Mid-Century Christmas Advent Calendar

This year we've added a new mid-century Christmas decoration to our living room, a vintage advent calendar. Instead of candy, this paper calendar has cute little illustrations under each day.

The artist signature looks like it might be "Lou H."

I don't know when it was originally from, but it originally cost 35 cents.

And it was made by Flair Import in Western Germany, which may be a bad translation of West Germany.

The mailing envelope has some pretty amazing illustrations on it as well.

It's been a great way to count down the season this year.

Around the World Travel Nursery Calendar

It's that time of year, time for a new calendar. If you're hanging the calendar in a travel-themed nursery, check out the Travel the World calendar from Anthropologie.

Your little one can be inspired by locations from around the world without ever leaving their crib.

The illustrations are fantastic too. Once you're done with it as a calendar, you can cut them out, put them in a frame and keep the inspiration flowing for years.

Hans Wegner Style Wicker Folding Chair

I went back to my childhood home recently and saw a chair that's been sitting in the basement forever. I remember it being the uncomfortable chair in the corner. (I'm not a huge wicker fan personally.)

But with older, wiser eyes I wondered if it was actually a Hans Wegner wicker folding chair. It has all of the looks, but none of the handles.

Turns out my parents don't have a hidden mid-century gem in the basement. This isn't a Hans Wegner folding chair, but it looks a lot like one and can probably be purchased for a lot less than a Wegner original. If wicker is your thing, this no-name chair might be a nice addition to the corner of your room. 

A Restor-A-Finish for Broyhill Furniture

I've used Restor-A-Finish on my Broyhill Sculptra furniture and many times since then. If you to want make some mid-century furniture look better, it's the way to go in my book.

During one of my recent (and frequent) trips to Home Depot, I overheard an employee recommend using a shade lighter of Restor-A-Finish than the wood you're putting it on, and to never ever go darker. Like paint, it's easier to start light and then go over it a second time with something slightly darker.

It's advice echoed by Mr. Modtomic, who suggests Golden Oak Restor-A-Finish for walnut furniture (like Broyhill Sculptra furniture).

The lighter shade fills in any damage, but doesn't highlight it. When you go too dark, all you see are the scratches. So here's my tip from the pros: Start lighter and go darker only if it still looks bad.

Mid-Century Kid's Book: This Is the World: A Global Treasury

I've mentioned This Is London before and we still enjoy reading it, but I just found out about This Is the World: A Global Treasury. It's a collection of the This Is... books and includes excerpts from: This is New York, This is Paris, This is Greece, This is London, This is Australia, This is Texas, This is Munich, This is Rome, This is Britain, This is Hong Kong, This is Israel, This is San Francisco, This is Edinburgh, This is Venice, This is Washington D.C., and This is Ireland.

It will be the next mid-century kid's book we buy and I'd suggest it for any little traveler you know.

HGTV on Netflix (Finally)

Just in time for a weekend marathon, Netflix has added some HGTV shows to the lineup, specifically Buying and Selling, Cousins on Call, Flea Market Flip, House Hunters, House Hunters International, Income Property, Love It or List It, Property Brothers, Rehab Addict, Selling New York, and The Brian Boitono Project.

To be honest, I feel the same as Liz Lemon about House Hunters

But I am looking forward to the rest of them, and I'm really hoping that they add Holmes on Homes soon.

Another New Desk at Late Night with Seth Meyers

I've mentioned the evolving Late Night with Seth Meyers set and desk, and a reader recently pointed out that they tore the whole thing down and started from scratch. New backdrop, new desk, new chairs, new everything.

The desk is a solid modern piece with some metal flourishes and looks like a desk from a Conan set, which is a good thing. I think Conan had some of the best talk show sets out there. The guest chairs look like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog. But, Seth kept some of the mid-century look with a Eames Aluminum Group Executive chair for himself.

It looks more like classic talk show set, especially with the city skyline background. Seth actually addressed the change on the show. As much as the internet may have hated the old set (I guess I was one of the few who liked it), they can't hate on his backstage design.

Colorful Mid-Century Modern Exterior Doors

I was out for a walk in the neighborhood and crossed paths with a few colorfully painted mid-century modern doors.

I love the mint green color and unique window on this one.

And yellow really pops against a gray house.

I also love the modern address numbers in the window.

More Broyhill Sculptra to Ogle

I love seeing other people's Broyhill Sculptra setup, like this Sculptra bedroom set. The accessories on top are a great match and really bring out some fun in the set.

Mid-Century Art: Ralph Cosentino

Having a great mid-century modern aesthetic as well as a love of super heros and movie monsters lands Ralph Cosentino right in the middle of the Venn diagram of things I love.

His work would be perfect in a super hero nursery or on any wall in a modern home that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Or on the couch.

Even if you're looking for more of a space age feel, Cosentino's art has you covered.

Lego Mid-Century Modern Home Set

When I was drooling over Lego Ferris Bueller house, I listed off a few modern home Lego sets that are available (since you can't actually build the Ferris Bueller house unless you're a Lego genius). But they might be a little pricey (and hard to build) for your typical toddler.

As I was walking the aisles of my local big box store, I noticed that the standard Lego family house set has a nice mid-century modern look to it. It might not be Fallingwater, but, much like the mid-century homes people actually live in, it's a good second place.

Jens Risom's Pretty Fab Pre-Fab Home

I love seeing inside furniture designers' homes. How they use their own furniture to fill the space, the pieces they select and where they place them. This peek inside Jens Risom's island retreat is a wonderful look inside a warm, wonderful mid-century home.

Ferris Bueller House in Lego

AFOL person etzel87 recently built the Ferris Bueller house out of Lego bricks. (AFOL stands for Adult Fans of Lego.) It's actually Cameron Frye's house and not Ferris Bueller's house, but nobody remembers that Ferris actually lived in a large, boring, white suburban home.

etzel87 captured a single moment in film so perfectly that you'd think it was an actual LEGO set. Sadly, it's not. So unless you're a LEGO master, you probably won't be able to recreate it. But there are sets for the Farnsworth House, Villa Savoye and multiple Frank Lloyd Wright homes, like Fallingwater, the Imperial Hotel and the Robie House. So you can at least get close.

Reader Question: Broyhill Sculptra Numbers

A Mad for Mid-Century reader recently asked:
We just started collecting Sculptra furniture and currently have 8 different pieces. I've noticed a factory marking on the back which seems to identify the design, with additional info that perhaps identifies the location and date of manufacture?

For example, the base of our buffet is marked
L 587 62

6095/10 is the Broyhill "part number" for this piece. If I had to guess, I would imagine that the L designates Lenoir House, and that the 62 means the piece was made in 1962. Does that sound right? Also, what do you think the 587 means?
I've talked to Broyhill a few times about the manufacturing numbers on the back of the Sculptra line, and I've heard a few times that they themselves don't know what the numbers mean. A definitive answer might be lost to history, but we can get a pretty good educated guess.

The first set of numbers is the style number for the piece, this matches on both the Broyhill Sculptra brochure and sales sheet. 6095-10 is the Sculptra buffet with 3 drawers and 1 shelf, where as 6095-11 is the buffet with 3 drawers and 2 shelves. These would have been the numbers that people and stores used to buy Sculptra furniture.

There may also be something to the slash versus the dash. My Broyhill Sculptra desk has 910-25, but no L. The first set of numbers always means the same thing, the style of the piece, but the separator might tell us something more. I'm not sure what though.

The second set of numbers is where the guessing comes in. L for Lenoir House makes some sense knowing the history of Broyhill. Although, Sculptra was a Broyhill Premier line, and Lenoir House usually indicated their moderate lines. My desk doesn't have any letter in the manufacturer numbers. Made in the Lenoir House factory or not, is probably the best guess for this piece of the numbers.

The middle piece of those numbers might be the cutting number. I can't find a true definition for a furniture cutting number, but from what I can tell it's a collection of pieces all made at or around the same time and place, maybe even from the same shipment of wood. Most of the middle numbers I've seen fall close to the one cutting number I've seen on original Broyhill Scultpra packaging.

The last number being the year the piece was made makes sense. I haven't seen a piece with that number outside of the range of the manufacturing dates of the Sculptra line.

My guess is the second set of numbers is essentially a serial number for the piece. If Broyhill ever needed to do a recall, they could limit it to a specific manufacturing location, cut number and year. But, that is just an educated guess.

A Poorly Painted Broyhill Sculptra

I'm almost never a fan of the "I painted this mid-century piece and it looks modern now" trend, but people can do whatever they want with their own furniture. However, sometimes you see a piece and you just want to save it. Especially if it's a Broyhill Sculptra commode (side table).

The beauty that is hidden under all that paint.

Broyhill Sculptra Dresser as a Credenza

I love seeing Broyhill Sculptra furniture in action and in other people's mid-century homes. Like this reddit user who is using his Broyhill Sculptra dresser as a credenza. I can see that working really well. Big, deep drawers to hold all your random stuff and a nice center area to hold all your taller stuff.

Let's Hear about the World Fair

I was driving home from work the other day and happened to hear this NPR report about the 1964 World's Fair. It was pretty interesting to hear about all the inventions and what people living in the '60s thought the future would hold (and how often they were wrong), as well as get a hint of the political atmosphere at the time. It's worth a listen.

Saul Bass Inspired Game of Thrones

There's no shortage of Saul Bass inspired opening credits (X-Men, Dexter, Mad Men, Monsters, Inc.). It seems everyone loves his style, including me. It's only natural that someone would eventually make a Game of Thrones mid-century intro too.

Mid-Century Art: Virginie Morgand

All I could find out about Virginie Morgand was that she's French and that she amazing mid-century style screen prints for sale.

But that's all I need to know to want one hanging in my house.

The Addams Family House in Color

Creepy doesn't alway go with midcentury, but they hold hands in my house because I tend to like things that other people consider creepy. One of the bigger causes of that is probably the large amount of The Addams Family reruns that I watched as a kid.

Oviatt Library has an exhibit of work by Richard Fish, which includes color photos of The Addams Family set. From what I can find, he was shooting an assignment for TV Guide and these were the first photos that allowed the public to see The Addams Family set in color.

It's neat to see something so ingrained in my mind in black and white, in color. Especially such bright colors – red rugs, buttercup curtains, mint walls and ivory piano. It's a bit surprising, but I can see why Gomez would find it homey. He always had a bit of flair.