Hello, my name is *JD Vincent, Author of Bonwit Teller “Vintage Visual Merchandising,” Celebrity Guest Blogger for An Orange Moon!
HAPPY 11TH SHOP ANNIVERSARY TY & LYNN! I met Lynne when my company did a photo shoot in An Orange Moon a few years back.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to incorporate vintage into your home? Try these tried and true tips! I live with Mid Century Modern design and have for many years. My love of 1950’s and 1960’s design
goes back many years. Whenever anyone new sees my apartment for the first time they always ask
“Where did you get all this stuff? Where did you start”? I tell them – “It’s a process”. I’ve lived with vintage design for most of my adult life. I never wanted to spend a ton of money on furniture and accessories. Even when I was a young adult and needed to buy furniture – it was the ‘70’s and I purchased what was contemporary and modern at the time. The 1970’s are generally regarded as the last decade of collectible Mid Century Modern design. My first
sofa was actually a beige, four piece modular sectional. I already had a 1960’s Lucite coffee table and a
pair of ‘60’s chocolate brown leatherette and chrome director chairs.
So for beginners wanting to add in some vintage items for your home – here is my advice for:
1. – Start out in a small way at first.
Vintage design is unique – you won’t find cool vintage items just anywhere. It will give your home or
apartment a unique flair and sophistication. You don’t have to go total vintage – or not. But by mixing
in a few pieces it will give your home a uniqueness rather than just furnishing it completely from Crate
& Barrel or similar furniture stores. Vintage Modern – or Mid Century Modern – also blends very well
with most contemporary design. Say you have a new sectional and a pair of chairs – get a vintage coffee table to set them off. If you are still unsure of where to start incorporating vintage design try
small things like mid century napkins or flatware. They’re fairly available at your local vintage design
stores. Colorful Mid Century Modern napkins can be an easy way to introduce vintage design into your
2 – Start out with other practical items that you might also use every day that might not be readily
available in contemporary retail stores. If you still purchase magazines consider getting a vintage
magazine rack. They’re also readily available and affordable at your local vintage design store. There
are any number of styles and materials that they are available in – from Danish Modern teak to more
of an industrial material such as wrought iron. Black wrought iron was a staple of Mid Century Modern
design. This simple ‘50’s/’60’s black wrought iron magazine rack is very evocative of the era without being
kitschy. It’s a design that could easily be dropped into any decor style without standing out – and it’s very practical.
3. – Introduce a stand alone statement piece. As you either get more comfortable with incorporating
vintage design into your home with smaller accessory items – or you’re confidant enough to go big
sooner – spend a little money on a stand alone statement piece. This could be the aforementioned
coffee table – if you go this route there are so many options. Wood is always nice as it warms up a
room. Teak is an especially warm wood and a Danish Modern teak coffee table will complement most
A chair is also a very easy way to add in a statement item. If you’ve already got a neutral color palette in whatever room you’re working on and a fairly linear line up of furniture – consider adding in a chair with different lines to it – maybe curves. This classic Mid Century Modern “Cherner” chair would give any room a “statement uplift”. It’s pale
gold leather seat and back read as neutral and it’s curving arms add just the right element of “design
dash”. It would give any room something interesting to spice things up a bit.
4 – Art can be a very effective option to introduce vintage design in to your home. If you’re comfortable with your home furnishings as they are but you are eager to add some nice art work but
are not seeing the kind of art that is original in the usual places – consider vintage art.
Galleries can be intimidating – and – expensive. Summertime art fairs too often have very little art of
that much interest and/or too kitschy. But quality vintage design stores have a wide range of original
paintings and prints spanning decades. Most of these pieces may be from an artist you have never
heard of – but they speak to the time period in which they were created. Local artists of any given
period usually worked in a style that was popular at that particular time – Abstract Expressionism from the 1950’s, POP Art or Color Field from the 1960’s to Abstract Geometric’s from the 1970’s. Most vintage design stores have art from many decades – especially Mid Century Modern art. The range of styles, color and subject matter – whether it be representational to abstract – as well as price points are usually represented in quantity and quality. This particular painting with it’s dark brown background color speaks of the ‘70’s but it’s Abstract Expressionist in style. Many artists stuck with a style they liked and were comfortable with. So even though it is late period Abstract Expressionist in style – it is very well done. It’s relatively large size of 3’ x 3’ makes it perfect over a sofa or a credenza. The fact that’s signed also adds to it’s desirability – even though the artist is unknown. But in the end – don’t buy a piece art that you think might have a good resale value or is “important”
– buy what you like. If you buy what you like – it will always work with your décor.
5. – Style a bookcase with collectible vintage decoratives.
You’ve probably got a bookcase or two in your home. Another way to “ease” into incorporating some vintage design into your décor is to sprinkle in a few vintage collectibles in around your books. Photos work especially well for this. Pottery and other small decorative also work – whatever you like. They’re
readily available at your local vintage stores and for some affordable prices as well. It will give that bookcase a “designer” look no matter what room it’s in. Mix in a studio art pottery piece, a vintage camera, some -70’s black and white photography, some Mid Century production pottery pieces and some Tiki – and voila! – You’ve style your bookcase. In this case this is one of a pair of bookcases flanking a small wall in a
bedroom. The wooden bookcases are painted white with the interior back wall of the bookcase painted the same color as the behind it. It makes every thing stand out a bit. So – there you have it. If you’re curious about starting to collect a bit of vintage design and incorporate it into your home design – these are just a few ways to start out small – and get some big results.
*JD Vincent is a Chicago based freelance Visual Merchandising Designer for retail and wholesale
companies. His clients have included internationally known companies such as Cartier, Ermenegildo
Zegna, Hart Schaffner Marx, Reebok, Nike as well as Chicago stores like Roy’s Furniture and many
others over his career.
Mr. Vincent was born, raised and schooled in Des Moines, IA and attended the University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA, majoring in fine art. His personal interior design style is a blend of minimalism and Mid
Century Modern. His favorite design/art period is the late 1940’s through the 1970’s.
His 29 years as a freelancer has also afforded him to pursue his passion for vintage design by
becoming a part time dealer in vintage design in various Chicago antique malls and the Randolph
Market. In doing so he became acquainted with and knowledgeable of vintage designers, artists and
the history of certain design and art movements.
He has a particular passion for Mid Century Modern design and art. He has lived with Mid Century
Modern design and art for over 25 years.
Inspired by OZARK, when asked by An Orange Moon’s proprietor to include in his bio the answer to “If the Feds were coming and you had to run – what would you take”? His answer – “My I Phone, money/card clip,
passport, meds and my favorite piece of Higgins glass in orange – so that no matter where I ended up
I’d have this beautiful piece of Mid Century glamour”.
**Its An Orange Moon’s 11th Birthday!! Join us for our MAY BIRTHDAY SALE! We are offering “Retail To Go” by APPOINTMENT ONLY per Governor Pritzker and will be open BY APPOINTMENT from: Noon-7p on Friday & Saturday. Sunday Noon-5pm. RING/TEXT for an appointment! 773.276.6726 SHOP OUR SALE!
***NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery. Please shop with confidence! Thank you! See you soon, Ty & Lynne McDaniel, Owners & Founders of An Orange Moon