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A Design Historian’s Perspective: The Trend is “Collector”

By Alessandra Wood, Ph.D., Modsy Director of Style

Over the past decade, we’ve been seeing an influx of mid-century styles all across the design world. It goes without saying that interior design is heavily influenced by not only lifestyle, but also the way people incorporate design into even the smallest details of their daily lives.

What’s trending now is a more personalized styling that incorporates mid-century pieces into a more “lived in” vibe.

We’re seeing a contemporization of a mid-century aesthetic that fits a modern audience valuing timeless design, comfort, and subtle accent detailing. This modernization can be summed into a term we like to refer to as “The Collector.”

The aesthetic of the Mid-Century has been adapted to fit a modern call for comfort and personalization. The Collector has revolutionized how we see opportunities for new uses of space.

  • We’re seeing end chairs being used as side tables for lamps and collections of beautiful books.
  • Coffee tables are being replaced by smaller, mismatched tables that are juxtaposed together to create a more dynamic unit of diverse shapes, forms and materials.
  • The centerpiece of a living room is no longer the TV; instead, focus has shifted to collections of artwork, bookshelves that house books and collected objects, large indoor plants of all varieties, and rugs that function as statement pieces themselves.
  • We’re also seeing a call for smaller, artisanal goods that have been sourced locally as opposed to mass produced commercial products.

The Collector embodies the essence of a style that was born in the Mid-Century, yet has been completely redefined into a modern comfortable style that can easily be translated to your personal design taste.

Style Spotlight: Mod Collector

Designing a Modern Eclectic Space

 

The Modsy Fall Mod Collector Collection is finally here. A style that pairs mid-century modern forms with eclectic and personal accents, this is a look for anyone who craves a trendy space with a personal twist.

A style that plays with texture and pattern, this season’s Mod Collector Collection embraces rustic and bohemian undertones for a more trend-forward look that works for any interior.

Take a tour through some of our favorite customer design projects to see if Mod Collector is the look for you!

 

Modern Eclectic Style

With a color palette inspired by fall, this living room feels both warm and fresh. Try balancing the browns and tans from things like a leather sofa and jute rug, with a pop of green like this wasabi colored velvet lounge chair.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

If your ideal space is full of neutrals, consider incorporating pops of pattern to add some visual drama. We love the Greek Key patterned pouf and the Tibetan Tiger rug inside this living room, which bring a note of contrast to the otherwise neutral space.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

Geometric shapes are a great way to add a note of mid-century modern intrigue to your home. Try a coffee table with a retro shape or a mirror with an unexpected inlay. We love how the pop of brass in this geometric mirror helps warm up the space.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

The Mod Collector look is all about unexpected design elements. Try pulling in two poufs for extra seating that can also double as great footrests, or even a side tables in a pinch!

 

Modern Eclectic Style

You can’t go wrong with a pop of retro drama in your space. Try a statement lamp for a bit of mid-century glam to spice up your living room look. We love the unique, statement shape of this lamp which lends an instant cool-factor to any space.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

Balance a neutral sofa with a pair of statement chairs. We these woven leather safari chairs which sport a mid-century shape with an eclectic twist vie their woven leather construction.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

Not into statement furniture? No problem! Try a bold colored rug instead to instantly warm up any space. Pair it with other warm accents like fall-hued pillows or brassy accessories to tie the whole space together.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

This green velvet sofa brings the perfect pop of softness to this Mod Collector living room. The rounded arms and tapered legs perfectly pair with the mid-century details in the lamps, side table, and arm chairs.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

This deep red sofa makes a bold statement below this graphic mid-century artwork. Balance out the black by sprinkling other patterns throughout your space – try an ikat patterned basket or some geometric throw pillows.

 

Modern Eclectic Style

The Mod collector look isn’t just for your living room. Bring the wasabi green into your dining room as well with these velvet dining chairs for a cohesive space.

 

Love the Mod Collector look? Try it on in your space!

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How to Mix Vintage Pieces into Modern Spaces

Dear Modsy,

I’m a new homeowner in the process of designing my first place. I have a few antique and vintage pieces that I’d like to keep, but overall I’d like my new home style to look and feel modern. How can I mix these pieces in without it feeling like two conflicting styles?

Please help!

Sincerely,
Curious Collector

 

Dear Curious Collector,

We love the look of mixing vintage pieces into modern interiors. Vintage pieces are a great way to infuse your space with some old-world charm and texture, and make your home feel unique and full or character.

While we know it can be a challenge to imagine a vintage steamer trunk looking great with your modern sofa, we have a few tricks that will help.

So whether you’re in the market for some antiques or have a vintage piece you simply don’t know how to make work, here are a few easy, stylish ideas for combining vintage pieces with modern furnishings in your home.

 

Mix In a Little Patina

The appeal of vintage pieces often comes from their timeworn look. These signs of age give vintage pieces their signature “patina,” and can work wonderfully to warm up a room that’s predominantly white or spare.

Pair with solid hues… to strike a visual balance of old and new. For instance, the roughness of the old steamer trunk repurposed as a coffee table in this living room, is a stylish visual counterpoint to the clean-lined leather sofa.

Pair with soft textures… to offset the aged look of a vintage piece, especially if it’s made of weathered wood or tarnished metals. Crisp pillows, shaggy rugs, and other rich textiles will help to soften the rough-hewn look of a vintage, patinaed piece.

 

Consider Classic Furniture Details

Most antique furniture was constructed using traditional techniques, and their forms often reflect that craftsmanship. Think X-bases and ornately carved table legs. These classic design elements can add an eclectic vibe to a modern space.

Combine classic details with minimal designs… to create contrast. In this dining area the carved antique table works perfectly with the minimal design of the console and round mirror. The idea is to contrast heft with lightness to create a balanced look for your space.

Combine classic details with curvy shapes… to take the edge off classic antiques. While carved wood pieces provide a sophisticated note to a space, they can appear solid and rigid, like the dining table above. Round accents like the hanging pendant or the curving seat of the iconic Bertoia chairs, will help create a space where modern and traditional elements collaborate rather than clash.

 

Work with Mid-Century Lines

There’s no shortage of gorgeous mid-century pieces in the market these days. Among vintage designs, these clean-lined pieces are great for mixing into modern spaces.

Mix mid-century with iconic designs… for a distinctly contemporary look with an air of design sophistication. Here, the polished vintage desk is matched with the Modernist Ghost Chair, which shares its sleek lines and simple form with the desk.

Mix mid-century with brass… to add a little modern glimmer. Many vintage pieces sport brass hardware, so try layering your vintage piece with even more brassy accents to tie the whole look together. Additionally, brass makes for an eye-catching and warm visual contrast to polished woods.

 

Add a Statement Antique

If you’re looking to make a statement, opt for an antique or vintage piece that’s rich with history. Consider them conversation pieces that will stand out from the rest of your furnishings in any room.

Balance statement antiques with big pieces… to match the grandeur of your vintage design. What contemporary designs may lack in history, they can still make up for in bold scale and style. The grandfather clock here is balanced by the green velvet sofa and the large-scale art that’s equally eye-catching.

Balance statement antiques with gold touches… for a way to unify the old and the new. Gold accents, such as side tables or gilded frames, can be a great way to bridge antiques and modern furnishings – they have a way of making big antiques, like this grandfather clock, feel contextualized and they add a glamorous touch to the space. Try layering a few gold pieces in between your antiques and your modern pieces to create a cohesive look.

 

Go Bold with Vintage Woods

Many large vintage pieces feel especially out-of-place in modern homes because of their dark wood (not to mention those ornate carved details). When it comes to big antiques, such as storage pieces, try pairing the bold with the bold.

Pair vintage woods with bright colors… to offset the dark wood tones. Lighter hues and textiles with patterns can be a great counterpoint to vintage furniture in dark woods. For example, the dark-wood dresser in this bedroom blends beautifully against the marbled, blue wallpaper, for a look that’s modern, playful, and easy on the eyes.

Pair vintage woods with light upholstery… to create a space that’s equally relaxed and refined. Upholstery, even in the form of a single chair, placed alongside a vintage dark wood piece can help to ease up its strong appearance. Try bringing in side chairs in bright fabrics or a light white upholstered seat that can easily be pulled up next to a dresser or a console for the perfect visual balance.

 

With Modsy, you can create a 3D model of any piece of furniture, like your vintage credenza, and we can help incorporate it into your design, no matter what your style.

Need help mixing in your vintage furniture?

 

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My Modsy Story: Taking the Guesswork Out of Buying Furniture

buyer's remorse

Like any of us, Sara Ballentine just wanted to buy the right furniture for her first home—without the worry of making a mistake.

 

Homeowner: Sara Ballentine, first-time homeowner
Location: South Carolina
Room: Small Awkward Pass-through Room
Her Style: Mod Collector

The Backstory

Buying that perfect first home—along with all its charms and quirks

My husband and I finally took the leap and recently bought our first home. The house was built in the 1970s and had all the charms you’d expect: beautiful hardwood floors, gorgeous molding and fixtures. But with that, came a few small and awkwardly-shaped rooms.

The Design Dilemma

Making a room out of an awkward space

Our biggest conundrum was the dining room. My husband and I had visions of hosting lively dinner parties in our first home together, so we turned the formal living room (that we knew we weren’t going to use) into our dining room.

But that left the original dining room empty and without a purpose. We had no clue what to do with it! It just became this awkward, small square pass-through room in between the kitchen and the new dining room. It didn’t fit with the rest of of the rooms around it, and it didn’t make sense for it be an office since we already had one. The wasted space drove us crazy…

The Modsy Moment

Getting the right design help—when all else failed

Naturally I had been all over Houzz and Pinterest looking for home décor ideas. Finally I was on Pinterest overload and still couldn’t make any decisions around colors, spacing, style, functionality, and just decorating that one room in general. Plus, I have terrible buyer’s remorse and always end up thinking I’ve bought the wrong thing or should have kept looking before settling, which made it all even harder.

Then I discovered Modsy!

I might have first seen Modsy on Facebook, and when I realized what Modsy was, my interest was sparked. I honestly had no idea what to expect but I do remember thinking, “Well, I’ve wasted $99 before on nothing so I guess I’ll give this a try!”—knowing then that it was either going to be amazing and I would do my entire house or it would be terrible and I’d learn my lesson.

It was extremely easy getting started. I had no issues signing up or uploading pictures. I got to include some notes, which the Modsy team incorporated into the room rendering as best they could, and the final rendering was done in 7 or 8 days. It allowed me the opportunity to visualize all the furniture in place so I didn’t have to go through all that doubt and buyer’s regret.

Breakfast Nook: Design 1
Breakfast Nook: Design 2
Breakfast Nook: Design 3
Breakfast Nook: Design 4
Breakfast Nook: Design 5

What Modsy’s Renderings Did for Sara

Seeing new furniture (and arrangement) possibilities

This small space was the second room I did on Modsy. The first batch of renderings looked nice but they were not what I had envisioned or hoped for the space. I told the Modsy Style Team that I didn’t know what to do, and I asked them to try again…

And then, I got a rendering for this beautiful breakfast nook/sitting area that flowed so nicely between the kitchen and dining room. I was in awe when I got the renderings back for the room. I was shocked and so happy and immediately thought “You’ve got to be kidding! This freaking awesome!” It was great for a quick bite in the morning, for coffee, or for drinks before dinner! It was perfect!

From there, I really wanted to incorporate a banquette in the breakfast nook to make it more casual feeling—they’re surprisingly hard to find! Modsy found a perfect one from West Elm without even trying—it was slender and not too formal, and I was in heaven when I saw that design for the first time. Unfortunately that corner piece was out of stock, so they found a couple more options for me. I ended up settling on a bright-blue velvet one from Anthropologie (Honestly, I think I asked for 9 different renderings for the space!).

buyer's remorse

As I said, I did another room on Modsy before. In the formal dining room I knew I wanted a buffet but had always imagined it along one of the big blank walls. When I got my Modsy rendering back, the idea was to have it on the opposite wall, between the two windows. I know it sounds anticlimactic but this simple change completely transformed my space! It totally opened up the room and I ended up purchasing that exact buffet and putting it right where the rendering had it. Not to mention, I had looked at West Elm’s buffets up and down and was just going to get a plain simple one. The one Modsy found for me was more eclectic and had some texture and color, and I never would’ve chosen it without them. I have it now and it’s great!

I’m more or less sticking with all the original rendering ideas from Modsy. I’m leaving out some stuff so it doesn’t get too cluttered but other than that I plan on setting up my spaces as designed. And so far, I’ve bought two of the pieces in my Modsy renderings—more to come, though!

Formal Dining Room: Design 1
Formal Dining Room: Design 1

 

Need a little design help?

Try a Modsy rendering for yourself!

Get the Look: A Modern Take on Mary Tyler Moore’s Studio Apartment

An Ode to Mary Tyler Moore and the Modern American Woman

Mary Tyler Moore, the ultimate lady hero, was an important and influential woman for a lot of people. At Modsy, we are a company founded and run by female leaders, and we would like to thank her for paving the way for us and other fierce females.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first program to feature a single, independent, career-driven woman in a leading role. The show also marked one of the first instances that time prime-time TV turned an eye towards issues such as sex, birth control, and women in the workforce. Mary’s humorous, compassionate, and lively character offered a new depiction of the American Woman to her prime-time television viewers.

full_001w

To celebrate Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy and her memory, we designed a modern version of her studio apartment for our twenty-first century single (and career-driven) ladies. Like Mary’s, this apartment, also set in snowy Minneapolis, has an open floor plan that is divided into a living/dining and entertaining space, a small office area, and a bedroom.

Mary Tyler Moore Studio

In the living room we selected a golden velvet sofa and the bold floral rug, inspired by Mary’s  studio apartment on the show. We ditched the coffee table in lieu of a small cocktail table that can be used for dining and entertaining – multi-purpose pieces are important for small-space living. The two mismatched side chairs create the sense that the space was designed in pieces with objects collected over time, as the apartments of many young adults are.

Mary Tyler Moore Studio

For the bedroom we opted for a canopy bed to bring some drama to the space. Studio apartments mean that everything is on display – if people are going to see your bed, why not make it a statement?

Mary Tyler Moore Studio

Designed spaces communicate identity; our homes are not only the places where we live, but they embody elements of who we are. In the mid-twentieth century, apart from Mary Tyler Moore and her studio apartment, the only other depiction of women and their homes in the media was of the suburban housewife. By contrast, the alternative home-based identity for males was that of the single, heterosexual bachelor who lived in his trendy, urban penthouse.

Mary Tyler Moore Studio

Images of such “bachelor pads” were showcased in Playboy Magazine alongside centerfolds of naked women. These were dwellings created for the educated, tech-savvy, elite male with ample disposable income and sex appeal.

Mary Tyler Moore, by comparison, was also a single woman, living in an urban area, and focused on her career rather than finding a husband. Her home, as a trendy studio apartment communicates this, and she provides the female role model to her male, bachelor counterpart. Like the playboy bachelor pad, Mary’s home is open, designed for entertaining, and full of an eclectic mix of Mid-Century Modern and more traditional furnishings.

 

We love Mary Tyler Moore and are continuously inspired by her go-getter, boss lady attitude. Thank you Mary for being the incredible woman that you were, and for paving the way for the rest of us. Together we are going to make it after all.

Shop all the products in this collection here, or see it in your space with Modsy!

 

Modsy Collections: The Mod Collector

Introducing Collections!

We are excited to introduce our new Collection Series! In this series we will be presenting a variety of styled collections carefully curated for you to discover new products, makers, and styles you’ll love. Look out for the new collections here on the blog or sign up to have design inspiration delivered directly to your inbox.

If you find an item you love (or are taken by the entire collection) but aren’t quite sure how it could work in your home, Modsy is here for you! When you purchase a Modsy design package you can see exactly how any of our featured collections would translate into your own space. Just imagine the possibilities!


Our first featured collection is based on one of our most popular style guide categories, the Mod Collector. The Mod Collector blends together a mix of classic mid-century modern pieces with accessories that showcase unique personality and taste.

This collection presents the Mod Collector sensibility, but with a Minimalist styling. Inspired by a modern Scandinavian feel, the pieces are characterized by a pared down palette of neutral blacks, whites, and creams with accents of natural wood and leather to add a bit of warmth and depth to the space. There is a lovely simplicity and brightness to the collection, managing to strike that tricky balance between a living space that is both sophisticated and inviting.

a
Design Within Reach

 
West Elm

Artfully Walls

BoConcept

Scandinavian Designs

Trying to visualize how this collection would look in your home? Let us do it for you! Get started today!