Although there were a lot of cool things to some out of the 1980s, like Amber and I, this fan is not cool.
We have also been working on nagging projects that have nothing to do with the house, like my recent obsession with old bikes. Here is a 1955 Hawthorne that I bought from a guy who used it for his paper route in Beaverton when he was a kid. I took it all apart, stripped it, painted it, and bought a new seat and grips. It took me about 8 hours to do, so I bought a couple more and havent gotten to them yet...
I also got a 1959 Schwinn Hollywood cruiser for Amber, and a 1951 Hawthorne fat tire with a tank, lights, etc. I will post pictures as I get those done. We have two Heywood Wakefield projects going on now, a square table and a small gametable. The coffee table was $20 at an antique store that we frequent. We figured it was a fluke that they didnt know what Heywood was, but a few weeks later we went back in and they had a very very rare Heywood Wakefield
game table that needs to be restored, but is awesome. Heywood purists would perhaps say that we are crazy for refinishing this stuff, but we use it daily and we dont buy it to sell for profit. We have 5 Heywood pieces and we have spent a total of $235 for all of it, not too bad I would say.
Heywood Wakefield M-307 table.
The gametable...I have never seen on of these before...
Within the pages of these magazines the reader gets to enjoy wonderful pictures of beautiful homes, furniture, art, and advertisements about products that are green, eco-friendly, energy efficient, solar, renewable, organic, natural, blah blah blah. This is all great, but the paradox comes from the idea that buying more stuff is somehow better. What’s more is that we, the modernist artsy type reader, is somehow better than the suburbia mom who lives in a “McMansion”. At first, I believed this and I drank the kool-aid. I honestly thought that it was ok to look down on those wasteful buggers, until I wondered how they heat those glass houses in the Midwest, or how they keep the Palm Springs homes cool. They must cost a fortune to heat and/or cool.
The cost of electricity and gas has undoubtedly gone up since my home was built in the 1950s, but the idea of passive solar energy being used in a home of that vintage is nothing new. In fact, the only thing that has changed in most cases is that they call it passive solar now. Our home sits in the high desert of Central Oregon so we do have four seasons and they can be quite extreme one way or the other. In the summertime, we average 78 degrees, with highs that get into the 110s. In the winter, we average 23 degrees with lows last winter getting to –9 degrees. Our home was indeed quite cold because of the lack of proper insulation under the home, as a result we spent a lot heating it. However, in the summertime our home stays very comfortable even without the aid of air conditioning. Even on those extremely hot days, everyone who enters our home asks if we have A/C or comments on the comfort. This is due to several factors, but one very important one that is found on all of the mid century homes in this area is that the homes are situated to only have direct sunlight during the cooler parts of the day. The other is that our older neighborhood has fully matured trees that shade the area during those hot days. These are simple, inexpensive, and rudimentary ways to help but they certainly do not employ the use of fancy technology to lower costs. The photos here show awnings which were a very low cost and popular way to keep sun out of the house. They were simply a way for homebuilders to add value to the home by keeping costs down, and following WWII this was extremely important to families who were use to rationing supplies and resources.
The point is, there were solar homes being built a long time ago and that this trend of going green (it is a trend, not a revolution as many will tell you) should probably be examined and exploited with a little more finesse. I love the look of an all glass home with the lights on and nothing but empty space inside, it is clean and orderly and nice, but I just see dollar signs flowing out those windows. I am all for conservation of our natural resources, which is one reason why I buy as much old furniture as I can and keep it so it doesn’t end up in the landfill. I also think that buying old homes and renovating them to be even more eco-friendly is much more appealing than having one built in the country far from schools, shopping, etc requiring longer drive times and wasted fuel. So if one of those magazines comes to your house to take pictures, will you draw the blinds in at least one picture?
Any suggestions for a light fixture? We are going to install a halogen light fixture that we have had for a while and see if it looks good. The post war homes typically had the round glass lights but they arent very bright and our kitchen is already dark.
So I read quite a few blogs everyday, and I get a kick out of the humor that comes with most of them. The majority of blogs I read are related to design, furniture, technology, etc, and then sometimes I will read a political blog just to see what they have to say about current events. Before I moved to Central Oregon, I worked in the Oregon State Legislature for a representative. My advice to anyone who has any desire to make a career out of politics, just know that all of the stereotypes are true about the back room dealings, with shady power hungry politicians which is why I moved and changed careers to be in the private sector. Having gotten out of that world, it is hard to ignore the politics that are around each day, at work, on tv, on the radio, and now even in my favorite blogs which is why I am writing today.
Now with the recent election of president Obama, I have noticed that of the blogs that did decide to post something regarding the election, they ALL supported Mr. Obama which is wonderful, but if that were reversed what would happen? If every blog that you went to in your daily or weekly blogroll was a totally cool, hip, MCM paradise and was suddenly an advertisement for John McCain or Ron Paul, would you be turned off?
A friend of mine here in Oregon owns an antique store that specializes in Mid Century Modern, and the very first time I went in there, he had allowed campaigners to put huge Bush-Cheney ’04 signs on the side of his building which is close to a major road. I asked him why he would allow those to be put up, to which he replied something like, “Because I support Bush”. He then proceeded to tell me about the horrible things that people say to him when they come in because of the signs, people who are coming in to shop for furniture! They are expecting to see a square-glasses wearing hipster I suppose, but are shocked that someone would actually have a differing viewpoint then them. I suppose this isn’t too interesting because that would happen anywhere nowadays, but my problem with it is that people who love good design and share this common interest in beautiful furniture, somehow think that you have to be liberal to appreciate it. I know that I absolutely hate going into stuffy modern specialty stores where a plastic stool costs more than a car, and I think that the bloggers that I subscribe to do as well. If that is the case, then isnt the condescension of politics is just as bad? I really don’t think that it is OK to ostracize so many cool people because of their political preference.
Lane Acclaim, Before.