Mid-Century Modern Home Image Solved

I love my readers. And I love that they oftentimes know more about mid-century stuff than me.

Yesterday I posted about a mysterious mid-century modern home image that I loved and that same day, not only had a reader tracked it down, but they pointed me to a Flickr set with all of the images in the series, which everyone should check out. Much like the mystery image, if I saw any of these homes in real life, I'd have to move in.

The image I saw is actually a cropped version, this is considered the full one:

Although, the cropped image is wider than the full – you see the full chair on the right and more of the wall unit – so there might be an even larger version out there.

I guessed right, it's an ad for an electronics company, Motorola to be specific. They were ads to highlight Motorola's products: radios and their new 19-inch, black-and-white TV. The ads were paired with the tagline, “Fresh from Motorola... new leader in the lively art of electronics.” They were produced in 1961 and the art was done by Charles Schridde.

According to the Business Insider:
Schridde was a painter that loved depicting the Wild West, but he had previously done automotive ad work. He was assigned the Motorola account while working at New Center Studios in Detroit after winning an in-house contest to depict "a neat place to watch TV."
A neat place to watch TV; that's quite an understatement.

Mysterious Mid-Century Modern Home Image

I happened upon this image not too long ago and instantly feel in love with it, but I have no idea where it's from or what it's for. It could be an ad for a mid-century modern electronics company (the TV and radio are pretty spotlighted), a home builder or any other number of things.

Whatever it's for, I love it for the following reasons:
  • The TV inside what looks like a free-standing fireplace. If you love mid-century homes and atomic ranches as much as me, you're bound to see your share of free-standing fireplaces. This is the first time I've seen anything like this TV holder.
  • The chairs that are actually a built-in bench. If you look quickly at the woman sitting, it looks like she's in a yellow chair. But if you take an extra second, you notice she's actually sitting on a bench build into the half wall with chair cushions attached at the top.
  • The curved brick wall. Itself the wall it just pretty, but with the faux free-standing fireplace in front of it, it harkens back to when families sat around the fireplace. This modern home and family just being the modern-day example of that classic scene.
  • The wall unit on the right. I've never seen a unit like that before.
  • The impractical, circular white shag area rug. It this wasn't a drawing, the would have to have build it into the room: Lay down tile, lay down rug, install TV stand. Unless the cool TV stand isn't built in, but those old TVs were heavy so it would probably have to be. Once it got dirty, and white shag would get dirty with a kid that age in the house, they'd have to cut it out of the room, even though it's just an area rug.
  • The white cocktail tables with handles. Easy to move around the room and a perfect compliment to the white circular shag rug.
  • The chair on the right. It looks a lot like a Petal chair, but a little less crazy.

If I ever see a house with a room like this in real life, I might have to live there.

Mid-Century Modern Art Toys

I mentioned my art toy collection. This isn't it. But after I mentioned my collection, I started to think about art toys that would easily work in a mid-century modern home.

There are some artists whose style and products are almost consistently what I would consider a mid-century modern art toy. Many of the specific art toys below have sold out, but you can usually still find something by the artist available at their store or elsewhere online.

Mr. Clement

Joe Ledbetter

James Jarvis

Pete Fowler

Amanda Visell (whose posters are also amazing)

Tim Biskup

Gary Ham

Sam Flores

Sticky Monster Lab

And then there are some series of art toys and one-off mid-century modern art toys that would easily work on the shelf of any modern home.


Ugly Dolls

Toki Doki

Knock Man

Tokyoplastic Geisha Doll



Some of the above artists are in my collection and a few others I hope to add. I think they'll be the easier ones to find a home for once I start moving things in my collection around the house.

City Map for a Travel-Themed Nursery

Not too long ago I mentioned that I haven't see too many pieces of city map art work for travel-themed nurseries. Of course, right after I mention that I find City Prints, which is a very large collection of city map art. The maps aren't as big or as photorealistic as this city map wall decal, but if you hung three or four of the City Prints next to each other, you'd have a really interesting wall in your travel nursery.

Art Toys in a Mid-Century Home

I'm currently having a little design dilemma.

I don't talk about it much here because it doesn't really apply to the mid-century theme of this blog, but I collect art toys. I had a nice low IKEA dresser in the guest room where they all lived and that worked great. Then the kid started to walk and was able to grab things. So I moved them to the taller Broyhill Sculptra dresser in the study and that worked great. Then the kid grew and could reach the top of that dresser. I'm slowly running out of space to put my toys.

The reason they were in the guest room and study is because they were a little hidden there. I could enjoy them, but most people who visited wouldn't see them (unless they stayed the night in the guest room). Part of the reason for hiding them is because most of my art toys don't have a mid-century or mid-century modern aesthetic. They don't go with the deign of the house or the look and feel we're trying to create in our home.

But I'm starting to realize that you should enjoy your collections to the fullest, even if they stick out a bit. That's the stance I've always had with the wall art in my home, and I think I'm going to start doing it with my art toys too.

What got me thinking that way is a recent post on one of the art toy blogs I read. They got a sneak peek at a home full of art toys that's going to be on Million Dollar Listing.

The toys don't exactly go with the style of the home, but they're sprinkled throughout and you can tell the collector really enjoys his collection. Which is the point of collecting I suppose.

Now I just need to figure out how to move my collection into other parts of my home, while still maintaining the overall style, look and feel that we want our home to have.

Mid-Century Modern Baby: Charley Harper App

I mentioned Charley Harper's baby items, but I had no idea that there was a Charley Harper app out as well. Luckily, Casey did know and mentioned it to me.

It looks just as cute and kid friendly as the rest of Charley Harper's stuff. I think I'll have to download it this weekend and see how the kid likes it.

Map Wall Stickers for a Travel Nursery

The Wall Sticker Company is an Australian company, but they do ship overseas. They also have some of the biggest and most interesting world map wall decals I've seen.

The biggest is their world map decal. It's the biggest world map wall mural that I've found and it can definitely fill the whole wall. So much so that you can order half a map if it's too big.

The other is taken straight from the Melbourne Street Directory. Meaning you literally pick a page and they'll blow it up to wall mural size.

It's neat if you live in Melbourne because you could get your own street put on your wall. But it's almost more interesting if you live overseas because then it just becomes an interesting city map mural for your travel-themed nursery.

If you don't want to wait (or pay) for overseas shipping there are plenty of world map wall decals to choose from, but if you wanted a city map feel for your travel-themed nursery, this is the only wall decal I've seen that fits the bill.

Mid-Century Modern Baby: Charley Harper

I got a little inspired by my Alexander Girard baby items post and realized that Charley Harper has some great mid-century modern baby stuff as well.

We have Charley Harper 123s and love it.

It has some of Harper's iconic birds in it.

Speaking of birds, there's an entire Charley Harper Coloring Book of Birds.

And to help you learn those colors, there's Charley Harper Colors.

You can cover the rest of your learning bases with Charley Harper ABC's.

Like Girard, there's also a Charley Harper Memory Game.

For some giant fun, there's the Charley Harper Ladybug Giant Floor Puzzle.

Or the smaller, but equally fun Charley Harper: Tree of Life Block Puzzle.

The History of Hairpin Legs

The history of hairpin legs starts with them being invented by Henry P. Glass in 1941. Hairpin legs were a true war-time invention; their design limited the amount of material needed while keeping the strength of traditional legs. A true form meets function story.

Glass talked about the history of his hairpin legs in an interview:
[Russel Wright] liked my work and when, in 1941, he launched his campaign "American-Way," he honored me with an important assignment, to design a complete line of wrought iron furniture. I created a rather startling group of tables, chairs, sofas, etc., which commanded immediate and favorable attention in the trade press, particularly Home Furnishings Daily. Its editor-in-chief, Alfred Auerbach, coined the name "Hairpin Group" because of the shape of the steel wire legs. It was a great success, mainly in the media. I don't know how much of this furniture was actually sold in stores. It certainly created a trend. Countless furniture pieces of all kinds were put on hairpin legs for several years. Samples of this group are in the collection of several museums, such as the College for Applied Arts in Vienna and the Art Institute of Chicago.
So, the first time hairpin legs were used on furniture was in 1941 as part of a Russel Wright American-Way collection. Although, some sources have the "Hairpin Group" being released in 1942. I wouldn't blame anyone for being off by a year in a live interview. There's also a good chance that Glass designed the hairpin legs in 1941 and the "Hairpin Group" wasn't released to the public till 1942.

And that release was indeed limited, as Glass hinted. Most American-Way products were produced in limited numbers. It's hard to say if this was by design in order to create a limited collection or if it was because of limited materials due to the war.

The American-Way "Hairpin Group" was manufactured by Molla, Inc, a New York-based company that way know for high-quality patio furniture. They used removable sailcloth covers for the chair covers and a type of metal that wouldn't oxidize in the salty outdoor air that blows across coastal patios.

Glass designed two separate American-Way collections that featured hairpin legs. One, which I believe to be the original "Hairpin Group," featured five different tables, three types of chairs and a settee. I can't find any info about what was included in the second collection. It was probably a similar lineup, as all original hairpin furniture was patio furniture. However, there is a sketch of a hairpin leg lounge chair from Glass, which I believe is part of the second collection.

It's interesting to note that the arms of the original "Hairpin Group" also had the hairpin leg form. Where as the second line seems to have moved to a full cloth arm.

You can see some other sketches of hairpin leg furniture in this video about Henry P. Glass' designs (at the :53 mark):

As Glass mentioned in his interview, there is indeed an example of the American-Way hairpin leg chair in the Art Institute of Chicago's collection, but they don't have an image of it online and it's not currently on display. They do have it listed as being made of cast iron with the dimensions of 34.25" x 18.75" x 19". However, I was able to track down a color photo of an original hairpin leg chair here.

Though Henry P. Glass has 52 patents in his name, the hairpin leg isn't one of them. In fact, he wasn't even created as the designer of "Hairpin Group" till many years after its release. But, Glass was right to say that "countless furniture pieces of all kinds were put on hairpin legs." Since their creation in 1941, Knoll and Eames have used hairpin legs and their use on mid-century furniture is so prolific that they're probably the most recognizable leg among mid-century modern furniture fans.

In tracking down the history of hairpin legs, I found out a lot of interesting info on Henry P. Glass. This isn't going to be the last time you see his name on this blog.

Done: Remove Hot Tub

I am constantly amazed by craigslist. Not only is it a great place to find mid-century and vintage furniture, and pretty much anything else you might be looking for, it's also a great place to get rid of the junk you don't want any more.

For example, if you have a broken hot tub in your backyard and put it up for free to anyone who will disassemble it and haul it themselves, you will get multiple people wanting to haul that hot tub. Sure a half dozen or so will flake on you, but eventually someone will show and do all the work for you. Which is exactly what happened this past weekend.

It might help that I live close to a large university, because it ended up being four college-aged guys who finally took it away. And I'm sure they had some big plans to put it in their basement or on their deck or something equally silly, all I care is that it's out of our backyard.

However, now the yard looks even worse than it did with the tub in. I think it's time to put a craigslist ad up for the decking/boardwalk to see if we get any takers for that.

Herman Miller Why Design Video Series

Sometimes my day job as a copywriter in Austin and my blogging life collide. Hello Design is making a bit of a splash in the ad world with their new video series, Why Design.

 From the About page:
At Herman Miller design is the language we use to ask questions and seek answers to the problems our customers face. The design process is a journey into the unknown—or as George Nelson once quipped, "I have never met a designer who was retained to keep things the same as they were." Before we decide what we do and how we do it, we like to begin by asking the question "Why?" In Why Design, a new video series, we explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view.
Check out the trailor and you'll see why I'm excited.

New videos come out every Monday through October. I'm really looking forward to the Steve Frykholm one (October 22).

Mid-Century Modern Home Blog from Austin

I try to avoid it, but every once in a while I end up talking about this blog in-person with someone. It's not that I'm not proud of everything I post or that I don't love this blog or mid-century homes / atomic ranches and want to talk about them endlessly with people; it's just that I understand that, for my generation, the phrase, "So I've got this blog..." is equivalent to, "You should stop listening to me now."

But the last time some friends and I ended up on the topic of who writes a blog (everyone) and who's making enough money off it to retire early (no one), one of them said, "Your blog sounds a little like Dave's, Japanese Trash."

As someone who reads too many blogs already, I was hesitant to add another to my reader, but I did and you should too. Japanese Trash is well worth the minute or two it takes to read each post and if you can't find design inspiration for your home in at least one post, you're doing something wrong.

Mid-Century Modern Baby: Alexander Girard

I've mentioned Alexander Girard's children's items previously, but there are a few new things out there so I thought it was worth revisiting the subject.

We have the Alexander Girard memory game and the kid really loves it.

The cards themselves have some outstanding designs, very memorable.

Like every other house with a kid, we burn through coloring books. So it's good there's Alexander Girard coloring book.

Speaking of coloring, we're still learning our colors so Alexander Girard's Color is the perfect bedtime board book.

And the kid is really into puzzles right now, so the Alexander Girard Eden giant floor puzzle might be the perfect holiday gift.

The one thing the kid won't be getting is what might be the most expensive ABC blocks ever made.

While they're gorgeous, they're just too expensive for wood blocks that will probably end up with teethmarks on them.