Mid-Century Art: Ingela Arrhenius

The art of Swedish illustrator Ingela Arrhenius would be perfect for any mid-century modern travel-themed nursery.

And she's made some items that would be perfect in any room in the house.

Plus, some mid-century modern art that would look good anywhere, travel theme or no.

The only problem is Arrhenius' art isn't readily available in the States. You can find a few things, but most of her work will require you to pay in a foreign currency and wait patiently while it flies over an ocean to your house.

Chalk Board Map for Travel Nursery

I love this chalk board world map from Dirtsa Studio. It comes blank so your able to add your own travel plans/colors/dreams with just a little chalk, and change it as much as you want.

If your dreams are a little less international, they also make a US chalk board map

And state-specific maps, like, say, Texas

It's perfect for the parent with a travel-themed nursery who can't decide where to travel to next.

Authentic Mid-Century Front Doors

I am really happy with our mid-century modern front door, but for some reason I've been really noticing the front doors on the mid-century home images I've been seeing.

I ran across a few with windows like Crestview Doors, but not in the same pattern. (There are also plenty of images with mid-century modern front doors exactly like Crestview Doors patterns.)

And a few without windows.

I love the initial painted on the front door idea in this last image, but that has got to make selling the house a bit of a pain.

Mid-Century Modern Play Kitchen

The kid has been obsessed with the kitchen and helping in the kitchen and banging on pots and pans, so we decided it was time to get a play kitchen. But we didn't want just any play kitchen, we wanted something that would look good sitting in our mid-century home for the next few years. We looked at a few play kitchens but ended up getting a white KidKraft Vintage Kitchen.

It's the best mid-century play kitchen we could find; it's got a great retro dinner look to it. But, be warned, it is extremely well built – meaning that it will take you many hours to put together. But once it is together, your kid will have hours of fun with it. And they probably won't break it after just a few days.

If you want a little more color in your mid-century modern play kitchen, it also comes in blue

And red.

Mid-Century Art: Allan D'Arcangelo

A while back my dad gave me some artwork and said, "I bought this at an art fair back in the '60s; we don't have anywhere to hang it in our house anymore and I thought you might like it." And I did like it, but I also didn't have anywhere to hang it. So it went in the attic till I could figure out where it should go. That was a few years ago.

A few weeks back I was in the attic and stumbled across the print again and decided to look into who made it. Luckily there was a lot of information on the back of the frame.

Even the frame itself had the artists name on it.

So it wasn't too hard to figure out that it was a Allan D'Arcangelo serigraph and that it was one of the American highway and signs pieces that he's best known for. But I couldn't figure out what specific piece this one was. So I contacted Allan D'Arcangelo's estate and they were kind enough to point me to a printer in Germany who they believed did the originally printing. 

That company was Edition Domberger, who told me:
This piece was a greeting card, published by Multiples, Inc. in New York in 1969. It was printed by us and on the back it says, “Silk Screen from Banner by Allan D'Arcangelo for Multiples Inc., 1969"

So that mystery is solved. The name of this piece is “Silk Screen from Banner by Allan D'Arcangelo for Multiples Inc., 1969." And after a little more back and forth with Edition Domberger, they let me know that this was never a serigraph, but that it could come framed so you wouldn't know it was a card that opened. And that whoever wrote 1967 on the back of mine must have just gotten the date wrong; the only printing of it was in 1969.

That said, this is a really nice greeting card, which actually has some texture in the printing. I can see why someone would want it framed. Now I just need to find a place to hang it.

Broyhill Premier Mid-Century Furniture Brochure

A reader recently asked me about Broyhill Invitation grouping of furniture. I still can't find out a whole lot about the line other than it was made in the '50s and maybe into the early '60s. And the last two pages of this Broyhill brochure, which has the most information I've seen about the Invitation grouping anywhere.

But in looking for additional information, I did come across this mid-century Broyhill Premier brochure, which has some new images and illustrations of the line, as well as the Accent and Expression line.

I'm starting to get the sense that the Broyhill Premier Invitation grouping was one of their lower-cost lines of furniture, which is why there might not be as much information about it available. That said, it's still a Premier line, so it'd still be better quality than most furniture made today.

Retro TV for the Modern Era

I like where this tread is headed. LG is releasing a new TV with all the modern amenities – HD screen, HDMI plugs, USB ports – but all the looks of a mid-century television. It's what I've been hoping electronics companies would start doing for a while.

From what I can decipher from Google Translate, the press release says that a "wood frame makes it feel like a classic Scandinavian-style design that emphasizes simplicity and modernity" and that there's a working channel dial, which makes me hope they didn't forget the most important modern convenience for a TV, the remote.

The head of marketing said that "customers have nostalgia of the old days" and that the TV is for people who think "interior design is important and are looking for something trendy and special." I couldn't agree more. The only sad part is this TV isn't going to be for sale in the States; it's only available in Korea. But hopefully it will be so popular that LG brings the design stateside.

I See a Red Door and I Want It Painted Blue

Perhaps it's a self-fulfilling prophecy or perhaps my neighbors know how to steal a good idea when they see one – a while back I started kicking around the idea that blue doors are the new red doors, and recently I've been a lot more blue doors showing up in my neighborhood and other mid-century Austin neighborhoods.

And it turns out it's a pretty authentically mid-century thing to do. We did it just to add a pop of color to our home, but there's no shortage of examples of mid-century homes with blue doors.

This one looks like the mid-century porthole door I recently came across.

Is it just me or are you see a few more blue doors in your neighborhood too?

A Modern Making Crayons

I've often said that Sesame Street's "Making Crayons" is the best two minutes to ever air on TV. It is mid-century Sesame Street at its best.

But Mr. Rogers also had a great "how crayons are made" video. And if you have a kid, you know that the new Mr. Rogers is Daniel Tiger. (If you don't have a kid, here's the scoop on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Long story short, it's a cartoon that takes place in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.)

I was watching Daniel Tiger with the kid the other and Daniel took "A Trip to the Crayon Factory." I'm really happy to see this same concept is being passed on to a new generation. I can only hope the kid's memory of this episode are as rose tinted as mine are of the "Making Crayons" segment.

Crestview-Like Mid-Century Garage Door

I was flipping through some images of mid-century housing brochures (as one does) when I spotted this.

And I thought, that garage door looks awfully familiar; it's almost exactly like our mid-century modern front door. I mean, that's about as close as you can get to a Crestview Doors Westhaven garage door. It makes me want a garage just so I could find a way to add this mid-century garage door to it.

Mid-Century Film: Target... Austin, Texas

In my lifetime Austin appeared on a nuclear strike map behind Kim Jong Un and someone made a Tumblr about it. But back in the day people made serious propaganda films about that exact situation, which you can watch here. The only funny thing about Target... Austin, Texas, other than the (spoiler alert) over dramatized death of the man who didn't follow proper protocol, is that morning traffic on Congress Ave. appears to be about 12 cars.

Is it wrong that I kind of want to live in those people's bomb shelter?

Reader Question: Mid-Century Door Knob Parts

Penni wrote me recently and asked:
I am looking for the rosette and door knob guts for these glass/crystal Schlage door knobs. Please help.
I wrote Penni back and let her know a few things: 1) I have no idea where she could find replacement parts for these knobs 2) Having tried to find replacement parts for my own mid-century door knobs, I know they can be nearly impossible to track down and 3) I would still do my best to help.

So this is my call for help. Does anyone know where to find replacement parts for mid-century door knobs?

Mid-Century Art: Tom Whalen

I think I found the perfect poster to hang behind your Batusi Batman toy with Shag art box. Tom Whalen has designed this vintage-looking Batman poster and included some of the most memorable villains from the show and the unforgettable TV series Batmobile. And if you're looking for a mid-century modern / pop culture poster there's no shortage of them on Tom's site.

Orignal Eames Chair Colors

This has been out since 2009, but somehow I missed it till today. In case you missed it too, here are all the original Eames fiberglass colors in one jazzy video.

If you don't have a minute to watch the video, the colors are: Olive Green Dark (OG), Ochre Light (OC), Raw Umber (RU), Seal Brown (SB), Red Orange (RO), Navy Blue (NB), Lemon Yellow (LY), Greige (GR), Parchment (PR), Sea Foam Green (SF) and Elephant Hide Grey (EG).

Now if I could just find a chart that converted all of these to paint colors, I would never question what color my walls should be again.

My Mid-Century Cocktail: The LBJ

My search for a signature mid-century cocktail has come to an end thanks to a work happy hour. We went to the Stephen F. Austin hotel bar, where I ordered one of their signature cocktails: The Lady Bird. On the menu, the Lady Bird cocktail is simply described as Grey Goose La'Poire vodka, St. Germain Elderflower and lemon. I've never had St. Germain or any elderflower liqueur before, but it tastes fantastic and sounds like it came out of Skyrim, so I love it.

I went on a hunt for a cocktail with those and only those ingredients, without any luck. I was hoping the Lady Bird cocktail at the Stephen F. Austin was just a renamed elderflower and pear vodka cocktail. Turns out it's not. So I had to start experimenting (or get a job at the hotel bar, but that seemed like a long way to go for a cocktail recipe).

Luckily, the St. Germain website has an extensive cocktail menu so I had a place to start. The closest thing to the Lady Bird cocktail seemed to be the French Gimlet or the Pear Tree Martini. But neither of them had the right ingredients or right taste. So, after a few trails and tastings, I came up with my own mix.

Since I can't be sure it's the exact recipe of the Lady Bird cocktail (though it's probably pretty close), I feel like I can give this cocktail its own name – making it a true signature cocktail for my mid-century home. Taking from it's inspiration (the Lady Bird cocktail), point of origin (the Stephen F. Austin hotel and the city of Austin) and the fact that it will be served in a mid-century home, I'm dubbing this concoction the LBJ.

1 part Grey Goose La'Poire vodka
1 part St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
A squeeze of lemon

Now I just need to tinker a bit to make it perfect for our Austin home. I'd love to find an organic pear vodka (which I don't think exists) and an organic elderflower liqueur (which I can't find for sale in Austin). So that might mean infusing my own pear vodka (organic vodka and organic pears) and shipping in some organic elderflower liqueur. It's extra work, but that only adds to the story of our signature cocktail. 

If I can make this an all-organic cocktail, I'm going to dub that version The Organic LBJ. It not a totally original name, but it's the perfect mix of old and new Austin.

Mid-Century Art: Anderson Design Group

I've mentioned graphic design studios as a good source of inexpensive mid-century modern artwork before. Anderson Design Group is another perfect example. Pieces from their Art & Soul of American poster collection would be perfect for a travel-themed nursery or any room you want to pay homage to your hometown in. They've got a classic mid-century travel poster look and the cream paper even makes them look a little aged.

Broyhill Sculptra at Kyle Estate Sale

If you're looking for some Broyhill Sculptra furniture in the Austin area you might want to check out this estate sale in Kyle. They have a Broyhill Sculptra china cabinet, coffee table and king size bedroom set. If you want it though, I'd get there early on Saturday, it's not often that you see that much Sculptra in one place.