Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Modern Weekend in LA

We went to LA last weekend, catching the California Modernism show at LACMA before it ended. That was tremendous fun - they had everything from iconic furniture to textiles to an Avanti to a reproduction of Charles and Ray Eames' living room (with the actual furnishings). Or check out this Airstream!

 And you could peek out back at the latest installation which will be unveiled any day now - the giant (340 tons) rock (that you may have read about as it traveled through California) perched over a slit in the earth. It isn't finished yet, the rock is wrapped up like a Christo!

And by the way, if you happen to go to LACMA, the modern show ended this weekend, but you should definitely catch Chris Burden's Metropolis II in action - see listing for times - it's terrific.

But the highlight of the trip for me was our visit to the Stahl house. The Stahl house was Case Study house number 22, designed by architect Pierre Koenig, along with the house's owner, Buck Stahl. The house is open for tours a few days a week. If you're lucky, Buck Stahl's son Mark will be there and can answer your questions. The house tours are limited in size to a small group of people which makes for a nice, quiet, intimate experience. As with most things in life, the house was not quite what I expected. It does not sit alone on a huge spread of land - it is actually on a hillside chock full of other houses - and is on a mere 0.25 acres of land, which is pretty much all hillside. Driving up, all you see is a wall and a fence. You wouldn't give it a second look.

But once you go through the gate, the tremendous house and its tremendous view open up in front of you.

And the house is really smaller than I'd imagined.

Nothing grand or pretentious, just a fabulous fabulous house. I'm so glad we got to go see it in person. Highly recommend if you're going to LA. Book a reservation in advance!

John also went to the Petersen Automotive Museum, they were having an exhibit of scooters. I'd like this one-

Or perhaps this car and trailer combo -

But for the weekend, we had fun in our stylin' Fiat 500-

Sunday, April 8, 2012

John's Office (finally)

I can't believe it's taken me so long to write about John's office remodel but better late than never. You may recall that John's office had started out, years and years ago, as part of the carport, or perhaps, a little laundry area out under the carport. The last owners had enclosed this and incorporated into the house. But it always felt a little funky - a very low ceiling because of the slope of the roof - and it was a pretty dark space. Definitely a "man cave." Here's how it looked when we started -

And here's how it looks now-

We knocked out the cedar closet they had added so that the room would be bigger - and we now have 4 windows instead of 2 (3 are rectangular and one is trapezoidal, continuing that theme throughout the house). We had these bookshelves custom made to put under the windows - they were made to echo the style of the original kitchen cabinets (with sliding doors), except we painted the doors. We had some aluminum "fins" made for under the rafters. John had seen a picture of some similar ones in a 1950s house design book and had to have them. He also paneled one wall in cherry, a nod to the original wood paneling in the houses on our street (although ours had all been painted white)-

We used a nice orange click marmoleum for the floor. But to protect it, we covered a lot of it with FLOR tiles-

I love the mix of color. It's a color mix that we saw in the FLOR catalog and liked. I think it came out great.

And by the way - I never realized how much FLOR tiles were based on the work of Alexander Girard, but here is a picture of the inside of the famous Miller house in Columbus, where Girard designed the fabrics and interiors-

And here's another picture of the Miller house. I really liked how their bookcases had different colored backings.

So we decided to paint the backings for the Billy (Ikea) bookcases we bought for John's office (more color!!)-

It seems like a lot of color at first, but with the shelves full of books, it's a lot more toned down.

And that Eames aluminum group chair? 50 cents at a salvage sale.

John is loving his new light-filled, colorful office!

Well, I'll be writing again before too long. We're going on a quick trip to LA at the end of May - we'll be able to see the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's modernism show before it leaves AND we're going on a tour of the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) - you know the one- my dream house -