Bookmarks: Miller’s Mid-Century Modern

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"Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller surrounded by vintage Mid-century modern homewares including a West German fat lava vase, bright orange pedestal cigarette lighter, small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl and still life oil painting

In today’s Bookmarks post we’re taking a peek at Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design by Judith Miller.

title page of "Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller with a small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl

Well, a bit more of a peek really , as we linger over some of the wonderful pieces on display!

interior view of the mid-century modern design Kauffman House sitting room

Mid-century modern is one of our favourite eras for interior design, illustration, textiles and product design…

Arne Jacobsen "Ant" and "Swan" chairs

…so as the pages turned, there was a soundtrack of many oohs and ahhs!

selection of vintage Mid-Century Modern glassware including a kingfisher blue "Drunken Bricklayer" vase designed for Whitefriars by Geoffrey Baxter

Judith Miller is most famous for her all-encompassing antiques & collectables guides which are published annually.

collection of colourful West German "Fat Lava" pottery pots and vases

In recent years, they’ve include an ever-increasing number of 20th century pieces in response to interest & demand.

collection of GPlan furniture including a nest of pebble tables and "Butterfly" chairs designed by Lucian Ercolani

This book concentrates solely on mid-century modern – 1950s to the 1970s being the period generally accepted.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases

A wonderful introductory chapter covers its evolution and influential designers.

collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs including examples designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Carlo di Carli

The movement perfectly encapsulated a new mood of optimism after the war years with revolutionary designs, materials & techniques.

collection of vintage mid-century modern pop art chairs including examples designed by Egon Eiermann and Günter Beltzig

The fresh ideas, and indeed disposable income, of a whole new generation began to soar.

vintage mid-century modern chair designed by Eero Saarinen and folding cube radio designed by Richard Sapper

There are examples of houses & interiors that encapsulate the era – less cluttered and designed for modern living.

vintage mid-century modern George Nelson "Spike" wall clock, Tommi Parzinger-designed sideboard and mahogany credenza and aluminium armchair designed by Harvey Probber

A broad array of objects are included, with chapters given over to furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, metalware & textiles.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases produced by Riihimaki of Finland

In addition, an extensive section covers the people responsible for these wonderful & iconic designs.

collection of vintage mid-century modern fabric

There are about 200 familiar & not so familiar names who are given a short, individual write up.

Mid-Century Modern text

We’ll just scratch the surface by mentioning Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Robert Welch, Stig Lindberg, Lucienne Day, Per Lutken, Charles & Ray Eames.

view of a sitting room with black Barcelona chairs and sofas

The book is packed with quality, full colour photographic references throughout…

vintage "Valentine" typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass, Peter and Alison Smithson chair and Ronald Stennett-Wilson green glass candlestick

…and as with all Miller’s guides – estimated values to accompany each item image.

vintage mid-century modern Marcel Breuer reclining chair and Holmegaard "Gulvase" designed by Otto Brauer

There’s also a useful directory included of international dealers and their contact details – broken down into categories such as ceramics, glass, furniture, lighting etc.

collection of American-designed vintage mid-century modern furniture

As well as auctions & fairs and museums if you fancy going to see or sometimes handle wares in the flesh

vintage mid-century modern posters by Saul Bass and Herbert Bayer

The book is well researched and accessible – a perfect coffee table browser or excellent source book for your library.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramic pots, vases and plaques

Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design is available from the publishers Octopus, Amazon and Hive.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramics designed by Stig Lindberg

[Many thanks to Octopus for the review copy]

Vintage Super-haul

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selection of vintage homewares bought from Wooden Donkey

We often write posts that feature a certain week’s vintage homewares purchases – mini hauls. There’s only one way to describe this lot of items – a super haul!

selection of vintage homewares bought from Wooden Donkey

We can’t actually take any credit for finding all these wonderful pieces. They were all hunted down by Emma Gladding, aka Wooden Donkey.

selection of vintage homewares bought from Wooden Donkey

She has recently decided to call it a day in terms of trading and we said that we’d buy her remaining stock. Having agreed a price (a very fair price), seven boxes of vintage goodies duly arrived. Emma was very glad to get the space back in her house and we were very happy to get the booty – perfect outcome all round!

selection of vintage homewares bought from Wooden Donkey

We definitely have similar tastes and it felt just like Christmas unwrapping all the wonderful things.

selection of vintage homewares bought from Wooden Donkey

We might allow ourselves the odd treat, but we’ll be putting the majority of items into our web shop & antiques centre pitch over the coming weeks & months. Watch this space!

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid May 2012

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group of vintage items soon to be added to the H is for Home website including a medium sized orange & white Cathrineholm Lotus enamel bowl, wooden rolling pin with red handles, pottery mixing bowl with blue interior, orange cased glass light shade produced by Holmgaard, floral fabric in shades of orange, wooden shopping reminder board, wooden letter rack, set of wooden handled knives in a stand, pottery sifter made by Portmeirion and a metal swizzle stick with blue painted wooden handle

Here’s a new batch of recent vintage finds – slightly more items than our last ‘Forthcoming Attractions’ post!

group of vintage kitchenalia items soon to be added to the H is for Home website including a wooden rolling pin with red handles, pottery mixing bowl with blue interior, pottery sifter made by Portmeirion and a metal swizzle stick with blue painted wooden handle

We’ll start with a few pieces for the kitchen. Quite a blue feel to the selection. These vintage mixing bowls often have cream interiors, but more rarely have these lovely coloured glazes in blue, orange or yellow. The utensil sitting inside the bowl is a drinks mixer or frother. The metal whisk end spins as you press the handle down – perfect for cocktails, hot chocolate etc.

detail from a group of vintage kitchenalia items soon to be added to the H is for Home website including a wooden rolling pin with red handles, pottery mixing bowl with blue interior, pottery sifter made by Portmeirion and a metal swizzle stick with blue painted wooden handle

The sugar or flour sifter is classic 1960s with its geometric pattern in sky blue & deep olive green. It’s from the ‘Tivoloi’ range produced by Portmeirion Pottery.

close up view of orange cased glass light shade produced by Holmgaard

This bowl could also find a good home in the kitchen, but has a thousand uses around the house. We often feature these pieces of colourful enamel produced by Cathrineholm of Norway – teapots, pans, bowls, ice buckets and more!

pair of vintage wooden items soon to be added to the H is for Home website - a wooden letter rack and set of wooden handled knives in a stand, pottery sifter made by Portmerion and a metal swizzle stick with blue painted wooden handle

Now for a bit of wood. The butter knife set is a great bit of Scandinavian design – sculptural and useful. It was produced by Karlsson & Nilsson of Sweden in the 1950s or 60s. We think the letter box is very sweet – it would give a lovely vintage touch to an office desk or hallway.

vintage 1950s wooden shopping list reminder board

Probably our favourite object this week is this 1960s shopping list board. It’s a humble object and quite a rare survivor being so simply constructed. It certainly has lots of charm.

detail from a vintage 1950s wooden shopping list reminder board

We love the graphics – wife doing a spot of homemaking, hubby out collecting the parcels!!

orange cased glass light shade produced by Holmgaard and a quantity of floral fabric in shades of orange

And finally, a bold flash of orange. The lampshade is a very good quality piece of cased glass – it was produced by Holmegaard of Denmark, in the 1960s or 70s. The fabric is from a similar era. We think it might have been produced by Crabtree Fabrics. It would make great cushion covers.

close up view of floral patterned fabric in shades of orange

Or perhaps even more perfect… curtains for a vintage camper van. One glimpse of these and you’d be in a happy, holiday frame of mind!

Forthcoming Attractions: Early May 2012

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vintage orange enamel Cathrineholm "Lotus" kettle with vintage orange floral patterned apron and orange floral print Staffordshire Pottery mug

There isn’t the usual number of items in this Forthcoming Attractions post. It’s just that they really summed up the last few days. We had a magazine photoshoot on Wednesday chez H is for Home. The groovy flower-power apron represents the hours of cleaning we had to do before they arrived – and the fabulous Cathrineholm kettle represents the endless cups of tea that kept us going! It’s not that we live in a dirty house or anything, but there’s a constant battle against coal dust & dog fur.

Both items will be hitting the shop soon – and a further post about the photoshoot will follow very shortly too!

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid September 2011

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selection of vintage items soon to be available from H is for Home including Briglin Pottery coffee pot, Cathrineholm coffee pot, orange enamel coffee pot, vintage Vera pillow cases, 4 Chance Glass pin dishes, pair of green enamel candleholders, Robert Welch for Old Hall stainless steel mustard pot & spoon, set of 6 Wostenholm stainless steel dessert spoons, Smiths desktop thermometer and pair of Italian Ceramica Di Milano handpainted lidded pots decorated with female figures

Here are some forthcoming attractions for mid September… photos taken on a rare, sunny afternoon by recent standards.

selection of vintage items soon to be available from H is for Home including Briglin Pottery coffee pot, Cathrineholm coffee pot and orange enamel coffee pot

We start with a trio of coffee pots. At the back is a tall coffee pot produced by Briglin Pottery in the 1960s – in our favourite wax resist sunflower design. To the foreground are two enamel pots – the orange one (dating from the 1960s/70s) has no maker’s marks, but is a fabulous colour & shape. The green & white pot is by Cathrineholm of Norway – from the much in demand ‘Lotus’ range designed by Grete Prytz Kittelsen in the 1950s.

vintage Robert Welch for Old Hall stainless steel mustard pot & spoon and set of 6 Wostenholm stainless steel dessert spoons

Moving onto some Mid Century Modern stainless steel. First we have the little mustard pot still with its original spoon. This was designed by Robert Welch for Old Hall.  The set of tea/dessert spoons was produced by Wostenholm of Sheffield – we love their big moon shaped bowls.

selection of vintage items soon to be available from H is for Home including vintage Vera pillow cases for Burlington and a pair of green enamel candleholders

Bedroom items next – some unused 1970s patterned pillowcases in shades of orange and two green vintage enamel candle holders.

set of 4 vintage Chance Glass pin dishes

This set of snack dishes was made by Chance Glass – pieces with this psychedelic swirl design are steadily getting more sought after.

pair of vintage Italian Ceramica Di Milano handpainted lidded pots decorated with female figures

We think these two lidded pots might just be our favourites in the whole collection.  They’re Italian, hand painted and date from the 1950s. A pair of domestic goddesses!!

vintage Smiths desktop thermometer

And last but not least, we have this rather nice desk thermometer produced by Smiths in the 1950s or 60s. We fear its needle is about to plummet!

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid-June 2011

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selection of recently acquired vintage shop stock for H is for Home including a red orange & white Cathrineholm Lotus enamel kettle, selection of Skyline kitchen utensils, wicker basket and Sylvac Pottery toast rack

Here are some of our recent finds for mid June.

selection of recently acquired vintage shop stock for H is for Home including a red orange & white Cathrineholm Lotus enamel kettle, selection of Skyline kitchen utensils and wicker shopping basket

We’ve not come across any Cathrineholm for months – then all of a sudden we’ve found two pieces. In our last Forthcoming Attractions post we had a frying pan – this time it’s a lovely red orange coffee pot. It’s in excellent condition again which is always a huge bonus with enamelware of this age.

The kitchen utensils were made by Skyline – they’re chrome with painted wooden handles.

The vintage wicker basket is an unusual shape – they’re not usually this deep or this square. It’s great for shopping, gardening or storage though – and the red stitch detailing on the handle is a nice touch.

selection of recently acquired vintage shop stock for H is for Home including a Sylvac Pottery toast rack and Scandinavian teak handled stainless steel ladle

This Sylvac toast rack is interesting with its kitchen pot & utensils design. It’s quite reminiscent of the Fiesta range produced by Barker Bros. in the 1950s .

The sauce ladle is beautifully crafted in teak & stainless steel. It was made in Sweden – very elegant and classic mid-century modern.

selection of recently acquired vintage shop stock for H is for Home including a Scandinavian teak handled stainless steel ladle, pottery biscuit barrel and glass bottle with stopper in the shape of a head

Next we have a super, psychedelic biscuit barrel produced by Crown Devon – the humble, understated digestive won’t know what’s hit it! Justin reckons it’s the kind of landscape where Crystal Tipps & Alistair would have played (obscure 1970s kids TV reference there)… or where the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine would have sailed.

The bottle/decanter is taken from an original 1950s design by Erik Höglund and known as a Glasmadamer or People decanters, manufactured by Kosta Boda of Sweden. The original pieces were hand blown – this is a later, pressed glass version – probably dating from the 1970s – still quite a charming little item though!

selection of recently acquired vintage shop stock for H is for Home including a set of four 1970s pottery cups & saucers

And finally there’s the West German porcelain cups & saucers – we love the pattern & colour combination.

A freshly brewed coffee in one of these – not a bad way to start the day!