But here I am with my first mid-century decorating post! Most of our free time that hasn't been devoted to unpacking and settling into the new house has been devoted to thinking about and hunting for furniture. I've been a woman possessed. We were volunteered (or as I jokingly say, 'voluntold') to host Mother's Day for Mel's family, so we're trying our best to have things at least halfway decent around here before mid-May.
The first piece of furniture that actually allows us to start the decorating ball rolling is the mid-century daybed we purchased for our den. It's the smallest bedroom, at the back of the house off our kitchen and dining area, where we put our television and where I'll have a desk for days I work from home (if it fits—that will partially depend on the size of credenza we find with for the TV). It will be our hang out, casual room.
We were having a frustrating time deciding what direction we wanted to go in for this space. Part of that is dictated by trying to cobble together furniture and accessories of course, and last weekend we seriously struck out in the sofa department. Then Monday night I had a brainstorm... wouldn't a plaid sofa be fun? Because it wasn't difficult enough looking for a 1950s sofa, now I had to look for a 1950s plaid sofa? Right.
And then I saw this online, the same night. Here's the original picture from the shop:
|Source: An Orange Moon, Chicago|
A vintage daybed, similar in style to the case study daybeds, but about a third of what the repro ones go for and in great condition. It also fit the hard-to-fill bill of no arm rests for our cat to scratch and ruin. It was in a shop in Chicago, An Orange Moon. The next morning I called up and sight unseen, I purchased it and arranged for delivery (the same day, how awesome is that). Even though 20th Century Fox had wanted it for some project, it was ours. Ours! That was surely the Vintage Sofa Gods working for us.
So now I have to style our den around this most awesomely wonderful plaid daybed. Right now, the den is kind of a yucky mustard yellow in desperate need of painting. (And semi-gloss. The entire house is painted in semi-gloss. Why oh why? Our friends' Sears kit house in Chicago was also painted all semi-gloss.) And there's no floor covering for the cold ceramic tile (not original to the house, the previous owners probably put it in in the 90s).
Here is the sofa, flanked by lamps that won't stay in this room (and don't even have actual lampshades yet... we stole those off our bedroom lamps since we haven't had a chance to order two matching ones from Moon Shine). The vintage laminate end tables we've been meaning to re-purpose elsewhere (likely the basement), though they work pretty well with this daybed for now.
(You can see there's a little patching to do on the wall behind the sofa.)
Here's a closeup of the awesome, slightly nubby fabric. In this photo you get a better shot of the lamp that won't stay, but more importantly, it kind of shows me that I'm not sure I love light green with this, either.You can also see that the closet doors and trim are honey-colored wood.
What color do we paint this room?!
Now, in spite of the fact that we bought essentially a brown sofa, brown and earth tones are not my favorite colors at all. And if we're not careful this room will veer into 60s/70s territory when I'd like it to stay more 50s. My mom and I were discussing a light buttery yellow for the walls, but I worry the sofa won't pop as an accent piece and it might not be enough color. Also, I can almost guarantee that whatever lamps we have will have fiberglass shades which warm up the room and it might just be too warm with light yellow walls. That being said, we do want to stick with something that's not too bright. We had so many bright bright bright colors in the condo we're ready for a change.
Mel says I'm on a blue kick, which I know is true, as I plan to paint our bathroom a light blue and our kitchen/dining area aqua. But I did see this one similar daybed styled against a turquoise wall...
|Source: Vintage Ground / plaid mcm sofa|
And I do kind of like that... hm. How many blue-based rooms is one allowed in a small ranch? But it got me to thinking, it could be a great Southwestern-inspired 50s den.
The room also has 2 corner windows, which will make window treatments somewhat of a challenge. Because the placement of the sofa can't change and the cushions have to butt up against the wall, I think sill-length drapes of some kind will be in order, possibly with a cornice or valance shaped around the corner. And we'll also keep blinds (those these ones will eventually go as they're in bad condition), because the windows look out to the alley. I know drapes with blinds were a perfectly appropriate combo in the 50s.
With blinds I'm not sure if the drapes need to close (I believe those are called 'draw drapes'). I'd love to go with vintage pinch pleat drapes but all the ones I see are too narrow at the top to close, so they'd just have to hang along the sides. I'm not sure that would look good with the blinds unless there was something covering the blinds hardware, in which case I'd want it to match. I suppose I could buy 2 vintage panels that wouldn't draw close, and cut some of the length off to make a matching fabric-covered cornice.
Does that sound crazy? Even though I know it was sometimes done, I can't wrap my mind around drapes that don't actually close, though. Let me tell you, drapery has been giving me lots of headaches lately!
Are we a bit crazy to try and hone a 1950s Southwestern vibe in this room? I did get the idea from Mel's grandmother's home decorating book from 1951 (oh boy, I have to share some things from this book soon!!). It mentioned a Najavo rug and that got me to thinking... Mel and I do love the Southwest. The room would definitely have to retain a vintage vibe, and not be all Kokopelli-ed modern and cheesy (50s kitschy, of course is a different story). I could incorporate my grandfather's art, and the plaid daybed would fit right in. Great ceramic or wood lamps... perhaps souvenir pillows from states in the Southwest... It would give us a fun but relatively narrow scope to focus on for this cozy space.
Decisions, decisions. What do you guys think? Any suggestions for wall color, or accent colors in general? Drapery ideas? What would you do with a sofa like this?