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As One Door Closes, Another One Opens.

Clytie Sadler Photography owner taking pictures

Over the last year and a half Ampersand Vintage Modern reached 65,000 people from all corners of the earth. From Mongolia to Jamaica to the Yukon to Phoenix, Arizona. The support our Amperfans gave us was nothing short of amazing. Sadly, we are closing the doors on the shop permanently; I hope everyone has enjoyed the ride as much as we have.  The reason is simple, from a financial standpoint, the economy took its toll and from an energy standpoint running the Ampersand business and brand wore me out. This gig is a lot of work.  Day-to-day you’re a data manager, a website designer, a code writer, a blogger, a social media marketer, a business administrator, a buyer, a picker, a product stylist, a creative director, a PR machine, a DIYer, a handyman, a shipping department, a logistics guru, a photographer, and a photo editor. Phew.

This is not at all what we had initially planned. When we first set out on this journey Andy and I envisioned bringing a lifestyle to Ampersand’s blog and shop. We looked to pair fun and unexpected flair to those mid-century lines we loved so much with the industrial and vintage pieces we carried. We strove to create a brand that brought our customers “Vintage Goods for Modern Living.”  It’s what we loved and we hope our passion came through while we were able to bring it to you.

Making this decision is one of hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s a dream that was difficult to let go of, not only because we worked so incredibly hard the last two years but also because I gave up my career to start Ampersand. Having given up my career may sound crazy to many, but I still walk away knowing it’s the wisest decision I ever made because it’s allowed me the chance to become passionate about new things.

In an effort to make my life less crazy, I’ve decided to stick with a few things and do them with a lot more dedication. I have fallen back in love with photography and learned that I have an affinity for product styling, social media, and small business marketing. The future looks bright: I will be doing part-time ecommerce consulting to develop a social media marketing program for a small, local business.  My real focus will be on photography and I’m psyched to have already picked up my first commercial gig. You can check out my developing new photography blog here and if you’re interested in my photography story you can read more on my About page.

From my clients, to our fun and loyal Amperfans, and everyone I’ve met along the way, I can attest that the connections I’ve made over the last two years have kept me moving forward and are now moving me forward in new directions. You all have been wonderful cheerleaders. The encouragement has been incredible, so thank you. A couple more shout-outs: Jess Robash, you have done such savvy design work for us since the beginning, thank you.  Keyse Angelo and Tara Bellucci, you guys were truly instrumental in launching this business into the interweb and helping us get found. To the Somerville crew, you know who you are; you guys truly helped us raise the bar by being such great sounding boards and swooped in to help Ampersand and me at my wedding. I also want to thank my freelance writer Jilly and my right-hand man, Greg who worked tremendously hard during this transition period. You guys really helped keep me afloat when I was spread so thin.

And in closing, I’m saving the biggest thank you for  my wife who put up with rotating rooms full of vintage furniture that she stubbed numerous toes and shins on late at night, and who lived in a house that was one part photography studio, one part marketing office, one part warehouse during her first two years of grad school. How she’s gotten two short stories published and almost straight As while all the noise of my life was going on is beyond me. I love you forever.


Craft Beer Fridays — Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale

Peeper AleIt’s still not summer out there, but the weather is definitely warming up, which makes Maine Beer Company’s refreshing Peeper Ale a fantastic pour!

Based in Portland, Maine, the Maine Beer Company is very small, very green (they not only donate 1% of their proceeds to charity, they purchase wind credits to offset their carbon footprint and recycle as much as they can, including their spent grain, which goes to local farmers), and only fairly recently available in Massachusetts. With little extra cash for marketing, the company relies mostly on word of mouth to find new drinkers.

Luckily, the word is that you’re going to want to drink down Peeper Ale by the mouthful: crisp and hoppy with a hint of orange (and none of the bitterness that some hopped-beers get), it goes down easy, and pairs great with everything from spicy Thai food to cheese and crackers.

Sold by the pint, this beer is best when fresh, so pick up a few, and knock ’em back!

How We Live: Sarah And David Cunningham

Sarah Cunningham of Walker-Cunningham Gallery, Newbury St., Boston, MA

It should come as no surprise that the owner of the fantastic Walker-Cunningham art gallery (which just happens to house the collection of one of my local favorites, Dora Atwater Millikin) has a beautifully-designed home.

Entry, open kitchen, seating area, high-top table for two.

Entry, open kitchen, seating area, high-top table for two.

What was surprising to me when I visited Sarah and David Cunningham’s home last week, though, was just how homey and laid-back the mid-century Sudbury house felt (I admit it: part of me assumes a gallery-owner would live in a white-walled box with one item per wall, straightened with a level hourly).

Color filled Kitchen

Color filled Kitchen

That’s exactly the goal the couple are trying to achieve. “We love how warm, inviting, and bright this house is,” Sarah says. “Hosting and entertaining for friends and family is very important to us, and this space is perfect for a gathering large or small; even though the house isn’t large (the 3 bedroom 2 bath is 1600 sq. ft.), we can still pack a crowd with ease thanks to the naturally open floor plan.”

Sarah Cunningham of Walker-Cunningham Gallery, Newbury St., Boston, MA

Maybe part of the reason this treasure trove of mid-century pieces and artworks—both from Sarah’s gallery and acquired during the family’s travels—manages to be both welcoming and well-designed is the integration of their stunning collection into their everyday lives.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Kid's Bedroom

Kid’s Bedroom

The Eames rocker, a wedding gift and a favorite of both David and Sarah’s, was where they rocked their 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter to sleep, and where they still sit down to read to them. DIY updates (achieved with ample help from Sarah’s father H. David Boocock, a master craftsman and builder) include new cork flooring and new cabinetry, but also windowseats to nestle into and a comfy dog bed, complete with slipcovers by Sarah’s mother. Great light through beautiful ribbon-style windows is amplified by the light, bright paint-job that Sarah and David undertook when they moved in, and which they say transformed the space from a dark “cave-like” space into its current, airy incarnation. Even their toilet-paper storage doubles as a work of art!

DIY Bathroom

DIY Bathroom

All the work has paid off for Sarah and David, who have definitely created the kind of space they were hoping for. “When we return after a trip or come home from work, it’s a refuge and a comfort to be home,” David and Sarah say. In their space, the old adage proves true: there’s no place like home.

Check out all the pictures we took at Sarah’s beautiful home on Facebook.

Spread The Love To Win A Diamond!

Amperfans, we’re not too proud to say we like you.

We might even LIKE-like you.

We’re also not too proud to say we need your help! We want to give this beautiful Bertoia chair to one of our fans, but we can’t do it until we get to 2000 likes on our facebook page.

Bertoia Diamond Chair Contest

So tell your friends, your family, and anyone you know who’s caught the mid-century modern bug that if they like-like us back, we have diamond (chairs) to spare.

Remember, when we do find a winner, we want him or her to hear the good news, so make sure that after you click that “like” button, you add Ampersand VM to your interests list.

Don’t worry it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Go to our Facebook page

2. Click on the settings dropdown menu (the little gear icon) next to the Message box

3. Select “Add to Interest Lists”

So start spreading the word (and crossing your fingers) and this stunning piece of mid-century design could be yours!

Craft Beer Fridays – Pretty Things’ Saint Botolph’s Town

Pretty Things St. Botolph's

The only thing better than grabbing a 22-oz. beer for a(nother) snowy weekend is knowing your winter-warmer is keeping the heat on in a neighbor’s house!

Founded in 2008 by husband and wife team Dann and Martha Paquette, the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is right around the corner in Somerville, MA (and we’ve been fans for a long time!). Their Saint Botolph’s Town brown ale was originally conceived as a tribute to the city of Boston. Apparently the original Boston (England) was a linguistic mutt: named after the medieval saint, it started out as either “Botolph’s Town” or “Botolph’s Stone,” but over time, muddy pronunciation left us with the “Boston” that we know (and love!) today.

Though this beer isn’t nearly as heavy as Southern Tier’s Imperial Choklat, it has more than enough body to stand up to a wintry day. Malty,  nutty, and just a little toasted-tasting, this smooth ale perfectly complements a cheese tray (and cold days).

Make sure to snap up bottles of St. Botolph’s Town, and any of Pretty Things’ beers, when you see them; as tenant brewers (they rent brewery space, brew in the middle of the night, and let the host brewery bottle for them), just about everything they make is limited-edition, at least until they can get back into the brewery!

Shining A Little Light On Art Nouveau Icon Louis Comfort Tiffany

Here at Ampersand VM, we’re all about the mid-century modern aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate some of the visionaries that came before and paved the way for the modernist design movement. In the half-century leading up to modernism, few had as pervasive an influence as designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, who would have turned 165 today.

Born in New York in 1848, Louis was the scion of another famous Tiffany, Charles Lewis, the founder of Tiffany and Company. Originally trained as a painter, he soon moved onto the glass-working that would make him famous – even infamous – in his own right.

Tiffany’s “Wisteria” lamp, c. 1902

Hanging lamp shade c. 1899

But while Tiffany is best remembered for his stained glass panels and lamps, he applied his signature Art Nouveau style to everything from enamel, to pottery, to jewelry, to metalworking, to blown glass.

This Tiffany bowl from 1908 is an example of his “lava” glass technique, the contrast between the rough black surfaces and the shimmering lustered portions meant to mimic molten lava pouring over the edges of a volcano.

Favrile glass, in which the irridescence is ingrained in the glass itself, was patented by Tiffany in 1894. He used it in both blown glass and stained glass pieces.

This art deco brooch by Louis Comfort Tiffany, ca. 1920, shows how his style evolved towards modernism over the years.

And his iconic glasswork wasn’t just limited to lampshades; the trompe l’oeil glass curtain he installed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City is considered by many to be a masterpiece.

The glass curtain in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, installed in 1911.

Though Tiffany died in 1933 at the age of 84, his progression from Aestheticism through Art Nouveau and into Art Deco shows a truly modern, evolving approach to his multi-varied art career.

While we may be mid-century devotees here at Ampersand VM, we wouldn’t say no to a Tiffany piece or two, as an eclectic focal point in an otherwise modernist interior. If only we had a few hundred (thousand) dollars to spare…

Happy Valentines 10% OFF for Vintage Lovers!


All our fans will enjoy 10% off today when you enter the coupon code “VintageLove” and click Go! at checkout to update your cart with the discount.

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