Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little Atomic Splendor for the Holidays

We did a little bit of decorating for the holidays. First, John hung icicle lights all along the front of the house just as the previous owner, June, had done. She left us all her lights and I think they look terrific.

We also bought a vintage aluminum tree on ebay. No, it doesn't have the rotating color wheel but it did come with a rotating stand. So the whole tree s-l-o-w-l-y rotates. I love it and it made for easy decorating. The aluminum branches are a bit precarious and won't take much weight so we put the lights under the tree this year.

And finally, here's an old plant stand I got at a thrift store years ago. We filled it with icicle lights and set it in our front entry.

Christmas is a great time to be in Santa Fe - there is the traditional farolito (bag o' lights) walk down Canyon Rd. on Christmas Eve, and since we live pretty close to there, we're having an open house this year. If you're in Santa Fe for the holidays, come on by on Christmas Eve!!! A happy holiday season to all - and here's to lots of midcentury marvelousness in the coming year!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We're Not in Kansas Any More

We're home from Kansas. When I last posted, we had had a lot of fun shopping but hadn't really bought anything. Well, we found one more cool store in Kansas City on our last morning, it was called Weird Stuff. It was just the kind of dusty old place that we really enjoy. The kind of place where the longer you stay and dig around, the more stuff you find. Well, they had a whole bunch of radios and John ended up buying 3 more for his collection-

We also ended up with some fun old vintage magazines.

Then we hit the road and left Kansas City, headed for home. We scored again though, in Dodge City, at the Happy Trails Flea Market (indoors). It was an antique mall kind of place and had a little bit of everything. I got a vintage popcorn popper for 10 bucks - it heats up but I don't know if I'll really ever use it to pop popcorn, I just like its retro rocket look!

And I got a little copper enamel dish for $3 that matches the kitchen tile perfectly.

So, we're back home now and happy with our finds. Guess I'll just have to keep shopping on ebay and craigslist for that perfect vintage coffee table....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hunting Down MCM in Kansas City

We decided to do a road trip to Kansas City. John's mom was from Leavenworth and he had always been interested in learning more about her side of the family, so we made a trip out of it. We finished with the family stuff first, then had a few days to play in KC.

On Monday, we started our hunt for MCM stuff at the River Market Antique Mall. Lots of fun stuff there of all vintages. 4 floors of stuff. Recommended.

Then on to the big MCM furniture motherlode of KC, Retro Inferno. Wonderful store, helpful staff, but we didn't find anything we had to have.

On to Boomerang (39th and Pennsylvania), a great vintage clothing store with some housewares and furniture thrown in. Another fun spot.

On the way to Boomerang, we passed through a very interesting neighborhood. It was a lovely wooded area, with quite the variety of houses. First, a charming stone cottage-

and next door, something straight out of the 60s or 70s!

And this across the street - bizarre!

After Boomerang, we did a driving tour of some of Kansas City's midcentury modern homes (see the KCModern website for the tour). They were interspersed in neighborhoods of "normal" 1950s ranch houses-

What makes the modern ones different? Those trapezoidal windows and post and beam construction are always a giveaway- (this one has the entirely wrong style of door though - look out, I'm calling the design police!)-

Also - the big windows or sliding glass doors to the outside, blurring the distinction between indoors and out. You can see in the front window by the door here and right on out the back-

The front often does not have these big windows though, the front is often very private-

On Tuesday, we began the day at the ReStore (not much in the way of residential goodies), then on to a great architectural salvage place called Foundation. Great place, and they had this tremendous 5 FOOT wide modern lamp, I think he said it was from a department store. I LOVE this thing and they actually had several of them. Looked like the bottom of a rocketship to me. Wish I had a place for it....

On to some other vintage shops around town, then we hit the 1950's All Electric Home. This home was built as a model "house of the future" for Kansas City Power and Light in 1954. It was open for visitors for 6 months before being sold and lived in for about 40 years. Then, the Johnson County Museum bought the house and restored it to it s original condition based on the original drawings, etc. I wasn't allowed to take pics inside but there are some pics available on the internet. This one shows the living room - it has an electric "fireplace" with a tv hidden in the wall above it (a motorized painting slides out of the way to reveal the tv); motorized curtains; and recessed lighting.

This shows the kitchen of the future-

The laundry area had a combination front loading washer and dryer, all in one. They make these now but I never had seen such a thing. They also had a light sensor in the garage - when it got dark, it would turn on all these little night lights in the hallway outlets so you could see. Nifty! And all the floor heat registers seemed familiar to me - that's because they were just like Baz's over at Atomic Indy!

And finally, here's a pic of some globe lights at our hotel. I like the mixture of heights and sizes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grilles, Screens, and Blinds

In the last post, I mentioned how the metal fabrication place had gone ahead and fabricated the grille for the end of the plenum without giving me an estimate and then they made it too big. Well, they had it fixed by the next day. I think it's a cool looking 50's-ish style of perforated metal and I'm pleased with it.

On the fireplace front - our contractor had recommended someone to us and he turned out to be great. He did a lovely job making a custom fireplace screen and a matching screen door to go over the space housing the stereo cabinet (former wood box). The stereo door looks a little wonky here as it isn't mounted on the wall just yet.

John made a nice stereo box with fully extending shelves to access the back of all that electronic equipment in there. And having a screen door in front (not pictured below) means the remote works through the door.

And finally, we ordered some vertical blinds from Smith and Noble. They had seemed to be in a good middle price range and we liked the fact that their Customer Service was so accessible and friendly. So we got those on Tuesday and John installed them over the last 2 evenings. I like them and the mechanism seems pretty good, but the valance over the top seems cheap. (I see we didn't even have the valance up yet when I took these pics.) And installing the chain at the bottom is not explained in the instructions and looks to be a royal pain so I haven't tackled that yet. But I think they look really nice and are certainly the right look for the room. We made them so they are longer than the actual sliding glass doors and hang outside of the space the doors are in. That way, when they are pulled open, the stacked blinds do not cover any of the window space, but are stacked over on the side, in front of the wall. (I think we figured out that the 8' sliding glass doors worked out to a stack depth of about 15" - surprising how big that is.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One Year Now

Today marks the one year anniversary of buying this house. What a year! We were very lucky to be able to sell our old house in that time (there are houses in our old neighborhood which were on the market before ours was which still haven't sold), which then enabled us to start remodeling this one. We were able to get the contractor we wanted, he was available to do the work when we wanted, and it all got done in 4 months. This past weekend we had a huge garage sale along with some friends of ours and that was the final step for me - getting rid of the piles of boxes which have been in my office ever since we moved in. I finally feel settled in now. No more living in construction OR boxes.

There's not so much to report on the remodeling front right now. There will be more remodeling projects in the future - there is still PLENTY we want to do on this house, but we aren't starting anything major any time soon. John has been doing a lot of house work - some exterior painting outside of our new front windows (you could see the ucky paint under the eaves from the inside now and that needed to be prettied up), putting back the cool house numbers on the exterior that we bought last year, taking down the now-defunct lamppost in the front yard, etc. etc. Nothing really blog-worthy. But here's one little thing he did that's kinda clever. We had a big hole at the end of the plenum, above the dropped ceiling in the hallway. I went to a local metal fabrication shop, picked out a cool 50's looking grille for it, took them a template, then never heard from them again. So - until we get someone to do it the way I want it, John took a cheapo plastic grille sold at Home Depot for flourescent light fixtures - you've all seen them - very carefully cut it (the plastic wants to shatter) and fit it in there. It actually looks fine but I like the grille I had picked out better so I'll eventually get around to replacing it. But this works great. Thanks to our friend Mike for this idea! (As I was writing this post, the metal fabrication place called me that my piece was done! They never even gave me an estimate. I was peeved. Went to pick it up and it was bigger than the template so they are now redoing it. Grrrr.)

We are also working on getting a fireplace screen custom made, along with a matching screen door to go next to it, to cover the former wood bin/stereo box. This has also been problematic, with the number one fireplace screen guy in town giving us a ridiculously high estimate and taking his time even getting us the estimate. Anyway, we've got a few new people bidding on the job now who seem a lot better. Hopefully that will get done soon.

I've been trying to do some decorating. Got this great starburst clock on ebay recently. It was broken but $5.99 in new clockworks from Hobby Lobby did the trick. I think it looks great next to John's dad's Nakashima lamp.

We fixed up the entry a bit. Still haven't heard from Greyhound about how they are going to pay for the damage they did to my little Danish chest. But we hung my friend Michael's painting here, lit by a little bullet lamp that was a housewarming present last year. The orange phone to the left in the back was also a housewarming present, and the cute little phone stand was a purchase on a recent trip to Phoenix from Phoenix Metro Retro. Guests love to use the orange phone (it works and has a terrific loud ring).

Anyway, stay tuned. I want to do an upcoming post on our neighbors' largely-untouched MCM house and I want to try and learn more about this neighborhood this winter. I had to go to the county courthouse yesterday and tried to find out if they had any info as to who the architect was on this house but they said they would not have this in their records. I am wondering if City Hall would have this on file with original building permits? If anyone knows how to go about tracking this info down, let me know. I have a developer's name so maybe that will help. Ciao!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like - Home

Hard to believe. We moved into this house 11 months ago. At the time, our other house was still on the market and had not sold. We had half of our furniture here and half at the other house, "staging" it. When the other house finally sold, some of the furniture was sold with it and never came here at all. So we borrowed some furniture, knowing we'd have to buy a few new pieces after the remodel. When we started remodeling this place, all excess furniture was returned to its previous owners or gotten rid of since we were now living in half of our living space.

Well, now the remodeling is basically done and we are able to move into our new space. Miraculously, the new sofa and barstools we had had on order for months arrived within a day of each other. We quickly re-borrowed (on long term loan) some furniture from John's sister - their dad had been quite a collector of MCM and Danish furniture and we finally had the perfect place for some of it! So everything was able to come together fairly quickly in the last few weeks. Still have more decorating to do but we're getting there. It's actually starting to feel like home. It feels great. We really love it. It was worth the long haul.

But back to where we left off. John needed to assemble the Ikea wardrobes in the hallway - they function as our entry closets.

The entry used to seem too big, but with the cabinets and our garage sale slat bench, it all seems correct now.

Here's the view from walking in the front door - the "cube" in front, housing the laundry and pantry, and a cute little Danish chest I bought on ebay and which subsequently Greyhound mauled. I've got a claim into Greyhound so here it sits with its dents in it until I find out what will happen to it. Need some fabulous artwork here!

Then here's the view from the end of the pony wall. The barstools, sofa, and cabinet behind the sofa are new - the Ikea cabinet behind the sofa houses the fiestaware collection I inherited from my grandmother - but just about all of the other furniture is inherited from John's dad Lou.

The sputnik lamp is new, from lamparts on ebay. I love this lamp!

We still haven't come to an agreement as to what shoud go on the display shelves. I think John's vintage radios should go up there and he doesn't. He thinks the view from the back is ugly (it's not) and who is going to see them from the back anyway except us? Still under debate.

When we bought the house, we joked that it needed an intercom. So - ebay! It's a vintage Rangeaire intercom with tubes! John will get it working - it'll have connections to intercoms in various rooms of the house, the electrician wired it all in. But it still needs more work. For now, it's just for show. We love it although John isn't sure if it fits in. (It's in the hallway right by the kitchen.) I love all the dials and switches.
Here's something I got on ebay years ago - an old industrial sign of Reddy Kilowatt saying, "Live Better Electrically." I talked John into moving it home from our shop, I thought Reddy fit right in here at the end of the hallway.
And here's the current view of the entry, with a Scandanavian rug from Lou on the back side of the pony wall.

We're getting there and it's feeling homier every day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Floor and Tile

Well, the contractor is basically finished here - woo hoo! There are a couple of details he will come back to work on later but a lot of the little details left are things we said we'd do. So we are in the process of moving back into our space, giving everything a good cleaning, and doing some finish work. But here's what's been accomplished in the last week -

1- The Backsplash. This was the one thing I was most excited about. We chose a 1x1" tile mosaic mix by Oceanside Glasstile (the Enchantment Blend in the Tessera collection). I felt like the product was very contemporary, and yet the 1x1"tile was a pretty 1950s thing.

The tiles are all hand made and irregular and come in different finishes - clear glass, matte glass, and iridescent glass. The blends are a mixture of these types. This really gives some zing to the space and yet I don't think it's overwhelming at all. It's everything I wanted it to be which is a relief seeing as this is pricey tile!

2- The floor!! Our Kahrs engineered Cherry Savannah floor arrived and was installed in 3 days this week. It comes in 8' lengths and is 3 planks wide. It's an engineered plywood type of product that snaps together. There is a thin layer of real cherry on top. There are no nails or glue in our floor, it all floats on a layer of a felt-like product.

We love our floor!

And the Marmoleum (a real linoleum product, made out of linseed oil) came in for the laundry area as well. We went for a wild orange color (Asian Tiger was the name of it I think). Well, it is LOVELY and not as wild as you think an orange floor might be! It really reminds me of my marbled papers.

As you can see, where it meets the cherry floor in the doorway, the color really transitions nicely.

3- Appliances! Husband John installed the new refrig and dishwasher (from Ikea) as well as the new stackable washer and dryer (LG from Sears). As suspected, I think the washer and dryer look obscenely huge. For a family of 2, they are overkill. I had a fairly new front loading washer at the old house and it was not as big but American front loading washers just keep getting bigger and bigger. You can go out and pay a lot more for an Ansko or Bosch or something European that is smaller but we ended up with the LG. The stove gets installed tomorrow when Jack, the electrician, comes to finish up (he'll be adding the under counter lighting and a few other things).

4- The Bar. The contractor was waiting on the floor to be installed before finishing the front of the bar. Ed used some of the birch panels from Ikea (you can buy them to match your cabinetry) and there is a 1/4" reveal between the panels. Ed used a strip of some kind of black automotive tape that husband John came up with at the back of the gap so it would look nice.

So - we have spent the weekend moving back into our space - unpacking boxes, washing lots of dishes, etc., arranging, and rearranging. And there is finish work - I've been on baseboard duty - filling the little nail holes with wood putty, sanding, caulking the upper edge against the wall, and today I will paint the areas that need it (the baseboards were pre-painted before they were nailed down). John has been working on the appliances but today he is going to work on the post by the stove, that supports the floating shelves. Installing the shelves meant notching into the post 3/4" for support and that notch needed to be cleaned up and finished. Ed suggested that husband John use caulk or even Bondo on the bigger gaps. In addition, as the post cured and dried out, it needed some more sanding, so the whole post, notches and sanded areas and all, will get touch-up painted and finished today. Then we can finally take the plastic off of the top of the bar!

And I need to put some more sealer on the hearth before we start putting furniture in the living room. So we're getting close.

And finally, here's a picture of our happy crew taking a lunch break - contractor John, Jack the electrician, and Ed the Detail Man. I'll miss their smiling faces. But not the mess! We are very very thankful for all their hard work and for the beautiful job they did on our (now) wonderful house!!