Hollywood Regency Comes To Midtown

First making its appearance in the 1930s, Hollywood Regency is marked by over the top glam. It was inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Era, as actors and actresses seized the opportunity to make their homes reflections of their fashionable lifestyles. Similar to Art Deco, Hollywood Regency is a much more eclectic style. It was used by interior designers who strove to create theatrical environments. The style was refined by interior designers like Dorothy Draper and William Haines. 


There’s never a dull moment with Hollywood Regency. Bold colors take over while simultaneously maintaining a sense of balance. In other words, color, but only one or two choices. Some color favorites include turquoise, yellow and orange. And don’t forget the base of black and white or gray. Metallic accents and mirrored furniture add to the fun. Hollywood Regency is also characterized by an element of fantasy, through things like palm fronds, Italian pottery, bamboo, animal prints and big bold figurines.  


The delicate designs of Chinoiserie can add to the exotic atmosphere. Commonly used Chinoiserie elements included scenic screens and pagoda-style mirrors, chandeliers, cocktail bars, chests, etc. 

Sputnik chandeliers are more commonly associated with Mid-Century Modern, but these so-called “permanent fireworks” were also used to make a glamorous statement in Hollywood Regency interiors. 


Come into Midtown for our own take on Hollywood Regency mixed with Halloween decor – “Hollywood Regency vs. The Monster Mash” – starts on August 29, 2019.


Carol Fenn, 8-23-2019

Those Funny Valentines!

Not surprisingly, it was a Frenchman who committed the earliest surviving Valentine’s greeting to paper. While imprisoned in the Tower of London following the 1415 battle of Agincourt, the Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife:”Je suis desja d’amour tanné

Ma tres doulce Valentinée”

This translates roughly as, “I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine.” This remarkable letter survives in the manuscript collections of the British Library.
Now let’s move forward a few hundred years to circa 1960 and we enter the world of the funny, corny, inexpensive mid twentieth century Valentine. Now if you are, ahem, of a certain age, you remember these. Bought by your mother in a huge pack at the five and dime you gave one to every kid in your class.  



Surprisingly creepy cats




Enjoy this walk down memory lane if you remember these. If you’re too young to remember, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too! And they’re also tons of fun to collect!  


Carol Fenn 2-2019

That Fantastic Rhinestone Cowboy Bling

“The Rhinestone Cowboy Tours The Southwest” opens tomorrow, Jan. 31, at Midtown Mercantile Merchants. It runs through the month of February. 

Vintage cowgirls decked out

Mid 1900s cowgirl outfits

For well over 100 years and counting cowboys and cowgirls have loved “bling.” From the tips of their boots to the top of their hats they have used color, rhinestones and silver to garner attention.

Early cowboy spurs, including a pair of “Lady leg” spurs

The kids had fun with cowboy bling too!

Even their horses would be decked out in hand carved leather and chased silver, as you can see in this parade horse outfit.

In the mid twentieth century the famous Nudie came on the scene. Based in California’s San Fernando Valley, he made his famous “Nudie suits” for singing cowboys, singing cowgirls, rock groups, movie stars and any cowgirl or cowboy who could afford his work. Today his suits are sought after, worth a pile of money, and highly collectible. They’ve been recently re-discovered by today’s generation which is making them even more valuable and sought after.

Nudie here, Nudie there, Nudie everywhere!

Nudie, on the left.

Enjoy this walk down memory lane and come on into Midtown and take in some of our “Cowboy Bling!”

Roy Rogers, wearing Nudie


Carol Fenn 1-2019

The GLORIOUS Variety of Sterling Silver Serving Pieces

Forks, knives, spoons. Flatware. Sterling silver flatware. Pretty straight forward right? Well, hold on there Sunshine! Don’t forget about the serving pieces. Yes, that’s right, the antique and vintage sterling silver serving pieces. There is absolutely nothing straight forward about them!  


Bon Bon spoon and angel food cake fork


One hundred years ago there was a serving piece for just about everything. Tomato slices, asparagus, bacon, lemons, angel food cake, pickles, sardines, ice cream, oysters, baked potatoes, toast, butter, berries, chocolate bon bons, etc. etc. 

The variety is endless. So many ways to serve seafood, for example. And “ice cream forks!” Check out the old catalog pages I’m sharing with you. Who even knew about ice cream forks … and who would think there would be so many choices! Now wouldn’t that be a fun thing to collect! 

Today, we have discovered that we can use grandma’s serving spoon for just about everything. Oh heavens! But that’s ok. Many folks still appreciate the old sterling silver serving pieces. They’re highly collectible and some sell for hundreds of dollars.  

Here at Midtown you just might find some of these classics. Start your search in our French country kitchen and move on from there. Then when you find one or more of these wonderful pieces of history, pull out your linen tablecloth and your fine china and throw a dinner party!  

Carol Fenn 1-2019

Mid Century Women and Their Aluminum Christmas Trees 

Ah, the aluminum Christmas tree. So pretty in all of it’s mid century modern minimalist splendor. When we think of them from back in the 1960s we picture them perhaps in a gorgeous California Eichler next to a Herman Miller lounge chair. The presents all neatly wrapped while the color wheel slowly changes the hue of this lovely scene.  

But then the reality of kitsch enters the scene as these vintage photos expose. Ladies posing next to these trees seemed to be the thing to do. Sometimes raunchy, sometimes elegant, sometimes sweet, always funny.  

What is she doing with that vacuum that she’s wearing?


Enjoy the photos. Merry Christmas!

Carol Fenn 12-2018

Sarah Hale, Abraham Lincoln, and Thanksgiving

While America was in the midst of the Civil War, Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “It now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation.”

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. 

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard

George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving. This document was written by Secretary of State William Seward. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

************

So thank you Sarah Josepha Hale. Without your persistence we may not all be enjoying a thankful gathering this coming Thursday!


Carol Fenn, 11-2018

Shop at Midtown and Help Save The Dogs and Cats of Tucson

Did you know that by buying antiques and vintage items at Midtown Mercantile (4443 E Speedway, Tucson AZ) you can help support two local animal rescue organizations?  

Hope Animal Shelter maintains their booth on our main floor.  Since 2006, HOPE Animal Shelter has provided a no-kill, cage-free haven for abandoned dogs and cats while they await adoption. It offers a clean, loving environment that allows socialization and a smoother transition into a permanent home. HOPE ensures that their animals are well cared for both emotionally and physically during this trying time in their lives.

Some of the offerings in Hope Animal Shelter’s booth on the main floor


Dogs and cats at Hope

In the southeast corner of our north warehouse you’ll find TUCSON CARES booth filled with charming items from Kismet, the volunteer run vintage wares outlet for Tucson CARES. Tucson Cares (Companion Animal Rescue, Education and Support) is a grass-roots, 100% volunteer-driven animal welfare 501(c)3 that goes beyond rescue and adoption into other elements of the no-kill model, of which they are passionate advocates. They are whole-heartedly dedicated to ‘saving the savable’ and ‘treating the treatable’ animals of Pima County.

Cuteness resides in the Tucson Cares (Kismet) booth


We appreciate your help

So come on in. Buy some treasures for your home. And help save and bring comfort to Tucson’s needy cats and dogs.

Carol Fenn 10-2018

2019 Tucson Modernism Market at Midtown

Tucson Modernism Week is upon us! Here at Midtown the annual Gala will be on Friday, October 11 from 5 to 8 PM. The ten-day modernism market being hosted by Midtown Mercantile merchants goes on from Oct. 4 – Oct. 13. Midtown is a designated affiliate of the Tucson historical preservation foundation. The market will feature Mid Century Modern vendors from around the country offering a curated selection of fine vintage MCM furniture and decor. 

Of course, we believe that the 10 day Modernism Market is the highlight of Tucson Modernism Week, but there are a lot of other modernist things going on all over Tucson. Lectures, tours, etc.  The 2018 home tour was wonderful. Here are some photos. Enjoy the modernism!

 




See you at the market!

Carol Fenn 10-2019

Happy Birthday Tucson!

Today is Tucson’s birthday!! Happy Birthday to The Old Pueblo!

The history of Tucson, Arizona, begins thousands of years ago but officially dates back to August 20, 1775 when Hugo O’Conor establishes the Tucson Presidio. This year marks the official birthdate of the City of Tucson. Tucson becomes part of Mexico when it fights for independence in 1821. After the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, Tucson falls under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Arizona becomes an official territory in 1863. Between 1867 and 1877, Tucson holds the title of territorial capitol. In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Tucson. The population reaches 8,000.

Arizona became the 48th state in the Union in 1912. By 1950 Tucson’s population has reached 120,000 and by 1960 it nearly doubled to 220,000. 

Tucson becomes the 33rd largest U.S. city in 1990 as its population tops 400,000.

So happy birthday to our home. Raise a glass. Bake a cake. Gaze at the sunset. Whatever you do, enjoy this day, Tucson’s birthday!

Carol Fenn 8-2018

Monterey Furniture “In Old Arizona”

Monterey Furniture refers to several distinctive furniture lines made from 1930 to the mid-1940s in California. It derived its character from Spanish revival style, the California missions and their furnishings, ranch furnishings, and cowboy accessories.  

Original Spanish revival, Barker Bros postcard

Monterey furniture

Mason Manufacturing Company, founded by Frank Mason, is credited with the original style. Other lines were made by Imperial Company, Angeles Furniture Company (the line called Coronado), Del Rey, Brown and Saltman, and even Sears (La Fiesta.). Original Mason Monterey stands out from these other lines with it’s superior quality and heavy hand wrought iron strapping.  

Monterey “prohibition” bar. The tile top slides forward revealing a hidden compartment.

Monterey by Mason came in just a few distinct finishes and in the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. The Mexican cartoonist Juan Intenoche headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain his whimsical designs. Donkeys, bucking horses and bulls, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other images are his trademark.

The whimsical art of Juan Intenoche.


 Mason branded most of their furniture with a horseshoe and the name, “Monterey,” though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding. 

Making and painting Monterey furniture c 1932


Hollywood, via Barker Brothers Furniture co., was influential in the original creation of Mason’s furniture line. Barker Brothers approached Frank Mason with the idea of creating a line of furniture based on furniture seen in an old (1929) cowboy movie, “In Old Arizona.” Spanish revival homes were being built all over Los Angeles and Barker Brothers, smartly, wanted a line of furniture that would complement the style of those homes. Hence the birth of Monterey furniture.

In The Midtown Mercantile Mall – main floor

Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall. 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ. You just might find some Monterey or Monterey style furniture!  


Carol Fenn 8-2018