Ethan's Southern Texas Modern Vintage

House Call

Name: Ethan
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

Our house is a 1955 tract home that is fortunately neutral enough to fit our modern tastes and vintage purchases along with contemporary, affordable goods from mainstays like IKEA, DWR, and Crate & Barrel, along with a few home-made pieces as well. The home had only two owners before us, and the second inherited it from the first, remodeling and removing carpet that fortunately for us had covered gorgeous hardwood floors for 40 years.

Upon moving home to Texas after living in Los Angeles, where we acquired a taste for midcentury modern, we began purchasing what we could afford from a local dealer who scoured all over south Texas. These include a Saarinen armchair for $75 dollars (still with an IBM label on the bottom) a Peter Hvidt daybed, and six matching yellow Eames shells that spent the previous 35 years in a local Statefarm insurance office. Like most people forced to be on a budget, we've had to bide our time in order to get lucky (our living room includes a folded plastic lamp I found on the side of Fairfax Avenue in LA) and figure out how to fit in what might not seem obvious additions (like the Ethan Allen mirror from my parents' old bedroom set that enlarges our living/dining room.

So far, the highpoint of our self-renovations was tiling the kitchen floor with large gray tiles evocative of concrete, as well as white subway backsplashes. Most recently, I built two plywood nightstands based on my own "re-design" of those DWR sells to go along with their Case Study daybeds. Their cost: $500 each. My cost: less than $200 for both.

We've creatively used paint for a more modern look, in particular a stripe design for the entryway we presciently painted before finding a Flor carpet that almost matches at Target. In order to add some visual interest to our big green living room wall, hung panel curtains from Ikea next to a yardsale art-find: a large print of a logo for the 1972 Munich Olympics designed by Vasarely. We also installed a concrete block patio in the backyard to create an outdoor room, and arranged the blocks in a pattern to evoke the 1950s concrete/stone on the front of the house.

With 3 growing kids, we will probably have to upgrade to a bigger house soon, but we dread leaving this place that we have made so much our own.

Thanks, Ethan!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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