I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. I also wanted to thank everyone for reading the site during the past eight years. I’m in Los Angeles this week so I thought the Christmas tree with palm tree and Stahl House image below would be appropriate. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for mid-century goodness from California.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-12-24 11:30:172020-02-21 14:51:47Happy Holidays 2015 from Modern Capital
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Jill Kurtz /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Jill Kurtz2015-12-15 09:54:102020-02-04 09:55:42Before and After of a Mid-Century Modern Charles Goodman Renovation
Washingtonian: Before and After: This Midcentury Modern Masterpiece Underwent a Shocking Transformation
Washingtonian: Before and After: This Midcentury Modern Masterpiece Underwent a Shocking Transformation
Washingtonian looks at the before and after of a mid-century modern Charles Goodman renovation project Michael Shapiro did with Michael Cook, AIA, of Cook Architecture.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-12-01 11:15:132020-05-08 12:45:26Post Story Focuses on Renovating MCM Homes
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. In case you missed this while away, the Washington Post’s Real Estate section ran a piece by Deborah Dietsch about renovating mid-century modern homes. She covers the gamut from a smaller DIY Goodman renovation to the work architect Michael Cook is doing for his clients and in our major renovation and expansion of a Goodman in Alexandria (see before and after pics above and below). A good story, but I still don’t get the headline. In the actual paper, the front page of the Real Estate section had the added main header of: “The cost of aesthetics,” which makes more sense.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-11-13 15:00:102020-05-08 12:09:10Sneek Peek: Our Latest Renovation Project
For those following this project on my site for the past year, here is a quick peek as we prepare to list it this coming week. It will go on the market for $875,000. (Spectacular photos by John Cole.)
This stunning custom design by Michael Cook, AIA, of the award-winning Cook Architecture, incorporates an original small 1951 Charles Goodman mid-century home into a new modern oasis with walls of glass and a spectacular cantilevered private master suite. The 2,311 square-foot home on a .6 acre wooded lot has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and two-car garage.
Here is what the house looked like when we bought it. Enjoy and stay tuned for the full listing next week.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-10-27 14:01:232020-09-16 15:59:58Carderock Springs’ Situated Modernsim
Carderock Springs is a great example of mid century modern in Maryland. One of our area’s largest mid-century modern neighborhoods was highlighted in a recent Washington Post “Where We Live” column. The article features Carderock Spring’s situated modernism. “Unlike a lot of suburban neighborhoods in Montgomery, Carderock Springs is marked by ‘situated modernism,’ a style dating to the 1960s,” writes Harriet Edelson. “Houses were designed to blend with the natural landscape.” The National Register of Historic Places-designated neighborhood was developed by Edmund Bennett and designed by architect Francis Donald Lethbridge of the modernist firm Keyes, Lethbridge and Condon.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-10-23 11:02:552020-06-12 06:53:13Prince George’s Modern
As part of growing local efforts to document and preserve local mid-century modern architecture, the Prince George’s County Planning Department has launched its Prince George’s Modern project to help raise awareness of the mid-century treasures in the county. One of the signature buildings in the county is the Hyattsville Public Library. Designed in 1964 by Walton and Madden, it features a concrete and Plexiglass flyer saucer-like structure near the entrance. While a new library will be built next year, the plans include using the saucer in a new garden space.
“The buildings and cultural landscapes of the Modern Movement, especially those from the mid-twentieth century (Mid-century Modern) are among the most under-appreciated and vulnerable aspects of Prince George’s County’s heritage,” the program says. “Since the 1980s, an increasing campaign of demolition and alteration has eroded the physical fabric of the County’s recent past with little consideration of its community importance, design significance, or role in a sustainable future. Identifying these properties and exploring their architectural and cultural significance is the first step to increasing awareness of their merits and fostering advocacy for their preservation.”
If you have information or images of mid-century modern homes or buildings, please reach out to the county’s Historic Preservation office at HistoricPreservation@ppd.mncppc.org or 301-952-5447.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-10-16 18:00:422015-10-16 18:00:42Inside Look: Our Goodman Renovation in Hammond Wood
Here the latest on our renovation with architect Michael Cook of a two-level Charles Goodman-designed mid-century modern in Hammond Wood. When we purchased the house, it was a 3 bed/2 bath with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath on the top level and one bedroom and one bath on the bottom level. While we are keeping the original footprint intact, we have reworked the interior. The key change is opening up the small downstairs den and creating two above-grade bedrooms (instead of the one small dark room).
Here is the downstairs before. It was very closed off.
And now amid construction:
Here is the framing for the two new downstairs bedrooms:
To create the two-above grade bedrooms, we excavated the earth around the house and created a retaining wall with concrete patio. A wood-slat design mirrors the horizontal wood siding above.
Back inside, Michael’s design also opens up the originally closed-off kitchen. New kitchen will feature Poggenpohl cabinets.
Before. The kitchen hidden in the back left.
Kitchen in progress. The new space will feature a L-shaped counter with room for stools that extends into the open living/dining space.
Poggenpohl cabinets in from Germany and ready to be installed.
We have done all new double-pane windows, electrical, plumbing and lighting. Both bathrooms will be renovated as well.
Please contact me if interested in learning more about this project.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-09-30 19:53:032020-05-26 10:08:38Forget Mad Men; Go See These Mod Women
While men get most of the ink, there are women who left their mark on mid-century modern architecture and design as well. There are a slew of events in our area celebrating some of these female modernists.
On Oct. 10, the national Docomomo US Tour Day (the DC-centric version is Oct. 24), Women in Architecture and the Historic Resources Committees of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation will host a tour of modernist projects by architect Poldi Hirsch in Havre de Grace, including her own house. Hirsch, who immigrated from Germany in 1953 was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier , was the first woman corporate member of the AIABaltimore Chapter.
Poldi, along with 11 other architects, are featured in the Early Women of Architecture in Maryland travelling exhibit, which is currently on display in the AIABaltimore Gallery through October 30. The exhibit also features DC modernist Chloethiel Woodard Smith.
Beginning Oct. 30, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will be showing Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, an exhibition that explores the lasting impact of women artists and designers on mid-century Modernism. Highlighted artists include Ruth Asawa, Edith Heath, Sheila Hicks, Karen Karnes, Dorothy Liebes, Alice Kagawa Parrott, Lenore Tawney and Eva Zeisel. On view through Feb. 28, 2016, the exhibition presents more than 80 objects including furniture, ceramics, textiles and jewelry. Reflecting the continuing popularity of mid-century design today, the exhibition also includes a selection of contemporary work that builds upon the accomplishments of an earlier generation.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-09-25 15:04:172020-05-08 12:37:32RSVP Today: Watergate Tour & Reception – Oct. 24
Docomomo DC’s Annual Tour Day on Oct. 24, 2015, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Watergate complex and provide participants with rare access in the landmark space. The event, hosted by Docomomo DC–the local chapter of an international and national preservationist organization–and the DC Preservation League, will kick off with a lecture by McGill University Professor Adrian Sheppard. Prof. Sheppard was a member of the design team for the Watergate while working in the office of noted Italian architect Luigi Moretti, who designed the modernist complex. After the introductory discussion by Sheppard, participants will have an opportunity to go on guided tours of a number of the residential units and outdoor spaces. The event will conclude with a reception at Zeitoun, a Mediterranean restaurant located in the heart of the Watergate complex.
Please register here. The event will run from 1 to 5:30 pm. (Full Disclosure: I am a board member of Docomomo DC.)
Designed by Moretti and constructed between 1964 and 1971, the Watergate is comprised of three luxury residential cooperatives, two office buildings and a hotel. Registered as a National Historic Landmark in 2005 and composed of more than 600 residences, the Watergatecomplex is situated on the Potomac River.Landscape architect Boris Timchenko carried Moretti’s vision outdoors with more than 150 modernist planters, fountains tiered like waterfalls, a seven-acre park with outdoor swimming pools, and landscaped roof gardens that offer some of Washington’s most breathtaking panoramas.
While the complex represents one of the most stunning examples of mid-century modern architecture in the nation’s capital, it is also known as the site of the infamous 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.
We hope you will join us for this special opportunity to view this iconic piece of Washington architecture and history.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-09-22 10:44:022020-08-06 11:25:55Reston’s Visionary Robert Simon Dies
Two years ago, I was doing a home inspection in Charles Goodman’s Hickory Cluster in Reston, when I spotted a lone figure walking in the snow with ski poles. It was none other than Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr. He was only 99 at the time. Yesterday, he passed away at 101 at his home in Reston, the groundbreaking suburban neighborhood he founded and started developing before being hit by financial issues.
“At a time when millions were fleeing crowded cities for what some sociologists called a colorless life in suburbia, Mr. Simon envisioned a Northern Virginia community that blended the serenity of an Italian hill town, the urban attractions of San Francisco’s Embarcadero and the social equality of a utopia in Finland,” The New York Times says in its obituary of the native New Yorker, whose family owned Carnegie Hall before selling it to New York City.
Rather than building cookie cutter suburbs, like Levittown on Long Island where he summered as a child and lived as an adult with his own family, Simon sought to develop villages with their own amenities and modernist architecture by the likes of Goodman, Chloethiel Woodard Smith, James Rosssant, William Conklin and Louis Sauer.
Thanks for your vision, Bob.
Reston Association statement
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-08-18 20:48:002015-08-18 20:48:00Rent a One-of-a-Kind Goodman Retreat
If you have always wanted to see what it is like to live in a Charles M. Goodman-designed home or you have relatives or friends looking for a stunning modern space to stay while here in DC, take a look at this Goodman transformed by architect Michael Cook and developer Steven Wheeler. The property is for rent via airbnb. (All photos by Ulf Wallin.)
The restored and expanded two bedroom/two bathroom mid-century modern home in Hammond Hill with ultra-gourmet kitchen and master bathroom spa suite is located in a quiet park-like setting just 6 miles to the Washington, D.C., border and 4.5 miles to the restaurants and shops of downtown Bethesda. The Wheaton Metro is just 1.5 miles away.
The house comfortably accommodates 4 adults. The office space can be arranged to accommodate 2 children or a 5th adult. The house, designed by Goodman, Washington’s foremost residential modernist architect in the 1950s through early 1970s, features recycled brick from Baltimore and Brazilian cherry wood flooring and is furnished with a beautiful collection of mid-century modern designs.
The state-of-the-art open modern kitchen with soaring ceilings features a center cooking island with seating for 8 with views of the gardens, Viking professional 6-burner range and convection oven, high-end Poggenpohl cabinets, Silestone countertops and Bosch dishwasher.
The master bedroom suite features a Queen bed, cable TV and contiguous connection with an opulent spa-like master bathroom including glass enclosed steam-spa bath with a 6 foot bench, a 6′-3″ sunken soaker tub, and regular as well as handheld shower.
The second bedroom also has a Queen bed. There is also a large space connected to the kitchen that can be used for additional guest quarters (air mattress and pump provided). Views throughout the residence look on to gardens complete with a pond and waterfall. Reinforcing this natural connection already experienced inside using free, open, outward-looking spaces with high ceilings and window walls allowing for plenty of natural light, the house is sited toward the end of a quiet cul-de-sac bounded by church campuses on both sides and the 21.1-acre Wheaton Claridge Park.
Again, here is the link for more information.
If you see what you like, Michael Cook and I are currently renovating a two-level Goodman just down the street in Hammond Wood. More updates coming soon on that project, which we plan to sell this fall.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-07-31 10:39:042015-07-31 10:39:04MoCo’s Vintage Mid-Century Road Signs
During the post World War II boom, Montgomery County grew by leaps and bounds. The new, post war exuberance was reflected in not only the modern architecture sprouting up but by the cool roadside signs as well. The Montgomery County Planning Department’s Montgomery Modern initiative has nice post highlighting some of the remaining signs, including the Weller’s sign in Silver Spring (above), and others that, unfortunately, have been lost. Take a roadside tour right from your desk or phone.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-28 20:47:492020-05-08 12:57:24The Architect of Palm Springs: Donald Wexler, 1926-2015
So sad to hear of the passing of Donald Wexler, who put his stunning architectural imprint all over Palm Springs. He was a classy and modest gentleman who created enduring architecture. It was so cool that he was on the tour I did of Palm Springs a few years back during Modernism Week. I was honored to have met him. Below is a post from several years ago.
This is last in the trilogy of posts on my trip to Palm Springs. (You can read the first two posts here and here. I am devoting this post solely to the work of Donald Wexler, FAIA, who my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting when we were in Palm Springs during Modernism Week.
Mr. Wexler, who is 85, is quite simply put, a rock star without the attitude. His work was feted throughout Modernism Week with the exhibit Steel and Shade: The Architecture of Don Wexler at the Palm Spring Art Museum and the showing of the file, Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler (Speaking of the movie, Modern Richmond is holding a showing of the film at the Virginia Architecture Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.)
He attended many of the other Modernism Week events, spoke on a panel and even took one of three-hour architecture tours of the city that he helped build and define. (Luckily, I picked the tour he was on.)
Wexler, who grew up in Minnesota, served in the Navy during World War II. Once his service was complete, he studied architecture at the University of Minnesota after taking an aptitude test saying he would be good at it; he was thinking of career in engineering. The test was right. After he graduated, he left Minnesota at 24 and snagged an apprenticeship with none other than Richard Neutra. He then worked for Palms Springs master William Cody before launching his own firm with Ric Harrison, who met in Cody’s office. They worked together from 1952 until 1961, when they amicably parted ways to start their own firms. After focusing on residential projects earlier in his career (think innovative Steel Houses), Wexler turned to more commercial and government projects, including schools and the beautiful and soaring Palm Springs International Airport.
“Wexler brings another dimension to his work: an understated but assured sense of aesthetics,” Michael Stern and Alan Hess write in Julius Shulman: Palm Springs. “His buildings have a humane sense of space, a refined sense of proportion, a sureness about details that reflect the hand of an excellent architect. His buildings do not share the expressionist energy of Lautner’s Elrod House, but he also has a sense of drama in a flaring, zigzagging roofline of a house, or the swept back lines of an airport roof.”
Enough with the words. See for yourself.
Here are some shots of the seven Steel Houses (1962). The homes were designed by Wexler and Harrison and built by George Alexander.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-19 10:21:262020-06-12 06:53:11Roberta Flack Lived in this Hollin Hills Goodman
One of only five custom homes in Hollin Hills designed by Charles Goodman, this newly listed property used to be the home of legendary singer Roberta Flack. (Check out this other Roberta Flack-related news.) The 4 bedroom/3 bath 2,500 square feet home has a stunning two-level living room overlooking the pool, slate and stone patio, koi pond and private half acre lot. The house is listed at $869K and open this Sunday from 1 to 4 pm.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-16 09:21:542020-06-12 06:50:09Documenting the MCM Architecture of Wildwood, N.J.
If you don’t follow architectural photographer Darren Bradley, you should. His photos of mid-century modern and modern architecture are just stunning. As someone who grew up in New Jersey and still goes up to the Jersey shore every summer, I had to link to Darren’s amazing photos and monumental post about the mid-century architecture in Wildwood, N.J. (I took the shot above of the Panoramic years ago.)
Less than 200 miles from Washington, the Wildwoods (Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest) at the Jersey shore have the country’s largest concentration of mid-century commercial architecture from the 1950s and ’60s. The architecture of the motels, diners, restaurants and vintage neon signs reflect the era’s fascination with the automobile, air and space travel and all things Tiki/Polynesian. The architectural style in Wildwood was dubbed Googie. Many of the Doo Wop motels in Wildwood were built by Will and Lou Morey.
With more than 100 Doo Wop buildings having been destroyed amid the boom in real estate, the National Trust for Historic preservation named the Doo Wop motels to its “Most Endangered” list in 2006.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-09 21:22:362020-06-12 06:53:11Bike Tour of Modernist Southwest – June 11
If you want to do some cycling and take in some architecture after work this week, join the National Building Museum’s bike tour of Southwest DC. The tour will take place this Thursday (June 11) from 5:30 pm-7 pm. The tour will take in the area’s mid-century modern architecture, the Wharf development on the waterfront, historic rowhouses and new mixed-use development.
More than 50 years ago, Southwest underwent a massive transformation, representing at the time the largest urban renewal project in U.S. history. The effort to create a “modernist Utopia” in the nation’s capital was led by the likes of Chloethiel Woodard Smith, Charles Goodman, I.M. Pei, Morris Lapidus, Keyes, Lethbridge and Condon, Marcel Breuer, Edward Durell Stone and Harry Weese. This mid-century modern redevelopment effort was even highlighted in a exhibition at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels.
So hop on your bike and check the modernist architecture of southwest and the new development taking place along the water.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-08 09:01:332015-06-08 09:01:335 Iconic Modern Houses to Tour
It’s Monday. School is almost out. Summer is almost officially here. Planning for summer vacation? The Wall Street Journal suggests visiting five early modernist and mid-century modern homes to inspire your own modern spaces. Not a bad idea. Two of those on the list: Phillip Johnson’s Glass House (above) in Connecticut and Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House (below) in Los Angeles. The others are in Brazil, Finland and France. Enjoy if you go to any of these on the list.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-06-02 16:11:042020-06-12 06:53:11Deck Houses in West Virginia, Reston
Here are a few Deck Houses to help you enjoy the summer weather. This 1978 version in the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. The owners are currently looking for interested buyers. The three bedroom/two bath home is located on nearly six acres in Old Timberline, a unique gated community of 456 single family properties encircling a wildlife and wetlands conservancy. It is a private residential area and designated wildlife sanctuary. Two canoeing lakes and four groomed trails are at the center of this 3,300 acre community of mostly two to five-plus acre home sites. The community is surrounded by preservation lands. For additional information, you can view the owners’ site here or contact them via e-mail at email@example.com.
Here are two located in Reston that back up to the lakes in the area. This 1978 house that backs to Lake Thoreau is listed for $1.25 million while this one built in 1988 on Lake Newport is listed for $1.545 million.
Deck House, Inc. was founded in 1959 by William Berkes, a pioneer in post and beam building systems. The Deck House typically featured post and beam construction with exposed Douglas fir beams and tongue-and-groove vaulted ceilings.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-05-28 12:20:142020-06-12 06:53:11Event: Modernizing Mies’ MLK Library
If you want to see what initial plans look like for possible changes to Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the National Building Museum is hosting an event with the architects from D.C.-based Martinez & Johnson and the Dutch firm Mecanoo Architecten. The event will be held Thursday, June 18 from 12:30–1:30 pm at the museum. The event is free but but pre-registration is required. Register and learn more here.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-05-13 13:45:212015-05-13 13:45:21Hammond Wood: Our Next Goodman Project
Just closed today on this mid-century modern home by Charles Goodman in Hammond Wood. This two-level 3 bedroom/2 full bath home was featured in the May 1952 issue of Progressive Architecture (see below). Hammond Wood is a National Register of Historic Places-designated neighborhood just north of Kensington. Stay tuned for the renovation by Cook Architecture and Modern Capital. For those interested in potentially purchasing when the renovation is complete, please call Michael Shapiro at 301-503-6171 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-05-08 10:18:562020-05-08 12:53:56Explore Europe’s Modern Embassies – May 9
You will not experience any jet lag as you view some European modernism right here in Washington. The annual tour of European embassies is tomorrow (May 9) with the “Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House Day.” Mid-century modern and modern embassies to focus on are the embassies of Denmark (above) and Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. Enjoy the trip.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-04-20 11:45:572020-05-08 12:52:38A Cool Virtual Tour of the Eames House
You have seen images of the Eames House online or may have even vistied the site and peeked your head into the famous modernist space. Now, Archilogic, a real estate marketing company, has created a cool interative 3D model so you can further explore the Case Study House #8 in Pacific Palisades from youe desk. You can even furnish the house how you desire. Just don’t let your boss see you playing with this all day.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-04-12 22:00:092020-05-12 12:48:31The ‘Mad Men’ Legacy: Look to the Furniture
With the second of the last seven “Mad Men” episodes airing now, I wanted to make sure everyone saw this interesting piece by Andrew Romano, the West Coast Correspondent for Yahoo News who lives with his wife in a 1946 Alvin Lustig-designed mid-century modern home in Los Angeles. He says the show’s true legacy will focus on the promotion and celebration of mid-century modern furniture and design. (You should follow him on Instagram here.)
“‘Mad Men’s’ influence on design preferences may well outlast its influence on menswear and cocktail menus. Sure, hard-core design types have already moved on — to 1970s decadence or 1980s Memphis,” Romano writes. “But normal human beings still prefer the Design Within Reach look, and this doesn’t seem to be changing. Enter the hashtag #modern on Instagram, and 2.45 million photos pop up. With more than 325,000 subscribers, Dwell, a monthly love letter to modernist design, is one of the most popular shelter magazines in the country.
“It’s a short leap from retro to retrograde, and surrounding ourselves with artifacts from an earlier age could easily seem weird, or suffocating, or just plain pretentious. I don’t want to ignore new design just because it’s new, and I don’t want my living room to look like a set. But true modernism protects against that. At its best, it doesn’t get old. That’s because it isn’t a historical style — a fad, a trend — like French provincial or Mission revival; it isn’t a predetermined look, even though certain forms and materials eventually came to embody it.”
Enjoy the last few episodes. At least, we will still have the furniture.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-03-12 16:52:172020-05-08 12:52:27The Philosophy of Charles Goodman
To mark the 10- year anniversary of Hollin Hills, residents published a small booklet celebrating their award-winning modernist community. In an interview column entitled “We Talk to Goodman,” the architect expounded on his design philosophy and what it is like to be an architect. It is interesting to read after writing so much about Goodman and now finally owning one myself. Here are some of Goodman’s reflections:
Architecture and community:
“Architecture reflects the social phenomenon. What we yearn for and need is the flowering of the individual. We deeply need more offbeat personalities, more people with unique interests, more people strong enough to stand unafraid and be themselves. We need them not just in houses but in communities where their influence can be felt. We need unity in diverse interests. The dignity of the individual can come about only by self-examination and creating a physical climate conducive to self-examination. This doesn’t mean conformity–trying to make yourself the same as others–just the opposite.”
“All the antennae of a true architect must be tuned to beauty. Believe me, beauty is a rare commodity wherever man has been. Man has an uncanny knack for fouling his environment. Then we appoint committees to try to see what can be done with the awful mess we have made of things. A committee never did anything yet.”
The Life of an Architect:
“Nobody tells a lawyer how to plead a case or a doctor how to stitch you up, but everybody tells an architect what to do. People who ought to know better, big tycoons are brim full of ideas–and their sensitive wives have thought of more ideas. If mistakes are made, the architect is to blame. If things go well, it is because the tycoon’s wife–bless her–had the insight to tell the stupid architect to include it.”
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-03-05 21:55:352015-03-05 21:55:35Modern Snapshot: The National Presbyterian Church
The prominent campus of the National Presbyterian Church on Nebraska Avenue was designed by ecclesiastical architect Harold E. Wagoner, who once said: “The great thing about being an architect is you can walk into your dreams.” The cornerstone of the Brutalist/Neo-Gothic complex was laid by congregant and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 14, 1967, according to a history of the church. The design featured a main sanctuary seating 1,260, a chapel, large central fountain and a soaring carillon tower. The congregation first worshiped in its new home on September 7, 1969. Here are a few recent black and white shots of the campus.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-02-26 08:58:082015-02-26 08:58:08Charles Goodman’s ‘Twin Homes’ in Arlington
When you think of neighborhoods designed by Charles Goodman’s in Virginia you think of Hollin Hills and Hickory Cluster townhomes in Reston. Goodman also designed the small 1951 South Arlington subdivision of High Point, which consists of 21 twin homes. (A twin home refers to two attached homes that share a common wall but with each owner responsible for his or her own lot, which is split right down the center of the structure.) High Point is located on 10th Place just south of Columbia Pike and is within the Virginia Heights Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Here’s a good architectural description from the National Register submission written by a team of architectural historians at EHT Traceries, including my past client Patti Kuhn Babin:
“The houses are staggered along the sloping street by varying setbacks. Two stories in height, the dwellings are constructed of cinder block with a stretcher-bond brick veneer and have a shallow-pitched, side-gabled roof with prominent overhanging eaves. Although identical in form at the time of their construction, the houses vary by light-colored, red, and painted brick. An original one-story, two-bay “service entrance” with a flat roof projects from the main elevation of the majority of the dwellings.”
More from the submission: “The main elevation of each unit has a horizontal window opening with a one-light fixed window and a paired casement window on the first story and paired casement windows on the second story. Emblematic of Goodman’s style, large floor-to-ceiling windows pierce the second story of the dwellings’ main elevation. The original wood-sash windows contain two fixed lights with two paired casement windows below. The majority of the windows have been replaced by various window types, all of which are vinyl. In some cases, the window openings have been partially enclosed with vinyl siding or spandrels.”
The homes typically have two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. They are under 1,000 square feet. During the past two years, they have sold in the low to high $200,000 range.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-02-09 09:18:392020-06-12 06:51:34Book Tells Story of Wright’s Pope-Leighy House
To mark the 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, architect Steven M. Reiss has published the book Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, which tells the fascinating story of the Usonian house. The house, originally built for journalist Loren Pope and his family, was completed in 1940 in Falls Church. Second owner, Marjorie Leighey, helped save the house when it was threatened by the construction of I-66. She donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which moved the house to Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria in 1964. It was later moved again, although only 30 feet, because of soil issues. The house was the first of only three Wright homes built in Virginia. Here’s a short recent review from The Washington Post to learn more about one of our local architectural treasures.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-02-01 14:02:492015-02-01 14:02:49Wright’s Cooke House in VA Beach Back on Market
Frank Lloyd Wright’s mid-century modern Cooke House, a hemicycle structure built overlooking Crystal Lake, was recently relisted for $2.75 million. It was listed several years ago for $4.4 million and then dropped to $3.75 million. If you do not have the funds for this one, you can stay in the staff suite for $140 per night.
Designed by Wright in 1953 and completed after his death in 1960, the current owners Daniel and Jane Duhl bought the house in 1983 from the original owner Maude Cooke, who wrote to Wright in 1951 asking the master to build a house for her and her husband, Andrew. “Dear Mr. Wright, Will you please help us get the beautiful house we have dreamed of for so long?” Maude wrote. The house was in disrepair when the Duhls bought it. They undertook a major restoration, winning a preservation award from the AIA of Hampton Roads. The main feature of the 3 bedroom/2 bath house is the 70-foot curved great room with wall of glass and 40-foot custom Wright sofa. The owners have put together an excellent website with more photos, a history of the house and some of Wright’s drawings. The Cooke House is one of just three Wright designed in Virginia, including the Pope-Leighey House and the Marden House.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-01-15 17:35:022015-01-15 17:35:02Event: Smithsonian to Explore Legacy of Wright
An all-day Smithsonian seminar will explore the life and legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. The event will be held Saturday, January 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. $90 for members; $130 for non-members. Bill Keene, a Smithsonian study tour lecturer in architecture and urban studies, will lead the discussion. Participants also will hear from Thomas Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, who lives in the Robert Llewellyn Wright House (1957) in Bethesda, which was designed for his father, FLW’s sixth child. Click here for more information and tickets.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-01-08 09:48:322020-05-08 12:28:41Modern Snapshot: Noguchi’s ‘California Scenario’
With the thermometer on 10 degrees right now, I thought these pictures would be appropriate. Heading south from LA and just off the 405, you can find a small oasis amid the office buildings of Costa Mesa. Located on land that used to grow lima beans, Isamu Noguchi’s “California Scenario” is a 1.6 acre minimalist public garden that highlights California’s diverse natural environment, including its water, farmland, Redwoods, desert and mountains. Here is the garden’s brochure to learn more. Soak up the sun and the modern landscape design. No snow in sight.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2015-01-02 13:11:562015-01-02 13:11:56Happy New Year from Modern Capital
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and supporting the site during the past eight years. I hope 2015 will be filled with health, happiness and lots of mid-century modern goodness for all. This year architect Michael Cook and I will be developing a Charles Goodman-designed mid-century modern home we found on a private .6 acre lot. So stay tuned for updates on this new project.
Here are just a few shots from my recent trip to California to help warm you up and provide some modern inspiration as we kick off the new year. This first series is from the Stahl House, or Case Study House #22 by Pierre Koenig. This was the first time I did the evening tour. You should do it. It is magical.
Here’s the 1921 Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Unfortunately, it is currently closed for renovations so no inside tour. Oil heiress Aline Barnsdall picked a nice spot with a view for this Wright design.
Here are some of the Richard Neutra-designed homes in Silver Lake, starting with his own. The second house pictures is the 1957 Yew House. Third is the 1960 Kambara House.
Also in Silver Lake are the Avenel Homes, a 10-unit coop designed by Gregory Ain and built in 1947. The development is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Here are a few examples of more standard mid-century housing in Los Angeles.
I love this mid-century pattern on this balcony in Los Feliz.
This cool mid-century red-brick complex in Beverly Hills looks like it would fit more in DC.
Here are a few from the San Diego area. I love the version of Gordon Bunshaft’s Lever House in New York from Legoland.
A folded-plate roof Vons in Coronado.
A nice mid-century house at the beach in Del Mar.
A Palmer and Krisel mid-century modern in University City in La Jolla.
Hop you enjoyed the images. Have a great 2015.