Saturday, August 27, 2011

Say Hello to "The Ghost of Goodnight Lane"

We realize it's unbecoming to brag, but we've never been good about doing what we're supposed to. We're psyched about playing a part in an independent feature film called The Ghost of Goodnight Lane. It stars Billy Zane, at right, (so gorgeously creepy in Dead Calm and, admittedly, less exciting in Titanic) and Lacey Chabert, who's been in tons of things but whose biggest movie was probably Mean Girls. Producer/director/writer Alin Bijan is directing and co-wrote the film, which is being shot in Dallas. The movie is -- get this -- based on real paranormal events that have taken place for years at Bijan's production company, Media World Studios in Dallas. Apparently, paranormal investigators have confirmed the hauntings. This is serious, people. But back to us. Actually, the furniture, linens and housewares that we sell at RetroMania appear in the movie -- we don't. (Though our little Fort Worth shop was promised a mention in the film credits.) We've had a blast with our cinematic foray and made some new friends, like the movie's production designer, Adam Dietrich. There was one casualty during filming: the side table that was part of the Tropitan set we wrote about in our last post. The good news is that our two chairs and ottoman are fine and dandy and the price of the now-three-piece set is $295. We gladly suffer for art.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bar Carts: Not Just for Liquid Lunch Anymore

God bless Don Draper and his pickled little heart. He seems to have single-handedly resurrected the cool factor on the old-fashioned bar cart (not to mention the Old Fashioned itself.)

Not that long ago, they seemed to have gone the way of the three-martini lunch. Now they are back stronger than a New Year's Day hangover. Above is a picture of the bar cart in my office. You'd be surprised how many people are up for a touch of brown liquor in the middle of the day.

A couple of musts (beyond the booze) for any bar cart (IMO) are a great ice bucket, a funky ashtray, cool retro matches, funky swizzle sticks and cool serving tray.

What about y'all? Share your bar cart stories in the comments. What makes a good bar cart? How do you put yours together? Do tell. I'm curious.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2816 Ilahe Drive Dallas, 75233 - $209k

Check out the Palm Springs awesomeness - an amazing Mid-century Modern ranch house designed by noted architect David Braden. This Oak Cliff 2012 SF 4 bedroom, 2 bath beauty is built into a hillside at the end of a cul-de-sac amongst drought tolerant landscaping. Inside you will find vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, brick fireplace, clerestory windows, walls of glass & original built-ins. A covered dining terrace just off the main living areas is surrounded by a custom horizontal cedar slat fence. More pictures can be found on the Virginia Cook website.

Built in 1963, the post and beam home in the Keistwood Estates was custom designed in harmony with nature. The buyer gets original sputnik fixtures, grand clerestory windows and the original blue prints. The best part is they didn't mess up the kitchen.

Braden, a Dallas native, was a renown architect, business leader, and civic leader. Before he rose to fame as a commercial architect, he gained high praise and recognition for the few number of mid century modern homes he designed around Oak Cliff. In fact, it was the design of his own modern residence that wowed fellow architects with its hillside construction. Braden was awarded 1st prize at AIA Dallas competition, just two years receiving his degree in Architecture from University of Texas at Austin.

A few facts about Braden:

  • Successful commercial architect, business leader, civic leader, lecturer & humorist

  • Served as President Dallas Chapter AIA and Texas Architect Society, and much more

  • Personally chosen by George Dahl (architect of Fair Park) to replace him as president and CEO of his successful commercial architecture firm upon retirement in 1973

  • Only few residential designs, mostly in Oak Cliff, including his personal residence

  • Braden’s home won the AIA Dallas 1st prize, just two years after the architect received his degree from UT, and it recently was placed on the OOCCL Home Tour in 2009.

  • Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    The Saga of Our Mid-Century Sleepy Hollow Chair

    This spring, we found ourselves a tad flush, which meant, of course, that the money must be spent ASAP. We decided to restore some mid-century pieces, one of which was this chair (the cat stayed home). Apparently, this is what's known as a "Sleepy Hollow" chair. Here's one definition: "An armchair of the mid-19th century, sometimes on rockers, having a single piece forming a high upholstered back and a concave upholstered seat." While it's clearly more from the mid-20th century, it's definitely got that cool "single piece" aspect going for it.

    I'm showing it off because its fantastic looks are a stark contrast to the way it looked when we first saw it: The poor chair had sat out in the middle of a courtyard at an antiques shop, in the midsummer sun and through several rainy days and nights. Because it isn't an Eastlake or a Duncan Phyfe, the shop owners held it in such low regard that they wouldn't even bring it indoors.

    Our furniture doctor of choice is always Hank Tosh of Tosh Mahal (see my earlier post to learn more about Hank and what he does). Taking stuff to Hank may seem like a weird way to get your kicks, but nothing is more fun than bringing a thing of beauty back to its glory. And Hank seems to feel the same way, because he is truly a master at it. And he's intrepid.

    He had to be, as it turned out. He does a much better job at explaining exactly what had to be done to restore this chair on his blog. Check out the before pics and read Hank's blow-by-blow account of the surgery, if you're like us and you love to geek out on this kind of stuff.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Vinyl Tile and Mid-Century Floors in Fort Worth

    Lots of people struggle with what kind of flooring to put down in a mid-century-modern house. When we bought our house and renovated it in 2006, we decided to go with vinyl composition tile -- some people call it commercial vinyl tile, others call it vinyl commercial tile, VCT, CVT. It's basically the same stuff we all remember from school. One of the coolest things about it: There are scores of colors and limitless color combinations. (We had asked the installers to use a random pattern, but, as with so many things that happened during the renovation, he wasn't really listening ...)
    I had to share these pics with you to show you how great it can look when it's stripped, waxed and buffed. We use a company called Jackson Quality Janitorial here in Fort Worth. We didn't get any kind of price break for sharing this info., we just like the work they did. And Lewis Jackson is hands down one of the nicest guys we've ever had cross our MCM threshold.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Elliott Erwitt, Fort Worth, Texas - 1962

    Like many MCM aficianados, Sunday night is for Mad Men, Monday is for Mad Men analysis. One of my favorite Monday reads is the breakdown over at This week in special bonus coverage, a photo collection of period images, including this one from the great Elliott Erwitt taken right here in Cowtown. Hey, fur kills, baby, but you look great. Fab living room, too.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    4000 Hartwood Dr., Fort Worth, 76109, $247,500

    A friend sent me a link to this house with the simple words "I want" in the subject line. This midcentury beauty just looks so cool and shady, sprawled out there in Tanglewood's forest. It was built in 1959 and is 1,664 square feet, with three bedrooms and two full baths.
    It has beamed ceilings, hardwood floors and that pillowy saltillo tile. If you look closely at the living room pic, on the left you can see a built-in planter, one of those totally charming mid-cen touches that are so often ripped out. I want, too!