We moved about a month and a half ago, and apart from ordering (and receiving) our stove, we’ve yet to start decorating the house. Last weekend, we moved up into the loft room – currently named ‘The Cocoon’ – in readiness of preparations. I’m not sure what Aidan’s got in store for us this weekend; possibly pulling up carpets and stripping wallpaper.
We really want to bring mid-century style to our 1890′s house. We’ve got a stone exterior and lots of original features, which will definitely be staying, so it’s going to be a tricky task to merge the two style together successfully. Luckily, we’ve got a few magazines featuring just the kind of style we’re after.
I adore the sofa in the picture above and I’m pretty sure that the crockery set in the sideboard is a Midwinter one. There’s something about mid-century design and style that seems to have lasted well; thankfully, more and more people are starting to appreciate it. Unfortunately though, this means that prices are going up as well.
Woman’s Own, Thursday March 15th 1956 featured a pull out booklet on Home decorating ideas. Some of the fabrics, wallpapers and furniture are fantastic:
Some of the prints are just amazing. I keep scouring Ebay but to no avail. I’m either going to have to be prepared to part with the money for something authentic, or grit my teeth and get something more modern. There are some good contemporary wallpapers and fabrics which offer a very similar style, in keeping with the true mid-century style. We’d just rather have the real thing, then we could look like this couple:
Hopefully, by keeping our eyes open and taking our time, we’ll be able to put all of our inspiration to good use and find the perfect pieces, wallpapers, paints and curtains to put our mark on our new house. Lots of fun along the way, too!
Several months ago, I subscribed to the Midcentury Magazine after stumbling across their website and being extremely impressed by the articles they seemed to be offering. The first issue arrived a week later and I was surprisingly pleased and impressed by it. My second issue dropped through the letterbox yesterday, and once again I’m thrilled with it. Beautifully designed pages accompanied by quality writing and a superb reference point of Mid Century modern designers, both current and of the era. The latest cover looks like a print that could be framed itself.
“Midcentury Magazine is a UK-based biannual publication catering for all you 20th Century design enthusiasts out there.” Taken from the website.
This is essentially what this magazine does – and very well indeed. The variety of articles is well thought out: tapping into current trends (Super Sonics: The Turntable); showing off the kind of homes its readers will aspire to (Scheer Delight: A Bespoke Home from 1968); and even connecting with recent occurrences in the modern world (The Soul Creator: The man behind Tintin). My particular favourite from this issue was the insight into the home of Cherril and Ian Scheer. Designed by Gerd Kaufmann and built in 1968, the couple’s impeccable taste shines through the delightful photographs, matched by their enthusiasm and expansive knowledge of the era, design and history of the Hille company, the founder of which Cherrill is the granddaughter. Clearly, the reporting also matches the high quality of the rest of the magazine as the article oozes with information and warmth for their topic.
Unlike the also recently launched Vintage Life magazine, where the quality control appears to be arbitrary; here quality appears to be key. There is attention to detail in the consistency of the graphic design used and the style of writing employed. Precise prose using a readable, fluent style is always attractive to me: like many others, I don’t want to wade through indecipherable sentences to hit the heart of the subject. Nor do I want fluffy or sensationalist writing. The writers, including Emma Roper-Evans, Tabitha Teuma, Jo-ann Fortune and Tom Rigden, have targeted their audience perfectly. The result is comprehensible and distinctive.
Fantastic writing is matched by beautiful design:
The consistent approach of juxtaposing the text and superb photography (Ben Anders, Jonathan Goldberg and Tino Tedaldi) with bold stripes and sections of colour in Mid Century tones works well and brings a cohesion across issues and articles. Created by the design team of Tim Balaam and Kate Sclater at Hyperkit, it’s a striking look, simple in concept but stylish in execution.
The magazine is also more than just being a ‘good read’. It provides an excellent reference and inspiration point for Mid Century design. Accompanying captions provide details of the objects in the photographs where possible and there is an extensive directory at the back showcasing retailers working in this era of design. Yet, it doesn’t feel like the usual directory that gets crammed into the back of a magazine. In fact, it’s probably the first one that I’ve genuinely looked through with interest, before selecting websites to look up myself. Perhaps that’s because it’s coming up to Christmas and I need the present ideas, but surely that is the point of a well thought out directory? It’s not just any old company who came along and offered the cash for advertising; again, it feels like someone with an eye for quality and consistency has selected who they want to feature.
What Midcentury Magazine has accomplished where, for me, few others have; is to have produced a magazine that plays to its readers perfectly. It’s giving me what I want in the way I want it… Interesting articles, classy writing, inspiration for my own home and all encased inside a beautifully designed package. This magazine is not to be read once before resigning it to the recycle bin. It is to be read and referred back to again and again. Not only an essential for any Mid Century enthusiast, I think it’s destined to become a classic in itself.
For much more information, to read sample articles and to subscribe to Mid Century magazine, visit their website here. You can also follow them on Twitter @midcenturymag.
Fohr seemed to produce good quality, simple yet stylishly designed and beautifully coloured pottery:
We’ve only got a few, but it’s no surprise that we’ve ended up keeping most of them.
What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’m off out for dinner tonight with my lovely workmates, and then – if I get my way! – to the SpotiFriday Night at the Deaf Institute, Manchester. Quite looking forward to it and need to get thinking about my requests now.
Today is also a big thank you to everyone who’s been reading my blog and leaving me lots of lovely comments. This has been my busiest month yet in terms of views; it’s nice to know so many people seem to enjoy my randomness and ramblings!
- Pop Pots (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
We always seem to be househunting. And our taste, needs and wants vary wildly from day to day. Some days, we want to buy giant Victorian villas in run down areas; other days we want Mid Century bungalows… If only there were more houses like this about in our little town:
If you visit here, you can download a pdf copy of the programme for the fair. It’s pretty amazing. Here’s an extract:
Sliding-glass walls and a living room skulight make this a house of light and space. Furnishings are both antique and contemporary, there is a separate family room, and in the garage are a Finnish steam room and dressing room. Most of the rooms open onto sundecks, and the grounds have no fewer than three pools, as well as a summer house.” (butkus.org)
I want a sundeck and a summer house. I wouldn’t say no to a Finnish team room, but it’s not a necessity.
Well, we are now back safe and sound in our little house in Glossop after a stonkingly good trip around Deutschland. It really is becoming a home away from home. In the last few days of our trip, we stayed near to Bremen, scouting out the retro and vintage goods around there and up to Bremerhaven. Bremerhaven was a bit like Morecambe…
Bremen itself was fantastic. We didn’t get to see too much due to the driving-around-like-maniacs-whilst-looking-for-pottery aspect of the trip, but from what we saw it’s a place I could quite happily live in. True Mid Century design sprung up from every corner. The pizza place above caught my eye because of the giant Scheurich pot in the window. I assumed it was some kind of retro shop; slightly surprised when I realised it was just a takeaway.
It looked out onto a square, also demonstrating some Mid Century design and sculpture:
I like to imagine that inside each of these flats is a dark, wooden flooring; Scandinavian furniture and some ’50s ceramics. Unfortunately, I think the truth would be far from that vision.
Another amazing building we spotted was this church. We couldn’t go inside for a look-around, but Aidan did take some hasty shots for me, without the ‘Pin-hole’ setting that I played around with for the previous pictures:
We found some good things in Bremen and Bremerhaven, not just some retro design to ogle but objects to keep as well. My favourite place was a junk shop we stumbled upon in some back street that was run by a quite mad old lady, who happened to have a good eye for spotting more things we might like. Unfortunately, most of what she picked out for us was chipped or cracked… didn’t stop her barking ‘Funfziger Jahrer!’ at us and then laughing like mad when we smiled at her. Anyway, amongst other bits and bobs, we got these:
A J.H. Lynch print of ‘Tina’, which we already have a copy of, but was a bargain. And… a Scheurich 279 in a gorgeous ORANGE Lora glaze. It was cracked slightly, but for five Euros, I really didn’t care. It can sit next to my other one and help to look after the baby 414s.
On our final full day in Germany, Sunday, the weather was atrocious in the morning. So we made a quick decision to drive down to Cologne, where a 50s-70s festival was being held. All I can say is: heaven. It was amazing. Every single stall was like something out of my dreams and we were beside ourselves with joy.
You can see Aidan is eyeing up the wares here! Unfortunately, the prices were a bit higher than what we’d been paying, so we only bought a few pieces: tiny Otto and a few Scheurich 50s vases. We ummed and aahed about a pair of gorgeous teak, Danish chairs but then decided we didn’t have anywhere for them to go, nor could we really fit them into Wanda the Van-Car by this point. The festival was a lovely finishing point to the holiday though and set us up happily for the long drive back to Glossopdale.
Today, I was supposed to be unpacking Wanda but this plan has been thwarted by being unable to find the car keys! I should probably get looking for those now…
Yesterday, I posted up a few pictures of our fledgling glass collection. The wonderful folks over at the Pottery and Glass forum have identified a few of them for me.
Designer: Tamara Aladin
For: Riihimäen Lasi, Finland
This was identified by Sticknobills at the forum – seemingly a real font of knowledge on the Finnish glass.
I was also sent this link by Michajoli (at the forum) to explore even more of the designer’s work – and to see another example of mine in a different colour.
These were finally identified by Mark Hill, after Kevin Graham sent him a message containing the link to them. Mark says:
“Personally, I think these are from Sweden’s Ruda Glasbruk, and were probably designed by Göte Augustsson. The colour is known as Kobolt, and (if I’m right) they’re from a large range of mould blown and hand finished (the rim etc) textured vases, jugs and tankards. I wrote a ‘Closer Look’ feature on a different vase in the range in the current edition of the Miller’s Collectables Price Guide & Handbook, if you want more information!”
I love finding out more and more about our pieces, so now I’ve got two new areas to research and learn about. Huge thanks as always to everyone who helped to identify these.
Today is the last day before back to school… fortunately, this half term is only three weeks and four days long. Unfortunately, it means I have to do some work today for my real job… I’m sure I can find the time to research pottery and glass instead at some point!
- Glass: Blue and Green Must Never Be Seen… (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- A Gaggle of Glass: Dartington to Murano (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
One field I know virtually nothing about is that of glass. We’re starting to pick up more and more pieces on each of our trips; this time, I think we got some of our best ones. We must have an eye for greens and blues in glass: virtually all of our pieces are in varying shades.
The smaller vase was bought on the last but one trip; the larger last time. I didn’t realise they were slightly different colours until I put them together for that picture: I’d bought the bigger one thinking it matched the other one.
Sticknobills at the Pottery and Glass forum has been filling me in about some of these glass pieces. These vases are Vase 1379 for Riihimäen Lasi (1970), designed by Tamara Aladin. If you ever have queries on any piece of pottery or glass, the forum must be your first port of call. The members there are amazing at identifying pieces and providing that extra bit of information about them.
The label on this one reads, Svensk Form, Bo Borgstrum, Sweden, Aseda.” I orginally thought this was called ‘Seda’, having not realised the stylised A on the logo was part of the name. Thanks to Ursa_Major at P&GF for telling me this!
Aidan has set up a display and photography bit up in the garden today, as the weather is so glorious neither of us wanted to sit inside. We tried to go for a run this morning in the sunshine. However, I think too many beers and too much curry was weighing us down and we ended up walking round instead…
These are ‘unknowns’ at the moment. I’ve posted them up on the Pottery and Glass forum and am combining writing this with discussions about them. Hopefully someone will have identified them before I finish writing this.
I’ve got a few more to post as well. Unfortunately, my wordpress has started messing around with where I can insert pictures again and my patience is running out! Think I’ll carry on reading ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ in the garden while Aidan takes pictures of pottery. He’s uploading a bumper crop to Ebay this evening so make sure you have a look.
- A Gaggle of Glass: Dartington to Murano (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
A few weeks ago I bought a stack of 20-odd vintage French magazines, all from the 40s, 50s and 60s and I was beyond excitement. Or excitement in a French sounding way… This morning, I bought forty four – yes, forty four! – Woman’s Own magazines, mainly from the 1950s but some from the 40s and a couple from the 60s. If I was beyond excitement before, I’m not sure what I am now…
“Remember, too, that there’s a glistening Gala Nail Colour to match every lip colour.”
The magazine is full of fashion and beauty advice, much like today. The adverts seem to be amongst the most colourful pages:
Much of the beauty tips seem to be related to getting married or keeping a home. Today, it’s more about looking glamourous but I still think the underlying reason is because women want to attract other people, or at least for other people to think they’re attractive.
Some of the letters that readers of the magazine sent in are quite illuminating! After reading several of these magazines, I’m even starting to write a bit like them myself…
“You may call a woman a kitten, but not a cat; a mouse, but not a rat; a chicken, but not a hen; a duck, but not a goose; a vision, but not a sight”. That little pearl of wisdom was by Mrs. P. from Swansea.
“What a wonderfully varied like the air hostesses have! I envy them that, but I also envy their extraordinary versatility; there seems to be so little they cannot do or situations with which they cannot cope. Then too, they’re always so attractive to look at. All this – and travel too!” Miss W. F., Edinburgh
I think I need to get one of these:
When I was a kid, I used to get a Ladybird book every week (if I was good) instead of sweets. There must be dozens of them at my parents house, unless they’ve got rid of them all! These books, released by Ladybird in the late 70s, early 80s, are some of those in a series of ‘How it Works…’.
Mine were a present from A two Christmasses ago. I think they look brilliant, but so far they’ve just sat on our bookshelf, which seems a shame. I would like to display them somehow, but am lacking space and ideas!