Sunday, September 20, 2009

New furniture!

Remember the Paul McCobb/Planner Group console at Uptown Modern I posted about a couple of weeks ago? The one we loved, but felt was out of our price range? Well, as weeks passed and we kept thinking about it, so we decided to check the store's website to see if it was still available. It was, so it was a sign. It was meant to be ours!

Monday, we drove down to Austin and brought our new baby home. It's been completely restored -- the store owner said she got the console in pieces and had to put it back together -- and refinished, so I didn't feel too guilty about drilling a couple of holes in the back to run cables through, especially since there were already two little holes eaten into the back anyway. We just enlarged them with a drill and a bit of trial and error, and everything's all set up and perfect.

Paul McCobb was a furniture designer in the 1950s, and his name and Planner Group/Directional Group lines are often mentioned alongside the more well-known Eames and Heywood-Wakefield.
McCobb was definitive post-war '50s -- his mass-produced and affordable furniture was modern without being avant garde, perfect for the baby boomers filling the suburbs.

Chon Gregory, who was McCobb's chief associate in his company for 17 years, said: "The Planner Group was the furniture of the people. It was basic and simple, easy to understand and easy to use."
Retro design and midcentury nostalgia is in full swing right now, thanks in large part to AMC's Mad Men, although it's certainly not new, or even still in its first iteration (Austin Powers, anyone?). It's comfortable for consumers and designers, and it's no surprise that nostalgia waxes stronger during uncertain economic, social and political times.*

While new furniture with retro design is easy to come by (just visit Crate and Barrel's lower-end CB2),

I'm attracted to vintage furniture because it's so well made and because it feels more responsible to me -- part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle refrain I was brought up on, thanks to Ranger Rick. I also just love the clean lines of midcentury modern, and it fits with several other inherited pieces in our home.

Our before (Target special -- it barely lasted 5 years):

And after (it's lasted nearly 60 years already):

Next project is bookshelves.


  1. This is beautiful. The previous comment, not so much

  2. i know -- human spammers are the greatest.


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