Thursday, December 25, 2008

Case Study House #9 by Eames and Saarinen For Sale

Can you imagine owning Case Study House #9 by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen and its merely your guest house? The home, built for Arts & Architecture Publisher and Editor John Entenza who created the Case Study House program, now serves as a guest house (I can't believe it either) to a massive contemporary by Barry Berkus. Both houses can be yours for $14 million. As a number of people here on Curbed LA commented, this situation calls for an ironic twist: tear down the new house and keep the old one. CSH #9, by the way, sits next to another famous home in Pacific Palisades designed by Eames and Saarinen, Case Study House #8, better known as the Eames House.

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to say Happy Holidays to all of Modern Snob's readers. I wish everyone a very healthy, prosperous and modern New Year. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My SOM Obsession

SOM's Lever House (Photo by David Shankbone)

I’ve become a little obsessed with the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill website. The firm, which was founded in the 1930s, and is still one of the leading forces in the world of architecture is responsible for some of the most iconic mid-century modern corporate buildings. Think Lever House, One Chase Manhattan Plaza, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Manufacturers Hanover Trust building here on 5th Ave. among others. You can read about each of these and other projects here ( I search by year) and view galleries with vintage images.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Modern in Greenpoint

I wish my parents followed the lead of the author's parents and snapped up Arne Jacobsen Swan and Egg chairs when they went to Denmark in the 1960s. Mike Albo writes in the Times about his parents' foresight and some hip stores for modern snobs in my native land of Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saarinen's Miller House to be Preserved, Open to the Public

View this gallery at IndyStar: J. Irwin Miller House

Eero Saarinen's 1957 Miller House in the modernist mecca of Columbus, Indiana, is being donated to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) and will eventually be open to the public. With the interior by Alexander Girard and landscape design by Daniel Urban Kiley, the Miller House and Garden was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000. The house will undergo an 18-month renovation, which will include careful restoration of many of the original period details. Once the renovation is completed, the IMA will work with the Columbus Area Visitors Center to offer public access to the house and gardens. Can't wait.

Pre-Fab in the City

While MoMA recently hosted an exhibition on pre-fabs, which included constructing five modern structures in a lot in the middle of the city, this Bronx couple built one for real. Regina and Bill Marengo replaced their 900-square-foot bungalow with an 1,800 square-foot home designed by Resolution: 4 Architecture, the designers of the original Dwell home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Designs of Ray Kappe

Here's a house to drool over. It can be yours for a mere $5 million. Designed in the late 1960s by Ray Kappe, a highly regarded mid-century modern architect whose is still busy at 80. His own seven-level home built into a Pacific Palisades hillside was recently featured in Dwell. You can see a slideshow here. Some have considered the home the best designed dwelling in southern California.

After graduating from Berkely in 1951, Kappe's first job was as a draftsman on Eichler Homes for the firm Anshen + Allen. He also founded and directed the Southern California Institute of Architecture and designed more than 100 single-family homes.

If you can't afford the Canna Road home in Brentwood, take a look at Kappe's pre-fab designs. Very cool and definitely cheaper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Original Dwell Home For Sale - $795K

The original Dwell pre-fab home by Resolution: 4 Architecture is on the market for $795K. It's located here in Pittsboro, N.C., on 14 acres. Here's the 2004 Dwell piece "Prefab, Proven" on the how the Dwell pre-fab competition came to be.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vitra Design Museum Celebrates George Nelson

If you are not planning on flying over to Germany to visit the Vitra Design Museum's retrospective on George Nelson, here's a good video taking you inside the exhibit that opened last month to mark 100 years since the influential modern architect, designer, writer and teacher was born in Hartford, Conn. Hope the exhibit will make its way to the United States, but until then...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Building an MCM Birdhouse

Want an MCM birdhouse to match your own home? Or are you like Chris in this video from Curbly? He says he wants to build an MCM birdhouse because he will never live in a modern home. Anyway, I hope the birds appreciate the design.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Modern Tools for Your Modern Home

Design Within Reach is bringing you all the modernist tools you need for your hip modern home. Its new store, DWR: Tools for Living, will open in SoHo on Sept. 19 at 142 Wooster Street (Houston Street). DWR also plans to open another store in October in Santa Monica that will carry the company's home accessory line introduced last year. The stores will be "cash and carry" unlike DWR's furniture stores, which sparked some back and forth here at Apartment Therapy about actually having the cash to purchase some of the items.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Revisiting John Lautner

An interesting New York Times review on the retrospective of architect John Lautner's work now at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The Times piece includes a nice slideshow featuring some of Lautner's work, including the 1960 Chemosphere House pictured above. If you're in LA on September 14 and you're a big contributor to the museum, you can visit four of Lautner's homes for a cool $145.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kitchen Redo in Frank Gehry's First House

See the kitchen redo in this 1955 Sherman Oaks, California, home, which is said to be the first work of Frank Gehry. Wonder what he thinks about their IKEA cabinets and flea market glass tiles?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good Lesson in the Age of the McMansion

Eric Striffler for The New York Times

Architect Carlos Brillembourg said something quite profound in a July 24 New York Times story about the modern home he designed for his family in the Hamptons. While the house is 4,000 sq. ft. and cost $1 million to build, it appears smaller than the two cottages on the adjacent properties. "The spectacle shouldn't be the house," Brillembourg said. "It should be the life that takes place in the house." Does anyone really need a 12,000 sq. ft. home? Will it make them happier? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scenes from MOMA

A few shots from a recent trip to MOMA. Also check out images from the upcoming exhibit on pre-fab modern housing. Watch time-elapse videos of the pre-fab homes being built in the heart of New York City.

Vintage Eames Molded Plywood Dining Chair, DCM

Marcel Breuer Wassily Chair and Laccio side tables and LC4 Chaise Lounge by Le Corbusier

Ribbon Chair and Mushroom Chair by Pierre Paulin

Chairs by Jean Prouve. The exhibit focuses on Prouve's mass-production efforts.

Paintings by Mark Rothko. My walls need some of these.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Johnson's Alice Ball House Saved

The New Canaan News-Review reports on the deal that will save Phillip Johnson's Alice Ball House from the wrecking ball. From the story, it sounds like the the home will now serve as a pool house.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Modern Design for Modern Pets

I'm not a pet person, but my brother is. He forwarded me a link to this site that sells modern furniture for cats and dogs. Check out more info on the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired abode pictured above.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cool House, but Good Investment?

Something to think about as you shop for that multi-million modernist abode. Slate's Daniel Gross explores whether the modernist houses being sold, or auctioned, as pieces of art are good investments or money pits for preservation organizations and individuals alike. He also notes at the end of his pieces that the recent sale of Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House in an auction has fallen through.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Herman Miller Sale

Ten percent off. Free shipping. Well, with gas prices going through the roof and the stock market getting crushed, I guess any savings will help. Authorized Herman Miller dealers such as DWR, Highbrow Furniture and Jules Seltzer are marking down Eames, Nelson and Noguchi classics starting today and running until June 21.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Philip Johnson's Alice Ball House Endangered

If you have $3 million you can help save Johnson's Alice Ball House in New Canaan, Conn. The current owner tells the New York Times that if she can't turn the the 1953 1,773 sq. ft. house into a pool house or sell the property, she will knock it down. The 6 bedroom, 3 bath home sits on more than two acres. The CT Trust for Historic Preservation is urging the owner, Christine Ross, who is an architect, to scale back her plans and is warning her that bad press will likely result if she destroys the house.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Selling MCM Homes as Art

With the iconic Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra selling for $15 million at a recent Christie’s auction, the Wall Street Journal reports on the emerging trend of selling real estate as art. The other mid-century modern property up on the auction block recently—Louis Kahn’s Esherick House in Philadelphia— did not get any bidders at its auction this past weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mod Atomic Ranch Flickr Pool

More than 800 images of cool MCM homes, furniture, art and house plans for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Preservation's Modernism Issue; The 'White City' of Tel Aviv

Check out the new issue of Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which focuses on modernism. Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic of The New Yorker and a trustee of the National Trust, highlights why it so important to preserve buildings from the recent past in his Modernist Manifesto.

Other articles highlight the architecture of Palm Springs and Tel Aviv, known as White City because of the concentration of 4,000 Bauhuas buildings. In 2003, UNESCO recognized Tel Aviv as a World Heritage site. I was just there and had a chance to tour the city. If you go, check out the Buahaus Center for tours, maps and books. Also, make sure to see the recently opened Bauhaus Museum. The first exhibition includes original furniture, graphics, lamps, and glass and ceramic ware, by Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Christian Bell, Wilhelm Wagenfeld and others. Unfortunately, when I stopped by it was closed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Knoll Space Annual Sale - May 2-11

If you're planning on buying anything from Knoll, put your credit card away. At least until May 2, when the Knoll Space Annual Sale kicks off. It runs through May 11.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Clothes for your Tiny Modern Snob

Cool clothes from tinymodernist on Etsy. Wearing the designs of Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen are perfect for scouting out all those MCM open houses on Sunday.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

FrontDoor's Modern Primer; Rudolph for Sale

A short modern architecture primer and video from HGTV's FrontDoor Real Estate.

FrontDoor also highlights mid-century properties for sale in Palm Springs, Atlanta and Florida, the Cohen House by Paul Rudolph in Siesta Key. Not sure if the others are still for sale, but the Rudolph is. The price has dropped from $1.6 million to $1.58 million.

Friday, March 28, 2008

All Eames All the Time Redux

Likes, is a treasure trove of all things Eames. A "community fan site dedicated to the designs of Charles and Ray Eames," this is a must read for all you Eamesaholics. Here's a classic short video showing the assembly of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, first released in 1956.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Moderately Priced Modern

Check out's article on scoring moderately priced modern homes. The slide show features homes from around the country: a Wexler in Palm Springs, a Rummer in Portland, a May in Long Beach and more.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Federal Facade, Modern Inside

An interesting story in the New York Times about the transformation of an 1890s West Village town house into a mid-century modern space inspired by the Eames House.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Life for Saarinen's Terminal 5

Eero Saarinen's iconic Terminal 5 at Kennedy Airport moved a step closer to reopening. Closed since October 2001, the main terminal building, which was completed in 1962 for TWA, is being incorporated into jetBlue's new terminal at the airport. From Friday's New York Times story:

The [Port] authority’s board approved a $19 million project to perform the essential repairs needed to allow travelers to pass through the 46-year-old terminal on their way to the enormous new JetBlue Airways terminal that wraps around the T.W.A. building in a crescent shape.

Both buildings are known as Terminal 5. The hope is to open them simultaneously this fall, said William R. DeCota, the aviation director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. If not, he said, the T.W.A. building — an official landmark designed by the architectural giant Eero Saarinen — would reopen soon thereafter. Except for a brief stint as an exhibition gallery in 2004, the Saarinen terminal has been closed since T.W.A. ended operations in October 2001. The main terminal building, called the headhouse, and two tubular departure-arrival corridors have been preserved. Those corridors will connect the Saarinen and JetBlue terminals.

“When Terminal 5 launches in fall,” JetBlue says on its Web site, “customers will have the option of checking in at a JetBlue kiosk in the Saarinen building and taking in this landmarked architectural wonder’s exquisite modernist design on their way to our new terminal.” The airline has already adopted the gull-winged profile of the T.W.A. building into its Terminal 5 logo.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Herman Miller's Discovering Design

This Herman Miller site is cool. Simple as that. The site features an interactive web of the key people, places, ideas and products of mid-century modern design. You can find images of the designs, vintage ads and catalogues, and video and audi clips. Click on the image of Ray and Charles Eames on their motorcycle to find a video from 1956 of the couple unveiling their lounge chair and ottoman on national televsion. Click on the picture of George Nelson to hear an audio clip of Nelson admitting how he did not even design his famous ball clock. Can you say Noguchi?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Noguchi in New York

Next time you are in New York, check out the Noguchi Museum housed in a former photo-engraving factory in Long Island City. The museum opened in 1985 and presents a comprehensive collection of artist-designer-sculptor Isamu Noguchi's works. The building is undergoing some renovations, but all of the exhibits and programs are open to the public.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All Eames All the Time

If you are looking for all things Eames, check out Steve Cabella's site, Cabella has been gathering Eames Things, as he calls his collection, for the past 30 years. The site has links to articles from the 1940s, '50s and '60s, info on the Charles and Ray Eames' films and contributions to Hollywood and what he describes as "Eames Moments," or "interesting facts, details and stories that make up some of the Eames 'connections' one finds in the history of the design world."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Modern for the Masses

Affordable modern housing for the masses. Wasn't that the original thinking behind the modern movement? The philosophy of the Bauhaus style was to create the "perfect worker housing," as Tom Wolfe wrote in From Bauhaus to Our House. Today, a new breed of architects are seeking to create modern, well-designed and affordable housing for those who can't afford to buy the homes designed by the Bauhaus denizens (here's one in Andover, Mass., by Marcel Breuer) or their successors. Read the Wall Street Journal article detailing these new modern projects.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Saving Modernism

If you have an idea to help preserve a modern architectural landmark or are looking for financial or technical assistance to help save such a site, check out the Modernism at Risk program established in 2006 by the World Monuments Fund and Knoll.