Emperor’s New Clothes

Do you ever get the feeling as you peruse Etsy.com or Ebay.com or any of those sites that things are getting out of control? I’m talking about shops and sellers that feature the sale of certain mid-century and mid-century modern furniture, etc. I’m going to be brutally honest, because if you can’t be brutally honest on your own blog, what’s the point of having one?

Having become a shop owner myself, I now have a better understanding of what it takes to score these vintage finds, how much time, driving, gas, and effort is required. The time for sourcing, unloading, refinishing in many cases, cleaning, photographing and listing. Most of my work and time isn’t compensated. I’ll be honest. I do it for the love of the hunt…the thrill of getting something completely unique and cool into the hands of someone who I know will appreciate it. I have been so snarky in the past about pricing being thrifty myself, but since becoming an Etsy shop owner, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut for the most part. This “job” isn’t easy.

One required task I didn’t mention is research. The more research I do, the more I get this feeling that there are too many delusional sellers out there. Fab.com, 1stdibs.com, even some people selling via Craigslist….I’ll be honest: I LAUGH OUT LOUD at some of the prices I’m seeing these days. Who in their right minds would pay those kinds of prices? I realize that there is a lot of work required in finding these things….and refinishing, and cost associated with outsourcing if the refinishing is beyond your scope or ability. BUT SERIOUSLY. I live in one of the most expensive MCM markets in the country, and I don’t get it. I do, however, get the sneaking suspicion that people are trying to pay the mortgage with the sale of a single chair, for example. Do you feel what I’m puttin’ down?

Allow me to paint a picture. I found a rare Brown Saltman Dining Set….John Keal was the designer, and the set is totally atomic, straight out of the 50’s. Being pregnant, and not able to mess with things like now powdery-foam chairs and refinishing wood with nasty chemicals, I outsourced the refinishing of this piece to a professional. He did such a beautiful job it actually took my breath away. I wish I had an adequate before photo. The seat material was ripped to shreds, and every time you moved the chairs, orange powder spilled out of them (what used to be foam). The wood was scuffed and the finish had seen much better days.

So I had the whole thing refinished….keeping only the maker’s mark and string chair backs untouched. My guy even reattached the Brown Saltman manufacturing tags to the underside of the newly upholstered chairs.

004 006

 

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Okay, so are you with me so far? Stunning. The seats are actually a chartreuse color. The photographs give it more of a lime tint, but I assure you the seats are quintessential mid-century mod pops of chartreuse. The wood is a warm and cheery (but still sophisticated) pecan color. Everything is working perfectly….the table pulls out for the leaf extension seamlessly. The chairs. I mean….the legs, the shape. Could you just DIE?

But there are only 3 chairs. Insert sad music here. A bit of a bummer, but I priced accordingly, thinking in today’s market mixing and matching complementing chairs is all the rage anyway. All things considered, this set is currently in my Etsy shop for an affordable and practical $1500.00.  So guess what I found AFTER pricing my table and chairs? A set exactly like this one, (I’m not sure how re-finished) only with 4 chairs on 1stdibs.com for……wait for it….wait for it……$4500.00

Excuse me? I’m sorry, what?

I can’t speak for 1stdibs….but the chair pads look original, as does the dirty material they’re finished in. And they want HOW much for this?

Found on 1stdibs.com
Found on 1stdibs.com

Most people don’t spend that kind of money on their first car. No, really – they don’t. And I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on ANY dining room table and chairs. I don’t care if I had enough money to wipe my a** with. It’s just WRONG.

Am I alone here? Hello? I hope I haven’t offended anyone. It just baffles my mind and all I can think of is The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.  I’m all about making a little cash-but this is a fleecing, 1stdibs.  I hope at some point this MCM mania dies down a bit, and we can all come back down to reality. This stuff should be affordable; just as the original manufacturers and designers intended it to be all those years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nursery Reveal!

I just can’t wait any longer to post this mid-century modern-inspired nursery reveal. I have my reasons: exhaustion, feeling completely brain-dead at this point, and/or the fact that I’m measuring about 2 weeks ahead. That means baby could be here within just a few weeks (or less.gulp).

Let's start with the obligatory BEFORE photo
Let’s start with the obligatory BEFORE photo

Refresher: Baby’s room is the smallest room in the house, and was formerly a guest room. Just as the nursery rhyme about the old lady that swallowed the fly, so too went the office. The nursery ate the guest room, the guest room ate the office and the office is now eating a small corner of the master bedroom.

I had the molding removed and the walls re-textured and repainted. We added a light fixture where there was previously none…and splurged on a Nelson Bubble Lamp from Modernica. With all the downsizing and shifting around, I had to sell my Adrian Pearsall Chair. Adrian Pearsall funded George Nelson. I’m so happy with the fixture, I could eat it.

Sans Molding and Added Lighting
Sans Molding and Added Lighting

 

I wanted to go with a neutral paint color again because I knew I’d be working with a pretty wild color palette.

A wonderful aunt of mine sowed the curtains…

Big Brother is ready. Are you ready?
Big Brother is ready. Are you ready?

Drum Roll please?

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Ta-Daaaaa!

Grandma gifted us a teal lava lamp which will work as a little night-light! Not a bad idea!

The side table above was found on Target.com (thanks to Elena!!).  It brings some warm and earthy wood tones which you simply must have in mid-century modern design. Wink.

The gray ottoman pouf is from Walmart.com. (The vinyl ottoman I blogged about buying for the space was too large, and clashed with the rocker. It is now providing a pop of color in our den.)

Reveal  (12.2)
Reading & Rocking Nook

 

I had a very loose forest animal theme. I started by designing a mid-centuryish room I wouldn’t mind living in, then added a few kiddie touches here and there. The diaper basket was a very thoughtful baby shower gift-and perfectly compliments the changing table.

Mid-Century Modern Credenza
Mid-Century Modern Credenza Doubles as Changing Table

We had the art in our old office…I think it works pretty well with the space…

Art by Fab.com
ABC Art by Fab.com

 

I repainted the crib in “granite” gray in keeping with the theme.

Ikea Crib repainted in gray for Round 3
Ikea Crib repainted in gray for Round 3 will convert into a toddler bed later down the line.

Tchotchkes to be added to the Target floating shelf later on, when I’m feeling less spent creativity wise..

Reveal  (2)

That my friends, is all she wrote. Minimalist, but ready. Small, but functional. I love how much of this room has history. The reupholstered atomic era rocking chair, the Ikea crib (that belonged to my son, then my niece, and has been repainted for the baby), the flea market-found credenza. The bookshelf was a Goodwill piece that I repainted and even the toys were inherited from my eldest. I think the mix of old and new came together pretty well! I hope you enjoyed it. Now all we need is the newest and most important addition of all.  If you’re interested, resources for the room are listed below.

Resources:

Paint: Sherwin Williams, Navajo White, Eggshell Finish

Saucer Lamp by George Nelson: Ylighting

Crib: Ikea (model no longer available)

Hourglass Accent/Side Table: Target

Framed Woodland Animal Art: Etsy.com/AldariArt

Bird Mobile: Babies R Us / Skip Hop Treetop Friends

Atomic Rocker: Craigslist Find

Rocker Fabric: Etsy.com/Tangerine Orange/ PopDecorFabrics

Faux Sheep Skin Rug: Ikea

Urban Ottoman Pouf: Walmart.com /in Gray

Credenza: Long Beach Flea Market Find/ Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium

White Floating Shelf: Target

Drapes: HGTV for Joann’s Fabrics/ Boxed in Peacock

 

Psst! If you like the color scheme and modish things, this super-cute diaper bag is available at Babies R Us.

Thanks again, Grandma!
Thanks again, Grandma!

 

Mid-Century Modern-Inspired Baby Shower

Well, we’ve done it. Our MCM baby shower has come and gone. I have my mother and sisters-in-law to thank for all of their incredible efforts. You always worry about things coming together, people having a good time, and they really made all that happen beautifully. It was a fun time had by all and the shower was gorgeous. I’ll dive straight in, and share a few of the sources that were used.

It started with this mid-century modern-inspired invitation by EmilyAnnDesigns:

Etsy Emily Ann Designs

I mean….I’m not Katie Matthews….but that IS my nursery. Down to the gray crib and Nelson saucer light. Heaven.

We got to put my newly-refinished bar cart and Dorothy Thorpe collection to good use before it all sold! (Silver rimmed punch bowl and cups still available here)

Sexy Bar Cart Alert!!!!
Sexy Bar Cart Alert!!!!

The menu consisted of punch, finger sandwiches and veggie cups. And of course, a summery mango cake (that was OMG good).

Finger Sandwiches. And Veggie Cups. Very Retro!
Finger Sandwiches. And Veggie Cups. Very Retro!

 

The shower invitation served as decoration inspiration for the cake! Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

My invite was inspiration for the cake! Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

For those of you interested, Callum (pronounced cal-um) will be the baby’s name. It’s Scottish, as are my family’s origins. The Irish husband got the Irish name for the first child, and I claimed the second. The name is Scottish for “dove” and very seldom used in the U.S.- which is the point. So don’t go copying me, or I’ll have to kill you.

Ahem. Back to our shower!

There were games of course, including pinning a cloth diaper on as many balloons as you could while timed, a game where you had to wear a pink foam roller in your hair every time you were caught crossing your legs or arms, and a baby food naming contest. We also had a little Mad Men-type advertising game where you had to guess advertising slogans – and fill in which company ran the ad.

That's my cutey patootie mom in the background, and my little sis-in-law pinning a diaper on a balloon.
That’s my cutey patootie mom in the background, and my little sis-in-law expertly pinning a diaper on a balloon.

 

My aunt and I comparing tummies
My aunt and I comparing tummies

Guests could make wishes and leave sweet notes for baby on this “wishing tree.”

Wishing cards with adorable quotes printed at the bottom were also found on Etsy.com

at FreeSpiritCrafting

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Another really great idea were the retro-ey aprons and “photo booth” area complete with a Polaroid camera, and scrapbooking accessories. Guests were asked to dress up with the props of their choice, snap a photo, then decorate a page that would later go in a scrapbook for me and baby. A sweet and fantastically thoughtful idea!

Aprons for "photo booth"
Aprons for “photo booth”
My son and I posing at the end of the shower for a "photo booth" shot.
My son and I posing at the end of the shower for a “photo booth” shot.

Shower Photo Booth 7.19.14

Guests got to go home with little sticky note favors and handsome bow tie cookies.

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Thanks to awesome Etsy shop owners, the creative minds on Pinterest, and most of all –  these three awesome ladies…

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Baby and I are so blessed.