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Affordable Design

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, “mid-century modern” design seems to be everywhere these days. CB2Dot & Bo, AllModern, and Etsy.com.

The thing I love most about the real stuff; the actual vintage mid-century modern furniture is that it’s incredibly well made. That’s the reason people are scrambling to collect it even today, and why it’s become so hard to afford.

One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck is to invest in one or two vintage pieces that you just can’t live without, and add in repros and updated accessories to keep your spaces looking (and sometimes smelling) like Grandma’s house. Craigslist and local Facebook groups can be a great way to score reasonably priced vintage pieces.

As for the new stuff, Target’s new line Project 62 would make Grandma AND your girlfriends jealous. Finally, finally, finally, some decently made MCM pieces in a price range that many of us can actually afford. Project 62 is touted as being furniture for “smaller living” but there is nothing small about it. Depending on your personal style, you have the option of having both bling and total practicality as far as I can see.

Cobalt Arm Chair
Soriano Square Arm Channel Tufted Chair- Navy Velvet
Image Credit: Target
Geneva Glass Lighting
Geneva Glass Globes
Image Credit: Target

As for myself, when I stumbled upon the new line being set out in my local Target store I actually snagged the Geneva globe desk lamp off the shelf like a rioter-only I ran to the front and paid for it. Happily. Is $50 a lot for a task lamp? Yes for me, it is. But it was well worth it. The Geneva line has a timeless, high-end finish with a sturdy marble base. I imagine it will last me 50 years, just like the vintage stuff.

Esters Wood Arm Chair
Esters Wood Arm Chair
Image Credit: Target

If your style is more laid-back and you are a creature of comfort, Project 62 has something for you too. You need only look. Esters Wood Arm Chair has gone over so well, it’s currently unavailable online (a/k/a sold out).

Check out the Mid-Century Metal Wall Décor for 54.99. Beats the pants off of investing $300-$1000 for a Curtis Jere sculpture that would likely be your untimely end in the case of an earthquake.

Serveware

Image Credit: Target

All of the sudden, I feel like my entire serveware game needs an upgrade. I may not EVER have dinner parties, but if I did, I’d definitely need a marble cheese slicer. No, seriously, that might be going on the Christmas list. Maybe if I had the cheese slicer I’d have more parties. Target is the answer to all life’s big conundrums. (Damn you, Target.)

Target Run

This last photo is actual proof that I can’t stay out of Target, try as I may. I even shove my children into the baskets and make them carry all the things out. I must have all the things!!! Project 62 has given even this vintage-loving gal just another reason to go. You should too.

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MidModMadMama

So…I’ve been busy.  As in, I had a baby busy. If you’ve ever had children or been around children, you probably know that life shifts from being all about you and what you have to get done each day to whatever they need. Days turn into months, and you don’t have anything to show for your time except bigger kids, and larger messes. Add to that the insanity of summer and no school? Well, you probably get it.

Blog 2

It’s fantastic and exhausting. This is the best explanation I can offer for why I haven’t been blogging.

Here’s the new addition in his super cute mid-century modern chair we recovered for his nursery. I love his moobs. They’re the best.

Blog

It hasn’t been all kids and no furniture though.

Since my last blog, I’ve been busy with the MidCenturyObsession Facebook page, and sourcing new vintage finds. With help from the husband, I’ve figured out a way to sneak out from time to time during naps to thrift.

Here are just a few new items from the past week that are going up for sale via Etsy.

Lane does Retro Glam
Lane does Retro Glam

Glam 2 Glam 3

Can you believe it?! Initially, part of me went, “Ew. 80’s.” The other part of me fell in love. My second thought was, “Holy Crap! Those pieces are gorgeous and totally relevant today!” Used together or separately, these beautiful pieces made by Lane are functional and fantastic in all their glam glory. If you ever read Emily Henderson’s blog…she’d probably tell you that you need to buy these. Like now. Metallics on cream or white? So on trend.

And then, there was the very rare Torring Mobelfabrik of Denmark find…which will have me smiling for years to come. I just love finding teak. I love it even more when it needs work. And these pieces did, but it was nothing a little sandpaper and some teak oil couldn’t fix, though. (Also during nap time. I am a busy girl.) They are in miraculously great shape….and the TEAK.JUST.GLOWS.

I have a few bites on these guys already as they clean, handsome and are priced to sell. I will be sad to see them go, but happy for them to live in a new home where they will be appreciated.

 

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That’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned, because there is so much more to share.

I can’t wait to tell all about our weekend away in an MCM ranch home in Palm Springs!

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find MCM Online!

If you’re one of those folks who have endured my many rantings on the virtues of thrifting and thought to yourself, “Yeah. Right. With all my spare time…” this post is for you. Where do those of us who have lives, jobs, children, and/or no time to search the ends of the earth for vintage finds go to buy vintage? I’ll tell you!

You may have heard of Hunters Alley, an off-shoot of popular website OneKingsLane. Hunters Alley is one of the places where you can find lightly curated and hand-picked vintage pieces on offer. If you’re a seller, you can sign up to sell your wares online, provided you make the cut. Hunters Alley has gorgeous stuff. Here’s the catch though: the website isn’t super-organized, and that is a major turn-off for someone like me. You can’t go there and search by “Mid Century Modern” or “80’s Fluff N Stuff” or ANYTHING for that matter.  Well, you can – in the tiny “search” window at the top if you can find it – but your results will feature a mish-mash of anything with that title, meaning you’ll get everything from housewares, to fixtures to brass decor and furniture. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If you try to narrow your search, you’ll get no results. Alternatively, if you navigate straight from the home page and you’re looking for vintage furniture, you have to sift through every type of piece they have in stock – Victorian, Japanese-style, art deco, gag me – all of it, in order to view the odd mid-century modern piece. At least with parent company, OneKingsLane, you have the option of selecting to shop by categories such as “vintage” or “mid century modern furniture,” saving your valuable time.

Hunters Alley competitor, Chairish is another way for you to get your fill of vintage furnishings. Bonus points for the insta-coupon that was emailed to me when I signed up for the site. You can view pieces by “latest arrivals” or very simple categories such as “seating” “lighting” “tables” and so forth. Scroll down further, and you’ll find even more categories and fabulousness to choose from.  This site allows for easy navigation, and fair pricing. (It’s no thrift shop, but you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.) I could go on all day about the beautiful stuff they have…but you’ll have to go and check it out for yourself! If you find something you love, you can share it via Facebook, Tweet it, PinIt (via Pinterest) or add it to your Ideabook on Houzz.com! Nothing like being able to give  not-so-subtle hints to the ones you love.

There you have it children – your assignment for the weekend. Go forth and search! Don’t have time to thrift and pick? No problem. Be ready to spend a bit more, but with that comes less hassle, more drooling, and the peace of mind that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.

Brass is Back

That’s right, folks. Brass is back, and mixing finishes is no longer considered design disaster. And thank goodness too, because I don’t know if I could handle not having the approval of designers everywhere. HA!

You’ve probably heard the saying “rules are made to be broken,” and in the past mixing finishes such as silver, brass, gold, and brushed stainless steel was a big no-no. It’s pretty evident however, that idea is falling away and people are feeling more empowered to take home design into their own hands.  Interest in the mid-century modern aesthetic and designing with vintage pieces lends itself to a little mix and match. All the better, I say!

Here are some of my favorite brass pieces featured on Etsy.com that just go to show that brass is back in a big way (If you haven’t been to Etsy.com yet, you’re missing out.).

Brass Lighting:

Check out this FANTASTIC 1970's 5-armed floor lamp from alsdesignvintage
Check out this FANTASTIC 1970’s 5-armed floor lamp from alsredesignvintage

For more information about this piece, follow this link:

alsredesignvintage

Brass Home Décor:

Etsy Seller genrestoration has quite a few brass figurines if you're looking for yourself, or as a gift for a friend.
Etsy Seller genrestoration has quite a few brass figurines if you’re looking for yourself, or as a gift for a friend.

Link to Mr. Peacock and others: genrestoration

Brass Wall Hangings:

Etsy Seller TheWildWorld offers flying brass seagulls
Etsy Seller TheWildWorld offers flying brass seagulls

Link to TheWildWorld

Brass Gracing Dining Tables:

There's even brass in my shop! MidCenturyObsession
There’s even brass in my shop! MidCenturyObsession

Link to Atomic Brass Candle Holders: MidCenturyObsession

Brass Accessories:

Brass Magazine Rack from VintageShoppingSpree
Brass Magazine Rack from VintageShoppingSpree

Link for more: VintageShoppingSpree

Brass as an Accent for Mid Century Modern furniture:

Danish Modern offerings with Brass Accents
Danish Modern offerings with Brass Accents from OstrichandPeacock

For more info: OstrichandPeacock

Brass Planters:

Brass planter from TheCottageCheese
Brass planter from TheCottageCheese

Link to this and more! See TheCottageCheese “Brass Menagerie”

Here’s a quick tip if you decide to put some brass into your design. Use Brasso. You can get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot….and I’ve tried the half and half vinegar/water mixture and haven’t had much luck. Brasso works beautifully to bring aged patina back to bright and shiny. (Make sure to use a soft, lint free cloth)

It’s evident to me no matter where you shop, that brass is definitely back – and not going anywhere anytime soon. Feel free to step out of the matchy-matchy box.  It can be done with excellent results!

Join me next week….we’re going to talk trending shops for Mid Century Modern Design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trending: The Bar Cart

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:

Bar Cart

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:

laceandlacquer.com
laceandlacquer.com

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!

Click on the link above, or search carouselandfolk on Etsy.com
Click on the link above, or search carouselandfolk on Etsy.com

More to that point, here are a few other notable offerings…

If Hollywood Regency is more your style, Etsy seller “HardFinds” has this:

Click on Link above or go to Etsy.com and search: hardfinds
Click on link above or go to Etsy.com and search hardfinds

My funky-stand-out favorite is this one from Artiques71:

Etsy.com search artiques71
Etsy.com search artiques71

Need a pop of color? Check out ElectricMarigold:

Etsy.com search ElectricMarigold
Etsy.com search ElectricMarigold

Finally, if Typical Teak is your look – look no further. TwoGuysVintage has this:

TwoGuysVintage
Click link above or go to Etsy.com and search “TwoGuysVintage”

 

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!

CHEERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of 2013 Midcentury Modern Design

One of my favorite sites, Houzz.com featured the most popular pics/posts in Midcentury Modern design for 2013. I’d like to share that post with you (the pictures are to die for). I know it’s provided me with some great design ideas in the new year…

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

Ideas for your living spaces, lights and landscape design.
Search for fun counter stools, clocks, sectionals and storage dressers to spice up your basement.

Mod Shop – A Palm Springs Must See!

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!

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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.

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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!

To see more, go to www.modshop1.com

 

 

The Elusive Dorothy Thorpe

Let’s talk about mid-century name brands. Branding is important; Don Draper would be the first to tell you. So how do you determine if something is the real deal, or a reproduction? Does it matter? You can find many a heated discussion on the subject on mid-century modern blogs and Facebook Fan pages. I’m here to tell you, when it comes to Dorothy Thorpe, it’s really hard to know. You’ve seen Dorothy’s work…real or reproduction on Mad Men, and you’re probably starting to see it in your friends homes.

MadMenSeason3

According to the only seemingly reliable information I could track down, Dorothy Thorpe sold her interest in her company in 1953. At the time, she was well-known for her floral work and sand etching.

Here’s an excerpt:

Thorpe passed away September 4, 1989 in Carlsbad, California. Based on this revised information, it seems that Dorothy Thorpe only ever did floral and similar decorations which include the etched pieces such as coffee pots and trays that have lucite handles and bear the DTC logo. The company that purchased Dorothy C. Thorpe of California Inc., went on to produce Silver Band and other known pieces with the same attention to detail and quality as was the rule when Dorothy owned the studio herself. All of the floral and etched decorations are referenced as “Dorothy Thorpe Originals” and by the time of her retirement, she was famous for her floral decorated glassware that was owned and displayed by celebrities, galleries and museums.

The author goes on to surmise that the silver band “Mad Men” barware that we so often see labeled as “Dorothy Thorpe” is most likely the work of the company that purchased and took over the Dorothy Thorpe Company name after 1953, and further that these pieces were largely experimental. I’m thinking the gamble paid off. With the resurgence of interest in mid-century modern accessories, these glasses are a must-have for the true MCM enthusiast. If you’re hot for Thorpe or the “roly poly” barware, I’d like to share with you a few sellers who have something to offer.

This most exemplary set of 6 are offered on Etsy.com Search "RustBeltThreads"Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
This most exemplary set of 6 are offered on Etsy.com Search “RustBeltThreads”
Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
Set of 8 with caddy again offered by RustBeltThreads on Etsy.com Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
Set of 8 with caddy again offered by RustBeltThreads on Etsy.com
Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads

 

Don't like the silver-band? Check out awesome Etsy seller WestTexasVintage. This set of 7 is only $28! Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Don’t like the silver-band? Check out awesome Etsy seller WestTexasVintage. This set of 7 is only $28!
Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Silver-Banned Cocktail or Juice Glasses again by WestTexasVintage. Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Silver-Banned Cocktail or Juice Glasses again by WestTexasVintage. Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage

 

Authentic Dorothy Thorpe or not, these roly poly glasses are HOT and they’re everywhere, and I must say that I really want a set for my wannabe Mad Men bar.  There is nothing yummier than seeing Don Draper sip from one of those roly poly glasses; personally, I don’t care who made it. Until the final season of Mad Men is released, I’ll have to get my hands on some “Dorothys” and settle for a drink alone.

Better than Booze: Don Draper
Better than Booze: Don Draper

Trending: Painting MCM

Have you seen it around? Danish or Mid-century modern furniture “updated” by adding paint to certain parts of the piece?

It seems to be everywhere now. I saw it first from a favorite local seller of mine, Yesterday’s Treasures:

Yesterday's Treasures
Credit: Yesterday’s Treasures

When I spotted it for the first time…I was as if transported to the scene of a gruesome crime. I actually cried in horror at my computer and said, “Whhhhhyyyyyy!!?!?!?! Why would you do that??!?!?!?!??” But after some time, I’ve come around to appreciate the creativity. I remain on the fence though, as I personally wouldn’t paint a perfectly gorgeous piece of Danish modern or mid-century modern furniture…but there are many out there whom I’m sure would disagree with me.  Painted MCM is appearing everywhere.

Found on Etsy.com. Shop:RevitalizedArtistry
Found on Etsy.com. Shop:RevitalizedArtistry
Example two
Found on Etsy.com. Shop:RevitalizedArtistry
CuriosityNC
Etsy.com Shop: CuriosityNC
ItTakesUnderstanding
Etsy.com Shop: ItTakesUnderstanding
OrWaDesigns
Vintage Inspired piece found on Etsy.com. Shop: OrWaDesigns

For now,  I think I’ll stick with these pieces as they were then. Perhaps though, this new trend isn’t too far off the mark.

This guy on the other hand, is in it's original state. Yes...that's right. Yellow. If you're a fan, go to Etsy.com, Shop: fabulousmess
This desk is actually in it’s original state. Yes…that’s right; original-finish-yellow. If you’re a fan, go to Etsy.com, Shop: fabulousmess

What do you think? I’d love to hear readers comments.