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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Frank Lloyd Wright-Joseph Eichler connection

According to a fascinating article by Colin Flavin that appeared recently on Houzz, there is a strong connection between the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Eichler-built homes that are so revered by mid-century enthusiasts.

In 1943 Joseph Eichler, then working in the family egg and butter business, rented one of Wright's Usonian homes in the San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough.

Sidney Bazett House

Interior of Bazett House

"Usonian" is a term Wright coined for the series of homes he designed in the 1930s at the height of the Depression. They were built to be economical, custom homes for the middle class, and they were typically single-story dwellings which had no attics, no basements, no garages and little ornamentation.

Eichler loved the Bazett House, but he and his family stayed there for only two years, as it was sold to Louis and Betty Frank. However, the time Eichler spent in the FLW home had a profound influence on his life. He left the family business and in 1949 founded Eichler Homes Co. Over the next 20 years, his company built more than 11,000 houses, and those still standing are in great demand for their iconic mid-century design.

Wright's influences on Eichler's homes include floor-to-ceiling glass which provided openness to nature, street walls containing almost no windows, radiant floor heating, and carports.

Eichler innovations included post-and-beam construction, glazed gables, central courtyards, and open kitchens incorporated into multipurpose rooms.

Typical Eichler exterior

Typical Eichler interior

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Famous Case Study House #21 for sale

Case Study House #21, immortalized by photographer Julius Shulman, is for sale. The asking price is $4,500,000. Known as the Bailey House, the 2 bedroom/2 bath 1280 sf home was designed by architect Pierre Koenig for psychologist Walter Bailey and his wife Mary in 1958 and was featured in the February 1959 issue of Arts & Architecture as part of the magazine's Case Study Program.

In 1997 the current owner of the home, film producer Dan Cracchiolo (of Matrix, Lethal Weapon and Conspiracy Theory fame), asked Koenig to supervise a complete restoration, as it had suffered many alterations over the years. The work was completed in 1999.

The house sits on a 12,450 sf lot in West Hollywood and has a spectacular canyon view.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wire Base Side Table from Inmod

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Inmod and asked to review a piece of furniture from their new Origins line, and I agreed to do so.

Today I received the Wire Base Side Table, which is Inmod's reproduction of the Charles and Ray Eames Wire Base Low Table. I must say that it is quite faithful to the original design in dimension (H 10" x W 15.5" x D 13.25") and appearance. The table was designed to be stackable or used side-by-side as a low coffee table, and because of its size, I think that would almost be necessary. Alone it could look awkwardly small, unless paired with just the right size chair or sofa.

As soon as I lifted it from the box (fully assembled, incidentally), I immediately noted its substantial weight. The layered plywood top with flat melamine surface is extremely attractive, as is the sturdy wire base. The workmanship is impressive, and the Inmod price of $179 (currently on sale for $99) is more economical than the licensed table produced by Herman Miller and sold for $205 (or Design Within Reach's $215 for the Herman Miller version), especially since, as far as I can tell, there is virtually no difference in the products. Like the tables offered by the other retailers, Inmod's table is available in black or white.

The original Eames design was inspired by the low profile of Japanese furnishings, and, according to the DWR site, was used in the Eames home for a tea ceremony including Isamu Noguchi and Charlie Chaplin.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with Inmod's Wire Base Side Table. It will go upstairs in my grandsons' gameroom, where it will fit perfectly between two low-slung kids' chairs. If this piece is representative of their classic mid-century Origins line, I can't wait to see more!

Note:  I partnered with Inmod for this post and was encouraged to provide an objective review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Walter and Greta von Nessen

Walter von Nessen (1889-1943) was a German-born industrial designer. Prior to World War I, he was a student of Bruno Paul at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin and a teacher at the Charlottenburg Art School. After the war, he was employed by architect Peter Behrens. From 1919 to 1923, he designed furniture in Stockholm.

Greta von Nessen (1900-1975) was the daughter of an architect. Born in Sweden in 1900, she graduated from the School for Industrial Arts in Stockholm and married Walter von Nessen.

In 1923 the couple immigrated to the United States and in 1926 founded Nessen Studios in New York, where they almost exclusively designed and fabricated architectural lighting.

The couple attracted the attention of top architects with their sleek lamp designs and soon rose to prominence in the New York design world, becoming part of the vanguard of modern industrial designers, along with such notables as Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Eliot Noyes, Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.

Walter von Nessen's career culminated with the introduction of a series of swing arm lamps, while Greta von Nessen's most famous design is the Anywhere Lamp, which was introduced in 1951. It has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

After her husband's death in 1943, Greta von Nessen continued to design lamps out of their studio, now known as  Nessen Lighting.

From and

Table lamp - Walter von Nessen

Floor lamp - Walter von Nessen

Tripod lamps - Walter von Nessen

Swing arm lamp - Walter von Nessen

Anywhere Lamp - Greta von Nessen

Double cone lamp - Greta von Nessen

You might have noticed our Greta von Nessen double cone lamp in a recent post.

Greta von Nessen lamp in our entryway

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Stylish? Get back to me on that.

According to a recent Bloglovin' article, we vintage lovers have finally arrived. Once outliers operating on the design fringe, we are now au courant. I ticked off everything on the list, and I bet most of you could have too...years ago.

Listed in "7 Things Every Stylish Person Has in Their Home"* are the following:

1. A mix of vintage and new furniture...Check!
2. A gallery wall...Check!
3. A statement rug...Check!
4. Houseplants...Check!
5. A carefully styled bookcase...Check!
6. Sculptural objects...Check!
7. Mixed materials...Check!

Funny thing, though.  Being "stylish" wasn't my goal when I started buying vintage furniture and accessories. I just loved the stuff. I think I liked it better before everyone jumped on our bandwagon.

New/Vintage/Rug/Mixed materials/Houseplants:
New Joybird chairs and vintage Paul McCobb table
with a 9' x 12' "statement rug" and Ficus elastica (rubber plant)

Houseplants/Mixed materials:
 Dracaena marginata in living room,
textiles, wood, glass

Houseplants/Vintage/Mixed materials:
 Architectural Pottery, bullet planter,
Sansevieria (mother-in-law's tongue or snake plant)
and Beaucarnea recurvata (ponytail plant)
in my bedroom

Sculptural object/Mixed materials/Vintage:
Metal, wool, wood, glass, ceramics, brick, tile,
and another vintage Paul McCobb table

Gallery wall:
Prints by artist friend René West

Styled bookcase/Mixed materials:
Sculptural objects, metal, pottery, wood,
glass, woven natural material, brick, stone

* The grammatical error in the title of the article drives me crazy, but I taught English for a living, and I know that I care more about the number of pronouns and antecedents than most people do.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Spaces: Entryway

Once you get past our still-unpainted front doors (long story, soon to be rectified), you'll be greeted by more of our favorite things. The sideboard has sentimental value for my daughter. She found it at an estate sale years ago, and it was the first piece she ever restored. The vintage Von Nessen lamp came out of our store before it closed, and the brass figurals are part of my daughter's collection, while the Howard Miller Museum Clock is mine. The woven wall hanging and stainless steel coat rack are my daughter's, and the mirror is modern pieces that I think work well with the vintage. The picture on the wall is embroidered folk art, an Etsy find that I gave my daughter one Christmas.