(Above: At the ground floor the Jacobsen Swan Chair, the sofa is Florence Knoll, the coffee table is a prototype 3-leg Eames CTM, screen is a one of a kind by Sol Bloom)
Few days ago I invited you to share your mid century modern house -if you live in one- on the Mid Century Home Facebook Page. Many of you sent me an email(thanks!) and one is David.
David is a collector of mid century modern design since over 30 years and the owner of Boomerang For Modern in San Diego, an amazing shop full of mid century design beauties.
Hi David, tell us a bit about you and the story of your house.
In 2009, my architect friend, Jonathan Segal purchased a parcel in San Diego’s “Little Italy” community and had it subdivided into three. He built his home on the largest and offered me one of the smaller ones, which I chose the smallest of the remaining two. He designed the home with my input and let me design my kitchen and bathrooms.
The footprint of the house is 24’x25’ and there are three interior floors and a fourth floor roof garden with great views of downtown and the bay. The house has won numerous local and national awards for its innovative design solutions.
We love the way it lives and handles our collection…and thoroughly enjoy it every day. Though I often get invited to incredible, original mid century homes for my business. Many are for sale and can be extremely tempting. I’d love to own a great period modern but our house lives so well…it would be hard to leave. Though there will come the day!
You have some amazing pieces, how long have you been collecting mid century modern and how this passion started?
I started collecting mid century modern in the late seventies –even if Cara Greenberg hadn’t yet coined the term!
(In the living room: Noguchi dining table, Laverne “T” dining chairs, Henningson “PH Contrast” lamp)
I had grown up with colonial so the shapes, materials and colors were very new and refreshing to me! I loved the hunt in thrift shops, garage sales and swap meets and there were really great things to find then. Though I wish I had been better informed then as I know I must have passed on many things I’d kill for these days! So obviously, this is not a fad or trend for me, I’m in for good.
Is it ‘difficult’ to live surrounded by such amazing furniture? Do you treat them in a special way or just use them as common -less precious furniture?
We live very easily with our collection. They are all carefully chosen with a focused eye for comfort as well as design. We definitely use the pieces as they were intended but do treat them with respect.
(on the Noguchi Coffee Table: Jerome Kirk ”Firecracker” kinetic sculpture)
Which piece of your collection you like the most and why?
It has to be divided between the incredible 10’ by 3’ weaving by John Smith and the kinetic tabletop sculpture by Jerome Kirk. The weaving was salvaged from a 1960’s bank building and used as a “display only” piece in a dark, creepy, immense used furniture warehouse in LA. I used to stop by every time I made a shopping trip to LA. For years and years, they refused to sell it but one day I stopped by and they were closing for good.
(above: early sixties mobile by “Diakonov”)
It was their last day and I was finally victorious! The kinetic sculpture came via a local art dealer. I contacted the artist who lived in Berkeley who wrote me the kindest letter letting me know of its provenance. He also sent along a book with this sculpture pictured inside.
(above: George Nelson Sling Sofa)
Where did you buy the furniture?
Most of the collection has come via referrals to local estates. By way of my business, I’m lucky enough to get many wonderful things directly from their original owners.
(In the bedroom/sitting room: Nelson CSS wall unit with a Swag-Leg chair and a Nelson Spool clock on the wall)
Is it difficult to maintain mid century furniture in a good status? Did you restore any of them? If yes, how did you do that?
Just like any piece of good furniture, regular cleaning, oiling, vacuuming is usually all they take. I have restored a few things but try to use a light touch and don’t overdo it.
I like the fact that they are indeed old and have a history. I don’t want to erase that character. Though, tattered, stained and abused don’t cut it in our house.
(above: in the left corner a Higgins Rondelay glass screen, Eames surfboard table stands in the middle with a Nelson Miniature jewelery chest on it. Also an Eames Sofa Compact and an Eames screen all the way to the back)
Is there a specific designer/architect from the mid century that inspires you?
Being a good Californian, how can I not be totally inspired by the work of Charles and Ray who have done SO much to bring good modern design to so many.
If you had an unlimited budget, which design piece of furniture would you like to own?
Why not go for the top…a Noguchi Chess table –with its original chess pieces of course!
(Above: even the terrace is furnished with mid century modern icons. Van Keppel-Green, Richard Shultz and Harry Bertoia)
If you enjoyed this house tour, you should check for more in the Mid Century Homes page!