BLOG ARCHIVE - April 2007

Saturday April 28, 2007

East County Modern! A great day for a drive - as always Wildcat Canyon Road draws the "S" to it like a moth to a flame - and good design. I had the pleasure of being invited to an Ilan Lael Foundation picnic at the home of Ann and James Hubbell this morning. While it is always life-affirming to have lunch and converse with James Hubbell, today was full of added bonuses - spending time with Kyle Bergman who told me about the play, "The Glass House", he is producing in New York City on Edith Farnsworth and her relationship with architect Mies Van Der Rohe; meeting Bob Driver and discussing his father's home by Russell Forester in Del Mar; and hearing Richard Louv speak about his new book Last Child in the Woods. As I headed down the mountain from the Hubbell property in Santa Ysabel, I stopped by to chat with the owner of Sim Bruce Richards' residence for Kenneth & Marguerite Peterson (circa 1973). There really isn't anywhere else I can imagine living where the sea is so close to twisty mountain roads where world-class artists, art and architecture reside.

April 27, 2007

Preservation Alert - the owners of 335 West Upas are planning to demolish a mid-century gem. In a bold move by the City of San Diego, demolition permits were issued recently on what looks to be the Watson Residence (1949) by Lloyd Ruocco. While I am upset that a fellow San Diegan's desire for a McMansion trumps the legitimacy of a cultural asset to be shared with the community, it is the Planning Department, HRB and even the very recent "uptown survey" that has failed us all..

April 24, 2007

Taking a day off from the dayjob has rarely felt so right as it did today. Bree and I set out for La Jolla to walk through the Hood Residence (see photos to the right). Currently on the market for $1.8M, the house is pretty original and hopefully destined to be purchased by a caring owner. If the price comes down (DRASTICALLY), I am on it. For starters, one of the twin decks off the north/south facades has been remodeled, the garage enclosed and the whole cedar exterior has been painted. The first day of ownership should include a sand blasting and re-stain. As always, a Sim Bruce Richards interior is breathtaking - imagine a forest of cedar and mahogany trees giving their lives... The Richards tour did not end there, Bree and I visited the Schmock Residence right afterwards and spent some quality time with the owner.

As we headed home to the mid-east-county region, we popped by the Tim Hallahan Residence by CJ "Pat" Paderewski to spend time with the 92-year-old original owner. Comparing notes, Bree and Tim compared and contrasted their two Paderewski-designed homes that were built within a year or two of one another. Tim told us that he worked with Paderewski right as he returned to the States from the Korean War. We are sending troops to Iraq these days - how times have changed, and how they have remained the same...

Three visits prior to lunch. Not bad. The afternoon was spent amidst my friend's collection of Ellsworth Kelly and John Baldessari paintings just chatting. Tonight will be spent on the laptop sifting through Sim Bruce Richards' family letters dating back prior to World War 2 (that was long before Iraq, but not that many years before Korea...). We all need more days off.

April 18, 2007

More sad news - ceramic craftsman and master glazer Otto Natzler has died at age 99. More on the news here.

First - you own a modern home. Second - you are looking for a tax break in '07/'08. Apply for Mills Act protection of your mid-century gem. Get inspired here.

April 17, 2007

Ramona Modern!

Jess and I drove, errr - raced, the beauty of Wildcat Canyon Road in the "S" on Sunday to visit John and Marianne Castro, the third owners and current occupants of the Lewis Weinberg Residence (1978). Following the construction of his Kenneth Peterson Residence (1973) at the north end of San Diego Country Estates, Sim Bruce Richards returned to the south end of the development to build one of his most impressive houses of his entire career. Threatened each time it has sold, the fine detail work of Richards' built-in black-walnut furnishings, the cavalcade of James Hubbell and Rhoda Lopez built-in sculpture as well as Frank Koge's exquisite landscape design has all remained intact. Designed in 1978 and completed in 1980, the Weinberg Residence was a real treat to tour. I will post pictures shortly. The camera ran out of fuel by the time we arrived at the Peterson Residence - so pictures will be forthcoming. Now that I have located both of these residential designs, there is still a third I need to confirm - the Bruce Meador Residence (1973) that may or may-not have been built on Old Muzzey Grade. Strangest thing that Google Maps don't find a street of this name in Ramona unless it changed to Mussey Grade Road. Any suggestions?

To carry forward "Bruce Richards Week" I will be touring the Hall Hood Residence (1955) in La Jolla with the owners who are selling it. For more info on the listing go here.

April 11, 2007

I am looking for any information on the life and career of Lloyde Therkelsen. Please email me here with any information or leads you may have. I put up a few pictures from Dean Marshall's portfolio here.

April 10, 2007

Mission Hills Heritage will host its Annual Historic Home Tour on April 21. This year, the Dr. Rabinowitz Residence (1952) by Lloyd Ruocco will be featured. Check it out -- it is a beautiful home.

Los Angeles Modernism Show and Sale is scheduled for May 4-6.

LACMA will open a new exhibition in August. "SoCal: Southern California Art of the 1960s and 1970s from LACMA's Collection" featuring works by Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, John McCracken, Craig Kauffman, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Keinholz, George Herms, Tony Berlant, Michael McMillen, Gordon Wagner, Betye Saar, Alexis Smith, John Outterbridge, Llyn Foulkes,Joe Goode and others opens on 8/19/07.

Washington DC's Corcoran Gallery of Art opened a new show 'Designing a New World: 1914-1939'. Read the LA Times review here.

April 6, 2007

We explored Tucson Modern today. I have yet to find a Modern Tucson web portal - not even Modern Phoenix covers the city - too bad as there are many gems here - and too many to list or exhibit photos. One of my favorite vices - public art - is captured on the right by a fantastic fountain by Charles Clement in downtown Tucson. Also right around the corner from our visit to the Tucson Museum of Art (where we viewed works by Noguchi, Nevelson, Calder, Tobey and more) are murals by the same artist of an earlier vintage. We head back to San Diego tomorrow but are already planning our next Modern tour.

There is never enough battery power in the camera to cover everything -- we were in Mar Vista last weekend looking at all of the Gregory Ain houses and we failed to post any photos since the camera went AWOL. You all know the story... we will be back in LA in a few weeks to share photos with you.

April 5, 2007

Today we drove from Arcosanti to Phoenix to check out all of the modern furnishing retailers including RED. Then we hunted down nearly every known address where Sim Bruce Richards lived in Phoenix during the 1930s. In my attempts to better understand the man while I write his biography, we drove the streets of downtown Phoenix where we found most of his homes and apartments demolished and replaced with a wide variety of things including a parking lot. In my head I am already thinking another trip is in order to better understand where he spent his youth. One of his first jobs as a draftsman in Phoenix (after he left Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin) was for Edward Loomis Bowes (in 1936) on the Camel Back Inn.

April 4, 2007

Following a short hike, some pool and jacuzzi time and a dynamite Italian meal, we left Sedona. On the way out of town, we utilized a sister site to MSD, Modern Phoenix, to find the Sedona West neighborhood designed by Howard Madole circa 1960-65. You may be wondering to yourself -- "Why would anyone leave Sedona?" To which I reply in one word Arcosanti. Yes we are here at Arcosanti. Following a self-guided tour of the gift shop, we secured a place on a docent-led tour of the property and then attended a School of Thought workshop with the 87-year-old Paolo Soleri himself. Tonight we are staying (with a strong wi-fi signal) at the Arcosanti guest rooms which seem to be part Schindler, part Bauhaus, and part Le Corbusier.

April 3, 2007

We arrived in Scottsdale. While we have all witnessed Taliesin (the main attraction in this town for the architecture geek), this trip was not to include "mecca" and instead was more about our friend Dick. After a night of catching up, thai food, and blowing up air mattresses, we awoke to breakfast and conversation with a former member of the Arizona Designer Craftsmen, Dick Seeger. While Dick has many stories from his past (including Scottsdale luminaries Lloyd Kiva and Paolo Soleri among them), it is his current home environment that captured our emotions. After breakfast we visited Cosanti the headquarters and home to Paolo Soleri.

Leaving Scottsdale in the dust, we arrived in Sedona. Upon driving into town we made our way to Chapel Road to witness Anshen and Allen's Chapel of the Holy Cross. While architecture, one could argue, is my version of religion, the rest of the site's visitors were there for their religion. If you have an interest in the modern craft movement, the candle holders (by Rosenthal) and various decorative objects were fantastic. The building has not been remodeled!

April 2, 2007

Irene and Jose from Barcelona toured "the little Ellwood that could" after visiting Oscar Niemeyer's only design in the US, the Strick Residence (1964) in Santa Monica. I have included photos of both to the right. Following their visit, we fueled up the rental car and headed to discover a bit of Modern Arizona.


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