Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mid Century with a twist of hippie

I like most things in my life with a twist of hippie. Especially in Mid Century interiors, I think the ethnic/rustic/organic/hippie twist breathes life into what can otherwise quickly become a sterile design museum. Don't forget that the Beatniks, civil rights protests, women's lib, environmental activism (Rachel Carson's Silent Spring came out in 1962), and fascination with travel and foreign culture (and Afro-Cuban-Latin jazz) were happening concurrently with the Modernist design movement. Don't think that these social issues weren't creeping into design and the way people lived. They were pretty funky.

My very conventional grandma had giant macrame owl wallhangings and handmade stained glass hanging in every window. And, she would put on her Afro rumbas and scat sing while assembling some cream of chicken soup dish with a cigarette in one hand. Okay, she also had a room for her wigs, BUT, a "War is not healthy.." poster hung above them.

In our area, there are a number of phenomenal Mid Century homes that are still owned by the people who commissioned them in the 50s and 60s, and I always love to see how they live with their modernist architecture and furniture. Typically there are a lot of ethnic rugs, art, and sculpture collected over many years of travel. Rather than an encyclopedic "who's-who" of Mid-Century design, they mix a few important pieces with handmade items from their own experimentation, or from friends and travels abroad. Sometimes their amateur art is ugly as sin, which is somehow even more endearing. Some clunky green blob of clay that they made in their own pottery studio out back is sometimes just the right complement to the visionary wood-and-glass angles of their home.

Although a little too spartan for me, I love the warm vibe of this house tour (last two pictures). And the MCM-hippie-ethnic-industrial Ace Hotel in Palm Springs has been calling me with its siren song (top three). In the words of Tina Fey, "I want to go to there."


  1. That's because you've got a twist o' the hippie in ya!

  2. I know you do, MaMaZu! Make sure you take some to the Ace...they ain't serving Doritos at the poolside bar.


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