There are any number of splendid exceptions but generally speaking I’m opposed to slavishly aping a given decorating period, whatever it may be. And yet here I am, my apartment now more or less complete, and I find I’ve slipped into the mid-century modern trap, fully and completely.
As lovely as it was, my 1940s chinoiserie cabinet simply wasn’t working with the canary yellow daybed or the Saarinen table and ’60s Swedish pendant light. It had to go. My ’80s glam TV stand was similarly at odds with the rest of the room. And so they’ve left the building, saluted for their service but not much missed.
In their place, a couple of period pieces, a 1950s modular shelving unit and an Ed Wormley-style side table that provides a brilliant perch for the TV and video components without hoarding precious floor space.
The chinoise cabinet more or less paid for the new unit, purchased from Ethel. The doors were originally black and white which screamed ’50s and so I gave the black a spritz of the same blue paint I used on my side table. But there was a bigger problem to be solved with the unit, namely that the support poles were 5″ too short for my ceiling. I mentioned my dilemma to Kate Eisen at inAbstracto and she gave me the name of her carpenter, a semi-retired gentleman named Gil Steiner who kindly agreed to fashion some feet for the posts (below left). Gil charged me $125 for four feet (my space only allows me to use three of the poles), thus allowing the unit to be resurrected.
The TV stand was a lucky find at MacCool’s Reuse this past weekend. The wood is finished in the identical shade as the modular piece and the vertical supports mimic the taper in the floor-to-ceiling posts. MacCool’s will be open for a couple more weekends before closing down for the season and all furniture is presently discounted 35 – 50 per cent. My shelf set me back just $110. As a bonus, the power bar and electrical cords all tuck neatly out of sight on a rear shelf.
Yes, there are elements in the space that don’t adhere to the mid-century aesthetic but not too many. That MCM daybed proved to be a mighty big domino and when it fell it knocked over all the other pieces in my living space. I feel a bit sheepish about my stylistic conversion but when I sit in this room I’m honestly delighted with how all the parts have come together and with how supremely functional and comfortable this small space actually is. After three years and as many moves I feel at home at last.