Friday, June 29, 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow

One hundred and ten degrees.



I awoke on yesterday morn thinking I'd been somehow transported to the surface of Mercury.  Surely it couldn't be this warm in a St. Louis June...

but it was and the air conditioner installers called in sick.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, or so I though.  So I made a bold move, grabbed the clippers, and proceeded to shave off all my dang hair - every bit of it.

It felt glorious.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight and a properly cooled home, I've come to regret my hasty decision.

See, bald heads look good on brawny men with bulging muscles and tree-trunk necks.  This I am not.  I'm more like the proverbial 98 pound weakling (or rather today's version, the 150 pound weakling) in those Atlas advertisements.

Manly bald


Skinny bald

source: Free Image Archives

So I look like I've got some sort of wasting disease, but my house is a chilly 80 degrees and right now that's all that matters.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"I won't never be nothin' but a cowboy"

Meet Bessie, our newest addition to the household.

Gorgeous, isn't she?  A real Brazilian tri-color stunner, I'd say.

Not only is cowhide easy on the eyes, it's also incredibly practical with a mix of durability, stain resistance, and retro-modern flair that you won't find in any other material.  In addition, the rug has proven surprisingly soft and comfortable underfoot. 

A small part of me may have also wanted one because, as an animal by-products salesman, I found the inclusion of a large, dead animal in my decor very apt.

So that's the great rug dilemma solved!  Those of you who were with me back in the beginning can now breathe a sigh of relief.  We've finally turned the page on that chapter of our epic decorating saga.  There will be no more posts agonizing over which floor covering to bring home.  I promise... at least for a while. 

Many thanks go to Second Hand Hannah, because without her I'd still be a bare-floored savage.

So, in honor of Hannah and Bessie, here's a little Western tune by a favorite artist of mine, Slackeye Slim. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Around the Office: A Little Fishy

Sometimes you find stuff in the oddest places.

A good while back I came across this kitschy, retro cutting board while making a sandwich in the office kitchen.

I knew I'd seen that design somewhere, but just couldn't recall the source and it nagged at me for months.

Source: Vitra

"As a truly multi-talentent designer, George Nelson was also successful as a graphic designer.  His Zoo Timers - strongly colourful personalities from the animal kingdom - contrast sharply with his sculptural wall clocks from the 1950s thanks to their graphic touch. The Zoo Timers offer children a playful and enjoyable approach to telling the time."

That is until I came upon this thumbnail and description on the Vitra website.

A Japanese cutting board knockoff of a George Nelson "Zoo Timer" clock?  How strange and unexpected.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It was another crazy busy weekend, with loads of chores to do and home improvement decisions to be made, but I did manage to make my way down to the Rocket Century Swank-A-Rama on Saturday.  There's always time for a little MCM browsing and it gave me an excuse to get out of the sauna (aka my scorching, stuffy old house).  Man, it's hot!

I didn't end up taking anything home, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any bargains to be had.  In fact, there were loads of sweet deals, but I had a whole Broyhill Emphasis dining set crammed into the back of the van and I just couldn't fit anything else in the living room.  Space is currently at a premium at the Nickarmadillo household.

You have no idea how hard it was to pass on the two green Steelcase armchairs, the fold-out Lane Acclaim coffee table, the Taylor Smith Taylor Cathay dishware and all the other assorted goodies.  Now that the dining set is gone, I really wish I could go back and pick a few of those up.  Alas, I'll just have to wait for the next Swank-A-Rama.  Next time I'll come prepared.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Big boy decision time

I tried opening windows, moving in a few box fans, and sitting around in my undies but I just can't beat the heat, folks.  The time to replace my ancient (26 year old) air conditioner and furnace is upon us.

I've checked around town and gotten a few estimates but, as a new homeowner, know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about HVAC units.  

So here they are:

Bid #1 - $4519
Carrier 24ABB3 (Comfort Series) 13 SEER A/C 
Carrier 58STA (Comfort 80 Series) 80% Single-stage Furnace
with a CNPVPB617 coil

or upgrade to the following for a total of $6385 ($920 for a/c, $946 for furnace)

Carrier 24ANB6 (Infinity Series) 16 SEER A/C
Carrier 58CVA (Infinity 80 Series) 80% Variable Two-stage Furnace
both with a CNPVP3617ATA Cased Vertical Tin-Plated N-Coil
with a CX34 coil

Bid #2 - $3790
Lennox 13ACX (Merit Series) 13 SEER A/C
Lennox ML180 (Merit Series) 80% Single-stage Furnace

or upgrade to the following for a total of $5590 ($300 for a/c, $1500 for furnace)

Lennox 14ACX (Merit Series) 14 SEER A/C
Lennox SL280V (Signature Series) 80% Variable Two-stage Furnace

Missouri has a temperate climate, but we do get the odd extreme temperature.  I'm also, as you all know, a spendthrift who would rather open a window or throw on a sweater than pay increased utility bills.  Funds are tight, so costs (short and long-term) are definitely a concern.

Any of you all out there have any advice, inclinations, or experiences?  Is choosing the 80% efficiency, which every installer recommended, a bad idea? Is the upgrade to a two-stage variable speed furnace worth it? Are there any other models that I should consider that would better fit my needs? 

As always, I'm full of questions.

I apologize for the boring subject matter of today's post.  Putting on the big boy pants isn't fun, but sometimes it can't be avoided.  In the interest of others out there looking to do the same, I promise to post pictures and a write-up detailing my experience once the project is finished.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Diamonds are a guy's best friend

You know, I've never been a real believer in luck, karma, Juju, divine intervention, or whatever you may call it.  I'm hard-core skeptic who's natural tendency is to attribute everything to the luck of the draw.

However, the world sometimes has an unmistakeable pattern to it.  Take, for example, the rather unbelievable string of home-related travesties that has befallen me since my move last year.  Surely there's no way that these events could have all occurred within this short timeframe without some kind of supernatural intervention.

Well, I must have done something right lately (a rare occasion, I assure you), because the Mid-Mod gods have chosen to smile upon me....

... and bequeath unto me this set of gorgeous Bertoia Diamond Chairs!

OK, so maybe that's a smidge dramatic, but I'm really excited.  I've been searching high and low for a pair of Bertoia's for quite some time.  In fact, I'd say that I'm completely enamored with their airy, sculptural look.  Just ask Mr. Modtomic.  He's probably sick to death of me oohing and aahing every time he brings his out.  Now I've got my very own to admire.

And the Mid-Mod gods may have played a part, but one of my readers actually delivered the goods (THANKS!).  It's such a cool experience running into readers and it's been happening more and more frequently lately, though they usually first ask if I'm Mr. Mod.  A shared interest in Mid-century Modern makes striking up a conversation easy and I've made some great friends and acquaintances over the last few months.  Anyway, she was making a trip to St. Louis to pick up a few things and decided to put some of her own items, including the chairs, up on Craigslist.  I was ALL OVER IT.

As is the case with most Bertoia's, these guys obviously spent their days out on the patio and the Rislan finish is rusted-through and flaking.  Something will need to be done, but what?  More on that in a second.

These have the original glides, for which I've already ordered replacements... 

... and the original Knoll covers.  Yep, that is a HOT pink, and that's the (very) faded side.  Wanna see a REAL hot pink?  

Daaaaaaaaang that's hot!  I didn't even know Knoll made this shade.  Obviously, being a red-blooded American male, I'll be putting the covers in storage.

So, here it is.   The breakfast nook is finally complete.  Well, almost complete.  See, I've gotta decide what to do about the finish on the chairs.  Should I go over them with a wire brush and paint them with Rustoleum?  Would it be better to take them to get sandblasted and powder coated?  How much would a job like this cost?  Should I do them in white, black, or a white/black combo like Hannah's?  Is just leaving them in their current rustic state for the best?

Oh, the questions.  The nagging, nagging questions.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I must emphasize that this is one cool dining set

You may have seen a certain swanky china cabinet over at Mr. Mod's today and been anxiously awaiting the rest of the set.

Well, wait no longer!  Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Yep, our last Brasilia sale went so well that Mr. Mod and yours truly teamed up on another project.  He's got a little space here.  I've got a little space there.  Between us we had just enough room to haul this baby in, and man was it a tough haul.  The weather was sweltering and this is a BIG set with a full-size china cabinet, extra-long buffet, dining table, and six chairs.  His Frank and my minivan just about had their fill.

As you can see, the table top will need a little bit of work and there's a few nicks and scratches, but overall the set is in good vintage condition.  Back in those days they built 'em to last. 

Broyhill really outdid themselves in this era.  Brasilia, Sculptra, Emphasis... they're all absolutely stunning.  What I really like about the Emphasis line is the sort of Tiki vibe that it has going on.  Anybody else get that feeling from it?

The fabric is a little traditional for my tastes, but if you're looking for understated then it'd work great.  If you're like me and want something a little more 1960's atomic, then the change should be quick and easy.  Just pop the seat off, put on some new upholstery, and staple it down.

So if you're in need of a cool, mid-mod spot to chow down, keep an eye on Craigslist.  We'll have this Broyhill Emphasis dining set up shortly.

Friday, June 8, 2012


My office never ceases to amaze me.

It seems like every few days I come across some some kind of retro-modern surprise tucked away in a cabinet or unused closet...

... or, in this case, the refrigerator.

How'd I miss this little guy for so long?  He was just sat there chillin' out behind the grape jelly for all these years.

Only in the 1960's would they have even considered making a simple refrigerator thermometer look so darn cool.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another oldie

A weekend without thrift stores?!  No estate sales?!

Don't worry, folks.  I'm alright.  After all the stomach knots, furrowed brows, deep sighs, and sleepless nights the early departure (RIP) of my A/C and furnace caused, I just needed a weekend to unwind.

I'm not even going through withdrawals... yet.

OK, so I did cheat a little bit.  You didn't think I could go a WHOLE WEEKEND without any retro, did you?

Hannah of Secondhand, Mr. Modtomic, Illuminate, and the crew from Rocket Century were all at the Green Shag Market hawking their wares this past Saturday, so I thought that I would make a brief appearance, though I may have unwound a bit too much and slept through my alarm.  I guess all of those sleepless nights and early mornings finally caught up with me.

I had a wonderful time chatting with everyone (though I missed Rocket Century - where were you guys?) and perusing the stalls.  There was some really neat stuff available, but Hannah had just what I needed: Lamps and lots of them!  Got a few other bits as well, but I'll share my haul with you soon.


For now, here's another oldie that I'd filed away in my "to post" folder and never got to.

I loved the look of this Zenith console stereo.  It had the lattice speaker grills, the perfect set of legs, and an almost-unblemished walnut veneer.  This was the quintessential retro console and was originally destined to become my TV stand.

However, before I moved it in I had a change of heart.  This thing had the original internals and I couldn't bear to let them sit there unused.  It needed a new home where it could bring analog joy, and find one it did.  Of course, I sat it out and listened to a few tunes on the radio first, and those old, big-coned hi-fi speakers sound rich, warm, and full, as expected.  As they say, there's no replacement for displacement.

Here's the Zenith is in it's new diggs, the home of a new friend and fellow Mid-Mod collector who just happens to own a very unique Mid-Century home in the area that I'd really like to feature on the blog (hint hint nudge nudge).

Well, that's all for now.  See you all soon.