Nut Tree, Don Birrell

From 1921 until the early 50s, Nut Tree was a food service trendsetter with an $85,000 kitchen and destination restaurant importing more pineapples than just about anyone else — a super popular stop off the highway between Sacramento to San Francisco. In 1953, new design director Don Birrell began a new era of bright, beautiful California modernism.

He brought Eames chairs to the toy shop — for a time, Nut Tree was the sole retailer on the West Coast for Eames furniture. He commissioned dish patterns (which are now in the MoMA permanent collection) and brought Dansk flatware into the dining room. Dishes were plated exactly as Don Birrell designed it. In four years, he and the partners had expanded Nut Tree to include a toy shop, gift shop, toy train, airport, its own clothing line and its own design studio. All of this before Alexander Girard's Textiles & Objects shop opened its doors in 1961.

In 1958, he began a collaboration with architects Dreyfuss & Blackford to design a new dining room, glasshouse aviary and garden pavilion — all of which used prefab and modern techniques picked up on his own inspiration trips to Scandinavia. The pavilion was directly influenced by Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens. Sadly, but not a surprise, Nut Tree could not survive. It closed its doors in 1996. The new Nut Tree USA includes a Best Buy and Old Navy.

[photos from alamedainfo.com via Cathy]
[Nut Tree: A Look Back]


Lewes, East Sussex
[photo by Gina from Bell & Weiland; thank you]

Stan Bitters Birdhouse

Ended at $500.00

Designed by Stan Bitters for the Hans Sumpf Company of Madera, California, which closed in early 2006.

Bruno Mathsson

Tapio Wirkkala Earrings


Alex Singer Bicycle Huret Mafac TA Simplex, Ser # 14804

Alex Singer Constructeur with Ernest Csuka Stem.

ALSO: Atelier Alex Singer (Ref Lib)

Gilles Berthoud Full Dress Touring Bicycle Maxicar TA

Gilles Berthoud
Full Dress Special Order 650B Touring

1950 Modern Goodform Industrial Chair Eames Machine Age

$622.69 5/29/07 Click here for more pics.

Klein Tools Bag #5156


Not a lamp. Cardboard lamp packaged in itself, 2004. [David Graas; available at Wonderwood]


Rare coffeetable with glass top c. 1953. Designed by W. Lutjens for Den Boer Gouda. Inspired by Isamu Noguchi's IN-50 coffee table from 1944. [Wonderwood]

Yellow Knot Prototype

Sherrie Levine
Yellow Knot Prototype

A piece of plywood on which the artist has painted the football shaped plugs yellow. [Walker Art Center]

Grete Jalk, Bed

[bio at R 20th Century]

Community Playthings


We're closed today (Memorial Day)

Enjoy the parade. Find a vet and say thanks.



SINES 5 & 10

Quakertown, PA


[photo from mfree's flickr]



The Quality

Some posts are now labeled as having The Quality (Without a Name). From The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander writes that "There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named." Some words attempt to describe The Quality, but fail to truly capture what it is. These are: alive, whole, comfortable, free, exact, egoless, eternal.


"Making Do" (Geoff's)

[photo from interrupt's flickr, more at Yale]

Mark Borthwick, Luis Gispert,
Geoff McFetridge and Karyn Olivier
Making Do

Yale School of Art Gallery


[Hans Wegner]


[Isabel Truninger, photographer]


It's Bojangles Robinson's Birthday Too

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
[photograph by Carl van Vechten from VCU Libraries]

It's also Frank Oz's birthday

Happy Birthday Frank.


It's May 25, my birthday

Happy Birthday to me. From my smart and beautiful girl I received a perfect gift, Boek: Piet Hein Eek. He is one of my favorite designers, since we went to the Do Normal exhibition of Dutch design in 1998. I thought I had seen it all—until last year, when he started working with ceramics, making seams and welding flat sheets of pottery. These nice jugs [above from Boek and here] are really something.

A good lunch today, roast pork sandwich, fried eggplant and a meatball on a plate from Shank's and Evelyn's, then water ice from John's. There was a back-of-the-box recipe Hershey's chocolate cake in the afternoon. We didn't make it to Brazilian barbeque for dinner. It was a good day.

[My girl, Boek, and a nice set of jugs]