Mystery Guests

The guestroom “re-deco” is finished, and I’m not sure which designer to thank. I recently found this headboard on Craigslist and decided to jump on it. I likened the guest room to a puzzle, and a headboard was the missing piece. This headboard listing read, “possibly Kent Coffey or Kroehler.” (Both mid-century big shots) Personally, it doesn’t matter to me who the maker is, it would just be fun to know the history behind this piece. I’ve looked, and I can’t find anything out there like it right now.  My biggest thanks go to the seller for working with me on price, and my husband for driving to San Diego to pick up this treasure without complaint.

Picked this guy up for $100. Pretty good deal for vintage MCM.
Picked this guy up for $100. Pretty good deal for vintage MCM.

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I selected this headboard for the following reasons: 1. It’s fab. 2. Price was right. 3. The swoops in the top match the drawer pulls on my night stands. Slightly psychotic, I know.

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Before and After Shots:

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Not a t.v. makeover, by any stretch, but it’s a cozier spot now in my humble opinion. I’m glad our tiny guest room is done, and that it’s ready to receive visitors. However mismatched and mysterious the pieces, I think it they alll came together pretty well.

Before I sign off, though I have one more fun piece of trivia for all those Crazy MCM’ers out there:

Who made this…..and have you ever seen anything like it? This is something I found on and the colors were too perfect a fit for my home to pass up:

The description read: ” Unbelievable mid-century modern atomic table lamp with gorgeous teal blue and green colors. This was created in a drip fashion. The interior has a wool-type burlap surround. In the style of Royal Haeger, though it is unmarked and a little more wild than their typical style. I have not found any information for this very elusive lamp on the internet.”

Also, there’s a tiny switch on the back of the lamp in addition to the one under the harp that indicates that the base may also have lit up at one time.


It’s so marvelous, it could only go one place…..on “Nana’s” credenza. I do believe when I was debating about the necessity of buying a third lamp for one room, my grandmother helped me decide . Usually I am a very frugal and practical gal. If I don’t really need whatever the item in question,  I won’t get it. This lamp just grabbed me and stuck with me for days before I decided. When I finally came around and asked myself…”Geez..should I spring for it? Do I really want this?” My answer came swiftly and as if from someone else, “Does a bear shit in the woods?”

I heard you Nana. Loud and clear.

Jonathan Adler a Happy ChicK Makes

If you love mid-century modern décor but are anything less than wealthy, shopping for it can be at best: lonely. Most of what is contained in my home has been found at a thrift store, estate sale, or on Craigslist….most of these acquisitions can be made in your pajamas.  Big box furniture commercials such as “Mathis Brothers” “Rooms To Go” “Living Spaces,” etc. etc., compound the lonely island feeling. No one (save those pricey boutiques) seems to share my love for mid-century modern. One can tire of endlessly scouring the internet and burning up gas to get to far-away flea markets. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a convenient and reasonably priced place to get MCM décor?

I am only too happy to report that I think I may have found it, but you must first endure my story of discovery.  My family and I were recently in Newport Beach, investigating how the other half live. While walking through Fashion Island, we happened by the Jonathan Adler store. I’d never seen anything like it.  I actually stood at the window mesmerized and salivating like a penniless child outside of a candy store, longing to go inside, but knowing I didn’t belong. It was too gorgeous….too perfect. It had to be too expensive as well. After a nervous lap around the building and some coaxing from my husband, I ventured inside. As chance would have it, they had quite a few big-statement items I would absolutely save up for. These beauties hung from the ceiling….and they were everywhere, in every finish and size.

Meurice Chandelier
Meurice Chandelier

meurice_chand_b sputnik_mini_n

Then I spied this book. My thought was….it’s almost Mother’s Day. Do it. Do it. Do it. You can take it all with you! And so I did….

Jonathan Adler's Book: 100 Ways to Happy Chic your life
Jonathan Adler’s Book:
100 Ways to Happy Chic your life
24.95 on and

Loving the book and it’s tragically hip photos, I decided this relaxing and reading thing is where it’s at! Then one lazy Sunday I fatefully picked up this month’s Martha Stewart Living magazine. I still don’t know how I got this subscription. Anyone who knows me knows I really don’t like Martha Stewart, and that’s putting it nicely. I tend to avoid people who make me feel like an inferior homemaker AND cook.  Martha is one of them. Anyway…..I was flipping impatiently and rolling my eyes at the “easy” recipes I know I’ll never try whose ingredients I’ve never heard of when I stumble upon the JCPenny insert. It tells me that Jonathan Adler’s Happy Chic housewares line is now featured at JCPenny of all places. (

So there you have it! It isn’t vintage, but it goes very well WITH vintage, and it certainly is mid-century modern-esque. Better news is: there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a lonely MCM’er like me or you loved that Gatsby movie and have decided to go Art Deco,  it’s all in there. If not…try Jon Jon’s website. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you, Jonathan Adler. I feel alone no more.

Palm Springs, CA – Mid-Century Modern Mecca

I thought I’d found my happy place…until I arrived in Palm Springs, California. There is no place on earth quite like it. Palm Springs has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture anywhere. The yearly offered Modernism Week is a one-of-a-kind celebration of these beautiful buildings and homes. It’s remarkable to think that so many of them have been preserved and restored so that they can be revered even today.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, William Cody and William Krisel are just a few of the incredible minds and hands that helped shape this gorgeous community. You cannot drive anywhere in Palm Springs without witnessing the simplicity and beauty of mid-century modern design.
Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, William Holden and Steve McQueen called Palm Springs home at one point.
Next year, I fully intend on doing the Modernism Week right by attending the walking tours, bus tours and home tours. I’ll be saving up and have something to look forward to. However, if you’re on a budget like our family was this time around, you can take what I call the poor man’s tour any time of the year.
When you drive into Palm Springs, you can’t miss the gorgeous Tramway Gas Station built in 1965 by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers, which now serves as the city’s visitor center.
Pick up a “Map of Modern Palm Springs” for $5 and you will hold in your hand a detailed treasure map that features addresses and building history for all the modern points of interest in the city, which are too many to tackle in one day. For you nerd bomber Apple lovers, you can download the app at directly on to your Apple device.

Tramway Gas Station
Tramway Gas Station

Here are just a few pictures we took on our self-guided tour:

She's not mid-century....but she's an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.
She’s not mid-century….but she’s an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.
According to the artist, this is what she was sporting underneath….what do you think?
Palm Springs features it’s own walk of fame complete with stars not unlike Hollywood.
Sinatra residence which features a beautiful amoeba-shaped pool just on the other side of this view.
Not a famous person’s house, but merely an example of what is standard in the area as far as design.


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"Armed Response" gave us a giggle. In other words, "All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we'll put a cap in ya."
“Armed Response” gave us a giggle. In other words, “All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we’ll put a cap in ya.”

There is certainly no shortage of MCM to fill your cup. It’s definitely a new favorite spot for me. Now to manage a weekend away….now that I’ve seen it, I have to get back!

Next week, I’ll feature just one of the many mid-century modern/modish boutiques on Palm Canyon Drive. The shops alone are worth a trip…

Change of Plans

I wrote recently about my plans to create a mid-century modernesque landscape in my own backyard. I cited my lack of interest in flowers and favor for organization even in nature as a reason to do so. However, I’m rethinking that logic. I’ve been reading the book, “Eames, by Gloria Koenig” in what little spare time I have, and I was taken by the section on the Case Study houses; specifically the ones done for architects and MCM legends Charles and Ray Eames and John Entenza in the Pacific Palisades. The Case Study houses #8 and #9 were “to share a rolling grassy meadow dotted with eucalyptus trees and rich in wildlife that overlooked the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.” Sounds lovely, right? Well, in the process of building, the Eameses and John Entenza fell in love with that meadow, and subsequently moved the location of the Case Study houses to the hillside in order to “keep the structures more integrated with the landscape.” Ray Eames was quoted saying, “We’d got to love the meadow and the idea of putting a house in the middle of it seemed terrible at the moment. So that’s how it happened.” I admire how important nature was to them, and that the more time they spent observing it, the more essential it became for them to preserve it. Ironically, I’ve experienced the same pull from nature that I’ve been reading about. My preschool-aged son and I spend a lot of time in the backyard together and we have begun to love seeing lizards, red-tailed hawks, hummingbirds, butterflies and even bees. We have a family of owls nesting in our neighbors untrimmed palm tree,  and as a result, we got to pick bones out of an owl pellet found in a plant bed. I remember doing that in science class as a kid and thinking how cool it was. I now find myself making excuses to hit Home Depot, and gravitating towards butterfly and hummingbird-attracting plants when I really went in for lightbulbs. Lantana, Cleveland Sage and California Fuchsia are butterfly and hummingbird-happy plants, drought tolerant, and native to California. With qualities like that, they’re quickly climbing to the top of my planting list. I scarcely think that if I uprooted everything I had in favor of being orderly, that I would get the enjoyment out of the outdoors that I do now. Why not just add native flowers to further enhance the scenery? So if you’re busy planting this October like I am, here are a few ideas should you be in the market for drought tolerant, nature-attracting plants.

California Fuchsia
Cleveland Sage
Silver Bush Lupine
Shrimp Plant – Did you know hummingbirds are attracted to the color red? I had no idea. I just thought hummingbird feeders were all obnoxiously colored that way. Seriously. Shows how much I know. I also had a skateboard as a kid that had the word “awesome” on it. I pronounced it, Ahh-wee-sum for years before being corrected. There you have it.

All of the flowers/plants pictured above are drought tolerant, full sun plants as an fyi. The only exception is the shrimp plant, which needs a bit more moisture – and could be placed in a planter, or in a flower bed that is part sun/part shade.

Happy Planting!