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modern inspiration

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

A Mid-Century Modern Gem in Spokane

Becky

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I recently had the pleasure of talking with Sam Ferris (whom I connected with via iittala products) about the incredible home where he grew up in Spokane, Washington. Ferris’s parents, Mary Jean and Joel Ferris, owned a home accessories, art and furniture store in Spokane back in the 1950s, and it was a hub of mid-century design right at the height of the movement.

After having a little trouble getting neighbor approval for the type of modern house they wanted to build and live in, a family member hooked them up with some property that had been in the family since the early 1900s, and they hired on-the-rise, local modern architect Bruce Walker to build them their dream house.

The Ferrises were passionate about nurturing designers and promoting modern architecture and design, and they lived and worked to spread the word. “There were very few modern houses in Spokane back then, and sometimes my friends would tease me that my house looked like a post office!” says Sam Ferris. “The privilege of growing up in this house impacted the way I see the world.”

Since the passing of their parents, the Ferris children have preserved their legacy by fixing the house up, preserving it and documenting the story of the house on a website called Spokane MidCentury. They attained historic landmark status in Spokane, which will preserve the integrity of the architecture. It is one of only two modern houses locally to achieve this status. They are also applying for National Landmark Status for the home.

“The house and yard are too big for any of us, so we are ready to pass it on,” says Ferris. “It was such a gift to have this house in the family for so long; we want to leave it in great condition for an active family to enjoy.”

The Ferrises were the first store to carry work by artist Harold Balazs who created the bronze sculptural piece on the left. Balazs went on to do many large public art projects and is just one example of the couples’ passion for nurturing designers. “Balazs was kind enough to come by the house late last year and re-attach 2 pieces of the screen.  My parents enjoyed having parties and well . . . these things happen,” says Ferris. “HB is in his eighties now but still has very happy memories of the people who believed in him as a gifted artist in his early twenties.”

Ferris’s parents were pioneers whose tastes were influential all over the Northwest, and their children have done an exquisite job of paying tribute to them via their care for this home. “The house is timeless, and so is the positive energy my parents sent out to the world in their life’s work,” he says. Thanks so much to Sam Ferris for sharing all this positive energy with us!

Photography by J. Craig Sweat Photography Inc.

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Hans Wegner and His Wishbone Chairs

Becky

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When I noticed our sister store, Danish Design store, was having a sale (buy five and get a sixth for free) on Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chairs, my mind started to spin, as I have been coveting them for years. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to pick a style or color as they are so much fun in the bright colors yet so mid-century modern cool in the original finishes, but I dream of having these in my dining room.

Hans J. Wegner was born in 1914 in Denmark. As he matured, it turned out he was the right person in the right place at the right time. He cut his teeth in design and furniture making as a teenager, apprenticing for a master cabinetmaker. He then went on to study furniture making as well as architecture in Copenhagen, where he was inspired by the Carpenters’ Guild Furniture Exhibits.

Wegner continued his education by working under Arne Jacobsen. who is probably best known for designing the Swan Chair and the Egg Chair, which both remain modern icons (personally, my favorite is a vintage Grand Prix chair, but that’s a story for another day):

After developing his style of organic and functional designs, Wegner designed the Wishbone Chair in 1949, during the height of mid-century modern design. The chair has had a major influence on design ever since and is a Danish Modern icon. It works in so many rooms, from a Japanese tea house vibe to very contemporary spaces.

Feast your eyes on the Wishbone in a variety of colors and room styles:

image from Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

Tempted yet? If you are, add 6 to your shopping cart over at Danish Design Store and enter 6FOR5 at checkout.

Most images via The Wishbone Chair Blog; a few at the bottom I ripped from Pinterest and have no idea where they originally came from, which I hate to do, but I had to share them. Please let me know if you know the sources.

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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

It’s Modern Playhouse Time!

Becky

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This Lichtenstein house in The High Museum of Art’s front yard got me thinking about modern playhouses the other day:

Doesn’t it look fantastic with the building’s gridded white facade behind it? Depending on where you’re standing, its lines and perspective change.

A lot of my all-time favorite playhouses have been posted over at the fabulous blog created by vintage mavens Alix and Dottie, Modern Kiddo. They brought back many of their readers’ happy memories of The Nut Tree destination rest stop in Vacaville, California in this delightful post. Here’s a peek at just two of the amazing, kid-friendly and colorful designs that were part of The Nut Tree back in the day  (according to their post, it closed in 1996 and some of it was demolished, but re-opened in 2009). How awesome is the graphic design on this funhouse?

I love the modern spirit behind these three modern playhouses. All are made with certified sustainable wood and are pretty easy to assemble. This is the Circle House with Furniture Set from Modern Playhouse:

I love its simple lines and whimsical circle cut-outs. The house is made of plywood and was inspired by Scandinavian fishing shacks. It’s the perfect spot for a tea party.

Next, we have the MD-20 from TrueModern:

This house was designed by Edgar Blazona, is made of eco-friendly sustainable birch plywood and coated in non-toxic finishes. It also has wall-mounted paper tablets that turn it into a little one’s own private art studio.

Finally, we have the Puzzle Playhouse and Furniture Set from Modern Playhouse. It can be stored flat and easily assembled and disassembled on a daily basis, but honestly, it’s so cute, you’ll want to find a special spot to keep it on display all the time.

Do you have happy memories of your playhouse, or have you built one for your kiddos? Please tell us about it in the comments section!

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Monday, January 2nd, 2012

2012: Resolve to Stay Inspired

Becky

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Ugh. I’m old enough to know I’m never going to stick to any hard and fast resolutions, like losing weight or giving up vices, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to clean your closet or reorganize your shoes. However, one thing that keeps me inspired to complete some projects around the house is an ant infestation.

Another thing is looking at beautiful pictures of other peoples’ much more clean and organized homes. So here are a few from Flickr. Thanks to everyone who continues to add their pictures to our Fresh New Spaces Group. Whenever I want a nice little escape from whatever I’m working on, I head over there to get my creative juices flowing.

Love this clean white kitchen from Flickr member aindizain. My kitchen island has NEVER looked so good, but maybe after admiring this picture I will make it look like this.

As for the bedroom, it is NOT that hard to make up your bed everyday. If you find that it is, consider sleeping European-style, with only a bottom sheet and duvet with cover. Rooms like this make me want to get out that weird vacuum cleaner attachment and get those bunnies underneath the bed. Image from Flickr member Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc.

Of course, an entryway is the spot where your interior will make it’s first impression, so I like to look at this one with the cool map for inspiration. Posted by Flickr member photo.OP.

Finally, thank you to Danielle over at The Style Files for continuing to collect some of the most beautiful images out there! This living room will help you resolve to have more fun with your décor this year.

If you make one rezzie this year, resolve to stay inspired. When you feel that inspiration waning, seek some out.

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Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Ice Cube and Charles and Ray

Becky

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I could make that title rhyme with NWA…

This video made my day. While my favorite ep of MTV Cribs is Ice-T showing off his retractable roof (no wait, that’s a lie, my all-time fave Cribs was when Redman showed off his de la casa “bachelor’s crib, don’t even have a coffee table” with the screen-less screen door, his dollah box and his cousin asleep on the floor), I think Ice Cube explaining Charles and Ray Eames’ house is a new favorite house tour classic:

http://youtu.be/FRWatw_ZEQI

Erika’s favorite line is “this is going green, 1949 style, bitch.” I think mine is ”they was doin’ mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”

I love the way Cube gets to the point, doing an excellent job of describing this iconic mid-century modern house with such eloquence.

To take a run down memory lane and see how Redman was living, check this out. The dollar box does come in handy, and you should have one in the house.

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