Location: Allied Gardens, San Diego, CA
Years Lived in: 3
What was your inspiration for your house design? We have always had an affinity for vintage collecting and living, mostly 40's and 50's...about 5 years ago we began to really appreciate mid-century modern design and architecture. We took a lot of inspiration from our trips to Palm Springs and the mid century neighborhoods we toured there, as well as pouring over issues of Atomic Ranch magazine, Retro Renovation's website and case studies of Cliff May and Eichler homes. We wanted to find a way to incorporate many of our beloved 40s era collections, such as my Bauer pottery, Mitch's tiki mugs, and our 40's Heywood Wakefield furniture with more mid-century pieces like the vintage Malm fireplace, the Umanoff bar stools and the clean, straight, minimal lines and elements of mid century design we began finding ourselves drawn to. We tried to strike a balance between the minimalist aesthetic of mid century modern design while still having fun and showing bits of our personality and past without becoming kitschy or cluttered. We took our time in finding just the right pieces for each room and space, we haven't been in a hurry and I think it's paid off, everything just seemed to flow and fit together pretty effortlessly and before we knew it, we had our Atomic Rambler!
What do you think makes your house stands out in the neighborhood? We live in a little pocket neighborhood in Allied Gardens, with many of the original or second-generation family still living in the homes, our model (the Laguna) shows more of the iconic features we've come to recognize as "mid century": the clerestory windows, high post-and-beam ceilings, angled low-profile roof lines, open floor plan, original, over-sized 3-panel aluminum sliding patio doors. We have worked hard to showcase these features and stay true to the era in our color schemes both inside and outside, as well as the minimal xeriscape in front and Cliff May-inspired fence that encloses the back yard.
What is your favorite piece in your house? Its hard for us to identify one "favorite" piece...Mitch would probably say his vintage bullet planters which showcase his beautiful snake plants! But I would have to say we would both agree that we love our Gato paintings! We discovered the artist El Gato Gomez's work about 3 years ago, shortly after buying our house and loved the way the her abstracts juxtapose against the minimalist style in our home and really ties everything together. We bought our first piece, the amazing atomic spacey abstract that hangs over our Hey-Wake buffet (custom framed by a good friend) three years ago, and currently are up to a total for four...if it weren't for lack of wall space we'd have more! She's an amazing artist and finally starting to get the attention she deserves.
Whom has been some of your biggest influences? Mitch is a huge fan of Cliff May and Eichler, so they are huge influences when it comes to renovation or design projects, and we're constantly pouring over our collection of vintage Sunset DIY books for inspiration and ideas. For me, its often the memories and reminders from my grandparents' home - they have an amazing late 50's ranch home - and so many of the features I loved as child - like the amazing lavender tiled bathroom with matching lavender tub, sink and toilet, the NuTone radio/intercom system that runs throughout the house, the iconic starburst door rosettes - I still find beautiful today and strive to recreate or reinterpret in our home. Several of our friends are also into mid century design and style, so we are always finding inspiration and influences from each other as well.
In the future, what is your next home project? When we moved in, we renovated the kitchen and opened up a few walls to really recreate that open floor plan while still keeping the integrity of the original design and did the usual necessary upgrades like central air/heat, upgraded electrical, new roof, etc. I'm really proud of the kitchen and open living space that transitions so easily outdoors. I love to cook and entertain and when we renovated the kitchen, it was important to us both to create a space that was functional as well as beautiful, so the kitchen is a bit more modern but again, we took care to maintain the aesthetic of mid century design. We have great light that comes in through the oversize sliding doors, and the living space flows so easily out to the patio...its great for entertaining and really lets us appreciate and take advantage of our wonderful Southern California climate. Next on the list is restoring the horribly remodeled (or as I like to call them "remuddled") 80's bathrooms and complete our landscaping work on the front and back yards. We want to recreate our own little Palm Springs inspired oasis with a more minimalist xeriscape that inspires that atomic, mid century feel the moment you enter the driveway.