It’s Alive! IT’S ALIVE!!


After a 19 month absence (yikes!) Mid-Century Living has returned. Various factors contributed to the silence here including general blogging burn out. Here are some of the various highlights (or lowlights) that have occurred since things went dark.

1. Restoring (and renovating) an old house with lots of serious problems (Reminder #1: We bought a 60-year-old short sale ‘fixer-upper’ on of the verge of foreclosure that hadn’t been maintained in years) was a bigger task than I’d personally anticipated with our limited budget & lack of general experience (Reminder #2: This is our first home purchase & I’ve been an apartment renter for most of my life so the learning curve has been HUGE). I knew going into it that I’d be living in chaos for at least 5 years but I wasn’t exactly prepared for how that might wear on my nerves.

2. Due to our commitment to Rancho Del Lindbergs (yes, our home has an official name now!) & in an effort to save money we were forced to move all of our parents belongings out of storage (Reminder: Both sets of our parents are dead) and into our home. This left us with very little room to function and to be frank, my mother was somewhat of a hoarder so it’s taken me a longtime to sort through her long neglected belongings and make sense of things. It’s also been an emotionally draining experience that often left me feeling rather craptastic.

3. A few unexpected financial setbacks also threw a wrench in our renovation plans including a car accident (our only car was hit by an uninsured driver & needed lots of work done), some medical expenses (one of our cats needed surgery & I’ve had some serious eye problems of my own to contend with) as well as home repairs (we’ve had continues plumbing & electrical problems since moving in). On the bright side, we put a new eco-friendly foam roof on our home that has helped us save on electricity bills.

4. My camera broke & this left me unable to take pictures for a longtime, which was a real drag but I have a new camera as well as a cellphone (I’m a late cellphone adapter) and plenty of vintage cameras now. I also had to replace my computer and its taken me awhile to transfer all my old files, etc.

5. At the end of August in 2014 & just a month before I was planning on officially opening my Etsy shop Napa was struck by a 6.0 earthquake that caused major damage to our old home and belongings, including many of the items I’d planned to put in the shop. It also forced our 82-year-old post office to shut down and I ended up losing my P.O. Box in the process. Since then I’ve been a bit jumpy (hardy har har!) and my nerves are still somewhat frazzled. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up at 3:30AM (that’s when the earthquake struck) in a cold sweat. I’ve suffered from insomnia all my life and the earthquake has only managed to compound things. The curious can read my earthquake report at TCM’s Movie Morlocks’ blog: EARTHQUAKE! An Update from the Trenches.

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A shot of what my office looked like after the earthquake.

Digging out from disaster…

Despite the various ups & downs of the last 19 months, there are plenty of good reasons why I’m recharging Mid-Century Living now.

1. Things at Rancho Del Lindbergs are finally starting to turn around for the better due to a number of factors and hopefully I can start sharing some progress updates as they occur. Seeing some light at the end of the tunnel has also brightened my mood & improved my overall outlook.

2. In the last 19 months I’ve spent a lot of time teaching myself to be a better cook (when you can’t afford to eat out anymore it forces you to be creative in the kitchen!) and I wanted to start sharing some of my cooking adventures here including recipes, tips, etc.

3. I’m determined to finally get my Etsy shop up & running before the year is over and I plan on sharing shop updates here.

4. Despite my blogging burnout, I’ve never lost interest in mid-century design and I’ve been quietly stowing away all kinds of things I want to share here sooner or later.

5. And last but not least, I just missed this place! For one reason or another, this blog gets a lot of traffic and I feel bad for people who surf by and discover a ghost town instead of the fun & lively place I had imagined it would be.

So without further babble & bitchin, lets get this party started again!

Monday Link Roundup

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There’s were lots of good updates posted at Retro Renovation this week but my favorite post was a detailed look at this mid-century bathroom installation:
Nanette and Jim’s vintage blue bathroom

An interesting overview of James RW Cornetet new book Facadomy: A Critique on Capitalism and its Assault on Mid-Century Modern Architecture can be found at AZoBuild. The author explains that, “Central to ‘Facadomy’ is Cornetet’s analysis of the economic roots of Mid-Century Modernism, the movement that shaped modern design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.”
New Book Examines How Modern Economic Forces May Affect Tomorrow’s Designs

There was a great interview with author Rob Keil in the San Mateo Daily Journal last week. Keil’s the author of Little Boxes: The Architecture Of A Classic Midcentury Suburb, which details the history of one of the Bay Area’s best known mid-century suburbs located in Daily City. In the interview Keil explains that he’s been working on a documentary about Henry Doelger, a suburban developer who created the colorful “little box” houses that were criticized by some and are now being lovingly restored by appreciative owners. A trailer for the upcoming film Little Boxes: The Legacy of Henry Doelger is posted below.
Little Boxes: Discovering Doelger

Cost Plus World Market Goes Retro

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I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately and I recently needed some emergency kitchen supplies so I visited a few stores looking for the best deals. One of the stores I visited was the local Cost Plus World Market. I’ve been a Cost Plus costumer for  decades because they have reasonable prices and they have a great international foods section. But I was surprised to discover that they’re currently selling some nice looking vintage inspired kitchen items in their store. Here are some of of the things that caught my eye.

Kitchen Scale


Metal Kitchen Scale
I love the design and the aqua color matches a lot of vintage kitchen items I already own. I also love the red numbers and it comes with a nifty stainless steel bowl.

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Spice Jars with Ceramic Lids
Again, these colors are perfectly matched with many vintage kitchen items I own and the design is really nice. These tiny spice jars are perfect for holding any small items you may own.

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Striped Ceramic Rolling Pins
These ceramic rolling pins with red or navy stripes are styled really nicely. They look like they came from grandma’s kitchen.

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Mint Scalloped Stoneware Kitchen Canister
When I saw this I immediately thought of vintage Jadeite kitchenware. The canisters are large enough to hold flour, sugar, etc. and a set would look great in a  mint green kitchen. They’d also look good in a vintage bathroom holding items like cotton balls, small soaps, etc.

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Metal Cake Carrier
I love vintage cake carriers and this one resembles a few I’ve seen.

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White 3-Tier Metal Kitchen Cart
Metal kitchen carts seem to be getting popular again. Ikea carries a nice aqua one but I like the handles on this white version. The Cost Plus cart also got a faux antique finish that gives it an aged look.

Like these items but would prefer the originals?
I’ve put together an Etsy Treasury List featuring items that may (or may not) have inspired the designs at Cost Plus World Market.

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Etsy Vintage Inspiration Treasury List

Monday Link Roundup

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Herman Miller’s new video series “Why Design” aims to “explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view.”
Why Design – Herman Miller

An interview with Heywood-Wakefield furniture manufacturer, Leonard Riforgiato, who is reviving this stylish Mid-Century brand for a new generation.
Heywood-Wakefield furniture — still made new today in the USA

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation recently hosted it’s 6th annual  Mid-Century Modern Tour. At their website you can find photos of the event as well as brochures for all their previous events. The sites well worth a visit if you want to know more about the history of Mid-century design in Canada.
Vancouver Heritage Foundation Mid-Century Modern Tours

Also worth a read, this article about the tour from the Vancouver Courier.
Lookie-loos go gaga over Mid-Century Modern homes

Many Eichler neighborhoods are celebrating their 50th & 60th anniversaries this year. Adam Martin’s latest post for the Eichler Network discusses some of the events being planned in the Bay Area to honor Eichler and celebrate the homes he designed.
Middle-Aged Eichler Neighborhoods Are Ready to Party

Last week was the 36th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death and while I was roaming around online reading various tributes to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll I came across this interesting video tour of Elvis’ incredible Palm Springs Honeymoon Hideaway originally built in 1962. Elvis stayed here with his new bride, Priscilla, in 1967.

For more info about the house visit this link: Elvis Presley’s Honeymoon Home

The Charles M. Schulz Mid-Century Modern Exhibit

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the Mid-Century Modern design exhibit currently on display at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. It was organized to showcase the “Post-war, mid-century modern aesthetic elements in Peanuts comic strips” and as a longtime Peanuts fan who grew up watching the various TV specials and spent many hours playing with her stuffed Snoopy toy, I found it incredibly charming as well as informative and fun. If you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend stopping by the museum and checking out the exhibit before it closes in late October. You won’t be disappointed! Here’s a little blurb about the exhibit from the museum’s website:

Many of the Peanuts comic strips of the late 1950s and 1960s exude the mid-century modern aesthetic of the day — the furniture, decorative pieces, and fabrics were hip, cool and up-to-date. In a series of vignettes these elements will be compared with the work of some prominent mid-century designers, including Ray and Charles Eames. Another component of the exhibition examines how the Schulzes incorporated the design aesthetic in their lifestyle through photographs and ephemera.

I took a lot of photos at the exhibit because there was so much eye-candy on display. Some items are from their permanent exhibit and others are specifically associated with the Mid-Century Modern exhibit. Enjoy the eye-candy!

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A few examples of Peanuts comics featuring mid-century design.

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The photo shows Charles Schulz at home and the drapes in the photo are part of the display. I loved the print and color!

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The displays were really wonderful and showcased the work of designers such as Eames, Hans L. Wegner and Noguchi.

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I really loved cute Eames chair manufactured by Herman Miller for the Dover Street Market store opening in Tokyo, Japan.

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My favorite ongoing display at the museum was this wall mural that Schulz originally painted for his daughter’s bedroom. The wall was carefully removed from the Schulz home and now it can be enjoyed by everyone. The animal details were adorable! I especially love the crazy looking bunny.

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Some of the items on display from Charles Schulz’ personal office & his bowling ball, bag & shoes (he was a championship bowler).

csm24Last but not least, here are some of the super cute coasters currently being sold at the gift shop featuring vintage Peanuts illustrations with a mid-century twist. If you can’t attend the exhibit you can still purchase these costers for a limited time at the museum’s website.

Recommended Links:
The Charles M Schulz Musuem
Charlie Brown’s Mid-Century Modern life

Monday Link Roundup

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If you didn’t make it to Palm Springs for Modernism Week earlier this year, you can still look forward to Mod-Palm Springs. This new event “celebrating a serving of all things Mid-Century Modern carefully blended with retro Tiki culture (the Polynesian kind so prevalent in the 50´s & 60´s)” takes place October 11th through the 13th. For more info & ticket prices visit the following link:
Mod-Palm Springs

California Tiki enthusiasts can also look forward to the 13th annual Tiki Oasis event taking place in San Diego next week (August 15-18th). This year promises to be a real Hawaiian Hootenanny!
Tiki Oasis 2013

In the mood for a little eye-candy? Check out at Kristen & Paul’s fabulous “artsy, retro home on a shoestring budget” currently on display at Retro Renovation:
Mixing old & older

Last but not least, The Mid-Century Menu is one of my favorite blogs featuring the culinary adventures of Ruth & Tom. They’ve recently introduced a new regular feature called Vintage Cocktail Friday that I really enjoy. Throwing a retro-themed party? Just in the mood for a cool refreshing drink? Then pop on over to The Mid-Century Menu!
Bees’ Knees – Vintage Cocktail Friday

Monday Link Roundup

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The California Modernist Adam Martin takes us on a “A 1960s Weekend in Lake Tahoe, Today.”
A 1960s Weekend in Lake Tahoe, Today.

Ikea is planning to reissue a copy of their incredible 1956 Lövet table, which launched their “flat-pack” assemble-it-yourself furniture line. The new table is called the Lövbacken and it’s sure to be a hit again with budget conscious consumers like myself who can appreciate it’s mid-century design and affordable price tag.
Ikea relaunches table that started the flatpack revolution.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney Australia is getting ready to host a comprehensive retrospective featuring the work of designer George Nelson. The Sydney Morning Herald’s got the full scoop.
Mid-Century Modern Master.

I’m a little late on this but loved the story so had to share this collection of photos featuring actress Betty White.
Betty White’s Home In The 1950s