Flickr Widget

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Profile perfection

I have a John Van Koert Drexel Profile dining set and china cabinet in my home, so I know I have a bias...but I think the new Profile desk and chair in our store are breathtaking.

Since I've admitted my bias, I might as well elaborate. I have a personal preference for the Drexel Profile desk we have now over the Broyhill  Brasilia desk we sold recently. Don't get me wrong; Brasilia is beautiful, and I know many of you are diehard fans, but I'm beginning to find it a little overdone, although I admit that might be because I see so much of it at our store. For the past few years, owning a piece of Brasilia has almost become de rigueur in mid-century homes, and while that doesn't detract from the good looks of the line, for me it diminishes the appeal. I'd rather not have something that everyone else has.

I find the lines of Profile pieces fluid and graceful and the sculptural silver plated pulls subtle and elegant. Overall, the Profile desk looks and feels like a finer piece of furniture to me than its Brasilia counterpart. Tapered legs curve gently into the back of the chair, whose delicately spindled back belies its sturdy durability. Best of all, you won't find Profile pieces in every antique mall.

Drexel catalog

Pulls on my Profile K50 china cabinet

Profile catalog

Profile desk and side chair

Close-up of silver plated Profile pull

Profile catalog

Profile dining set

Profile catalog

Profile catalog

Profile catalog

Monday, July 30, 2012

Designer fails: Lush, plush fur

I love Adrian Pearsall's work. In fact, he's probably my favorite American designer. If you hadn't figured that out already, I'm sure the post I wrote a few days ago left no doubt. Almost all of his designs completely sweep me off my feet. One in particular is a white gondola sofa we sold about a year ago. I still think about it wistfully.

Adrian Pearsall gondola sofa...a definite SUCCESS

In my opinion, that's one classy sofa. When Mr. Pearsall was good, he was very, very good. But not all his designs should have made it off the drawing board. 

I think that's a fair observation to make about the work of most designers, so I'm starting a new series about designer fails. As I run across pieces I think should never have been brought to fruition, I'll share them with you. And to prove I can be objective, I'm starting with the designer I most would have liked to meet and whose recent passing I have sorely grieved. So forgive me, dear Adrian, but I have to give two thumbs down to lush, plush fur. 

A few months ago, we sold a Pearsall sofa upholstered in green plush. We lovingly called it Oscar the Couch, and it was fun and kitschy...but it was on a beautiful gondola base and could easily have been reupholstered if one were so inclined. There was also a matching chair. However, the pieces were bought by two different customers. Sometimes a room can hold only so much kitsch.

Adrian Pearsall plush gondola sofa...a SUCCESS when toned down with less kitschy pieces

Honestly, I can't find one thing about this red and chartreuse room that I like except the plants. Granted, it's a 1972 design and not his mid-century work, which goes a long way towards explaining his lapse in good taste. (After all, most of us who were adults in the 70s and 80s have a few photos of our homes or of ourselves taken during those decades that will remain forever locked away.)

The lush, plush sofa and chairs are bad enough, but lush, plush floor lamps and a lush, plush coffee table too? Yikes. And after all Pearsall's beautiful mid-century walnut, what's up with that shiny metal trim that looks like Paul Evans-meets-the Partridge Family? Just goes to show that nobody's perfect.

Someone should tell me no!

Especially when I start fooling around with the settings on my blog.

Sorry, everyone. I tried adjusting the settings of the blog so that comments were only open to Google followers this week while the giveaway is going on. I thought it would make my life easier when I started gathering comments for the drawing.

All I did was make it impossible for anyone to comment. Ooops! Never fear...I've added all you new followers to the list of potential winners.

I think the problem is solved, but let me know if you've joined and still can't comment. (Do I hear my SIL in the background chuckling? He thinks I'm technologically impaired...and apparently he's right.)


Be sure to check my July 28 post for the giveaway of these items:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Belarti! Bellissimo!

Another new piece in the store is this gorgeous 1960s tile and polished aluminum table by ceramist J. Belarti. As a visitor to our Facebook page said, this piece is "a lot of statement." This piece is for the free-spirited and the wild at heart who want a home to shout style rather than hint at it.

The top is made up of 40 handmade tiles by the artist. The aluminum frame is incorporated into the top of the table, creating an interesting contrast of materials.

The only scant attributions/biographical information I've found, which I have not confirmed, is that the artist was a Belgian ceramic artist Julien de Covemaeker using the alias of J. Belarti in the 1960s and 1970s. Several sites attribute the same tiled coffee tables to Belgian ceramist Juliette F. Belarti.

Tile and chrome table by J. Belarti


Close-up of signature

Alternate close-up

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's giveaway time again!

Yes, it's giveaway time at Mid2Mod again, and like last time, I'm running a blog giveaway in conjunction with a giveaway my SIL is doing on Facebook.

I'm offering four pairs of small silver Dansk candleholders designed to hold 1/4-inch tapers. Included are the onion style by Jens Quistgaard, doves and leaves by Gunnar Cyrén and stars, whose designer I do not know. (I estimate the value of these eight candleholders to be approximately $120, based on the average price of the same items currently for sale on eBay and Etsy.)

Dansk candleholders

The rules of the blog giveaway are simple. All you have to do is be a public Google follower (which means you must show up in the Google Followers box as a site member, not follow some other way) AND leave a comment on this post. It's important to do both.

If you're already a Google follower and comment regularly, I'll know who you are, so just say hi. If you don't comment much, remind me that you're already a member, and I'll look you up to verify. (Occasionally, the name attached to your comment is different from the one in the Followers box. If that's the case, tell me, because if I can't find you, I can't count you.)

I'll announce the lucky winner on Saturday, August 4 here on my blog. If you win, you'll email me your address, and I'll ship your prize right out to you. (And, yes, I'll ship internationally!)

It's easy to be a site member. In the Google Followers box to the right of this post, click on Join this site. Once you have set up a Google account, click Follow publicly, and you're done.

As a bonus, when you enter my blog giveaway, you'll automatically be entered in our Facebook giveaway, receiving an extra entry if you're already participating in that contest. You won't believe what my SIL is giving away this time!

Vintage Knoll Cyclone table by Isamu Noguchi

Yes, that's right. He's giving away a genuine vintage 36" diameter Noguchi Cyclone table, which is sale priced at $1100 in the store. These sell new today for $1898.

To enter for a chance to win this iconic table, go to our Facebook page and follow the rules for that contest. And remember you get an extra entry if you join my site (or are already a member) AND comment on this post.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Better than sex

Seriously, I haven't been this excited in almost a decade.

When my SIL sent me the photos of the Adrian Pearsall 2179-T dining table he found over the weekend, my heart started to pitter-patter. Then I got all weak in the knees. OK, maybe it's not better than sex to you, but wait till you get to be my age!

Go on...tell me you can look at this gorgeous piece of furniture from any angle without feeling at least a little lustful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kobenstyle is finally back!

After an absence of more than 20 years, Dansk is producing its iconic modernist Kobenstyle cookware again, and it's being made available exclusively at Crate and Barrel at first. At a later date, it may be carried by other retailers.

Designed for Dansk by Jens Quistgaard in 1956, the line of enameled steel oven-to-table cookware has remained extremely popular with collectors. Originally manufactured in Denmark, in 1966 Dansk changed to a French manufacturer. The early Danish pieces have the "four ducks" logo and are generally preferred by collectors. (Trivia: Dansk was started by the American entrepreneurs Ted and Martha Nierenberg and has always been an American company, despite its somewhat misleading name. It is owned today by the Lenox Corporation.)

The original line included a casserole in two sizes with uniquely sculptural lids and handles, a baking pan, paella pan, stockpot, frying pan, pitcher, coffee pot, butter warmer and a fondue pot. Over the years, Kobenstyle was produced in black, white, yellow, red, blue, turquoise, kelly green, hunter green, brown and almond, usually with a white interior.

The new line was originally expected to be produced in red, blue and white, as reported back in March on sites such as Apartment Therapy and Altruism in the Morning. However, some last-minute production changes must have taken place, because Crate and Barrel is offering it in red, black and white. The line includes a 4-quart casserole for $99.95 (suggested $143), a 6-quart casserole for $119.95 (suggested $172), a 16"Wx10"Dx2.33"H rectangular baker for $99.95 (suggested $143) and a 16-ounce butter warmer for $39.95 (suggested $58.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Folke Arström

Folke Arström
Folke Arström (1907-1997) was a Swedish artist and an early modernist industrial designer who specialized in metal flatware and kitchenware.

He opened his own studio in 1934 and is known for some of his beautiful Art Deco pieces, including a beautiful chrome and bakelite cocktail shaker he created while he worked for Guldsmedsaktiebolaget (GAB) in Stockholm from 1936 to 1949. He also designed for Edlund's Silver Factory Ltd. (BHE) in Stockholm during that time.

In 1940 he took a position creative manager with A. B. Gense, where he worked for the next 20 years. Gense is an abbreviation of Gustaf Eriksson NySilverfabriken in Eskilstuna. The company was founded in 1856 and is still in business, although it was purchased by GAB in 1964. Gense has been making cutlery since the 1920s and is considered one of the world's largest and finest producers of stainless steel products. 

Some of Arström's best known designs are Focus De Luxe, which had a nylon handle, Facette and Attache. Gense still produces these lines today.

From and

Art Deco cocktail shaker
Thebe cocktail shaker for Gense
Tin tea set
Focus De Luxe
Focus De Luxe salad set
An assortment of Arström pieces
Arström hallmark
Gense mark from the 1950s

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Perfect plantings: Air plants

Shortly after I started this blog in 2010, I did a post on authentic mid-century houseplants, which has consistently been one of my most frequently read posts. Because it was such a popular post, I did a follow-up about a year later that also generated a lot of hits as well.

Now I'm going to share one of my new interests with you that I think will give you another option for bringing some greenery into your mid-century home. Back in December I did a post on vertical gardening and briefly mentioned a plant named tillandsia, but I think it deserves a post of its own.

Commonly called air plant, the genus tillandsia is a member of the bromeliad family. What sets the 650 species of air plants apart from other bromeliads is that they grow without soil. They absorb water and nutrients through their leaves, and their roots are mainly for attaching to other objects.

Air plants only flower once in their lifetimes, so they are cultivated for their foliage and interesting shapes more than for their blooms, but when they bloom, they really put on a show. The plants range in size from a tiny 1/2" to 10".

Air plants are easy to grow and look perfect in a mid-century setting. They require moderate light and a good soak every week and can be grown in pots, in terrariums or on bark and rock. They can even be glued to a surface.

Whether you can find them at your local garden center may be hit or miss, but they are readily available on Etsy, and many other reputable suppliers can be found online. I have purchased plants from Airplant Supply Co. and Airplants4U and have been very satisfied. - Dezign24seven - EarthSeaWarrior - mudpuppy - MyZen - Plantzilla - sassycontessa - seaandasters - jfishdesigns - MyZen - vikiri
One of my plants in bloom
More of my plants in DIY wall hangers
Another of my air plants
in a DIY mini wall pocket I just made
(shown with my McCoy Unipet bowl)