Route 66 Windmill
The Strattons have since volunteered on behalf of other historic Mid-Century Modern era architecture preservation for over twenty years. For instance, they wore windmill hats at the “Save the Windmill” Rally on Route 66 and helped to generate positive press that led to the preservation of this quintessential Route 666 building!
Saving the Palm Springs Visitor Center
In the late 1990s, after attending Tony Merchell’s 1997 first ever Palm Springs Modernism tour where they met the architect, Albert Frey in his hillside home, the Strattons testified at the hearings to support the preservation of the ‘now landmarked’ Tramway Gas Station in Palm Springs even before Palms Springs Modcom was conceived!
The Strattons have been active in the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee since the SCA Society for Commercial Archeology Los Angeles Conference and the Suburban Metropolis Tour in 1996. In 2001, Mary-Margaret went on to create Lotta Living – the very first online bulletin board dedicated to historic preservation of Mid Century Modernism as a resource for LA ModCom. The message board, named after the Jack Jones hit song from the 1950s movie Bye Bye Birdie, went on to bring together preservation fans of Mid Century Modernism all across the country! From Kansas City to Portland to Pheonix and beyond. The board helped to spur local groups across the country to follow suit in creating their own local online communities.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Also in 2001, MM produced the the first architectural tour of Knott’s Berry Farm where she introduced fellow historians to each other, Eric Lynxwiler to Chris Merritt, and years later, the two would go on to write the book, Knott’s Preserved.
Saving the Cinerama Dome, Hollywood!
One of the Stratton’s crowning achievements was being a part of the efforts to save the world famous Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA from demolition. Along with preservation leader, Doug Haines, they used pivotal grass roots efforts and outreach to the Directors Guild to successfully save the building for future generations.
Eames House 20-20-20 Tour
In 2005, Mary-Margaret served as Tour Captain at the seminal 20th anniversay Modcom Tour of the Eames private Home in Pacific Palisades, where m&m dressed as Ray Eames for the day!
The Eichler Foster Residence
Nominating a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Landmark
After fixing their Earthquake damaged first home and then working on a remodel of an L.A. 1960s garage apartment, soon the Strattons were working on their first major true architectural restoration project, an original condition 1964 Eichler by architect A. Quincy Jones. After their restoration, the “Foster Residence” property won a successful exterior, PLUS an even more rare interior Los Angeles City Cultural Historic Landmark (#848) designation for their work. This home was often featured in tv, movies and commercial photo shoots. This work is detailed on several pages under “Past Projects.”
Doubling Comps through Preservation!
In addition, the Strattons were instrumental in doubling the comps in their Eichler neighborhood in Northern Los Angeles by using a combination of proper restoration, educational outreach and historic neighborhood designation.
One of the things that helped to bring about the notoriety of this neighborhood was the historic How Modern Was My Valley Tour. The Strattons co-produced this first, and to date, ONLY seminal tour of architecture in the San Fernando Valley. This tour was conducted for the National Trust for Historic Preservation Annual Conference as well as a two day self driving tour booklet for the Los Angeles Conservancy attended by over 700 people.
After this tour, housing values eventually went from 300k range to 700-800k within a period of 3 years. Even during and after the real estate correction of 2008, these Eichler properties maintained their value.
Over the years, the Strattons were known for hosting many themed private parties at their home. In addition, the Strattons have also produced 3 major public events called “Mondo Lounge” with several hundred attendees present.
The first Mondo Lounge was produced in Hollywood, CA in 2004 as a means to get together friends across many niche communities who all shared a common thread of loving the Rat Pack era style and sound. A second Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic was co-produced by Jason “Java” Croft in 2007 in Las Vegas, NV. And a third Mondo was held at the Palms Hotel in 2010. the branding for all of three of these events was provided in part by the international artist, SHAG.
Participants over the years read like a who’s who of the “retro scene” and included of course, the artist Josh Agle aka SHAG, the Petersen Automotive Museum, Hollywood Heritage Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum, Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee, Charles Phoenix (as seen on Martha Stewart and Conan O’Brien), Eric Lynxwiler, Octaviao “Winky Tiki” Arizala, Playboy Playmate, Holly Madison, Hollywood impressario Maxwell deMille, Cherry Capri. Masuimi Max, Capitol Records Ultralounge, Falling Cocos, Sneaky Tiki, Billy Shire and Soap Plant La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Allan Scura eyewear. Caliente Tropics Resort, Atomic Ranch Magazine, the Dresden Room, Micelli’s Hollywood, Hollywood Book and Poster, Modernica, Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art, the Martini Kings, King Kukulele, Count Smokula, Art Vargas, Arthur Murray dance studios, Brini Maxwell (Bravo and Style Network), Michelle Baldwin, Lynn Zook, Michael Weatherford, Clouseaux, Octobop, Project Pimento, Mark Tortorici, Betinna May, Burlesque As It Was dance troupe, Erochica Bamboo, GoGo Amy, Kalani Kokonuts, Kitten Deville, Lolita Haze and Mia Vixen, Tiki Farm, Kay O’Hara, DJs Drew Groove, DJ Senor Amor, DJ Mardou & Leo, DJ Jay Strongman, Tashcen Books,DJ K Billy, DJ Caesare, DJ Joe Maggarini, Lee Joseph and Dionysus Records, Second Life Entertainment, Roxy Rouge, Tana the Tattoed Lady, Vita Vixen, Fez-orama, Badland Beads, Cinema Collectors, Coquette Furriers, Donnaland Vintage Variety, Genevieve Designs, GoGo amy, Hep Cat Pinups, La Bomba Vintage, Lampshade Lounge, Suzanna Anna, Swampfire Lounge, Velvet Glass, Liquid Salvation, M Modern Gallery, SugarKitty Corsets, Retro-a-go-go, Lili Von Schtupp, Tiki Central, Las Vegas Jr. League, PRG, Nutty, 944 and Seven magazines.
Los Angeles Preservation Scrapbook!
Preservation Activism and Education Efforts
and just plain fun times with good friends…
Plus, Tiki Activism! at the Anniversary of the historic Tiki Room
M&M and pop culture edu-tainer, Charles Phoenix, have dueled for loudest outfits on a few occasions!
ENTER Las Vegas…
Mary-Margaret and friend, author and historic Neon expert, Eric Lynxwiler, conducted the first architectural history bus tour of Vintage Vegas for the “Mondo Tiki” event at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2003. Around this time, the Strattons purchased their first Vegas vacation home and dubbed it – the El Ranchito Vegas after the very first Strip resort – the El Rancho.
Saving the La Concha Lobby
Also around this time, the Strattons had already been instrumental in helping to spur the efforts to preserve the La Concha Motel back in 2003. In 2003, while they were still living in Los Angeles, the Strattons began a grass roots campaign to Save the La Concha Hotel (the historic 1961 motel by African American architect, Paul R. Williams) on the Las Vegas Strip from demolition. MM created the website, www.savelaconcha.com. Los Angeles designer, Chris Green, drew up a fabulous logo to promote the cause and the Strattons started an online petition that received hundreds of signatures.
Their efforts caught on. Numerous key individuals alerted the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preserve Nevada and the Recent Past Preservation Network to put this building on their Most Endangered Lists. Eventually this kick-started the preservation efforts in Las Vegas and the La Concha Dome was saved and relocated in 2006.
Atomic Age Alliance Non Profit
Later, because Las Vegas provided supply of affordable restore-able Modern real estate, the Strattons eventually sold their Los Angeles home in order to purchase and rehabilitate additional properties in Las Vegas. As a result, they founded the Atomic Age Alliance together with the owners of M Modern Gallery and Sin City Modern and helped to initiate the Modern historic preservation movement in Las Vegas with the VISION to save more MidMod structures!
In 2007, Mary-Margaret wrote the first self-driving tour guide to MidMod architecture in Las Vegas called “Mondo Vegas!” She also conducted a few more cultural bus tours including one that included a group photo opportunity on the EXACT spot where the famous Frank SInatra Rat Pack in front of the Sands Hotel picture was taken!!!
And In 2008, the Strattons conducted the first ever home tour of Paradise Palms with 6 homes open with docent led tours and scripts explaining the history and significance of this neighborhood.
Ask this Old House – in Las Vegas
The Strattons were featured with one of their Paradise Palms’ homes on the PBS tv series Ask This Old House .
And another one of their homes was featured in the seminal documentary on P&K architect, William Krisel, Architect documentary.
The Strattons have applied their vast knowledge of historic structure rehabilitation for well over a decade and successfully restored numerous 1950s and 1960s properties. They find that the beauty of Mid Century restoration is that often affordable off-the-shelf products are available that are historically appropriate. Futura House takes a hands-on approach to restoring these homes to an original glamorous “Vintage Vegas” appeal. It is their wish to provide unique special properties and attract high-quality long term tenants.
Las Vegas Scrapbook
LIVE IT FIRST HAND!!! STAY WITH THE STRATTONS IN LAS VEGAS!
Futura House continues to support architectural preservation and cultural activities in Las Vegas. We have a vast style reference library of architecture, furniture and finishes of the period as well as a network of preservation architects, designers and historians available for consulting. They are pleased to partner and support other historic and cultural entities.
Lastly, in addition to their work in historic preservation, the Strattons are passionate about addiction recovery and were former Board Members of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions and currently rent out rooms [longer term – for 30 days or more] in their home to support Vegas visitors in recovery. https://www.airbnb.com/s?host_id=304786
Above: the Strattons have graciously opened three of their homes up for two of the Miss Exotic World Pinup Photo Safaris, in 2008 and 2013.