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Entries in MCM (3)


the little things

Eileen Pressler in her (our) laundry room circa 1967. Love the barkcloth curtains which were long gone by the time we bought the house!

They say it’s the little things that make a house a home.  And then there are the things that make a home so very livable.  For me, as lame as it sounds, it is our laundry room.  Every time I think about downsizing, I realize that I would have a very difficult time giving up this important transition space located between our kitchen and garage.  Back in the 1950’s when our house was built, the first floor laundry room was a brand new concept.  For the first time, homes were being designed to make life easier for the homemaker.  I must admit, architect Fred Pressler hit a home run with this one that he designed for his wife Eileen!  We did a quick refresh when we bought the house in 1997, and a more major upgrade (lighting, flooring, cabinetry) last winter, but the basic format has remained the same since 1956.  And after living here for almost 20 years, I still enjoy doing laundry :)

Replacing track lighting and a large fluorescent fixture with hanging globes with LED bulbs added a retro AND progressive touch. And way better light!

The center peninsula two sided cabinet/coat closet is a genius original detail. We added an Ikea cabinet on the end for even more storage. The room formerly had indoor/outdoor carpet which we replaced with hardwood in the hall area and solid vinyl tile in the laundry area. Love a white floor!!

This part of the room has seen the most changes. We added the sewing table and cabinetry (all from Ikea) and the kelly green Eames chair from Modernica. Hard wired LED under cabinet lights also added much needed task lighting.

A built in wine rack from Ikea filled the odd sized space next to the sink cabinet. And we just happened to have enough Daltile tile from our kitchen to do a matching backsplash here. The faucet is a larger sized copy of the Arne Jacobsen Vola faucet purchased for a fraction of the price on Amazon.

A new Ikea sink with built in drainboard is very functional for a laundry room!

The back side of the built in peninsula is a great place to showcase our prized Charley Harper "Wren" print from the Ford Times series.

This compact and well utilized space also houses a powder room and kitchen pantry!



straight talk

Our kitchen as it is today. But it did not always look like this! I am often asked whether a vintage kitchen should be remodeled. And the answer is, it depends. Ours was just ugly beyond words and so dark. We really needed to brighten it up. This kitchen is sections cobbled together - parts of it are 13 years old and parts are 55 years old! This is our kitchen a few days after we bought our house in 1997. A crew was already at work taking the wall back a few feet (we have since brought it back another 18” for better flow and what a difference!) and readying the cabinets for refacing. For an otherwise modern house, the kitchen was dark and cabin-like – and way too closed in. During this process we also added hardwood floors throughout the entire area. This other ‘before’ photo really strikes me the most when I look at it. The wood in this room – including around the windows – was a dark tobacco like color. All of the other wood in the house is a pinkish-champagne color. Painting these window frames white made such a difference! They just disappear. And opening the kitchen to the family room allowed for us to have the nice sized kidney shaped table and island that really makes the kitchen work

I’m all about the details.  And the little things.  I like things straight and even and perfect.  Just ask Arlen – I really drive him crazy sometimes, but I can’t help it.  I was born this way.  For the past year or so, the hinges in our kitchen have been failing and the doors were not hanging so straight.  It made my skin crawl!   Our kitchen is a cobbled together collection of original wood cabinets and ‘new’ Formica cabinets (built when we bought the house in 1997) to accommodate our slightly revised kitchen layout.  The original wood cabinets and wood paneled walls just did not fit in with our modern sensibilities – but a complete remodel was not in the budget.  Besides, the wood cabinets were very solid and good quality.   So we did the only thing we could at the time – we re-faced what was there to match new cabinets built to accommodate the double wall ovens and refrigerator surround.

 I designed the funky island/table specifically for our family of 5, and we added modern hardware and 3 different counter surfaces (Corian on the main counter, stainless on the island and formica on the table).  The base of the table is a faux Saarinen table pedestal that we had painted by an auto bodyshop.  The backsplash tile was a recent addition, installed just last spring.  The result was just what we were looking for – a kitchen that mimicked the look of a metal kitchen that could have been original to the house, but it was clean and sleek and functional.  And it did not look like 1997 and it doesn’t look like today.  13 years later, it just looks….modern. 

 Herein was the problem. A broken hinge caused this door (and others) to hang poorly, and made the entire kitchen look like it was in disrepair.

The cabinets are still in near perfect condition, but time was taking its toll on the hinges with several of the hinges and or  base plates not functioning properly.  The doors were either hanging all wonky, or snapping shut, or making a loud clacking noise when opened.  The room was looking less than perfect, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.  So I did some surfing and came up with www.CabinetParts.com .  I sent them photos of the old hinges.  They called me back and asked another million questions and figured out exactly what I had and what I needed.  I also found out that they have dampers (either integrated in the hinge or separate) for that awesome new ‘soft close’ action.  Arlen and my Dad installed the new hinges and dampers on all the doors in about an hour.  Long story short, for about $150 it’s like we have a whole new kitchen.  What a difference!!  And yes, we got some extra hinges and base plates, so we never find ourselves in this position again! 

 New hinges and dampers made all the doors hang perfectly and magically close without a sound! Here you can see the mix of original cabinet, with 'new' doors. FYI, these are Blum hinges and dampers, but if you just want to add dampers to your existing cabinets, the new ones from Ikea work great, too. $4.95 for a two pack!

As an interesting side note, we happened upon the original blueprints of our house a few months ago.  After pining for them for years, I found out they were on file just around the corner at Amberley Village hall!  From these you can see the original kitchen layout of the north wall, complete with horizontal hanging refrigerator (long gone by the time we bought the house)!  The south wall was intact (almost), but the north wall facing the family and dining room had been closed in and a giant china cabinet was on that wall.  If the kitchen ever needs another re-do, I’d think seriously about restoring it to the original layout.  If only we’d known!

This is a section of the blueprint that shows the original kitchen layout. I would have loved to have seen it like this!!This is the original layout of the North Wall in the kitchen. The trouble with these awesome looking hanging refrigerators is when they conk out, there was no floor space for a replacement. I know other vintage kitchens that have had to be re-configured for this very reason. Darn G.E. for being so innovative, then giving up on cool design!



pre spring update

the rissover family, sittin' around the dining room and dreaming of springHello everyone!  Just wanted to take a little time to share a few things with our fans/clients/readers.  We have made some changes to the website recently and we want everyone to be aware of some of the new features:

  • A direct link to our facebook page is to the right.  Please click on the ‘like’ button for timely updates and interactive modern threads!  The facebook page ( www.facebook.com/cincinnatimodern ) is a great way to share photos and modern  news & ideas with the rest of the modern community, so post away!
  • We have also started tweeting as an easy way to put fresh, current content both on the website (to the right) and on Twitter if you have an account.  Follow us @cincymod .
  • We added ‘in the news’ links to (on the left side navigation column) to post our modern publicity.  Check it out!  There is a link to a photo spread of our house and family from the new issue of BEST Magazine. 
  • Also new are links to NKY listings both on our Midcentury Listings page and a general MLS search.  If anyone knows of any interesting listings that should be added to our links, please let us know!

As we all wait for the SPRING market to bring new listings, here is an overview of some interesting homes currently on the market that may have been overlooked (click on images for listing info):

  • Ben Dombar MCM in North Avondale.  This home has been on the market for nearly a year, and has been reduced to a more reasonable price of $169,900.  It needs a modern person with vision and energy to bring out this diamond in the rough, but it has lots of possibilities.  According to architectural historian Beth Sullebarger, it was designed by Dombar for Estelle and Dr. Jerome Berman and built in 1951.  Estelle was the first woman chair of the Cincinnati City Planning Commission. It is a great opportunity for a first time buyer looking for an urban neighborhood to own a Dombar!
  • Our Art Moderne concrete house in Kenwood is still available.  At $118,900 is a fabulous first time buyer home and best of all, everything is done.  Just move right in! 
  • There are several Lustron homes in the area – and one on the market – in Middletown and listed at the bargain price of $35,000.  That translates to a principal and interest payment of $172 per month! Although there are no interior pics online, it looks pretty original with the original windows still intact.   Check out the history of these unique mass produced midcentury homes here.

Not all listings featured here are our listings, but as always, let us know if you would like to see any of these homes or any of the homes on our website or if you want us to be on the lookout for something specific for you.  We’re here to serve the modern community!