My Love Affair with Mid-Century Modern

Written on 08/22/2021
Wilbur Turner

I have always felt that creating a "look" with how I decorate my home brings together much more than what is seen on the surface. I have had the opportunity to experiment over the years with several abodes, and for the most part, my taste is eclectic. I like to mix and match and find items that complement each other.

It often happens when I start on a project one find will inspire the whole look. Such is the case with my current home. I was looking for a new sofa, and I came across a mid-century modern replica. From the fabric weave to the soft aqua-coloured upholstery, the curved arms, and its tapered legs, it brought back fond memories of the '60s and '70s.

Mid-century modern describes the architecture, furniture, and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century (1933-1965), with many popular styles extending into the mid-'70s. Growing up in the latter part of this era, I never thought much about style and design. My new appreciation for these designs began with watching the hit series Mad Men, a show set in the '60s based on a Madison Avenue advertising firm. Watching the show brought on a wave of nostalgia and resurfaced some happy childhood memories.

I believe that with decorating, I'm drawn to pieces based on their energy. This may sound a bit whacky but bear with me here. We use the phrase "it gives off a vibe," and I think that is a good way to describe what I'm referring to. There are a few places I was keeping an eye on for mid-century modern finds. One of them was Zangbell and Gill in Kelowna. When they posted pictures online of a vintage Canadian-made dresser and night tables, I was immediately in love with them! I bought them by messaging the shop owner via Facebook, arranging delivery to my new place the next month.

Walnut Burl Night Table by Princeville, Canada with Retro Sofa

The new furniture was not intended for a bedroom but the key pieces in my living room. I repurposed the dresser as a credenza and the night tables as end tables beside my retro sofa. It wasn't until I put them together that I noticed the curved lines of all the pieces mimicked each other. I don't think this was a fluke, but more of a subconscious paring.

I have also started playing with creating fabric designs inspired by the mid-century modern era. You can find my first atomic-inspired design called Floating Dreams for sale at Spoonflower.

Visitors often comment on the energy of my place, and it is common to hear it described as warm and calming. With my new home vibe imbued with fond memories of simpler times, I'm looking forward to hosting friends to share the energy.

Wilbur Turner (he/him) is the founder of Advocacy Canada, an organization dedicated to unifying and amplifying 2S-LGBTQIA+ voices on important advocacy issues. He identifies as gay and queer, lives in Kelowna on the unceded traditional land of the Syilx peoples, and contributes on many levels to 2S-LGBTQIA+ rights, both locally and internationally.