Sep 20, 2010

Member Spotlight: Moddities

Moddities on Etsy is a shop with a midcentury focus and items with adventurous titles (e.g., "Eve collected men like feathers in her hat"). We recently talked with Shannon to find out more about her fascination with 20th century vintage.

Q. What’s the very first vintage item that you remember buying for yourself? Do you still have it?
The very first vintage item that I bought for myself was a glass coffee carafe made by Indiana Glass. It all goes back to my all-time favorite TV show, The Dick Van Dyke Show. I had seen this very sexy carafe on the stove as Laura was serving Rob his breakfast. For years it was etched into my memory, and since this was long before the Internet I thought the chances of my ever identifying or finding it were slim to none.

One day, during one of my lunch hour thrift store outings, I decided to go to a store that I’d never been to before. It was more of a country/traditional furniture resale store, but I felt drawn to checking it out. As my eyes scanned across the store, they zeroed in on a most alluring shape. Trying not to look too anxious, I made my way across the store, thinking to myself the whole time, “Could it be? I will pay whatever they are asking!” I was shocked to find that it was in mint condition -- although later I found out that it was originally accompanied by a metal warmer stand that wasn’t included, but that wasn’t necessary to fulfill my Petrie suburban kitchen fantasy. The price? 25 cents! I lovingly snatched it up, completed the transaction and brought it home to its place of honor on my kitchen bar. I have since gone on to collect several dozen glass carafes of all makes and shapes, but that one has its own special place in my heart.

Q. For your personal collection, do you like to have a lot of the same type of thing or same era, or are your tastes more eclectic?
While I do have my carafe collection and a deep-seated love for Pyrex, for the most part I prefer to collect and decorate with things from my favorite era of 1955-65, with ‘59-‘61 being my absolute favorite period for jet age design. I prefer to capture the essence of a mid-century home as opposed to having collections of things from the era sitting next to furniture from today. I’ve never paid more than $10 for any piece of furniture in my living room. I was acquiring my mid-century modern furniture before it became highly desirable, so I was able to get everything for what would today be considered a steal! The exception being my beloved low-profile aqua sofa with silver icicle-like thread woven through the material -- it was a whopping $100 back in 1997. It has since aged badly and is in need of reupholstering. I’m just waiting to find the perfect material.

1965 chalkware wall plaques by Miller Studios
Q. Describe the aesthetic behind your shop.
My mother still lives in the house in which I grew up. It is a 1961 Dutch Colonial ranch (which means they just slap cement window boxes and a small bit of scrolled wood on the front of a generic box ranch and call it “Dutch Colonial”). This wonderful home features a room divider just inside the front door, Terrazzo floors in hues of fleshy-pink and browns very similar to Daltile’s “Pink Champagne,” fabulous aqua GE cooktop with a pushbutton control panel that my sister and I used to love to play with as children, aqua GE wall oven, Hudee rings on every sink, and a breezeway with a cool redwood privacy wall that connected the carport and the dining area’s glass sliding doors.

My memories of growing up in that home from the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s combined with my love for vintage women’s magazines and, last but not least, the book Populuxe by Thomas Hine—these are the things that inspired the “look” of my Etsy shop.

1960s Butterick pattern
Q. What kind of sound or expression do you make when you find the perfect vintage item at a great price?
Although I try to have a “poker face,” I am known for wearing my emotions on my sleeve. I’m sure my eyes light up, my face flushes, and I try to play it cool. But alas, I’m probably fooling myself and it’s really all a dead giveaway. This is pretty much the way it unfolded for my acquisition in Question #1.


Moddities :: 20th Century Vintage said...

Thanks so much for featuring my shop and interview on our team blog! Cheers!

Terran said...

A woman after my own heart! I just unpacked two glass coffee carafes with stands and a vintage glass juice carafe last night and put them in a place of honor on display in my 1956 brick ranch kitchen!

Miranda said...

I am amazed at all you collect and have collected over the years. I have always watched these shows with you and never really understood all you have collected. Though, as I have become a young lady I really understand and appreciate all of these gorgeous and fun items. I am especially excited to one day do the same and hand them down to my little girl or boy. I, too, wish I lived in this era with all of these fabulous items!

The Baker's Daughter said...

Great feature; I feel like I know Moddities a little better now! I love how you described the feeling you had spying the carafe across the shop...I know that feeling all too well! It's so hard to play it "cool" sometimes, isn't it??

Nachokitty said...

I love mid century too. I find myself torn between my desire for amazingly odd 19th century items and clean cool mid century. Which is why my living room has a teak mid century danish sideboard next to a quartersawn oak 1860's store counter. Great interview! I loved reading this.

Frenchee le Trip said...

Nice interview! It's good to hear from someone with tastes in such a tight timeframe, all the love and passion behind it. I think we can all relate to the quickening of the heart when we spy something that has us come running across the thrift store! Do you use the Laura Petrie carafe ever?

Moddities :: 20th Century Vintage said...

Frenchee - I think I used it one time about a dozen years ago to serve orange juice (mixer) at a cocktail party. I was just too nervous the whole time, so I use my other less rare/less special carafes for parties :)

Even though my true love is for that very specific period, I have a fondness for things from the '20s-early '70s (my personal style leans more toward the '20s with my severe bob haircut, pale skin and addiction to dark red lipstick).

Sarah said...

Love the interview! Thank you for giving us another glimpse into your vintage life!