Sunday, December 30, 2012

levitated mass, warhol, and holiday school projects at lacma

The tree is packed and the lights are down. Best feeling of the year. Seriously. And, then thoughts turn to holiday school projects

Heizer - Levitated Mass LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art

assigned by unsympathetic teachers, with contributions invariably required by parents.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the office holiday pole decorating contest

Yep, you read that right. In our office this year, we held our second annual Holiday Pole Decorating Contest. We work in a retrofitted 1960's office building (very mid-century). The cubes and office walls have been moved here and there over the decades. The most recent remodel about six years ago left ugly black structural poles exposed and sitting in the middle of the aisles.

Office Holiday Christmas Pole Decorating Contest

Last Christmas the whole floor (I.T. team) had a pole decorating contest. I covered mine in Post-its.

Monday, December 17, 2012

christmas lights mid-century modern style

I think if I had to pick my absolutely favorite thing about Christmas decorations, I would have to pick the lights. Christmas lights on homes are just so darn pleasant.

christmas lights mid-century modern style

But in Southern California (and I assume Florida and Hawaii), light wrapped palm trees kick off the holiday decorating season and are particularly awe inspiring.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

mid-century minimalist christmas decorations

Last weekend was our gitter done weekend for house decorations and other important Christmas tasks (I warmed up a bit the previous week). I finally banged out the Christmas cards and got them mailed.

Christmas cards

I love the Christmas card tradition. I enjoy and appreciate every single card we receive. So I send a fair amount. Then, as my reward, Albert brought in the tree and the boxes of Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

xcape: vintage modern design in long beach

My wanderings down 4th Street in Long Beach (a veritable retro paradise) on Shop Local Day got briefly interrupted for Christmas. Not to worry. We are back on track.

Can you say more high end vintage furniture then you have ever laid eyes on in one store? Sure you can.

Mid-Century Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

2236 East 4th Street
Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 433-9911

Monday, December 3, 2012

christmas begins in corona del mar, california

Since I began blogging, I read a lot of home blogs. Around this time of year, the "shelter" bloggers break out their Christmas posts. Immediately after Thanksgiving, there is post after post of beautiful Christmas homes. It seems like they snap their fingers and voila! It's Christmas.

Natural Christmas Wreath

I have to ease into it and I can't be the only one. (Yes, we really do have a dolphin door knocker. It came with the house.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

inretrospect: vintageware with contemporary flair

Continuing my stroll down 4th Street in Long Beach last Saturday for "Shop Local" day, I wandered into a store which both hipsters and collectors alike can agree is just about perfect.

Inretrospect. What. A. Variety. O. M. G.

Mid-Century Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (4.8)

2122 East 4th Street
Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 433-6600

Sunday, November 25, 2012

shop local: trebor/nevets - new & vintage furnishings

In honor of the busiest shopping weekend of the year, I headed over to Long Beach to support Small Business Saturday (an American Express 2010 invented holiday), and to check out the slew of vintage shops that I have heard were hiding out on Fourth Street.

Trebor/Nevets 2116 E. 4th Street, Long Beach, CA

Trebor/Nevets was my first stop. Wow.

Mid-Century Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (4.6)

2116 E 4th St.
Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 901-0600

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the barrett's kid friendly mid-century modern


I had so much fun with the San Diego Dwell Home Tour (you can see #1 here#2 here#3 here and #4 here) that I decided to hunt down all the people I know who have cool houses. First on the list is the Barrett's 1965 California-style ranch house.

Mid-century modern landscape

I came over on a very foggy evening.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

dwell modern san diego #4: harris residence

We are in the home stretch now with our fourth post on last Saturday's (Nov. 10, 2012) Dwell Home Tours Modern San Diego. I won't say that I have saved the best for last. They were all pretty special in their own ways (you can see #1 here#2 here and #3 here).

Dwell Modern San Diego Home Tours Nov. 10 2012, Harris Residence

But the Harris Residence has something distinctly unique about it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

dwell modern san diego #3: modern cardiff

This week's Dwell Home Tours Modern San Diego post series: we're on the third gorgeous modern home with one more to go tomorrow (you can see #1 here and #2 here). Our third venue is the Modern Cardiff house.

Dwell Modern San Diego Home Tours Nov. 10 2012, Modern Cardiff

The home is incredibly distinguished looking with blackened exterior planks made from trees damaged in the Cedar Fire.

Monday, November 12, 2012

dwell modern san diego #2: one19 living studio

Dwell Home Tours Modern San Diego continues! As an avid student of the modernist movement, I was in heaven in San Diego last Saturday afternoon (Nov. 10, 2012). The second home on the tour was a modern beach inspired home with references to mid-century modern architects Richard Neutra, Cliff May, and William Wurster.

Dwell Modern San Diego Home Tours Nov. 10 2012, One19 Living Studio

This new construction of 2,200 square-feet by architect Brett Farrow, is another modern modest home which also packs quite a punch.

dwell modern san diego #1: munson residence

I drove down to San Diego from Orange County (1.5 hours), this past Saturday (Nov. 10, 2012) for the Dwell Home Tours Modern San Diego event in anticipation of a modern with a capital "M" good time. I was not disappointed. Each of the five homes I toured Saturday was unique and spectacular in its own right. I was able to take photos of four of the interiors and will post them all week. Without further ado, the first home toured was the Munson Residence, located on the Del Mar coast.

Dwell Modern San Diego Home Tours Nov 10 2012 Munson Residence

This house is located near the lagoons and coastal bluffs and has some spectacular views from its rooftop deck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

architecture for humanity: restore the shore

Dwell on Design San Diego Home Tours are happening this weekend Nov 10 & 11. As part of the event, all ticket holders are invited to the brand-new Dwell Design and Drive event, to test-drive a new Lincoln vehicle and help raise money for Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity's most recent cause is raising donations to restore the hard hit Seaside Heights, New Jersey area. You can donate directly to Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts on the Architecture for Humanity website.

Original photo of Seaside Heights courtesy of John Saeyong Ra

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ebay fail: the liability of not looking closely at listings

I have a special spot in the kitchen reserved for a mid-century atomic style clock. And, I have been looking at eBay listings for mid-century atomic clocks for a long time. I finally spotted the perfect clock. Before you can say "buy now," I entered a bid.

mid-century atomic clock

This picture is from the actual listing. Don't you think the Indian on the wall is a nice touch?

Friday, November 2, 2012

retro cook-off: mother's little helper

Family meals in our household growing up were a shared duty. My sister and I were both responsible for at least one meal a week night, as was our dad. My mom usually left a recipe out on the counter with a note, "For dinner." In case we didn't get it.

My FAVORITE dinner to make used all of these readily available, fresh from your refrigerator ingredients.

Who doesn't have a pack of Crescent rolls laying around?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

abstract versus realist: brenda k. bredvik and tom swimm

In love, everyone knows opposites attract. Said Andy Warhol, "The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet." 

Two polar opposites, abstract artistic Brenda K. Bredvik and realist artist Tom Swimm co-created an exhibit and then held their joint opening night reception, Saturday, October 27, 2012 at the Pacific Edge Gallery in Laguna Beach, California,.

Roses in the Window versus Trio.

Tom Swimm
Realist, Tom Swimm

Brenda K. Bredvik
Abstract, Brenda K. Bredvik

Who won this dual? You decide.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

retro ornament christmas wreath: by georgia peachez

In the spirit of Superstorm Sandy, we are skipping Halloween and plunging straight into Christmas. Well, actually it was my mom's birthday last week (what, you didn't get October 24th off?) and I gave her the BEST GIFT EVER.

Best. Gift. Ever.
A big jumbley pile of old Christmas ornaments? Come on, seriously?

Monday, October 29, 2012

selling out! palm springs modernism week 2013

Palm Springs, California is considered the mother of all things (desert) mid-century modern. And Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013, held from February 14th - 24th, 2013 is an eleven day desert modernism extravaganza.
Photo courtesy of ModenrismWeek.

If 2013 is anything like 2012, tickets to the week's events will sell out quicker than you can say mid-century mid-atomic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

hot and bothered for heywood-wakefield?

If you find Heywood-Wakefield indeed irresistible, I do believe I have the cure. Head immediately to Woody's Antiques in Orange. There is enough Hey-Wake in this establishment to bring even the most stoic mid-century modernist to tears.

Mid-Century Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (4.6)

169 N. Glassell
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 744-8199
Woody's Antiques

An unassuming store front for sure.

Heywood-Wakefield Woody's Antiques, Orange CA

Monday, October 22, 2012

how similar are 21st century modern and mid-century?

21st century modern and mid-century modern are extremely similar as it turns out. Most decent modern design today has its roots firmly in mid-century. And most mid-century has its roots squarely in Southern California.

Munson Residence, photo by David Harrison.
Munson Residence, photo by David Harrison.

You are wondering where this is heading? A phenomenal Dwell tour will happen in San Diego (my backyard), November 9-11, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

christmas in october: roger's gardens

Christmas should be like the Olympics--held every four years. Then, like the recent 2012 Summer Olympics, when Christmas finally rolls around, we could work ourselves up into a fever pitch enjoying it. I am the last person you would expect to remind anyone, that the holidays are right around the corner.

Roger's Gardens the Magic of Christmas 2012, Corona del Mar, CA

Sorry to disappoint. But the holidays really are right around the corner. And, the infamous Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar, California opened their Christmas Boutique, The Magic of Christmas, on October 1st. Relax, Costco has had Christmas up since August at least.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

mid-century halloween at roger's gardens

Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar, California has been selling their ridiculously over-priced gardening and home decorating goods to the citizens of Newport Beach for over 35 years. With their approximate location being less than five minutes from my home, I have been known to drop in. Especially around the holidays.

Roger's Garden, Corona del Mar CA, Halloween 2012


Monday, October 15, 2012

what is wrong with this house?

I pass by this newly constructed, crisp & clean, MODERN home at least once a week.  I have attended open houses there a dozen times. Frankly, it is my fantasy house -- an open plan, built around a courtyard, no yard, flat roof, plank ceilings, ocean view, not too big, and not too small. It has been on the market for 511 days.

711 K'Thanga Drive, Corona del Mar, CA
711 K'Thanga Drive, Corona del Mar, CA. Over view compliments of Google Maps.

A year and a half unsold? What is wrong with this house?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

home consignment center: decorator's dream

I am NOT  kidding. If you are whatsoever addicted to home decorating, but don't have the dollars to match your fantasies, you MUST visit a Home Consignment Center. There are many locations, but I frequent the Newport/Irvine store.

The Home Consignment Center
Mid-Century Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (3.8)

18910 Teller
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 250-5845
The Home Consignment Center

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

simplify your life - throw away your books

Many years ago, I took to heart the book,  Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter. It was about two go-go yuppies from the 90's (remember the term yuppy?) who basically scale back their lives to in order to enjoy living more. I really took it to heart at the time. To this day, I can throw almost anything away in the household with nary a second thought. Spring cleaning for me involves Goodwill, Craigslist, eBay and the trash. My husband and son know to hide anything they really care about when the flowers begin to blossom and the birds begin to sing.

I was horrified one evening when I looked across the room while watching Project Runway (go Team Demitri!) and spotted this disaster:

BOO! Giant FAIL. Crowded bookshelves with items stuffed helter skelter all over. Chaotic.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

warhol at the met - fake it till you make it

Was Andy Warhol (1928-1987) a genius, an artist, or was he simply the first truly self-made celebrity in a culture that has brought us Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Brett Cohen? Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, running through December 31, 2012, attempts to prove exactly how significant Warhol was as an artist by juxtaposing 45 of his best pieces with some 90 works by other artists purported to have been influenced by him.

During our three days of fill in the blank in NYC last weekend, my friend and I stopped at the Met and made our own decision.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

open letter to the captain of american airlines flight 34, LAX to JFK, sep-27-2012

Warning: This post has nothing whatsoever to do with mid-century modern.

We were cautioned about potential flight delays due to malicious pilot mischief on our recent Thursday 8AM Sep-27-2012 American Airlines flight 34 from Los Angeles International (LAX) to John F. Kennedy (JFK). Apparently the AA pilots are a little miffed about the bankruptcy and subsequent court action in September. According to the Wall Street Journal on Sep-24-2012:
A U.S. bankruptcy judge this month granted the company's motion to abrogate its current pilots contract so the airline could impose terms the company said it needs to cut labor costs and increase productivity.

Abrogate means to "repeal or do away with." I looked it up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

vintage store: glass glorious glass - the end of history

My recent trip to New York City with my ever faithful NYC weekend friend got me humming Broadway. An homage to Oliver:
Glass, glorious glass!
What wouldn't we give for 
That extra bit more?
That's all that we live for!
Wonderful glass,
Marvelous glass,
Fabulous glass!

My fourth trip (yes--I am counting) to:

The End of History
Mid-Century Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (4.6)

548 1/2 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
(212) 647-7598
The End of History

The End of History, NY NY, Vintage Mid-Century Glass

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

thrift store: american cancer society discovery shop

I have been known to haunt a thrift store or two. I think the bug was instilled in me when my mom dragged me to every thrift store & antique shop in Big Bear Lake, California on a long ago vacation. It's the treasure hunt and the possibilities that I enjoy. This post is the first in a series on the local thrift shop, antique, and consignment scene in Orange County, California. By the end of the series, we should have a virtual Orange County thrift shop directory amassed.

American Cancer Society Discovery Shop
Mid-Century Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3.4)

2600 E Coast Hwy
Corona del Mar, CA 92665
(949) 640-4777

American Cancer Society Discovery Shop

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

usc and modernism: william krisel

Who knew the USC architectural school was a critical driving force in modernism in Southern California? It stands to reason, as the university is famous for far more than its football team and **ahem** MBA program. USC is well known in the creative endeavors like music, film, drama, and architecture. A fellow patron of mid-century modern architecture, Ron Hudson, pointed out this article in the August 2012 USC alumni magazine, USC Trojan Family, Modernism for the Masses.

William Krisel Twin Palms Estates
Home by Modern architect William Krisel '49.
Twin Palms Estates in Palm Springs, California.
Picture of Krisel's wife, Corrine, and photo take by famed architectural
photographer Julius Shulman as seen in Trojan Family magazine.

Monday, September 24, 2012

lighting a mid-century modern landscape design

The best part about our new mid-century modern landscape design was the lighting. The landscaper used high end low voltage lights from Corona lighting. I went out with a tripod a few nights ago to capture the full effect.

lighting a mid-century modern landscape design
Dusk in a mid-century modern garden

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

artsy after bathroom remodel pictures

Our architect asked us if he could come over and photograph the finished mid-century modern remodeled bathrooms.

Great angle.

Monday, September 17, 2012

landscaping a mid-century modern home

After we remodeled our bathrooms, we were left with a 10 by 67 square foot piece of land off the back fence. I was terrified it would turn in a junkyard. Odd bits of yard are prone to become somewhat ghetto overnight ... a hose here, some unused lumbar there, random pieces of flagstone stacked up against a wall -- and before you know it, a blight on the neighborhood.  But, luckily, I had saved a tiny bit of the remodel budget to deal with our mid-century modern garden problem. I was obsessed with having a view out the new bathroom window:

mid-century modern landscaping before picture

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

do it yourself or hire a landscaper?

Do you do it yourself or do you hire a landscaper? That was the question Albert and I have tussled back and forth with since the completion of our mid-century modern bathroom remodel back in May. Since the finish of the job we have been staring at this:

remodel addition mid-century modern
Strip of land at the back of the house created by the remodel

Monday, September 10, 2012

artistic eichler exactingly embellished

Another Eichler for sale in the coveted Orange Fairhaven tract. This one is a real beauty. What I love about it, almost more than the fact it is an Eichler, is the decor. The owners really know their mid-century modern. These pictures are courtesy of EichlerSoCal who holds the listing. Take a step inside ...

You are typically greeted by a rather plain front entry in an Eichler home. Honestly, these homes don't look like much from the outside.

Eichler Fairhaven Orange CA

Friday, September 7, 2012

a neutra with nine lives in newport beach

If you live anywhere near Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, California, how many times have you driven past this building? Hundreds of times on your way to or from the Pizza Bakery?

Neutra's Mariners Medical Arts Building
Mariners Medical Arts Building, 1901 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA

A Neutra sits among us!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

a tribute to mexican gardeners

Due to our remodel the first half of the year, we let the yard get completely out of control. The sprinklers got cut by the construction work on one side of the yard, and we never repaired them. The tress and plants look a little overgrown and wilty.

mid-century modern landscape
Center courtyard landscape
The picture above isn't a bad angle, it is really the way our side yard looks. This side yard faces the center patio, so I see it every single day, and we use this patio for entertaining. This bit of our yard annoys me on a regular and ongoing basis. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

phone charging challenges be gone

Do you struggle with the mass of cords and chargers cluttering up your kitchen counter or a favorite desktop? Do the cries of, "where's the charger," ring throughout your home? It seems, we all universally grapple with the daily charging of the one to two devices per household family member. Over the years I have tried a number of solutions. Including, you guessed it, a Pottery Barn cell phone charging station.

Pottery Barn charging station
Pottery Barn charging station (seriously?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

john lautner hiding in orange county on balboa island

We live within a 5 minute walk of Balboa Island, in Newport Beach. And for years, I have admired this magnificent modern home which sits on a prime west facing bayside location. I had often noticed, a little elderly lady sitting in the window in a wheel chair or watching TV. You could usually see her nurse nearby. For the past several years the home has sat vacant. I decided to investigate.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
John Lautner's Rawlins House

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

purging pottery barn from a mid-century modern

This was the year I finally purged my house of Pottery Barn.  When we first acquired our mid-century modern some fifteen years ago, I was confused. I was confused about what the architectural style of the house. I tried to force fit the house into Frank Lloyd Wright craftsman bungalow (huh?). And I became very enamored with Pottery Barn and the seashore cottage style. It was all the rage in the early oughts. Here is an article about incredible Pottery Barn product placement in a 2000 episode of  Friends and how the plot line of the show was that Rachel was trying to hide a Pottery Barn purchase from Phoebe who hated mass produced items.

I acquired this beautiful John Suart armoire on eBay a few months back:

John Stuart Armoire
John Stuart Armoire

Saturday, August 18, 2012

sedona's mid-century modern: chapel of the holy cross

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we drove a few hours south to Sedona, Arizona. I had heard great things about Sedona for years:

"Sedona is so beautiful."
"The shopping in Sedona is great."
"Sedona is one of my favorite places."

Stuff like that. Honestly, our first impressions can be summed up pretty quickly: Sedona in August is HOT. Turns out, August is Sedona's hottest month. We kind of figured our trek across the desert was a little mistimed, but we had gotten boxed in by the price of plane tickets and our own lack of planning so we had high hopes for the coolest August on record. No luck.

Bell Rock Sedona
Albert and Alex hiking up to Bell Rock

Thursday, August 16, 2012

mid-century modern at the grand canyon

After our trek to Las Vegas and appreciation of Vegas art, we headed over to the Grand Canyon. Honestly, it was stunning.

South Rim Grand Canyon
South Rim Grand Canyon

Pictures do not do it justice. But you try.

Monday, August 13, 2012

modern and ancient art in vegas

Art in Vegas? Most people think of Vegas of the land of the over done, over sexed, rhinestone studded spectacle. Kind of like the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, including the super good looking athletes.
Closing ceremony from

But, if you look hard, Vegas has art, and is inspiring in its gigantic, over-done insane way. On our recent family trek across the desert, we stopped in Vegas, just to understand how 110 degree temperatures interfere with electronics, automobiles and human cognitive processes. I had a chance to snap these views from an iPhone 4S (iPhone pictures give any standard digital camera a run for its money).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

lighting gone wrong: the pitfalls of home improvement projects

It is an absolute fact: no matter how easy the home project and no matter the skill of the projector (projectee?), projects can quickly spiral out of control. One fix can break something else, a purchase to right a wrong will lead quickly to the next purchase. I have been waiting months to write this post, thinking, that at some point we would be done. Since we will never be done, let's get going.

In April, I went to New York City with my cousin.

Meat Packing District NYC
Me in the Meat Packing District

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Orange County Fair #2: Furniture at the Fair

Next to the food at the fair, the best part to me is the competitions (I know you thought I was going to say tattoos but I will get to that later). I think it is cool that at country fairs all over the country, people enter items in contests. And, the contests run the gamut, from food, to crafts, to agriculture. I like the welcome statement on the competitions page, "For 123 years artists, craftspeople, farmers and youth have entered competitions at the OC Fair. In 2012, the spirit of competition is alive and strong in Orange County."

I am a bit of a furniture-a-holic, so the very first stop I made was the woodworking competition. Here are my top ten picks, and all of them are distinctly modern, presented here in order of traveling through the exhibit (almost like you are there).

#1. This wonderful Nakashima-inspired chair handmade by Tyler Smutz of Killstress Designs (get the play on words kill-stress) is one of my favorite pieces because of the unique two legs. If the maker is this Tyler Smutz he is also a Broadway set carpenter, what are the odds? 

Tyler Smutz Chair
Tyler Smutz Chair

Monday, July 23, 2012

Orange County Fair #1: Food at the Fair

I have a love-hate relationship with the Orange County Fair. I hate all the bizarre food, the crush of the great tattooed masses and the general dirt and noise. And, honestly, I love it. What could be more mid-century than a county fair?

I bring to you a series of posts about the fair. You will feel like you are almost there. The first post is about the food. A true fair person would have eaten the food and told you how fantastic it is, but alas, I can only show you what looks interesting. I am just a tiny bit afraid of fair food. If this gets you REALLY hungry, the fair is running July 13-August 12. You can try it for yourself.

On A Thursday night, people filling up the picnic tables for Fair food. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

an eichler in orange?

What self-respecting mid-century modern fan doesn't love an Eichler? I have often harbored dreams that our house is an Eichler because whoever designed it certainly ripped off all the elements: the central courtyard, plank ceilings, flat roof, and wood floors.

mid-century modern living room
Looks kind of like an Eichler? See the window strip on the right?
The post and beam construction, the plank ceiling, blah blah, I could show you more.

Alas, I have never gone done to the Newport Beach City Building Department to inspect the original plans to see exactly who the mystery plagiarist is. Maybe I will, when the building department moves to their new Taj Mahal location just down the street.

Monday, July 16, 2012

lenoir house bedroom furniture - broyhill's second cousin

Acquiring a Broyhill bedroom set is the ultimate Valhalla for mid-century modern collectors with the Brasila line being particularly distinctive. A search on eBay for Brasilia furniture reveals an endless supply of gorgeous pieces (an original Brasilia brochure compliments of

Here is a beautiful Brasilia dresser/credenza on stewzannethingsilike.
Brasilia Dresser