Knoxville Then and Now Mt. Vernon Motel


Known today as Futon World, it was the Mount Vernon Motel long before. Now it is wiped from the face of the earth. Wonder if it will still be known as the Mt. Vernon Plaza?

mount vernon motel

mt vernon 1965

Mt vernon 1956

mt vernon

Knoxville Then & Now – Westwood Motel Kingston Pike

westwoodpct I have been meaning to add this motel on Kingston Pike for a long time. We dropped in to try Archer’s BBQ and so I took some pictures and added it today. A relic of the 50s that stands today, the Westwood Motel, part of the Knoxville Then and Now site.

Amazing Asian Themed Mid-Century Time Capsule in Iowa


Sure, it’s a great Asian themed mid-century home, but, it is also over the top! The dimensions are huge. The flag stone walls, the huge open rooms with those amazing ceilings. It is so over the top! I am saving the images here for posterity. The buyer may rip all this crap out and renovate the shit out of this amazing classic at 1228 17th St., West Des Moines, IA 50265.


Pulling up to the house gives you a good clue. The trim, the stones, and garage door.


The Japanese garden style yard with stones for the yard and mini-pagoda. And a turret on top?


Great details that show an attention to detail and to a guiding hand in the build.


Okay, we’re inside and starting to grasp the depth of this house décor. Those doors! The carpet, mirrored wall and of course the rock wall and statue are classic.


Sectional sofa, Phsssh! Ours has like 7 sections! The bar to the left is greta and it looks like matting on the ceiling, and well, it’s freaking curved in those recesses!


And they did a flagstone wall on the other side! And that giant art piece back there is crazy great. This whole room with the vaulted ceiling and exposed beams…


Of course there is a fireplace built into that wall! I’ll have a Dr. Funk please!


I can’t quite tell what the bar top is, but I am sure it is fantastic.


A red sink? Yes.



Not sure about this bedroom, or the red wagon…




And the other living room. I guess this one it the fancy one. And it is fancy!


So, let’s add a mirrored section to the ceiling. And make it curved…




And I want the theme in the kitchen with a red sink there too! And a red microwave.


How did this bathroom get in here?




Yes, and I want a black toilet on a dias… Great sconces.



Nice use of sea grass matting… Okay, we’re done here. Fantastic.


Vintage Knoxville Google Map

When I was at the Mod Weekend event last weekend in Fort Lauderdale, I was talking with other fans of vintage modern and thought it would be great to document these places on a map so other people can find them easily. I have taken out of town guests on tours myself a few times. The map would allow people to guide themselves.

I came home and have explored the idea. The first effort is HERE. Vintage Knoxville. I started it tying it into my website pages, but am expanding to add various cool spots.

If you’d like to help with the project, drop me a line. Do this for your own city! It is not hard, just takes time.

Now if there was a mobile app for this to drop a pin on the map as we drive, that would be super!

Mai-Kai Calendar Girls – 1969

1969 Mai-Kai Calendar Now online is the fantastic 1969 Mai-Kai calendar. This one features sisters Leila and Andree and their cousin Liva.


Etiquette for Young Moderns


Gay Head. Just sayin’.

Mod Weekend in Fort Lauderdale March 15-17th

Mod Weekend 1

The event will be March 15 – 17th and is centered around the Modern design of the Fort Lauderdale area. One of the architects celebrated will be Charles McKirahan. Besides designing several Modern buildings in the area of the event near A1A, he also worked with Bob and Jack Thornton to design the modern primitive Mai-Kai in 1956.

As part of the activities there will be a double-decker bus tour of buildings and the first stop is the Mai-Kai. I will act as docent and lead a tour, highlighting the design elements and designers who left their imprint upon the place and the genre.

I hope you can join us!

Mod Weekend 2

Redmon Court – Knoxville Then and Now

Redmon Court

Another addition to Knoxville Then and Now is the Redmon Court. Not exactly confident I found it. You decide.

Redmon Court


Ridgeview Motel – Knoxville Then and Now

Ridgeview Motel

A New Year’s resolution was to add more to the Swank Pad, and so we have an addition to Knoxville Then and Now!

This is the Ridgeview Motel in Clinton. See the place now at the site:

Ridgeview Motel.

2013 is 1963 All Over Again…

1963 Mai-Kai Calendar 

As a public service, let me bring to your attention the fact that the year 2013 is exactly the same as the year 1963. So you can re-use that 1963 calendar this year, and you can print out the 1963 Mai-Kai calendar for this purpose from my site!

For this year I included the calendar pages.

See it HERE.

p.s. You can also use the 1974 calendar this year, but that actual calendar part is not on the site.

Swank Pad’s Mini Mai-Kai Mystery Bowls are here!

I am excited to announce what I hope is the first of my “Mai-Kai Memories Series”. This is an individual sized Mystery bowl designed after the 1950s original.

They are on sale now at the Swank Pad Productions website and next week in the Mai-Kai gift shop!

UPDATE: Biltmore Tourist Court Demolished

This icon on Kingston Pike, which dated back to the 1930s at least, and which seemed to deny time by still standing in a location that was heavily commercialized all around, is no more.

Those who went to Opal’s Lounge were right next to it and there were many mysteries in the old courtyard. An older man lived there and came by to say hello to Opal regulalrly. There was a GTO Judge in there somewhere. I hope someone got the old sign… Wish it were me…

Mai-Kai Calendar Girls

In an effort to turn blog posts to web pages, I have started with the Mai-Kai calendars. This also gives me a chance to share a bit of history along the way.

If you are interested in helping with this project, please email me. I do not have every calendar.

Mai-Kai Calendar Girls

Check back for updates!

Hawaiian Village III – Myrtle Beach, NC

I just got this postcard of the Myrtle Beach Hawaiian Village. Great to see the exterior and another interior shot. The front is classic A-frame with Witco on the doors.

Another view of the Witco Tiki in the center. Check out the funky round lights on the tables.

Previously on the Swank Pad Blather: Post 1 and Post 2