Flickr Widget

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Le Corbusier: Enamel work

This is the fourth in a series about the art of Le Corbusier,  which has so far featured his paintings, his sculpture, and his drawings.  His work with enamel took place in the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, shortly before his death in 1965.

Characterized by bright primary colors, these works explore the human form, as well as his recurring motif of The Open Hand (La Main Ouverte).

All images from

Trois femmes debout, 1956

Taureau à la main, 1963

Main ouverte, 1963

Icône, 1964

Femme en blanc, barque et coquillage, 1965

Friday, August 29, 2014

Good read: The Blow Torch According to the Venerated London Designer

Today's "good read (and video)" is about one of my favorite designers, Tom Dixon. If you've read my blog for very long, you know I'm especially fond of his Beat lighting series. In this Nowness piece, Dixon talks about design and welding. Hope you're enjoying these these articles and videos as much as I'm enjoying my vacation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Home away from home

Thought I'd drop you a few postcards from the road and let you see some of the beauty we're enjoying. This is the Big Bend area in West Texas...a spectacularly rugged part of our very large and diverse state.

Naturally, I'm writing all these "vacation posts" expect to see some of my own photos of the trip on Instagram.

Many of you know that I'm not really into roughing it. I'm more a "stop-the-(air-conditioined)car-and-let-me-get-a-shot-of that" kind of gal. And if you read a fairly recent post I did on tent camping, you'll know, too, that I want a real mattress, not an air mattress. To keep me from being cranky, my outdoor-loving daughter booked us a lovely suite at a recently restored 25-room historic hotel, which has captured all the charm of the Old West with some distinctly modern twists.

Historic exterior - Holland Hotel

Restored exterior

Historic lobby

Restored lobby

Restored dining room and patio

Our accommodations

For those of you who live in other parts of the world, here's a quick lesson on Texas geography that you might find interesting.

Texas is roughly 10% larger than France and around twice as large as Germany or Japan, so the drive from Fort Worth to Big Bend country takes around 7.5 hours. Texas is quite geographically diverse, with coastal plains and marshes, grassy plains, pine and hardwood forests, blackland plains, rolling hills, plateaus and mountain ranges. On our trip, we'll travel through several distinctly different regions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good read: Kenneth Grange

Here's another vacation post as roam around the Big Bend area of West Texas. A Twitter friend introduced me to Kenneth Grange recently. Those of you UK residents already no doubt know him, but I didn't, and what I learned about this talented designer in an article on The Guardian website was delightful.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good read: Create a Fabulous Vintage Home in a Post-Mad Men Era

We're headed west to Big Bend country on vacation, so I thought I'd share some articles with you that I've read lately. The first is Create a Fabulous Vintage Home in a Post-Mad Men Era. I'll be back early next week. In the meantime, enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog tour

I was very excited when Tina of What We Keep asked me to be part of a blog tour. I always enjoy discovering new blogs, and I'm sure you do too. I'm happy to be sharing three blogs I thoroughly enjoy...two I've followed for a while and one that's new.

The newcomers from Renovation Steinbeck Mountain are Chip and Kevin, a married couple together for sixteen years. They're huge fans of all things mid-century modern. They recently sold their "retirement" home in Palm Springs, a 1959 Alexander, and will be using the profits from that sale to fund the renovation of their current and final home that sits on four acres on a hillside overlooking California's Salinas Valley.

Chip has an EdD in Educational Technology (Pepperdine) and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering (Texas A&M). Kevin has an MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art. They have a large collection of MCM furniture, most of it designed by their heroes (and Cranbrook alumni) Ray and Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Eero Saarinen.

They'll be taking us through the renovation in detail. They've only been blogging since July, and already I've learned about so many new products! If you want to follow a total reno from beginning to end, this is the blog for you.


And then there is the simply elegant HAUSSMITH, written by the slightly mysterious Rachel, a self-avowed mid-century and Scandinavian modern enthusiast. Rachel has contributed to MidCentury, the UK-based magazine featuring the best of mid-century interiors, furnishings and architecture.

I started following Rachel's blog when it was known as CHAIRSMITH, which she says was dedicated to
"chair-related nonsense" and which she published anonymously, written in first person plural. I found it not the least bit nonsensical. In fact, it was one of the most informative blogs I've ever read.  HAUSSMITH is every bit as much a good read, and the bonus is that now we get to know more about the writer.


Last but dearest to me personally is Lucy Violet Vintage, a blog I've followed for a long, long time now, for good reason. Simply put, the posts there make me happy. Written by my wonderful friend Kylie...wife, mother, and back-to-school interior decoration student from Australia...the content is always interesting and always straight from the heart, whether she's writing about decorating, renovating, gardening, sewing, or family. And did I mention that she's one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most generous women I know?

Here's how she charmingly describes herself and her blog:

Hello, my name's Kylie. Among other things (none of them terribly interesting...) I write a funny little blog called Lucy Violet Vintage.
I named my blog after my husband's Grandmother, a feisty and fiercely independent woman, who lived in her own home until she passed away a few months shy of her hundredth birthday.
Lucy Violet was as tough as old boots, she called a spade a spade (I was on the receiving end of her cutting but honest remarks more than a few times. Ouch!) but she was also kind, loyal and generous.
She was funny, impossible to shock, a wonderful seamstress, milliner, and gardener, but a terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE!) cook.

I ramble (I'm good at rambling. I'm doing it now) about all sorts of stuff - mostly old, on my blog.
It's a bit eclectic as far as content goes.
I love anything with a bit of age and character.
I LOVE Modernist design (especially architecture) but I'm also head-over-heels for industrial objects, shabby well-worn pieces, and loud and crazy kitsch as well. Oh and I do like me a bit of quirk!
A purist I am NOT!
I also write about renovating our house - it was built in the 1920's and used to be a corner store.


And now, a little about myself...

What am I working on?

Since I'm not a DIY or craft blogger like many of the other folks on the tour, I don't have a project going on right now, although I have several I should be doing. Instead, I'm just plugging along trying to find cool mid-century and modern design to share with my readers

How does my work differ from other work of its genre?

I think my blog focuses on the historical aspect of modern design than some of the other sites I've visited. A great deal of research goes into my historical posts, but I try to keep the tone informal.

Why do I write what I do?

I genuinely love mid-century and modern design. It's what I use to furnish my own home, and it's something I love learning about. And I do learn something new with every post I write.

How does my writing process work?

I read, read, read...everything I can find about the topic I plan to post about. Foreign sites, obituaries, real estate listings, Google books, newspaper articles, vintage ads, business records, census records...anything that can provide pertinent information. Then I combine everything I've learned to create my own narrative.


I'm always happy when a post is well received and when I see that I have new followers. I want to thank Tina again for inviting me to join the tour. I hope all of you have had as much fun as I have.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Le Corbusier: Drawing and collage

In the first post about Le Corbusier as an artist, his paintings were examined. In the second post, we looked at his sculptures. This post will look at some of his pencil drawings and one of his collages.


Pompéi, 1911

Portrait de M. Jeanneret-père sur lit de mort, 1926

Portrait de femme au fichu, 1931

Deux femmes en buste enlacées, 1932

Portrait de Charlotte-Amélie Jeanneret-Perret, 1951

Composition avec photo de la bombe "H" , 1952

Friday, August 22, 2014

Low bowl planters

I recently discovered several collections of modern fiberglass and resin low bowl planters at Plant Containers, and it was love at first sight. Finding an attractive modern planter can be a challenge, but this store has several.

We had a mix of coleus and kalanchoe in a low bowl on the patio this summer, and I think we'll be adding a few more next year, some for decorative plants and some for herbs. These are definitely being bookmarked.

Barkly fiberglass low bowl

Neometrics resin low bowl

Neometrics resin platform bowl

Meditation bowls

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I was recently contacted by Steve from PANYL about the rollout of their new Billyonaires, a product made just for dressing up the Billy storage units from IKEA. I like them so much that I'm tempted to talk my daughter into making an IKEA run just so we can get a Billy to jazz up.

Here are some of my favorite combos. Check out the rest by following the link above and this link to PANYL's Pinterest board.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sammy P. Gee

I ran across a post about jewelry designer Sammy Gee on Modernist Jewelry, and I was instantly smitten by his work. Gee lived and worked in Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s but died in the late 60s/early 70s without leaving much biographical information behind. Luckily, his work speaks for itself.

Be sure and check out Modernist Jewelry. This is a new site that I will definitely follow.


Pearl ring


Sammy Gee's mark

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The iconic kidney table

Mid-century designers, from the famous to the anonymous, loved natural forms and shapes. It's no surprise, then, that the human body served as a source of inspiration. After all, what's more organic than an organ?

The kidney shaped table was an iconic design piece in the 1950s. Made of wood, glass, metal, tile or Formica, it graced both mansions and tiny apartments. Take a look back at a few of them.

Adrian Pearsall kidney table

Isamu Noguchi table

Enzo Mari kidney tables

Victor DiNovi kidney table

Charlotte Perriand kidney tables

Italian lazy susan kidney table

Mosaic kidney table

Formica kidney table

Kidney table by Lane