Monday, April 30, 2007
I go to a lot of estate sales in my voracious quest for cool MCM artifacts. I found this album at a North Dallas sale a few years ago. I thought it was kind of kooky. Why would someone have an album of Dutch caliope music? Who would want that? Well, me for one.
Anyway, a curious thing happened. After I bought it, I started noticing this album at many of the estate sales I went to over the next six months. I must have seen it 10 times. Evidently, Dutch caliope music was pretty popular in Dallas in the 50s and 60s.
Another similar episode happened two weeks ago in Fort Worth. I went to back-to-back estate sales in Ridgmar, and at both sales is this Winston Churchill Ezra Brooks bottle commemorating the Iron Curtain speech. I've never seen the thing before in my life, then I see it twice inside of a half hour.
That's estate saling. Sometimes you follow things, sometimes things follow you.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Residents of Haggard Addition consider their tiny Plano neighborhood with its ranch-style houses a neighborhood worth preserving. But the Plano City Council doesn't think so.
Haggard Addition is a neighborhood of 114 ranch-style houses nestled just north of downtown. It is bounded by a brick wall on one side and the DART rail line on the other. There are few through streets. The subdivision is considered Plano's oldest, most intact example of a post-World War II neighborhood.
"It's hard to think of houses or an area that's younger than I am as historic," Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Sally Magnuson told the D(a)MN. "We were hard-pressed to find anything unique or historical about the area."
Magnuson's attitude is a perfect example of what MCM lovers are up against: many people don't consider the architecture of this time period worth saving. It's the same with the furniture and artifacts of this period: most don't consider them antiques at all. People won't understand what is lost until its gone.
Would someone who loves MCM in Richardson please save this house at 438 Rustic Circle? It's only $109,000 and could be a really nice little pad with a little love.
Unlike California, you can find cool little bachelor pads like this for a song in Texas if you are patient and know where to look. Unlike California, there isn't as much appreciation for Mid-Century architecture around here as there should be. We are bulldozing our MCM heritage around here at an alarming rate. Or worse. Bad remodels sometimes happen to good houses. I don't know how many cool old MCM houses I've seen butchered by house flippers searching for a buck. Like this one in San Antonio. I know that granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and the sleek "California Contemporary" look (pardon my lapse into realtor-speak) is someone's idea of a great place to live. It's just not mine.
Check out this Flickr set! This guy was inspired by the book - Penguin By Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005. and started searching local book stores and online for some of the old Penguin and Penican books. These are really fun examples of Mid-Century graphic design.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Swankola's Thrift Store Find of the Moment: Anatomy for Interior Designers by Julius Panero. The third edition was originally published 1962 (this is a 1977 reprint), but the first edition dates back to 1948. A surprisingly whimsical reference book for designers giving all kinds of useful measurements based on the human body, from the best heights for chairs, tables and kitchen cupboards to the amount of space required to kiss a lady's hand. Nino Repetto's drawings are terribly clever and witty. Stylized blob people illustrate the space requirements for all kinds of residential and commercial applications and graphically demonstrate the pitfalls of bad design -- they get crushed by file cabinet drawers, fall down stairs, and smash through plate glass windows.
Slate considers how America fell in love -- and out of love -- with the Ranch House. "Today the suburban ranch house is considered the epitome of conservative taste, but at the time it represented a radical departure from tradition."
My wife and I love old appliances -- ovens, ranges, fridges -- anything from a Mid-Century kitchen. We affectionately call this “Appliance Porn” because it makes you feel all tingly looking at it. (Oh, yeah). Here are today’s entries from Dallas Craigslist. Completely safe for work BTW:
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Posted by Steve at 4:32 PM
Julie London told Life Magazine in 1957 that she had "only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate."
And intimate it was. Like so much of 1950s popular culture, there was a thin veneer of respectability on top and oceans of roiling sexuality underneath.
When she sings a line like “Don’t Smoke in Bed,” it ain’t no public safety warning. It’s enough to make Smokey the Bear blush.
It’s hard to believe she was married to Jack Webb and Bobby Troup -- two guys who seemed pretty square on the outside. In fact, I remember her on Emergency back in the 1970s. She didn’t seem that smoky to me then, but, of course, I was more interested in the fire trucks.
Upon further review, Webb and Troup were actually a couple of jazz hounds. In fact, Troup produced many of Julie London’s albums and even wrote such classics as “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and “The Girl Can’t Help It.” And I became more interested in Julie London than fire trucks.
For more on Julie, check out Java’s Bachelor Pad and Brian’s Drive-In Theater. Below are some Julie London album covers from my collection (My favorite is the middle).
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Completely updated Mid Century Modern home situated on a double hilltop lot. Great house, great neighborhood, but the price seems a little high.