About a year ago, we agreed with the sellers on a price for our first house, a 1958 custom post and beam mid-century modern in complete original form, purchased from the Trust of the commissioning clients. We were delighted and anxious about owning our first place (after all those years watching and waiting and generally confounded at the housing market), but we also began to feel stewardship for the original vision of architect, J. F. Bernard. Our soon-to-be next-door neighbors are the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners, and their children (who are our age) grew up playing at grandpa and grandma’s. We were attracted to the story of these two progressive intellectuals raising their daughters in the house and, a generation later, inspiring their grandchildren within the walls and in the garden. A year later, our house-hunting fretting, anxiety, and lofty hopes seem rather silly as we’ve settled into daily life with our children in the house. But we still feel responsibility to the possibilities that were outlined in a meeting of the academics and the architects in 1957.
As a first post, its worth spending some words on the nature of this blog, which I hope to put in the “About” page when I get around to it. I intend to do a few things here, with posts predictably patchy:
First, I’d like to explore in words and images the aesthetic and intellectual nature of mid-century modernism, especially as created, commissioned, and consumed by middle-class folks. I’m interested here in the middlebrow as a structure of feeling – as a generative, productive place.
Second, this blog serves to document various stories and projects around the house, serving as something as an archive of furnishings re-arranged, landscape plans, to-do lists, and interviews. Seeing that we’re trying to keep things as they are, and not take out walls or build a second story, this may not be terribly exciting. But I suspect that lots of other folks are in the same boat as us.
Third, I’d like to use it to write a historical piece for the Journal of San Diego History titled “Academics and Architects: Building the Middlebrow Modern House in San Diego County” or something like that. We’ll see about that one, as my own research usually asks for my full-time attention.
(Photo: scan of an original drawing by J.F. Bernard, 1957).