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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Must-see sale

Back in July, I posted about the stunning home of friends Hiram and Andrew, who recently contacted my SIL to say that they're downsizing, and the house in on the market. They're planning to redecorate their new home, so (Hooray! Cue the fireworks!) most of the contents are for sale. The pieces will stay in place till the house sells, but I'll let you know the minute they're available to buy.

The 2600 square foot house has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and a pool. For those of you in other parts of the world where real estate is sky high, the asking price will make you weep...$225,000.  Here are several more photos to amaze, delight and tempt.

If you're local (or if you'd move to Texas for this house) and want to know more about the listing, email me for details.

UPDATE (3/4/13):  The house sold the first day it was on the market, which should come as no surprise. Now stay tuned for more news about the upcoming sale of the contents.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big E, little e

I've been in a buying frenzy now that my move-in date is imminent, shopping like crazy on eBay and dropping a few pennies on Etsy too. I'm starting to wind down, but I still have a few bids out. This is the fun part! Here are a few new things that will be making their way to the new modernist nest.

Vintage Danish candleholders
Don't let the nice picture fool you.
They arrived loose in a shoe box,
 without a speck of packing material...not even a little paper towel.
Luckily, they survived, but no thanks to the seller.

11" Scheurich bowl

Set of Dansk candleholders

Vintage handwoven wool wall hanging

Vintage carved bird

And a vintage folk art painted bird

And an Oiva Toikka Willow Grouse like the one we sold in the store months ago,

Signed de Simone bottle
When I looked back at a post I did on  Giovanni de Simone
 several months ago,I realized that I had included a photo
of the very same bottle as an example of his work.

Royal Haeger vases by Larry Laslo

Scheurich vase

And, yes, I'm so obsessive that I even have to have a spoon rest for my stove that I think is exactly right. Sad, I know...

Made in Italy, but probably new, from the looks of the stamp on the bottom

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alison and Peter Smithson

Alison (1928-1993) and Peter (1923-2003) Smithson were two of the most influential and controversial British architects of the mid-Twentieth Century.

Their first public building, Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, was completed in 1954 when they were still in their 20s. Known locally as The Glasshouse, the modern school was highly controversial but established the husband-and-wife team as major players in post-war British architecture. The school made use of mass-produced and prefabricated materials and reflected the influence of the Smithson's hero Mies van der Rohe.

Subsequent projects were the 1956 House of the Future, the early 1960s Economist Building and the early 1970s Robin Hood Gardens housing complex. Each demonstrated the Smithsons' determination to build schools, workplaces and homes for a progressive society.

Peter Smithson was born in Stockton-on-Tees and met Alison Gill, born in Sheffield, in 1928 when they were students at the school of architecture in Newcastle. The Smithsons married in 1949 and set up a practice together in South Kensington, which they ran as equals.

The Smithsons were not only part of the avant garde architectural movement in 1950s London, but they were part of the Independent Group, a cross-cultural discussion group, which proved to be highly influential in the British pop art movement.

The House of the Future was designed primarily by Alison for the 1956 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition. It featured a self-cleaning bath, easy-to-clean corners and remote controls for the television and the lighting.

In 1959, the Smithsons were commissioned to design a new headquarters for The Economist magazine. The success of this project led to their securing a commission for the new British Embassy in Brasilia. However, the project was dropped as a result of government spending cuts.

In the late 1969s, the Smithsons designed 213 homes at Robin Hood Gardens in east London. Unfortunately, the project suffered from structural flaws and a high crime rate. It was often used as an example of the folly of modernist architecture, and its failure was very damaging to their reputation. They only did one more major public commission and spent the rest of their careers designing residential projects for private clients.


The Hunstanton Secondary Modern School

The Economist building

Robin Hood Gardens

The Smithson's weekend house


Designed by David Levitt with additions by Alison and Peter Smithson

Friday, February 22, 2013

In the store: Eames, Saarinen and more

The store has so many new and beautiful things that it's hard to know where to start. Wherever you look, there's another iconic shape to amaze and delight...designs by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto and Paul McCobb abound. Here's a look.

1957 Eames RAR

Large brutalist wall sculpture

C. Jere' brass lamp

Carrara marble tulip tables by Eero Saarinen for Knoll

Coffee table by Alvar Aalto

Drop-leaf desk by George Nelson for Herman Miller

Slate top La Fonda table by Charles and Ray Eames

Winchendon coffee table by Paul McCobb

Red marble tulip table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll

Long teak credenza attributed to Rosengren Hansen

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Construction saga: Sneak peek

Things have moved into high gear.

Yesterday the plumbing was finished, my hot water heater was installed, and my back yard...which for weeks had been full of trenches and exposed plumbing lines...has all been filled in and looks like a yard again instead of a war zone.

Flooring will be started today, the walk-in shower will be built and glass will be installed Thursday, cabinets will be delivered Friday, the exterior will be painted Saturday, and cabinet installation will begin Monday.

But the most important thing...the thing I am most excited that the room divider I designed came to life yesterday, and it's just the way I envisioned it. Here's a sneak peek at it, before caulking and painting. The next time you see it, all kinds of lovely vintage pieces will be displayed there.

Partial wall/room divider between living room and bedroom

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Handcrafted Modern

I'm pleased to announce that our good friend Hank Tosh (the extremely talented owner of Tosh Mahal, where our furniture goes for extraordinary restoration and refinishing) is now creating his own line of handmade furniture.

We consider ourselves very fortunate indeed to be able to offer Hank's Handcrafted Modern pieces in our store. Take a look at these gorgeous mirror image, bookmatched live edge tables!

Live edge tables by Hank Tosh of Handcrafted Modern

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The generation gap: An epiphany

This photo gives you a pretty accurate window into our lives right about now...on a good day. It's starting to wear on all of us a little, but so far no one has had a major meltdown. The good news is that my contractor said I might be moved into my little modernist nest as early as the end of next week, although I'm betting on the middle of the following week, because there's still a shower to build, flooring to lay, baseboards and doors to paint, and my room divider and porch overhang to construct.

The living room, dining room and bedrooms are piled with boxes upon boxes of plumbing fixtures, flooring, light fixtures, ceiling fans and assorted hardware. A refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave are sitting in the living room alcove, and another full-sized refrigerator resides beside the back door. Furniture is covered with quilts to keep sticky little hands off. My checkbook ledger is always out on the desk, to keep tabs on how the money is holding up, and the latest incarnation of the floor plan or cabinet configuration is always visible. Then there's the perpetual laundry basket, as trying to keep clean clothes for the grandsons and clean towels for the adults is a daily challenge, as is the constant picking up of toys and shoes.

Now IKEA pieces are being assembled.

And that brings me to the subject of my epiphany about the generation gap. Most baby boomers have a younger attitude and physical appearance than their parents had at 50+. For the most part, we watch the same shows on TV as our 30-something offspring, we still listen to cool music, and we haven't started wearing sensible shoes. However, a generation gap still exists, but it's not differences in politics or philosophy that divide the young from the old. It's IKEA. Because if you're over 50, chances are IKEA drives you crazy.

The whole IKEA experience makes me nuts, from battling the ever-present crowds, some of whom are in such a rush that they practically run you down with their carts and some of whom are milling so aimlessly, with no concern for the traffic jams they're causing, that you want to ram them with your cart. And what's up with the maze of departments that practically necessitates a GPS to negotiate?

Don't even get me started on assembly. Today I'm putting together a very small medicine cabinet, and suffice it to say that I won't be putting together anything else. I'm foisting off the Expedit assembly on my SIL and daughter, using the threat that I won't move to the apartment till it's together as leverage.

After much soul searching about how much money to spend on cabinets in what will essentially be a guest house to potential buyers, I abandoned the plans for the dark cabinets in favor of birch cabinets from IKEA. (I changed directions with the countertop too, but I'll share more about that later.) One trip to IKEA was all I can stand though. I plan to phone in my final order...and pay for assembly and installation. As long as I don't have to turn another screw or tap in another dowel, I'll be happy to shell out the money.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In the store: Case goods and seating

As usual, my SIL has scored some exceptional pieces for the store. He dropped a long credenza and a large Danish wall unit off to be refinished, but here are the pieces he's put on the floor.

First, the 401 highback wing chair by Alvar Aalto finally arrived. It still has its original raffia upholstery and wooden buttons, and it's amazingly beautiful. We've been eagerly waiting for this piece, and it didn't disappoint.

401 highback wing chair by Alvar Aalto

He also got a beautiful daybed by Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen, which is a beautiful blue with a lovely frame.

Daybed by Peter Hvidt and Orla Mølgaard-Nielsen

This rosewood sideboard is massive. Look at the way it dwarfs the Sarpaneva Festivo candleholders on top of it!

Rosewood sideboard

I think this Italian bookcase is an exciting piece too. I love the glass doors and splayed legs. It's attributed to Osvaldo Borsani.

Italian bookcase attributed to Osvaldo Borsani