Atomic Ranch: Midcentury Interiors

8 Mar
Are you as excited about this book as we are?! The editor of the book, Jim Brown, was nice enough to do a short interview with Mimomito about his involvement with Mid Century Modernism and the launch of their new book, Atomic Ranch: Midcentury Interiors. Enjoy reading it and then go to the Atomic Ranch page and buy this pup.
Here is what to expect:
Explore eight fantastic ranch interiors in depth, from warm moderns and split-levels to tract homes and a retro traditional in our newest book. Regionally diverse, locations include East and West Coasts, as well as Cincinnati, Tulsa and Dallas. Homeowners share their experiences with economical finishes and furnishings to adding on a master suite and reworking a tight floor plan. Sidebars on vintage vs. original kitchens and baths, window replacement, paint colors and more give you plenty of inspiration for your own home.
Seriously, everything that Atomic Ranch does is golden. If you haven’t already, check out their current issue! It has a very large spread of Dane’s (from Sacramento Modern) gorgeous Eichler.
First off, how long have you been interested in Mid-Century design, and when did you realize there was a demand for print-form inspiration?

 

My big midcentury moment came when I was a freelance car photographer in Los Angeles and I landed the job to cover in Palm Springs the March 2001 Raymond Loewy Event, commemorating the 40-year anniversary of Loewy’s design of the Avanti automobile.  It was a weekend of exhibits and conferences and the organizers were based at the Orbit In; I had a room there, too. I was surrounded by midcentury furnishings, the exhibit was based at the (current) Visitors Center (an Albert Fry design) and there was a brunch at Lowey’s Fry-designed home in Palm Springs.  It was a total immersion in midcentury, something I was aware of (since I’m that age),  but never really articulated.It took several years for that to percolate and finally, in 2003 my wife Michelle (Gringeri-Brown) and I felt we could make a magazine dedicated to midcentury homes and homeowners. We both came  from magazine backgrounds, so we never considered any other format. Michelle had worked for many years on an Arts and Crafts-era magazine (American Bungalow) and my whole career as a photographer had been in editorial magazines (HotRod, Motor Trend, Car&Driver, Sunset).

 

Living our whole lives in southern California, working at/attending Art Center College of Design, and growing up during that time period, we were surrounded by midcentury but until that ‘moment’ it wasn’t something special that called for intense attention.  But then, once we opened our eyes, we saw it everywhere and knew it would be an interesting story.

 

Your last book is one of my absolute favorites; and it also featured fellow Sacramentans, Tony and Donna. How does it feel to have sold over 20,00 copies? What were your original expectations?

 

 I’m glad you liked Atomic Ranch: Design Ideas for Stylish Ranch Homes (quite a long title, huh?). Tony Natsoulas and his wife Donna (he’s a crazy creative ceramicist) drew us to Sacramento to photograph his Streng and they hooked us up with Paul Torrigino and Richard Guiterrez who also own a Streng. It was interesting to see the variation from the standard Eichler design.

 

It’s great that our first book keeps selling after six years; it’s in its sixth printing. People who now come to our magazine and find that the early issues are sold out have the opportunity to see many of the same houses in a shortened form in the book. That first book is a broad survey of the topic; it illustrates the major characteristics of the architecture and shows the commonality of ranches despite the wide geographic range. That’s really been our main theme from the beginning — good ranches can be found almost everywhere.

 

 Through your books, do you continue to draw inspiration for your own personal home style? 

 

 More like drawing envy from all the homes I’ve visited. I wish we could start acquiring art for our ranch like I see in the featured homes.  We’re still changing our furnishings, finding what works for us and our pets and editing what we don’t need.  We’re fairly minimalist in our aesthetic and really not into collecting “things.”

 

What do you hope readers gain from your newest book, Atomic Ranch: Midcentury Interiors?

 

For Atomic Ranch: Midcentury Interiors, I hope that in addition to seeing that ranches are everywhere, people will appreciate styles that perhaps don’t speak viscerally to them but still fit within the midcentury framework and have value.  To a broader audience, the people who never even considered a ranch before, I hope they’ll see how practical and beautiful they can be. We limited the book to just eight homes,  but those eight were carefully selected for stylistic and geographical diversity and also that each had enough depth to support 20-24 pages of coverage. After reading the whole book, I hope that people are inspired by the ideas they see and also use the tools and resources the text provides to emulate the midcentury look.
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