I spent the weekend in Racine, Wisconsin visiting my grandparents’ perfect little mid-century modern ranch house. Its on the other side of the state so I don’t get over there as often as I’d like any more but I was there last weekend too. And I’ll be back next weekend. My reason is a sad one; my grandfather, Arthur J. Hansmann, passed away early Saturday morning. The whole family has been gathering to help out my grandmother and now to plan a funeral.
Being in the house without him felt so strange. I found myself seeing it with new eyes. Its such a time capsule – maybe not quite of 1953 when they moved in but probably of no later than 1960. When they had to replace the carpet a few years ago, my grandparents carefully sought out what must be the only orange shag left in circulation and snapped it up.
My grandfather was a patent attorney for fifty eight years – he was practicing until just a few weeks ago. I never really thought about the cross over between that and my architecture until now. This was his drafting desk.
I guess maybe I know more where I get my hands on inclinations from now.
When I was little I used to stare at this wallpaper and imagine myself taking a trip along the road in a coach. (By the way, the photographs leaning up against the wall are all of George and Laura Bush – deep sigh). My parents find the whole setup tacky and frumpy but (with the notable exception of those pictures) I love it. Its the epitome of Mid Century Modern, from the chairs to the curtains to the lamp. I’ll miss it dreadfully when its no longer a part of our family.