Back in the early 1960’s, long before I made my grand entrance into this world, my parents lived an entirely different life than what I was accustomed to growing up. They had adventure, and travels to foreign lands, stories galore and physical relics to prove it all happened. All courtesy of the United States Air Force.
I was born in the early 1970’s, and by then, my Dad had retired, their adventurous life had become normal and sedentary, we lived in the suburbs, and all we had to show for it was the decor they had splashed around our ranch style house.
Our couch was this crazy Rattan piece that looked cool, but sported no comfort whatsoever. We actually had the entire living room set up (couch, two chairs, foot stools, hanging swag lights). Walking into our living room, was like walking back into 1964, minus the giant 1970’s RCA console TV.
My parents managed to drag a 50,000 lb Teak and Rattan bar home from Manila. This thing was the focal point of the house. We ate dinner on it, I did my homework on it. My mom paid the bills on it. Sadly, no one served drinks from it any longer.
Now that I am well into my 40’s and living in my own home, with my own things, I can look back and appreciate what we had. So much so, that I have incorporated many of those exact items I grew up with, into my own decor.
When I was a kid, I always wanted what “they” had. They had a couch with a recliner at the end. They had this or that and we had…not those things. I didn’t understand the value in what would potentially be the focal point of my adulthood house style.
Sometimes, we end up inheriting those things that we had around as a kid. Many times we box them up, put them away in storage, never to be seen again. Sometimes we discard them, thinking “why I am hanging onto this”, only to end up wishing that you did, later on.
The Mid Century Modern resurgence is in full swing. People of all generations, lifestyles, and walks of life, are appreciating the good from the good ol days. More and more, are you seeing homes that are bringing in elements from that bygone era, into their more modern and contemporary settings. Companies are reproducing replicas of what was kitschy decor in 1960, by the thousands, and selling the heck out of them. Target, World Market, Pottery Barn, to name a few, have embraced the MCM regeneration with open arms, and are making a killing at it.
I, have taken a more holistic approach, by integrating what I already had possession of from the inventory of my parents, real life circa 1964.
My house sports all of the modern conveniences that you would expect to find in a home in 2017, minus Rosie the Robot maid that cooks my meals and does my laundry.
Among all of our gadgets and electronic wonders, sits the very pieces I remember seeing my entire life. When we have visitors over, inevitably we are asked, “where did you get that?” and I relish in providing the back story. It truly does sound better to say, “this piece traveled back to the states from the Philippines with my parents in 1962, and they had to hide it in their luggage…”, then “Oh, I scored it on Overstock.”
Don’t be afraid to dig out that box of antiques and items you felt had no space in your space, and display them proudly. In 2011, Centsational Girl had a brilliant blog post about this very topic. Designer Courtney Lake stated this:
“There is Harmony in Discord. Filling a room with antiques or vintage pieces simply because they are so is a road map straight to “Granny’s House”. The impact of the pieces will be lost, so I suggest that you look for “harmonic discordance”. It’s a term borrowed from music, but by definition it’s when a composer purposefully uses off notes to emphasize a particular section of music. Using your inherited antique pieces to create visual dissonance is a fantastic way to break up the monotony that may arise from using one style in a room but also serves to highlight the fantastic qualities of the antique piece itself.”
Take the time to dust them off. Allow the feel of it in your hands to conjure up memories of where it was in your childhood home (or grandma’s house), and be excited about the stories you can tell about “where you got that.”