Jennifer Sams is a hunter by trade—an antiques hunter. It makes perfect sense that the owner of City Issue, one of Atlanta’s best sources of pristine midcentury furnishings, should wind down with her partner in a modern weekend cabin outfitted with Danish sconces, tulip chairs, and abstract paintings. Andrea and I spent a couple of days last October photographing, styling, and interviewing at the 500-square-foot cabin in the blue hills of Ellijay, Ga., and the article is finally out in Atlanta magazine’s HOME fall issue. Here’s a peek at the photography, including a couple of outtakes.
LaVista Park may have bumped Northcrest as my favorite atomic neighborhood in Atlanta. Why? Location, location, location! While Northcrest has more Brady Bunch-style ranches per block, it’s up in the sleepy suburb of Doraville. LaVista Park, sandwiched between busy Briarcliff and Cheshire Bridge Roads, is a short drive or bike ride to some of the best restaurants, shops, and parks in central Atlanta. Here are 8 midcentury and contemporary abodes that caught my eye on an afternoon drive. All photos were taken by me while standing on public property.
click to see 5 more modern homes!
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.
If I ever build a house, I’ll drop a stack of Cliff May home photos on my architect’s desk for inspiration. In southern California, May was a pioneer of building characteristics that we think of today as the hallmarks of midcentury modern ranches — clean lines, open floor plans, and an indoor-outdoor feel. So on a recent trip to Los Angeles for Andrea’s work, we spent an afternoon in Long Beach cruising May’s Rancho Estates tract neighborhood, built in 1953-54.
The Rancho homes have opaque facades and high privacy fences that reveal little about their interiors. If you’re
nosy curious like I am, you can mine real estate sites such as Rancho Style for photos of light-soaked rooms, swanky pools, and lush courtyards. Although I had to imagine what modern treasures lay beyond the walls, I gleefully shot the sculptural plants, rock gardens, colorful gates, and vintage cars visible from the street. Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken by me from public property.
click for 6 more home photos
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.
Click to see 7 more photos