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The Random Light

17 Jul

I’ve always loved these pendant lamps.  I saw them recently in the restaurant at the Hotel Valley Ho:

And I have a DIY version on my Pinterest board.

Pinned Image

What I didn’t know was that the original was called the Random Light and was designed by a Dutchman named Bertjan Pot.  (These run anywhere from $600-2400.  Try the DIY one!)  I ran across this video today with him talking about his process and the products.  My favorite by far is the slim table, which he calls ‘a lie’.  Brilliant.  Enjoy!

Watch the video on Vimeo – here. (Via Contemporist)


Weekend Show and Tell

4 Dec

Yep, folks. It’s all Christmas all the time from now until the 25th. I am sure there will be some non-Christmas projects thrown in, like the cabinets. At least some that I can manage myself as Brett is still pretty laid up in bed and will be for a few more weeks. (The one thing I know I am good at is shopping, so he better watch out. Better not cry…you know the rest.) So for Weekend Show and Tell, it’s still holiday cheer, both projects and presents.

From Babble, a wonderful MCM Christmas stand made of a tree trunk. Mid-century atmosphere completed with shag rug and Eames chair.

Ummm…what can I say about this? I know I have jumped the shark on the Peanuts stuff. I know I am guilty of becoming one of those old women that wears the Peanuts equivalent of denim shirts with Winnie the Pooh embroidered on it. I just can’t help myself. There is now an app for mobile phone, tablet, iPhone or Android device that includes the option to decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, participate in the Lights and Display Contest to unlock rewards, play Schroeder’s piano, finger paint with the gang, go carolling with the Peanuts choir and much more. Does it bother anyone that this commercialization of The Charlie Brown Christmas is what the cartoon was railing against? Yeah, me neither. (Apparently not available on Windows 7 phone. Bummer.)


Not holiday, but could be a great present from a very rich relative, a chair surrounded by books. Like being enveloped in a wonderful literary blanket. Not sure how comfortable the chair is, but I am just in love with the idea.

Bibliochaise Home

Because you all know about my Scrabble thing, I poached this idea from Pinterest. Clever Scrabble tile ornaments. Though, Faith, Hope, Love and all that aren’t likely for me to use, I do think the girls names would be a great idea.

Pinned Image

On the other end of the price spectrum, re-using and homemade things are totally the mid-century ethos. Check out this homemade lip balm in recycled mint tins. These would be great gifts for office friends or the girls’ school buddies. Lovely.


10 Oct

We all know the jokes making fun of Target calling it ‘tar-jay’, but over the past few years it has actually earned its more swank reputation. I first remember noticing it when they introduced the Michael Graves line of household products, which they still carry. (You can even buy a Michael Graves toilet bowl cleaner. I am not sure I need to be THAT stylish!)

I really took notice when Target introduced a line of Orla Kiely household products. Now I know we don’t need to revisit my Orla obsession, but I will say that the Orla line at Target is still influencing my choices. I wonder what it says about me that so many design decisions hinge on three ceramic kitchen canisters. In fact, her household line was so popular that since I didn’t buy the canisters when I first saw them, I had to buy them at a massive premium on Ebay. You can still buy them for the outrageous Buy It Now price of $159.99. I will say that I am glad I have limited my Orla household objects to just the canisters. I think things that are unique and very recognizable should be used in limited doses to have maximum impact. Also, my house could end up looking like pure Orla vomit if I don’t restrain myself.

Even more recently, Target really inspired the height of design frenzy with their Missoni line from the Missoni fashion house in Italy known for its bold and colorful patterns. Almost all of the Missoni products sold out within the first 6 hours in the pop-up store in NYC that spanned SIX BLOCKS and the Target website crashed for most of the day when it launched the line. People I know who bought the Missoni merchandise loved it, but some admitted it was more about the iconic patterns than the quality of the garment or product.

Aside from partnering with high-end designers, I’ve noticed lately that Target takes some liberties inspiration from other product lines. Because I’ve been pouring over all kinds of modern furniture catalogs and because I am unbelievably excited about the opening of their first Seattle store, I have become keenly aware of the ‘inspiration’ Target has taken from West Elm

Yesterday, Maeve and I were at Target for I-don’t-remember-what-but-I-am-sure-I-left-spending-$100 when a lovely gray felt woven basket caught my eye.  Super cute and perfect for the main bathroom (to hold I’m not really sure what) and only $19.99.

Then I remembered seeing almost the exact same thing on the West Elm site.  They were a little more square and came in more sizes, but the prices ranged from $29-49.  Hmmm.

Then we looked at pillows and I fell in love with this gray felt pillow ($24.99). I must be into gray felt these days. I also loved this fake fur pillow, which Maeve absolutely abhorred, that was only $14.99. 

Low and behold, whilst perusing the West Elm site yet again today, look what I found! A knotted gray felt pillow for $34.99 and a Mongolian Lamb pillow cover (just the cover, mind you) for $54.00. Wow, right?

And finally, in the rug section, Target had a version of my favorite Pebble rug from West Elm.  They call it the ‘Popcorn’ rug and the 5×7 was $179. The similar ‘Pebble’ 5×8 rug for $349 at West Elm.

And another.  Pin-Tuck king-size duvet cover at West Elm is $119.

And at Target it’s $99 for the king-sized duvet cover.

Target Home™ Puckering Comforter Set - Elephant Gray

Now, I have had furniture from both West Elm and Target and I admit straight up that the West Elm quality is absolutely superior to Target. But when it comes to pillows and accessories, I think I am okay with a slightly lesser quality. I know myself well enough to know that these trends of felt and fur and popcorn and pebble will pass and I will want new trendy accessories sooner than I should. Probably much sooner.

Weekend Show and Tell

18 Sep

Wow.  Have I let this week slip by or what?  Back to school really threw me for a loop.  Not to mention the never-ending project list at my day job.  All of the above has left you all completely neglected and in dire need of your hit of mid-century modern design, right?  Am I right?  Well, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hell, have a Bloody Mary, and sit back to see the parade of all the things I love that I didn’t post last week.

From The Contemporist, I bring you this gorgeous house designed by SJB Architects in Australia.  How very updated Frank Lloyd Wright in my opinion, with those horizontal lines and the way it seems to float up out of the ground as part of the earth.  Gorgeous. 

From the same house, the living room features a large oriental rug.  I sometimes wonder about orientals in an MCM home and, while I do like the look, I feel it sits in the room like an anachronism and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.  What do you think?  Do the elements of MCM need to be pure or can they weave in more traditional designs?

From Dans Le Townhouse comes this wonderful DIY project made from old wood-flooring leftovers.  Could I love this more?  It reminds me of an Etsy art I pinned a while back, but much less expensive.  Hmm, free versus $1050?  I’ll take free.  I need to find some of these boards because that puppy is going over our sofa in the living room.  (Of course, when we get said sofa because it only exists in my mind right now!)

For those of you who didn’t see the update on Facebook (seriously, LIKE the page now!), MCML scrabble post was picked up by another blog Crafting a Green World with a post on upcycling board games!  Scrabble is making its comeback with another post on Remodelista too!  Very excited about our first re-post!

From Antikmodern, I really really really want one of these old school mid-century modern shelving units. Unfortunately, it’s a fixture in Albam’s store (UK).  I know exactly where I would put it to help solve our book storage issue.  If any of you awesome MCM crazies know how I might obtain a beauty like this, please let me know.

Ugh…Mad Men season 5 has been delayed.  Whatever will I do without my fix of Don Draper?  (Catch up on the other seasons with my husband, of course.)  In the meantime, brought to you by one of my new fave blogs Grassrootsmodern (courtesy of a suggestion by my brother Patrick who has also started a blog here), these very cool Mad Men posters by Madebyradio.  Sigh.  Pining for Don.

 Oh my, there are so many more that I think I will need a Part 2.  Stay tuned.


The Mother of Invention

30 Aug

Apparently necessity isn’t the mother of invention. I am.

Despite what some of you may think, I am not crafty. At all. In fact, I don’t even really like the idea of being crafty. I am creative. Not crafty. There is a difference. I can envision things and ideas, but I cannot make them. I get other people to make them. (Yes, I can now paint a wall, but I don’t consider that all that crafty.)

Maeve on the other hand is both crafty and creative. The girl never stops. Some days she spends all her time outside painting, creating something near a masterpiece.

This morning for example, she decided she was going to spend her day making an Eiffel Tower out of Popsicle sticks. Huh?

Her other recent creations have been more mid-century modern inspired. When she isn’t scanning Ebay for mid-century things for our home like hairpin table legs, she is dreaming up other MCM creations using regular household objects. For example, she created this pendant lamp from an old light fixture she had in a Chinese lantern and some plain old printer paper.

She also made this Eames inspired clock with the clock mechanism from an old Target wall clock, construction paper and wooden sticks.

And she took my Pinterest challenge seriously, even if I didn’t, but making this succulent planter with a vase she found in the cabinet, rocks from outside and a plant from the garden.  She puts me to shame.


And if that weren’t enough, she even has her own Etsy shop, Raindrops. Check out her lovely jewelry. I am so proud of her creative energy and I hope she will follow her bliss always.  The other night we were talking about some of her peers who are starting to get wound up about college choices and making sure they have enough club and philanthropic activity to get themselves into Harvard. I could see her getting stressed out about it and I shared with her one of my favorite posters. I reminded her this is her life and she only gets to do it once. Happiness comes from following your bliss and I am sure she will.

Colorful Doors

25 Aug

So I can be kind of lame sometimes and not get things done as quickly as I want to.  I posted the Pinterest challenge a while ago with the hopes of completing a DIY project from my Pinterest boards. Let’s be kind and just say the deadline slipped by, shall we?  Not only am I messy, but apparently also a procrastinator. At least I’m a nice person, right?

I finally did it. And all it took was that awesome Yolo paint and the cool colors that inspired me. I like to browse the internet for mid-century modern ideas during which I visit various home decorating and DIY sites. I love the idea of front doors painted in thoughtful colors:  the traditional red and the whimsical yellow (done by my blogging and DIY heroes at Young House Love), even a hot pink version. I even saw the inside of a front door painted daffodil yellow too.

Then I saw it. My inspiration. I have noticed (and likely so have you) that I have an orange and green problem. I may need a color 12 step program. Alas there isn’t one and in the meantime, I indulge my cravings, of which we seem to have daily proof. The image that stopped me short was the inside of a front door painted a lovely bold green. Not Kelly green.  Not forest green. Not lime green. But the perfect celadon-almost-avocado-don’t-really-know-what-to-call-it-green.  All I could think was…I must do this right now.  Right bloody now.

And I did.  At least the first coat. There were some areas on the door that had been scratched up and peeled by the previous owner’s dog. I sanded those down and did a test patch. Paint stuck well, no need for primer or Gripper. I went to work. I taped up the window, the lock and door handle with Frog Tape and started painting. Straight away I knew this was a good move. I also knew I had a home for one of my favorite pieces of artwork, a Parvez Taj piece of Jin, an incarnation of Shiva, using film and UV ink on a stretched canvas.

Maeve offered to do the second coat and I let her, as I was busy arranging other photographs (for a future post!) and she did an excellent job. Now when you enter our home, you have a green door behind you and a green wall before you with Jin in between.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.

While this door isn’t exactly mid-century modern, I have to say we’ve made it fit right in to our lovely home. Someday, we will have a more MCM door, maybe something using one of these kits from Crestview Doors.  And what color should we paint the front part of the door?  Orange, of course!

Pinterest Game On!

27 Jul

Oh yeah…game on!

You all know how much I love Young House Love. This is only surpassed by my love of Pinterest. (Oh…and right by my husband and family too.  Of course.) For those of you who haven’t checked out either…YOU MUST DO SO NOW! Click above and have your home design world shift forever.

When the two things I love came together yesterday in the Pinterest Challenge, well…it was like the clouds parted and heaven my children sang. I loved the idea of a Pinterest Challenge until I realized it meant I had to make something. Like with my own two hands. Oh dear.


While I like the idea of making things, I prefer the idea of other people making things for me. But Sherry and her compatriots have me inspired.  I will make something from my ‘Fun DIY’ Pinterest board this weekend if it kills me.  And it might.

We know it won’t be the DIY mid-century desk

Or the awesome welded firepit

I do think that I could handle the dry-erase board


Or the terrariums, which I really really love.


If we could find the Eames chair-legs for less than $100, Brett could totally pull off this DIY bench with the wood from the rockery project.

So will you join me in this Pinterest Challenge? The idea is to post your creation on the YHL blog (and hopefully the MCML blog too!) by August 2nd.  I am committing to the two projects above.  I think they are an accessible entry point into this DIY-thang. If you aren’t a Pinterest convert yet, please submit the DIY you are proudest of to share!

And if that weren’t incentive enough, check out this snort-inducing video from Sherry of YHL and her compatriots in crime.  Enjoy!

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