Top Articles

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Nostalgia is often described as a wistful desire to return to a former time, an era when things were simpler, better, less stressful, more fun (insert your descriptor here). The truth, however, is that regardless of the period of time you live in or where you live it is the best of times and the worst of times. Nostalgia is a great deal like vintage pictures, it is one dimensional, a moment in time taken out of context. The cover photo, provided courtesy of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, illustrates this point. The Route 66 sign on the post provides a point of reference but what else can be discerned from the photo? From the perspective of nostalgia these appear to be simpler times.

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Witco – Tiki and 60’s cool!

The first time I heard about Witco was on a discussion on a Mid-Century Facebook group about Tiki art, the name that kept coming up was Witco, with a link to this post on a Tiki Fan board: My name is Burke Hovde (aka…The Witco Kid on www.tikicentral.com). I’m the son of Ron Hovde, one of the Witco Co-Founders and Artists with Bill Westenhaver. I grew up with Witco everywhere. Witco wallhangings and furniture are all over my parents house and our family’s cabin. Witco started out as Western International Trading Company and imported South Pacific home furnishing items like Capishell Lamps. They also were into carvings that eventually evolved into the rough cedar chain saw carved furniture and Tikis that most people know Witco

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Some Ideas for Midcentury Style Fencing

MidCentury Style welcomes Ted Cleary, ASLA, of Studio Cleary Landscape Architecture as Contributing Writer with this first in a series of periodic articles on midcentury modern garden design: When it comes to creating a period landscape for your midcentury modern home, it’s all about the garden geometry and the hardscaping.  Plants are plants; they don’t care whether they’re part of a “French Chateau” garden design or an “MCM” garden design. (Although some plant species — and certainly, the fashion in which they’re laid out — may seem more suitable for particular styles……considerations which we’ll talk about in later blog posts).  But it’s in the shapes of constructed elements of wood, concrete, masonry, metal, that a design vocabulary asserts itself. One such component, all the more visible because of

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A Modernist Patio for a Traditional Home

Ted Cleary, ASLA, of Studio Cleary Landscape Architecture continues his contributions on midcentury modern garden design, here with the first of his “Case Study Gardens”.  MCM enthusiasts will be familiar with Arts & Architecture magazine’s legendary design feature known as the “Case Study House Program”.  From its inception near the war’s end in 1945, through 1966, the CSH Program showcased innovative modernist designs, many of them modest, others more grand, meant to address the postwar housing needs of the typical American family. Like the CSH examples, some unbuilt, others still existing, these Case Study gardens strive to offer solutions you can apply to the outdoor spaces around your own home. If you own a great midcentury modern home, it’s natural to want a landscape design that’s

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Interior Design

Doing some 1950's redecorating…ok, with our "take on it"!

We recovered our footstool over last weekend. This is the before: This is the after: It looks like it was easy, but under that slipcover was a poofy footstool with a dust ruffle, so we had to totally take it apart. We removed the casters and put the new legs on. We got the fabric from an outlet. I think it looks a bit “80’s” but the fabric really matches the other things we have going on in the room (which isn’t easy…let me tell you!). The chair is an estate sale find that our cat was systematically ripping up in our basement “lounge” room, so I put some canvas I had on hand on it. I’d rather cover it with some cool barkcloth from

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Are Mid-Century Modern Sectionals Making a Comeback?

Just like the clothing in your closet, your home furnishings are a reflection of your personal style.  Much like the feeling you get when you put together a great outfit, creating living rooms, particularly sectionals, you love to relax in takes some attention as well.  Mid-Century modern style, for example, has been making a tremendous comeback.  Many of today’s furniture designs take a variety of captivating design inspirations from this mid-20th century design movement, such as simple, clean lines, and carefully thought-out materials. Little Bit of History First… For those unfamiliar, the heyday of Mid-Century modern design began in the 1950s and continued on through the 1960s.  It was a post war era.  Domestic manufacturing was booming.  Latest technological advances and new materials were emerging. 

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Preservation

Ohio House Motel Chicago – a survivor

Distinguished by its fabulous diamond shaped exterior, the Ohio House is a fabulous example of mid-century architecture right in the middle of downtown Chicago. Other architectural points of interest include the matching suspended sign, held up by a geometric metal grid which is itself reflected in the pattern block fence that runs along Ohio Street. Rough-faced stone walls and a large stainless steel sign on the east facade add to it’s distinctly Chicago Mid-Century design. The architect for the motel was Arthur Salk of Shayman and Salk, who also designed the Summit Motel on Lincoln and the LaSalle Motor Lodge at LaSalle & Superior (now a Howard Johnson); the firm’s stamp was also on many apartment buildings in the inner suburbs. According to the webite,

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50’s Preservation has it’s challenges

Arapahoe Acres is the first Post World-War II residential subdivision listed as a historic district in the Nation Register of Historic Places. But according to a March 5th article in the Denver Post “Last summer, Arapahoe Acres was named an “At-Risk Landscape” by the Cultural Landscapes Foundation of Washington, D.C., because of an increasing number of botched renovations, from removal of classic carports to covering original brick facades with stucco.” (Read more: Englewood’s Arapahoe Acres is beloved for its historic look, but not by all newcomers – The Denver Post ) So, when does Preservation cross the line into personal expression?  

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100 Things to Do On Route 66 Before You Die

Recently a publisher, on recommendation of Jim Ross, approached me with an intriguing proposal – write a book about Route 66 that is in essence a bucket list. The challenge fascinated me. How do you whittle down America’s longest attraction, a 2,000 mile corridor of fascinating museums, quirky folk art parks, historic sites, renovated motels, ghost towns, dynamic cities, time capsule restaurants and diners, and breathtaking natural attractions into a list of one hundred must see locations? I accepted the challenge and the result is a fun new book scheduled for release on September 1 that is aptly titled, 100 Things to Do on Route 66 Before You Die. (This “Buy Now” button is to purchase an autographed copy of Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town. Stay tuned for

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Good friends, good times, grand adventures, and exciting times

The good folks at the City of Kingman, Josh Noble, the tourism director, Ray Cullison and the Kingsmen, and the volunteers who labored so hard to make the recent Best of the West on 66 Festival a success deserve a hearty thank you.The good folks at the City of Kingman, Josh Noble, the tourism director, Ray Cullison and the Kingsmen, and the volunteers who labored so hard to make the recent Best of the West on 66 Festival a success deserve a hearty thank you.It was a delightful and fun filled event that my dearest friend and I enjoyed immensely. Even better, it was an event that was shared with, and enjoyed by friends from the Netherlands. Though the event evolved from the rather successful 2014

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Two great Route 66 Exhibits in New Mexico – Catch them before they’re gone!

Route 66: Radiance, Rust, and Revival on the Mother Road Until October 2nd at the Albuquerque History Museum and conceived in honor of the 90th anniversary of Route 66, this exhibition celebrates the art, history and popular culture of the iconic Mother Road. Too often the history of Route 66 in Albuquerque has been overlooked, even though our city sits at the center of the Southwestern leg of the route and boasts, at 16 miles, the longest single-city urban stretch of the highway in the nation. We are also the only place on the Mother Road where the highway crosses itself! Indeed the very re-routing of Route 66 to the east-west alignment was a political scandal, but shaved time and miles off the odometers of road-weary

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