The difference between a house and a home

We are blessed again with pictures of Dr. and Mrs. H's family and home, courtesy of their wonderful family and to whom I am very grateful.

What moves me about seeing these, and I believe what is inherently compelling about these images -- is that we see the house being loved and cared for by a family. Seeing it as a home.

This resonates with me particularly at a difficult time when people are losing their homes. Let us all be thankful for what we have, reflect on the good times, and look forward to better times ahead.

Been on vacation with the family

We've been away on family vacation and busy with other things; just dropping by to share some snaps taken at the Mai Kai Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I'm serious about this tiki thing and can't get enough. Ever.

Built in 1956, the Mai Kai is a lot of tiki and a little bit of tacky -- just the way I like it! Based on a Polynesian theme, the owners purchased authentic artifacts from the islands and shipped them to Florida with the intent of recreating a Polynesian village.

If you are a big mid-century tiki fan you will love Mai Kai: one of the last of genuine tiki places left standing from the 50's. The sheer size and scope of this restaurant amazed me. I loved the way you can order your drink in one of four different strengths. I got the Zombie and it was strong, just like they promised.

The Mai Kai scored big on Humuhumu's Critiki -- for you tiki fans, that's a lot of tiki cred.

My kids had a blast hamming it up with the tikis and checking everything out. The bar was cool and had a rockabilly band playing. The pupu platter wasn't that great but my chicken with ginger peanut sauce was pretty good -- better than I expected! The show was very enjoyable: singing, dancing, fire sticks. Definitely as I remember similar shows in Hawaii from my childhood.

We had a great time at this true tiki joint from an era long past. If you are in town by all means go; before you know it places like this will be only a memory.

And now, with your Mai Tai in hand and as the sun is setting on this post, catch a glimpse of what the Mai Kai looked like years ago. Visit SwankPad's Mai Kai Postcards..... Aloha.

MCM architecture in Sacramento's South Land Park area

I recently wrote a very short article for the South Land Park Neighborhood Association's newsletter regarding mid-century modern architecture in South Land Park. I hadn't really given much thought about it before I was given this assignment, but after writing the article I realize that this is essentially what I love about our neighborhood -- how much of its original nature is still intact.
In our neighborhood, you just have to walk out your front door to find mid‐century modern (MCM) buildings and homes. MCM architecture (also referred to as "Post‐War Modern") is a style that rose from the post WWII suburban housing boom. Characteristics of MCM architecture include: clean and simple lines; walls of glass; open floor plans that incorporate outdoor space; emphasis on the horizontal plane, and; flat or wide‐angled roofs. Several MCM styles are prevalent in South Land Park.

MCM ranch homes are well‐represented in our neighborhood. Features of these homes often include: stunning grand double front doors with ornamental door knobs; large plate glass windows; extra wide eaves; and use of materials such as flagstone, brick, stucco and wood. Occasionally you will spot a large split‐level (think "Brady Bunch") MCM home. Custom homes designed by notable local architects such as Carter Sparks, Grant Caywood, and Dean Unger are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.

Look no further than South Hills Plaza for examples of Googie architecture, characterized by bold geometric, parabolic and curvy lines. The roof at Vic's IGA (formerly Jumbo Market) with a zig‐zag outline and skylights that allow natural light to pour into the store and the US Post Office’s wavy arches are great examples.

Further south from the Plaza you will see a small group of Eichler Homes built in the mid‐1950s. Joseph Eichler developed neighborhoods in California with practical and affordable mass‐produced homes designed by respected architects. Eichler Homes were cutting edge in terms of their design and inclusion of unique features such as radiant heating and post‐and‐beam construction. The style of these homes was emulated across the U.S. Similar MCM homes built by Streng Bros., a Sacramento building firm, can also be found here.
The entire issue of the neighborhood association's newsletter is available in pdf format ("April.pdf") here.