Fall Issue Focuses on Home – and Beyond

The fall '17 issue of CA-Modern features a diverse array of topics, from a neighborhood that found itself through art to how modernism played a role in American spirituality to best bets in natural flooring.

As we head into the fall, it’s time to consider life in our mid-century modern homesteads, and in our immediate neighborhoods. The new fall ’17 issue of CA-Modern magazine does just that with a variety of stories – and goes a bit beyond to consider matters that transcend time and space.

Among our perennially most popular articles are those that provide both inspiration and practical information about spiffing up the home.

In ‘Grounded in Nature,’ home improvement editor Tanja Kern explores how homeowners can provide their homes with flooring that is “natural, or at least presents a natural appearance, helps us to connect with the outdoors while also providing durable solutions for everyday living.”

As she writes, “new advances in technology and style have had an impact on flooring product improvements over the past several years, providing homeowners with options that not only look good but also provide the performance to withstand the realities of everyday life.”

Options range from hardwood and engineered hardwood to porcelain and multilayer vinyl tile flooring.

As Kern notes, performance is crucial and can outweigh the desire for real wood.

“Real wood flooring is often considered the gold standard of flooring,” she writes, “but it's facing stiff competition these days, as virtually every other hard-surface flooring emulates the look of hardwood while offering better performance features.”

The variety of natural flooring – from natural wood to Pryzm luxury vinyl from Armstrong (as shown here) – is explored in 'Grounded in Nature.' Courtesy of Armstrong Flooring

If you are considering spending time this fall making your home more cozy, then consider fabric arts. But what you will get with textile art from San Francisco artist Ealish Wilson goes far beyond quilts.

In ‘Architecture in Fabric,’ we meet a woman who blends high-tech imaging with medieval craft to create 21st century textiles – some are made of plastics – that exemplify the forward-thinking design rooted in functionality and comfort that went into Eichler homes.

As the author of this blog writes in the story, “These days Ealish's signature works are her smocked wall hangings, which range in scale from intimate to wall-sized. Smocking is an ancient embroidering technique of gathering fabric into pleats to provide a degree of elasticity, very useful for collars.”

Ealish's work begins with digital photos, which she shoots, then prints on fabric, then manipulates, then shoots again, then prints again on fabric, which she smocks.

Here is a variety of Ealish Wilson's smocked textile artworks. Courtesy of Ealish Wilson

“For me,” she says, “it is about taking something and making it into something else. I love doing that.” And you will love discovering her art.

To learn how art can go beyond the home to affect an entire neighborhood, visit the San Jose Eichler neighborhood of Fairglen with Carol Sveilich, who lived there in the 1960s. In her first-person account of life in the neighborhood in the early 1960s, ‘Something in the Air,’ we learn of a neighborhood that was transformed when it became home to the Fairglen Art Festival.

From a one-woman display put on by Maggie Caploe in her Eichler home, the festival developed over the years into a major regional draw that involved kids events and sand castles.

The children's exhibit is seen in this vintage photo of the Fairglen Art Festival. Photo by Joe Sveilich

Carol Sveilich’s article is illustrated by vintage photos, mostly taken by her father, Joe Sveilich – and it truly is a trip back in time. It might also suggest that neighbors today can do the same in ther own tracts – if they dare!

In ‘Unsung Masters of the Mid-century: Furniture Design,” Dan Smith takes us on a quick tour of some of the obscure designers whose furnishings changed the way we think of interiors. These range from Muriel Coleman, whose furniture made of scrap metal tubing remains appealing today, to Alexander Girard, whose fabrics for mid-century modern furnishings are still available.

As days grow cool and darkness arrives earlier, it is also a good time to settle back with a book, some music, or a good movie. Our annual review section, 'That's Entertainment,' will provide some ideas to fill your time in a sensuous and/or intellectual manner.

How about a tome of a book that will transport you to Trousdale Estates in L.A., perhaps the most sybaritic mid-century modern neighborhood ever, a Mecca for over-the-top tastes with some homes designed by Eichler architect A. Quincy Jones at his most flamboyant?

The Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy proved deeply controversial when it was first proposed in the 1950s. Once built it was widely admired. Photo by Dave Soldano

Or if nodding your head and snapping your fingers in time is more your thing, consider ‘The New Thing,’ a CD collection of 16 – that is 16! – complete albums from the fiery days of the 1960s when John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, and Ornette Coleman were shaking up how people heard and thought about jazz.

Coltrane in particular was important in jazz history for bringing spirituality front and center in the music, without basing the sound on gospel or spirituals.

In this he was part of a tradition that began in the early 20th entury: Providing for modern ways to worship by designing modern places to worship.

In ‘When God Went Mod,’ we learn how many church-building committees in the postwar years in the United States initially resisted building modern churches – indeed, some people were repelled by the idea.

But we see how, and learn why, modernism triumphed in church building, not only in the United States but throughout the world.

And to emphasize the 'why,' we visit eight of the most remarkable modern churches you have ever seen, from early 20th century Barcelona to 21st century Tokyo, join us on a tour of heavenly modern sanctuaries in the fall '17 issue of CA-Modern. Order your copy of the print issue today.  

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