More Than Just A Blog, It's a Lifestyle

A blog dedicated to the The Mid Century Modern era, approximately 1945-1975. Posts will feature real estate (residential and commercial) designs, fashion and furnishings from that era. Couture Academy projects will be highlighted at least once a month if not more. Enjoy! 

The Ugly Holiday Sweater Grows Up and Becomes Cinderella


                         @ Amy Appel

The ugly holiday sweater. You know what it looks like it  - it's a baggy sweater with little reindeers and elves on the front that's designed to make you look like you're 20 pounds heavier than you actually are. Grandmas and moms nationwide wear them to holiday parties - the ugliest one wins top honors.  

If that isn't misogynist I don't what it is. I might not be the only one, but I won't wear one of those things even to win a gift card. I want something that's in the holiday spirit, but cute and fitted. Is that terrible? Something that's attractive and I'm proud of. Something that I'll wear more than once, rather stuff in the closet until next year's ugly holiday sweater contest. 

Clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way. Women are tired of wearing ugly to holiday soirees. Poisongirrls designed a holiday sweater, the Betty...

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Typewriter Daily: American writer, Catholic priest and Trappist Monk Thomas Merton's Royal

This blog post is to honor the 50th anniversary of the passing of American writer/Catholic priest/Trappist monk Thomas Merton's passing. Whether you like, dislike or even never heard of him, Merton was a prolific writer and typist. He wrote more than 70 books before he died in 1968.  He's most known for his best-seller, Seven Story Mountain. Here's a snapshot of his Royal typewriter which had keys for French characters (helpful since he did live in France). 

This typewriter, along with another Royal, are on display at the Thomas Merton Center in Louisville, Ky. It's not clear if Merton used either Royal to write Seven Story Mountain, which led many Americans to seek out monasteries in the post World War II Europe. 

What's a more interesting question to me is how did the Royal typewriter, especially with French characters, help Merton master French? Did he use this typewriter while at Cambridge where he studied modern languages, French and Italian? There...

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Millennials Love Mid Century Modern Homes - the Mad Men Influence

photo/Deb Porter Hayes 

The original Mid Century Modern era (approximately1945-1975) is long gone, but this is one era that has legs, according to House Beautiful, beyond Baby Boomer nostalgia. As the original homes get old and more expensive to fix, the demand for new interpretations of the style will grow. (Although the tear-down trend is not fully embraced by Mid Century Modern enthusiasts.)

On that note, here's some news from the Mid Century Modern residential real estate market: 

  • a 1955 New Hampshire home, designed by a disciple of modernist Walter Gropius, is on the market. 
  • The Brady Brunch house (which served for exterior shots for the popular TV series in the 1960s and 1970s) was sold in August, will be renovated. The project will be captured on film for HGTV with members of the original Brady clan on hand.  

Need to pick a seasoned real estate reporter's brain on how to get some press for your Mid Century Modern home? Let me help. ...

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Typewriter Daily: George H.W. Bush and Typewriters


 USS Alabama Museum 

 I'm writing this blog post while the funeral for President George H. W. Bush is airing live. It's so cool to see both Democrats and Republicans seated next to each other, although Michelle Obama looks a little uncomfortable. 

Anyhow, this got me thinking of Bush 41's connection to typewriters. Of course, he typed on typewriters as most of his generation did. He likely began typing as a child. He was most certainly using them by the time he was on the editorial board for the student newspaper at Phillips Academy. 

It's hard to know exactly what manual typewriters Bush Sr. might have used while in the Navy on the USS Jacinto. As an aviator, he might have not have used them at all. We do know the military requisitioned typewriters nationwide during World War II. You can find pictures online of Americans donating their typewriters for "The Cause" during that time. For a better idea of what Bush might have typed on while he was...

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Sneak Peek: Couture Academy: Adding Bias Tape for the Glamorous Touch

If you haven't had a chance to check out Couture Academy, you'll want to soon as upload videos related to bias tape, the overlooked darling of couture sewing. Bias tape is often associated with little girl dresses, aprons, totes, backpacks...but with just the right bias tape it can elevate your sewing from mundane to marvelous. 

How to choose the right bias tape? Figure out what kind of look you're seeking. If you're after night hotness, select a trim that shiny and/or metallic. But you can't go wrong with using leather or a faux leather bias tape (most often found in the high-end fabric stores). 

Bias tape is a great alternative when you're short on your main fashion fabric and you don't have enough for facings. Even if you've got plenty of fabric, it's still a snazzy choice. 

I use bias tape on my own rendition of Butterick B5473 designed by Connie Crawford (View B vest). Watch for it in the next week or so on Couture Academy.  The fabric and the black satin...

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Mid Century Modern Homes in The News

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Kelly/The Wall Street Journal)

Mid Century modern homes, built during the hey day of the era (roughly 1945-1975) are always in the news. They're either on the market or getting refurbished. It's especially fun to see ones that were 'remuddled' returned to life. 

This 1950s villa in the Netherlands might fall in that latter category. It was not only refurbished but expanded.  You don't need to have a designer's big bucks to overhaul a 1948 Los Angeles home and return it to its former glory but it doesn't hurt. This 1978 Dallas residence pushes the edge of modernism but it's a great showcase for art. 

Last but not least. 

Finally, do you have a Mid Century Moderne home of your own that could use a little press? Perhaps you're thinking of putting it on the market. Or it's been on the market for a while. A story on your home in the local newspaper, magazine or a TV show could help sell your house.  I'll brain storm with you for...

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Couture Academy is Live! First Course: the Custom Couture Cocktail Hat

Friends, here's a snapshot of Vogue 8868, view E, with my own modifications. I'm using this particular pattern to teach some basic millinery techniques, specifically:

  • how to make a petersham sweatband 
  • how to apply hatband elastic
  • use buckram for your base

These are some basic millinery techniques I picked while taking classes at the School of the Art Institute. These techniques are not addressed at all in the Vogue pattern but I consider them critical. For example, a petersham sweatband will keep make up and sweat off of your hat. An elastic hatband is much more sturdy than the barrettes and clips recommended in the pattern. Finally, the buckram is the sturdy building block for your couture hat. 

So how does Couture Academy work? It's a subscription-based model, so you'll pay monthly for exclusive videos. Here is an FAQ for any questions. You might have. I will upload how-to videos for other kinds of projects: dresses, tops, skirts and other accessories. At...

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Welcome to Mid Century Moderne!



 Welcome to my website, midcenturymoderne (the extra e is mine). My site (mid century modern with an extra e) will be largely devoted to all design-related aspects of the Mid Century Modern era, which runs roughly from about 1945 to 1975. I will be writing about fashions, home decor, buildings (commercial and residential) during that era. It's one of my most favorite eras largely because it wasn't all that long ago. 

That's not all. Looking from the vantage point of 2018, the Mid Century Modern era seems relatively peaceful. Mass shootings were not rampant, children played in the alley. People still talked to each other (stay-at-home moms talked over the fence. Really) You had to pick up the phone to talk to others. There was no texting. Personal computers were none existent. You typed on typewriters for school, work, personal correspondence. 

The emphasis on the personal is one reason why typewriters have really appealed to me. (Yes, I'm aware Tom...

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