Style Saturday

Wiki Wednesdays

Travel Tuesday: Temples of Chiang Mai

Rain Drums of Ancient Southeast Asia

SoWa Sunday is Back!!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Nautical by Nature

Spring Cleaning

Food and Furniture: Coconut and Mango

Trending: Mid Century Modern

Home | 2015 (Page 2)

Yearly Archives: 2015

Style Saturday

A dreary Saturday is the perfect time to do some shopping. Luckily we have all sorts of new accessories to brighten your day, including heaps of handmade jewelry, kimonos and shawls. For some style inspiration, check out our own Mary Cashman modeling the loot.stitch 1 final

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Afgani necklace Lapis or dyed coral-43329
Vintage teardrop earrings– smooth glass set in brass, with gold plated hooks-43239
Patchwork Floppy Hate-43423
Stylish jacket made of cotton voile-43433
Assorted Rings and Bracelets

All available now in our showroom! Product number included for reference.

Wiki Wednesdays

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In this business, we  tend to use a lot of words that many people have never heard of.  Why would you know the vocabulary of Japanese antiques, or pertaining to Carpets hand tied by tribes in the mountains of Morocco? We thought there should be a place for people to learn about some of these things. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce  Wiki Wednesdays.

Wiki Wednesdays will be like our version of Wikipedia. We will use it to define terms that are used commonly in our industry, many of them with foreign decent. Lets start with our title itself.

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Most of us think “Wikipedia” or “Wikileaks” when we hear this word, and this is correct. Wiki was introduced to the masses in 1995 by computer programmer Ward Cunningham. Ward first used the word in naming”WikiWikiWeb”, a collaborative computer software he created.

However, many people are unaware that Wiki, or Wikiwiki  is actually a  Hawaiian word meaning “Quick” or “Fast”.

Cool huh?

Here are some examples of Wiki being used in modern day Hawaiian culture

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Travel Tuesday: Temples of Chiang Mai

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You may have heard that our founder Kevin has relocated to Thailand. Since then, all of us at Mohr & McPherson have been continuously learning about the colorful and ancient culture of this fabulous country. An important aspect of Thai culture is Buddhism. Building “everlasting” temples or “Wats”, was a way for Thai Kings to leave their mark. The long-standing sustainability of these temples is proof of the advanced skills of the builders. There are over 200 temples in Chiang Mai alone,  many of them dating back to the city’s  founding date of 1296 AD. Read on to learn about some of Chiang Mai’s most famous Temples

Wat Chiang Man

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Wat Chiang Man was the first temple ever built in Chiang Mai. It was built in the North East Corner by King Mengrai in 1296. This temple was part of the original construction of the city, and holds two rare Buddha statues. One statue is Marble, and the other is Crystal.

Wat Phra Singh

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This is one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. It was built in 1345, and is a classic example of Northern Thai architecture. Amongst many revered Buddha statues, Wat Phra Singh houses a learning center for young men and boys who are studying to become monks.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most well known temple in the area. It sits to the north-west of the Chiang Mai, near the very top of Mt. Suthep. This temple was established in 1383 under King Keu Naone, and pone of Chiang Mai’s most sacred temples. The place was “chosen” by a white elephant, who was sent by a monk to wander the mountains with a Buddha relic mounted on its back. When the elephant died, The Wat Suthep temple was built in the place of its death.

To get to the temple, you have to walk up a 306 step staircase, which was built to be meditative to the climber. Or, there is a tram visitors can also take if they do not wish to climb the stairs.

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There is a shrine on the first floor terrace of the temple, honoring Sudeva, the hermit who lived on the mountain, and a statue of the white elephant who carried the Buddha relic.

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Wat Suan Dok

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This temple was built in 1371, and was originally a royal  flower garden owned by King Keuna. The King gave the flower gardens to a very revered monk from Sukkhothai.  There was a Buddhist Relic transported to this temple, and it split into two pieces. One piece was kept here, and the other was the relic strapped onto the white elephant we learned about earlier, leading to the birth of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Also at Wat Suan Dok is a 500 year old bronze Buddha statue, one of the largest in Thailand.

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There are also many white “Chedis”, and many of them hold the ashes of the former Chiang Mai royal family. This temple is also home to a Buddhist University, and is located 1km West of the city.

 

Wat Umong Tunnels

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Wat Umong is built in the foot hills of Suthep Mountain, which are still heavily forested. This temple was built in the late 14th Century, and is named for its many tunnels. “Umong” is the Thai word for tunnel.

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A large mound was built on a flat space, and then criss-crossed with tunnels.  The legendary reason for the maze-like tunnels was to keep the highly regarded but “mad” monk who ruled here, from wandering off.  At some point the temple was abandoned, and not occupied again until 1940. The overgrown, moss laden environment of this temple can partially be attributed to its many years of being uninhabited.

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Rain Drums of Ancient Southeast Asia

Our South End showroom  has just received a brand  new container from Thailand. Exciting new furniture and accessories abound, including these magnificent Rain Drums.

Dong Son Drums, also known as Rain Drums, are often casted from Bronze, and are usually decorated with tribal designs and images with themes of fertility, animals, war, deities, and nature.It is argued that the Dong Son culture of Vietnam entered the Bronze Age before any other part of South East Asia. Cast Bronze drums have been found at the most ancient Dong Son burial grounds, which date back to 1000 BC. This is how these drums were given the name “ Dong Son”. Throughout history, these drums spread throughout South East Asia, and took on different meanings based on various cultures.

Along with the Dong Son, the Karen people of Burma and Thailand used these drums to summon the rain, because of the unique, rain-like sound they make. This is how the common name of “Rain Drum” came to be. The Karen people also believe that the sounds of the drum are pleasing to the spirits or “nats”, who live in the trees and water.

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Karen man casting a Rain Drum, 1923

The drums are used for various ceremonies to summon ancestors, and for calling soldiers. A certain beat on the drum replicates the sound of marching soldiers, and is widely used as a trick to give the impression of a large army.

In Indonesia, the Rain Drums have been present for 2500 years. In Bali, which is primarily Hindu, there is a famous drum called the “Moon Drum”, that is known for its very large size. In the small Indonesian Island of Alor, “Moko Drums” play an important cultural role. A man who wishes to marry must present a Moko Drum to the woman’s family. Because these drums are hard to come by, many men or couples must leave the island in order to marry, because they cannot find or afford a Moko Drum.  Moko Drums are also heavily decorated with Hindu symbolism.

Across most primitive communities within South East Asia, possession of a Rain Drum signifies not only status and material wealth, but also the ability to communicate with and influence spirits and the powers that be. In fact, one village in Vietnam considered the ownership of a Rain Drum to be more impressive than owning seven elephants.  Although here in Boston, owning  just one elephant would probably win.

Today’s versions are modeled after drums from thousands of years ago, but in modern design they are commonly used as tables. Rain drums are great for side tables, coffee tables, and are especially common for the yard or garden. Adding a glass top is an option for making the drum seem more like a conventional table. A Rain Drum is a simple way to add a touch of exotic intrigue and rustic charm to any space.

SoWa Sunday is Back!!

 

We are so pleased to welcome back the warm weather, and SoWa Sunday with it. Open market season brings a wonderful, bustling energy to our neighborhood, as well as visitors from all over. If you are not familiar with this event, SoWa Sunday is a huge, mostly outdoor marketplace in Boston’s South End. It occurs every Sunday from May through October, and consists of three separate and unique markets, each with their own focus, as well as a diverse pack of local food trucks. It is open from 10am to 4pm.

 

Farmer’s Market

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The farmer’s market includes over 60 local farm stands, selling the freshest possible produce, herbs, and dairy products. This market also houses vendors selling unusual and gourmet specialty foods, including the best brownies you’ve ever had. The Farmer’s market is located in the parking lot at 500 Harrison Ave, right next to Mohr & McPherson. Buying fresh food from the people who grew and made it themselves is such a treat these days-well worth breaking your grocery store routine for.

 

Arts Market

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The Arts Market is located behind Mohr & McPherson, in the Albany St. Parking lot. The parking lot is filled with tents, run by individuals or teams of artisans who have come from all over New England and beyond to sell their handmade products. Here you can find arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, apothecary goods-especially hard to find products made from all natural ingredients, and an assortment of other unique and creative wares. This is a great place to shop for quality items while supporting local artists and small business owners.  

 

Vintage Market

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The Vintage Market is an indoor space, filled with the ultimate vendors of Vintage fashion, jewelry, art, furniture, and objects, providing fresh finds every week. This place is massive, and truly magical.

TAKE NOTE: The Vintage market has MOVED to 450 Harrison Avenue.

 

Food Truck Court

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The Food Truck Court is made up of 25 rotating trucks, all serving different types of food. This is the largest food truck gathering in New England. Choose from pizza, gourmet grilled Cheese, specialty panini’s, Asian cuisine, falafel, stir fry, French fries-whatever you want.The food court is located in front of the old power station building at 540 Harrison Ave.

 

Mohr & McPherson

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SoWa Sunday is also a perfect excuse to stroll through Boston’s beautiful South End, and explore the multitude of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Stop by the Mohr & McPherson Cafe to a grab an iced coffee, tea or lemonade. We are also a good alternative to the Food trucks if you are looking for someplace to take a break from walking around. This season, our cafe will be featuring a limited menu on Sunday, so we can provide faster, more efficient service, and reduce wait time.
The cafe is open from 9am to 6pm on Sunday. Our showroom is also open, regular hours of 11-7, as well as our rug gallery. This year we will be filling the gallery with home and gift items, and beautiful accessories like silk scarves, purses and handbags, and handmade jewelry. The rug gallery is also home to much of our live edge collection.

 

PARKING:
GPS address 324 Albany St for SoWa event parking under I-93 Overpass.
Parking is also available in the Boston Sports Club Lot near 540 Harrison Ave.
Street parking is also available, but requires patience, vigilance, and possibly a lot of walking-Be warned.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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We have tons of hand stitched wallets, clutches, purses, and tote bags, in every color!

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These adorable tea cups double as a measuring set.

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A vase is a great way to dress up a bouquet.

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Fill one of these ornate boxes with treasures for your mama!

Lots of chests

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Classic earrings for the glam mom.

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Assorted necklaces, bracelets, and ceramic and marble dishes, perfect for jewelry storage. Come to our showroom to browse our full collection.

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Gorgeous, authentic Kimonos.

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Kantha stitch blankets are an age old Indian tradition. The craft is passed down from mother to daughter, and these blankets are often made and given as gifts to women by their  mothers and other female relatives for important life events such as new babies and marriages. A perfect gift for your mother too! We have many to choose from, and each is unique and handmade in India.

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pretty hides

 

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We also have Kantha Stitch chairs.

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When in doubt, get your mom some throw pillows.

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Nautical by Nature

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Nautical decor is classic. Though this look never goes out of style, it is having a moment in Spring/Summer 2015.  Often times people stay away from Nautical for fear of making their home  look like a beachside souvenier shop. To keep this look modern, go for simple pieces that have a touch of nautical flair, or choose one or two kitschy items and pair with toned down neutrals.

 

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AD Jewelry available in our showroom,  Winery ChandelierWooden trunk with strapping and handles

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Morse Pendent Rope LampSteel & glass lantern

 

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 Beaumont Sofa by Cisco Brothers, available to order at Mohr & McPherson

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Wooden blue trunk with handles. Great as a coffee table!,  Vintage orange life preserver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

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You’re ready for spring, I’m ready for spring, the poor, shivering earth is ready for spring. But what about your home? Clearing out the cob webs of winter, especially this winter, may seem overwhelming. Fear not.Choose one task at a time to focus on, and the familiar, joyful, catharsis of spring cleaning will take over. Before you know it your chores will feel more like spiritual cleansing than work. So lets get  it together.Here is what we’re going to do.

 

Outside

1.Repair Walkway
If you have a walkway or driveway leading up to your door, its probably kind of a mess from the ice, snow, and sand. Get to work patching up the cracks or loose bricks. This is also a good reason to go outside for some fresh air and sunshine.

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2.De-Weed
While you’re out there, get out the pruners and  start trimming dead and overgrown branches and shrubs. Pull out weeds, and cover up patchy, weird looking areas with  mulch. If you feel like it, you might as well plant some flowers too.

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3.Spruce up your front door.
If your door is faded, paint or stain it in a vibrant new hue.Polish doorknobs and knockers.Surround your door with hanging or potted plants and buy a new welcome mat.

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Inside

1.Store away Winter Linens. 
You will (fingers crossed) not be needing quilts or heavy blankets much longer. This is an easy first step in the process of getting your home ready for spring. Insects and moths are attracted to body oils, so make sure you wash your winter linens before storing them. Store them in boxes under beds or in vacuum-sealed or zippered bags. You can add sachets of lavender or cedar to keep your linens smelling fresh until you are ready to use them again.

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2.Deep Clean Fibers
Flip or rotate your mattress.Wash curtains and pillows to reduce dust mites and allergins. Shampoo or steam clean carpets and air out rugs on a clothes line.

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3. Buy or unpack Lighter Linens
Now is a good time to change bedding,towels and table cloths, and try out new patterns and colors.You can change the mood, energy and style of a space with textiles alone.

4. Experiment with Color
It can also be fun to fill your space with  colors that remind you of nature, like this green grass carpet, or teak armiore which is perfect for storing all your fresh, spring linens.

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HandKnotted wool carpetWooden Cabinet

Don’t these remind you of a Monet painting?  If you do this right, you should feel inspired to picnic in your living room.

Blue is also found in nature.  Navy and Shibori print are trending this season.Blue and white is a classic combination, seen historically all over the world from China, to Greece.

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Sea Blue Trunk

Speaking of Greece, shades like Greek Blue and Cobalt are also big for 2015.

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Wooden Cabinet, wooden Chair

Another nature inspired route is live edge furniture, like the tables below made from our unique Live Edge collection, found in Thailand by our owner,Kevin McPherson.

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Rosewood Live Edge Dining Table,  Acacia Wood Live Edge Table

 

 

 

 

 

Food and Furniture: Coconut and Mango

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Mango Wood Bookcase, Mid Century Modern

Though there are many reasons for the recent popularity of mango and Palm wood, the most important reason is their sustainability as sources for building material. When it comes to products being “green”, “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, and made from “responsibly sourced materials”, the lumber trade, and in particular the furniture industry, have been under a microscope. Mango and Coconut trees are a perfect solution to this problem, because they are already grown in high numbers to support the fruit trade, which is not going anywhere.

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Mango trees reach maturity within 15 to 20 years. At this time they stop bearing fruit and are designated to be cut down. In the past, these trees were used as fuel or left to rot. However, these days they are being used for construction, most commonly in the furniture industry.

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Mango wood works well for building framed items that are meant to endure weight, like chairs, because it is a densely grained hardwood with a strong structure. At the same time it is soft compared to other hardwoods, so it is easy to work with and does not require special tools, meaning production is less expensive. Mango wood also does not require much waxing or staining, because it has an unusual , “close knit” grain texture, and a natural pattern. When mango wood is stained or finished, it responds quite well to the processes because the natural patterning is enhanced.

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This wood  varies widely in color, and can range from deep browns, to pinks and even greens. This is due to fungus in the tree, which creates beautiful color patterns but does not harm or compromise the woods structure. However it is common for manufacturers to stain mango wood to resemble oak or teak wood. They can then produce furniture than looks like oak or teak but is less expensive, faster to grow, and sourced responsibly.

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 Above: Mango wood stained in “Vintage Oak” style.

 

Palm trees are one of the most widely used trees on the planet, with each part of the tree used to produce a variety of products. However like mango trees, coconut palm trees are initially intended to produce coconuts, not wood. There comes a point in the tree’s life where it grows too tall for nutrients to reach it’s canopy. Because of this, the tree produces less and less coconuts and it becomes non profitable to keep the tree alive. In addition to producing less, the trunks of the trees become more woody with age, which is bad for coconuts but good for lumber.

 

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In the past, coconut trees that were used for their wood were sold to local businesses that milled them into low-grade lumber. However craftsman and companies in search of sustainable materials (that were also luxurious) discovered that if the Palm wood is milled and finished properly and with more care, the wood is actually fine, with unique grain patterns and a rich, dark, brown color. Once it is cured or dried, palm wood is very hard, more so than many other common woods such as oak. It is commonly used to make flooring and siding.

red-palm

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Palm wood is being called “ the new bamboo” because it is similar in many ways, but is greener . Palm wood has Forest Stewardship Council approval because it is a by-product of coconut production. Because of this it is harvested on plantations that already exist rather than requiring additional plantations. Unlike bamboo, it is not grown on land where nothing else is grown. Palm wood, palm leaves and coconut shell are also used to create decorative detailing and embellishment on furniture. coconut shell is commonly used for inlay, in place of more traditional materials like glass or bone.

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 Inlay Console TableInlay Cube Stool

 

 

Recipe From Our Kitchen

Mango Coconut Curry Chicken (serves 1-2)

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1. Marinate 2 Chicken breasts  in salt, lemon juice, and olive oil for a minimum of 30 minutes or a max of overnight.

2. Heat up about 1 Tsp. Canola oil in a pan. Keep on Med/High.

3.  Make a “Curry Slurry”. Mix together 4 Tbsp. curry powder and a small amount of water-just enough to make a paste in a bowl.

4. Fry Curry Slurry in the pan you heated up for approximately. 10 minutes.

5. Add 1/2 of a sliced, white onion to the Curry Slurry, and heat for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

6. Add in two thinly sliced chicken breasts.

7. When the chicken has some color but is not cooked all the way, add 1 thumb of finely sliced ginger, 1 diced red pepper, 1 head box choi minced and sliced.

8.Saute for 3 minutes, then turn down heat.

9.Stir in 1 can of coconut milk.

10. Top with diced mango and cilantro and serve over rice.

Trending: Mid Century Modern

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Although Mid Century Modern never quite goes out of style, it has been having an extended moment in home design. The look is sticking around this spring, and there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to keep the look modern and on trend. Pay attention to details to avoid recreating your grandmother’s house, or possibly worse, an outdated, wannabe version of your grandmother’s house circa 2011.

A general concept that is definitely out in 2015 is the “Instant Vintage” trend. This was based on making something new look old, but not in a hand crafted, shabby chic way. It was more about mass produced knock offs of classic vintage styles, which lacked not only character but one of the best things about vintage furniture-quality and craftsmanship. Regardless of the trend, this season is all about authenticity. When it comes to doing mid century modern, if it’s vintage, great. If it’s not vintage that’s great too, but look for pieces that are M.C.M inspired, while still maintaining their integrity. If done right, these pieces will add a chic, contemporary, depth to your overall look,

41404__49591.1416420687.1280.1280Parker buffet, mango wood. 

Another way to keep this trend fresh in 2015 is to mix it up. The whole space does not need to be head to toe M.C.M; in fact it is more modern to add in multiple ethnic accents. Steering away from traditionally vintage, loud colors such as bright orange, olive green and teal can also help to modernize your Mid Century Modern look. If you do choose a piece or two in those colors, balance it out with neutrals everywhere else, such as grays and natural woods.

These photos from Apartment Therapy show a great example of mixing mid century modern pieces with, ethnic prints, organic textures, and neutral tones to give the space an overall modern and minimalistic bohemian feel.
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If you are purchasing an investment piece such as a sofa and want to go mid century modern, neutrals are a safe bet. Precedent Furniture, which we now carry in our store, has lots of great options, including an entire line called “Vintage made modern”. Featured below are  the Astor Sofa and the Edward Sofa by Precedent Furniture.

 

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If you want to add a bold pop of color, a smaller piece like this chair is a great way to go.

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Or, go with something big and bright and tone it down with neutrals and contemporary pieces.

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George Sofa, by Precedent

Which ever avenue you choose to explore, you have tons of options. Check out some of them in our Mid Century Modern gallery below.

Gallery 

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Large mango wood cubby bookcase with five drawersLarge mango wood cubby bookcase with three drawers,

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Ryder mid century modern chest of 6 drawers, Mango wood, honey finish,  Austin 3 drawer media center in Mango wood,

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Grayson Chest 12 drawers, Easton 2 section 6 drawer Buffet

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Iron and Glass ArmioreEbony/Alberta Taylor Chair