I’m Dreaming of a Retro Christmas

I love Christmas! and I love Mad Men! The last few years, I have changed up our Christmas decor each year.

This year, I’m really loving the look of a colorful Mid-century Christmas. I’m gathering inspiration and have a few projects to show you soon. Here are some of my favorite ideas.

I love everything about Danielle Thompson’s Candy Colored Christmas. This pom-pom wreath is adorable, and the simple white background keeps the colorful theme from being over-the-top.

danielle Thompson xmas

Danielle Thompson

This little bottle brush forest seen at Apartment Therapy is so charming. I made Christmas trees with felt and yarn a few years ago, so I am am looking forward to adding to my collection!

bottle brush trees

And how about this beautiful Christmas tree skirt that was sold on Mod Cloth? It’s out of stock now, but I’m looking forward to making my own!

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One more project I have in the works is an ornament wreath inspired by the fantastic ones by Georgia Peachez.

georgiapeachezwreath

I’m looking forward to bringing all these fun retro Christmas ideas into reality in our house this year!

“Jewels”

A Few of My Favorite Chairs – Whimsical Chippendale Makeover

I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have a bit of a thing for chairs. I picked up a set of Chippendale chairs off of craigslist a while ago. I’ll admit that I didn’t even know exactly where they would go, but I could not pass up these beauties.

A Few of My Favorite Chairs - Whimsical Chippendale Makeover | Jewels at Home

There were three armchairs, and you may remember I painted these black and reupholstered the seats with a complementary lattice print. They make beautiful side chairs in our living-dining room.

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Next up were the four side chairs. I originally thought I would use them for an eat-in area in our kitchen, but when we renovated, we ended up with seating at the island, instead of a separate table.

Not to worry, though, the side chairs have found a home in our family room. This room is decorated with lots of white, as you can see in our “built-in” fireplace wall, and blue, as you can see in the new graphic pillows, so I found a print for the seats of the chairs that would connect to these colors. I love how the modern print makes these traditional chairs feel more contemporary, and the circles complement the angles of the lattice.
A Few of My Favorite Chairs - Whimsical Chippendale Makeover | Jewels at Home

A Few of My Favorite Chairs - Whimsical Chippendale Makeover | Jewels at Home

Here’s how the new chairs fit in to the kids’ study space in our family room: A Few of My Favorite Chairs - Whimsical Chippendale Makeover | Jewels at Home

And a final look to see how all these chairs were transformed from stuffy to stunning!

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A Few of My Favorite Chairs - Whimsical Chippendale Makeover | Jewels at Home

So fun! So fun! Funny story. Some of you know that Steve is an avid runner, and I honestly believe I get the same endorphin rush from completing a fun makeover project like this one. Isn’t that crazy?

“Jewels”

Mad Men Party – Setting the Scene

I haven’t had a birthday party in 20 years, but this year seemed like a good time to get friends together for a joint party to celebrate Steve and my birthdays. Really, it all came out of my recent discovery of Mad Men (yes, I am late to the game but twice as devoted to make up for it), and the party seemed like a perfect excuse to dress up in fun 50s and 60s garb while swilling yummy cocktails with our nearest and dearest.

Are you planning a 50s/60s-era Mad Men party? What do you have in mind? Here are some of the props and ideas I can’t wait to try out. (Update: check out the new posts on the Mad Men menu and party wrap-up!)

Clothes

For guys, a suit with a skinny tie will look very dapper. Maybe a fedora?

Girls, the ideas are endless. You can go elegant late 50s or mod 60s. I see 50s- and 60s- inspired styles almost everywhere these days, but some specialty sources you’ll have fun browsing are ModCloth, Etsy, and eBay. Don’t forget your local thrift and consignment stores, too!

I’m still going through my closet for the perfect dress(es!) to accessorize with some pearls or this vintage rhinestone necklace:

Art Deco rhinestone necklace. Fab collection of ideas for a Mad Men party. {Jewels at Home}

Decor and atmosphere

I plan to set the scene with accessories like this old typewriter I found at an antiques store. I think it predates the 60s, but it still creates a great atmosphere. The typewriter needs a new ribbon – perhaps I can call UNderhill 3-2261 for service, as the sticker suggests?

Vintage typewriter - great prop for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

And of course, a fabulous bar is a must. I’m putting together a little collection of Dorothy Thorpe silver-rimmed barware, including roly poly glasses that look like them came straight out of Don Draper’s office.

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe monogrammed glasses for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe roly poly glass for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

I considered getting a chip and dip dish, like the one Pete and Trudy Campbell got as a wedding gift, but I didn’t really want to spend money on something so specific, so I’m going to fake it with a bowl and platter.

If time permits, I’d like to make up some mock Lucky Strike cigarette boxes filled with something – chocolates, bread sticks, pretzels, candy cigarettes?

Music playlist – some Jazz and blues classics, Beatles, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel.

Since this is a big birthday for both of us, I’m also considering doing a slide show – inspired by the Kodak carousel – maybe including some “Instagram”s of recent pictures.

I’ve also started printing posters to frame for products that Sterling Cooper worked on, such as:

  • Lucky Strike
  • Right Guard – aerosol can
  • Menken’s department store
  • Secor laxative
  • Liberty Capital – executive account
  • Belle Jolie lipstick
  • Mohawk Airlines
  • Samsonite
  • Patio cola
  • Heinz – baked beans
  • Sugarberry hams
  • Playtex
  • Jaguar
  • Kodak carousel
  • Pepsi snoball

Menu

This is a tough one. What are some retro dishes that people would actually want to eat? Waldorf salad, quiche, shrimp cocktail? We’re also thinking about some classic dishes to make for fun – I want to make a Jell-o salad, and Steve is talking about Beef Wellington.

For drinks, cocktails of all kinds, including Don Draper’s Old Fashioned, Betty’s Mint Juleps, martinis, and maybe a punch bowl. Another fun addition would be some Heinekens, which were also featured in the show.

Activities
We’ll have plenty of fun just hanging out together, but I’d also like to put out some vintage board games – Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzhee, Farkle and some games Steve picked up at the neighborhood rummage sale last year – and maybe set up a card table.

vintage board games

Game of the States from 1960 and Gettysburg from 1958 for $1 each! Looking forward to playing these!

Send any more ideas our way. Can’t wait to show you what we put together!

“Jewels”

Perfectly-Mixed (not Matched!) Contemporary Dining Spaces

A matched dining set is just fine. But sometimes, your chairs wear out, you come across the perfect table at a thrift store, you move house and your old things don’t fit… or you just want to create a fresh and creative look in your dining area. If you’re feeling inspired, look at these examples of mixed chairs and tables to see how you can create a space that is unique and beautiful!

You can make a big statement by using a furniture piece of a completely different style from the rest of the room, but usually, it works best to balance contrast and connection. That is, the contrast of different materials, colors, and forms creates visual interest, but connections, or common elements between pieces in the room will pull the look together.

Here are some examples that blend modern style with a comfortable, homey look. I look at more traditional spaces in a companion post.

Hanna’s Room

This is a fresh and airy dining area from Hanna’s Room.

Contrast:

  • The natural wood of the table stands out in a space that is otherwise all white.
  • Its simple straight lines form a backdrop for the curvy chairs.
  • The bare bulb pendants and modern white chairs feel crisp against the other soft, worn surfaces in the room.

Connection:

  • White is the obvious theme in this room, found in the walls, floor, curtains, chairs, and other accessories.
  • The wood table is simple enough that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the room, and the material ties into the wooden floor planks.
rustic table with modern chairs

This wooden table works perfectly in a clean white space by providing a contrasting material and color. Its clean lines fit with the modern design, and the wood relates back the painted wood floor. From Hanna’s Room blog.

Go to Hanna’s Room

Quiest-Brooke

Here’s another example of a mixed dining set using mid-century modern elements. The photo is from Quiest-Brooke

Contrast:

  • The warm red of the chairs contrasts against the distinctive white tulip table.
  • Both the red and white provide interest against the wooden floor and wooden sideboard.

Connection:

  • All the furnishings in this room have a mid-century style.
  • The round back and mid-century style of the chairs works perfectly with the tulip table and warms it up considerably from the cool space-age look of a complete tulip dining set.
  • The red color is echoed in the pot and vase, and the white blends with the white walls and ceiling.
tulip table with red chairs

This distinctive white tulip table was paired with red wooden chairs. The circular back of the chairs and the mid-century aesthetic tie them together. The chairs are a beautiful accent in this room. From Quiest-Brooke.

Go to Quiest-Brooke

Dad’s beach house:

The two rooms above were part of my inspiration in creating the dining space in my dad’s beach house. This home is built with modern straight lines, but with an emphasis on natural materials, like the mahogany trim. As a coastal vacation home, it should be warm and inviting, too. There are many wonderful sources for rustic wooden tables – flea markets, Craigslist, thrift stores, or furniture manufacturers that make tables from reclaimed wood. I ended up buying a new table that still has that aged look. It’s the Antique Honey Verona table from Cost Plus World Market. I like the trestle style for its looks and for easy of seating (no bumping up against the legs of the table!). You can see in the picture below that Cost Plus paired chairs with a bench, which is another great way to add interest to your dining set. It’s still a lot of wood in the same color, though, and the look is too heavy and rustic for our space.

Cost Plus World Market Verona dining set

Cost Plus World Market Verona dining set

I chose to pair this rustic table with Jake chairs from Room and Board. These are very similar to the ones in picture from Hanna’s Room. I’ve seen the same style for literally ten times as much money from other sources, but I couldn’t tell you why. I was inspired to add some color after seeing the red chairs in the picture from Quiest-Brooke, so I got the Jake chairs in coastal-inspired white and blue, with two orange chairs for a fun accent at the head of the table. I still haven’t decided of three different chai colors is too much, so I took some pictures with and without the blue chairs. I could spray those white. What do you think?

Jake Chair from Room and Board

Jake Chair from Room and Board

Here is the dining space in my dad’s beach house. I feel like it succeeded in blending modern features with a comfortable, coastal style. The chandelier is from West Elm. I don’t think the room needs anything more, though I might find or make a piece of art for the wall.

Contrast:

  • The antiqued wooden table adds a rustic touch to the new and modern space.
  • the orange chairs at the head of the table add interest next to the white chairs.
  • The modern lacquered chairs contrast with natural materials in the table, chandelier, and window trim.

Connection:

  • The wood table echoes the wood in the trim.
  • The chairs are all the same style, although they have different colors, and those colors are found in other parts of the room as well.
  • The chairs, table, and chandelier all refer to the ocean in the material, color, or form.

Eclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

Eclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

20120529-152145.jpgEclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

Jewels’ house:

Although the style is completely different, I also have a mixed dining set at our house, where I painted and reupholstered our Ikea chairs. I talk about examples from that room and other more traditional spaces in the companion post: Perfectly-Mixed Traditional Dining Rooms.

I hope you feel inspired and emboldened to create your own unique and exciting mixed dining set. As long as some elements – shape, material, color – tie into your space, you’ll end up with a look that’s striking and cohesive.

“Jewels”