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Modern Fireplace Redo

Breathing New Life into a Midcentury Fireplace A few years ago we discovered the fireplace flu in our 1964 ranch home was unusable. Cracks in the flu pipe allowed smoke to leak into our attic– and eventually the living room. Yuck. This discovery was followed by a quote for more than $3,000 to repair it! Double-yuck. Time to explore some options.

Oklahoma Modernism Weekend: Home Tour Highlights

Mingle in International Style

Later this month one of my favorite Oklahoma homes will be open for a look-see.

The stunning Jones House was the home of Robert Lawton Jones- a founding principal of the Tulsa-based architectural firm Murray-Jones-Murray. Here in Oklahoma MJM is synonymous with MCM. The firm designed Mid Mod icons such as Saints Peter and Paul Church & School, First Place Tower, Bishop Kelley school and the Tulsa Assembly Center.

About the time Jones penned this sleek example of International Style we had just broken ground on another MJM project: the Tulsa International Airport. It was 1959.

The Jet Age had begun.

Tulsa's Modern Dwellings

Life has returned to downtown Tulsa in recent years.

The concrete canyons, once deserted after 5:00 pm not so long ago, are now a mecca for nightlife and loft-loving hipsters. Condos now occupy what was recently an empty lot. Vacant office space is giving way to luxury apartments. And no matter what style the building might be– residential living in Tulsa's central city is a thoroughly modern affair.

Nichols Hills Conversion

It Works Both Ways

Have you ever noticed how often a modern or contemporary home falls victim to a Brasser?*

Sometimes it seems like half the cool modern houses in Oklahoma have been purchased by people that loathe them. Why else would they add out-of-place accents like Colonial porch lights, crown mouldings, gabled roofs, Victorian doors- the list goes on. I often wonder why anyone would buy a home they hate that much! But occasionally- not often- it goes in the opposite direction.

Your Modern Bathroom. Complete.

One of the coolest things about a Sixties house is all the nifty built-in stuff. 

Our favorite built-in features is a revolving toothbrush holder. That chrome door in the bathroom looks like a secret panel when closed. But rotate the magic metal marvel and a veritable oral hygiene command center is revealed!

These convenient accessories were popular in the Fifties and Sixties. A company called Hall-Mack offered an entire collection of bathroom built-ins to make your modern life easier. Our house also has a couple of their classic Tow'lescope retractable towel bars (which look like a horizontal radio antenna when extended over the sink). The most rare of all though is the fold-down bathroom scales!

But I digress.


Bavinger House Still Standing

An article from the Daily Oklahoman today shows photographs of the unique Norman home still standing- albeit in very poor condition. The Bavinger House was designed by Bruce Goff during his stint at the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture.

Are You Hip?

There seems to be a lot of Mid Mod from Tulsa in the media lately.

The Fall issue of Prairie Hive features a hip pad in Wedgwood called the Futurama. The former Parade of Homes standout suffered several years of abuse by tenants and landlords before being rescued through Nick and Jinger's...
Pop Mod Partnership

The October issue of Oklahoma Magazine has a nice pictorial on the Lortondale home of Brandi Hezinger. Purists may scoff at the modified floorplan- but the hip vibe is fully intact in this...
Retro Redux


Have you spotted a cool article worth sharing? 
Maybe you should share it? You can send it via email or post it on our Facebook page!
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Image courtesy Prairie Hive

No "Boxes with Little Holes"

Excellent article on the "futuristic architect who inspired Frank Gehry."

Yes, they're talking about Bruce Goff. Includes some excellent photographs of Shin'enKan, the Ledbetter House and the late, great Bavinger House. Enjoy.

Colorado Modern

So you're probably wondering, "What the heck does Colorado have to do with Oklahoma Modern?"

Well, for one Colorado borders Oklahoma. Barely.

Also the renowned architect Charles Deaton, designer of the "sculpture house" that overlooks I-70 west of Denver and is best known from the movie Sleeper, was raised in Oklahoma.

But mainly because... um, we recently visited Colorado for a week. So there. Now sit back and enjoy:



A Parade of Home

Home tours used to be a window into the future. A glimpse into a fascinating world of tomorrow. 

Today a home tour brings to mind ginormous houses with a lot of floorspace, but not a lot of design. The checklist usually includes an expanse of granite, a media room, lots of dormer windows (even where there are no rooms) and a touch of wood-grained vinyl. Style is typically looking backwards- like a world of yesteryear, but with big screen TVs.

This Saturday you'll have a chance to experience a home tour circa 1955. A glimpse of what the future once looked like to postwar America.

Modern Tulsa is hosting an open house and tour of a model home called the Citation. 

Tulsa's Atomic Ranch
Open House & Tour
June 2, 2012 • 10am-3pm 
Admission: $5 per person
1717 S. Erie • Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa Roof on Display

..along with a really cool house.

Modern Tulsa is hosting another super hip "Mod of the Moment" events this Sunday at the Netherton House. If that name doesn't immediately jog your memory maybe the striking roofline of this fabulous house will:

Ranch Acres Time Capsule

I just discovered a unique home only a few blocks away from us. And I discovered it on a blog published halfway across the country. So amazing, this Internet thing.

The house is a 3200-foot, 3 bedroom in Ranch Acres. It's one of those cool floorplans with two main wings that make a flying V. Inside it's full Zsa Zsa Colonial with harvest gold appliances and mysterious woodgrains. The fireplace set into the curved sandstone wall is also noteworthy.

But don't take my word for it- here's a link to the article on Retro Nation about this awesome find:

Goff's Most "Usual" Design

Bruce Goff is known for his unusual architecture. So our visit to the home he designed for the Cox family in 1949 was a bit of a surprise.

From the street it's easily the most "usual" home by Bruce Goff we have ever seen. It even has vertical walls, brick veneer and square corners. There are no spheres or conversation pits or Klingon-inspired roof escarpments. It would be easy to overlook the Cox House. Odds are you'd miss it- even if someone told you to keep an eye out for a Bruce Goff house in Boise City.

The All Electric House

In 1953 the Kansas City Power & Light utility company decided to build a model home to showcase the virtues of total electric living. The home was designed in the new "ranch style" and featured all the latest conveniences. They decided on a location in a suburb called Prairie Village, Kansas. The home was completed in 1954 and within six months more than 60,000 visitors had toured the model home.

Standing outside today you might wonder what all the fuss was about. The exterior is a typical ranch with wood shingles and a two-car garage. But step inside and you'll be transported to a world of Fifties high-tech.

Automatic night lights illuminate the living room and hallway. The large picture window is shaded by motorized curtains. A panel beside the sofa provides remote control of the television- which is hidden by a painting! The laundry room is outfitted with a combination washer/dryer (an appliance now popular for space-conscious apartments). Step into the garage and…

Goff's Signature Work in Shambles

We're finally seeing the true status of the iconic Bavinger House.

This aerial video was shot from Oklahoma City's News 9 helicopter and clearly shows the spire is toppled and the roof has partially collapsed.

Video Link

The Bavinger House website now states the home is closed due to severe storm damage. Reports from architecture groups on Facebook indicate the owner may be willing to allow a photographer inside to document the damage. It was also reported he will be posting information about the house on a new blog.

For those unfamiliar with this unusual building, or this unusual turn of events, I'd recommend reading Masterpiece in Peril by Lynne Rostochil. I've also posted more photos of the Bavinger House from an architectural tour sponsored by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in 2009.

Video courtesy of KWTV-Oklahoma City.

Bavinger House is No More

Rumors began circulating Monday afternoon that the Bavinger House in Norman, Oklahoma had been demolished. Conflicting reports have been circulating today and confirmation has been difficult due to the heavily wooded area where the house is located.

Bob Bavinger, the son and steward of the Bruce Goff-designed house, contacted area galleries and asked them to remove any flyers or brochures related to the Bavinger House.

Shane Hood with Modern Tulsa contacted modernisti in the Oklahoma City area to confirm the rumors. Lynne Rostochil was able to contact Bob Bavinger who claimed the iconic structure was "torn down and hauled away" sometime last week. However, this morning Terri Sadler is reporting she can see the roof and support cables, which would indicate the house is intact.

Late Tuesday reports that indicate the house may have been compromised surfaced on Facebook. We'll continue posting updates on Facebook as we learn more.

Since 2008 a number of efforts had been un…

Not Too Modern

"This is a very modern house..."

Had to share this odd little snippet from a children's book from the Forties.

Don't you love the second line? I mean let's not exert any influence here. Just in case you're unsure, we'll be damn sure to let you know: You shouldn't like it!

Oh, and I'd say that's about the coolest little bungalow we've ever seen!

6th Annual Dallas Modern Home Tour

We attended the White Rock Home Tour last year and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately we can't make it this year. Bummer!

For 2011 the tour features five modern homes, an opening reception at Design Within Reach and meet-and-greets with notable architects. Plus, the proceeds benefit an area school, Hexter Elementary.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the event. For more details and ticket locations visit the website...

6th Annual White Rock Home Tour
April 16-17, 2011

Speaker Reception- April 15

Roadtrip Adventures: Plan a roadtrip and find things to do plus great deals on hotels stays at Expedia!

Photo Tour: Various Tulsa Homes

A few snapshots of our favorite houses in T-Town. This is not an exhaustive list- just a selection of cool pads that we thought were worth sharing.

Somewhere west of Lewis.


University Club Tower isn't Tulsa's only modern high-rise. The award-winning 2300 Riverside from 1963 is pretty mod too!

This displaced motel is actually a home in Johansen Acres.

This is a great house located near 31st and Lewis.

One of my all-time favorites- the Sanditen House on South Utica.

This is a pretty neat house- but that's a really awesome roof! It's just west of Harvard behind Edison High School.


Another modern little abode near 43rd and Harvard.

And let's not forget the Lustron on North Harvard!

This house has some killer curb appeal.


That's all for now. Stay tuned for more modern, or visit us on Facebook!

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