I’m no gamer, yet this morning I found myself watching the trailers for Fallout 4 on a loop and snapping screen shots. Why the sudden interest in virtual combat, you ask? I noticed on TV commercials that the latest creation by Bethesda Game Studios, launching Nov. 11, prominently features Lustrons and Lustron-inspired homes in its landscape. Since players’ mission is to shape the fate of a world destroyed by nuclear war, it snaps into place that the designers were inspired by prefabricated homes like mine, manufactured just after World War II.
The boxy, steel homes and their midcentury advertisements ooze optimism, normalcy, and domestic peace. So it makes sense that Lustrons are powerful symbols in an animated wasteland. You can watch the Fallout 4 trailers here and catch up on posts about my own Lustron here.
When you live in a Lustron, you’re part of a story. The tale begins in 1948, when the Lustron Corporation debuted its prefabricated, all-steel homes manufactured in a former airplane plant in Columbus, Ohio. The company imagined an American landscape drenched in seafoam, pink, harvest gold, and the other enamel hues of its mail-order ranches, but it sold only about 2,500 over three years.
Photographer Charles “Chuck” Mintz picks up the Lustron story today, documenting people who are holding onto these quirky, increasingly rare homes. He has traveled the country over the past couple years shooting portraits of more than 100 inhabitants. After the jump, I’ll show you more samples from his series, including his shot of me and Andrea on our patio.
As often happens with dramatic overhauls, my bedroom reboot started with one piece. Over the summer I had the succulent poster I co-designed with Leah Duncan framed to hang over my bedside table. Problem was, the color palette wasn’t jiving with anything else in the room. We were overdue for new bedding and accessories anyway, so I did a revamp using black, white, gray, and pops of yellow and turquoise.
Below is my side of the bed. We already had the Heywood-Wakefield furniture and vintage ceramic lamp. I’d been wanting a tray so I can set down my earrings, ponytail holder, etc. before I hit the pillow. I styled it with a mini blush planter by Sea & Asters and brought over a Kostick bronze star sculpture from the living room. Geometric patterns to contrast with the botanical art were a must, so I chose a Pendleton wool lumbar pillow from Robin Cottage. The gray braided duvet cover and shams are from West Elm, and the yellow Sketch Grid pillowcases are Room Essentials from Target.
Below is Andrea’s turf. The two bedsides used to be mirror images, so I wanted to play with asymmetry by giving him an art cluster and a different lamp. The bird print is his own photograph, hung with gold gem magnets by Lynn Lunger (aka Una Odd). The Minerals print at top right is by Happy Red Fish, and The Last Summer is a painting reproduction by Kiki and Polly. The hanging planter is by ceramist Cathy Terepocki.
see my revised vanity, an amazing navajo rug, and other photos after the jump
For nine years, our Lustron has needed curb appeal like leafy greens need ranch. Last month we worked with Plants Creative Landscapes here in Decatur to finally put some “ranch dressing” on our bland front yard.
Since the bones of our ’49 prefab are slick and boxy, we created softness with three curvy beds. Taking inspiration from all those modern landscapes I’ve been ogling on trips to Southern California, I picked a topiary pine, a blue agave, and boulders as my must-have focal points. We filled out the beds with shrubs for year-round color (wintergreen boxwood, variegated yucca, gold mop false cypress), sculptural perennials (variegated iris, autumn ferns), vivid grasses (blue fescue, dwarf acorus, silver liriope), and cascaders for the retaining wall (chartreuse creeping jenny, pink-flowered phlox). Black bark mulch makes everything pop.
Decorating my Lustron is a never-ending project. I’ve been filling out and reimagining every prefabricated nook for nine years, so I thought it would be fun to share my ongoing adventures in thrifting. Lately I’ve been playing with clusters on top of my Danish bar cabinet in the dining room corner.
The McCoy black and white planter from Etsy was the sole decoration for months. Then the Russel Wright carafe, sugar bowl, and creamer that lived on the dining table took refuge on the bar because they were often jostled when Andrea worked on his computer in the dining room. So I decided to make them a permanent fixture and add a couple of tall pieces to the mix. I chose Danish modern teak candleholders (another Etsy score) and an aqua confetti vase by Shawnee pottery, found at Broad Street Antique Mall in Chamblee.
Here are resources for you to find similar treasures of your own: