Brookfield, WI MCM

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Carpie
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Brookfield, WI MCM

Postby Carpie » Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:53 pm

My wife and I bought this wonderful Mid-Century Modern last fall. While we haven't done much to "update" anything, we did replace some windows in the living room, and changed the light fixtures in the dining room and foyer.

We believe that the kitchen and bath are probably "original." There is "linoleum"-type tile under the carpet in all three of the bedrooms, the kitchen and bath. We are hoping that in the spring we will be able to re-do the kitchen and bathroom floors, opting for something more up-to-date. Any suggestions?

The K cabinets are mostly sliders, and the Thermador built-ins are still functional, if not small and inefficient energy-wise. There is also a side-by-side Gibson fridge that would entail raising the cabinets if it needed replacing due to its short height? (Short height? Huh?)

We bought it from the original owners who kept it up fantastically since they had it built in '56. (It's as old as I am!) They could not recall the architect OR the builder, unfortunately...) It is located in Brookfield, Wisconsin, which have very few homes that fall into this style. (From my driving around and looking anyway. If there are more than a few others, I would love to see them. Let me know.)

Here is a link to view some of the pictures that I have taken of our new home:

http://www.hpphoto.com/servlet/com.hp.H ... d=59168359

Let me know what you think!

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Brookfield Wi mcm

Postby PortlandModern » Sun Aug 29, 2004 10:07 pm

Carpie--I very much enjoyed the photos. This house looks as though it is in qute good condition--perhaps very original. Hoperfully you and your wife can be patient and live with it for a period before doing much "upgrading." It is difficult to say from the photos, but I see a sort of interesting mix of east coast/Euoropean modern (photos 4,17 and 21) and west coast/Cal influence. Photos 12 and 14 make it look as if there might be some other modern properties around it...is this true? Anyway--nice looking place! I'd like to hear more about other houses in the area of the same ilk also. Regional modernism is a great subject....good job!

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Postby Carpie » Mon Aug 30, 2004 4:48 pm

Portland,
(Bob?)

We are very interested in keeping the architecture and layout as-is; this is what drew us to the home in the first place. However, we are not against "updating", per se.

Our tastes in decorating cross over between contemporary and modern. Many of our friends do not understand the differences between these two terms. (We probably lean more towards the C than M when it comes to furnishings and such.) There are certainly a lot of gray areas shared by both styles.

For instance, we enjoy the sliding cabinets in the kitchen, but don't like the countertop in there. There is (probably) original tile under the carpet, but it will be replaced along the way to something a little more comfortable to the feet. Tile under carpet in all of the bedrooms does not appeal to us, either. This may not adhere to the "rules" of Modernism, but we will not undermine the integrity of the house itself. Again, this was why the home stood out for us... a long story.

This is not to imply that you (or others) are Moderism "snobs." I have seen that they are out there. You know who you are... haha. We have to live with anything we do, and we have never been accused of being outlandish... different, yes.

We appreciate this site for the history and eclecticism shown in the designs of homes. We do not necessarily subscribe to the decorating styles that reflect the times of design and construction. (Nor can we afford to...) Perhaps our tastes in decorating cross over too much for some, but we love the HOUSE.

Thanks for the response. I always like to hear from others.

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Postby Carpie » Mon Aug 30, 2004 4:59 pm

Portland,
As for the neighbors, we have one immediate to the N of us that has a beautiful lannon stone modern. They have had 2 major additions put on since it was built in the early 60's. Other than their's, there are none within the immediate subdivision. I'm sure they're out there, but I've encountered very few within walking distance. Most of the nearby homes are late 50's early 60's ranches and split levels. Very well-kept around here though. This also drew us to the area. Having a unique home in the area was appealing to us.

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updating

Postby PortlandModern » Mon Aug 30, 2004 9:31 pm

Wow...this is a touchy subject I take it. My thoughts are that it's your place--do what you want. Really. I'm sure that your ideas and sensiblities are fine. My thoughts, for people who have properties that have a certain amount of architectural significance (ie they have some design integrity imparted along the whole design-build process by whatever party for whatever reason), is that they take the time to get to know what those qualities are. Beyond that--either you like 'em or you don't. I don't advocate for any design "police." Just sensitivity to exquisite things. It could easily be the banal is made better by good sense. To me the most important thing about modernism is good design made accessible to ordinary people...not that ordinary people adhere to modernist principles....

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Postby Joe » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:36 am

keep your head low, PDXMod ; )

Carpie: you sound a little defensive. That's OK. Remodeling, renovating, or restoring mid-century modern homes can be a sensitive subject for some. Often, we see debate over this subject when an architecturally significant house is drastically altered, or torn down. Many significant mcm homes have been demolished over the years, often because they were remodeled out of context of what they originally were designed to be. Once a home loses it's context and the design is unrecognizable, it can easily become a target of a wrecking ball.

All I ask, if someone wants a Tuscan villa, buy a Tuscan villa, not a mcm house and attempt to drastically remodel it. It is what it is.

As for the contemporary-modern terms. I define the two this way: Modern, as defined by Irving Gill at the beginning of the Modernist movement, is something simple in form, honest in it's materials, and affordable by many. Contemporary, is usually what is "different now." While some contemporary items can be described modern, many are not. Especially when expensive, exclusive materials are involved. Modernism is about great design with common materials.

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Postby Carpie » Tue Aug 31, 2004 1:54 pm

After I sent off my last message, I realized that I DID sound somewhat defensive. This was not my intent.

I did not mean to come down on those who maybe appreciate and understand the defined terms of "modern" and adhering more to them than I. I simply meant to say that I appreciate the "comfort" of newer furnishings, appliances, flooring, etc. The architecture is still intriguing to me, but a balance, in my opinion, can be achieved between what's "modern" and what's contemporary. I have no intention of screwing around with the structure itself.

My take on the concept goes something like this: A '65 Mustang would be a treat to own and drive, but a 2004 Mustang is much nicer of a ride. The Spartan interiors of most older cars do not compare to the luxury exuded in most newer cars.

Take care all!

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Postby googieagog » Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:31 am

Had to chuckle at PortlandModern's implication that a modern house in Wisconsin must be based on architecture from the coasts. American modern was born in the Midwest, not the coasts, a fact often forgotten.

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Postby Joe » Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:56 am

googieagog: for this particular house, please share with us the midwestern influence it beholds.

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Postby PortlandModern » Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:24 pm


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Postby Chimay » Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:37 am


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Postby L.A.kevin » Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:58 am

Hey Joe, I recently read a book called "Five California Architects" by Esther Mc Coy. I highly recommend this book, especially for how she writes about the relationship between Gill and Schindler, and all of the scene that was early Californian Modernism.

Modernism was born in Chicago and it's father was Louis Sullivan. However, would a house like Carpie's look the way it did without the influence of Californian Modernism? I seriously doubt it.

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Postby Joe » Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:14 am

thanks, LAkevin.

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Don't MAKE me come down there. . .!

Postby SDR » Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:51 pm

Who ELSE is living in LA, loving modern architecture and HASN'T READ
ESTHER McCOY??? (sorry) (you know I love you all)

"Five California Architects"(1960, second edition 1975) covers Bernard Maybeck, Irving Gill, Charles and Henry Greene, and Rudolf Schindler.
"The Second Generation"(1984) gives us J. R. Davidson, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Gregory Ain, and Raphael Soriano.
She also wrote the first book on the Case Study Houses (1962; 1977) and
books on Richard Neutra and Craig Ellwood. She was employed by Schindler as draftsperson in 1944, bringing her drafting machine with her;
he initially distained its use but "came around" and took it up with
enthusiasm, abandoning completely his T-square (she says). (I have been
told that the drafting machine was in use by then in the LA aerospace
industry -- did she start there?)

SDR

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McCoy and Carpie

Postby SDR » Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:53 am

All -- If that last post was a 'flame' or was otherwise thoughtllessly rude, I want to apologize (besides being off-topic). All you nice people deserve better than this out-of-town know-it-all.

Welcome to Carpie and a beautiful house! I love the exterior colors, the
un-touched wood ceilings and lovely grounds. Hope you'll keep us
posted as you 'make it your own.'

SDR

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Postby Carpie » Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:34 pm

"Surprising, because all of that blurring the lines between inside and out means that they aren't terribly well insulated or protected from the elements (I know from experience), so putting one in Wisconsin is rather brave. That's also why I always wondered how those people in the three Eichlers in New York are doing :D . That said, I love the house and I would live in it in a heartbeat - heating bills be damned"

I would have to agree with you regarding the heating bills. This is why we are on a schedule to replace most of the glass (currently double-pane, NON-thermopane glass) with true double-pane SEALED, low-e glass inserts over the next few years. We have already done this to the 8 in the living room and foyer. Probably will do our daughter's NW-facing bedroom next (1 large trapezoid and 1 large rectangle) next, and maybe the dining room as well.

The home does seem pretty well insulated otherwise, as we did not have any major drafts or cold walls through our first winter in it last year. Hopefully a mild winter is in store.

Thanks for the good thoughts everyone!

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Postby googieagog » Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:10 pm

Midwestern influences: Wright's Usonians, Paul Schweikher, Keck & Keck.

Someone called this house a post and beam. I don't see any evidence that's how it's constructed. It's probably conventional frame.

Wright is appalled by lightness of construction? See Cedar Rock in Iowa or most Usonians, Johnson Wax & Unitarian Church in Wisconsin.

George Fred Keck built the first all-glass house in the U.S., perhaps anywhere, in 1933 for the Chicago fair.

Schindler started his career under Wright, if I'm not mistaken.

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Schweikher

Postby SDR » Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:01 am

Googieagog -- I'm very interested in Paul Schweikher (yet another ex-Wrightian) -- until "Modernism Rediscovered" appeared, I had only one
reference to Schweikher and Elting's Upton house (1950, Paradise Valley, Arizona, pp 72-75) -- Shulman's photos were for a House & Garden article (Dec. 1950) which I have not seen (presumably in color). I've been drooling over the three photos and plan in "Built in USA: Post-war Architecture" (1952; Museum of Modern Art/Simon & Schuster) for some years now-- I've seen only a very few other examples of his work, though
recently there was something about his own house, in Michigan (?) being
saved. . .and Fine Homebuilding had a piece about his "retirement home" in Sedona, quite a while back. Have you anything for us?

SDR

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Re: Brookfield, WI MCM

Postby Futura Girl » Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:48 am


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Postby Joe » Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:34 pm


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Postby googieagog » Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:54 am

Schweikher's work is not as well documented as it should be. Nearly all photos I have are in vintage publcations. He's covered in an Art Institute of Chicago show catalog from about 12 years back on Chicago architecture (can't recall the show name). His designs from the 30s are scattered across Chicago suburbs, but he left here fairly early in his carrer, I think to take an East Coast professorship. His own home and studio in Schaumburg will pass into the hands of the village after the current, second owner - the widow of a Manhattan Project physicist - passes away. It will then open to the public as a museum.

The use of planes of wood is associated by some with Gropius and the East Coast crowd, but Schweikher's early work also uses plenty of wood, part of his Wright influence.

Keck & Keck were International Stylists, probably the first native-born working in this country. But they quickly "warmed up" their work by the late '30s by staring to use planes of organic materials including wood, as in this house here. They, like Wright, were from Wisconsin, the state where the house we're discussing is located.

I'll take your word for it, Joe, that this is post & beam. I didn't see it before, but belatedly noticed today there's a second page of photos which now I can't download. That is clearly a West Coast building style, and there are few p&b's in the Midwest. There are plenty of buildings here, though, that have stuck-on beams decorating stud-framed walls & ceilings.

Flat roof seem to be popular on Western p&b's. The gabled roof here is probably a response to repeated failures of flat roofs on 30s-40s moderns in the Midwest. Flat roofs didn't work well here until synthetic sheet roofing systems were developed much later.

As for watered-down Wright, that's probably a good description of nearly all modern design from the last 60+ years. The core principals, though, came from Wright, even for the International Stylists. Modern may be everywhere, but it was born in the Midwest.

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Postby L.A.kevin » Wed Sep 29, 2004 8:21 am

One could argue that Louis Sullivan was a greater influence on European "International Style" than Wright. Also, Gill brought new ideas into California completely independantly of Wright, and he was influenced by Sullivan.

Wright's son, Lloyd Wright was highly influenced by Gill, and the evidence points to Wright the younger being the inventor of textile block and many of the aspects of his father's later Usonian work. Of course, Frank Lloyd Wright would never admit to being influenced by anyone.

If modernism had a 'father,' I'd argue that it was Sullivan and not Wright.

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San Diego Connection

Postby Chimay » Wed Sep 29, 2004 8:24 am

Lloyd Wright (the son) and Irving Gill both spent a long time in San Diego and mutually influenced each other. Their legacies are still very apparent here.

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Postby Joe » Wed Sep 29, 2004 8:47 am

Fellow San Diegoen, Cliff May, was drew influence from Irving Gill and visited Taliesin on a regular basis.

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Postby googieagog » Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:45 am

Point taken on Sullivan. I should have specified I was talking about single-family houses, which Sullivan wasn't much for. He had stopped doing them until Wright joined the practice.

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NEUTRA VDL -- BROOKFIELD MCM

Postby SDR » Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:48 am

We seem to have two simultaneous conversations going on similar topics
on the above two threads -- I'm ok with it -- just thought I'd mention it
(Probably too late to do anything at this point?) Kinda like a party with
two groups sharing some of the same people and talking about the same things?) SDR

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Postby Joe » Wed Sep 29, 2004 10:00 am

:cheers:

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Carpie
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Re: Brookfield, WI MCM

Postby Carpie » Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:37 pm


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hello fellow wisconsin MCM owner

Postby alexesmom » Mon Oct 11, 2004 2:21 pm

I sent you a private message.... So please check

Thanks :cheers:


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