Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thingummery shoppe now open on etsy

After a whole lotta hemming and hawing and wheel-spinning and procrastinating, I've finally hung my shingle over at etsy.

See that widget thingie over there on the upper right? You don't even want to know how long it took me to make that happen. Just click on it and watch the magic unfold.

Right now my inventory consists primarily of vintage decorating books and crafty books from my personal collection. Somehow, I've ended up with a surfeit of both and it's time to let go.

Okay, saying "somehow" is disingenuous. I know exactly how. I've been compulsively buying these books pretty much since I relocated from NYC to San Antonio eight years ago. I've loved shelter magazines and design books since I was in elementary school but not until I moved into my 1960s rambling rancheroo have I had the blank canvas and the time and the wherewithal to make it all happen.

My aesthetic wasn't fully formed until I moved here. I mean, my taste had definitely been trending midcentury—this was the dawning of Dwell an Domino and DWR and CB2 and all the rest of it—but a few serendipitous-type coincidences pushed it over the edge.

First, that eye-candy store of a magazine Atomic Ranch launched at the exact same time I was house-hunting on I became a charter subscriber, and suddenly it seemed like so many San Antonio houses were potential Atomic Ranches. And then we found this house, the dreamy dream house, on, and it just seemed so perfect, and perfectly overpriced. When we eventually saw it in person—after touring some 40-odd houses and bidding unsuccessfully on two—we abandoned caution and common sense like so many Mr. and Mrs. Blandings before us. Reader, we bought our Atomic Money Pit.

Because did I also mention that the house belonged to a sales rep for Knoll furniture? And that she used the house as a kind of showroom? Up until that point, I wasn't familiar with Knoll. I didn't know that the company had been manufacturing furniture by Mies Van Der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner and all the design luminaries since the 1950s. I didn't realize that those iconic pieces of furniture I'd loved ignorantly had names and designers and ginormous price tags. The owner of the house may have fleeced us in many ways, but she did cut us a nice deal on the furniture.

The rest is history. The rest is me going to estate sales to finish furnishing my house and poring over these old-school decorating books for inspiration. Better Homes and Gardens used to be superawesome, did you know that? Ladies Home Journal, McCall's—all those staid seven sister mags were totally rad. And then there's Terence Conran, whose House Book series is unparalleled. Whenever I saw one of these books, I had to buy it, even if I already had it. Which is good for you, because now you can have it. (Okay, I actually haven't listed any of my Conran books in the shop yet but I will, I swear.)

The photos here are a random sampling from some of the books I'm selling over at the shoppe. (You didn't think that was my actual house, did you? I'm good but not that good.) For a while now, I've been trying to put my finger on the appeal of midcentury to people my age, the Gen X'rs. Nostalgia chic. We've mooned over the pictures of our youthful parents in the 1950s and 1960s when everything from the clothes to the cars looks so freaking awesome. We have hazy-happy 70s childhood memories, of orange avocado kitchens and paisley carpet tiles and boho fringe lampshades and ferns and wicker and VW vans with cute curtains. When the world was full of colors but washed-out and gold round the edges, like an Instagram-filtered photo, but you know, real. Somehow that all comes together in these books. I dunno if they'll have the same effect on you, but at least that's how they make me feel.

(DAMN. Too much of a hard sell?)

So I'm not sure if this means I'm going to start thrifting and trawling the estate sales just for product to flip. Considering I don't have a real job, that might not be such a bad thing. We'll see. In the meantime, step right up and start shopping for my very reasonably priced books. They make excellent housewarming gifts, hostess gifts, wedding gifts and of course, holiday gifts!

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