In 1981, Londoners Anthony and Gillian Blee purchased the ultimate fixer-upper. The property in southwestern France was idyllic, but its old mill, built in 1822, and three flanking outbuildings had fallen into terrible disrepair.
"It was a complete ruin and completely uninhabitable," says Greg Blee, one of Anthony and Gillian's five children and a founding partner at Blee Halligan Architects.
Bit by bit, the couple restored each building with the help of family and friends. In March 2010, Blee and his design partner, Lee Halligan, completed the final renovation transforming the last structure into a 215-square-foot cabin for two. After prefabricating the timber framing in sections scaled to fit into a Renault van, Blee and Halligan drove through the chunnel to construct the interiors on-site. With no access to electricity, plumbing, or other utilities, the duo turned to the land for materials and to the sky as a source of energy.
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.