Latest Articles in Preservation

LED lighting technology in the Morgan Library New York

Illuminated Texts

Personally wired by Thomas Edison, J. Pierpont Morgan’s home was the first electrified residence in New York. A recent LED retrofit delivers the library into a new age.
March 10, 2012
The Union Depot in Keokuk, Iowa

And the Winner of Rethinking Preservation Is...

We received 132 total entries that featured 118 individual landmarks deserving of preserving. We posted the entries for popular vote and watched the votes roll in. With 71,000 total votes it was a close race. However, there can be only one winner and voters and judges agreed that the Sub-Zero and Dwell Rethinking Preservation Contest grand prize winner is...
March 8, 2012
borst residence marina del rey

Living in Marina del Rey

When Joe Borst saw an affordable bungalow in a Marina del Ray neighborhood filled with either condos or mansions, he knew he found a perfect place for him and his girlfriend Maria Torres to live in. The home was rundown due to poor maintenance on the part of its previous owners with unfinished additions and obviously haphazard renovations to boot. Borst enlisted longtime friend Robert Sweet to re-imagine the space within a tight budget. “I just wanted good, open space, easy floor plan,” says Borst. “I gave him a lot of autonomy because I am very busy and I knew he would do fantastic work. He had free reign on style and creativeness.”  Sweet gave the home a modern, eco-friendly makeover and enlarged the feel of the home without adding to the footprint by renovating the home with an open floor plan and designing outdoor “rooms.” Here’s a look at what Sweet dealt with and how it all turned out.
March 8, 2012
The Breuer-Robeck House, a privately owned historic property in New Canaan designed by Marcel Breuer.

Preserving New England Houses

In the past few decades, overdevelopment throughout New England has erased some of the region's most inspired Modernist homes. Towns like New Canaan, Connecticut, and Lincoln, Massachusetts, are architectural hotbeds thanks to the Harvard Five, a group of Harvard graduate architecture students and professors that settled there in the 1940's. But more recently, homes by Modern titans like Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius are being razed for subdivisions and McMansions. Enter Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation. It was founded in 1910 to preserve and present the cultural and architectural heritage of New England. They recently started a Stewardship Program so owners of significant historic houses (from any time period, from the 17th century to 1960s) can protect their property through preservation easements. There are currently 81 properties protected, three of them dating from the modern movement, including the Marcel Breuer-designed Robeck House in New Canaan. Easements obtained through Historic New England’s Stewardship Program can prevent insensitive alterations, neglect, or demolition of these houses perpetually, even if they transfer ownership. Curious to hear more about the program, I contacted Jess Phelps, Team Leader for Historic Preservation at Historic New England. Here's what he had to say.
February 12, 2012
Modern Bubeshko Apartments facade

Self Preservation

With the help of DSH Architects, a pair of intrepid Angelenos restored (and gently updated) Rudolph Schindler’s iconic Bubeshko Apartments.
January 23, 2012
Modern home renovation 20th century facade

Back Storied

Without altering its turn-of-the-20th-century facade, architect Christopher Polly transformed the rear of this Newtown, Australia, home from bleak to bright.
January 18, 2012
neutra renovation

Neutra For Sale

Following a close call for another Los Angeles showstopper designed by Richard Neutra, the 1955 Kronish House, a Bel Air home by one of the West Coast's most revered mid-century architects hits the sales market. Also built in 1955, the Staller House—restored in phases by its last two owners—has so far avoided the teardown-happy fate of its peers. The Kronish House came within two weeks of its demise this fall, before a preservation-minded buyer purchased it at auction. The Staller home has a slightly different story to tell.
December 23, 2011
cranbrook kroloff entrance

The Director's House: Cranbrook

After fifteen years of disuse, a Saarinen-designed house on the Cranbrook campus has been renovated and updated by the school's Director, Reed Kroloff, and interior designer Lynda Charfoos.
December 18, 2011
eames time machine

Eames Time Machine

To stand in the empty living room of Charles and Ray Eames’ Case Study House No. 8 in Pacific Palisades is to experience pure contemplation of the space. While its furnishings, some undergoing their own conservation, languish within LACMA’s Living in a Modern Way exhibition, the room is receiving a faithful restoration under the tutelage of the Eames Foundation. To celebrate and to help support this transformation, on Saturday, October 15, from 4–6 p.m., the Foundation is hosting Time Machine, a fundraiser for Foundation members and non-members alike ($200 and $250, respectively). Time Machine kicks off “Indoor Ecologies: the Evolution of the Eames House Living Room,” which will progress through the end of April, at which time the living room will be back in its entirety. With the exception of attending events such as this one, as per usual, visitors will be only able to view the house from the outside, so this is a rare opportunity to be inside the room. “We are inviting people to see the living room empty, because that’s how it looked when Charles and Ray moved in,” says Foundation chairman Eames Demetrios, who adds that he and other family members, as well as former Eames collaborators, will be among the guests. “To be in that space, in this moment of all this potential, is pretty powerful.”
October 14, 2011