The Two Kaufmann Houses

The other day, we saw that the Richard Neutra designed Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, CA sold at auction for $15 million. Considered to be one of the best designs by the architect who best personifies midcentury design, it’s clearly among the most significant examples of residential architecture in the county.

It was only in reading of this sale, however, that we connected the client who commissioned this design — Edgar Kaufmann, with another of his vacation homes.

Kaufmann is also the man who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

So one man’s vision and selection of architects with whom to work resulted in two of the five best homes in the county? Wow!

Like Kaufmann, my grandparents owned a department store. And they have impeccable taste. Their condo’s mix of midcentury modern and ethnic is nothing like what one would expect of “Grandma’s House.” But Kauffman takes defining good taste to a whole different realm.

New Ride

As you saw in my last post, I was involved in a bit of an accident recently. I’m back to normal, but my Jetta isn’t. In fact, after initially saying they were going to fix it the insurance company decided to total it out.

I was a bit concerned at first because I was worried about having to replace the first new car I’d ever bought. It had all the options I wanted, and the exact color combination I wanted. I bought new so I wouldn’t have to settle on any of those decisions. And then suddenly it looked like I was going to have to.

As I began my car search, I had a few models in mind — either stick with a Jetta or maybe move up to a Passat or an Audi A4. I was amazed how rare the dark blue/tan leather combination was! I searched,, CarMax and elsewhere. The cars I saw ones I saw were either older (no warranty left), without leather, or I’d have to settle on a different color combo. Saw some blue with grey, some black with tan, etc.

After test driving a blue/grey Passat Friday night, I found the perfect car on Saturday morning. I walked into the Autobarn – Evanston’s used VW showroom and there it was!

2002 VW Passat GLS – same exact color combination as my Jetta, same turbo engine, same options (except single CD instead of changer), same everything basically. But 12k less miles. And I was able to get it for a price that only extended my payments a few months. I really hit the jackpot on this one. I’ll post some pics soon…


Sometimes it’d be nice if life had an undo command like computers. Alas, it does not. While not official yet, it sounds like my car is dead. At least that’s what the police officer on the scene and the tow truck driver both said — and I’d trust they’ve seen enough accidents to know.

Driving home from an appointment Thursday afternoon, I was rear ended on Rt. 41 at Half Day Rd. in Highland Park, IL. Heading southbound, I came to a stop at a red light. The Infiniti QX4 behind me did not. The driver claimed he looked down for a second and didn’t see the light change. A witness yelled to me as he drove by that the guy was on his cell phone.

I’m for the most part OK. My neck, shoulders and back are a little sore but I think Tylenol, heat and time will be enough. My car isn’t as well off. My 2002 Jetta, only months from being paid off, is in pretty sorry shape. Here are some more pics of the damage. I’m waiting to hear back from my insurance company about whether they can fix my car, or whether I need to get a new one.