I’m baaaaaaaack! Took a little breather in January but I’m back and boy do we have some fun trending MCM info to discuss. Now, I try to be a positive and upbeat person, but I can’t help but point out when things seem to be getting a little silly. The typical “Mad Men” bar cart is everywhere. Everyone wants one (myself included)….and the prices are going through the roof. It’s getting crazy, people. Here’s a picture perfect example of a bar cart from Entertainment Weekly:
Okay….so you get the idea. The bar cart is a place to congregate, entertain, serve drinks, talk about the day….and they conveniently roll from room to room! So what would you pay for a bar cart? A few weeks back, I was in a thrift shop and spotted something labeled as a “utility shelf.” Well, it was mostly wood, had two shelves, it was on casters, and looked a lot like a bar cart. I snorted to myself when I saw the price tag of $45. Pretty bold for a thrift shop, right? Well, as I left, I noticed the “Everything 50% off” sign. I told myself I’d think about it and come back if I really wanted it. Later that day, I decided it was worth a trip back; but guess what? My bar cart was gone. Snapped up by a much smarter someone else. I’ve been kicking myself since. Here’s why: you really can’t find a bar cart on Etsy or Ebay for less than $100 now. Maybe someday, interest will die down, and we’ll see some relief-but I wouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon. In fact, a carbon copy of the Mad Men version pictured above is on Etsy right now for $4000.00. Yes. Four THOUSAND dollars. Apparently, it was designed in 1952 by Italian designer Cesare Lacca and it is “much sought after.” Now, I’m an Etsy store owner myself and I support other shop owners. But that price tag is ridiculous. Absolutely insane.
If you’re interested in building your own bar, Etsy.com is actually a great place to start. There are so many different variations; shape, size, material – you can decide what type of bar cart fits your space and budget. If you lean toward the industrial look and love projects, laceandlacquer.com featured a cool DIY tutorial on this type of cart:
I did find one bar cart under $100 from one of my favorite sellers on Etsy.com. Shop name is Carouselandfolk. I love reasonable prices and reasonable sellers!
More to that point, here are a few other notable offerings…
If Hollywood Regency is more your style, Etsy seller “HardFinds” has this:
My funky-stand-out favorite is this one from Artiques71:
Finally, if Typical Teak is your look – look no further. TwoGuysVintage has this:
As you can see, there still some fair prices out there – and so many different types of carts to choose from. Happy Shopping….and may your bar cart bring lots of entertaining and enjoyment to your future! By the way…if you find a deal or a steal – I’d love to hear about it!
Indeed, Christmas time is here. I’ve been busy stocking my Etsy shop full of Mid-Century Modern goods and gifts in anticipation of the holiday season, and it has kept me from my blog. Still, I managed to get the house decorated, the tree up, and I can report that Christmas came early again this year. My lovely mother sent me a hostess gift in anticipation of our family’s Christmas Eve celebration at my place. Seriously. How thoughtful is she? I could have kittens.
I got one of these….. to go with this:
Now I don’t have to worry about cooking my butterball turkey via electrical fire. Yes, this color wheel is a reproduction, and probably a much safer device to use. To get one of your own, visit the Vermont Country Store.
As if that weren’t enough, my dear husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas about a month back…and he is famous for getting me exactly what I ask for. What can I say? I’m a blessed woman.
This year, I wanted the gift of music. We are a family of music-lovers as the neighbors are now probably aware.
Check out this 1960’s GE beauty:
It has a working record player that converts to 45’s, and it includes reel to reel. It even came complete with the original handbook. I love the sound that an old record player makes. Do I want that particular sound every day? Honestly, no. The best part about this gift is that it’s old AND new. I bought an $8 splitter that hooks into the back of the console and this blast from the past also adapts to my Ipod. Do you know who sounds better coming through those speakers via Ipod than record? Rosemary Clooney and the other “Women of Christmas.” Swoon. (You can find it at Target. I tried online. Impossible. But it is at Target.)
I cannot wait to have my Christmas tunes playing at Christmas Eve this year; I can already imagine laughter and music filling the air. The only thing better than receiving these gifts will be sharing them with the ones I love.
‘Tis the Season!
P.S….If you’re on the hunt for MCM gifts for friends and family, please favorite my shop on Etsy.com. I will be adding new items all this week and shipping out prior to the holidays.
Last month, I had the pleasure of previewing Modernism Week (coming up in February 2014) and some of its offerings. Let me tell you, if you’re ever fortunate enough to get to visit Palm Springs, CA there is one place that you have to visit!
Located at 1068 North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, Mod Shop by RoomService is the place to see!
We were greeted by Mireya who was super fun and friendly. It’s not very often that I step into a store and become short of breath…but I did here. There’s so much to look at and so many colors and textures to see and feel….it’s just overwhelming (in a fantastic way). The furniture! The pillows! The color! OMG the colors!
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
As you can see, this store runs the gamut as far as modern and mid-century modern furnishings and textiles go. On my next visit, I’ll be bringing the truck, because one of those ball chairs are going home with me!
A couple of weekends ago, I was joined by my lovely mother in Palm Springs for a tour of Modernism Week. We had selected a walking tour featuring Modern Commercial Structures of Fashion and Finance. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, and we found the tour to be both interesting and informative. The tour was offered through Modernism Week but hosted by Palm Springs Historical Society. There were people from all over the country and even Canada that joined us to view some of the buildings that line Indian Canyon Road and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.
Side note: If you go down to P.S. on your own, make sure to hit the Palm Springs Visitors Center and pick up a handy $5 map of “Modern Palm Springs.” That handy little thing is like GOLD to you MCM nuts out there. It has a detailed map numbered with 82 different points of interest, both residential and commercial. Each of those 82 points are listed and have a small description featuring address, year built, and architect info. JACKPOT!!!!
This Union Bank above doesn’t look like much from the outside, but when you get to the terra-cotta wall that faces the street (500 S. Palm Canyon) you’ll see a beautiful story in pictures of Palm Springs history from it’s very beginning to modern-day. This location was an excellent example of desert modernism, as the rock façade (not pictured) incorporates the use of desert elements.
This Bank of America (formerly City National Bank) building is not what you’d typically expect in MCM architecture, but exhibits use of mid-century modern components. “Brise-soleil” (pronounced bree-soh-ley) is an architectural element popular at the time that shielded the building from direct sunlight, but still allowed filtered light to enter the space. The reflection you see in the windows on the above-right photo used to be covered by a geometrically patterned brise-soleil as seen below.
Anyway….I’m skipping some…but saving the best two for last.
Coachella Valley Savings and Loan (now known as Chase Bank) and it’s parabolas blew me away….
And the former Santa Fe Savings building was under renovation and will be unveiled soon and will serve as a museum. Can’t wait to get back and see it after completion.
If you’re into mid-century modern architecture, a visit to Palm Springs is an absolute must. There is such a large concentration of original buildings that have been lovingly preserved and thoughtfully restored. Hooray for preservation!
The next Modernism Week is the biggest as far as tourist turn-out and tour offerings. It is in February 2014 and features more tours than you can shake a stick at. If you’re into mid-century modernism, desert modernism, or celebrity playgrounds of yore, get your butt out to Palm Springs. Some of the tours are already sold out….so if you want to go, you must get your tickets asap! Go to Modernism Week 2014.
Not only is the décor cool and funky, the prices on used books and records are unbeatable. The Last Bookstore is one of the few places left that still buys books and records for resale. Recently, my parents visited and loved the place. While there, my mom picked me up a Better Homes & Gardens 1956 original Decorator’s Book with the dust cover still in tact for A DOLLAR!!! Being mid-century modern enthusiast and book lover, I had to feature The Last Bookstore…..keeper of mid-century treasure.
The Decorator’s Book my mom scored is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, and I’ve loved paging through and reading the text, and seeing how things were done back then. Not to mention I could probably consult on the set of Mad Men for set decoration now. Hello? Any takers?
Love the bookstore. Can’t wait to visit myself. Love the book. Love you, Mom!
If you’re lucky enough to get to Palm Springs, California, you can’t miss N. Palm Canyon Drive, in the heart of the city. The best part of Palm Springs for you Modernist junkies is that the city itself and it’s architecture is almost frozen in time. Palm Springs was built up in the 50’s and 60’s during the height of the mid-century modern movement. It’s a place famous for it’s “Desert Modernism” architecture that has been so well preserved for all of us to enjoy today. Even the old town shops that originated in the 1930’s still remain as mini-museums open to the public. What IS new in Palm Springs are many of the mid-century modern and modern boutiques that line N. Palm Canyon Drive. Distinctivehome PS (Palm Springs) is just one of them.
This should be a lesson to you all: Mid-Century Modern does NOT have to look OLD. In fact, I found this store to be very reasonably priced. If your decor is in desperate need of a pop of color or fabulous wall art, head over to distinctivehomePS. You will not be disappointed.
Other notable shops to look for on N. Palm Canyon Drive:
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 palmspringslife.com/psmodapp directly on to your Apple device.
Here are just a few pictures we took on our self-guided tour:
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…
This week I’m excited to feature the mother of all mid-century modern extravaganzas, Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California. If you are able, I strongly suggest you head on down to where the other half partied all those years ago.
Here’s an excerpt from modernismweek.com:
“Modernism Week is an exciting 11-day celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture in Palm Springs, California. This design aesthetic originated in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and was typified by clean, simple lines which came to define desert modernism.
Modernism Week is filled with a variety of events including architectural tours, films, lectures, an architectural symposium, educational events, and chic, fun parties in cool mid-century modern homes.”
Watch this delicious promo….if this doesn’t get you excited you should check your pulse:
Old cars, old houses, old people….Modernism Week features it all. So jump in your ’56 Chevy and head on down to Palm Springs to go back in time when life was simple, and the design was simpler.
My favorite song right now and my sons as well…(the PG version of course) has to be Thrift Shop. Just like in the song…I really do have your grandpa’s style. If only they had a song about Craigslist too. I’d be all over that.
As I’ve written several times before, thrift shops and Craigslist are the BEST way to affordably update your digs.
Case in point: 2 weeks ago, I stumbled upon the exact matching end tables to my long and low mid-century coffee table on Craigslist. I had to travel into L.A. to get them, which was hard for me. My throat starts to close the closer I get to downtown. I’m not a Hollywood girl. Not an L.A. girl. Never have been….I’ll take the beaches, thank you. Peace, love, and waves. You can have your crazy drivers and people literally living on top of each other. When in L.A., I feel claustrophobic and begin to understand what a caged animal feels like. No offense, Angelenos. Your city has much to offer. If only there was a way to hover in and hover out, I’d be visiting a lot more.
I digress….here are the new additions, thanks to Craigslist and one very hip seller in L.A.:
Now I can finally leave this room alone and stop taking photos of it.
I have to share a couple weird/freaky/twilight zone experiences that have occurred recently where I felt like my grandmother Faye (to whom this blog is dedicated) has sent me a little “hello” from the heavens. This blog is about my fixation with MCM and personal home make-over first and foremost, but if you haven’t noticed, it’s about life too. I don’t profess to know how this is possible, but it’s just bizarre how my grandmother continues to remind me that it’s all about her. When I started this blog, my mother laughingly said to me, “Wherever Nana is, she’s jealous.”
Faye was fabulous in every way. She worked hard, lived hard, partied hard. As a result of that, she was taken from us before her time. Difficult as she could be, she was still “Nana” and my mother and I miss her so. She would tell you that the good looks in our family came from her. If someone excelled at any one subject, she would spin you a tale about how she practically invented whatever it was. She was a Leo to the extreme. Proud, brave, talented, vivacious….and a man-eater. All that said, she had inner demons that she battled her whole life-but you’d never know it with her beautiful and witty exterior: She was Fabulous Faye. Ask her how she was, and she’d throw her head back like an old film star and say “Just Maaarvy.”
Two weeks ago, I sat across the kitchen table from my father as a commercial for the psychic series, “The Long Island Medium” played in the background. I said to him, “Do you think that’s for real?! Wouldn’t it be so cool to know what Nana had to say to us!?” He shooed the comment away immediately, stating that the bible says not to mess with or “conjure up” spirits. I dropped it because no one can out-quote the bible like Dad. Also, he’s really scary.
Cut to last week when I stopped with my family in Lake Elsinore to check out a couple thrift shops. While in Elsinore, we broke for some grub and directly after, decided to pop over to just one more shop before heading to San Juan Capistrano for the day. This particular shop was the least of my favorites; a little on the rough side, and I went in expecting to smell more than I found. That seemed to be the case until I got to the housewares section. There, all bundled up was a full set of my grandmother’s exact china, Bamboo Knight by Sango from Japan. My uncle had purchased the china as a gift for her while he was on leave from the USS Midway in Vietnam. Totally mid-century. Totally gorgeous. I’ve only ever seen it one other place: my mom’s house. The whole set was for a steal. I thought, how cool is that to find Nana’s china in this little place!?!? Cool coincidence, but no big deal, right?
Then this week, I decided to become an Etsy shop owner so I can share my finds with the world – at great prices. I haven’t launched yet, but in my research and preparation to do so, I was scouring the internet for comparables of one ugly metal mailbox on a piece of driftwood. I picked one up at the last estate sale I’d gone to, secretly wondering why people buy this crap. Alas, I concluded, “what the hell, I’ll give it a whirl. I don’t like it, but someone will!” I now understand it would be of the “Jere Era.” Previous to that discovery, I was laboriously searching Ebay and Etsy…”brass metal mailbox sculpture” “metal mailbox sculpture on driftwood” and for some reason, NOTHING was coming up. Etsy’s search engine was giving me a “no results found” message. Even today, I can do the same thing and find two or three like-items using the same exact terms. However, on this particular day, it was not happening. I just knew I’d seen one before! In my desperation to research fair pricing and get my hideous mailbox posted, I decided to broaden the search by entering a simple “metal mailbox.” In the 100 results I got, everything BUT what I was looking for came up: I panned down the computer screen irritated at this point, seeing mailboxes of all kinds, mailbox numbers, house numbers, pictures of mailboxes…..then BAM, one single tiny golden icon caught my eye like a beacon of brass light. I immediately clicked on it, and it was exactly what I was looking for. It was priced at $12 plus shipping. I was a bit disappointed from a selling standpoint then something else caught my eye: the name “Faye” in the product description. I noticed there were more pictures to view and clicked on the one with the signature “Faye ’76.” My heart dropped as I looked at the signature. It was MY Nana’s signature. MY Faye. I showed my husband who rolled his eyes at me and lovingly said, “there’s no way.” I thought to myself, “He’s right…no way, too unlikely. Why would she sign it? She didn’t make it or anything.”
Why was it the only brass mailbox I could find, though? I immediately called my mother who told me that Nana very well could have made it. She hadn’t remembered seeing it, but that Nana considered herself an artisan. Besides all her other positive attributes, she was very artistic. In previous years, at rehab stints she would do art projects and sometimes bring them home. And the year 1976? She would have been in rehab at that time. Still critical of my own foolish hope, I went back and looked up where the Etsy shop owner was located: Monterrey, California. Planted just south of the San Francisco and San Mateo areas where my grandmother lived much of her life. Of course, I immediately bought it. Is there any question that I had to have it? I’m giving it to my mother as a gift. I can attest to the fact that it is an amateur sculpture evidenced by glue spots and imperfections. It’s hers. I just know it is. Mom’s since viewed the signature and can’t swear on it, but she says it’s a definite possibility. I can’t guarantee it’s hers, but it is. I peed a little when I saw the signature, alright? It’s hers. You know what, though? It doesn’t matter either way. One thing that is absolutely certain, is someone somewhere knows how much she is missed….and we’re being blessed by discovering little pieces of her every now and then – even after she’s left this world.