Boy, have I got some goodies today, kids. Last week, while doing my magazine rounds, I found this first ad for Fiberglas Screening and Paneling in a 1957 issue of Life magazine. Who knew Fiberglas, which for some reason persists in spelling its company name in these advertisements with a single "s", could be so glamorous? I managed to track down three more Fiberglas spots from the same time period and thought I would share with you some of THE BEST mid-century interiors I think I've ever drooled over in my life. Because of the weird size of the two-page spreads, I've just put the composite smaller image, and then closeups of each page, but you're welcome to click on any of the small-twofers to open up a much larger version of them.
On with the show!
1) The Screened-In Porch of your Living Dreams:
This was the first of the four I laid eyes on. As you can see, there's a lot to love here. THE CHAIRS? Are you seeing the chairs? Each different types of Eamesian bucket seats, each AMAZING. One of the things I find really hard to do in my own decorating life is matching up which disparate pieces of furniture will go with which. I don't like matchy-matchy at all, but I always feel apprehension just before pulling the trigger on something I'm not sure is the EXACT thing I want. The yellow-gold seated, bamboo club chair in my living room was a nailbiter the whole way home from Goodwill, as I was positive I had just spent twenty bucks on something I was going to have to put in the attic. However, my intuition is often better than I give it credit for, and it worked out splendidly. Do you ever have this nagging uncertainty post-buy, pre-installation when furnishing your own home?
Let's get a look at the closeups:
Three words: WIRE. FIGURAL. LLAMA. I can't even look at it. Tears of joy are stinging my eyes. The tension lamp, tenuously placed under one of the porch structural beams, isn't too shabby, either.
On this side, we can see the low-lying coffee table and chair #3, which may or may not be my favorite chair. See mom cooking a side dish in the kitchen! See dad grilling! I wonder if the large thing on ledge there is a pressure cooker. I still don't understand how those work/what they are, but I see them a lot at estate sales. I forgot to mention how calm the pale yellow looks with the natural wood of the beam support, and how much I just want to curl up with a paloma and a book on this patio. Total success, Fiberglas. Keep it comin'!
2) My Kingdom for a Built-in Wall Unit:
Now, if you liked the yellow in the last ad, oh my GOODNESS do you see the yellow in this one? Matched with the white, the turquoise, and the red of that sofa and chair, no less. My Eames chair from the last panel makes a comeback in this photo. It's funny when I think of the sales I've been to in the tonier parts of town, like West Meade or Forest Hills, and how sometimes the same mid-century interiors you'd see in Donelson or Hermitage are in place, just on a GRAND scale. I'm always impressed by these wall-unit type structures, but if you put one in my little house, it would take up too much of the room to even be practical! Let's see what kinds of things this homemaker has seen fit to put on her GORGEOUS built-in shelves:
I think the little horn may be my favorite. What would you put in the little storage drawers there at the end? I shudder to think of the misuse these would serve in my house-- there are only five drawers in my kitchen, and they are SO full of paper clips, electrical tape, and odds and ends that I'd be ashamed to open them in front of anybody. Do you see the MATCHING turquoise portable tv hiding in the corner there?
I also love that these kids have movie-quality Indian and frontier costumes, and are shooting at a balloon. What did that balloon ever do to you, child? Still, I want that headdress for my own.
3) The Kind of Den You Dream About:
Now! Here's a good case for browns and blues and whites on your color palette. This is a far more complicated scheme than I could dream up, but look at how well it plays in this den!
The wooden cactus statuette on that built in side board, the modular little side sofa, and the CURTAINS, OH, THE CURTAINS in this. Something about the windows and the white panels there has a faint Japanese ring to it, and I LOVE that when mixed in with the staunchly atomic vibe of the rest of the room. It's like a more nature-oriented, calm atomic, though.
Check out the arrangement of the furniture, too-- the pieces, unlike the color schemes, seem almost random, but then they serve the flow and use of the room! I am actually experiencing death throes over how much I love that faux-marble black tiling. Doesn't it look like the eating area is floating on water? I AM DYING.
4) Oh Kitchen, My Kitchen:
What I said about Forest Hills and West Meade houses having blown-up-by-four-times, out-sized rooms? HERE YOU GO. Oh my damn. What would you even do with that much space in the kitchen. Where to begin! The built in refrigerator! The mile long counter with a long window to match and those cute little cafe curtains all the way alongside! The built-in stove with range top on the island (your stove is in two places! How is this even possible!)! The screened in sun room there just outside!
Ugh, this is the living end of modern comforts. Just look at it.
Do you think that's a dryer under the tv, built into the counter there? I figured the piece to the left was a dishwasher, but where's the clothes washer in this set up? See the tiny little melamine pots under the island there? I can't bear my own jealousy over this house. It's so cool!
Now that you've gotten a look at these four flawless interior setups, which one do you want to copy wholesale for your own home? Have you ever seen a kitchen or a den this swank or set up similarly? Which color scheme gets your vote for most desirable? Spoiler alert: I LOVE ALL OF THEM. Let's talk!
That's all for today. See you guys back here tomorrow with more vintage tips and quips. Til then!