Particle Board, The Bologna Wood of Furniture

Recently, a client came into ModMart looking for a Tulip table and chairs. Since I didn’t have one in the shop at that moment, I put our curator to task, within about 22 minutes she was able to source 2 full sets! Yes- she’s that good!

We gathered round my lap top and examined photos, first- a full Burke set that looked really good, but she really wanted the tulip chair bases not the star pattern. Next, we FaceTimed Eero as he waited in a nearby storage unit for his next home. This was hilares- we all “LOL”ed, the Saarinen looked like it had been VERY well loved by its previous owners as there was an enormous scribbled red heart from a magic marker right on the top. Somebody said “I get it, I love it too”! There was also some expected wear around the bases. Of course I’m not concerned, the set could easily be refinished or even just cleaned up and sold as is to anyone with a good sense of humor, who appreciates appropriate patina.
I’m of the school- as long as you stick with the same stains, paints or fabrics in keeping with the era, there is no right or wrong when it comes to refinishing vintage. Unless it is highly collectible and rare, it’s up to the digression of the soon to be owner. I personally like a little wear on my furniture, it’s humbling in a weird way to know that these amazing pieces have lived a life before me- they have soul and add a layer of texture to your space that the new stuff can’t hold a candle to!  That said, if you want a completely stripped down and refinished table and chairs, owners Dan and Brian, (Harry Bertoia’s nephews) can do that right in the back of ModMart- No problem-o!

Then, just as I am feeling so accomplished that we granted her wish at lightning speed, she asked if I could just order her a brand spanking new knock off that she had seen online from a wholesaler! Yeah, I was a wee bit disappointed but since the customer is always right and I have an account at the place that sells it, I reluctantly placed the order for her.
So fast forward a week, the table and chairs arrive  even before their expected due date (YAY)! They were delivered right to her kitchen (YAY) but they left the table in two pieces for her to assemble (BOO). I would have had the cavalry over there in a heartbeat, but she and her husband insisted on DIYing it. While tightening what they had of the hardware (missing pieces) they heard that familiar sound you don’t want to hear when assembling junk furniture- gulp! The particle board on the underside of the table had completely cracked in a long jagged splintery zigzag!
MOD-MERGENCY!I headed over to assess the damages.

Off the bat, I was not impressed with the stark blueish white color of the table, it wasn’t the warm and inviting white that I’m use to from the real deal! Then, I checked out the underside- It was bad. It could have been fixed or replaced, but we obviously had to send the whole lot back! I mean really, who could predict whether it would hold up one year let alone the 60 plus like the originals!

She decided on the scribble heart table and chairs  but that one sold within a day or so. We did find her another true Saarinen set and refinished it to Knoll Associates “neo-futuristic” standards of the 1960s!

If you are new to the Mid Century Modern scene you are probably feeling a little impatient about finding those fab pieces that mix functionality, ingenuity and iconic style. Be patient, there is something to be said for the thoughtfulness behind them that these copy cat, overseas, mod mills simply can not duplicate! And don’t worry, I know, your inbox is under constant siege with all sorts of deals on watered down versions of the greats- STAY STRONG! Look for the rare, meant to be pieces that the Mid Century Modern Gods send your way. Find the ones that grab you and pull you in! Surround yourself with authentic pieces that thrill you!

And here’s the free advice- Do your space a favor, save the bologna for your sandwich and go for the genuine article not the board made of particle!

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Teak mid century modern puzzle set and possibly the inspiration for the very 1st Rubix Cube

Happy Free Advice Friday From ModMart!

Today’s freebie is about the art of giving- vintage style!

The holiday shopping season is in full tilt with only one week left to select the perfectly thoughtful, not too extravagant yet not too chintzy gift that screams, when I saw this I immediately thought of you!

Not everyone on your list is ready for a pre-loved present but there are plenty that would appreciate a completely unique item that can’t be droned to your doorstep by the Amazon Prime fulfillment center. The following guide is my gift to you!

So you are invited to a white elephant party and you are working with a $25 spending limit. You can go in two directions with this, either quirky/silly to keep the exchange amusing or the “keeper” route which is the gift everyone in the game will try to steel. Either way you will score high marks on creativity!

For those who haven’t been in yet- ModMart is a carefully curated upscale resale shop brimming with refined Danish modernist furniture from the 50’s, modern op art inspired by the 60’s, mixed with only the best of the groovy 70’s and topped off with the glossy glam that is unmistakably 80’s. While we are dead serious about providing the absolute best from each decade, we still have a sense of humor which lives in “Kitsch Corner”. That’s where you will find our smaller gift-ie items like fondue pots, happy face mugs (which my kids think are emojis) tiki and other retro-tastic finds. If properly executed, your “gag” gift could make the rare but possible cross over to our next category- the white elephant “keeper”.

The keeper gift combines charm and affordability. For example a set of Dansk Votives, a Dorothy Thorpe decanter, a sweet little candy bowl or some amazing semi precious stone jewels. Too girlie for you? We have tons of super swanky bar ware right in your price range. Or hit the pottery lottery with our huge selection of weed pots! (For actual weeds not the slightly illegal ones!) This’ll be the gift everyone is trading up for because they can’t run over to target and just grab one for themselves! SCORE!

Next, the $50 hostess of the mostest gift…

Let’s just say I’ve never kicked a box of chocolates out of bed, but (yawn) BOOOOORIIING, if you are reading this blog post we both know you are better than that! Check out these vintage hand blown glass “human feeders” A-DORBS! You can fill them up with those same boxed chocolates and even sample the goods to make sure they’re “all that”! After all, it would be in poor taste to re-gift sub par chocolates! Bonus- you know these birdies will be landing right on the coffee table! The party peeps will be tweeting about these for days!

Here are some other nifty gifts to consider in various price ranges.

We hope your holidays are filled with much MOD!


PS if your are interested in more Free Advice Fridays please like us on facebook.

Our holiday hours are:

Monday closed
Tuesday 10-6
Wednesday 10-6
Thursday 10-8
Friday 10-6
Saturday 12-5
Sunday 12-4

932 West 14 Mile between Crooks and Livernois in Clawson.

Parking and entrance behind the building.


ModMart Free advice from the Professionals Matchy/Matchy vs Mixie/Matchy

IMG952835Since ModMart’s grand opening 2 weeks ago I’ve noticed a trend, I’ve had several customers ask for two matching lamps for their bedroom or a set of end tables for their sofa or even a matching sofa and love seat and I’m realizing that many shoppers have been brainwashed by even the most upscale furniture chains to purchase a line or a look. When shopping true vintage furniture and decor you have to work with what is available and be creative, the excitement lies in the rare find and it is in these moments that real design magic happens. Here are some examples…

Past decorating experiences can easily turn into bad habits if you don’t approach your shopping with an open mind. Since we can’t exactly double dutch our way down to the local Mid Century Modern factory and order precisely what we want, we must rely on good shopping karma and what we are gifted by the mod universe. Case in point- So, you need lamps for both sides of your insanely cool and iconic Adrian Pearsall sofa with inlayed travertine end tables. Yes, you could get two nice but expected matchy/matchy lamps and be done with it- OOOOOOORR you could get rid of all of your preconceived notions on decor, throw all caution to the wind and get two totally different yet equally rad table lamps that may or may not even be the same height! You could even change the height of said lamps by swapping out the shades or harps! Save the matchy/matchy pair for your shoes and go for the unexpected – it will make you and your room so much more interesting!

IMG953061IMG9558752- MIXED MEDIA
IMG952016When you have a totally glam burnt orange velvet couch with chrome legs your first instinct might be oh, I need an equally glam chrome coffee table, right? Maybe, or maybe not- incorporating a sculpted wood coffee table will give your room warmth and texture. Each design element will work on its own as well as together adding interest instead of blurring into one expected look.

I’ve been asked “is it 50’s, 60’s or 70’s because i’m really going for an early Mad Men circa 1950s look”. My answer is now and always will be- if you like it, it doesn’t matter! As a self proclaimed trans-decadist (made up word) I recommend only surrounding yourself with interesting pieces that make you feel happy! If that means sipping Tang (70s) out of a Dorothy Thorpe silver rimmed highball glass (50s) while chillaxing on an Eames Lounger (60s) next to an Andy Warhol Litho (80s) on a shag rug (70s again) under an ethereal 65 inch burst of dazzling gold light from ModMart’s very own custom atomic Sputnik chandelier (2015/16) I say HUZZAH!

IMG951499Come see us at the Mart for more free advice! 10% off to anyone who greets us with “HUZZAH”!

Holiday Hours
Monday closed
Tuesday 10-6
Wednesday 10-6
Thursday 10-8
Friday 10-6
Saturday 12-5
Sunday 12-4