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ARCHITECTURE AND PRESERVATION NEWS for the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee (ModCom) and other Mid Century Modern, Googie, International, Art Deco, 20th Century design

Moderators: I_LUV_POWER!!!!, Joe, Adriene, moderns-r-us, Tony, Futura Girl, sean, Josh Geidel, nichols, Java

cadman
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Postby cadman » Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:02 am

What a Neat Place!

Long time lurker and first time poster- Just wanted to say Hi! to everyone.

I was just curious, I've been planning an MCM designed house of my own for the past year while I lay out the design and work on the land aquisition and of course have acquired the necesary books, designs, photos and of course inspiration. But was wondering, is there anyone here that's stepped out to build their own jet-set design?

I'd love to hear from the architectural fans!

Cory

napgirl
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Postby napgirl » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:43 am

All right, I'm finally coming out of the lurkers' closet. This is my fourth morning in my new mid-mod house, built in 1954 (I moved from a 1750s cape nearby). It currently sits on seven acres (down from the original forty-acre spread, but still plenty private, with an astonishing water view), around half a mile as the crow flies from the Atlantic Ocean, on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

It languished on the market for eight months before I made an offer--the sellers started out asking an absurd $1.575 million, and I got it for about half that.

A series of rather horrific later renovations and additions have all but obscured the mid-mod architect's intent. I'm almost ashamed to admit that at first, I in fact regarded the house as a teardown, of value solely for its spectacular lot. But I had a home inspection done anyway, and the condition report was so positive that I began to feel really guilty about demolishing it. Then, too, while having a wee snoop around during the inspection, I found the original plans. To make a long story slightly shorter, the place turns out to have been designed by Daniel Urban Kiley, best known as a preeminent modernist landscape architect (and early collaborator with Garrett Eckbo) but also, and perhaps incidentally, the author of a dozen or two houses in New England. Kiley's archives are at Harvard, and there's a big file there on this house, containing twenty-six drawings dating from 1953 to 1964. The people who sold it to me began screwing around with it in 1987, so there's a frightening amount of white melamine and way more storage than even the most obsessive packrat could ever need. They added a huge two-car garage with a studio above, which is the first (and only) thing you see when you drive up. They moved the stairs from the main room to a new entrance hall, so you open the front door and stare down into what looks to be the very mouth of hell. Around the enormous central fireplace, they built out a "media center" and yet more storage cabinets that completely destroy any sense of an open plan--you quite literally can't see from one side of the room to another. They replaced the standing-seam metal roof with asphalt, and the asphalt floors with oak and cheesy marble-look vinyl. They installed an over-the-top Euro master bath, complete with a walk-through shower and (of course) a bidet. In other words, they really did it up wrong. (I guess I'm grateful for that, though, because it so turned off all other prospective buyers.)

Some things, happily, they couldn't wreck. The lot, despite the sellers' stupid plant choices, remains exquisite, wild and buffered on all sides from neighbors (at dawn today my dogs and I watched a fisher cat do three circuits around the sloping meadow outside my bedroom window, and yesterday a Cooper's hawk sat in a tree out back for nearly an hour). It's an upside-down house, set on a hillside, so the public areas are on the main floor and give the feeling of being in a treehouse, while the private rooms downstairs feel much more a part of the landscape. It's got good bones (she hopefully insists).

I think it'll be extraordinary (again) one day, though right now it seems like a pretty monumental project. I'll be needing a few truckloads of moral support from you guys, I expect--so thanks, in advance.

Here's a link to the selling broker's "visual tour"--not sure how long it will stay operative:

http://www.visualtour.com/shownp.asp?T=277732

Cheers!

Dorothy, aka napgirl

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:34 am

Whew! -- Quite a spread. Wonderful property, house or no house. That "Great Room" is. . .great! (Wright was one of the few modernists to decorate a "tent" ceiling in that way -- that could be repeated in the other raised ceilings.) You have a set of original drawings? Do you suppose the diagonally-laid floor in the Great Room is original? While you're deciding what to tackle first, a simple and possibly "meditative" task would be to paint out all those posts in the exterior railings with a nice gray, leaving the rails and support posts white. Very calming, for you and for the house?

Sorry to hear of -- and see -- all the changes and additions. If you can part with it (??) the garage/studio could be offered to the first party willing to remove it -- or it could be moved elsewhere on your property? Big job, and not necessarily the first priority. Depends on whether you aim for a total restoration. Then, the bidet can go into the kitchen, for washing vegetables. . .I think you did well to acquire this property as you did; even in its present state it would seem to be a highly desirable bargain, attractive to many for its size, amenities and location.

Joe will have more to say about the well-regarded Dan Kiley -- it's news to me that he was responsible a number of house designs. (I had the pleasure of working briefly with Robert Royston, early partner of Mr Eckbo, out here in Mill Valley, where his current practice is Royston, Hanamoto, Alley & Abey. He and his lovely wife live in a house designed for him by Joe Stein. A charming and gentle man.)

Good luck -- we're with you! SDR
"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

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Postby Keke » Mon Feb 07, 2005 7:21 am

Hey, y'all--

I was a long-time lurker to the LottaLiving forum; now, I'm a first-time poster. I live in the greater Atlanta area in a wonderful mod neighborhood. Mod homes are pretty few and far between, since most Atlantans prefer homes that look like "Tara"! Another LottaLiving poster, Johnny Apollo, has just started a website about the neighborhood, Northcrest.

Interests include vintage movie posters, cartoons, tiki bars, and Heywood-Wakefield furniture. I tend to decorate in a style I've labeld Ko-ordinated Kitsch!

:wink:

contos
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Hello

Postby contos » Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:24 pm


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Joe
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Postby Joe » Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:46 pm

welcome, contos. SD is nice, but tough for housing. We have a few regulars on this board from SD. Here are some linkage

http://www.lottaliving.com/gallery/resi ... sd_modtour
http://www.modernsandiego.com/


Keke: Ko-ordinated Kitsch is Kool. Be sure to share some pix

napgirl: undoing other's creativity sucks. why did they have to mess it all up, anyway?! Welcome!

Kentucky, Oklahoma, Iowa... WELCOME!

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Vavala
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Postby Vavala » Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:22 am

Last edited by Vavala on Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NateCole
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Hello

Postby NateCole » Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:42 pm

Last edited by NateCole on Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby TOMINOC » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:56 am


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sky
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Postby sky » Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:11 am

I'm one of those guys that doesn't read directions (or ask for them), so it took me awhile to get to this thread. I'll try to be brief and stay on topic - both would be unusual events for me.

I've appreciated modern architecture for a long time - and MCM back when it was just the last "M." I had an uncle who built a modern house in New Jersey in the mid 60s, the first one in the area that cost over 100K, and that cost was so astonishing that the beauty of the house was less discussed. My brother is an architect, but back in High School (early 70s), I was the better draftsman - which I suppose is irrelevant now because of CAD. I moved to LA in the late 70s, and to north San Diego county in the 80s. I live in a contemporary house built in the 90s (but I did find a cool googie-ish ceiling fan, below).

I've been a computer dude for the last 25 years, and am now semi-retired with too much time on my hands for Internet surfing.

Image

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:28 am


CruzinTiki
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Hi there!

Postby CruzinTiki » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:03 pm

I'm one of your neighbors from Tiki Central ... thought I'd pop on over and check out your site -- love it!

I'm originally from L.A. area (Glendale and Sherman Oaks), currently living in Santa Cruz. I live in an old, converted Victorian that I rent, but it does have some mod accents.

Diningroom fixture:

Image

Bathroom tile:
Image
All hail the freaky tiki!

aprilbaby
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Hey there!

Postby aprilbaby » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:41 pm

Great site. I'm not sure if my first post posted, and if it did, sorry!

CapitalMod
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Hello

Postby CapitalMod » Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:22 pm

Hi,

My name is Charles and I reside in Washington, DC, specifically Cleveland Park. I have been lurking here for some time and its time to come out of the fog. I really enjoy reading the various threads, particularly Joe’s insights.

My liking for MCM was a long time coming. The spark was probably a trip to LA years ago where a friend drove me around the avenues every night. I recall noticing certain aspects of the city that I could not put my finger on. Later on I would find this out to be Googie. The appeal has since grown and I am slowly converting my pad to a vintage MCM look.

Its not like LA, but we do have some good MCM examples here: Dulles Airport, RFK Stadium, Hollins Hills, Rock Creek Woods, High Point, and a lot of sporadic gems here and there. I love LA and having a sister there enables me to visit fairly often. Of course, I always take in some MCM while there. I look forward to gaining a lot of insight here. Thanks for creating and maintaining a great site. ***

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:25 pm

welcome, CapitalMod

DC-Virginia is home to many great designs by Charles Goodman, a builder's architect who embraced prefabrication in the 1950s. Like A. Quincy Jones, Palmer & Krisel, Ed Fickett, Anshen & Allen, and Cliff May & Chris Choate, Goodman found an affordable way to bring good designed modern ranch homes to thousands of folks.

Have you seen any of his homes (Hollin Hills), or commercial work in the area? I would like to see more of Goodman's commercial/public stuff.
Last edited by Joe on Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CapitalMod
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Gracias

Postby CapitalMod » Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:51 pm

Thanks Joe!

Indeed I have seen both Hollin Hills and Rock Creek Woods. Both are fantastic, but I think I like High Point best of all, probably because it was on the way to Grandma's. I do not know the designer of High Point, but will look into it. I will also look into Goodman's commercial stuff, and take some pictures of all of them,

I hope to live in one of his houses someday- unless I finally pack up and move to California.

Thanks again,

Charles ***

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momp57
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Dallas Newbie

Postby momp57 » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:41 pm

Hi,

I'm Monty from Dallas, TX. My partner, a couple of pups and I live in a little mod house in an otherwise traditional neighborhood in SE Dallas. I've just recently found this forum and look forward to a place that understands my tastes.

Take Care,
Monty

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:54 pm

welcome, tex!

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momp57
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Thanks

Postby momp57 » Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:31 pm


fashunchik
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Los Angeles newbie

Postby fashunchik » Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:32 pm

Hello.

My husband & I recently purchased a nice little modern built in 1953 in the amazing community of Baldwin Hills Estates. Believe it or not, there are still some cuties here with their original touches -- rock roofs [one of our favs is flamingo pink!], lots of stonework, flat roofs, carports, and garage decorations of every type of geometry.

When we originally viewed the house, we were sure that not only were we going to replumb & rewire, but we were going to remove all the wood paneling and get rid of those horrid louvre windows. Upon taking possession, we found out that the majority of the wood paneling was original and without its nasty whitewashed stain probably will match the amazing red oak floors. [There's a mahogany stripe running in front of the Sedona rock fireplace.]

So, here we sit. A little bit imoblized by not wanting to rip out the features that make this the little Modern that can be, a little bit intimidated by the amount of work that it'll take to bring it back to it's O.G. beauty. Do we find an insurer that will allow us to bring back the pebble roof? Can we find suitible aluminum replacement windows that won't look like a Beezer redo? Is it possible to redo a 'convenience kitchen', usable only for preparing something other than 5-can recipes or Icebox cakes, so that it includes a real-sized oven and pilot-less burners?

The Kenmore Front-Loaders don't look out of place. Will a built-in Sub-Zero?

*sigh*

I've been lurking on the posting boards, taking in all the faboo info that everyone here is sharing. What's been most comforting, though, is that I know that me and the man are not alone; that there are others out there who know that their gems are a little rough, but not unshinable.

:)

p.s. And great to know about the Ennis-Brown house being Angel's mansion on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Chimay
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Swallowing an elephant...

Postby Chimay » Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:50 pm

Cut it into little, bite-sized pieces first.

Welcome aboard! We're all going through the same dilemmas. My wife and I bought a run down, but mostly original condition 1960 P&K. We spoke to some architects and designers who wanted to turn back the clock and make it into a sort of living museum, and others who were more interested in making it into a kind of trendy lounge from a W Hotel or something. We opted for something in between, preserving first and foremost the soul and spirit of the house, but insisting that it be brought up to modern standards. So we haven't been shy about demo'ing walls (that's a nice thing about post and beam architecture - no bearing walls!) and rearranging the floor plan, but first identified what we considered to be the features that gave the house its character and soul, and preserved those things (in our case, the natural wood stained tongue and groove ceiling, the walls of glass, the small, bungalow size of the footprint, the single-story plan, and those magnificent exposed beems and large overhangs...). Recommend you do the same, and start thinking about what it is that makes your new home special.

Also, live in it a while before you do anything to it. You'll be surprised that the things you thought you needed to change before you moved in will soon no longer be priorities, or may even become things you love about the house.

Good luck and don't be shy about asking questions!

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mod_mami
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Hi...I'm new

Postby mod_mami » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:31 am

Isaiah 25:1

srk1941
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Postby srk1941 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:20 am


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Joe
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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:35 am


JAB
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Postby JAB » Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:14 pm


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FuturoMan
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Postby FuturoMan » Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:09 pm

Greetings,
My name is Rich aka Futuroman. I am doing research on the Futuro house and it was suggested I post in your forum.

So I did, in the main discussion area.

Thanks

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Futura Girl
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Postby Futura Girl » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:24 pm


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FuturoMan
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Postby FuturoMan » Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:06 pm


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Barry Peterson
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Postby Barry Peterson » Fri Mar 11, 2005 5:42 pm

Hello,
My name is Barry Peterson. It has taken a great deal of courage to come here tonight to this meeting and stand before you all, and well.....tell you that I too am...well that I am an architect....

In fact, I am really supposed to be designing something right now.

Anyway, thats all. I have been posting a bit on the Aaron Green discussion all last week.

Anyway.....uhmm...[sits back down awkwardly]
Deliberate Design + Architecture

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L.A.kevin
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Postby L.A.kevin » Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:09 pm

Barry,

The first step is to acknowledge that you are powerless in the face of your architecture addiction.

You've made the first step.

Welcome.

:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:


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