It was quite an evening a Rejevenation recently when they hosted a talk between Robert Rummer, builder of the famed "Rummer homes" and Becca Cavell of THC Architecture. Becca did a fabulous interview with Robert before a sell out crowd benefitting the Street of Eames. I was rather worried for Robert, who I got to meet briefly before the show, feeling he might be uncomfortable with questions regarding the origin of the Rummer designs and whether he would be more forthcoming then in years past. I needn't have worried. Becca started out the evening crediting Eichler with their provenance. Mr. Rummer good naturedly mused whether anything in design was purely original and put me in mind of Picasso stating "A good artist borrows, a great artist steals."
Once we got past that whole issue, Mr. Rummer shared some of the differences in building during the 60's and 70's when most of his 750 homes in the Portland area were built. Many of them were built in 60 days- after applying for a building permit that took one day. Though the permitting was easy, getting bank financing was not, as traditional lenders decided the homes were unsaleable and "goofy". The materials available to him at the time, such as non-tempered glass, presented limitations, though he is quite supportive of some of the updates recent owners have made, especially the addition of colors. He and his wife have lived in a few Rummers including homes at Bowman Terrace and Cynthia Court, and shared that the atriums are his favorite of the homes and feels they "should look like jungles."
For mid-century geeks such as my husband and myself it was a great evening- thank goodness Mr. Rummer decided to build these wonderful designs in our area. That was his idea.