Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fallout Shelter Handbook

Courtesy of the Ward-O-Matic -- your Fallout Shelter Handbook. Kind of puts our duct tape and plastic sheeting we have now-a-days to shame!

1340 Club Circle, Dallas -- $750,000

A cool Oak Cliff MCM house on one acre.

I Want To Go To Cuba!

Havana at Midnight.

Havana -- slightly later. What's the difference? Fewer clothes?

Craigslist Furniture Update

  • George Mulhauser Plycraft Chair with Ottoman: $325 in downtown Fort Worth. I love this chair. I have one like it in black vinyl.

  • Noguchi Coffee Table: $495 in North Oak Cliff

  • A boatload of Wormley: I wonder if this was from the same estate sale. There is a pair of end tables, a lamp table, a dining table, some dining chairs, and a desk.
  • Friday, May 25, 2007

    Chest of Drawers, Edward Wormley

    I found this at an estate sale in East Fort Worth today: an Edward Wormley chest of drawers, part of his Precedent collection for Drexel. I love it when a plan comes together!

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Two Landmark MCM Signs

    Dahlia Woods Fine Arts is featuring the drawings of Peter Ligon, including these two jewels from Dallas' MCM past: the recently demolished Circle Inn at Spur 482 and Northwest Highway and the Sigels at Lemmon and Inwood. Awesome!

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Dallas' Mid-Century Heritage At Risk

    Preservation Dallas released its list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and there are several Mid-Century gems on the list, including:

  • Midway Hollow Neighborhood: Between Walnut Hill, Northwest Highway, Marsh, and Midway. The Threat: Teardowns and Incompatible New Construction. Sez Preservation Dallas: "Midway Hollow consists of several developments built following World War II with mostly Minimal Traditional and Ranch houses made of wood or brick siding making up the neighborhood. The area is characterized by its large lots, tree-shaded streets, and generous front-yard setbacks. Area values are increasing and demolitions are occurring at a rapid rate. New houses are much larger in scale, constructed of different materials and exhibit garish stylistic details, diminishing the neighborhood’s economic and social diversity. A stabilization overlay or conservation district may be an option to control new development."

  • Ft. Worth Avenue’s motor-court motels: Including the Alamo Plaza Courts Motel (pictured above), The Mission Motel, The Ranch Motel. Location: 712 Ft. Worth Avenue, 514 W. Commerce, 1839 Ft. Worth Avenue. Threat: Neglect and Development Pressure. Sez Preservation Dallas: America’s motor-court motels became increasingly popular following World War II when roadway travel soared. Gas stations, cafes, and motor-court motels — collectively known as roadside architecture — were built along major transportation routes to accommodate the traveler. Ft. Worth Avenue, the former turnpike between Dallas and Ft. Worth, was lined with such roadside architecture like the recently restored Art-Deco Belmont Hotel by Charles Dilbeck. Route 66 is an example of turning roadside architecture into a major asset for the country, just as Ft. Worth Avenue is, for the forward thinking, an asset for the City. That commercial real estate developers see opportunity here is not surprising. There are many opportunities for renewal along Ft. Worth Avenue, from the most glaring to the very subtle. The question is, what is good for Dallas? Unfortunately roadside architecture is presently underappreciated and at least three motor-court motels are imminently in danger of being demolished. Property owners and developers are encouraged to revitalize Ft. Worth Avenue’s motor-court motels.

    I appreciate Preservation Dallas' efforts to raise these issues, but is anyone listening? How have Mid-Century gems from years past fared? The Wynnewood Shopping Village, one of the first great postwar malls, continues to be threatened. And the old Kip's at Northwest Highway and Hillcrest? See the picture below. Ugh.

    Thanks to Robert at Unfair Park for the story tip.

  • The Boombox Has Come A Long Way

    Thank God for iPod, eh?

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007

    An Appreciation: Alex Steinweiss

    I began collecting Alex Steinweiss album covers before I even knew who he was. All I knew is I had these really cool old albums that made brilliant use of typography and color. Then I found For The Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss by Jennifer McKnight-Trontz, Alex Steinweiss and Steven Heller and I finally had a name to put with this brilliant work.

    Working as an art director for Columbia Records in 1939, he invented a seemingly obvious idea -- the illustrated album cover. Although this form of product packaging seems obvious today, it was a great breakthrough back then. Sales of albums with Steinweiss covers sold much better than those without. One reissue of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony saw sales increase 847 percent in the six months after it was issued with a Steinweiss cover versus the six months before when it had a traditional "tombstone" cover. Later, with the advent of the 33 rpm record, he helped invent the cardboard album sleeve we know today.

    Although he later left Columbia, he went on to design covers for the London, Decca and Everest labels. During his heydey from 1939 to the mid-1950s, he designed some of the most unique album covers ever using typography, color and illustrations.

    This is a good example of one of his early album covers. Fletcher Henderson was only one of the jazz greats that Steinweiss designed covers for. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman albums also received the Steinweiss treatment.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    This Larry Adler album has a Russian constructivist feel. Notice how the type is arranged and how the hands are in white.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    This Frankie Carle album is one of the best-known examples of his work. Because offset printing was still new (and very expensive), Columbia printed its covers by letterpress, which limited Steinweiss to three or four flat colors and two plates of halftone. Steinweiss made the most of these limitations.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    This one is almost Abstract Expressionistic, with hints of Picasso and Pollock. Pink and gold and black? Very bold.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    He wasn't just a master of typography. He was also a master illustrator.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    One distinctive feature of a Steinweiss album cover was use of the handwriting font he developed: Steinweiss Scrawl. You can see it on the covers below. It's the curly cursive writing. This grew out of his need to meet tight deadlines by using handlettering.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    Steinweiss Scrawl was used by other Columbia designers, too. This album may not be a Steinweiss, even though it uses the Scrawl font. Steinweiss didn't often use photographs, and the typography isn't as dynamic as his other covers. Still, it's a beautiful two-color cover.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    Black, gray and pink. Very MCM.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    Love the can-can girl.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    Another nice two-color effort.
    Album cover by Alex Steinweiss
    Alex Steinweiss is still alive and living in Florida.

    Alex Steinweiss Resources

  • Alex Steinweiss: Visual Communication Techniques brochure

  • Alex Steinweiss' AIGA bio

  • The Remington Site: Alex Steinweiss Album Cover Design Techniques
  • Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    Pulp Fiction

    I don't get too hung up on highbrow or lowbrow -- I love it all equally. Well, maybe the sleaze does have a special place in my Mid-Century Modern heart. Anyway, you can't talk about MCM without at least a nod at kitsch. I found this great Flickr photo set of pulp fiction paperback book covers which are good for a laugh. WARNING: Most of these are not safe for work.

    Monday, May 7, 2007

    Today’s Appliance Porn

  • Vent A Hood, $300:An original "Vent A Hood." This was in our house that was built in the 20's. The dimensions are 42" wide, 24" tall and 46" for the back splash. The motors and lights still work. It has been partially painted to look like cast iron.

  • Pink Frigidaire Electric range:This is a vintage (1960's) pink Fridgidare electric stove with two ovens. Includes all original paperwork and it is in almost 'like new' condition.

  • A 1941 Chambers gas range, $525:Any Chambers Rangers out there?
  • 3900 Bellaire Dr. South, Fort Worth - $750,000

    This long, low Fort Worth ranch needs some help to get back its Atomic-age glory.

    Friday, May 4, 2007

    Music For Dining

    It’s Friday. You probably have plans for tonight. Perhaps a special lady friend is coming over for the evening. Start off with canapes and Martinis. A little Brubeck on the hi-fi. But before you sit down for your steak tartare, don’t forget the appropriate music. That’s where this little baby comes in. Put it on the turntable, and she will be putty in your hands by the cherries jubilee. You can thank me later.

    Dallas Craigslist Furniture Update

  • White vinyl sofa, $750 or best offer: (Pictured above). Fabulously chunky, comfortable mid century modern fiberglass couch, upholstered in white vinyl. Bought from reputable mid-century dealer Century Modern. Dimensions: nearly exactly 7ft wide, 3ft deep

  • Pair of MCM chairs, $150: These are from suites in the Eden Rock Hotel in South Beach, Florida.

  • Vintage patio furniture, $150:Vintage 60's iron patio set with sofa, 2 side tables with no glass. Side chair cushions included

  • Thursday, May 3, 2007

    This Week's Appliance Porn

    I have found a whole treasure trove of appliance porn: The guy behind this site is Stevan Thomas and he's located in Hutchinson, Kansas. Their work isn't cheap -- this 1952 Magic Chef is $15,000. But the results are breathtaking. They take old stoves and completely re-do them. The chrome gleams, the lights light, the insides glistens. My personal favorite is this copper Chambers. Yum.

    Pictured above is a 1952 O'Keefe & Merritt "Aristocrat" - Model 5850-R. I'd take that over a new Viking any day of the week.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007

    8846 Fenchurch, Dallas $339,000

    Wowza! Check out this pad by White Rock Lake, courtesy of the Mid-Century Modern Realtor.

    3601 Encanto Drive, Fort Worth, $599,000

    A little bit of a re-muddle, but still pretty darn cool.

    Dallas Craigslist Furniture Update

  • Sofa, $250 (pictured above): They believe this couch from the 50's or 60's. It is 81" long overall and is 74" between the wood armrests, and 72" between upholstered arms. It is 34" deep with the back up and, best of all, it converts to a 42" wide bed.

  • Mustard yellow sitting bench, $50: This bench is 36" long and 16" wide w/ no tears or holes in the vinyl very sturdy.

  • Wooden side table, $25: The dimensions are 16"x16" square and is 17 1/2" tall.

  • Very groovy pair of retro yellow w/ white plastic back chairs, $85: These chairs have never been used and are from the 1970's. They have been sitting in a storage for years so the backing on them has formed some yellow spots. The backs come off easily so you could easily paint them any color you wish.