Tag Archives: mid-century

a perfect parisian pied a terre.

If the previous villa (‘Bohemian Beauty’, here) is my idea of the perfect vacation home, then this apartment in Paris and featured in the WSJ, may just be my perfect pied a terre. It hits just the right balance of minimal and relaxed, and proves that a minimal aesthetic doesn’t have to be uptight.

Walls throughout are lined with blond elm in a beautiful pale honey colour, floors are clad in neutral coverings. Materials are used simply and boldly – note the grey-veined marble in the bathroom used for the countertop, upstand, cabinetry and floor. I love this look.  A den is arranged in the centre of the space with wood-lined walls and warm-coloured, custom furniture; the master bedroom is lined too and can be closed off from the world with wooden shutters lining the windows. In the laundry, timber-lined cabinets add a richness to what is too often a sterile room of white cabinets. Artwork adds further warmth and personality.

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Detailing couldn’t be simpler – edges and nosings are square profile, ensuring surfaces have a solidity to them; handles are simple and square-profiled as well. There are no cornices and skirtings are kept plain. The furniture is classic Scandinavian – a white marble-topped Saarinen Tulip table in the dining room, elsewhere an AJ floor lamp by Arne Jacobsen and the Saarinen Womb chair. Accessories are neutral and bold of form, often cane or straw and beautifully simple. Heaven.

Apartment by A.P.C. Jean Touitou’s Parisian home via WSJ

Photos: Matthieu Salvaing

a very modern hotel.

Futurist, modernist, dynamic: the gull-winged TWA terminal at JFK airport is the epitome of mid-century design. Evoking a bird in flight, it is also a force in concrete construction. It was certainly a major influence on me during my architectural studies, as I poured over the images of this and other iconic modernist imagery by architectural photographer Ezra Stoller.

The TWA terminal was the last project by Finnish born architect Eero Saarinen (completed in 1962), who said of it:

All the curves, all the spaces and elements right down to the shape of the signs, display boards, railings and check-in desks were to be of a matching nature. We wanted passengers passing through the building to experience a fully-designed environment, in which each part arises from another and everything belongs to the same formal world.

It is this all inclusive design that gives the building its streamlined, organic quality; everything is considered, everything belongs (I particularly adore the sunken, built-in seating). It is perhaps this that became the building’s downfall; it was unable to adapt and expand.

The terminal is about to undergo a complete refurbishment as a hotel and museum. The photographer Max Touhey was given access to document the building alongside a team of surveyors using 3-D laser scanners. Touhey made 700 photographs, a few hundred of which were bracketed (several exposures of each shot are used to ensure the light is correct), or used in a time lapse video.

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TWA terminal, Eero Saarinen. Photographs by Max Touhey. Via wired.com; lattimes.com; somewhereiwouldliketolive.com

mid century east.

Yesterday’s Mid Century East show at Erno Goldfinger’s marvellous Haggerston school was the usual trove of fabulous modernist finds. Apart from the pieces, what I love about the show is how everyone who attends is passionate about design. Dealers love what they do and love to talk about their wares. And, of course, the pieces themselves always come with a fascinating provenance.

A brief walk-through below, featuring just a few favourite pieces and their dealers; some known, others new.

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Mar-Den had the wonderful, on-end, angled brick wall as a backdrop in which to display, in the beautifully proportioned double-height space of the hall.

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Pink Flamingoes specialise in American design, and showed Eames classics in fabulous colours.

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Beton Brut specialise in architect-led design from post-War France, Italy, Netherlands and Scandinavia. I’m yet to visit their new showroom in East London but they have a very seductive  website in the meantime.

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Saunders Fine Art always tempt with their modern British and European art and also collectables.

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My favourite of the show was a pair of lounge chairs from the ‘50s, with a wonderful back-story, having been languishing with their original owners in the south of France until now. From The Kula.

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Lovely accessories at Fragile Design

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1934, named for Gerrit Rietveld’s ‘crate furniture’ series in 1934, has a tightly curated collection of simple, functional pieces.

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Gorgeous Vittorio Nobili Medea Chairs (and a few knock-out light fittings) at
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Dd you go? Any favourites? More mid-century show round-ups, here and here.

All images owl’s house london taken on my iPhone 5.

more ampersand.

I first wrote about Ampersand House, a home and gallery featuring classic design pieces and objet d’art, here

The House has just reopened in a new premises within central Brussels, in another classical, light filled interior. Again the eclectic mix of 20th century furniture create a fascinating, constantly evolving, living museum. The mix is vintage, contemporary, prototype and commissioned work, and almost everything is available for sale.

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Ampersand House, 33 rue de Suisse, Brussels 1060, Belgium

Back in London, and we are looking forward to Modern Shows pop up in Fulham this weekend, and hoping to find that illusive armchair and console for the new abode… Modern Shows Fulham pop-up, details here

a modernist in miniature.

What I like about this tiny, 40m2 Parisian apartment is that it is clean and contemporary and full of mid-century pieces but lacks any of the austerity that often comes with mid-century interiors. Bits of the original interior are evident – the timber floors, of course, and a deep door reveal that has been stripped of years of paint. In the kitchen the remnants of a doorway remain, given new life as a mirror frame, and corners of brickwork have been left exposed here and there. The changes of level and undulant cupboard depths all add to a feeling of space that belies the diminutive floor area. Materials and finishes are kept simple, with pattern and texture ensuring the overall feeling is relaxed and unpretentious.

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40m2 apartment renovation by Charlotte Vauvillier via Plastolux

In the midst of my own home renovation, and thoroughly enjoying being able to choose my own finishes after years of doing it for other people… the only problem is, too much choice! I’m hoping to take photographs before and after and post them, if you would like to see..  Happy weekend.

at the fair – the mid century show.

Once you have your Richard Neutra-designed home (see my previous post, here), you will need to furnish it. Here’s my take on last Sunday’s Mid Century show at Lord’s in North London; a wonderful trove of Scandinavian classic furniture, simple, functional lighting, local salvage, industrial pieces, jewellery, art and ephemera. Forty seven businesses were represented, here are just a few of my favourites:

E&T photo by owl's house london

1. These gorgeous ducks also have the most wonderful provenance:

One particular spring day in 1959 in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, a policeman found the time to stop the traffic in order to let a young duck family pass. It was a meaningful enough event to the passers-by that all the newspapers published a now famous photograph of the ducks. This captured moment ‘encapsulates the Danish attention to nature and detail and the ability to appreciate small everyday miracles’. Inspired by the duck family, Hans Bølling designed this pair of small wooden duck figures.

Duck and Duckling in teak by Hans Bølling 1959 at Elliot and Tate, specialists in finding and rsstoring the vintage Danish Furniture of Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen, amongst others.

LandCo photo2 by owl's house london l&c photo by owl's house london

2. Lovely and Company are an on-line vintage furniture store based in Brighton, UK.

One gets the same thrill scratching around here as any flea-market – they carry a clever mix of 20th Century design classics alongside soda crates and multi-drawer haberdashery chests. Ferm Living is represented, along with House Doctor and Tas-ka. They carry reams of Eames original fibreglass shells (the new version of the chair is in polypropylene), which can be mounted on new walnut bases.

Saunders Fine Art on owl's house london.

3. Beautiful mid-century art at Saunders Fine Art, specialists in Modern British and European painting (all images, Saunders Fine Art). Clockwise from top left:

Esbjörn (Bo) Lassen, Still Life, Daily News, Watercolour, 1946

Douglas Swan, Composition, Mixed media on paper, 1962

Jürgen Von Konow, Lowering the Nets, Oil on canvas1949

TMW photo by owl's house london

4. Based in Victoria Park, East London, The Modern Warehouse specialise in buying and selling mid century modern furniture and accessories from Scandinavia, U.S.A. and the UK. The collection is made up entirely of original vintage pieces, not reproductions.

The Modernist photo by owl's house london

5. The Modernist based in a wonderful little antique emporium in North London, is one of my favourite haunts: stunning vintage Georg Jensen silver jewellery along with other precious pieces, all from early to mid-century and all fabulous. I wrote about The Modernist in an earlier blog post on the Hampstead Emporium, here.

VU photo by owl's house london

6. Vintage Unit source and refurbish industrial furniture, lighting & accessories, with examples from Britain and the continent from the post war period. Their pieces are beautifully refurbished things of beauty as well as utility. Practical but decorative and collectable in their own right.

Retrouvius photo by owl's house london

7. Retrouvius is a stalwart in the architectural salvage business, full of wonderful reclamation pieces. They have released a book, Reclaiming Style, outlining the Retrouvius ‘re-use’ philosophy,  from sourcing material at demolition sites and filtering this into the warehouse to adapting materials for re-use in homes via their in-house design practice. I loved the stacks of worn, colourful aluminium pendants.

TCA photo by owl's house london

8. Twentieth Century Antiques are Edinburgh based, and specialise in modern design from 1920-1970. I rather liked the idea of the Jacobsen Egg chair, Danish rosewood sideboard and original Picasso exhibition poster on display in my own home…

AG photo by owl's house london

9. A fabulous array of classic lights including the sweet Pinnochio desk lamp from Augustus Greaves, who specialise in architect designed, post war modernist pieces (and have a beautiful web-site, as well).

Which pieces would you like to see in your home?

All images owl’s house london, unless noted otherwise.

More happenings, here.

found objects.

Browsing through some favorite blogs this morning, I came across these beautiful interior images  posted by French By Design. Resting on a simple backdrop of white walls and a pitch black painted floor, these beautiful pieces sit as if in a gallery, but are also part of somebody’s home, and are used and sat upon. I would like to sit and stay awhile…

All images via