Friday, July 31, 2009

Hometta Show

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Photo courtesy of Hometta

If you are in Houston this weekend, go see the Hometta Show, Welcome Hometta, at the New World Museum. This is the final weekend for the Show before it moves on to San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston.

Hometta is based here in Houston, Texas and is a collaborative of designers, architects, builders, writers and editors who care about modern architecture and access to great design. According to their website:

"Founder Mark Johnson and partner Andrew McFarland joined forces with four core architects and designers, whose vision has guided Hometta’s development. They, in turn, have helped recruit the several dozen studios who have contributed home plans to Hometta’s first stage of life (with more to come!)."

Hometta Show at New World Museum

5230 Center St.
Houston, Texas 77007

FREE! Admission to New World Museum is free due to the generosity of museum supporters.

Thursday - Sunday
Noon to 5 p.m.

You may remember My Ranchburger's coverage of one of Hometta's early projects. Click here to see a wonderful residential design on which they collaborated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

le cinéma

The cinema ticket.

Our seats?

And le cinéma?

The other evening, Ligne Roset Houston had one of its really chic in-store cinema events. The cinema was À Bout de Souffle (Breathless) with Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo and English subtitles. I know you've never had seats such as these in a theater or French spirits and hor d'oeuvres as you watched a hip black and white.

But who could concentrate on the movie...even if it's Belmondo and Seberg...while mentally redecorating one's pad with all those wonderful Ligne Roset designs?

Friday, July 24, 2009

harbenger.duo at DWR

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At the Design Within Reach Houston Studio last night harbenger.duo, AKA the Josh and Audrey Hardesty design team, exhibited their wonderfully designed and beautifully constructed line of contemporary furniture.

Spotted in the huge crowd (not seen here, as Tall Husband and I arrived early to shoot) at DWR were well known architects, designers, international retailers, plus one of my favorite Bloggers, Carolina of Carolina Eclectic.

Note: Click on photos to enlarge. These are only a few of the harbenger.duo designs. For order information go to You can also follow this duo on their blog, harbenger.duo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adolf Loos and His House for Josephine Baker

This tiny maquette of the never-realized house that Adolf Loos designed for Josephine Baker in 1928 sits on a bookshelf at My Ranchburger. It was to have been built in Paris on a corner of Avenue Bugeaud in the 16th arrondissement.

The facade was to have been covered in black and white marble.

The original maquette, along with a number of drawings, is in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. This above maquette: Model design: Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. Scale: 1:100; copyright, Elsie Altmann-Loos.

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I constructed my little model from the pages of this book, Adolf Loos: Huis voor/house for/maison pour/Haus für Josephine Baker by Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. The publication was found at the Bookstore & Gift Shop, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston some years ago.

Josephine Baker has inspired generations with her great intelligence, talents and charm. Looking at this maquette of a house she inspired, makes me smile, as I imagine her living there, swimming in the indoor pool, dancing across marble floors in her banana skirt, or walking her pet leopard around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fete Nationale 2009

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Happy Bastille Day to all our French Friends!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art Deco Redo

This Art Deco console, attributed to Wolfgang Hoffmann, was found in less than pristine condition at a local antique shop.

Tall Husband and I collaborated on the refinishing of this Art Deco manicure table turned console. I had searched for a table like one that had been in my clipping notebook for years...then one day we walked into an antique shop in Houston and there it stood, doing duty as a place for the shop's business cards and signs. It was painted a bright turquoise with pink, white and black showing through.

The shop owner told us that the late 1920's to early 1930's piece had been a manicure trolley in a beauty salon and its design was attributed to Wolfgang Hoffmann, son of the famous architect and Wiener Werkstatte co-founder,
Josef Hoffmann. Inside its small drawer was evidence of its previous life...numerous spills of nail enamel in various shades of red, hardened into a stubborn, bumpy veneer.

Discovering that there was Bakelite beneath layers of paint was a delight. Legs, hinges and pulls were re-chromed at a metal plating shop and reproduction casters were sourced.

The little trolley's chromed legs and pulls were beginning to rust through the chrome. A corner had been severely damaged and there was all that paint, inexpertly applied. It's casters were broken and crumbling. It was love at first sight. Once we got the piece home, I wondered aloud, "Whom can we trust to refinish this?" Tall Husband pointed at me. "Me!?"

A manicure trolley in the early decades of the twentieth century, it now holds drink coasters and gray linen cocktail napkins.

So with racing heart, respirator, paint remover, and proper ventilation, I began. Tall Husband did some research and found a metal plating shop that usually did chrome on antique car bumpers and motorcycles. Off came the legs, pulls and every little screw. At my request, Tall Husband constructed a metal angle and with it I began to build up a fine corner with wood filler. We tested several black paints and, surprisingly, the best looking one was a can of black spray paint from Sherwin Williams, called Almost Flat.

I tackled the top of the little table last, using a hand sander with a fine sandpaper. Well into the job, I smelled a strange odor and noticed that the surface was becoming mysteriously shiny. Throwing off my mask and gloves, I ran to my computer and searched for Wolfgang Hoffmann. That's when I learned that most of his tables were topped by Bakelite. Tall Husband came out to my work area and in one sniff identified phenolic resin, an odor that is emitted by Bakelite when its heated (e.g., sanded with an electric sander.) I immediately switched to fine steel wool and a gentler touch. At one point in refinishing the surface, the shine of the ebony Bakelite popped out in all its glory.

Returned to its original chicness, the Art Deco table now resides in our living room and stands ready with gray linen cocktail napkins and black coasters from Ligne Roset.

And would you believe it? There is another one like it, this time covered in paint the color of red nail polish. We spotted it in the window of Luther's, a hip boutique in Austin, Texas.
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