One of the most iconic styles of midcentury-modern lighting is the Nelson Bubble pendant. Made of vinyl and available in shapes ranging from spheres to lanterns and cigars, these collector's items can be grouped together for a one-of-a-kind look with a Nelson Triple Bubble Fixture Kit. Once the proper spacing is created, the cords are cut to size, and the kit is wired to the junction box.
With inspirations as disparate as an English club chair and an American baseball mitt, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, designed in 1956 by Charles and Ray Eames, has nonetheless become a design classic. The duo creates instant Midcentury Modern cred in any setting, but looks particularly right when paired with other period-appropriate elements like the vertical wood paneling architect Mary Ann Schicketanz specified in the renovation of this Carmel, California home
For flexibility in a small kitchen — or any multifunctional space — consider an island on wheels instead of a built-in version. The creative minds at Kerr Construction worked movable versatility and sustainability into their design for an island in this warm, modern kitchen. “The island base is a midcentury workshop machine, and the counter is locally resourced and made from reclaimed wood planks. We refinished the planks to match the medium-tone wood cabinets,” they say.
To give her clients Chicago loft a midcentury modern update with a “touch of farmhouse chic,” designer Jennifer Talbot turned to a range of sources, combining new pieces from Blue Dot, One Kings Lane, Jayson Home & Garden, and Crate & Barrel with flea market and antique pieces the couple had collected over the years. “The key to creating a natural visual balance is a blend of new pieces and things that have been thoughtfully collected. If you vary where you shop for the new pieces the end result will feel personal,” she says.
The high-low mix strikes again in the form of midcentury-modern nightstands. Picked up from a local flea market for a cool $50, the original finish was stripped with an orbital sander, and new life was given to each table with a sprayed coat of high-gloss fire-engine red gloss paint. In order to protect the water-based paint, two coats of clear polyurethane were sprayed once the red was dry.
This midcentury-modern gentleman’s case (fancy designer speak for dresser) is striking with its raised geometric design and would look amazing in ANY room. That’s the beauty of MCM case goods (aka storage pieces): The dressers aren’t always a “drawers only” affair. Many pieces were topped off with interesting-looking cabinet doors that concealed useful shelves or cubbies. These particular drawers are home to spare table linens and seasonal decor while the upper cabinet opens up to reveal a fully stocked bar.
The exposed beams called for a "rustic" feel that was relaxed and fun. The designers added the sisal rug and neutral tones in the furniture. The color was brought in through the artwork and bookshelf. Overall the mix of midcentury furniture, minimal dining table, lighting and great artwork makes the room fresh but a relaxed space to gather with friends and family.
The reason for the large, painted stripe behind the clients' white-framed painting was so it "popped" off the white wall. Before that was done, the painting got lost and did not have the contrast it needed.
The workspace in this salon is symmetrical. In the center of the space, white modern nail booths sit in a line. At each of these, a gold Midcentury Modern chair provides customers with a comfortable place to sit. Above each booth is a modern white light fixture with gold interior, accenting the glamour of the space. On either side of the nail booths, four cream armchairs sit in front of pedicure booths, making the space feel even more relaxing. The gold fixtures in the space give the salon floor touches of glam, while the colors of the seating adds to the feminine vibe of the space.
If you want to create an authentic midcentury look—and don’t have the budget for an “instant” collection—get used to going slow. Designer Chris Nguyen shares his own approach: “Persistence and patience were the keys to finding great vintage pieces for the pictured apartment. The best collections are built over time with careful selection from sources such as local and online dealers and even places like eBay and Etsy. Don’t be afraid of pieces that need a little work either, sometimes a little elbow grease or knowing a good furniture restorer will help you get that dream piece sooner and for less money than you think.”
When designer Kress Jack had a month to furnish a three-bedroom home, he turned to a wide range of sources to find pieces that were available right away. “Luckily the clients wanted to incorporate as many vintage pieces as possible to give the home character and uniqueness. You can find great vintage pieces, including great bargains, if you aren’t afraid to run around a bit. For this home, we bought pieces from local flea markets, vintage stores, and estate sales. For inexpensive Mid Century reproductions I like HD Buttercup and West Elm. I also like to repurpose pieces when I can and give them a new life—like the coffee table, a midcentury piece that we turned into a terrarium by adding sand and air plants, and a Plexiglas top to contain the mess.”