Category: Coastal Style

Colorful Midcentury Modern from the Ocean

Colorful Midcentury Modern from the Ocean

Los Angeles area residents Robert and Petra Wirsching were hesitant about leaving the vibe and culture of big-city life for those suburbs of Orange County, California. But one unbearable triple-digit August day, the couple went for a cruise south from their home in Encino in their 1969 Cadillac convertible to see a friend in Laguna Beach.

“As we neared the coast, we noticed the exterior temperature got cooler and cooler,” remembers Robert. “We thought, this is something we can get used to.” As they approached Pacific Coast Highway in south Laguna Beach, they were awestruck by the view of the Pacific — so awestruck they missed the turn into their buddy’s house.

Going back, they handed a tract of homes that seemed just like a midcentury modern utopia. “Petra went nuts,” says Robert. A couple of months afterwards, the couple left their familiar digs and buddies in L.A. and purchased a fixer-upper in that exact same Laguna Niguel area.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Robert and Petra Wirsching; their son, Marco; and their cats, Rocky and Zucchini
Location: Laguna Niguel, California
Size: Around 2,500 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, studio apartment downstairs
That’s intriguing: A Mark Bennett print Constructed for Wirsching, a fan of the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, hangs on the fireplace.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

The main living area is really one big room. A low, thick-walled chopped yellow divider separates the kitchen from the living room and supplies one of the very few actual walls in the principal regions of the home.

Designed from the late architect George Bissell in the early 1960s, the home integrates the indoors with the outdoors, which makes the transition almost seamless. The surrounding land was mostly undeveloped whenever the homes in the tract were constructed, allowing for sea views from all. Rather than partitions, Bissell designed floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sliding doors. As a result, there is hardly any wall space on which to hang artwork.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Before the Wirschings could inhabit the home, some hefty remodeling required to happen. Fortunately, Robert is a general contractor specializing in timber finishing, cabinetry, floors, tile setting and high-end painting.

Among the first things he did was replace the faded burgundy carpets. In its position went ash hardwood floors, extending into the kitchen. Shiny, embossed 1970s-era background was removed, and walls were painted white, but for the panel separating the kitchen from the living room.

Among those cats, Rocky, rests on the Design Within Reach couch here. The granite table was purchased at a consignment store, and the blue glass bowl is Murano.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

The Wirschings’ home is two stories. The main living space, including the backyard, is about the second degree, constructed against an embankment. When you enter the home, the door to the right opens into the garage, and to the left is a big studio that Robert uses within an office.

The entryway is a landing pad for the family’s comings and goings. Jackets become hung on the Henry Miller Hang-It-All, while a white IKEA locker under the staircase holds shoes. Balls and athletic equipment are corralled in big black wire floor containers. The horizontal shelves will also be IKEA.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Once the new floor and improvements were in place, the Wirschings moved in, adding their set of different Eames and other midcentury chairs and tables, lamps, accessories and paintings.

The fiberglass-shell rocker is an original Eames chair, as would be the bent plywood Eames Herman Miller chairs.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

A 1960s mahogany game table functions as the dining table. “Most dining tables are 30 inches high,” Robert says. “This one is 27.5. It was custom built for someone who liked to gather ’round the table and play cards maybe have a couple drinks.” The table and leather captain’s chairs came from a consignment store in West Los Angeles.

The few additional thick glass to cover the surface, allowing for a view of this gorgeous, rich wood with no stress of scrapes or water stains. The silver Bar is a retired Nambé piece; it retains orange and royal blue Kosta Boda votives.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

The open design blends the living room, dining area and kitchen altogether. To break up the space, the pair grouped an original Wassily chair (made by Marcel Breuer) and Barcelona seat (made by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) and an Eames tulip table create an intimate setting beside the fireplace.

Hanging on the fireplace wall is a Mark Bennett printing designed for Wirsching, who is a fan of the older TV series I Dream of Jeannie.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Robert designed and remodeled the kitchen around five years back. The kitchen consists of cherry wood cabinetry with a horizontally positioned grain, Caesarstone countertops, and Fisher & Paykel appliances, such as a drawer-style dishwasher.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

The dining room space provides a view of this Wirschings’ backyard.

Petra’s proudest moments as a homeowner are when she’s entertaining guests. And that would she enjoy sitting at her dining table nowadays? “President Obama, Frank Gehry, Brad Pitt and Adele,” says Petra, adding, “Of course, Adele would possess to sing!”

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Art by Mark Bennett decorates the hallway.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Son Marco’s room is modest, but space is economized with an IKEA bookcase for a storage and headboard. A glowing red accent space pulls together the youthful space, and a floating shelf offers additional storage.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Since Marco’s room is modest, Robert and Petra capitalized on the perpendicular space in the room, adding a loft space above the built-in cupboard. They installed carpets, a railing and a ladder so Marco can have easy access into the nook.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

While the in-ground swimming pool takes up much of the garden, areas are established with specific activities in mind. Wood decking was put over the concrete to generate an outdoor living room and a location where Marco and his buddies can be viewed by an adult while in the pool. Additional “rooms” and outdoor spaces in back incorporate a raised vegetable garden, a koi pond, a dining room, a barbecue, and Petra’s prized teahouse escape.

Petra and Robert oil and sand their teak garden furniture with linseed oil every couple of weeks to maintain its warm, rich brown colour. Petra’s collection of blue and white ceramic bought while traveling or at estate sales or antique stores makes for a beautiful centerpiece.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

Japanese and Far East accessories and decorations were added to Petra’s teahouse. Petra is a nurse that frequently works shifts and awakens for work about 4:30 a.m., so she frequently flows for a restorative day nap on her Futon inside.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

More than 100 dead rosebushes were removed from the yards in front and back. The landscaping was created more indigenous to the area and simpler to maintain.

Ever the vintage furniture shoppers, the Wirschings found this pair of pool lounges at a garage sale in L.A.. They were produced around the 1950s or 1960s out of fiberglass.

Lisa Hallett Taylor

The exterior includes a yellow-green painted door. The identical hue is taken up to the second degree. Two little children’s chairs and a Japanese-style fountain at the side of the door welcome all to the diverse home.

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Between Sea and Sky on Raft Island

Between Sea and Sky on Raft Island

An artist enclave on Raft Island overlooks Carr Inlet in the southern end of Puget Sound, Washington. About one hour in Seattle, this modern architectural wonder was designed and built by the owner’s son, Randall Lanou, from BuildSense from North Carolina. Barbara Lee Smith and her husband, Mel, were hands-on all the way, creating a masterpiece both inside and outside.

Tucked between the ocean and the sky, and surrounded by evergreens, two constructions constituting a home and art are a careful combination of pure timber, corrugated metal and steel. Nearly 95 percent of the timber from a current 1968 A-frame has been repurposed in everything in the floors and decks to the stairs, closets and wine cellar. Artwork by Barbara hangs as comfortably here in her home as it does in museums and galleries around the world, although Mel’s intricate wood designs are integrated into hand-hewn tables and wall hangings.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Mel and Barbara Lee Smith, married for 41 years
Design and location: Modern Loft on Raft Island, Gig Harbor, Washington
Size: Main house, 3,200 square feet; independent artist studio, 900 square feet

Wendy K. Leigh

Having a distinctive style cultivated by their own son and architect, Randall Lanou, the most important home has complete views of Puget Sound. Carefully honoring the first A-frame constructed by means of a boat builder, the Smiths and their general contractor Willie Tompkins returned the structure to its base, then reused nearly every piece of the first cedar planks, beams and shingles.

Wendy K. Leigh

Mel fashioned an great piece of Sequoia into a desk weighing approximately 200 pounds following the timber dried. It took nearly six months to build, and breaks down into two pieces for smaller, more intimate dining when the couple is home independently. Though the home was only finished in 2008, their four grown children have all made their marks on the inside and exterior spaces with assorted pieces of artwork, design, and photographic collections.

Wendy K. Leigh

Rooms flow into one another, with all the kitchen framed by bamboo topped with little frosted supply closets. Cubbyholes for displaying artwork are carved into the walls. The neighboring living room includes built-in bookshelves and a fireplace.

Wendy K. Leigh

Natural splits from one slab of Sequoia are combined together using a Japanese method known as bow tie or butterfly repair.

Wendy K. Leigh

A wood and metal walkway overhead permits views of the open-concept alive, diningroom, kitchen and living room spaces. Original artwork by the Smiths and their peers is strategically positioned throughout the home. Wooden ducks parade throughout the street in memory of Barbara’s dad, a lifelong decoy collector and maker.

Wendy K. Leigh

Spice racks are built into the kitchen cabinets and roll out for use. Floors in the kitchen, as well as through the house, are re-milled cedar in the first home.

Wendy K. Leigh

The guest bathroom is a work of art in itself, with antique metal linotypes placed above ceramic tiles. Barbara and Randall pictured the layout and worked together to create this spectacular montage in what would be failed wall area in many houses.

Wendy K. Leigh

The counter of the guest toilet is lined with antique linotype as well, and set into a concrete slab poured by the owners.

Wendy K. Leigh

A counter in the master bath includes genuine ammonites carefully placed into limestone. Ammonites are extinct, fossilized marine animals whose shells are collector’s pieces. The floors are created from walnut, while showers feature marble and combed bluestone.

Wendy K. Leigh

On the master bedroom , an intricately designed coat is lovingly mounted. Barbara’s middle name, Lee, takes following the man who wore this garment to his marriage.

Wendy K. Leigh

Layered vertical columns varying in heights from 7′ to 8’5″ stand guard midway up a flight of stairs. They are a part of a tapestry art installation by Barbara. She says the layout came to her in a dream when she was a young girl, and went on to garner acclaim in exhibitions in London and Poland.

Wendy K. Leigh

At a nod to the past and present, Mel constructed a dumbwaiter to transfer objects from the top floor to the reduced, emerging into the kitchen space. Even more often associated with earlier time intervals, these easy”lifts” are non-motorized and easy to assemble, using pulleys and ropes to take things down and up the stairs through the day.

Wendy K. Leigh

Mel is proud to point out that his wine cellar cost $7.86 — to the claws. The wine rack is constructed from sticks of cedar in the first home, when it had been milled to make the tongue-and-groove for the new floors. The timber which has been trimmed from the ends now retains their impressive wine collection, which is largely comprised of”barters” with individuals that are faking to have a piece of Barbara’s artwork for their home.

Wendy K. Leigh

Though this Raft Island home is a digital museum holding outstanding pieces of art within its own structure, the private work of the proprietor herself provides the most intimate glimpse into the philosophies at work behind this architectural gem. Hidden details reflect a world view that is not immediately apparent. Barbara is a fiber artist, working with non-woven industrial materials that belie a hot, earthy approach to living. The piece atop the Mexican desk is an archetypal boat design common in Indonesia and Africa.

Wendy K. Leigh

Roaming concerning the upstairs, various objects call out using their own narrative. This table was recovered from an architectural store, in which the Smiths learned that it was built by Floyd Gompf, a master furniture maker who produces functional”sculptures” from sterile materials.

Wendy K. Leigh

A framed lithograph by Robert Stackhouse has been the inspiration for the layout of the outside deck, which is viewable directly below an adjacent window. A fire pit onto the deck is constructed of bricks which once lined the base of the first house’s fireplace.

Wendy K. Leigh

Raft Island is a tiny community of about 750 residents, joined by a quaint bridge crossing Henderson Bay across from Gig Harbor. The Smiths needed their home to adopt the natural environment that is so vital to the lifestyle here, for instance, towering evergreen forest property next to their property. They discovered a way to enhance the gardens while staying true to the landscape by integrating the work of local artist Tom Torrens. A gong along with a birdbath are a part of the collection of his creations.

Wendy K. Leigh

When you first approach the house after following a winding driveway, Barbara’s art studio is the very first thing that pops into perspective. It’s joined to the main home farther down by a wood and steel walkway, mixing two constructions into natural extensions of home and work. Red corrugated metal frames the entryway of the studio; the whole lower side overlooks the water.

Wendy K. Leigh

From the adjacent art studio, Barbara functions with an intricate process involving painting, stacking and layering with bits of non-woven fabric that are stitched into patterns, resulting in a fluid landscape which at first seems like a watercolor painting.

Wendy K. Leigh

Though her studio is grand, with lots of levels of design and creativity inherent in the open spaces, Barbara invariably starts each day before sunrise, sitting in a comfy window seat, surrounded by her books and sketches. Facing her diagonally is a wall in which she pins her ongoing bits, placed so her attention could collapse upon them by an area, to ascertain how every one needs to progress.

Wendy K. Leigh

As if the baths in the primary house weren’t esoteric enough, the one from the art studio takes the cake. A wall constructed of Lutradur, her signature working cloth since 1983, is decorated with a montage of exotic art pieces and suspended out of hardware which once graced a barn door. Barbara’s new interpretation of a door slides back and forth to show (and hide ) a tiny bathroom.

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Storage With Character: Vintage-Crate Shelves

Storage With Character: Vintage-Crate Shelves

It is amazing to consider packaging has changed through recent years. We drink our milk out of cartons and (preferably ) recycle unlimited numbers of plastic soda bottles. But back in the day, glass bottles and timber crates packaged up milk, soda and more. These crates have hung around for decades, and they are now considered classic paintings for decorating with an industrial edge. I love the notion of repurposing vintage crates as shelves. Reusing some thing in a brand new way is the ultimate form of recycling. Here are a lot of ways to place those timber crates to great use.

Little spaces: Shops must make smart use of every inch of space to exhibit their products. I love this smart display at Caribou Baby in Brooklyn. The shallow timber crates are the perfect shape and dimensions to exhibit their apothecary selection of products.

Nested together: The proprietors of Caribou Baby discovered their classic crates at Brooklyn local source Kings County Salvage.

Apothecary display: If you are lacking a medicine cupboard, you could use a couple of wood crates as wall shelving to house the collection of lotions and potions. I love the way pots of cream have been stored in the slotted soda cage at Caribou Baby.

Baileys

Crate storage out of Baileys Home and Garden – EUR 24

The fantastic grid: If you can score an entire lot of fitting vintage crates, make a wall grid with them for a single eye catching storage bit. I love the thought of storing your shoes in these timber crates — the alternative would look fantastic in a mudroom. UK shop Bailey Home & Garden sells those classic crates, but they are easy enough to find stateside. Etsy is a great online source for searching down classic crates.

Urban Outfitters

Classic Pop Shop Shelf out of Urban Outfitters – $24

Kitschy display: Many classic crates arrive branded with a symbol that definitely adds to the kitsch appeal. Fasten one crate to the wall within an instant display case for your collection of glass bottles, trinkets, classic postcards — you name it.

Etsy

Old Crate Sign Box 3-in-1 Upcycled Wood Screen by polkadotHOME – $68

Modern minimalist: Wait, did I mention modern? Yes, we’re talking classic crates, and people are traditional terracotta pots. But if you choose a classic crate and simply put in a few plants with a single diverse object you love, the spare fashion feels really contemporary-cool.

Etsy

Repurposed Jewelry Screen by stealthfox on Etsy – $40

Antiques keeper: Many of those classic crates include a grid of timber slats inside to maintain the glass bottles from breaking. Turn the crate on its side and you immediately have small shelves inside the box. Add a couple cup hooks and your imagination, and you’ll create a pretty display piece for all your jewelry — from bangles to necklaces.

Window box: In my last apartment, I had a enormous sunlit windowsill. So I decided to turn my classic soda cage into an instant window box. I loved the way the plants seemed peeking out of the cage.

Etsy

Medium Sturdy Wooden Rustic Reclaimed Classic by rustynailvintage – $28

Open pub : A worn classic crate makes the perfect container for storing your favorite liquors. You’ll instantly create the sense of a classic speakeasy with a rustic wood cage maintaining your bottles at attention.

Three Potato Four

Dairy Crates – $105

Construct a bookcase: If you are a tenant and wish to lessen the holes you put in your walls, then you can create freestanding shelving with timber crates of the boxy variety such as these classic crates with metal borders.

Etsy

Classic Wood Beverage Crates – $48

Unexpected colors: You’ll occasionally find classic wood crates (often old soda crates) in another colour. These classic Seven-Up crates are among my favorite examples — the red typography on white seems rad.

More: How to Create a Rolling Storage Crate

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