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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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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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Cool 50’s sites and a 1950’s Landscaping Guide!!

Feeling sort of alone in our preservation of a 50’s home, I did some searches this weekend for 50’s sites and came across these cool items: Shelburne Museum 1950 House Johnson County Museums – The 1950’s All-Electric House I think I’ve mentioned my deep desire for better illustrations of landscape in the 50’s and I FINALLY found this on Ebay! It’s on it’s way to me now! I can’t WAIT!   I have also set up a Flickr Group for folks who are restoring 50’s homes or any pictures of 50’s interior/exterior decorating…this includes those of you who are ripping out (GASP) 50’s decor to restore to another era. Anything is helpful!

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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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Interior Design

The Mid-Century Floor plan

I love this because about 15 years ago I heard one designer refer to this as “spin art” decorating (all the furniture goes along the walls). In a 50’s house tho, I’ve found this to be a much better way of decorating. From the 1950’s Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Binder.

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The iconic Charles Eames DAR Chair

When you think of iconic furniture designers, for most people, one of the first names that will spring to mind is that of Charles Eames. The American designer, born in 1907, was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and revered designers of furniture and he was responsible for crafting some of the most recognisable and sought after pieces of designer furniture of his generation. Charles Eames was responsible for countless pieces of designer furniture but he paid particularly close attention to affordable furniture design. One of the most iconic pieces of furniture that he designed with the intention of being affordable was the Charles DAR Chair which he created for a competition by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The piece

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Preservation

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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Googie and neon sign preservation and museums

One of our favorite mid-century things are Googie signs. There are plenty of photos out there, but one thing is certain and it’s that they’re a dying breed and ripe for preservation efforts. In case you’re not familiar with the term, “Googie” architecture, approximately from 1950-1970, is a futuristic or ultramodern derivative of art moderne and International Style architecture, originating in California in the late 1940s. While using the materials and design vocabulary of other contemporary styles, its jaunty forms and bold streamlining evoked a highly optimistic aspiration to an imagined future of advanced technology. Googie design was frequently used for motels, fast food restaurants, and suburban houses and shopping centers.Not only buildings but also advertising signs are widely associated with this style. Most of

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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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