Flickr Widget

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Easy atrium fix

When we first bought our current house, fixing up the atrium was close to the bottom of the list. First we had to buy new furniture, paint the drab and muddy-looking tan walls white, and replace all the curly oil rubbed bronze light fixtures, door levers and ceiling fans with something more modern. Then new plumbing fixtures, bathroom counters, and new artwork. The list seemed to go on and on.

Finally it was time to turn our attention to the tiny inside/outside area. There are no "before" photos, because there was nothing but dirt to photograph. The previous owners had staged it with a fancy cement birdbath that bore no resemblance to anything modern, but they took it with them when they left.

The fix turned out to be very simple and inexpensive. First we put down a layer of pea gravel, then added landscaping rocks and stepping stones. After a few shots of paint, vintage Russell Woodard patio furniture was ready to move into the space. New greenery was added to the corrugated metal planter I used at the "modernist nest," and the boys and I painted some rocks for a little color.

Now we have a cozy little spot for coffee on weekend mornings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Vidal Sassoon, hairstylist for the 1960s

Vidal Sassoon (1928-2012) was a British hairdresser who made hairstyling history in the 1960s by freeing women from beehive hairdos and hot rollers.

He opened his first salon in 1954, when hair was high and heavy, set on rollers, then teased (backcombed) and sprayed into place. In the 1960s, Sassoon shocked the fashion world with his geometric cuts which required little styling and fell into place perfectly with little effort on the part of the wearer.

The styles were perfect for the fledgling women's liberation movement. Allure magazine editor-in-chief Linda Wells said, "His timing was perfect. As women's hair was liberated, so were their lives."

Sassoon changed the world of hairstyling and beauty and became the most famous hairdresser in history.

He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s to advance his line of hairstyling products and made the city his home. He sold his business interests in the 1980s to become a philanthropist.


My 1960s Sassoon haircut
Uploaded by Flint Whincop on Oct 14, 2011

Friday, February 19, 2016

Counter stool hack

What happens when you take a garden variety Craigslist counter stool, disassemble it, and give it a sleek new identity? Take a look.

Before...the ho-hum espresso counter stool

Take away everything but the three-button seat, add some hairpin legs, and here's what you get...a streamlined little bench with far more personality.

Modern look for a previously unremarkable stool

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Karin Schou Andersen

Karin Schou Andersen (1953- ) is a Danish industrial designer. She graduated from the School of Architecture in Aarhus, and after working for several other firms, she started KSA Design in 1993.

Her areas of expertise include both industrial design and development, packaging design, tool design, printing, and graphics. She considers her strength to be combining vision and holistic thinking with simple, efficient product development.

She has done considerable study in the fields of ergonomics, with particular regard to the needs of people who have impaired function in their hands and arms after traffic accidents, sports injuries, and as a result of arthritis, multiple sclerosis or similar conditions.

She is also concerned with the way urban outdoor space is used, with sustainability a fundamental aspect of her work in that area.

Andersen's best known design is a series of flatware designed in 1979. Its modern design is based on serious ergonomic studies. This work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Design Museum Jerusalem, and Design Museum Denmark.

From,, and


Roma bench

Jello bike rack

Becco Mini outdoor lighting

Turtle sculptural bench

Blue Series outdoor furniture

Logo for Hanne Eskesen decor and design

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The "new" France & Son

Five years ago, a company was started with the mission "to set the trend in replica and original designs, providing the opportunity for everyone to create homes and spaces with an edge and at a budget that everyone could afford."

I admit that at first I was a little put off that they chose to appropriate the name "France & Son" from that of the well-known 20th century Danish manufacturing company which ultimately put into production the designs of a number mid-century icons, such as Arne Vodder, Grete Jalk, Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard-Nielsen, Finn Juhl, and Ole Wanscher. I could find no mention of the original company on their website, nor a disclaimer saying they have no connection to that historic company.

To be fair, they are under no legal or ethical obligation to do so, since the original company has not existed for decades. However, my concern was, and still is, that some people who are familiar with the name of the Danish company but do not know its history might be misled by the new company's name.

That said, after receiving numerous promotional emails from the company, I decided to make a purchase and take a look at the quality of the products they sell. I ordered their $39.99 walnut version of the Eames Hang-It-All, which is sold by Herman Miller for $299.

The Herman Miller version measures 14.7H x 19.7L x 6.5D, while the France & Son version measures 15.5H x 19.75L x 7D. I was quite pleased with the sturdiness and workmanship of the France & Son version, considering the difference in price, and I can justify spending $40 for a coat rack far more easily than I can justify spending $300.

Once a real purist about mid-century design, my attitude began to shift after doing some research for this blog. If you'd like to know why, see the links below.

France & Son version of Eames Hang-It-All

Close-up of France & Son version of Eames Hang-It-All

NOTE: A recurring theme on this blog has to do with legal and ethical issues surrounding knock-offs, reproductions and reissues. Whenever I broach this subject, I always reference a series of three "Is It Real?" posts I did in 2011 for any new readers who would like to examine the topic in more detail. First post : According to a Collector; second post: According to a Manufacturer; third post: According to an Heir

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Willy Guhl

Willy Guhl (1915-2004) was a Swiss industrial designer and a leader in the Swiss neo-functional design movement. He was one of the first advocates of flat-packed furniture, later made famous by the Swedish chain Ikea, saying that more people would be able to afford good design if it could be assembled in their homes.

Guhl's trademark piece was the Loop Chair, designed for Eternit in 1954. It was made of a single piece of material, a combination of asbestos and cement, bent to form a loop and designed according to his motto of "achieving the most with the minimum of effort." The chair is now made with a cement and fiber mixture which does not contain asbestos.

Other famous Guhl designs are the Scobalit chair and various window boxes, planters, tables, standing ashtrays, and modular pieces he created for the company Eternit AG.

He trained as a cabinetmaker before attending the Zurich School of Applied Arts, where the eventually taught for 39 years.

From,, and

Loop Chair

Scobalit chairs

Diabolo planters for Eternit

Modular cubes

Saucer planters

Tilted planters

Prototype sideboard

Side chairs

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I just received my first order from my new favorite online shoe source. It's called Bucketfeet, and they sell come of the coolest footwear I've seen in a while.

Bucketfeet also has a cool connect people through art. The company has an open platform approach, allowing any artist to submit a design for their shoes. They are currently working with over 20,000 artists from 100 countries, including painters, graphic designers, graffiti writers, street artists, and photographers.The resulting product reflects the talent of some of the most exciting young artists around.

I ordered a pair of slip-ons and a pair of flip flops in the Birds pattern by Carrie Van Hise, an artist influenced by mid-century modern designs. Bucketfeet also carries lace-ups and midtops and has shoes for men and kids too. They sell unisex socks as well.

Birds slip-ons

Birds flip flops

Take a look at some of the other cool styles on my to-buy list. What great modern designs!

Minty Fresh

The Duo


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Alcoa Care-free Home for sale in Portland

After World War II, companies like U. S. Steel, who sponsored the Case Study House Program, and the Aluminum Company of America (now Alcoa), saw aluminum as a "miracle metal" that had uses reaching far beyond the defense industry. In 1957 Alcoa issued a press release, saying they wanted to create the "greatest change in residential building materials in centuries."

Alcoa hired architect Charles M. Goodman to design a 1900 square foot single-story home which they originally planned to showcase in every state, but they ultimately only succeeded in building 24 houses in "strategic locations" in 16 states, because what was originally promoted as an affordable $25,000 home turned out to cost twice that much.

Goodman's plan

The only Alcoa Care-free home in Oregon is currently for sale in Portland. It is listed at $950,000. The square footage has been increased from the original 1900 to 2826, without changing the footprint, by converting the workshop behind the garage to a guest suite and laundry room.

The home still has the original purple aluminum exterior and peacock blue woven aluminum window grilles and blue aluminum door. It also features an interior courtyard and a number of glass interior walls.