As promised, here is another article about the Idea House built by the Walker Art Museum, in Minneapolis.  Not all of the photos are in color but I really love the ones that are. The offset printing of the era and the quality of the pigments/colors creates such a beautiful image.  Here, we see some of the detail lost in a type of abstraction resulting from the limitations of a process. The result is a great image.

These images come from a writing about the house in McCall’s Book of Modern Houses (1951).

Check out the Walker’s description of the house here.


Idea House 1947


In 1947, the Walker Art Museum designed and built this example of the modern architecture of the day.  It was designed by William Friedman and Hilde Reiss, Walker staff members, and local architect Malcolm Lein.  It was part of the museum’s desire to demonstrate “art-in-use” and followed the thinking that functional objects should be beautiful as well.

TIME magazine arranged for an average family (an insurance salesman, his wife and their two children) to live in the house for a week to test its appeal and “livability”. While the family didn’t like everything about the house, they recognized many of the superior elements of the design and enjoyed most all of the stay.  Yet, many of these wonderful, practical and simple innovations are still largely absent from architecture of today.

It would be amazing for a museum to arrange something like this again with the most cutting-edge architecture. It’s easy to have awe-inspiring or conversation-starting buildings but, we often wonder about the day-to-day functionality of the spaces.  I would gladly volunteer!

Tomorrow, I’ll post another article about the house with photos in FULL COLOR!

Dominic Stevens


To continue with the topic of architecture, here is one of my favorite houses. It is the home of architect Dominic Stevens from Dublin.  Two favorite subjects of mine are modernist design and self-sufficiency/ DIY.  This house demonstrates both.   Mr. Stevens talks about how he wants to have a home that requires an understanding of how it’s built and maintained. He intends to raise his children to understand the processes at work and cooperate with the flux of this particular house.  For example, when the wooden shingles are too aged, they are removed to become next year’s firewood.   He says that, if the house were abandoned, it would take about 10 years for it to have all but disappeared. What a thought.

While Dwell magazine often annoys me due to their narrow and often flashy/rich focus but, this one stood out as something very tangible and with more than a little bit of grit.

We’re finally back from a wonderful vacation. It was great to have some time away and with friends and family. We went swimming a lot and really enjoyed the lakes around us.  Something I found of inspiration during our stay away was, in fact, a vacation rental in the UK.  It’s called The Dune House and is in Thorpeness in Suffolk.  It’s a  small village on the east coast.  No, I’ve never been there.  The house is produced by a group called Living Architecture.  There goal is to “revolutionise both architecture and UK holiday rentals”. (For those of you who are American spellcheckers, yes they spell it with an “s”).  The house is designed by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects from Norway.

What I like most about this house is its reference and abstraction of the region’s local seaside style. It maintains a comfortable and country feel though it is undeniably modern. What I like least about the house is the interior design. I enjoy the shapes of the rooms, the placement of windows and I especially like the mid-century style corner fireplace.  But, I would definitely like to see different fabrics, rugs, furniture, pillows, tiles, etc.  Then again, it’s not my house and I don’t see myself renting it anytime soon. So, let’s get on with it.

Enjoy some pictures. To find out more information about the house and the other rentals offered by Living Architecture.

scrap table


  We’re traveling again and, let me say, sitting on an airplane for 30 hours make one not want to do any more sitting for any reason (like updating a blog).

  I’ve been looking at a lot of furniture lately and this is one particular piece that really caught my eye. The modernist shape and the rustic textures are right up my alley. Well done, Will Holman.

  You can see his full how-to on instructables as well as his personal work at his site .


I forgot to put the link to the entire flickr set. It takes quite a while to really look at all of the photos (hence the months of perusing). So, here are a few more of my favorites and the link.

Over the last several months, I’ve been periodically looking at this beautiful collection of photographs from the Library of Congress.  I absolutely love tho colors in these not to mention the immensely interesting subject matter.

As you know, color photographs from this era are very rare.  From the Library of Congress,  “These vivid color photos from the Great Depression and World War II capture an era generally seen only in black-and-white. Photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) created the images between 1939 and 1944.”