Form, Function, and Fun – The "semi-regular" Round Up:

The Carter Sparks Archive:

The mid-century modernist movement has been gathering steam around here for some time now, and if you live in Davis or the surrounding areas, then you probably know all about the Streng Brothers.  Inspired by the work of modernist icon Joseph Eichler, who with a few notable exceptions left the Sacramento region alone, the Streng Brothers with the help of visionary architect Carter Sparks, set out to redefine the valley’s suburbs by building strikingly modern, open floorplan, California ranch homes at affordable, tract house pricing.  Between 1959 and 1989 the Streng Brothers built approximately 3000 homes in the region, many of them in Davis, and many of them, exemplary offerings by forward-thinking architect Carter Sparks.  In an attempt to catalog Sparks’ work, the Carter Sparks Archive has been established and is a great romp through not only his work for the Streng Brothers, but his custom homes and commercial projects as well.

I was fortunate enough to tour the Frame residence featured on the archive’s home page last year and it only served to cement my admiration for his work.  If you’re a fan of the Streng brothers or just enjoy good, open plan, post and beam and atrium style homes, check it out.

Some other good resources include: David Weinstein’s work for CA Modern Magazine, and Gretchen Steinberg’s fantastic Eichlerific blog.

Keep and eye on the MAK Gallery for a few Streng projects we currently have in the works.

Clayhaus Artisan Ceramic Tile:


Since we’re talking MCM, my friends over at Grassroots Modern (they don’t exactly know we’re friends, but that is truly how I think of them/him/her) pointed out to me this week there are very few tile offerings out there that really capture the vintage MCM vibe.  I’ve covered Heath Ceramics and their fantastic house numbers in this blog before, but other than that, few tile lines come to mind as doing mid-century vintage and doing it well.  You should probably know that no trade in the remodeling industry, or at least in the MAK office, regularly evokes as much simultaneous joy and consternation as decorative tile.  The seemingly endless options, the often missing trim pieces, and the jaw-dropping range in square foot prices make specifying and estimating tile jobs tedious, tedious work.  That being said, sometimes you see a tile, the heavens part and angels sing… Enter Clayhaus.  Yes please.

hexagon-form-us-with-love-1Form Us With Love Wall tiles:

The mad, Swedish geniuses over at Form Us With Love, who may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with the hexagonal shape (you tell me) have teamed up with TRÄULLIT to create these lovely wall tiles.  According to Design-Milk, “TRÄULLIT is the only manufacturer of woodwool cement board in Sweden. Woodwool cement board is an environmentally-friendly material that also absorbs sound. Made from cut wood slivers that are mixed with water and cement, the tiles are also moisture-resistant and, well, look really cool put together on a wall. Certainly much prettier than most sound-absorbing panels.”  I spy an office project: part bulletin board, part sound assassin.

Seattle Joins Architecture 2030

According to Michelle Kaufmann’s blog, a community in the city of Seattle is working with Ed Mazria and his organization Archtiecture 2030 to try to create a carbon neutral environment by 2030.  Folks, when it starts making good business sense for whole districts to be moving towards a sustainable, low-carbon, high performing, built environment, that is when we’ll see real change start to manifest.  I’ll be watching closely to see what they learn and how they do – good luck Sea-town.



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