Timeless Blend - Page 2

How vintage and contemporary modern furnishings come together for an inspirational mix of warmth and style
Timeless Blend
Fickett home interior, from Southern California staging company Modern Mecca, adds several contemporary items to the mix, including a sofa and chaise from Room & Board, and Kennedy chairs from Thrive Furniture.
Timeless Blend
A new Nova Tri-Pod Floor Lamp adds Asian flair to this Eichler setting.
Timeless Blend
Sizing up old and new: Coconut and Diamond chairs (top row - vintage), Impossible and Paper Planes armchairs from Moroso (bottom row - contemporary).
Timeless Blend
Mid Century Mobler's Julian Goldklang.

What ties disparate pieces together is a unifying element, such as color. One strategy is to mix old and contemporary accessories with the same hue, perhaps varying monochromatic shades. Create contrast with complementary colors, such as a bright sofa; and offset sleek, smooth surfaces with rough textures while balancing straight lines with sweeping curves.

Wood tones play a major role in getting the mix right. MCM furnishings have beautiful wood finishes, but many people are afraid of mixing finishes in a single room. Varying two to three wood tones can create a layered effect, and the contrast helps to create a harmonious look. If an MCM coffee table gets lost against oak-toned floors, one solution is to create a canvas for the table by placing it on top of a contemporary rug.

When British-born Andy Lacey and Karen Ronneback lived in a mid-1950s Sacramento Eichler, they documented their home's renovation on their blog fogmodern.com. Having preserved or restored most of the home's original Eichler features, the couple wanted these to shine through.

"We kept our color palette minimal, with white ceilings, walls, and floor; gray siding and beams; and warm wood paneling and furniture," Andy says. "We punctuated this with occasional bright color accents. We also kept clutter to a minimum. This allowed the architecture to breathe."

They sourced a mixture of vintage and contemporary furnishings over a four-year period, but even the contemporary pieces were chosen to fit the same mid-century aesthetic, and naturally blend with the home.

"We prefered vintage furniture, wherever possible," Lacey says. "Much like an Eichler, these pieces will never be 100 percent perfect—nor should they be. Vintage pieces tell a story, and have more charm than anything off the shelf. We also enjoyed the quest for finding the right pieces, and snagged many bargains via Craigslist and garage and estate sales."

For example, Lacey bought a vintage Plycraft chair for just $35 and then paid approximately $200 to reupholster it. "This made way more sense to us than spending thousands on a new Eames lounge chair [reproduction]," he says.

"That said, new is sometimes more practical. When we needed a sofa for our living room, we saw many vintage sofas we liked, but they all needed reupholstering. The hassle and cost didn't seem worthwhile, so we bought new, choosing the period-appropriate Bantam Sofa, [a contemporary design] from Design Within Reach."

Most of the couple's favorite pieces were both vintage and new. Among them are four early-'50s Eames shell chairs, a Lane surfboard coffee table, Modernica case-study planters, and a collection of George Nelson Bubble Lamps.

"We also loved our '60s Dixie bedroom set that came from an Eichler in Concord," Lacey says. "We used the dresser as a credenza in our living room, and the night stands in our master bedroom."

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