Appearing in Life magazine for those two crucial mid century years, I have to say, if I ever find a freakin' sectional that looks like this, my current late sixties' living room furniture (which is kind of rocking a Louis XVI meets Graceland meets Needs-a-good-cleaning) is going out in the yard for all I care! Look how happy the woman on the teal sectional in her cheery mustard colored skirt and matching heels looks. That how happy I would look! Add a copy of Esquire, a big cup of coffee, and a Charles Aznavour record, and that's my dream living room!
According to this Napierville Historical Society pamphlet and this Chicago business encyclopedia article, Peter Edward Kroehler took over an existing furniture company in Napierville in the 1890's and went through many up's and down's (A tornado destroyed the original factory in the 'teens! 1920's revenues in the million dollar range! But then the Depression! But then by the 40's they were the number two furniture manufacturer in the US! But then WWII and material restrictions! A year long labor strike!) before his death in 1950. The mid-fifties' and sixties' were a good run for the Kroehler company, with revenues in the $100 million range, but it was back down again on this financial rollercoaster in the 70's and 80's. Two unrelated companies now manufacture furniture under the Kroehler name, but that's not what we're interested in.
We! Want! The Vintage! Stuff!
Ok, things to go gaga over in the above photo: trapezoidal shape of couch cushions with deliberately low-lying accent buttons. Wafer thin table top of coffee table, placed so far from the couch that you can't reach any of the faux fruits on said table. Linear perspective mural on the back wall, which looks like some trees and an Eames-y, Frank Lloyd Wright-style glass wall. Ceiling to floor white gauzy drapes, to stage right. Umph! This is good!
I'm not super impressed with this one, but I wanted to show you the crazy, two foot high lamp and the little be-ribboned poodle curled up to one side. I would name her "Cookie".
NOW we're talking. Why don't you ever see couches in this lipstick-fire-engine-red color? Every time I look for "red couch" on craiglist, I come up with sectionals in this blech Target-red. I'm nuts about the semi-winged armpieces, the gold tipped, atomic-angled legs, and the coordinating coal colored chair. SWA.GGER.
Poodles and the canary color seem to be a 1958-1959 theme here. The primary color palette is actually killing me with how cute it is. It's interesting how some of the ads feature this all-white background, negative space effect thing. I prefer to see the furniture already in a room so I'm not confronted with the nagging suspicion that you'd have to build the room around the furniture rather than vice versa. Until I see the pieces situated, sometimes it's hard to picture their size and scale in your own house.This is what keeps me from pulling the trigger on 90% of Craigslist vintage home goods that pique my interest...because dadgum it, when you take a picture of it sitting in your garage or so close-up you can't really make out what it is, how am I to imagine myself napping on a Saturday afternoon in it? Exactly.
Now this is more like it. All neatly arranged with wall hangings and everything! Doesn't the couch look like it just landed from outer space? I saw a chair and a couch along the same out-of-this-world lines once at a Hendersonville estate sale, but the color was a kind of weird mauve shot-through-with-silver that I wasn't nuts about, and the asking price was $475. That's on the high end of estate sale furniture.. again, my fresh-out-the-Andy-Griffith-Show-set-living-room-suite was $75 (I'm starting to wonder if that one steal-of-the-century transaction has poisoned all future estate sale dealing for me). I kept trying to offer them $250 (you can't keep a good dog down), but again, they had that look like "Is it that you don't realize how much it's worth or is it that you don't have the money?" ((stamps feet, tears hair)) You can't win 'em all.
Above: YESSSSSSSSS! Yes to the Danish modern entertainment center (I know there's a better word for that piece, but it eludes me). Yes to the spindly-thin dining room chairs! Yes to the wall mural! Yes to turquoise! I'll take the whole thing, kit and caboodle.
How do you like the to-one-side-and-not-centered mirror hanging above the vanity here? The hanging lights are too cute, too.
Dear chair, did I ever tell you your lines remind me of a Picasso sketch? Also, I want to be with you. I wish there was any available space in the house for a china hutch. Aren't they fabulous? I have a kind of metal baker's rack thing holding my Fiestaware pitchers (plural; of course that noun is plural) and Ben Siebel for whats-it-called serving dishes, but I wish they had an even more decorative setting!
Last but not least, one thing this room is not lacking in ....drama! Another thing? Atmosphere! I love how it looks like a set from early 60's, MGM, Rex Harrison-involved movie (you know how I feel about Rex Harrison, but there it is). The glowing yellow of it all, plus the I think painted-onto-the-wall Greek urns? High concept. Love it.
Which Kroehler piece is your favorite? Do you know any of the vintage brands behind your vintage furniture? Which overall room would you rather pick up, wholesale, and use in your own place of residence? Tell!
See you tomorrow for Photo Friday!