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Kerf Design

10 Feb

We visited another house designed by Fred Bassetti, the same architect for our house.  (More on that later if they let me share the photos!)  Of every cool thing I saw in that house, and there was plenty, I fell in love with the original cabinets.  Yep, an entire kitchen full of the original plywood cabinets and the (almost) original stainless countertops.

But where does one find such things in this day and age?  Our kitchen was renovated about 20 years or so (I’d guess) with a more traditional cabinet choice for that time, as you can see.

Unfortunately, while nice cabinetry (made nicer with our paint job!),  they don’t quite go with our vision of what a mid-century kitchen should look like.

I loved the cabinets in this other Bassetti designed house on the island and would love to get something close to this.  But beyond, IKEA, where does one look?

Then I saw and ad for Kerf Design in the most recent issue of Atomic Ranch.

Located right here in Seattle, Kerf makes ‘plywood cabinets and furniture for the modern home.’  Their website has one of my favorite quotes about form following function. 

“If it is not useful or necessary, free yourself from imagining that you need to make it.”


So join me in my fantasy kitchen (and bathroom) indulgence with the following photos.  Such wonderful inspiration for dreaming…

Ummm…yes, please?


Other People’s Homes: Bay Area Town House

31 Jul
What I love about this house in particular is the the cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms.  I think it’s difficult to find new cabinets that echo the style of the true wooden mid-century ones.  These do the trick for me.  Enjoy!
(Via Modernica)

Living room featuring two vintage Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear chairs.

A beautiful replica of a 1950’s armoire was built for the entryway.

Dining room featuring Rody Graumans’ 85 Lamps chandeliers.

Kitchen was designed by architecture firm Zack | de Vito.

Bedroom was designed with storage in mind.

Bathroom was designed by architecture firm Zack | de Vito.

All photography by Ethan Kaplan. Interior Design: Antonio Martins. To read this complete story and see more photographs of this beautiful Bay area home, pick up a copy of CA Home+Design on the newsstands now.

First Blogiversary

30 May

Wowie wow wow.  How can this be?  I’ve been writing this blog for one whole year.  This is the 184th post, which is a better average than I realized.  To celebrate, I thought I would do a look back.  There is a part of me that thinks…sheesh, is this all we’ve accomplished?  There is another part of me that, when I look at these photos thinks ‘Wow!’  and is inspired to keep going.

I am going to use this post as a new page at the top of the blog as well.  Enjoy!

The Main Bathroom

It had only one sink, wall paper, a rubber-type baseboard.

And this is after painting the countertop, removing wallpaper and painting walls and cabinets, putting in a new sink and baseboards.

The Main Hallway

Painting hallway and making the end atomic orange and creating the hanging gallery.

Maeve’s Room

Painting and installing bamboo blinds.  Her room was the easiest of all.

Family Room

Painted and new furniture!  Also, Orla art, a thrifted desk and a thrifted media cabinet.

The Dining Room

The Living Room

The Deck/Rockery/Planting Bed

Weekend Show and Tell

26 Feb

We all know how much I love easy DIY (because we all know just how lazy I actually am).  Easy or not, I love this DIY via A Merry Mishap…DIY painted porcelain.  Go get yourself a porcelain pen and pull out those plain white dishes and get to work.

I am on the search for the perfect duvet cover.  I know that I want some kind of gray.  I also know that despite the fact that I truly want a solid cover, it’s completely unrealistic given the multiple children and dogs that find their way onto and into our bed.  I really want my room to look simple and sleek like something in a W Hotel.  Alas, that’s not going to happen.  And given my propensity for extreme swings, the other option is vibrant and fun and mid-century-esque Marimekko, which we all know I love.  This gray and yellow cover from Crate and Barrel is on sale now and tempting me greatly.


Via Pursuitist, a unique and gorgeous line of furniture from LAMP Living.  My favorite pieces are in the Hewitt Collection and feature a variety of gorgeous hardwoods with a bright lacquered interior. 

After yesterday’s post on MCM artwork, I saw these beautifully psychedelic prints from Rafa Jenn (via Design Milk).   Limited edition giclee prints under $100, his riff on Warhol’s Marilyn is divine…if unfortunately sold out.

Mandala Suite by Rafa Jenn


Rafa Jenn - "Dear Andy"
One of the great things about blogging is the community that surrounds you.  One of my favorite blogs right now is Mid2Mod.  The Mid2Mod store is in Dallas, Texas and has some of the best and most reasonable MCM furniture I have seen on-line.  Almost makes me wish I still lived in Texas.  I hope they get a shipping mechanism in place for the large goods (they currently will not ship them) because I really want some of their pieces (and am clearly too lazy to figure out shipping for myself.  Notice a theme here?).  Especially this six-foot long surfboard coffee table.  Stop by their store if you are in the Dallas area.  Hang ten, everyone.








28 Jan

I will just start by saying I am pleased with it. Yes, indeed. Very happy. For once, we put a gray on the walls and got it right the first time, thanks to all of you and my family. Nary a purple tinge to be seen. The color is Granite Boulder by Behr and it’s a perfect gray for the room.  With some green undertones, it works well with the Yolo Leaf 04 in the family room.

I think we are getting close to our palette for these rooms (from Design Seeds).


And….drumroll please….AFTER!

Below are my Matte Stephen’s prints of Chicago and Seattle.  I couldn’t wait to hang them on the new walls.  The green in them ties nicely with the family room and brings it all together.

Of course, backsplash and floors are still on the list, but I taking a moment to enjoy where it is and marvel a bit at where it was. And though it’s not mid-century modern per se, it certainly fits better in the house than it did before.

Vintage Pyrex

19 Jan

Okay, other than watching a lot of TV when it snows, the other occupational hazard when one who works on the computer has to work from home, shut in by icy roads, is browse the internet. Of course, inspired by all the kitsch on The Wonder Years, I have spent a lot of time looking at mid-century vintage stuff on Etsy. Just browsing, of course.

And then I got a bug. A weird bug. Pyrex. I saw some Pyrex on The Wonder Years and it sent me searching.  I remember my mom making macaroni and cheese or scalloped potatoes in a yellow one with a big daisy on the lid.

Vintage Oval Pyrex Yellow and Orange Daisy 2.5 Quart Casserole with Cinderella Handles

For some reason, I found myself strangely drawn to these milk-glass mixing bowls and baking pans. And with glass tops! How wonderful.  I can hear the clink of the lid on the pan as I type this. Apparently, plenty of people feel the same way as there are numerous sites and virtual communities and books devoted to vintage Pyrex collecting. Who knew? I even have gotten a little education on Pyrex.  (Brace yourself for total geekdom! From Classic Kitchens and More.)

Back in the early 1900’s, Corning Glass Works was working on a request from the railroads to produce lantern glass that would not break when the hot glass was struck by rain or snow. In response to this request, Corning developed globes made from low-expansion glass that could withstand the abuses of weathering and handling which readily broke the flint glass globes. Ironically, the shatterproof lantern globes generated were so good that Corning’s managers witnessed a decline in sales of replacement globes. This super-tough “fire glass”, as it was called, was resistant to temperature fluctuations, chemical corrosion and even breakage.

In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings: • The cooking time was shorter • The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion • The cake was unusually uniform • The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing • She could watch the cake bake and know it was done by looking at the underside.

Mr. Littleton brought his wife’s creation to work the following day.  Laboratory researchers inspected the cake, which was a “remarkable uniform shade of brown all over.” The men deemed it delicious and very well baked. Thus began a two-year process to perfect this new invention. The notion of baking in glass was a whole new concept to the public. In 1915, a wondrous new line of “glass dishes for baking” appeared in the nation’s hardware, department and china stores. On May 18, 1915, Boston department store Jordan Marsh placed the first PYREX bakeware order. 

Who doesn’t love a science experiment that becomes a household name in cooking products? Plus, with a catalog of decades and decades of design, Pyrex is artwork in the kitchen. And nothing says a mid-century kitchen like some vintage Pyrex. So, of course, I had to have it. After wasting more time than I like to admit, I landed on the Verde pattern.  Okay, so it’s not a pattern, but more a color line, it suits my taste just fine.  I bought some mixing bowls and baking/storage trays for less than I would pay for nice stuff at Williams-Sonoma.

Super Cute Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes Instant Collection Green Green and Yellow With Lids

Pyrex Verde Mixing bowls 1960's

I can’t wait for them to show up! I investigated how to care for these products and found some great advice on High Plains Thrifter.

First, some DON’Ts….

DON’T put your Pyrex pieces in the dishwasher. Just. Don’t.

DON’T clean the colored outside portion of your Pyrex with abrasives or cleansers with bleaching agents (ex. Comet, Bon Ami, some Soft Scrub versions, oven cleaner, etc.). The white insides can handle a tougher clean, but the colored parts cannot.

DON’T stack wet Pyrex. It can stick together in the most terrible fashion and pulling pieces apart can cause a piece (or worse, both!) to break. Sadness will ensue, believe you me.

Some DO’s….

DO buy a can of Bar Keeper’s Friend and a pack of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Both are multi-tasking wonder products that are both bound to be your new BFFs in the kitchen.

DO try cleaning your Pyrex in warm, soapy water with a non-abrasive sponge before moving onto any other method.

DO use Bar Keeper’s Friend to get out stains on the inside or non-colored parts of your Pyrex. Sprinkle a bit of the powder on a wet cloth or sponge, then rub it in gently. Let the paste sit for up to a minute before rinsing off with warm water.

DO use a Magic Eraser to safely remove baked-on crud or stains from the colored parts of your Pyrex. Be gentle! Not a lot of elbow grease is necessary.

DO test (in an inconspicuous spot!) any other types of cleaners, chemicals or abrasives before going all out.

DO clean your Pyrex regularly. It’s amazing how much dust and grease and other nasties will find their way to the bottom of your bowls, casseroles, etc. Give pieces that haven’t been used in a while a little soap & water bath.

Have you gotten the Pyrex bug?  What patterns are your favorites? (God, listen to me. Pretty soon I will be inviting you all over for a Tupperware party!)

Dorian Gray

17 Jan

Painting a portrait of Dorian Gray wouldn’t be as difficult as choosing a gray color in my house. I don’t know if it’s the light or if I am just learning that there are a million versions of gray ranging from purplish to greenish and every other -ish in the rainbow. But I am downright confused.

After finishing the kitchen cabinets (finally!), the time has come to paint the kitchen. After much deliberation…green, orange, cream…we finally landed on the color.  And surprise surprise, guess what the inspiration was?  You guessed it.  The Orla containers. And I guess the title of the post is kind of a spoiler.  Yep, gray is our color.

We were also inspired by this palette from Design Seeds, which pairs green and gray so nicely.

For context, the kitchen and the family room are connected and very open, so the colors need to be complimentary and fit into the overall scheme of things. As you remember, we have already painted the family room Yolo Leaf 04.

Gray, it is. Now, which gray? I went and bought samples of all the non-bluish grays I could find. I put the ones I liked best on the wall next to the chalkboard and also to the green swatch we had on the wall when we temporarily considered painting the kitchen the same green as the family room. (And suddenly as I write that I start to think again that might be a good idea.)

So I am still at a loss as to which gray and I ask you dear readers for your advice. I know that color never translates well over a computer screen, but I will tell you my vote is with the bottom one next to the chalkboard, Behr Elephant Skin, the same gray that came to my rescue in the bathroom debacle. Other family members prefer the top one, which is a lighter gray. They are concerned the Elephant Skin will be too dark.

Again, I am flummoxed.  Help!  Please let me know your thoughts.  Green or gray?  And if gray, which gray?  Any of you have experience with gray you’d like to share?

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