With the popularity of Mad Men has come a new found love of all things mid-century. For those of us that have loved it all along, we found that this resurgence has brought more than just an appreciation for clean lines and hairpin legs – it has also brought a huge price increase!
With some planning and know how, you can not only long for that Baumritter, you can have it too!
1. Don’t over-estimate the want ads! Craigslist is a bargain hunter’s paradise for mid-century design. I scored an amazing hutch for $20! It is not only beautiful, but it completes my kitchen’s 1950’s vibe with style. Think outside the box when checking Craigslist, Ebay or Etsy. Not everyone is the best speller. The bad part is it is much trickier to find a good deal online. The good news is, it is still possible – it just takes some savvy knowhow and patience. When I am the lookout for a particular item, I check daily and have lucked out by finding that treasure shortly after it posts. My level of persistence is not to be taken lightly!
2. Don’t knock off a knock off! Who wouldn’t want an original Eames rocker ? We all would. If you have your heart set on having a vintage piece, be prepared to pay a very hefty price tag. If you love the look but are not a purist, don’t discount the quality and design of a non-pedigree piece. I have an Eames rocker that makes me happy and looks amazing in my home. Do I care that it’s a knock off? No! I just know that it is the same design and so incredibly comfortable and such a conversation piece. I love it on every level!
3. Shop Locally. Not only is this good for the environment as I am sure you have heard, your town probably has some great local shops that you didn’t even know about. I was checking craigslist and came across some local listings, uncovering local gold mines in my own back yard! In Columbus, Ohio, I found The Boomerang Room, one of the best local shops for mid-century modern merchandise at very reasonable prices. There is a distinct MCM community right here in Columbus, Ohio that I didn’t even realize existed until I went out looking for it. My point is, don’t discount shopping locally. You just might be pleasantly surprised!
4. Estate Sales and Garage Sales. The kids and I have made a Saturday habit of checking garage sales and estate sales. We have come across some real treasures. Again, I tend to find these sales (with pictures listed) on Craigslist. I can’t stress enough the importance of the web. By knowing a little something about mid-century design, I know what I am looking for while perusing these sales. The important thing is, I have done my homework so I have a fairly good idea of what is rare, and what is probably a knockoff, so it doesn’t warrant a high price tag, etc.
I scored an amazing Tony Paul table at an estate sale for a steal! I didn’t actually know the name Tony Paul, but I did recognize the table from my Dwell and Atomic Ranch magazines. I always loved the look of this particular small table and here it was staring me in the face! After some back and forth with the estate sale person, I walked away with three stacking tables and one Tony Paul table originally priced at $95 that I scored for the low, low price of $35! Score one for Kelly!
5. Vintage Communities. Because my husband and I both love the mid-century modern look and design, we tend to find ourselves stumbling across our local shops specializing in these wares. A couple weeks ago, we came across such said shop. After having an amazing discussion with the shop owner, we bought the most amazing lamp and some great 70’s leather jackets. He also gave us a postcard for an annual 2-day sale specializing in mid-century! How amazing that we happened across this shop when we did. We are so going to this sale!
6. Antique Stores. Even though you are not shopping for your average victorian era antique, you can usually find a mid- century nugget of gold (maybe a Knoll or a Wegner) nestled back in the corner. You have to keep your eyes open to find it though. It’s usually sensory overload in places like that.
7. Grandparents’ attics. Remember when you were young and first moved out of the house and everyone was trying to pawn their furniture onto you they no longer wanted? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Depending on the household, you can score big with some of these hand me downs. Take a gander in Grandma’s attic or basement and you might find some marvels straight from the set of Mad Men.
8. DIY. The amazing thing about furniture designs from this era is the craftsmanship. We have some Lane Acclaim tables that are so well crafted, they put modern day furniture to shame. They are not ridiculously heavy, so they are easily rearranged at will, unlike those horrible, heavy, pressed wood tables of today. The point is, there are some items from this time period that can be recreated with modern pieces. Simply marry an existing table top with spindle or hairpin legs and your old, worn out table takes on a whole new life for very little investment and time on your part.
9. IKEA. This company is known for its innovative designers and smart, Swedish design, much like the turn of the century designers and their no-nonsense, ground-breaking designs. The best part is that Ikea has very reasonable prices. While you may not want to furnish your whole house with IKEA wares, you can add some wonderful touches to really make your room design pop at very reasonable prices! Check out this Karlstad sofa and their amazing hanging and floor lamps.
10. Minimalism. You don’t need everything in your house to be a period piece. With some planning and a couple well placed designer pieces or knock off designs, you can accomplish the look you are trying to achieve with little investment.
Still need some inspiration? Here are some iconic pieces from that time period that truly are timeless. Let me know what treasures you have found to add to your collection.
For more inspiration, here are some great blogs specializing in mid-century design. Enjoy!