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Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Our Top Five Favorite Mad Men Design Moments


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Now that Don Draper finally nailed the ultimate account and Mad Men has disappeared into 1970 forever, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing all over again on Netflix. There were so many fantastic moments of graphic design, fashion design, even hair design (and some not-so-good ones, those ’70s staches and sideburns were not doing the characters any favors). But most of all, I loved to watch Mad Men for the spot-on 1960s set design.

There are too many to count; with all that Eames, Saarinen and other mid-century icons lurking everywhere. Here are some of the highlights:

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What does this guy need an office for? No actual business ever happened here, except for a fake phone call to Lee Gardner over at Lucky Strike weeks after Roger had lost the account.

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1) The best moment to me was when Jane Sterling hired a decorator to redecorate Roger’s office, the spot where he dictated that not-so-bestselling Sterling’s Gold. A tulip table, a CJ Corona chair, op art and more iconic items in a black and white palette. I mean, check out that phone!


“A modern Chinoiserie breakfront, a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, silk Dupioni drapes, Murano vases, and a classic Drexel end table.” — Betty Draper’s decorator


2) Betty redecorates the living room. Betty hires a decorator that gives her sharp Hollywood Regency style for her living room. Don walks in and moves a lamp around to make it perfect. Then Betty buys a very symbolic fainting couch that messes the whole look up. It’s so appropriate because the poor woman is trapped in an era that squeezes her like a Victorian corset.


3) Betty goes to get analyzed. Has there ever been a sadder woman on a Barcelona daybed? And did analysts really call husbands to give them the rundown after the wife’s appointment? That was crazy. Anyway, this image is fun to compare and contrast with the fainting couch one above it.


4) Don flies to sunny L.A. and winds up hanging out with a bunch of European tax evaders in “The Jet Set” episode. According to Curbed, this house is The Fox House, an abode Sinatra rented for 10 years. If that’s not a ringing endorsement that it’s classic California modern, I don’t know what is. The set designers and art director captured that clean white, glass and that unique California cool.


Bert Cooper’s Japanese-inspired office. No shoes allowed in here. The arrival of new art was always exciting and gave us insight into Bert’s character and tastes. A new Rothko had everyone in the office a tizzy, a Pollack was behind his head during the moon landing, but the best was the sex octopus:

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But the best sex octopus moment was this vision of Peggy Olson, completely transformed, strolling into McCann-Erickson unrecognizable from the young secretary we’d met a decade earlier.


What was your favorite Mad Men design moment? Please share it with us!


Friday, September 20th, 2013

Doing Weekend Shopping? We’ve Got Great Sales Going on


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I wanted to let you know about two great sales we have going on right now.  First of all, if you’ve been saving up for an iconic modern classic from Knoll, now’s the time to bust open that piggy bank. Knoll is on sale from September 20-October 1st, 2013.

Personally, I’ve got my eye on George Nakashima Straight Chairs:

and a Noguchi Cyclone Table:

I love the way it looks with Eero Saarinen’s Executive Chairs; they aren’t just for Mad Men-ish offices anymore. In fact, I have one in my own bedroom.

Check out all the Knoll we have on sale

Speaking of offices we also have another iconic mid-century modern brand on sale. Selected items from Steelcase’s Turnstone collection are also up to 15% off right now. Steelcase is great for the office, the playroom, the living room, the family room and the bedroom.

This is the Steelcase Turnstone Jenny Coffee Table. Its shape is modern, yet it also has a contemporary sensibility. It’s a box that floats, and the wood grain adds warmth to any room, whether you’re a minimalist or a new traditionalist. The reason I love it so much is that you can keep that top cleared off; the bottom has plenty of room for your remotes, coffee table books, magazines, laptop, pet toys and whatever else tends to accumulate around the house.

This is the Steelcase Turnstone Big Lamp. I love the proportions; the shade is a narrow band that gets its heft from the black color, while the white stand is sturdy yet delicate. It has a clean look that will inspire you to keep those nightstands or your desk neat and organized.

See all Steelcase Turnstone items on sale


Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Five Must-Have Dining Chairs


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

I’m a chair nut. When I moved, my moving men kept putting every single side chair I owned into my dining room, their permanent locations, T.B.D. By the time the dining room table arrived, there wasn’t any room to put it in the sea of chairs. Remarkably, they all found a spot, as I love an occasional chair here or there and don’t really tend toward matchy-matchy sets.

Anyway, from one chair nut to others or potential others, here are chairs to be on the lookout for at yard sales and chairs to invest in for your permanent (museum-ish yet functional) collection. I’m going to stick to five dining chairs as otherwise we’d be here all day and I have other stuff to do, but it’s a solid start.

1. Anything by Thonet, particularly with bent wood. These date back to the mid-century. Of the 19th century, that is, somewhere ’round ever-stylin’ Vienna. They still look fly today. Love. Scour second-hand websites and yard sales. A Thonet is a great score.

2. The Emeco Navy Chair (1006 Chair). These chairs were built to stand up to violent seas and dudes in the Navy. We’re talking torpedo blasts on the side of a destroyer. Not only are these suckers strong, they have classic mid-century industrial style that will never fade.

3. The Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair (1949). This versatile chair adds warmth and style to many different kinds of dining rooms. Though first impulse is to go all Danish modern around it, it works very well in more traditional spaces, spaces with Asian style, eclectic rooms as well as very minimalist rooms.

4. Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair (1955). Re-released, this classic is often imitated by chain stores and catalogs – don’t fall for the imitations; having a licensed chair is worth the investment. This versatile and curvy little number looks great for formal dining, casual eat-in kitchen dining and at a desk or dressing table.

5. The Kartell Masters Chair (2010-ish?). Philippe Starck mashed up the silhouettes of three chairs here – Jacobsen’s Series 7, and two others we didn’t have room to include – Eero Saarinen’s Tulip armchair, and the Eames’ Eiffel Chair to get this meaningful back.


Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Eero Saarinen’s Greatest Hits


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I am so excited for Museum of Design Atlanta’s upcoming Eero Saarinen exhibit – it starts this Sunday April 14th and will run through June 30, 2013. For those of you who won’t be in Atlanta during that time, I thought we could do a post on Saarinen here to let you enjoy his work too. Here’s a quick peek at a fe of his greatest hits:

The Miller House, Columbus, Indiana 1957: Now owned and maintained by The Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Miller House is open for tours. If you visit, be sure to pay attention the landscape by Daniel Urban Kiley; it’s one of the most spectacular modern gardens in the U.S. and the interior fun provided by Alexander Girard. Tickets sell out fast, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re planning a trip to the modern-architecture rich Columbus! You can buy them here.

photos via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

The TWA Terminal at JFK 1962: The last time I was in this building, it was leaky and there was a bird flying around, but this architecture was all about the Jet Age, back when flying was glamorous and exciting:

photo by Ezra Stoller

John Deere Headquarters, Moline, Illinois 1964: After catching the eye of John Deere’s president, William Hewitt with his designs, Saarinen designed the striking headquarters for the company. The project is a wonderful example of modern architecture living in harmony with its surroundings:

photo via

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis 1965: One of the most iconic structures (at 630 feet high, it’s also the tallest monument) in the U.S. is also by Saarinen. Again, he teamed up with Dan Kiley to complete the landscape. Isn’t this picture crazy? It gives me vertico just thinking about it, and it also makes me miss my erector set!

Saarinen’s furniture designs continue to be some of the most popular examples of mid-century modern style today.

He designed the Womb Chair (1964) at the behest of his good pal Florence Knoll, who wanted a chair she could curl up in. If one wants to stretch out in it, the matching ottoman is a great addition.

Of course, his tulip table, a.k.a. Knoll Saarinen Table (1956), is one of the most iconic pieces of furniture from the mid-century modern period. Saarinen was not fond of legs and wanted a cleaner look when it came to kitchen and dining areas. “The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world,” he said. “I wanted to clear up the slum of legs. I wanted to make the chair all one thing again.”

For a typical kitchen table with four legs plus four chairs, Saarinen decreased “the slum of legs” from 20 legs to 5 pedestals. Not too shabby!

For those of you in Atlanta during the next few months, be sure to check out MODA’s Eero Saarinen exhibit!


Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Flicker Faves on Fridays:


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

This week, a home in Salt Lake City submitted by Patrick Davis Designs caught my eye on flickr. I love the way the simple palette makes the wood walls and beams really stand out, as well as the beautiful mid-century furnishings. Thanks for adding it to our Fresh New Spaces Group!

All photos property of Patrick Davis Designs. To see the rest of this house, click here. Also, check out


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