California Design: Living in a Modern Way is the exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem MA. Which is a bit strange because Salem has a bunch of old antique houses and the houses in the California design show are modern. We had a modern style house in Illinois and I loved the flowing spaces and the big windows, whole walls of windows and a huge deck, situated in a neighborhood of other modern-style houses.
Coming to New England was something of a shock where the Center Entrance Colonial is God and the Cape Cod House is his prophet. Nobody (but us) has modern furniture. The window panes in New England are small, smaller and smallest. I remember my shock at having to go to the window and stand there to look out. No plate glass in sight. Dark rooms, tiny windows. Gloomy like the weather on bad days. Somewhat depressing to live with smallish windows.
So I finally got used to it, and them we moved to a modernish condo and our ancient mid-century modern furniture looked like it was made for the house.The rear of the house has big windows looking out on a slough with trees and birds.
The "Living in a Modern Way" show had furniture, graphics, pottery, accessories, even clothing. When I was a kid, my mom used to enter contests she found in the women's magazines. She got pretty good at writing jingles and she spent a lot of time on her entries. First she won a washer, then a dryer, then a mangle (large ironing appliance). Finally she won a free vacation at the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. My parents liked it so much they went back for several years, always in the winter. Then they started visiting friends along the coast and every year my mom returned with a new outfit for me, California sportwear! It was so mod and so cool, not like anything you found in Colorado. I loved it. The California Design Show had a whole exhibit of mostly women's clothing and looking at the clothes and the furniture, even the pottery, I thought, "yes, this was part of my life." And it was a happy thought.
The Furnace Creek Inn is still going strong. My parents would be pleased to know that.
Here is the link: Furnace Creek Inn
They returned home talking about Death Valley Scotty and 20 Mule Team Borax. Before Death Valley, their only trips were to visit my Grandma and to go fishing in the Colorado Mountains. They loved Death Valley! Maybe someday I'll retrace their journey, or grab a new Cole of California or Catalina swim suit.