Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Backyard Bungalows {Mid Century Modern Man Cave Interior}

I was asked to participate in the Backyard Bungalows Design Display for Wrights Sheds at the Salt Lake Home Show this past weekend. 
And because it was an opportunity to do something a little bit DESIGN FORWARD...well, you know me...I went a little bit forward by looking back. Back to Mid Century Modern. My Design Partner on this project was Cynthia Bee, of Jordan Valley Home and Garden Club. We had a fantastic time with this challenge!

And it was really a little bit of a challenge. For the interior, I really had to keep the under 8'x8' shed from feeling too small, or cluttered. But first, I did a little Mid Century, Masculine visualization. Well, not visualizing Mid Century Men....but the masculine, clean lined vibe of Mid Century spaces. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you the design process that we went through for this shed project.

I always start with visualizing the end product of the space. What the finished product should be if it could be. Sometimes I can't get a vibe and I look for inspiration pictures or look for sources for certain furniture or objects that would work with the vibe or scale of the room. Here are a few inspiration pics that I found to steer me in the direction on this Mid Century Man Cave...this is what I had hoped for as far as vibe:

This was my main inspiration picture. I loved the pale wood paneled walls, the Mid Century furniture and lighting vibe and subtle color scheme. 



Yup, I love a good Bubble Lamp. It's iconic of the time. I also REALLY, REALLY, REALLY would have loved to have been able to score an Eames Lounger. Or an Eames-esque lounger. There is something about leather and wood that says "MANLY" although, the profile of an Eames Lounger makes it a sophisticated "MANLY".

So, after there was a visual and vibe that was outlining the's time to SOURCE. In this particular situation, there wasn't really a budget to be able to furnish the shed. In other words, Cynthia and I had to pretty much beg, borrow and well, snap our fingers to be able to come up with furnishings. We were incredibly grateful for three major sources for our furnishings. The Green Ant in Salt Lake City, Humble Dwellings in Draper and Vintage Yard Sale Utah. We also drew heavily from my own items, a couple of friends and Cynthia's ingenuity and talent with a table saw.

Our first stop was The Green Ant. Ron Green is a Nationally known Mid Century Modern Guru. So...not only did we go to the Mid Century Guru of Salt Lake, but to our great surprise, he was supportive of what we wanted to achieve at the Home Show (spotlighting a Mid Century vibe with authentic furnishings). So supportive that he allowed us to bring a bit of The Green Ant to our Man Cave. I could have spent all day walking through his store and asking him questions about some of the pieces that I wasn't familiar with. Ron's the wikipedia of Mid Century Modern and has highly recognizable and sought after examples of this style, but he also has some incredible rare and off the beaten path pieces that are quite unique. 
I could have taken pics around every corner (well, maybe I did) but these pieces were the stand outs to me that I have to share with you!
Marble Top, Tulip Table, Saarinen for Knoll

Brown Eames Armshells (Herman Miller)  on Reproducion Rockers. 

The Holy Grail....Caramel Leather Barcelona Chairs and Stools by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll
In the end we were only able to use the tiny Tulip table and although I would have died to use the leather chair and stool in the space, we substituted with an upholstered piece.

Ron was really enthusiastic about us using an iconic piece of the time period:
The Nelson Bubble Lamp. This saucer may not look like much, but it is an incredible addition to any space. The versatility and sculptural effect works in any space. The glow and presence that this hanging lantern made of a very thin plastic over a light weight metal skeleton frame is like a floating candle lantern. Ron said if I could clean it, I could use it. So, I took it home and cleaned it. (There will be an upcoming/future post on how to clean a Bubble Lamp and not have a panic attack).

Original Bubble Lamp, Saucer, George Nelson 
I think 30 years of nicotine, dust and soot came of this thing. Which was in the end...sort of like being in art restoration. It was a really cool experience. 

So, we had a vibe and and a definite direction.
Cynthia scored a tweedy oversized desk chair that we thought we could use in some capacity.
And I hit one of my other favorite stores in the Salt Lake Valley...Humble Dwellings in Draper.
Julia and Brynn opened Humble Dwellings back in the Fall and I've been smitten ever since.
Their fresh and creative approach to design was just the right fit for a client of mine a couple of months ago and I knew I'd be able to find some unique accessories in their store.
Again, I am so grateful for the generosity and enthusiasm of Humble Dwellings. They supported us by providing the lion's share of accessories for the space including all wall art.

There were some fabulous finds there and it was fun to go in and play with what would work in the space.

and then I shopped my house!

So, here's is a sneak peek at the exterior of the shed so that you can get a feel for what we were working with. (I'll be sharing our exterior design details tomorrow. Come back, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT)!

Cynthia built a wall to wall desk....AMAZING. It completely captured the uncluttered and streamlined look we wanted for the work space we envisioned.
And Listen A/V installed a killer flat screen that was almost the width of the shed! Just how we wanted it.
Here is how it all came together:

It was simple and uncluttered inside which maximized the feel of having space. We wanted to give the impression of Mid Century Modern and keep it clean and streamlined with just a touch of personality in the accessories.

TV- Listen A/V
Green Mid Century Chairs - The Green Ant
Tulip Table - The Green Ant
Hex Fabricated Shelves - Humble Dwellings
Vintage Camera - Humble Dwellings
Icon Wall Art - Humble Dwellings
Bar Cart - Target
Collie Statue - Humble Dwellings
Leather Quilted Desk Chair - Humble Dwellings
Suitcase Record Player - Humble Dwellings
Bubble Lamp - The Green Ant

Thank you, Humble Dwellings ,  The Green Ant and Listen A/V!!!

Come back tomorrow for how we decked this Man Cave out on the outside!
Thank you as well, to those of you who came out to see the Cave and to see me on the Design Stage on Friday. It was so much fun to meet so many CMH readers and to learn about what you collect and how you display your collections!


  1. So fun Amy! Love how it turned out!!

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