For the love of Mid Century Modern…

By Sarah from Atomic Magpie

My love of all things Mid Century left me with little choice but to get sucked into the vortex that was Mad Men (binge watching TV series on Netflix is a favorite past time round these parts) And as sad as I am to see it finish, its impact on modern design trends is undeniable. Even Target has come out with a range of Vintage Modern homewares and furnishings. Which is lovely, but to me, nothing beats an original piece. A sumptuous lava drip glazed lamp from the 50’s, a walnut end table from the 60’s…these things sing to me in a way that a replica can’t.

Of course much of the time spent watching each episode of Mad Men was spent coveting the gorgeous furnishings and backdrops. From divine credenzas to burnt orange sofas to atomic ashtrays and bronze crane statuettes, it was Mid Century perfection. Oh to be a set designer on Mad Men!

So much swoon!
Mad Men – so much swoon!

I seem to do this a lot. Another perfect example recently was Hitchcock’s 1958 movie “Vertigo”. Yes, the movie is visually stunning and the story captivates, but it was the little details that grabbed my attention. The coffee percolator in James Stewart’s apartment, the cocktail glasses in the restaurant, a pin on Kim Novak’s coat. All eye candy for the accessory obsessed. It’s not lost on me that a good portion of the movie was spent trying to determine the manufacturer of the white chair in Midge’s apartment  – was it Woodard or was it Knoll – rather than following the storyline. It’s a bad case of mid-mod design ADD.

Vertigo
Vertigo

But…surely I can’t be the only one? What movies have hit you in the design bone? What movie or TV set would you love to ransack? Or replicate? We’d love to know!

We can barely contain ourselves!

We love hearing from people that have purchased our treasures, and this time is no exception. This amazing Lustro-ware kitchen canister set found a new home for itself and looks just fab (especially right next to that sweet retro coffee maker!) We love the gold lettering on the creamy white background.

Lustro-ware was hugely popular in the 1950’s & 60’s, and found in kitchens across America. Their canister sets covered all the bases for dry goods – bread, flour, tea, coffee, sugar, cookies & more. But Lustro-ware didn’t stop at canisters, they had household items galore, from wastebaskets to juice squeezers to ice buckets and everything in between.

If you’ve purchased something from us that you’d like to share, we’d love to see it in its new home! Email us a photo here

For more Lustro-ware items, as well as a selection of kitchen canisters by Mirro, WestBend & others, check out our store.

Thanks to Cindy for the photo!
Thanks to Cindy for the photo!

The Little Table That Could.

Sarah from Atomic Magpie scored this sweet but battle scarred end table and transformed it into a thing of beauty. Here’s how she did it.

A few weeks back I found this beat up little end table on a local swap and sell site. Wedged in a corner, covered in office junk, paint scratched and dirty, and looking generally pretty sad. To many, not worth a second glance…but those legs! One look at the tapered legs, and this table screamed out “buy me! Save me! I am fabulous waiting to happen!” and I knew it had to be my next project.

Before, sad and dingy

I determined pretty quickly that the table was solid wood, covered with layers of lousy paint jobs over the original varnish. So I set about stripping the layers of dirt, paint and stain off, and uncovered a few little surprises along the way. The first happy surprise I unearthed was the brass ferrules on the feet of the table. Covered in decades of paint, these beauties were the cause of great excitement. A staple of mid-century design, I adore brass tipped table legs, and these ones were fantastic.

Oh the joy! Brass Ferrules

Next up, after stripping the top using an Eco-friendly, low fume paint stripper that I was able to use indoors (EZ Strip, Paint & Varnish Stripper) I found that I had in front of me a gorgeous mahogany table top, with a few water stains here and there, but nothing some sanding couldn’t remedy. The legs were a bit more work, requiring a lot of elbow grease, paint stripper and a wire brush. But it got there, and soon I had before me a stripped clean wooden end table with endless possibilities.

Stripped
Uncovered – water stains and Mahogany

I sanded the whole table using a handheld block sander with 100 grit sandpaper. I finished with a fine sandpaper (220 grit) The good condition of the wood, and the stunning grain, made it an easy choice for staining rather than painting. I chose Minwax Special Walnut as the stain, and used a lint free rag to wipe it on, and then off. I did about 6 coats to get the colour I wanted, and had a couple of minor hiccups along the way, mostly with the legs and some small spots of old varnish I had missed. A quick go over with sandpaper on those spots, a touch more stain and the problem was solved.  

Stripped and one coat of stain down

Early on, it was decided a pop of color would really make this table shine. Wanting to stick with the mid-century feel of the table, I chose a vibrant Aqua blue paint for the bottom shelf (Island Oasis by Home Depot, in matte/flat finish)

A quick coat of Minwax polyurethane over the whole table, and the old ketchup trick to polish the brass ferrules, and the end result was quite stunning.

The finished table. Gorgeous!

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese…

Chocolate & Cheese…the way to many peoples hearts (especially ours!) And what better way than a melty, gooey, scrum-didly-umptious fondue session? Heaven in a pot.

The Swiss, French & Italians blazed the way in the 1930’s with the ever delectable, traditional cheese fondue. It wasn’t long before North America jumped on board in the 1950’s & 60’s, making fondue a household favorite. And why wouldn’t they? Fondue is fantastic. In addition to the classic cheese fondue,  chocolate with fruit for dipping became a popular treat, as did “fondue bourguignonne“, in which pieces of meat were cooked in hot oil.

This vintage Danish Modern style fondue set, with fabulous dark wood accents, is perfect for any fondue favorite. Cheese…chocolate….makes us hungry just writing about it! Click on the photo to see this stunning piece in our store.

Fondue

Home, sweet home.

Every now and then we get an update from one of our customers about the piece they’ve purchased. Such is the case with this atomic-fabulous Mirro Medallion candy bowl. Mirro is well known for its vintage aluminum homewares, but the Medallion line was very short lived (1958-1960). Touted as high-end serving ware, it was largely cost prohibitive for most customers, with pieces ranging $8-$22 (think 1950’s dollars!) Due to this short production span, these amazing pieces are highly sought after, and very collectible. 

Absolutely appropriate that this sweet bowl ended up in a classic Mid Century Eichler designed home – and how incredible are those wood paneled walls?! Modernist architecture at its absolute finest. Swoon! 

For more amazing mid century pieces, please visit our store! 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/atomicmagpie

 

It’s Swank-tacular!

This super cool vintage “Swank” gents dresser valet looks like it was ripped right from the set of Mad Men. A fantastic piece of 1960’s mid century decor, it is the perfect caddy for catching cufflinks, watches and other man-cessories on a nightstand or vanity. So fabulous in fact, that it barely hit our store before it was snapped up, no doubt by some dapper young man-about-town. Featuring gorgeous dark walnut with brass fixtures, this valet is an elegant, swanky boudoir accoutrement.

Visit our store for many other amazing Mid Century pieces, and look out for more Swank valets, coming soon.

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Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama

Tropical ocean breezes, cocktails, warm moonlit beaches….this fabulous vintage cocktail tray was undoubtedly a souvenir from just such a paradise escape.

Featuring The Bahama Islands, as it was known before it became just “The Bahamas” (like there is ever “just” the Bahamas!) this tray is a fun and frolicky as an island getaway, depicting sailboats, swimming & fish in shades of pink, yellow and aqua.

This tray is perfect for serving up a Bahama Mama, Bahama Breeze or just about any other delicious cocktail that takes your fancy. Or you could just stare at it…and dream of being in the islands *sighhhh*

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Isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood?

We ADORE anything Scandinavian, wooden & mid century modern. Now these beauties are California made, but they are mid century, they are wooden and they are pretty Scandanvian-esque. Made from stunning Black Walnut by Gladmark of Burbank, they are truly outstanding vintage pieces. 

Just recently we happened upon another Gladmark piece, a gorgeous carving board. We’ll be listing it soon, but we are definitely fans of this mid century (non Norwegian) wood company. 



Champagne is always the answer!

What’s not to love about a festive glass of bubbly? Champagne is liquid fabulousness, and what better way to keep your bubbles cold at a party or picnic than this gorgeous vintage mid century champagne ice bucket? Made in Italy, it possesses all the flair and stylishness that a bottle of champs deserves. Lovely!

“I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” – Coco Chanel. Smart lady.

Espresso yourself! 

The spring forward to Daylight Savings time can really be a struggle, especially when kids are involved. Losing that precious hour of sleep can throw off your body clock big time. If you’re like us, coffee is the go to solution…we’re not ashamed to admit to a full blown caffeine addiction round these parts.

Check out this sweet vintage stovetop Moka (Espresso) pot, made in Italy. Makes rich, steaming coffee in a jiffy. Looks pretty flash too!