Woah, Nelly: Kate and I are taking a real, throwback vacation — for the first time ever. No blogging for the next 10 days. All comments going into moderation, although I will free them up once a day and I will likely keep my ebay lists updated ‘cuz I check daily anyway. We’ll be back Jan. 2. Meanwhile, we took a look back and came up with some of our favorite — well, “representative” favorite, because there was lots we loved — stories of year. It was a great year, if we say so ourselves!
1. World of Tile
Boo to the hoo, World of Tile went out of business this fall. It was the liquidation sale to end all liquidation sales — all 100,000 square feet of warehouse, piled 30 feet high with vintage tile, was wide open. I went three times. I made bunch of new friends. It was exhilarating, it was depressing, it was once in a lifetime bittersweet — and now it is over. I still need to showcase my stash o’ treasure. 2015, here we come.
2. Mike and Lindsey’s House of Good Taste
We met readers Mike and Lindsey a few years ago when they shared the two pink bathrooms in their last home, but we really got to know the couple as they shared their latest project: remodeling and restoring their Edward Durell Stone House of Good Taste — shared with us in an extensive eight-part series. Over the course of a few months, Mike and Lindsey let us see behind the scenes of their remodel and shared each step of the project with us — from refinishing terrazzo floors to installing custom cabinetry. Thank you, Mike and Lindsey — YOU ROCK!
3. Nine tips to consider before remodeling a mid-century house
I consider this a “foundational” story for the blog. If you — or someone you know — has recently bought a mid-century home and is all excited to renovate right away, make sure they read my nine tips to consider before beginning a remodeling project. And: We have more comments from readers… and 21 more ideas from readers about planning kitchen remodels.
4. 12 reasons to own (and love) a midcentury home
Another RR Basic: Whenever I am interviewed for stories involving mid-century houses, reporters always ask, “Why do you and your readers love mid-century houses so much…What is the appeal?” It is hard to answer this question simply, so I compiled a list of 12 reasons to own and love a mid-century home based on my personal experience interacting with thousands of readers. Lots of reader comments on this one, too.
5. Mel and Mimi Brown’s 1964 time capsule home
We take credit for launching the Time Capsule House Craze that is pretty common now across home sites today. This year — usually following up on reader tips — THANK YOU! and keep ’em coming! — we featured 26 time capsule houses. We especially like it when can do back story interviews that give us greater understanding of the house and the people who lived there. For example #1 (above): We toured the fabulous 1964 time capsule home of Mel and Mimi Brown, for sale for the first time ever after 50 years of the Browns living there. Mel was the enthusiast of the pair, dubbed the “Furniture King of Los Angeles” from the 1950s-1980s, while his wife Mimi was the cool businesswoman. I was able to talk to the couple’s daughter, Pam Brown, over the phone and learn much more about this amazing couple, their home and their story.
6. Albert and Gloria Martin house
Time capsule favorite example #2: We just loved touring this magical 1954 Los Angeles time capsule house built by architect Albert P. Martin and his wife, artist Gloria Martin. Besides seeing oodles of yummy photos of the property, we also were able to find historical photos from when it was being built, and learn more about Albert and Gloria from one of their sons, Neil.
7. Pam and Kate finally meet
After working together via the internet for nearly two years, Kate and I finally met in person February. During my short stay at Kate’s Retro Ranch in Milwaukee, we crafted, went to the local tiki bar and visited Kate’s favorite antique mall — Antiques on Second. We had a great time together! Why does Kate look so shocked in this photo? Apparently I look taller in person.
8. Howdy, Hukilau!
After our trip to The 2014 Hukilau tiki festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kate and I went nuts for all things tiki. This new obsession led to my unfortunate accident involving killer barkcloth and spaghetti globe lights.
9. Maria Kipp
Here on the blog, we love covering lesser-known history. For example, women working in midcentury America decorative design don’t often get the visibility they deserve. This year I wrote about Maria Kipp, a textile engineer and designer who led her own successful company, Maria Kipp, Inc., in Los Angeles from 1926 through the 1977. Her hand-woven textile designs — used for draperies, upholstery and lampshades — are exquisite and were specified by some of the most famous modernist designers.
10. “Green Lady” by Vladimir Tretchikoff
Here’s another thing we didn’t know about until this year, but now that we do — we neeeeeed one. Vladimir Tretchikoff’s famous painting, “Green Lady,” was so popular in midcentury America that more people have seen it than have seen the Mona Lisa. Kate and I have been searching estate sales since this story aired, but no luck yet — the search continues!
11. Pickwick pine
We learned the proper name for what is likely the most popular wood paneling profile in the 1940s and 1950s — “Pickwick pine“. Of course we didn’t stop there — we also researched the history and sources to find this paneling today, too.
12. Jalousie windows
And, we learned more about one of the most endangered features of midcentury homes — jalousie windows. These windows were popular in times before air conditioning was common as a way to let cool breezes and extra light flow through homes and create extra living space by enclosing porches and breezeways.
14. Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Too much fun and shows that Retro is HOT: Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando opened. Lively, colorful and hip decor — from the guest rooms… to the atomic Galaxy Bowl… to America’s first Jack LaLanne Fitness Studio… to a throwback arcade… and more — positions Cabana Bay as a great destination for fans of the 1950s and 1960s.
14. Day-n-Night mailbox markers — manufactured continuously since 1949
Of course, the blog is fundamentally about helping readers find the products and resources they need to get their job done. We covered lots of such stories. And oh did this one make us happy: Brilliant readers Caryn and Nina discovered where we can still buy aluminum “Day-n-Night” house name and address plates — made on the same machinery — in the same factory — by the same company that has been making them continuously since 1949 — an epic 65 years. Plus, they are quite affordable, too.
As reader Diane said in comments:
This discovery almost relieves the pain from the World of Tile closure.
Yup. Almost. But the WOT lesson, wethinks: Get it while you can.
Have a great holiday season!
And that’s a wrap folks! Thanks so much for a fantastic 2014…. We look forward to all the retro fun that’s yet to come in 2015!