Mid-Century Broyhill Dining Set (maybe)

A reader wrote in with the following question:
I recently bought a mid-century-ish dining room set in need of refinishing. I can't identify the wood species on my own so I thought I would try to identify the maker first. After many hours of Google searching I came across Broyhill Sculptra and your awesome website. I thought it was a match until I noticed some subtle differences. My table edges are more squared as are the table legs and chair legs. Also the back of my chairs continue over the seat rim. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I really want to know the wood species to get the refinishing correct but finding out the maker has now become and obsession!

Jenn L.
Jenn sent along some pictures too.

When I saw the pictures I thought, "Yep, that's a Broyhill Sculptra dining room set alright." But then I noticed the differences Jenn pointed out, the front legs of the chairs are square, as are the table legs. All the Broyhill Sculptra dining chairs I've seen have round legs on the front and Sculptra dining tables have round legs. Plus, the leg position on the table is wrong for Sculptra.

So I jumped to the next logical line: Broyhill Brasilia. But, again, in the Brasilia collection, the dining chairs without arms have round legs up front. And the table legs aren't right for Brasilia either.

Strike three came when I jumped to the Broyhill Emphasis collection (which has a lot in common with the Sculptra line). Again, round chair legs in front on Emphasis chairs and the wrong table.

So I'm out, but I know I have plenty of readers who are better at identifying mid-century furniture than I am. If any of you have an idea, please leave a comment.

I'm also not ruling out a mid-line design change on chair and table legs for any of these collections, I just can't find proof of it.

But back to Jenn's question: That chair back leads me to believe that this set was probably made by Broyhill, I just can't find the right collection. In that case, the wood is most likely walnut. Sculptra, Emphasis and Brasilia are all walnut collections. But, to be safe, bring one of the chairs to your local hardware store or lumber yard and they might be able to identify the exact wood type.

Frank Lloyd Wright Restoration: The Westcott House

I recently ran across this documentation of the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott house. It doesn't include any Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors or Frank Lloyd Wright color palettes, but it does have some interesting photos of original tiles, sinks, fixtures and the like. Plus, it's just nice to see outstanding building like this brought back to life.

Frank Lloyd Wright Paint: Taliesin Palette

In 1955 Frank Lloyd Wright developed a line of home products specifically for people who didn't live in one of his homes. It included furniture, fabrics, rugs, wallpaper and a selection of 36 paint colors from the Martin-Senour paint company.

And these are the Frank Lloyd Wright selected paint colors:

Searching at Martin-Senour's site, it doesn't look like the carry these colors anymore. But they might make for some good inspiration.

More Frank Lloyd Wright Paint Colors

I've mentioned the Guggenheim-inspired Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors, but there's another, possibly even more-famous, Frank Lloyd Wright building that you might want to use if you're looking for true Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors: Fallingwater.

Luckily, someone went to the extreme measure of looking at the paint colors of Fallingwater under a microscope and X-ray.
Frank S. Welsh was asked to microanalyze and evaluate 20 carefully selected samples from the interior and exterior in 1989 and 1990 to determine the original paint colors and their composition. Using microscopical and X-ray diffraction analyses, [Welsh] confirmed that Wright used only 2 colors throughout the house. A moderate reddish brown, also known as Cherokee Red, was painted on all metal surfaces, and a light yellowish brown cementitious paint known as Cemelith was applied on all of the masonry walls both inside and outside.

Cherokee Red is Frank Lloyd Wright's signature paint color. He used it in many of the houses he built. However, the ocher cement paint wasn't Wright's first choice. From the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
On the exterior, Wright recommended gold leaf for the concrete, likely drawing on his Japanese experience and knowledge of gilded temples. The Kaufmanns [the original owners of Fallingwater] thought gold leaf a bit too extravagant and inappropriate for a mountain house. Wright then suggested a white-mica finish from Super Concrete Emulsions, Ltd., a Los Angeles company. Again, the Kaufmanns rejected this idea, stating that the finish should blend with the stonework. Ultimately, they agreed upon a waterproof cement paint called Cemelith in a light ocher, a color which Wright described as taking inspiration from “the sere leaves of the rhododendron.”
And if you're looking to add Cherokee Red or the Fallingwater light ocher to your mid-century exterior, Pittsburgh Paints has put together a collection of paint colors inspired by Fallingwater, including Cherokee Red and a light orcher they call Covered Wagon.

Modern Growth Chart

With an ever-growing little one running around the house, we decided it was time to get a growth chart. We wanted it to be a modern growth chart that would fit with the look of our mid-century home, and with the look of our travel-themed nursery. The closest thing to a true travel-themed growth chart that we could find was the Big City growth chart:

But it seemed more suited for a transportation-themed nursery. So we thought about going for a mid-century growth chart, and found two wonderful Alexander Girard growth charts. Alexander Girard was the head of the fabric and textile devision of Herman Miller, so anything with his fabric designs on them would fit perfectly into a mid-century home. I love the Love Heart growth chart:

And the Sun Moon growth chart is great too:

But they're on pre-order only right now, and their expected ship date isn't till July 2012. And our little one will have done lots of growing by then.

So we turned to etsy. Two etsy stores deserve a callout for having multiple modern growth charts that could work in any mid-century modern nursery: Giraffes N Stuff and Milk Moon Kids.

We almost went with the EleFUNt modern growth chart:

Or the Vintage Bicycle modern growth chart:

But we ended up going with the Galactically Grown personalized modern growth chart:

I think any of those last three, while not being specifically travel theme, fit incredibly well in a travel-themed nursery.

Done: New Light in the Study

The old light in the study wasn't the worst thing in the world. But it wasn't pretty, or bright enough.

And there's something in me that hates the look of rippled glass. It's why I changed the living room doorway light.

So this weekend I swapped it out for this Design House ceiling light.

It was the best flush-mount, mid-century modern ceiling light that I could find that took standard bulbs (I hate halogen). And it's pretty and, with two bulbs, it's definitely bright enough.

Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter

If you haven't seen Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter, a documentary by PBS, you can watch the full thing online now. Having watched it, I can say it's a very interesting look into the lives and minds of Ray and Charles Eames.

From the synopsis:
From 1941 to 1978, this husband-and-wife team brought unique talents to their partnership. He was an architect by training, she was a painter and sculptor. Together they are considered America’s most important and influential designers, whose work helped, literally, shape the second half of the 20th century and remains culturally vital and commercially popular today. They are, perhaps, best remembered for their mid-century modern furniture, built from novel materials like molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent metal wire and aluminum – offering consumers beautiful, functional, yet inexpensive products. Revered for their designs and fascinating as individuals, Charles and Ray have risen to iconic status in American culture. But their influence on significant events and movements in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood.

Mid-Century Broyhill Sculptra Furniture at a Houston Estate Sale

When I talk about estate sales, I try to stick to Austin. But a friendly reader pointed out this estate sale and it might be worth the drive.

A five-piece Broyhill Sculptra bedroom set is for sale in Friendswood (near Houston from what I'm told). The set includes a mid-century Broyhill Sculptra dresser with mirror; a Broyhill Sculptra bed with headboard, rails and footboard; two Broyhill Sculptra night stands and the ever elusive Broyhill Sculptra Manga dresser.

Here are the details:
408 Live Oak Lane,
Friendswood, TX 77546
January 21

Eichler Mid-Century Exterior Paint Colors

I'm always looking to add to my list of authentic paint colors for mid-century homes. Which is why I was happy to run across this article about Eichler mid-century exterior paint colors and the modern paint colors that are matches.

For the truly authentic look, there's still the option to use Cabot stains, which still produces some of the original Ranch House Hues stain colors - the semi-solid stains that were used on Eichler houses - just use the name after RH. For those looking to paint, the name after BM is the Benjamin Moore paint color equivalent. The DE is the original Dunn-Edwards paint name, but they have all been discontinued.

Modern Coat Rack

With the daily need for coats that this (still rather warm) winter is bringing, our mid-century house was in sudden need of a modern coat rack. The pile-of-coats-on-a-chair-near-the-door look was getting old fast.

We don't have the wall space for a modern coat hook. If we did I might have gone with the Eames Hang-It-All.

So I went on the hunt and after shopping many online stores I realized that most of the modern coat racks that I liked were made by one company: Addesso. A lot of these modern coat racks have a similar look to the Eames Hang-It-All, which is probably why I like them.

Adesso Swizzle Coat Rack

Adesso Jax Coat Rack

Eurostyle Modern Maybelle Coat Rack

Adesso Coat Rack

Adesso Evergreen Coat Rack

The modern coat rack we ended up with was the Adesso Evergreen Coat Rack. I really like the tree-like look of it and it adds an interesting visual point next to the door. Plus, it's a good place to hang your hat.

Modern Farmhouse For Sale in Austin

There's a lot going on in Austin with Sell This House. They just featured an Austin mid-century home, which appears to have sold over the weekend. And now one of the hosts is selling his Austin home.

From the sales page:
Home to “television’s original home stager” (the designer on A&E’s Sell This House for 10 seasons), Roger Hazard, and his husband, Chris, this gorgeous home will put a smile on your face. Taking the blank canvas that the community of Agave provides, Roger and Chris created a super-cozy environment that draws you in and makes you never want to leave! There’s nothing left to do here—this truly is a “move-in ready” home.
If nothing else, it's interesting to see inside a home stager's home.

Mid-Century Austin Home on Sell This House

We don't have cable, so I have to rely on the Internet to get my house show fix. But for those of you who can watch things live, a mid-century Austin home is making an appearance on Sell This House: Extreme this weekend. You can get a sneak peek at the finished product on it's listing page. It's currently pending sale, so the show might live up to it's name.

From the show synopsis:
Jarrod and Laura are ready to move out of their small, mid-century home and find a bigger house to accommodate their growing family. But, their small, mid-century house is struggling to compete in Austin's strong housing market. Several houses in their neighborhood have sold in just the last month, but their place hasn't generated any buyer interest whatsoever. Design expert, Roger Hazard, has to come up with a plan to get this house sold. His first priority is taming the cartoonish colors that are scaring potential buyers off. And, our builder, Charlie Frattini, has his hands full with a demolition project that takes the kitchen all the way down to the studs. With only four days to complete a makeover that would normally take close to a month, this project goes down to the wire. Tanya Memme hosts.

Modern Bungalow in Austin Renovation

Austin modern homes are starting to make a name for themselves. Design*Sponge just featured the renovation of Britt Mottola's modern bungalow. I'm particularly in love with the kitchen. Hopefully mine will look similar someday.

Ice Cube and Eames

This video has made the rounds. I mean, it's Ice Cube and Eames, how could it not? But I haven't seen many people share the map of Ice Cube's Eames celebratory tour of Los Angeles that goes along with it. If I ever make it out to LA again, I'll have this map in hand.

2012 Austin Modern Home Tour

It's time for the 2012 Austin Modern Home Tour, or rather it will be in February. If you live in another part of the country, you might think that a home tour in February is crazy, but a modern homes tour in Austin in February makes prefect sense. A homes tour in Austin in August would be crazy.

Here are the details:
2012 Austin Modern Home Tour
February 4: 11:00am-6:00pm.
Advance tickets are $20.00
You can also buy tickets on the day of at any of the 2012 Mondern Home Tour Austin houses

Mid-Century Broyhill Sculptra for Sale in Austin

The first vintage Broyhill Sculptra dresser of the year has found its way to Austin's craigslist. Even without the mirror, it's a pretty good price.

The Mid-Century Design of Saul Bass

I've mentioned Saul Bass briefly before, but I think he deserves a little more attention. Apparently, so do a few other people because a new book has been written about his work, Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design.

From the book summary:
This is the first book to be published on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th Century, who was as famous for his work in film as for his corporate identity and graphic work. With more than 1,400 illustrations, many of them never published before and written by the leading design historian Pat Kirkham, this is the definitive study that design and film enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating. Saul Bass (1920-1996) created some of the most compelling images of American post-war visual culture. Having extended the remit of graphic design to include film titles, he went on to transform the genre. His best known works include a series of unforgettable posters and title sequences for films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and Otto Preminger's The Man With The Golden Arm and Anatomy of a Murder. He also created some of the most famous logos and corporate identity campaigns of the century, including those for major companies such as AT&T, Quaker Oats, United Airlines and Minolta.
Sounds like a must read for any mid-century design or graphic design lover.

Mid-Century Clock with World Map

One of the gifts I gave my wife this holiday season was this mid-century world clock. It's a GE world clock, model 8111, and I found it at Room Service when I was out holiday window shopping. The sticker on the bottom says, "Made in U.S.A." and there's a stamp on the back that says, "Case made in Japan." So the clock itself is a little worldly.
The minute I saw it (pun intended) I knew it was perfect for the world-traveling, graphic designer in my life.
Plus, it's in perfect working order. What more could you ask for?

Mid-Century Christmas Decorations

We've offically taken down all our mid-century christmas decorations, including our mid-century christmas tree. My mom gave me some of her vintage christmas decorations to put out as well. To be honest, most of them were a bit ugly and probably won't make the cut next year, but this modern christmas decoration of a reindeer is definitely going to return.
It doesn't have a maker's mark or any markings at all really, and my mom can't recall when she got it. Most likely it was some mass produced mid-century modern decoration that she picked up at a department store. But I still love it.

New Year, New Name for My Mid-Century Blog

As I hinted at late last year, I made some minor changes and updates around here. The biggest and most noticeable is the new name: Mad for Midcentury. And the new URL www.MadForMidcentury.com

There were a few reasons behind the name change:
  1. When I started this blog it was literally just an online to-do list for my house, I didn't expect anyone to actually read it. That's changed and I have a decent daily readership. So I wanted to make my mid-century blog easy for everyone to find.
  2. People started asking me about my blog in real life and the old name was a mouthful. Mad for Midcentury is easier to say/remember.
  3. When I started my mid-century blog I didn't read any other mid-century blogs so I didn't know the name Mid-Century Austin Living was really close to another really good mid-century blog: Mid-Century Living. Hopefully the new name is original enough to avoid confusion with any other mid-century blog.
With the change (and as expected) some things are still a bit broken. I'm working on correcting them as quickly as possible (or as quickly as my hosting company answers my emails). But from what I can tell, anyone reading through an RSS reader should be fine, even if you subscribed via the old blogspot URL. I do know that MadForMidcentury.com (without the www) is currently broken and not forwarding to the www version and I'm working on getting that fixed. But if you see anything else broken or odd, please let me know.

Thanks for reading (and putting up with any hiccups). Here's to a new year chock-full of mid-century love.

Update: MadForMidcentury.com should now redirect to www.MadForMidcentury.com without a problem.