Friday, August 28, 2009

Janus Home Stages a House!


We are very pleased to be finished with our very first home staging job! And what a canvas we had to stage - a 1951 mid-century marvel designed and built by noted Portland architect Kenneth Birkmeier! Although Birkmeier was responsible for quite a few homes in the NE Portland area in the late 1940s-1950s, this particular home has the distinction of being the one that he built for his own family to reside in. Boasting truly stunning south-facing 180 degree views from the floor to ceiling windows in the living room and dining room, this home is enough to make any lover of mid-century style salivate! Anything but your typical ranch home, this one has the loving touch of a craftsman written all over it.

Our take on this home was to bring in elements of vintage style, using all vintage furniture and artwork with a few new accessories to round everything out. This home is glamorous and stately, and we tried to echo that feeling with sophistocated, glamorous, yet practical furnishings that not only look great, but that one could actually live with (imagine that!).

If you're interested in further investigating this home, you can go here. You will also see some "before" pictures and see how it looked like before we got to it (although the living room furniture that you see in these photos, which isn't too bad, was NOT in the home when we started). The home has been open every Sunday for the last few weeks, and we assume this will continue. If you have any specific questions about the home, or would like to arrange a private showing, please contact the listing agent, Carrie Escobar.

Have any comments? We'd love to hear! We are ramping up to launch a full scale staging business focused specifically on mid century homes, so we'd love to hear your feedback! In the meantime, enjoy the pictures, and go check out the house if you are able!

The entryway. Piero Fornasetti poster, Curtis Jere style metal wall sculpture, pair of white cased glass decanters.

Wide angle view of living room. Faux ostrich sofa with cast aluminum legs, pair of button tufted barrel chairs with walnut bases, stainless and brass end table, root coffee table with biomorphic glass top, pair of Walter Von Nessen brass torchieres.

Wide angle view #2 of living room

Living room, incorporating the fantastic view!

Dining room: Paul McCobb Planner Group drop leaf extension dining table, set of 6 stripped steel industrial chairs with leather seats.

Dining room looking into the kitchen.

Dining room view from kitchen.

Master Bedroom. Milo Baughman for Glenn of California king size bed with attached walnut nightstands, Danish shell slipper chair reupholstered in pink silk, Danish teak stacking tables, Bernard Buffet print.

Master Bedroom #2.

Master Bedroom #3.

Master Bathroom/Master Bedroom.

Upstairs bedroom. Paul McCobb Planner Group rod iron & maple bed, Danish prints, Gabbeh rug.

Upstairs bedroom. Edward Wormley for Drexel dresser/sideboard, Gordon Martz for Marshall Studios table lamp, Danish print.

Office (or 3rd bedroom). Walnut executive desk with ebonized top, modernist oil on canvas by Seiker, Victor Vasarely print, Paul Klee print, Danish Modern lounge chair, reupholstered.

Office #2.

Wide angle view of Den. Danish oil on canvas "Abstraktion Over Fra Angeliko", geometric kilim rug, African drum coffee table, pair of walnut benches reupholstered in spring green velvet, abstract pen & ink by Milton Wilson.

Den #2.

Den #3.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Primer on Modern Furniture - Part 1 of a Series

Today on the Janus Home blog, we thought we'd take a little time out for some education. We realize that when someone does a web search for "Modern Furniture", they're going to be inundated with hundreds of products from hundreds of shops, all selling different kinds of furniture that they are all labeling "Modern". Because of this, we though it would be beneficial to our readers to get some of the "back story" on modern furniture and design. So, let's begin at the beginning!

What period is Modern furniture from?
Loosely speaking, modern furniture originated with the Bauhaus movement in the 1920s with designers and architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer. Although the roots of modern can certainly be traced farther back than this, this is when Modernism truly started to assert itself as a singular style. Looking back at some of the designs produced during this period by the aforementioned designers, and others such as Gerrit Reitveldt and Eileen Gray, one would be hard-pressed to not assume that these were contemporary designs.
Classic chair designs by (L-R) Mies van der Rohe, Gerrit Reitveld and Marcel Breuer.

What is meant by the term "Mid Century"?:
Although Modern had its roots in the 1920s and continued to gather steam in the 1930s and 40s, the post-war period of the late '40s and early '50s is when what we know today as "Mid Century Modern" truly came into its own. Designers such as Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson and Paul McCobb helped to truly bring modern design into people's homes, with affordable, accessable, high quality pieces of furniture that are still highly desirable and collectable today. The clean lines and lack of fussy ornamentation of this furniture fit right in to the ranch-style homes that were popping up all over the country at this point in time. It was a time for the country to regroup and rebuild after the tragedy and devastation that World War II had wrought, and the clean, fresh designs that these men and women brought to the table fit in perfectly with what Americans were looking for.Designs by (L-R) George Nelson for Herman Miller ("Thin Edge" dresser in teak), Charles & Ray Eames ("Rope Edge" rocker) and Paul McCobb for Calvin (mahogany extention dining table).

Where did Modern Furniture first originate?:
This is a tough question to answer, as there isn't really any one place where the Modern aesthetic first originated. The easiest answer would probably be the USA, but that wouldn't be entirely accurate, because at the same time seeds of Modernist design were sprouting literally all over the Western Hemisphere, from Scandinavia to Germany to the UK to Russia - if not in furniture, than certainly in art and industrial design.

What were it's influences?
Modernist furniture design was clearly influenced by the Modernist period of art and literature, but also certainly by earlier furniture styles, from Art Deco to Shaker to Japanese and Chinese furniture. Modernist designers were fond of taking classical forms and stripping them of all excess decoration and ornament. Paul McCobb's famous Planner Group Windsor Chair is a great example of this, taking its inspiration from a classical antique Windsor chair, and was one of the best-selling chairs of the 1950s. Hans Wegner's "Chinese Chair" and "Papa Bear Chair" are also good examples of classic antique forms given a modern kick in the pants.

(L-R) Paul McCobb's "Planner Group" Windsor chairs, Hans Wegner's "Papa Bear" chair (a modernist adaptation of the classic wingback chair), and Wegner's "Chinese" chair.

Why is it still popular?
Modernist furniture is still popular for the same reasons i became popular in the first place: it is simple, has clean lines, is usually very comfortable and ergonomic, it is built to fit in smaller spaces, and it is, for the most part, extremely well made. One would have to spend thousands of dollars on a new piece of furniture in order to get the quality present in even a garden variety piece of 1950s furniture. When you add this to the fact that so much contemporary furniture out there today is nothing more than a direct ripoff of mid-century designs (how many versions of the iconic "Barcelona" chair are in existence at this point?), investing in real mid-century furniture makes sense in many different ways.

We hope you've enjoyed this first installment of the series, and please check back soon for the next installment, where we'll be discussing how to actually distinguish "real" mid century furniture from contemporary knockoffs!