It’s been a tough week at Vintage Gal towers, having now sold my house and having to pack everything up, and I still haven’t found anywhere to move to! However, I am getting rather excited about starting over with a new property to make my own and as a result I have been trawling the internet for inspiration.
My current house was built in 1898 and still has some of the original features therefore, as I’ve decorated it over the years, I have stuck very much to a Victorian/Art Nouveau style. However, the more time I spend at flea markets and vintage fairs the more I fall in love with the Mid-Century Modern look and I hope to incorporate this style as I spruce up my new place. So, this week’s rather different theme for my Wednesday Wish List is Mid-Century Modern interiors.
So what is Mid-Century Modern?
Mid-century modern is a collective name given to an architectural, furniture and graphical style cultivated during the mid-decades of the 20th century. This roughly covers the ideas and designs of the 30s through to the 60s but generally focusing on the 1950s. Its influence is based purely around looking forward to the future and ditching styles of the past. During the 50s and 60s this was very much about forgetting about the struggles of the war years and moving on towards more optimistic times where leisure and convenience had become a large part of people’s lives.
The image above is from a 1958 American interiors magazine, Living for Young Homemakers, which was aimed at the Mid-Century Modern style’s target market, young families. Remember Don and Betty Draper’s home before everything went wrong? There were many touches of Mid-Century Modern throughout the house, particularly in the kitchen. Without a doubt, Betty would’ve read this magazine before making any new purchases.
Above is a fantastic modern-day living room decorated entirely with items of the Mid-Century Modern style. I absolutely love this room; it screams of the 1950s and would’ve seemed so utterly modern to any visitor during those times.
My Wish List
This gorgeous Elm and Beech Couch/Daybed, model no.355, was designed by Ercol, one of the leading UK manufacturers of furniture during the late 1940s and 1950s. They pioneered a technique of steam-bending wood to create their iconic designs in English elm, a wood which was previously thought to be impossible to bend. The couch above has recently been recovered by textile designer Yukari Sweeney and features scenes of London on the back cushions and a fabulous map of the Thames and its surrounding areas on the seat. It is for sale at Firefly House for a whopping £1850 but, it is definitely worth it for this completely unique piece.
Another leading brand of the 1950’s was G-Plan. Based again in the UK, they manufactured ranges of matching furniture that could be purchased one piece at a time. This Brandon Oak Dresser Unit, on sale for £220 at Elephant & Monkey, was built for entertaining and convenience with its multiple cupboards and shelves and even a built-in cutlery tray. My parents have a similar 1960s G-Plan sideboard and matching dining table that I may need to persuade them to part with.
In 1962 designers, the Castiglioni brothers, launched an arching eight foot floor lamp called Arco which has become an absolutely iconic design in lighting. This John Lewis Pavilion Floor Lamp is a rather cheaper alternative, at £300, of the Arco lamp which is still manufactured today and retails at £1636.
I’m a huge fan of Laura Ashley, always have been and always will be (more about that in a future post!) and this Colinton Chair and Footstool just screams of the the mid-century decades. With its wooden spiked legs, smooth bowl shaped seat and retro style fabric it certainly wouldn’t look out of place in any 1950s home.
This Midcentury Wicker Eclipse Mirror from Anthropologie, on sale for £48, is one of a small range of different shaped wicker mirrors. Inspired by original pieces picked up at a French flea market, their designers really have created some stunning designs. I particularly like this one because of its plaited ring around the glass and the large loops of wicker that create a flower-like motif.
I love vinyl and have a large stockpile of original 1950s jukebox 45s which my dad collected as a teenager. This Midcentury LP Record Holder Rack With Counter, at just over £20, from The Little Biker on Etsy would probably only hold a quarter of them, yet, I still think it would be a perfect companion to my record collection. The red plastic handles, spiked feet and numbered slots are all designed to look ultra modern and would’ve allowed you to move your records from one room to another with complete ease. Total convenience!
I couldn’t talk about reproduction Mid-Century Modern interiors without including something by Orla Kiely, an Irish fashion designer who also offers a small, but unique, range of accessories for the home. She is renowned for her retro style prints and tupperware shaped kitchen pieces. This Ceramic 1 Ltr Storage Jar, handmade in Portugal, features her world famous multi-stem print and a ‘freijo’ wooden lid with a rubber seal for airtightness.
Now that I’ve decided what I want to do in my new home I just need to find one to buy! So,what do think of Mid-Century Modern?