Who was nice enough to let us feature their home: Stefan and Erin.
They are fabulous antique dealers with a great eye. Their business is called ScoutLiving and they sell out of Past Perfect in San Francisco. In spring 2011 they will begin the planning of their Sacramento based collective. Ideally, it will consist of five dealers and they’ll continue to sell stunning mid century modern furniture.
Make sure to “like” their page on Facebook!
What they told us about the home: They live in 1200 sq ft Craftsman home that was built-in front of a 1890’s home. The couple who originally owned the 1890’s home built it as an anniversary gift to themselves and the two homes have always been sold together.
Where is the home located: Midtown, Sacramento, California
When was the home built and when they moved it: Built in 1915 and they moved in June 2008.
Why they chose this home: They moved from San Francisco because Stefan got into grad school at Sacramento State University. After looking into a couple of other homes that they found on Craigslist, they decided that this one best suited their needs.
Photos by Rose and Serene:
What attracted you to MCM design?
Erin: I grew up in a house full of American Colonial antiques. My parents have been collecting antiques their whole lives. My mom was an antiques dealer when I was growing up, and we spent every Sunday going to antique auctions. I never really liked the ornate furniture I grew up with – I liked clean, simple lines, and I started buying and collecting MCM in my teens Maybe at the time it was me trying to rebel, but now I like modern furniture for many reasons – its clean lines, its functionality, and its relatively small scale. Especially since I’ve mostly lived in small apartments and now a small house, MCM design is functional, comfortable, and affordable.
Stefan: I never gave much thought to furniture before I met Erin, but my first real job out of college was at a small publishing company, and while working there, I got really into mid-century print design and typography. Once I started to learn more about MCM furniture, I saw pretty much exactly the same things in it that I liked about print – it’s clean, economical, and focused, but also just visually really cool. I also liked that it was evocative of a different era, but also totally and completely modern and contemporary.
Favorite designers and biggest influences for your style?
All of the “classic” Danish Modern designers are amazing: Peter Hvidt, Hans Wegner, Arne Vodder, Finn Juhl, and so on. Kai Kristiansen is definitely be our favorite, though – most Danish design from the ‘60s looks similar, but Kristiansen seems a little more refined and evolved, a little sleeker and more delicate. Verner Panton was also pretty unbelievable – just crazy pop fantasy, and he used colors, form, and textiles in ways that seem beyond anything anyone else has done..
Vladimir Kagan is probably our favorite American designer, and we really love Paul McCobb – especially his chairs and desks. As far as non-furniture goes, we’re big fans of Eva Zeisel, Alexander Girard, Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman, Wayland Gregory, Bruce Rogers, and whoever did Herman Miller’s advertising in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Maybe because Stefan’s from Boston and spent summers in New Hampshire, or maybe just because, the New England WASPy tradition is something that’s had a big influence on the way we decorate, though we try not to let it get too kitschy.
And probably the biggest single influence on our decorating is the 1975 Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book – the way the authors of that book mixed MCM, traditional, and contemporary looks unbelievably modern and cool. Plus, it’s an easy book to find in just about every antique mall.
How do you feel about reproductions?
Given that we do this for a living, there’s not much reason for us to buy reproductions, and while we think anything that keeps great MCM design out there is terrific, there’s this idea that reproductions are less expensive than originals, which in our experience just isn’t true. Granted, not everyone has the time or the energy to go hunting down antiques, but especially for Danish Modern pieces, the originals are available, they have a history, and they’re a lot more affordable than most reproductions you can find. It’s not like we have anything against reproductions per se, but given how many great originals are out there, we don’t always see the point of paying two or three times when you don’t have to.
Furniture wise, what do you think is something you should invest in?
Case pieces – wall units, credenzas, hutches, etc. Even if they look enormous, they hold everything, take up relatively little space, and make your house seem a lot more spacious.
Where are your favorite places to shop for home décor?
In Sacramento, we really like 57th Street Antique Mall, Fringe, The Antique Company, and The Antique Trove. The Antique Faire under the freeway is a great place to check out for all kinds of stuff. And in San Francisco, Past Perfect on Union Street definitely has the best deals on MCM as well as all sorts of antiques (and, coincidentally, is where we sell).
What are some of your best finds? From where?
Probably our single coolest piece in our house is our rosewood bar/mini fridge. We got it at a weird little junk shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it came from the office of Nebraska Senator J.J. Exon. It’s in great shape, and, amazingly, the fridge still works.
As far as pieces we’ve found for work, we’ve had a lot of great finds, mostly from around Sacramento and the Central Valley. We got an amazing pair of teak and leather Arne Vodder lounge chairs and an Ole Wanscher leather and teak sofa and matching lounge chair all from one estate sale here in Sacramento. All the pieces were from 1955, had the original leather, and were in perfect condition, which is something you almost never come across.
Greatest achievement in your home? Biggest challenge?
Our favorite rooms in our house are our guest room and dining room – with both of them, we knew what we were going for, and we actually managed to make them look like what we wanted them to. One nice thing about being dealers is that we’re able to switch out pieces as we find things that work better with what we’re trying to do in a space.
Our biggest challenge is the fact that we live in a rental house, and we have to work with what we’ve been given – we can’t knock down walls or paint or do anything too drastic. Working within those kinds of limitations can force you to try things you wouldn’t have otherwise thought to, but it’s sometimes frustrating that we can’t, for example, redo our very 1982 kitchen.
Future goals/ projects?
We’re planning on opening up our own shop in Midtown sometime next year. We’ll keep our presence in San Francisco, but we really want to expand here in Sacramento – there’s a lot of interest in MCM here, and while there are lots of great places to go digging for stuff, there doesn’t seem to be a lot in terms of higher-end design and retail. Also we may try and incorporate some sort of food component. We’ll see – we’re still in the planning stages.
Do you have any home inspiration recommendations for our readers?
We really like that almost everything in our house has a story – we know where we were when we bought it, the person we bought it from, how we found out about it, etc. – and that’s a something you can only really get from buying antiques and vintage. Somehow going to the mall and buying a sofa doesn’t have the same resonance.
Advice and last words?
If you know what you like and don’t buy anything you don’t love, everything in your house will go together.
Thank you to Erin, Stefan and Tatty for welcoming the three of us into your home. It was definitely a pleasure!
If you’re interested in having your home featured on the blog, shoot me an e-mail at: email@example.com