Modernism Week 2017 Palm Springs

The Kennedy Compound

Social media guide, @KellyGoLightly, offered up her 6,500 sq. ft. home as a partner/client for this year's annual Christopher Kennedy Compound, which celebrates and fosters appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs.

The Racquet Club Estates

 

The Signature Home Tour

1940s Kitchen Transformation

We have eagerly been awaiting the final reveal for our 1940s Kitchen Renovation located in the East Bay. Our clients Melissa and Jake approached us last us fall to help re-imagine their kitchen and living/dining area. Melissa wrote in an email early on, "The kitchen has been driving us nuts since we moved in this year, and we can't wait to start remodeling it!" The couple already had such a great sense of style and were amazing partners to collaborate with on re-designing their home.

The original home was built in the 1940s, and consisted of a small kitchen area, which was cramped for daily use, and the layout included a few different closed off areas, such as the pantry and laundry area. The couple desired a larger, more open space, since they love to cook and entertain, plus with a new baby, knew that an open, functional space would better suit their needs. 

BEFORE

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

AFTER

Good-bye closed off spaces and rooms, and hello to the newly transformed Kitchen!

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

The new design incorporates many materials found in this 1940s period of architecture and homes, which is part of our design philosophy when we approach a home renovation like this one. Natural materials, such as Semihandmade's Flatsawn Walnut and soapstone counters, pair with more modern touches, such as the large center Island.

We installed classic small mosaic hexagon floor tile from the front entryway all the way into the Kitchen, which was a common flooring found in apartments and homes from this era. One of my favorite design details is the floor transition from Kitchen to Living Room. Here we eased the transition with an organic flow, from tile to new Cork Flooring:

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

I already knew I loved working with Melissa and Jake, but when they wanted to put in a new Bar Area, I was super excited! Anyone who loves cocktails like I do is a friend of mine and I was thrilled with the opportunity to install a pattern from Fireclay Tile's hand-painted tile collection as a feature backsplash for the space, which really helps make the new bar shine.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

Thank you Melissa and Jake for the opportunity to help transform your home! What a fun and collaborative project it has been! 

Special thanks to the lovely Kara from Styled with Life, who helped us to make our shots just perfect on Photo Shoot day! 

Destination Eichler Awarded Regional Winner of The 2017 BlueStar Design Competition

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

WALNUT CREEK, CA, March 16, 2017  Destination Eichler, LLC, interior design firm specializing in mid-century modern restoration projects, was announced as a regional winner of the 2nd Annual BlueStar Design Competition. The contest, which attracted entries from across the country, honors design professionals who incorporate BlueStar® products into innovative, beautiful kitchen designs. 

BlueStar, manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home, assembled a jury to include award-winning designer and Elle Décor A-Lister, Eric Cohler, and Kim Lewis, best known as the Lead Designer behind ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and last year’s grand prize winner, Heidi Piron, of Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry in Summit, NJ.

The winning kitchen design was crafted for a 1959 Mid-Century Modern home, and used a mix of natural materials, such as Flatsawn Walnut and Concrete, melded with European style modern cabinetry, stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range and designer lighting.

A George Nelson CSS Unit Lives On

Our friends Amy and Arnaud recently bought their first home, an Eichler in the Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael. We have enjoyed following their progress on various home restoration projects. Since moving in last year, they have hit the ground running, installing new VCT Flooring, restoring the fireplace to original CMU, and sanding/refinishing several walls of Luan paneling. Did I mention they just had a second child too?! I recently helped them redesign the Kids/Guest bathroom and Laundry Area, which once fully completed, can't wait to share!

I posted this photo on Instagram a few months back, of their newly restored Fireplace. If you didn't see the before, just imagine mirrors, ledges, and lots of granite covering the original fireplace. With a new gas insert and beautiful original CMU blocks exposed, it's now one of the best lounge spots in the house!

I recently stopped in and had to share photos and a special story about this gorgeous 1967 George Nelson CSS Unit, which they installed with the help of Amy's father Gary.

This particular shelving unit came from Amy's Grandparents' Home, in the iconic Lake Point Tower in Chicago:

Lake Point Tower under construction in the 1960s, via Lake Point Tower Condominium Association website.

Lake Point Tower under construction in the 1960s, via Lake Point Tower Condominium Association website.

Her Grandparents moved into the 24th floor apartment even before the building was topped off. Amy shared, "Normally these units weren't found in residences unless you had a designer, which she had. They were mostly modular office units." 

I love that this piece will continue to live on with the family for another generation. Some of my favorite elements of this George Nelson CSS Unit include the black doors, paired with walnut. Such a classic combination. I have another mid-century project I'm working on that you may see this same pairing! 

Thank you Amy and Arnaud for sharing this special story with us and we continue to be inspired by your ongoing efforts to bring back the details of your beautiful mid-century modern home!

 

 

Flush Door Jambs and Hidden Hinges

Flush Door Jambs

Modern details like flush doors have been included in original Mid Century Modern construction, but have improved over the years. If you have the luxury of replacing the entire jamb and willing to refinish drywall, you can opt to use a new flush door jamb using hidden hinges. The not only provides for a sleek finish, but these modern assemblies can allow for complete 180 degree action.

EZYJamb is a split-type door jamb manufactured from cold rolled steel to produce a strong and secure assembly.

The EZYJamb Classic Adjust EZC, comes with perforated sides for flush finishing which produces a contemporary flush finish door jamb with clean lines and inconspicuous detail.

The completed jamb is flush finished and can be painted in with the whole wall area to fully conceal any fixing, achieving simple clean lines around the door face. 

The incorporation of reinforced edges overcomes the continual damage door jambs are subjected to by normal everyday use.

The unique design of EZYJamb combines visual appeal, strength and versatility.

The door, itself, will need concealed or hidden hinges, that will be mortised using a proprietary jig supplied by the hinge manufacturer, so it would be advised to have your carpenter source the plank door, hinge, jig, and door jamb products they are comfortable using.

This door allows for 180 degree action, which in this case was required to offer the hall bathroom an outswing, while folding out of the way for someone passing by. 

This door allows for 180 degree action, which in this case was required to offer the hall bathroom an outswing, while folding out of the way for someone passing by. 

 

Other options:

http://www.invisiframe.com/

The Quest for a New Rug

We used to have a lot more rugs in the house, but eventually they either got super grimy and/or didn't last very long and we have been without any rugs for quite some time. I also prefer the ease of sweeping dirt and dust away with a broom and dust pan, versus vacuuming. But our home is very "live" in terms of sound and we figured a new rug might help to dampen the sound a tiny bit. (Hard to do with two boys who run around with Nerf guns and Light Sabers all the time, but we thought we would try anyway). 

It was fun to see via a question we posted to Instagram, all the great suggestions on where folks like to buy their rugs. From Overstock, to Allmodern, and FLOR tiles to Ikea and Target, there is an endless supply of well-designed rugs. I contemplated bright and bold, to thick and fuzzy and everything in between, but also had budget and quality as my top priorities.

If you are a Bay Area local, you probably already know about it, but if not, Williams-Sonoma Brands has a huge warehouse in Alameda, CA, filled with merchandise from all their brands/stores: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma. It's only open on the weekends and they receive new inventory each week, so you have to try your luck with each visit to see if there's anything there that catches your fancy. I scored this past weekend, finding this 9' x 12' Marquis Wool Rug from West Elm at waaay less than you can buy online or at the store. We rolled it up and threw it in the SUV. (You can pay extra for delivery, but worth it if you have a big car or truck to take your goodies home same day).

So here is our new Rug in our Family/Living Room; our youngest started rolling all over it the moment we laid it out in the room, so I guess that means it's been Kid-Approved!

I know it's really light in color, which is a scary thought, but we all love the nice, plush, thickness of the wool. We take shoes off in the house too, but it will most likely be me to be the first one to spill a big glass of Red Wine on it!

Until then, we're enjoying having something soft underfoot; and a nice place to sit down on too.

 

Dining Room and Fireplace Reveal

After a few very messy weeks (think smashed travertine tile, two failed soda blasting attempts, and living without glass panels during torrential rain storms), what started as a "Fireplace Project" turned into a bit of a bigger Dining Room overhaul. 

Let's remember what the Dining Room first looked like... now this is almost four years ago, but it was quite different:

For a recap on the Fireplace Restoration, check out our past post. We finally brought in the professionals to remove the thick primer that was on the original brick, which they used a technique called Soda Blasting to remove.

Replacing the glass panels

We then prepped the area to replace the non-original side glass panels back to clear glass. John replaced some of the wood stops with new pieces in preparation for the two new glass panels we ordered from a local glass shop. 

Glass will be inserted into the existing metal channel, located in between the inside and outside of the fireplace.

Glass will be inserted into the existing metal channel, located in between the inside and outside of the fireplace.

Using extra large suction cups, John carefully inserted the glass panel into the metal channel and installed new wood stops. Lots of caulk and additional outside wood stops were then installed for a secure fit. 

Then came some last minute walnut paneling work, to finish off the few feet left of the space before the transition to the Kitchen.

And here's our "new" more-original-in-style Dining Room!

The newly restored Fireplace in our Eichler 

The newly restored Fireplace in our Eichler 

The additional Walnut paneling we added to finish off the space really made a difference, and it felt like it would make a great lounging area with the Eames Chair.

We also rearranged the Dining Table to accommodate the added seating area. 

We still have a bunch of additional clean-up work to do (removing remaining bits of old tile mortar, some re-painting, etc...) but for now, we are thrilled (and relieved!) to have rid of the last of the former "updates" made to this room. It feels like the room and space can breathe again! 

Next up, we finally found a new Rug for the Living Room... and how we decide to add some greenery to the side area, which is in the view of those great new glass windows (currently an old fence and construction debris). Thanks for all the support through this project! It's been fun seeing everyone share in our same excitement to get back to an original fireplace! 

Stripping Down: Restoring a Fireplace

Our dining room went already went through an amazing transformation, but the fireplace remained one of the last things to tackle in the room. The original brick fireplace was tiled over with some beige stone that didn't fit the MCM theme.

The room went through extensive updating where we put back in a large sliding door, added Walnut wall paneling, replaced the carpet with VCT, and even added back in original pinstripe Eichler siding. 

Major work completed to allow access and light in through the atrium.

Major work completed to allow access and light in through the atrium.

Walnut paneling added.

Walnut paneling added.

Fireplace after tile removal.

Fireplace after tile removal.

There was a thin layer of who-knows-what that was applied to the brick. It was much more difficult to remove than regular paint. We tried paint remover, but it didn't make a dent. I then tried soda blasting with a Harbor Freight 15lb blaster with a rented 6.5cfm @ 90 psi compressor, and that resulted in removing about a course of brick every two hours - ugh!

Out first experiment took a few hours to prepare the area, assemble the blaster, fill the bottle, setup the compressor, and experiment with flow rate and spray tips. A few pounds of soda later, we only had a few bricks cleaned.

Out first experiment took a few hours to prepare the area, assemble the blaster, fill the bottle, setup the compressor, and experiment with flow rate and spray tips. A few pounds of soda later, we only had a few bricks cleaned.

Fireplace ZipWalled and John suited up for blasting. 

Fireplace ZipWalled and John suited up for blasting. 

It was time to bring in the professionals, something we're always reluctant to do, but in this case, reasonable options ran out for us. A used professional abrasive blasting rig ran about $15K, so instead we hired Steve Coe out of Wheatland, CA. His crew was awesome and very professional. They were courteous about keeping dust out of the house. He pulled up in a truck with a huge trailer consisting of a giant compressor and blasting equipment.

IMG_0533.JPG
IMG_0534.JPG

They initially tested pure baking soda that didn't quite have the abrasion they wanted, so they also mixed in glass bead. It was loud and dusty, even with all the dust control mechanisms (a sealed area and a vacuum that pulled air out to the driveway). They were done in 4 hours and it was worth every penny!

Here is the completed job. A few remaining areas that require additional plaster removal.

Here is the completed job. A few remaining areas that require additional plaster removal.

Up Next - Replacing the glass panels on the side to get back to clear glass so we can see the entire chimney come through the room - can't wait!