we have found so far – thanks to the power of social media – on our Alside Homes Locator page.

You can read the full article on Dezeen here.

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Eames House – Case Study House #8

If you find yourself in LA, make sure before you arrive that you make a reservation to tour the interior of the EAMES HOUSE. You can find out all the details here. The tour is intimate and incredibly special, it feels like a morning or afternoon as a house guest, with an opportunity to sit on the rug and have a chat with the docent. It’s something that we could see ourselves returning for another interiors tour, there is so much to absorb, and so much packed into an efficient and somewhat compact space. It is a splurge, but it is work every penny – the money is reinvested into the preservation of the property.

The most surprising element to the property was the proximity of its location to the ocean. Perched on a hillside, the home is set back, and overlooks a meadow in which you can see the ocean framed through tall beautiful eucalyptus, the setting is incredibly magical. We can see why Ray when she would arrive back to the house + studio, she would ‘inhale deeply and smile’, we did too.

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We did notice some similarities, and I am sure Emil Tessin was influenced by these case study homes. We noticed that the exposed steel beams and colors had some likeness in our Alside House, maybe that helped us feel comfortable when we were on this tour.

There was so much to be inspired by on this visit. For example, the ferns in the garden [pictured above] are something that we want to place into our garden, and we definitely want to introduce more house plants into the interior. Photography is not permitted of the interiors – but check it out for yourself – the vignettes are so inspiring. Oh! And we must be the last people on earth to learn that the ‘house bird’ is a replica of a decoy that Charles & Ray picked up in Indiana when on a road-trip after getting married in Chicago [yep – we purchase one – but on the hunt for a ‘decoy’]. Lots of inspiration here, that is why we can see that return visits would be of value – so much to experience.

No. 1: Dwell’s Top 10 PreFabs of 2017

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Well it just goes to show that these Alside prefabricated homes, of which there were 22 models to select from, and were granted a patent in 1962 have stood the test of time. Dwell have started to compile their ‘Top Ten’ lists for 2017, and we were blown away to see our little house listed as #1. See the whole article here.

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