Monday, November 16, 2015

Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book: A Look at Mid Century Modern Style

I know it sounds crazy considering how I much I talk about donating all the time, but I still have a little more vintage that's part of my personal collection I'm willing to part with. (Not the often-requested ceramic dinosaur or lamp.) This "Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book" from 1956 is one of a few items I may put in a mini online vintage sale. I've held on to it for some of the pictures and tips but meh, it's no good reason to keep a book for me. I've been meaning to show peeks from it, let's take a look at some genuine Mid Century Modern styled spaces:

The book opens with a gorgeous one! If I ever end up in a house, I want a mid century modern ranch like that. The wood paneling is so warm. Something I notice about every MCM space from this era, there is always at least ONE fussy detail I'd remove from the photo. Usually several. You can certainly see the 60s sneaking into the 50s style spaces in these shots.

No bad, I don't like the fussy plant cage thing or geometric pillows but it's a pleasing arrangement...wait...are those fish above the windows? Wa- Why are there fish above the windows? Ah, such fun kitsch! Another room had those hideous clown paintings we see at thrift stores above the couch.

If you peek at the before photo in the upper right of the page, actually a nice tip there on widening the space with drapes. Mod mixed with traditional colonial happened a lot in the late 50s early 60s.

Dividers, wall-shelves, and build-in shelving to dream of.

The wall shelves! I'm going to build some like that one day. It's a severely uncomfortable looking space thought. This is a house and not a waiting room? The backless couches look uncomfortable. The pillows remind me of ones I saw in children's spaces in the 80s decor books I looked at as a kid.

I'd move right into either of these spaces, changing very little. The fruit on the table and precariously balanced in a bowl above the shelf (?!) needs to go.

Love the use of natural materials in MCM spaces as suggested in this post.

Or here, let's move here!

Or here! Those windows and exposed brick are amazing!

And the layout tips are cute. They did a traditional one with shaker/colonial furniture and this more modern MCM style space for the "casual" family. Matching couch and curtains!

And then 1 million accessories and a bird cage and you're done! I'm noticing a lot of intentional off-centeredness with the pictures on walls. Operating on rule-of-thirds I suppose? A modern space would work to balance the photo above the fireplace so it was lined up exactly with its edges or centered.

The before/after here is quite good too. The goal was to open the space and make it feel wide and open. Using grey throughout helped the affect.

It's modern and clean but still homey and comforting.

The expanding with light trick is near one I hadn't thought of. The lamps here are gorgeous! It's a dramatic before/after, taking you from a traditional Victorian look right into MCM.

A nicely balanced space, I like the painting and the lamp. It feels a bit like a hotel room and that's appropriate, it's a guest bedroom with a fold-out couch.

Each section has a different Super-Mod illustration. This one is my favorite.

I'll finish with a space that looks startlingly current. This is a modern bohemian classic. There's an attic apartment somewhere near you that out there that looks highly similar to this, I know it. Or a record store? Perhaps a trendy clothing shop? The western element really brings it home as skulls and antlers are still trending.

What's your favorite space here? I like elements from a lot of them. It's a neat little book. I'm selling it for $7.00 if anyone would like it send an e-mail.
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  1. I love the mid century style. Some of these design looks retro, but others are very modern. I have a few posters in mid century style in my store, some of them on the topic of furniture. It is so exciting to explore this theme!

    1. MCM has exploded in mainstream popular styles and hasn't gone away, it can make the old photos look quite modern save for the mix of victorian/colonial furniture with MCM which you don't see in modern trendy spaces.

  2. love that book! i've had it before...perused it and moved it on...same as you. :)

    1. Yep, only so much you can get out of it, haha. I photographed my favorite pages to remember but there's plenty of authentic mod fodder to flip through online when the mood strikes.

  3. I wanna live inside this book! Please do share more, its so inspiring Van.

    1. Same, would love to move into some of those spaces. :D

  4. I love it! I actually just bought a huge stack of vintage 60's and 70's mags that I can't wait to dig into!

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