Evolution

Evolution…it’s what Madonna is famous for.  One of the best parts of my job is that I get to evolve too…only in a less controversial manner. Naturally over time my needs change, and that of my family; one room becomes a nursery… another gets repurposed or renovated in some way, and everything shifts. I get to reexamine what we have and if it still works for us; constantly curating, not unlike Madonna and her ever-changing style.

Then there are those times when there isn’t a specific catalyst like a mid-life crises or nasty public divorce- you just need a change. Most people aren’t comfortable with change, but I love it. Probably a bit too much if that’s feasible. It’s exciting and fun to play with new possibilities. For example, I always wanted a Sputnik lamp over my dining room table. Always. We just weren’t able to make it happen for a very long time, so we found a compromise to do for the time being. It’s a beautiful fixture that looks like floating paper. Gorgeous…but not Sputnik.

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Cut to my birthday. The hubs wanted to do something big. I had just the thing. A custom Sputnik fixture from Lucent Lighting.

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You’ll notice a couple of things are different here. Let’s first pause to drool over the new fixture. It’s got a dimmer, ya’ll!  Next, I sold my dreamy atomic Lenoir dining room set for a few reasons. One, it took up too much space visually when I really thought about it. Two, we have 4 people in our family, not 8. Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t a good enough excuse to feel burdened by your own stuff. (I mean, have your read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”?!?!?)  I wanted something lighter in color that matched the tone of our wall unit – and when a friend at SeasonofChange posted her set for sale, I jumped at it! The table is thinner and takes up less space in more ways than one….but with the two leaves in place, it actually becomes longer than the previous table; a bonus at the holidays.

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Gorgeous, no? The table is Lane Rhythm, and the chairs, unknown. The curtains are too short…yes, I know. That’s a subject for another day. Shut up.

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Before the baby was born, I had picked out a beautiful Nelson Bubble lamp to grace his nursery. It did just that…until summer came, and I became certain if we didn’t get a fan installed in my son’s room really quickly…he’d cook overnight. So that beautiful bubble lamp laid around the house, unused, and quite sad looking – until very recently, when we were finally able to get an electrician out to help run some lighting in our den.

These photos were taken at night…purposefully, so that you cannot see the kid toys in the yard everywhere behind our tiny living space.

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This is the room we live in. Don’t judge. It’s not fancy – but it’s where we spill stuff (read: baby pees during diaper changes) watch t.v., play games and do kid stuff. The Nelson bubble lamp gives it a sort of grace it wouldn’t have otherwise. I think the room says, “Hey, We’re really cool deep down, but we have kids and shit…so our style is somewhat cramped. Come in….commiserate about your sloppy children. Let’s be friends.”

Speaking of messy kids….naturally when the baby came, I had to do the Target thing to organize the kid crap. Target FINALLY got with the MCM movement and introduced some pretty decent pieces. It meshes surprisingly well with the vibe we have going on. Right now, it’s full of toys and baby books and baskets full of whatnots I’d rather not be hauling back up to wee man’s room. Someday, it will hold other stuff like spare pairs of boob tassles (I can’t leave her alone)…or go up in a bedroom. Either way, we needed something functional that wouldn’t break the bank…and something that I wouldn’t be all upset about if it got scratched. Which it will. Inevitably.

http://www.target.com/p/mid-century-modern-horizontal-bookcase/-/A-14963281
I give you the Target Mid Century Modern Horizontal Bookcase

So that’s how I’ve evolved over the past few months. It’s not finished by any means….there are so many things I’d like to do – like wood floors, and fig trees, and geometric rugs, a kitchen reno, and a bar cart somewhere. But for now, that’s all fantasy. Reality requires that we must use what we have…and be thankful.

Please stay tuned for the next blog. I’m really excited about my very first repurposing project. I’m going to turn an old, worthless 60’s remote speaker into a dog/cat bed. I’m such a purist….I usually demand things be left to their original uses, but in this case I finally found something that begged to be converted – and applicable for today.  Like Madonna. Bahahahahahaha.

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Bubble Lamp by George Nelson

You’ve probably seen it a few times before: The George Nelson bubble lamp. It’s Mid-Century Modern design at its absolute best. George Nelson was one of the quintessential leaders of the mid-century modernism movement.  He and the Herman Miller furniture company teamed up to produce some of the time’s most iconic modern creations. Today, one can’t seem to escape the sight of the must-have bubble lamp. Despite its popularity, I feel that I too, MUST have one.

Three Nelson lamps in one entryway? Now that’s just greedy, that is!

Naked Nook needs Nelson
Naked Nook needs Nelson

As for me, I can picture a smallish or perhaps medium lamp gracing the ceiling above my tulip table creating a sort of mid-century zen vibe.

Suddenly, dinner would be guaranteed pleasant. My family and I would laugh as we enjoyed our always-delicious meals and shared our news of the day; never forgetting to pray first. Our 4-year-old wouldn’t interrupt as my husband and I exchanged adult pleasantries. He would patiently wait his turn to say something extremely mature and charming. Gone would be the days of chaotic meal arrangements, requests for t.v. during mealtime and talk of farting.

If you too, NEED a piece of cloud-like zen to come into your home, here’s the scoop on where you can find them:

Bubbly Bubbles. Everywhere. Photo Credit: HiveModern
Bubbly Bubbles. Everywhere. Photo Credit: HiveModern
Photo Credit: HiveModern
Photo Credit: HiveModern

Go to HiveModern.com. Prices range from “oh my God!” to “what did you just say to me? ”

In seriousness, newly purchased, these lamps are very reasonable for the functional and beautiful pieces of art that they really are. (Ahem: $200-500)

If you’d like to find an authentic vintage Nelson lamp, they too can be yours! Warning:  buying vintage can be more expensive than buying new.

Photo Credit: reimaginefurniture on etsy.com
Photo Credit: reimaginefurniture on etsy.com
Photo Credit: Ebay.com. Modernica Large Cigar Bubble Lamp
Photo Credit: Ebay.com. Modernica Large Cigar Bubble Lamp

Hit up Etsy.com, Ebay.com, and Modernica to find more pricing and style options. May the zen be with you.

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  http://www.jonathanadler.com/Meurice-Chandelier/?cat=1006&initial=4129
Meurice Chandelier
http://www.jonathanadler.com/Meurice-Chandelier/?cat=1006&initial=4129

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 Amazon.com and jonathanadler.com

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. (jcp.com/happychic)

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.

Retro Re-Deco Update

I’ve been so consumed by my thrifty California adventures and new discoveries, that I’ve completely lost sight of the original purpose of this blog! Blame it on ADHD…whatevs…but I’ve circled back. So here’s an update on our home before & after.

The entryway and staircase had ugly matching glass chandeliers. Out with the old, in with the uh…older.

Entry & Stairs Lighting Before. Not sure what you call this style. 90’s Fugly?
Danish modern replacement chandelier. This will make more sense once I get my frame wall going.
The Danish chandelier’s identical twin. This pair were found on Ebay. Made circa 1950’s. It was NOT easy finding affordable twinkie chandies with 12-plus feet of chain. WINNING!
HIIIIIDDDDDEOUSSSSSSS Brass Chandelier that I couldn’t GIVE away. Seriously, this 8-armed bad boy was generously donated after it sat on Craigslist unloved and unwanted for 3 weeks.
Dining Room After: Cloud-like, curvy, creamy and dreamy, this lighting fixture looks almost edible.
I love you, cream puff. I don’t mind at all that you’re starting to show up in yogurt joints. I found you first, mi amor.
I wanted to strike a balance between old and new without too much of a disconnect. I like to think I achieved that with this room.

Outdoors, our yard is getting a makeover too. The landscaping is an ongoing process. Determined to tackle this alone, I’m getting serious guns from shoveling into our granite slopes.  The neighbors probably think I’m bat-crap crazy. “Check this out, Bob! She’s digging to China and cursing at the shrubs again!”

It’s so much easier to hit an estate sale than spend a day performing manual labor. More to that point, our patio recently got some jewelry courtesy of a dirt-cheap find.

Backyard bling. I fully intended on re-covering the seats in teal or turquoise, but that pink is starting to speak to me. “Love me! I’m girly! I match your flowers. POP go my pink seats!”

More before and after’s coming soon!!!!

P.S. In other MCM news, I have opened up shop on Etsy.com. I was so taken by the Etsy community and totally affordable prices that I decided to open a store of my own online. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession?ref=search_shop_redirect

Besides, it’s a fun way for me to make a few extra bucks if for nothing else than the thrill of the hunt!

Check it out!