Tuesday, September 30, 2014

415 Drake:Charles Haertling's House for Lawrence and Helen Caldwell

"There's more excitement and movement in curves than in straight lines.  When you use them, everyday existence gets to be exciting; it's an elevating experience."

Charles Haertling and the Lawrence Caldwell Residence,  
A collectible house for sale!

After 19 years as an electrical engineer for mining companies in Venezuela, Lawrence Caldwell retired with his wife Helen to Boulder in 1966.  By 1968 they were in this house, having had the good fortune to hire Charles Haertling as architect.  Lawrence's past is obscure to me; because he came to Boulder so late in life there is not much local information, and I have not seen an obituary.

Haertling, on the other hand, had a deep and wide career here as possibly the most creative architect in Boulder's history.  Except for some churches, most of his projects were residential, and they are as far as I know all different. But most shared an organic (in a biological sense) quality, as if they were living organisms.  He never saw a curve he didn't like.  His houses were sculptures you could live in, and as a rule they were very muscular, partaking in the lives of their owners.  Two people living in a Haertling house were two of three, the house being an active third.  Often the house would be very active, since he often made use of curves and sharp angles, with the drama those shapes created.  He paid attention to and studied his clients' ways of living and their needs, and made houses that would suit him and them:

"The building has my signature, but if I kept my clients at arms length, all my buildings would look the same."

He designed the Boulder Eye Clinic at 2401 Broadway, St Stephen Church in Northglenn (his son Joel showed a film of its construction several years ago), the Volsky residence at 711 Willowbrook, then the Kahn and Jourgensen residences on Flagstaff Road.  For a complete list, see Joel Haertling's site about his father's work. Another reference, by Andrea Coberly in 2012, is here.

The Caldwell Residence has had only two owners after Helen sold, and they both live there now.  But they want to pass it on to someone else who will take the same care they did.  Call or email me if you would like to see it. I am not the listing agent, but can represent you as a buyer.

Jim Broaddus            Real Estate of the Rockies             303-819-8895              jim@jimbroaddus.com

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why not OLD cookbooks?

Brillat-Savarin and The Physiology  of Taste

Beth Pilar, in her interesting “Cooking in Community” column for Wednesday’s Daily Camera, wrote about a Denver group known as the Food Lover’s Book Club.  It’s about time we had something like that on the Front Range, and everyone should read her articles.  She included a color photo of good cookbooks , some of which we have at home or have had at the shop in Lafayette.  She encourages us to “Find out what new cookbooks you’d like to add to your shelf,” no doubt applies to one of the Club’s goals.  But don’t forget the old stuff! There have been many excellent treatises on cooking and eating, and we owe it to ourselves to search them out and read them.   Here are some comments on one, below:

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s  Physiologie du Gout, or The Physiology  of Taste, was published in 1825 at Paris, and has never been out of print.  Never!  For good reason, as it has a combination of perception and wit that reminds me of that displayed in Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:  “He was a perfect host, and ate everything with a courage worthy of a more important cause” (in this edition, p. 190).  It is not so much a cookbook, but a series of meditations on eating and drinking that satisfies readers even 190 years after its publication.  In the opening section, the author lays out his 20 aphorisms, the most famous of which, according to the translator, is:

“The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.”

It is a great resource not only for witty comments on people and their eating or drinking habits, but a gold mine of common sense:

“Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.”

Our copy’s translation is the one done in 1949 by M.F.K. Fisher, a noted gastronomical writer whose output would have been stellar even without her contribution here.  It is a reproduction of The Arion Press’s 1994 fine press edition of 200.  I wish we had that one!

Here is the Wikipedia article on Brillat-Savarin, which is worth reading.  He was a lawyer and politician living in France, and published the work that made his fame in the year before his death.
You can find Brillat-Savarin in many editions-easily-on Advanced Book Exchange.  Prices vary, from really inexpensive to really dear. Put it next to your favorite cookbooks.

Meanwhile, the Sept. 29 New Yorker has a note on a possibly noteworthy survey of American cookbooks from the 18th century to now, BooksThat Cook. Check it out on Amazon!