Authentic Mid-Century Paint Colors

Here's a handy little cheat sheet for mid-century paint colors: a 1953 color card from O'Brien paint.
The brochure reads:
Use this NEW 1953 "COLOR CARD" in your planning
You'll head the style parade with these beautiful new colors — selected by leading authorities to make your choice easier!

Colors of the Year—
Ever year O'Brien presents a new palette of selected Colors of the Year. This "card" shows some of these for 1953. Use it in your planning. Then see actual full-page swatches of all 114, in the New Manual at your dealer's!
It's a nice companion piece to the list authentic mid-century exterior paint colors.

Mid-Century Address Numbers

Sometimes you wait too long to start a project. I had finally decided on which mid-century address numbers I was going to use for our place.

I was planning on creating custom Eichler-style address numbers with these metal stencil numbers:
But the one store carried them, or anything like them, has discontinued the line. So now it's back to the drawing board.

Vintage Austin Postcards

As I continue to look for inspiration for mid-century design and astetics, I keep finding little diamond mines in unexpected places. Today's diamond in the rough is Austin Postcard, which has a large collection of vintage postcards from Austin.

You can go way back and see postcards and photos from Austin before the Great Depression. Or you can check out what mid-century Austin looked like. For example, you can look up some pretty neat postcards and photos of the old Mueller Airport. Like this one:
For those of you not from Austin, The Mueller Airport (pronounced Miller though half of Austin pronounces it like Bueller with an M) was opened in 1936. The fantastic-looking tower and terminal you see in the photo were added in 1961. Mueller airport closed in 1999 and is now home to a mixed-used community. Plans are to keep the tower.

Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller

My wife and I hit up the Herman Miller exhibit at the Austin Museum of Art recently. If you're a big fan of mid-century furniture and/or Herman Miller it's worth the price of admission, but don't go in with huge expectations. You probably won't see anything that you haven't seen in your favorite vintage store or mid-century modern furniture store.

Being a copywriter in TX, the agency I work at is filled with some of the pieces on display, and there I get to sit on them. But there is a lot of interesting information. My wife, who owns a graphic design studio in Austin particularly liked learning more about the history of Herman Miller advertising and the evolution of the Herman Miller logo.

Mid-Century Landmarks: Monona Terrace

During my trip to the midwest we stopped my alma mater in Madison, WI and walked around campus and downtown. Madison is home to a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. I actually lived right behind the Robert M. Lamp house for a year. But the most famous Wright building in Madison is the Monona Terrace. It's a wonderful building to spend some time in/on.
All photos and this blurb from from The Monona Terrace website.
Frank Lloyd Wright originally proposed a design for the Monona Terrace Community Convention Center in 1938. His architectural vision for the City of Madison – a curvilinear gathering place that would link the shore of Lake Monona to the State Capitol – has now been realized. With interiors redesigned by Taliesin architect Tony Puttnam, Monona Terrace spans ninety feet out over shimmering waters, incorporating thoroughly modern technology and amenities with the architect´s signature organic design.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Vintage Milk Bottles

My mom had the great idea of using vintage milk bottles as vases.

She used this vintage Borden's milk bottle for a small arrangement on the kitchen table.

I love the Elsie the cow logo.

And these two Hickory Hills vintage milke bottles in a milk bottle carrier on the counter.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Vintage Side Table

Sadly, the maker's mark on this mid-century side table has all but worn away.

The only thing that I could make out was what I think was "Indiana" and searching for vintage Indiana furniture makers has turned up fruitless.

The mid-century side table is a bit worse for wear (as you can see), but I love this atomic star detail on the side.

Broyhill Sculptra King-Size Headboard For Sale

I'll finish up my collection of midwest mid-century treasures, but this intermission is brought on by the fact that a king-size vintage Broyhill Sculptra headboard came up for sale on Austin's craigslist.
It looks to be in pretty good condition for vintage furniture.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Mid-Century Door

It's amazing what you forget in a few years. For example, I forgot that my dad's house had this amazing mid-century door.

And, now that I know what a backplate is, for the first time I noticed that there's a really nice and subtle example of a mid-century backplate on the deadbolt hardware.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Vintage Soda Bottles

I love the vintage design of these retro soda bottles.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Vintage GE Fan

This aqua vintage GE oscillating fan with four blades sits high up and unplugged on the computer table at my mom's house - which is probably best for everyone, especially the small children running around the house.

From what I've seen there are a variety of these fans, all with an aqua base, but some with white blades or an aqua logo or aqua caging or silver caging or any random combination of those things.
The closest manufacturing date I could find is "sometime in the 1950s," so it's definitely a mid-century treasure.

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Vintage Pears Soap Packaging

I found this outstanding example of mid-century package design while looking for a bar of soap at my mom's house.

As reported by wikipedia:
According to Unilever records, Pears Soap was the world's first registered brand and is therefore the world's oldest continuously existing brand.

The back of the package reads:
The original transparent soap.
Natural, long lasting.


Pears soap is the natural way to a lovely complexion, because it is made from simple, purr ingredients – glycerine, natural oils, cedar, thyme. And then it is mellowed and aged for three month until it reaches a pure transparent. This unique aging process also makes Pears soap extremely long lasting.
Pears soap is specially made to take care of the most delicate of fine skins, cleansing thoroughly, gently naturally. Because the formulation includes glycerine, Pears soap is very effective on dry skin and gentle enough for a baby's skin.
Made in England in the traditional way since 1789.

Distributed by DEP Corporation, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Midwest Mid-Century Treasures: Candy Dish

I'm back from my trip to the Midwest. While it was mainly a family and friend oriented trip, I made sure to put on my mid-century glasses every once in a while, and grabbed my camera while they were on. This week I'll be highlighting the mid-century treasures that I found in my own parent's house.

My mom's home is mostly filled with treasures that are centuries old, not decades. But she has a few things that were handed down through the years that can definitely be classified as mid-century.

First up, this fantastic mid-century candy dish:

Mid-Century Austin Estate Sale: 2508 Audubon Place

I'm going on vacation this weekend and all of next week, which means posts will be a little less frequent. It also means that I won't be able to hit up Austin estate sales this weekend. Which is too bad because there's one described as an "antique hoarder's living estate sale."

It looks like the bulk of it is depression-era stuff, but I bet there are a few mid-century treasures in the mix. If nothing else, it's worth the drive to check out these plates.
Here are the details:
2508 Audubon Place
Austin, TX 78741
August 5: 10am-4pm

Mid-Century Kitchens, Signs, Ads, Furniture and More

If you like any of the things I talk about on this mid-century blog, you need to check out SportSuburban's photostream on flickr. It is filled with all sort of lovely images of mid-century homes, retro living rooms, mid-century modern kitchens, vintage furniture and other such things.

Free-Standing Mid-Century Fireplace

Casey at vitamini (cute store if, like my wife, you love Mini Coopers) was kind enough to share her photos of an Inca gold Condon-King Aztec free-standing mid-century fireplace.
For something that I didn't even know existed a few days ago, I'm kind of in love with it. It reminds me of a Malm fireplace, but I like the shape of the Condon-King Aztec a little bit better.

Mid-Century Typewriter Ad

As a copywriter in Austin, I love this typewriter ad. As a mid-century design lover I love this mid-century ad.

Google translate tells me the tagline reads: A gem in any family.

New Products for Improving Your Home (in 1967)

Last time I mentioned mid-century fireplaces a reader commented that she was lucky enough to find a Condon-King Aztec free-standing fireplace. Having never seen a Condon-King Aztec, I went in search of an image and my old friend Google books came to the rescue, and pointed me to an amazing Popular Science article from 1967, "New Products for Improving Your Home."

Not only do you get to see a Condon-King Aztec fireplace, you get to see a half dozen other things that were modern marvels back in 1967. As for the Aztec free-standing fireplace, the article states:
Free-standing fireplace is made of new space-age ceramic that let you safely put it within five inches of any wall. Call the Aztec, the fireplace comes in five colors: Inca gold, bronze green, Mandarin red, burnt orange, and desert sand. The screen, flue sections, and spun-steel base are matte black. It has a seven-inch flue that connects easily to any chimney approved for solid fuel. Made by Condon-King Co., 5611 208 Ave. S.W. Lynnwood, Wash.