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July 2014

Found 10 blog entries for July 2014.

Last winter I made a few observations on the issue of Preserving Mid-Century Architecture, which seems to be an increasingly touchy subject as the needs of 21st Century lifestyles make an effort to merge with the renewed popularity of Mid-Century design and architecture.  Most recently, two Eichler homes in Palo Alto have become the subject of controversy as their owners, the neighbors, and the city of Palo Alto strive to find a middle ground for renovation/rebuilding that will keep everyone happy.  At the heart of the matter are two single-story homes that are longing to become 2-story homes, and it seems that just about everybody has an opinion on what the “right” answer is.

The homes in question are in roughly the same neighborhood (Palo Verde) with

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Los Angeles is getting its first ever Sunset Idea House!  There have been so many up here in NorCal that it seems it is about time for our friends in LA to get one of their own.  Last year, Sunset ventured to Washington, but most of Sunset’s Idea Houses have been within a relatively easy drive of the Bay Area.  Sunset created the eco-glam green Idea House in San Francisco, a chic Sierra retreat near Lake Tahoe, and a Gold Country get-away in El Dorado Hills – not to mention the upscale barn-style Idea House in Monterey Bay and the Breezehouse in Healdsburg (which, BTW, happens to be one of my favorites).

This year’s Idea House is a 4500 square-foot home in Manhattan Beach.  Just minutes from the seashore, the 2014 Idea House will redefine what beach

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Right now we have some great news for Eichler lovers who embrace the condo lifestyle.  There are currently, as I write, five – yes, count ‘em 5 – Eichler condominiums/townhomes for sale in Santa Clara.  The Eichler units for sale are located in Santa Clara’s only Eichler development, located north of the intersection of Benton Street and Pomeroy Avenue.  There are 4 Eichler townhomes for sale in Pomeroy Green and a fifth unit tucked away in a quiet corner of Pomeroy West.

All the Santa Clara Eichler condos were built during the early 1960s – a period of time when Joseph Eichler was building some of his most sophisticated and dramatic homes.  Each of the homes for sale have a small outdoor living space, the use of community facilities and pool, and

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Conjuring up images of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack, Mid-Century Retro style is back and inspiring an entire new generation of design.  It’s simple lines, bold colors, and geometric shapes are as au courant today as they were 60 years ago.  If you are looking to put some Mid-Century glam into your home, keep a few basic notions in mind:

  • Less is more.  Clean simple lines that play up the natural beauty of the design are key, whether your style is Danish Modern, Eames, or Eero Saarinen.
  • Light boldly. Lighting came into its own in the mid-1900s.  Table lamps were tall, curvy, and slim and futuristic chandeliers became focal points.
  • Geometric sets the tone.  A vintage wall hanging of squares or circles will add a definite Mid-Century
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The de Young Museum of Fine Art in San Francisco currently has a fabulous exhibition of Modern art on display that I think the art lovers among you will want to see.  Titled Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, the exhibit is a collection of 46 paintings and sculptures by prominent post-WWII artists.  The artwork, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, provides a comprehensive overview of Modern and Contemporary art spanning the last half of the 20th Century.

To me, the highlight of the exhibit is Barnett Newman’s The Stations of the Cross.  Created over the course of eight years (1958-66), this series of 15 abstract paintings uses a palette of black and white on raw canvas – and is considered to be

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The commute between the North Bay and San Francisco is about to become a whole lot easier if everything goes as planned with the addition of another afternoon commuter ferry trip between the City and Larkspur.  The matter went to the Board of Directors for Golden Gate Transit on Friday for their final approval.  I haven’t heard yet what the verdict was, but anticipate the news will be positive.

In a related issue, the Golden Gate Transportation Committee has recommended that a ferry-feeder shuttle bus run during commute hours between the Smith Ranch Road Park & Ride lot in Terra Linda to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. It sounds great to me – as the buses would be dedicated to serving the commuter ferry schedules, which would sideline many of the problems

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Xeriscaping – or drought-tolerant landscaping - is a notion that is gaining in popularity, particularly with California’s recent scarcity of water.  While using limited irrigation, xeriscaping does not mean limiting your garden to cacti, succulents, and rocks.  With proper design, you can have a beautiful, lush yard that is easy to care for and uses less water than traditional landscape.

Whether you decide to plant your xeriscape yourself our hire a professional, the steps are basically the same. 

  • First, you’ll need to plan ahead and develop a design that accommodates your lifestyle and your site.  Thinking about how you use the space and sun/shade exposure are important considerations.  Look through magazines and websites to find plants and ideas
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If you love the Zen of Japanese design, you won’t want to miss the upcoming show at Heath San Francisco.  Japanese master potter Akio Nukaga and a few of his friends are in town, and Heath SF will be showcasing their latest work July 11 – August 8, 2014.  In addition to Akio’s ceramics, functional and sculptural pieces by woodworker Hideki Takayama and hand-dyed Japanese cloths known as tenugui, created by Kawamanu, will be featured.

The celebration begins this weekend with an Opening Reception on Saturday, July 11, 2014.  Sunday, July 12, will be a day of demonstrations:  Watch Akio throw pottery; learn how to sand, oil, and finish a wooden spoon by Takayama; or join Megumi Inouye for a tenugui wrapping demonstration.

Even if you can’t make it to

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I love a lot of things about my Eichler, but I must admit that one of the things I love the most is the atrium.  Its lack of commitment (is it an indoor space or an outdoor room?) makes it versatile and fun.  Glass walls and open sky bring the outside in, making rooms feel spacious and flooding the house with light; and the extra space the atrium provides is a godsend when I have a party and guests can spill out into the atrium.

I also love that the Eichler atrium or courtyard is a blank canvas, and thinking outside the box in determining how to use the space is encouraged.  My atrium is pretty minimalist, which suits my style.  We’ve outfitted it with a couple of Mid-Century Modern concrete loop chairs, a shade sail, and some simple plantings

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July 4 is such a quintessentially American holiday: backyard BBQs and park picnics; swim parties and seaside wingdings; hot dogs and hamburgers; camping, fishing, and hometown parades – all capped off by fireworks extravaganzas.

Our Sacramento Eichler and Mid-Century Modern readers will find lots to do in their region, from small community celebrations to the Sacramento Independence Day Celebration at Cal Expo, which features the largest fireworks show in the region.  Or they might travel up the hill a bit and have fun at the Folsom Pro Rodeo, which features a real rodeo, fireworks, and live music. 

If Lake Tahoe is in your plans you can take in Tahoe South’s Lights On The Lake fireworks display from a number of venues, including either of Tahoe’s

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