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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hooray eBay!

I've been in an eBay frenzy for the past few days. There are several pieces I'd been watching that had the Buy It Now/Best Offer option, and I finally decided to make an offer on some of them. Imagine my surprise when the offers were accepted!

The Georges Briard ice bucket is from the 1960s and has never been used. The box even has a Green Stamps sticker on it. It cost 5 3/4 books, which was a pretty pricey Green Stamps purchase for a small item back then.

I also lucked out and got two great Raymor pieces with stickers still intact...a pitcher and matching mugs, as well as a footed bowl in two segments.

I'm still watching a few more pieces. When you're on a roll, who wants to stop?

1960s Georges Briard ice bucket

Raymor pitcher and mugs

Raymor 12" footed bowl in two segments

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stuff happens

When you have a store, you have to expect breakage. It happens.

We found that out when we closed the garage door on a Carter scoop chair. And when a box of globes for a sputnik lamp fell off the top of a cabinet. And when we broke a leg off a credenza. You pick up the pieces, repair what you can and don't cry over spilt milk.

Recently a Raymor table lighter got a chip knocked out of its base. I'm sure the friend of ours who accidentally brushed it off the table was a lot more upset about it than we were. After all, we've broken enough of our own stuff to have developed quite a forgiveness for that sort of thing...and a clear understanding that it's part of doing business.

However, I'm happy to report that the little table lighter has fully recovered and is back on our shelves, as beautiful as ever. I followed the instructions for repairing chips that I found on, and they worked perfectly. (So stop feeling guilty, Matt. No harm, no foul.)

Here are before and after photos:

The chip

Close-up of the damage

The repair in progress

The finished repair

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mid2Mod makes the Dallas Thrillist

We're officially stoked! The store made the Dallas Thrillist.

We were rocking along, totally oblivious, till a friend clued us in. Thanks, Scotty!

And thanks, Thrillist, for a great write-up.

Not just pretty glass

My SIL, who shares my affinity for Tapio Wirkkala glass, found this picture and asked if I knew that Wirkkala had designed furniture, as well as the gorgeous glass and ceramic pieces I've been raving about lately.

As it turns out, I didn't, and a little research turned up evidence that Wirkkala was talented in far more areas than I imagined. In addition to furniture, he designed lamps, jewelry and table accessories, such as wooden bowls and trays and sterling silver vases and candlesticks. Like many of the designers of the era, he was versatile and prolific.

Here are some of the other beautiful Wirkkala pieces I discovered:

Coffee table

Floor lamp


Aeroplane veneer dish

Sterling silver vase


X-frame dining table


Tea trolley

Star table

Cocktail table


Monday, March 28, 2011

Not-so-fine line

I just don't get dishonest sellers. I know some people are motivated by the idea of making a quick buck, and I'm aware that those of us who buy vintage items have to expect a little wear and tear or an occasional bad repro piece, but what I don't get, the obvious issue of ethical behavior aside, is why anyone would seriously misrepresent an item on eBay or Craigslist when the buyer is eventually going to find out.

I was reading another blogger's post about a bag that looked great in the photos online but arrived smelling like smoke and mildew and had marks all over it. I don't care how good the flash made the item look. What did the seller think would happen when the package arrived and the buyer found out the truth?

I had a similar bad experience on Craigslist the other day. A seller listed a set of chairs and said, "Four Beautiful mid-century dining chairs. May be later reproductions, so we priced them low. In near mint condition." I decided to check them out, because if they were heavy and well-made enough for her not to be sure, they might be worth buying.

The minute I walked into the seller's house, she started a rehearsed spiel about how pretty the chairs were, what good condition they were in and what a good price she had listed them for. I put my hand on the back of one of the chairs, and it wobbled. I picked it up, and it was incredibly lightweight and flimsy. I looked under the chair, and the seller was still talking non-stop, pointing out that "someone evidently replaced the vintage bolts with newer ones," saying they looked like more 1970s bolts to her than ones from the 1950s. Huh?

The last straw was when she said, "You know, these could be genuine Danish Modern chairs, and if they are, they're worth a fortune" I was reading "Made in Malaysia" on the bottom of the seat.

Some sellers are misinformed. Others walk a fine line between telling the truth and exaggerating a bit to sell an item. This seller had crossed that line long ago. She knew exactly what she had and either considered me gullible or stupid or both.

Of course, I left without buying the chairs. Perhaps I should have confronted her, but I have a feeling  someone who can rationalize telling that many untruths in less than five minutes doesn't have a very high setting on her Shame-On-Me meter.

Made in Malaysia, not Denmark

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and studied architecture at the Arts and Crafts Academy of Copenhagen. Upon graduating in 1927, he opened his own office. While his early work was influenced by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Gunnar Asplund, he was firmly a part of the more organic modern movement by the 1950s. Charles Eames' s DCW inspired one of Jacobsen´s Ant chair (1952), which was ideally suited for mass production.

Jacobsen insisted on complete control of his projects, designing buildings and interiors that were beautifully cohesive, often designing the structures themselves, as well as the furniture, lighting, textiles and even the restaurant flatware.

His well-known Swan chair (1958) was designed for just such a project, the S.A.S. Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Other famous works include the Egg chair (1958) and his 1957 flatware for A. Michelsen, which was considered so futuristic that it appeared in Stanley Kubrick´s film 2001: A Space Odyssey

Honors and awards received by Jacobsen include the grand prize at the 1957 Triennale di Milano, the 1960 Grande Prix Internationale, the 1969 Industrial Design Prize, and the 1971 gold medal from the French Academy of Architecture. He designed for Fritz Hansen, Louis Poulsen, Vola, Stelton and Michelsen, among others.


Arne Jacobsen. Table. Unknown

Flora vase

Egg chair
Swan chair
Centennium Vinkler fabric
Ant chair
Grand Prix chair
Flatware for A. Michelsen
Gran curtain fabric

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Mid2Mod website

I don't know how many of you have noticed that I added a link to the store's website at the top of my blog, but in case you missed it, I thought I'd share it with you in a post. You can browse through the pictures and get a better idea what we've been doing on all the buying trips we've been making lately. We're still adding pictures, but we plan to add multiple images of each item soon and arrange everything into categories. However, this will do for a now.

Here are some of my favorites items:

12" triangular Austrian bowl

Teak dropfront bar/wall unit

Striped gentleman's chair

Red vase

Desk lamp in the style of Gino Sarfatti

Teak room divider

George Nelson bubble and massive pole lamp

Thonet stool

What are your favorites?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wayne Husted

I've developed a fascination for Blenko glass, and I've decided that Wayne Husted is my favorite Blenko designer. We have several of his pieces at the store, and I have some at home.

Wayne Husted (1927- ) was born in Hudson, New York. After high school, Husted entered the Coast Guard. In 1948 he entered Alfred University, where he ultimately received a M.F.A. in Ceramic Design in 1953.

Husted started to work for Blenko in 1953 and was with the company until 1963. Each year he was with Blenko, he came up with 50-60 new designs. He became known for his large architectural bottles and decanters, which typify the era and which he pioneered at Blenko. Husted's work is highly collectible, and he has become the most sought after of the Blenko designers.

After leaving Blenko, Husted designed for several other glass companies, including Viking, Anchor Hocking, Stelvia and Bischoff.

Husted is still a prolific glass designer today. His Olana collection is described as a "three dimensional painting in glass." After 36 years, he returned to Blenko in 1999.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oiva Toikka Interview: Birds

So many people showed an interest in the post about Oiva Toikka birds the other day that I thought I'd treat you to a couple of short interviews that not only give you a look at Toikka the man, but also show you how the birds are made.

Oiva Toikka Interview: Part 1
Oiva Toikka Interview: Part 2

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Farewell, Liz (1932-2011)

No one captured the beauty and mystique of Elizabeth Taylor better than Richard Avedon did in this photo.

Elizabeth Taylor, 1964

I'll always consider Elizabeth Taylor the most captivating and glamorous woman who ever lived.

Oh, Milo...

Last night my SIL picked up a fabulous chrome and glass etagere that might be a Milo Baughman design for Thayer Coggin. It's a massive piece, standing well over 6' tall and almost 4' wide and is in beautiful condition, needing only a little cleaning up to be absolutely stunning.

I need to research the piece thoroughly before we put a price tag on it, but someone will eventually get a very dramatic wall unit or room divider that they'll love.

Update 8/10/11: We contacted Thayer Coggin, and this turned out NOT to be a Milo Baughman etagere. We now know you can tell by the legs/base that it's not. However, just a few weeks later, we did get an authentic Baughman etagere. Both pieces have subsequently sold.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mid-century landscaping: fencing

This is the final post in a series about mid-century landscaping, which has included perennials, shrubs and trees and groundcover.

When I was a kid in the 50s and 60s, we had chain link fence with cocker spaniel gate decorations, and we were thrilled to have it. These days, many restored mid-century homes have updated fencing, using a variety of materials and styles.

Here are a few examples of the kind of amazing attention to exterior detail that makes these homes true showcases of mid-cetury beauty.

All the pictures above from