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Seriously Delicious Eye Candy

Our local library system is part of a larger state-wide network so if you want a book that’s not available locally, you can usually get it from another library system which includes a bunch of university libraries with huge collections.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find some amazing books lately that are filled with some serious eye candy for a modern lover like me.  I don’t often buy books because I read a lot and move-on to new books all the time.  Also, books are expensive and take-up a lot of room.  By borrowing from the library, I get to enjoy them for a while and then they move-on to someone else to enjoy.  If I ever want to see the book again, I can just re-borrow it.  If I really can’t live without it, purchasing becomes an option.  That doesn’t happen very often but I do buy the occasional book.

I was able to track down Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors, which I’d been dying to see.Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 10.29.17 AM

This book is really gorgeous and I spent several hours, not in a row, pouring over these stunning interiors.  Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 11.00.55 AM

Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 11.02.12 AM

Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors also featured a home from  This is the house that made me decide once and for all that my house really needs/wants some Charley Harper.  After seeing all of this gorgeousness, I decided I definitely needed to see the first Atomic Ranch book, which also does not disappoint.Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 10.29.40 AM

I love that hutch and I’m a sucker for those George Nelson saucer lights.DSC01719

Here’s another saucer light in a different dining room.  DSC01720

I love this kitchen below because it’s modern yet warm. That glass vent hood is awesome and I really like how uncluttered everything looks.  Note to self to de-clutter my kitchen a little more.DSC01718

I also borrowed 50 from the 50s: Modern Architecture and Interiors in Cincinnati from the University of Cincinnati Library.  This is an amazing book filled with some of the most gorgeous modern architecture around.DSC01714

My only complaint with this book is that it’s in black and white.  I wish I could see full color pic’s of these houses and businesses but I’ll take what I can get.  I love these flat-roofed homes with walls of windows.  They just meld with the outside and create this endless flow that really pleases me.DSC01715

This gorgeous house belonged to J. Ralph Corbett,  founder of  NuTone, a brand found in nearly every mid-century home including mine.  This house has an indoor swimming pool.  I want an indoor swimming pool.  I’ve wanted one ever since I was a kid and toured the mansion of some industrialist, possibly a Firestone, and there was an indoor swimming pool in the basement.  It completely blew my mind and I’ve secretly longed for one my whole life.  Now that I’ve told you, it’s not a secret anymore.DSC01716

My vintage NuTone doorbell, just for reference.  The Corbetts probably sold a gazillion of these so of course they could afford an indoor swimming pool.  NuTone Doorbell

Finally,  I love the butterfly roofline on this house.  I’ve always thought these houses are super cool, at least to the eye.  I don’t have any idea what they are like to deal with in real life, though.  I wonder if heavy snow is an issue? I’m sure being built in Ohio that snow was taken into account.  I also love that covered screened deck.  Just yum.DSC01717

Finally, if you get a chance to read through Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream, please do so.  You will not be disappointed.  Not only does it include some of the lushest, most beautiful photographs of all manner of mid-century interiors, it gives a pretty well-rounded history on how/why we design and decorate our interiors today and the propaganda behind creating such an ideal “community” of  beauty.  It’s too bad a lot of it was fantasy because it would have been very nice if everyone truly got to live that way. Pearls and poufy dresses at garden lunches, parties and cocktails, manicured lawns with matching table linens.  Whole roast chickens every night with apple pie for dessert.  Hair is never messy and children are always neat.  Even post WWII, that was a huge fantasy as there were still plenty of people doing without.  They were really trying to paint a picture of prosperity, though, and I guess after the Depression it was true that a whole lot of people were doing better than before.  Life, however, is reality and sometimes life is gross.  This book is beautiful, though, and definitely worth a look.


So that’s what I’ve been devouring lately.  What have you been reading?  Please share because I’m always looking for something new to read.

Stay tuned because next I’ll share a few books that I actually did purchase and am currently loving.


About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

4 responses »

  1. Love these! 🙂 I may need to request copies of these books from our library, as well!

  2. Hi Jenny! Nothing better in the world like a nice book with good ideas!
    Have a happy weekend! 🙂


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