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Posts tagged ‘vintage’

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!

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…

Be My Valentine Contest

Bertoia Diamond Chair Contest

Be my Valentine and we’ll be yours! When AVM reaches 2000 Facebook page likes, we’ll be sending one lucky Amperfan a vintage Harry Bertoia Diamond Chair by Knoll. Because we all know that nothing says love like a diamond.

Couple things to note about the contest:

You need to add Ampersand Vintage Modern to your “Interest Lists”. This is the only way not to miss out and continue to view our news, contests, announcements, photos and blog posts in your feed.

The solution is easy peasy:
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”
Done and done.

All fans (new or old) in the lower 48 states will be eligible for the contest, but it will only happen when we hit that 2000  mark. So don’t forget to “Like” our Ampersand Vintage Modern page on Facebook if you haven’t already. We can’t reach 2000 page likes without your help. Spread the word, share our page, and especially this amazing giveaway and keep your fingers crossed, and maybe you’ll be getting a Bertoia diamond this Valentine’s Day.

The Original DIY Project – The Airstream

Latourneau Airstream

photo via Poetic Home

So many of the trends in the DIY, vintage, and upcycling worlds are small-scale (even though they can have a huge impact). I’m talking about the hunt for that one perfect piece, or the reworking of an antique mason jar into any of a few hundred beautiful, useful items, from lighting to urban gardens. But lately, some seriously innovative DIYers are thinking big. Airstream big. Refurbishing these mid-century classics is a trend that’s really picking up st(r)eam lately, and for good reason; their sleek lines lend themselves to beautiful, artistic interiors, the challenge of living more simply is one that is appealing to more people every day (if you haven’t heard of the tiny home movement, it’s another fantastic creative outlet for DIYers nationwide), and the appeal of being able to pick up and go, without leaving any of the comforts of home behind, is perennial.

American Airstream

American Airstream – painting by Leah Giberson

Even the art world loves the Airstream. Artist Leah Giberson pays homage to this icon of American travel –check out her mixed-media paintings featuring the Airstream on her flickr site.

Southwest Coaches published this video on YouTube and it’s a must-see for the Airsteam aficionado. Filmed over 40 years ago at the Airstream Plant, the video offers a first-hand look at an era where manufacturers still believed that quality was attained through details. We love their tag line, “Where Building Dreams is our Business.”

Check out some of our favorite Airstreams (both updated and in all their original glory) here, as well as these fun facts about America’s favorite camper!

* Airstreams are the original DIY project; company founder Wally Byam built the first in 1929 in his backyard, after which he published an article titled “How to Build a Trailer for One Hundred Dollars.” After selling hundreds of his instruction-sets to readers of the article, and building quite a few trailers for friends, Byam decided to expand the operation into a full-fledged business in 1932.
* Airstreams have been upcycled into everything from permanent shoreside homes to mobile libraries to food stands!
* Byam was as invested in the community of Airstream-enthusiasts, or “Airstreamers,” as he was in his product. Starting in the early 50s, Byam started leading groups of buyers to specific travel destinations around the world (check out this fun collection of vintage images of Airstreamers at play. The Wally Byam Caravan Club still meets up every summer.
* Several campsites nationwide are Airstream-only. Some even require membership in the Caravan Club for entry!

Music That Gets Us Through (What We’re Listening to Now)

I know I’ve been a little absent on the blog at the start of this year but, some of us roar into the New Year and some of us recover from the flurry of activity at the end of the last year. Oh, and getting our books in order from 2012 was a bit of a deterrent to our brains feeling creative at all. It’s like a hurry scurry little mouse darting every which way on its path to discovery that finds itself in spilled molasses. That is when you have to crank some tunes, shake off the stick and get the blood flowing again.

I stumbled across George Maple late one night while driving home from a picking trip. Coming back into the Boston area around 1am, I switched over to our local college radio station, 88.9 WERS from Emerson College.  Apparently ‘ERS has an Australian Radio Hour, who knew? Although she’s not Australian, I was introduced to her soulful British voice and immediately Shazamed the track and purchased it. When I got home I went on iTunes and was greatly disappointed to see this was the only track currently available but mark my words, this is an artist to watch.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to dance so a fly DJ spinning great tunes gets my toes tappin’ and when you mix it up with a bluesy sound you get me at “Hello.” The French DJ group C2C,  Disco Mix Club World Team DJ Champions four years in a row (2003–2006), puts down some hot tracks and the song “Down the Road” is right in my wheelhouse.

Most of you know my travel partner and vintage sniffer Rex, he’s always there and puts me in a great mood. He’s so patient with my wandering and using him as my personal dress up doll. This next song by the ’70s French pop artist Joe Dassin always fills my heart to the bursting point because I think about strolling down Les Champs-Élysées, me bopping my head cheerfully from side-to-side and he’s sniffing the air and wearing the outfit from the picture below.

Rex, ready to stroll Les Champs Elysées

Rex, ready to stroll Les Champs Elysées

Some catchy stuff I know. Hope you enjoy the tunage as much as I have lately.

How We Live: Sean and Zach

In a perfect world, we would all find spaces ideally suited to our style, in our dream location, and – since we’re already engaging in some serious wishful thinking – with a rock-bottom price-tag. But Sean Litchfield and Zachary Violette’s intriguing Jamaica Plain apartment – just 400 square feet and loaded with potential stumbling blocks like a narrow entry hallway and occasionally odd angles – proves that creating a warm, welcoming, beautiful home isn’t about starting with the ideal canvas. It’s about transforming the space you have to reflect your tastes and fulfill your needs.

For Sean, a freelance photographer, and Zach, an architectural historian and PhD candidate, those needs include maximizing the small apartment’s space, since both of them often work from home, and getting the most out of their kitchen, since they enjoy cooking together. They’ve managed both with a series of ingenious workarounds, including loads of shelving and a willingness to wall-mount just about anything.

While their space may be limited, their funky style is anything but; their tastes range from Victorian ephemera to mid-century modern, with room for just about anything that strikes their fancy. Dedicated thrifters who are never above peeking into a dumpster, Sean and Zach have created a space that is personal, unique, and best of all, inexpensive. “We both have very specific tastes,” says Sean, “but neither of us would ever pay a premium for them. It’s both amazing and appalling what people throw away.”

Luckily, those peoples’ losses are Sean and Zach’s (and our!) gains. Take a peek at their own little cabinet of wonders (and if you like Sean and Zach’s unique style, swing by the store – we just happen to have a few pieces in stock right now that would fit perfectly into their one-of-a-kind space!) :

Sean & Zach - AmpersandVM How We Live

From the entrance to Sean and Zach’s 400 sqft. apartment, a wall lined with books leads all the way through to the window.

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Hallway

A sharp left leads into a hallway where Christmas tree lights illuminate a collection of vintage maps and Occupy Wall Street signs.

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Living Room 1

The tight quarters beg for storage solutions. This Mid-Century teak wall unit with desk helps fit two people into a small space. An additional, unique storage idea is the vintage suitcase beneath the coffee table. You can put anything inside, the hard case offers great protection, and best of all, you can tuck them in just about anywhere, since they make a great design element!

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Living Room 2

One “wow” moment in this space came when I saw the typewriters and paper cutters mounted to the wall. Such an original idea, and it really looks amazing. Check out our Facebook page where you can see the album in its entirety.

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Living Room 3

Living Room

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Bedroom
Sean & Zach’s cozy bedroom. Note the beautiful reuse of rustic windows.

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Kitchen
Views of the kitchen

Sean & Zach - How We Live - Kitchen
When you can’t spread out, spread up: it’s a great way to maximize a space’s potential!

Know someone in New England with an amazing space? Let us know about it by sending an e-mail to and it might be featured in a future installment of “How We Live!”

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