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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're outa here...

Some things just can't sit still. They're in and out of the store before I can even enter them into inventory or put a tag on them. Such was the case last week with this pair of Platner side tables and Danish style dining table and chairs, which I planned to reupholster.

My SIL usually lists items on our Facebook page first, giving our most loyal customers a first shot at things before they go on the website or on Craigslist/eBay/Etsy. It's amazing how fast people can negotiate city traffic when there's a bargain to be had.

Oh, speaking of our online stores...we're offering free shipping for the holiday shopping season in our Etsy store if you use the coupon code MID2MOD, as well as in our eBay store.  We've lowered prices on several items too. I have a feeling quite a few more things are going to start flying out the door any minute now.

Danish dining set

Knoll glass-top tables by Warren Platner

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor (1927-1986) was born Earnest Charles Taylor in Modesto, California. After his discharge from the U. S. Navy, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the Rudolf Schaeffer School of Design. Four years later, when Taylor was only 25, Schaeffer had set him up as a partner in a design business with Frances Mihailoff.

In 1956 Taylor started Michael Taylor Interiors, Inc. His reputation grew quickly and his clientele expanded from the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Soon he was working abroad as well.

Taylor was one of the first designers to point out that there was no hard and fast rule against mixing styles and periods in a room. He insisted that as long as pieces didn't compete with each other but instead created a pleasing contrast, using them together was acceptable.

He was also known for his extensive use of plants and natural materials to bring the outside in and his use of white walls as a backdrop for other aspects of a room. His decorating maxims were "When in doubt, throw it out," as well as "When you take things out, you must increase the size of what's left." He also insisted that a room should never look perfectly finished.

Taylor has been repeatedly listed by Architectural Digest and other publications as one of the best interior designers of all time. In particular, he is credited with creating the "California Look" with his post-MCM designs.

From, and
(This is a piece like the one I posted about yesterday,
which has been restored with dark stain and cork front.)
Walnut and leather dining chairs
Cane front cabinet
Occasional table
Lounge chairs
Burl and walnut tabler
Mahogany chest
Bleached walnut bar
Dining table

Monday, November 28, 2011

In the store: Baker New World

One of the most beautiful pieces in the store right now is a buffet/credenza from the Baker Furniture New World collection by Michael Taylor. It is exquisitely made of walnut with carved rosewood pulls, has drawers and storage compartments behind its doors and is finished on all four sides. My favorite thing about the piece is the floating top. Such simple elegance and attention to detail!

Baker New World buffet/credenza by Michael Taylor

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pssst...It's called gimp.

And if you see it on your piece of mid-century furniture, it has probably been recovered at some time in the past.

Gimp is a flat decorative trim or braid that conceals upholstery fastening points, such as staples or tacks, and it was almost never the trim chosen by mid-century designers. Instead, they favored less fussy piping, double welt cord or no trim at all.

Scroll gimp
French gimp
Gimp application
Piping - Michael's Upholstery
Double welt cord - Michael's Upholstery

Saturday, November 26, 2011

James Mont

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, as Demetrios Pecintoglu, the designer known as James Mont (1904-1978) has been called the "Godfather of Exotic Modernism." From the 1930s through the 1960s, he was one of the most prominent decorators on the East Coast. His friends and clients included the likes of Bob Hope, Lana Turner and Irving Berlin, as well as crime bosses such as Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano.

The flamboyant, mustachioed Mont had a penchant for cocktail lounges, flashy cars and chorus girls, and he also had such a violent temper that it led to a five-year incarceration at Sing Sing prison for brutally assaulting a woman who rejected his sexual advances.

He immigrated with his family to the United States in the early 1920s and got his start as a decorator in the mid-1920s. He was running a small electrical supply shop in Brooklyn, where he also sold lamps of his own design. A member of a local crime family stopped by his shop and was so impressed with the lamps that he asked Mont to decorate his home. He soon became the decorator of choice to mobsters. His Prohibition Era designs included collapsible bars, as well as desks and tables with hidden compartments that were perfect for stashing guns and cash.

Bankrolled by the mob, Mont opened a store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in 1932. However, that was only the first of many locations, including three other Manhattan locations, Long Island, Miami Beach and Athens, because the gambler and womanizer Mont was always one step ahead of creditors, tax collectors and sometimes the law.

According to vintage dealer Todd Merrill, who has studied Mont, his style appealed to people who had no interest in machine age or severe modernism. His designs were often Asian-inspired and always showy and opulent. His furniture has been described as "muscularly scaled" with lavish hardware and time-intensive finishes which often incorporated gold and silver leaf or 14 coats of lacquer, each sanded and polished by hand. Before applying metal leafing, he would paint the piece jade green or imperial yellow and then have workmen rub the leaf almost to transparency in some areas so a hint of the color could be seen.

In 1952 Mont's inventory and personal collection of Asian art was auctioned off to satisfy his creditors. However, he rebounded and continued to receive large commissions into the early 1960s. Changing tastes and his own personal problems eventually drove him into obscurity.

From and

X base coffee table

Black lacquer cabinet

Dining chairs

Silver leaf dining table

Table lamps

Sofa with wrap-around console

Metallic leather chairs

Oak and leather chest

Dolphin chairs

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Party and Giveaway

If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area or are up for an after-Thanksgiving trip, you are cordially invited to the Black Friday cocktail party we're hosting with our neighbor Jeff of Chi Gallery. The festivities will begin at 7 p.m. Join us for free drinks and for a drawing for a three-piece wall unit from our store and a painting from Jeff's gallery.

HUGE 4' x 4'  original painting by Jeff of Chi Gallery, valued at $1500
Teak wall unit with dropfront bar, valued at $550

Update: Never let it be said that we're not flexible. The couple who won didn't really have room in their home for this large wall unit, so we let them choose something of comparable value, and they picked this:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks

On this Thanksgiving Day, I find myself thankful for my wonderful family and friends, for my home and my health. I'm also grateful for the success of the store and this blog, for which I owe all of you my sincere thanks.

To all who have faithfully read my posts and to all who have supported the store with your purchases, I would like to express my gratitude and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Mid2Mod...Joe, Jennifer, Holden, Grayson and me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mystery no more

It's been a little over a year since I started trying to identify an upholstered chair in my living room. I had just about given up on ever finding out who manufactured it, but I'm pretty sure I found the answer.

My SIL sent me a link to a site that has tons of old furniture ads, and there it was in a 1963 Kroehler ad. My chair.

It looks as if the chair in the ad had floral upholstery, but it was alike in every other detail.

1963 Kroehler ad

Everything looks right...the angle of the legs, the slope of the arms, the curve of the back, the height of the back cushion. It even looks as if the other pieces in the group have three rows of buttons, like my chair has. I think we can safely close the case on my mystery chair. 

My Kroehler chair.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Got glass?

We definitely do! Lately it seems that everywhere we look there's a great piece of glass that we just can't pass up. Most of what we have at the store is Blenko, but there are a few other pieces by makers such as Bischoff, L. E. Smith and Rainbow. Here are some of the items we've picked up lately.

Blenko decanter #49

Bischoff decanter #591

Blenko pinch ivy vase #39

Blenko pinch ivy vase #39

Bischoff decanter #373

Blenko optic glass vase #9314S

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ico Parisi

Ico Parisi
Dominico "Ico" Parisi (1916-1996) was born in Palermo, Italy. He was the son of an art teacher. Parisi called himself a "Renaissance artist," not wanting to be known only as an architect. He was accomplished as an industrial designer, painter, photographer and installation artist as well.

One of his first jobs was as a photographer for Giuseppe Terragni in 1936. In the late 1930s he was a documentary film producer.

In the early 1940s he co-founded an architectural group called Alta Quota. In 1942 he met Luisa Aiani, a pupil of Gio Ponti, who later became his wife.

In 1947 Parisi and his wife Luisa started La Ruota, a studio which specialized in interior design, where they created furniture for companies such as Cassina, M.I.M., Altamira, Longhi, Cappellina and Stildomus. They also designed ceramics, glass and jewelry.

From and
Lounge chairs
Lounge chair
Tea trolley
Coffee table

Lounge chair
Curved sofa