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The Find

Groovily Glamorous Midcentury Modern Style

by Karen Parr-Moody 21 Jun 2022

Midcentury modern design was born of the European Bauhaus and Danish Modernist design movements, which Americans discovered at the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. Though the movement’s housewares and furniture designs didn’t fully take shape in the U.S. until the late 1940s, midcentury modern décor lasted well through the 1960s. It remains one of the longest-lived design movements, and its vintage pieces are popular among GasLamp’s shoppers.


Many GasLamp dealers offer authentic midcentury modern vintage furniture and housewares, with each booth exuding its own MCM flavor. Some booths stick to the classic MCM furniture in rich wood tones, while others flow in psychedelic florals, punches of color, geometric prints and layered textures. While we love the spare nature of midcentury modern furniture, adding some funky pieces from the latter days of the era means your décor can get as groovy as it wants to be.

Vintage Midcentury Modern Daybed

When thinking back on 1960s décor, one remembers a world of mix-and-match psychedelic florals and geometric shapes. Extreme vibrancy pumped up the era’s favorite colors of green, gold, orange, yellow and fuchsia pink. A typical design trick during the 1960s was to play bright hues off one another for maximum impact. That’s what antiques dealer and upholstery wunderkind Jaclyn Kole, owner of the booth Urban Houswife, did with this authentic midcentury modern daybed ($1,399; Booth B-208). She re-upholstered it in dark purple and acid green for maximum impact, using Divina MD wool from Kvadrat, a Danish textile company whose roots stretch back to 1968. Kole also put new padding in the daybed, upgrading the piece with modern comfort.

Midcentury Modern Patio Chair

Lounging in a patio chair from the 1960s makes anyone feel groovy. Homecrest, an American indoor and outdoor patio furniture manufacturer founded in Wadena, Minnesota, in 1953, made this 1960s midcentury modern chair ($249; Booth B-234). The metal chair features a new foam cushion and upholstery featuring a blue-and-green fabric that is outdoor-friendly. The coordinating pillow, tailored to the dimensions of the chair’s back, is included. When in use, the chair swivels and rocks. It’s perfect for use in a sunroom or on a patio. (Its approximate dimensions are 26 inches wide by 24 inches deep by 28.5 inches tall.)

Peacock Wicker Nightstand

The “peacock” chair has been a prop in many photos of famous people.

The peacock chair’s curlicue swirls of wicker and hourglass shape make it iconic. First seen as a dramatic prop used in Victorian-era photos, the peacock was eventually used by an array of celebrities in photos, including Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton, Cher, Diana Ross, and Stevie Nicks.

This charming nightstand is designed in the peacock style ($70; Booth T-951). The curlicue swirls of wicker seen in the open pattern of the front door are trademark “peacock” motifs. Oh, the places this charmer could go: It would suit multiple styles, from Hollywood Regency to shabby chic.

Chinese Bird-and-Flower Painting

Imagine a 1960s American businessman bringing this midcentury modern souvenir home from China to hang in his teak-accented office ($125; Booth B-234). That’s the nature of this expertly painted and signed Chinese artwork on silk; many American tourists would have snapped it up during the 1960s heyday of air travel. Beautifully framed in bamboo for some extra chinoiserie chic, the painting features a subject commonly found in traditional Chinese painting called “bird-and-flower.” Chinese artists produce these poetic compositions in ink and wash through meticulous brush strokes and delicate watercolor.

Capodimonte Ginger Jar

Encircled by a bevy of cherubs, this vintage Capodimonte ginger jar is decorative and practical, making it a colorful addition to any kitchen or dining room ($68; Booth B-234). Capodimonte, one of the most famous Italian forms of ceramic art, is known for the molded figurines and modeled flowers seen on this ginger jar. The king of Naples, Charles III (1716–1788), established a soft-paste porcelain factory at Capodimonte in 1743, inspired by the cultural and political implications of ruling an economy that produced artisan works. This hand-painted Italian Capodimonte lidded jar is magnificent no matter which side you look at.

Sprinkle some midcentury modern finds around your house, and you’ll soon discover what other fans know: It can infuse any room with the grooviest vibes. The furniture and household items from the 1960s tend to have a cheery and distinctive color palette. The prints don’t take themselves seriously. And while the lines of the furniture may be sleek, the bright hues of the era add warmth to the scene. With Gaslamp’s immense selection, you can find the right rendition of midcentury modern to suit your mood.

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