Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

California dreamin'

Yesterday I finally got a chance to photograph this house a scant 5 blocks away. Always something, isn't there? Blowing snow. Minus 27. Rain.Too busyness. Garage door open. Something.

This time I was lucky.The place is for sale, so they are looking their best. Not hard to look good, when you're 529 Victoria. I have loved this house since I moved to the neighbourhood.

It reminds me of the wonderful west coast modernist houses that I've been seeing since the 60s - the kind of house that would have been the perfect location for a film about mid-century urban sophisticates. The in-crowd. The kind you'd see in Sunset magazine (begun 1898!), exemplifying sophisticated yet earthy west coast design.

I love this link that celebrates the essence of the magazine, that voice of sunny west coast living, that seemed so far removed from a snowy Ontario farmhouse. Sunset magazine published loads of how-to special publications that you can still find at home reno stores or yard sales - how to build deck seating, garden gazebos, fences and the like.

Redwood seems to be the dominant material. Minimalist design, horizontal emphasis, clerestory windows, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired hidden entries, walls and plantings. Long. Low. Elegant. Serene.

I remember the Blue Barn Gallery in Ottawa, mid 60s, where a date who knew me better than I knew myself took me to an art and design exhibition; it seems to me that I was awakened to modernist design from that time. Now the newest and best clean-lined and functional furniture of the era is "vintage" as this collecting primer article from the Globe and Mail would suggest.

A virtual tour of the featured home suggests that it is crying for a new owner who knows his Eames from his earlobe. This sublime modernist house needs modern art, and plenty of sleek Danish teak and sculptural fibreglass created with Herman Miller integrity.

Some online sleuthing led to discovery of some shopping opportunities for the new owner:
 Studio Pazo  or  IFN Modern Furniture for those all-important shell chairs . I also enjoyed this article about  J. & J. Brook, those pioneering modern furniture and design merchants in Toronto,

1 comment:

  1. When you're giving up on sleeping at 4 am, there's no nicer surprise than the discovery of a new post on ancestralroofs. As I'm soon to be in the neighbourhood, I might just have a drive (or walk!) by this interesting property. Thanks for just the right amount of early-hours reading.