Photo by Julius Shulman
Photo by Julius Shulman (1960)

Being married to a graphic artist and pre-press technician has its advantages. My bookshelves are overflowing with great design books and over the years I’ve been exposed to the work of many designers and design movements that I probably would have remained unaware of if my husband hadn’t been so willing to share his knowledge and interests with me. Thanks to him I’ve developed a deep love for mid-century design so I was extremely disappointed to discover that photographer Julius Shulman had passed away last week.

Julius Shulman’s photographs celebrated California modernism. He’s often been called one of our greatest architectural photographers, but his work has only really begun to become fully appreciated by the general public in the last decade thanks to a renewed interest in mid-century design, various exhibits around the world, the publication of many well-received books and a new documentary about his life and work called Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (Eric Bricker; 2008). The film has been getting great reviews and has won some festival awards, but will finally be getting a wide release in October.

If you’d like to know more about the photographer and the documentary Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman I recommend visiting the film’s official website. At the site you can watch a trailer for the film and find information about upcoming screenings in your area. Visit:

Photo by Julius Shulman
Photo by Julius Shulman (1958)

Another new film that should appeal to anyone interested in California modernism is the upcoming documentary Coast Modern directed by Gavin Froome and Mike Bernard. The film is currently expected to make it’s debut later this year, but no specific release date has been announced yet.

According to the website, the film promises to take viewers on a journey through three generations of the modernist movement on the West Coast. In the film architects and their patrons discuss the renewed interest in modernism and what it means to design as well as the world we inhabit. I’ve posted the trailer for Coast Modern below, but I highly recommend visiting the films official website for more information. Visit:

2 thoughts on “Home Is Where the Heart Is

  1. Kimberly, thank you for alerting me to the documentary on Julius Shulman. I was sorry to hear he died but a look at his life on film is the perfect way to celebrate his artistry. My wife and I are in love with mid-century design and always have been. Everything we buy we get at thrift stores and on Craig’s list because that’s where you can find amazing mid-century designs. We have not one but two Grundig turntable/radio consoles from the fifties (one in the living room and one in the bedroom). Our house is filled with artifacts of the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies. Just last week my wife found a 1971 radio console for twenty bucks. Unfortunately, the house we rent is a colonial so it’s not the perfect fit but we’re hoping one day to get beautiful mid-century design house.

    Anyway, we’re obsessed and I have almost every mid-century Flickr site bookmarked. I can hardly wait to see this documentary now.

    And I would give ANYTHING to live in the house pictured at the top of the post!

  2. Greg – I’m happy to share! I’d love to see a double feature of Visual Acoustics and Coast Modern. Hopefully both films will be more readily available soon.

    It’s hard to find deals on mid-century stuff here in the bay area. Generally speaking the antique shops and second-hand stores are often really overpriced and the competition is HIGH. Of course living in a apt. means it’s really impossible to get something and “fix it up” as well and I haven’t used Craig’s List much except for job and apt hunting. We’ve got nowhere to paint or refinish a piece that needs a lot of work but hopefully that will all change when we move. We do have some nice hand-me-down pieces, garage sale and ebay finds though.

    I am glad that modern design has become so accessible now. A lot of stores and shops are carrying easily affordable items that would have cost you 3x the amount at some high-end Italian shop 10 years ago. It’s been amazing to watch the popularity of modern design grow over the past 20 years but it makes me extremely happy that I can walk into a giant place like Ikea or West Elm and find decent & affordable furniture now.

    That top pic is amazing! Love the view of LA but as someone pretty much born & raised in CA I keep wondering, what if a major earthquake hits? That Case Study House could go right down that hill. Ha!

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