Mid-Century Airport Architecture

Mid-Century Architecture has a photo-filled post about Idlewild Airport, which is now Kennedy. Air travel looks like it was a lot more glamourous back in those days. You can check out the original Life article that the photos are from here.

Mid-Century Austin Homes: 3402 Mount Bonnell

You're not really supposed to take photos/videos during the Austin Modern Home Tour. So I was a little surprised to find the above video from the 2010 Austin Modern Home Tour. I went on the 2010 Austin Modern Home Tour and 3402 Mount Bonnell was definitely one of the gems of that year.

Broyhill Sculptra Canopy Bed

A reader recently contacted me asking about some mid-century Broyhill Sculptra furniture.

She initially wrote:
I have a Broyhill Sculptra bedroom set that includes a full size bed frame that has an attached canopy. I have been unable to find any information or photos of this canopy. It is rectangular and is attached only to the headboard and sits over the head. My parents bought this set when they moved into their house. We are currently using the bed for my son's room. Can you provide any more information about the canopy?
I wrote back essentially saying, "I won't claim to be an expert, but I think I've seen all the Broyhill Sculptra furniture out there and own two of the rarer pieces (the Broyhill Sculptra desk and Broyhill Sculptra 6-drawer dresser) and I've never even heard of a Broyhill Sculptra canopy bed. Are you sure it's part of the line? And can you send some pics?"

And she wrote back:
I just spoke with my mother who was very surprised when I told her I found one of the advertisements with prices on your blog; they were pricey at the time. She said she purchased the set at a high-end furniture store, since they were looking for some high-quality wood furniture. The majority of the furniture was going to plastics or pressed wood. They purchased this set in Baltimore (Highlandtown), MD. I'm sure it's Sculptra. We also have the long dresser with mirror (now often used as a buffet), the tall dresser and two nightstands. Although we did not find the Broyhill Sculptra tags, I know this is definitely part of the line; my parents purchased this as a set.
And she included the following pictures:

And I have to admit, as someone who was pretty sure that he'd see the entire Broyhill Sculptra line, I'm a little blown away. That looks like a legitimate Broyhill Sculptra canopy bed. And if it was purchased as part of a Sculptra bedroom set, that only adds to my belief that this is a true Broyhill canopy bed.

I know that there are a lot of mid-century furniture dealers, enthusiasts and aficionados who read my little blog. So let me put it to you. Has anyone ever heard of a Broyhill Sculptra canopy bed? And if you have, do you have an information about it that I could pass on?

Travel-Themed Nursery Pillow

Details make the look. And this boarding pass pillow would be the perfect detail for any travel-themed nursery.

Fictional Travel-Themed Nursery

Nobody ever said a travel-themed nursery had to be about traveling to places that actually exist. Which is why you should check out 2046 Design, aka Justin Van Genderen.

You might already know him, if you're a nerd. He got internet famous for his minimal Star Wars posters.

His movie locations, comic book travel posters and Star Wars travel posters are a nice mix of fiction and travel.

Mid-Century Style Jewelry

I'm not one for jewelry, but it's hard to ignore Tiny Little Chairs, a collection of handmade mid-century chair necklaces.

From their site:
Tiny Little Chairs is a series of collectable pendants celebrating mid-century design. Each pendant represents a vintage chair which revolutionized furniture production and the design process. The designers of this era have forever changed the way we interact with design objects and their harmony within of our home, office and environment. These miniatures allow you to wear your love and appreciation for these pioneering designers and their iconic objects which continue to be benchmarks for today's designers.
The first series consists of five chairs, The Scoop Chair, The Pavilion Chair, The Dining Chair, The Work Chair offered in solid gold, silver and bronze.
It might be a little overkill to wear one while sitting in the real thing, but it would let you keep you mid-century love close to your heart.

Alexander Girard Children's Items

Alexander Girard has some amazing children's items that would be perfect accessories for any mid-century nursery. I'm particularly in love with the Alexander Girard Memory Game and Alexander Girard "Color" book.

I'm starting to think you could make an entirely themed Alexander Girard nursery, complete with Alexander Girard growth chart. And that would be an amazing nursery.

Modern Furniture ABCs (and Other Prints)

We have very little wall space left in our mid-century ranch for new art, but I might just have to make a little room for a print by Jen Renninger. The mid-century furniture alphabet print would look good any mid-century modern nursery and the rest of her stuff is equally gorgeous/fitting.

Field Notes Memo Book Archive

I've always said that any amount of success or talent I can claim for myself is largely due to the amazing people I know and hang out with. One person whose coattails I've been riding for as long as I can remember is Zara Gonzales Hoang, who pointed me in the direction of the Field Notes Memo Book Archive. It's an amazing archive that's full of mid-century typography and design.

Pricing Mid-Century Furniture

When you answer the same email, with slight variations, over and over again, it's time to write a post about it so you can just link to that post and hope to still be helpful. This is that post.

The email I get at least once a day is some variation of this: "I have this piece of vintage furniture. How much is it worth?" The email is usually not so blunt and contains a little story of how the owner came into possession of the piece, which I love reading, but boiled down to its essence that's what the email is asking, "How much is my vintage furniture worth?"

And the answer back is always me dancing around the true answer, which is, "I don't know." But there are very good reasons I don't know, and can't know, all of which would affect the price of mid-century furniture.

Condition might be the biggest variable in pricing mid-century furniture. Has the piece been under protective plastic covering for the past three decades? Or, has a dog been chewing on the leg? There are words that I use to describe the condition of mid-century furniture, but these are just the words I use, there's no industry standard for these types of things.

Pristine: The piece is in perfect condition. It looks like it went from the showroom to a storage locker.

Good: Usually what you see at a good vintage store. The small scratches or dings that come with being around for 50+ years are there. The piece may have been refinished or refurbished.

Standard: The piece is in surprising condition for it's age. On top of the small imperfections there's a big scratch or noticeable chip — something most guests in your home will never notice, but after looking at the piece for an extended amount of time, you'll see.

Well-loved: You can tell this piece came from a home that didn't care about the furniture (or had kids). Its been used and a little abused.

DIY: A piece that needs some love. The type of piece that people who refinish furniture buy as a project.

The condition of a piece can swing the asking price by hundreds or ever thousands of dollars. A pristine piece is worth much more than a DIY piece.

Where you live can have a big effect on the price of your mid-century furniture. Places with a higher cost of living will have pieces marked at a higher price. If you live in New York or California, you're going to be able ask more for your piece than if you live in Oklahoma.

The quick shorthand on this is: If you know the person who designed your piece, it's probably worth more money. And there are some furniture makers, who might not have known designers in their stable, that are known as quality furniture makers. Before you sell your piece look for a maker's mark or a designer's signature. If you find one, Google it.

Rarity in furniture is funny. First, they're mass produced items so even when pieces are rare there's usually a lot of them around. Secondly, rarity can be a good thing or a bad thing. If a piece is too rare, people might not know about it, and thusly not care about it or be willing to pay for it. But if it's a rare piece or color from a know line or designer, that could greatly increase the price. Back on the other side of the coin however, the piece might be rare because it was improved during production, making the rare piece actually the less sought after one.

With all that said, I don't want to leave you with more questions than answers so here are some tips for finding a price for your mid-century furniture:

Check your local craigslist: This is the best and easiest way to find what other people are asking for you piece. Although it's very hit and miss, especially with vintage furniture. You might be the only one in your city selling your exact piece.

Check All of Craigs: All of Craigs is a way to search every craigslist city at once. It won't tell you what your piece is selling for in your area, but it can help give you a baseline.

Check ebay: Using ebay's "completed listings" functions you can check what items have sold for. One word of warning, with ebay shipping is always a factor on furniture. A big piece might sell for less because of the additional shipping costs.

Use Google: Throw everything you know about the piece in Google — designer, maker, type, etc — and hit search. See what comes up, sometimes it's stores selling your exact piece. You won't be able to sell it for as much as a store, but it's a decent ballpark. Then hit the Images, Shopping and Blogs tab. They are little sub-searches that might yield additional information.

Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail Glasses

Have you been looking for the perfect cocktail glass to sip while watching Mad Men? Something with a classic look, but with a touch of fun (because you don't have to wear a suit/dress to work everyday). Then I've found the glass for you. And to top it off, there's a matching cocktail glass for your significant other.

The Mr. and Mrs. cocktail glasses from Furbish:

Cheap Mid-Century Modern Art: 20x200

20x200 is build on a pretty simple formula: (limited editions × low prices) + the internet = art for everyone. That also happens to be the perfect formula for adding cheap mid-century modern art to your mid-century home. Here are some perfect examples:

Old Flip Clock by Todd McLellan

The Travelogue by Austin Kleon (who happens to be an Austin copywriter and all around swell guy)

Untitled #6 by Jessica Bruah

Waiting Dangerously in Rio by Scott Listfield

Untitled (May the bridges I burn light the way.) by Mike Monteiro

Can You Imagine by Trey Speegle

Untitled 2010 by Tierney Gearon

Chateau by Jeremy Kohm

House Industries Flour Sack Towels

We're in need of some new modern kitchen towels and I may have happened upon the best options, from House Industries: makers of the Eames side tables and Eames address numbers.

From the House Industries site:
Typographic elements have been expertly anti-aliased, delta-hinted and optimized to enhance readability on coarse cotton as well as thoroughly tested to be compatible with in a wide variety of domestic platforms including cast concrete, slate, marble, mixed species butcher block, Corian and standard bonded fiber-based laminates. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee visual harmony with non-standard substrates such as imitation pickled oak, kumquat Formica, illustrative wallpaper borders, knockoff Hunt Country furniture and faux-pegged composite flooring.

Fun Alphabet Blocks

I mentioned hunting for mid-century modern alphabet blocks a long while back, the these fun XYZ Alphabet Blocks might actually win out in the block category. Now that the little one is almost old enough for wood blocks.

Done: Paint Our Mid-Century Ranch

What will probably be our biggest home improvement project of the year has finally wrapped up: We got the place painted. I've got photos to share, but please consider these the awkward teenage years. There are still some details to be finished, like installing a new Crestview Door in the front, replacing the mailbox, new house numbers and light fixtures, etc. But I was too excited not to share.

We kept the main color, white, but had it touched up where needed. We definitely based our color choice for the trim and doors on authentic mid-century ranch exterior paint colors. The trim in Behr Antique Tin gray. We went with gray because it fits perfectly into a mid-century modern color palette. And the dark looks really nice next to the white.

The carport was originally painted at a different time than the house (I'm guessing), the two were slightly off in color. It needed a couple of coats, but now they match perfectly.

We also went a step beyond the original paint job, which just had color on the front of the house. We painted all of the window frames, which is a lot on a mid-century ranch.

For the doors, we wanted a pop. There are plenty of mid-century modern paint colors that pop, but we finally landed on Behr Tropical Tide.

We had all the railings painted black. They used to be a mixture of green and black. And a little rust. But we had them sanded, rust-proofed and painted all the same color.

It's funny what a little (or in this case a lot) of paint can do. When I drive up to my house, I smile every time now. Plus, it feels good to be able to check a couple things off of our to-do list.

If you don't remember, here's what the place used to look like. Nice, but not as nice.

Mid-Century Modern Lego Homes

Dwell is hosting a cute little Lego competition: The Lego modern home design competition. You can check out and vote for all of the entries here.

And if you're in to making modern Lego homes but do better with directions, Lego has an architecture series that includes a Lego Robie House, Lego Fallingwater and Lego Farnsworth House.

Sun Coast by Drexel with Star Burst Design

The Drexel Sun Coast line of mid-century furniture is a gorgeous on whole, but the true standouts of the line for me are those that feature the gold star burst design on white aluminum doors.

The cabinet doors on the Drexel Sun Coast credenza and china cabinet came in two options: wood that matched the rest of the piece or these white doors with a gold painted star design.

The buffet also features the star burst, but on glass, not white doors.

Drexel Sun Coast furniture was designed by Kipp Steward and came out in 1958 or 1959. The rest of the line, which includes a full bedroom and dining room set, can be identified by the square handles and square brass legs. But for my money, it's all about the star burst.

Globe Clocks for a Travel-Themed Nursery

It's easy to lose track of time if you're hanging out in your travel-themed nursery, but with these two globe wall clock ideas, it'll be easier than every to watch the clock. If you've got the space the full-wall globe wall clock above could be a very cool centerpiece to any travel nursery. Half dozen globes cut in half and some pre-assembled wall clock hands and you've got yourself a giant globe wall clock.

And if space is limited, the half globe wall clock below would make a worldly addition to the room.

Watch Mad Men Season 5 Online

Pretty much everyone loves Mad Men, but if you're a copywriter in Austin and work in advertising, it's literally the talk of the office. It makes it hard to avoid spoilers if, like me, you're living a cable-free life. That is till I found out you can watch Mad Men season 5 online on AMC. And the design/furniture/clothing is just as fantastic this season, if not better. Don's new apartment might be the best of the best. Check out all the glamor shots here, and don't miss the kitchen.

Mid-Century Festival Pink Paint

Paint has been on my mind for the past few weeks (you'll see why soon). So when I ran across this spectacular ad for Taubmans Revelite Festival Pink paint, I had to share it. I haven't been able to find anything else about Festival Pink, except that it was used in the 1956 Olympic village. But the actual shade of pink might be lost to time because all it can find are black and white newspaper ads. But Pam will be happy to know that they were promoting its use in bathrooms.

With its "lead free" (followed by a giant asterisk) and "flattering to women... pleasing to men" sales tactics, I'm sure it was flying off the shelves.