Sunday, December 19, 2010

1970's Design Is Not Mid-Century



I've had this debate on my blog before: Are designs and styles from the very late 1960's through the 1970's "mid-century?"

This is a sort of tongue-in-cheek post, not to be taken too seriously...


I see these interior photos labeled as "mid-century" and I think to myself: No, that's 3/4 century, nothing like mid or 1950's".



Characteristic colors of harvest gold, avocado green, bright orange, brown, yellow... Florals, basketweave designs, the big stripes of color...




Moulded plastics became popular.



And ferns made a comeback... Is that kid being a perv and looking up that gals mini skirt?!



Brown, orange and avocado green.




I'm not even sure why, but owls were really popular. In the 70's, not the 50's.




These metal "things", "Jere" were popular. People, look closely, those are horse shoe nails welded to metal squares. When I was a kid, I thought it was the stupidest thing in the world to put on someone's wall. Welded horseshoe nails??!!



Seagulls were popular too. Anyone else remember why? Because of that book: "Johnathan Livingston Seagull". I read it, I think it was a sort of "feel good" book. It was this "trendy trend" that told everyone who came to your house: "I read that book too!"



So I see other bloggers calling this "vintage" and "mid-century" and it always gave me an uneasy feeling.

And then one day it occurred to me:

Seeing this era of stuff called "vintage" or "mid-century" meant that the things I grew up with made ME old too!!




Now my folks were older when I was born, our home really was 1950's even then. Dad listened to 1940's Big Band music, so the red and gold foil flocked wallpaper and green peacock chenille bedspreads I saw in my friends' homes were alien to me back then, too.

But gee, if folks are calling what I grew up with, old, that means, hey, I am old too!!

So there you have it. The reason why I resist calling this era of 1970's design old!!




A huge thank you to all of you who shared your "bad family" experiences in my last post. I was surprised so many experienced the same thing. Sometimes you feel like you are the only one.


At any rate, I hope all of my blogger friends are enjoying their holiday season, and are ready for Santa!
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24 comments:

  1. I grew up in the 70's. Born in 1961. Parents were born in 1925/1927 respectively. Three brothers 1947, 1980, 1954. They called me "oops". And none of us - NONE of us had houses decorated like those atrocities above! My god, that wallpaper in the third pic would make you certifiable before the second day!!

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  2. LOL!!

    Seems to me, my friends homes weren't quite the psychotic big stripped walls kind, but they did have the gold, brown and orange. Ick.

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  3. I quite enjoy all of this stuff, even through I grew up with it. What makes me annoyed is that I never appreciated it at the time, and wish I'd held on to some of my mum and dad's things from that time!

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  4. I'm with Penny Dreadful... I was there and didn't think to hold onto anything. Even when the folks had a yard sale, I still didn't. Stupid, stupid.

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  5. I was born in 1980 and recently saw a dress listed on eBay as vintage (It was also from the 80s). To say I was horrified that my age group is now listed as such goes without saying. Having asked around I will apparently be an antique next and then a classic... so much to look forward to, sigh.

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  6. Ha ha I have seen 80's stuff listed as vintage for a long time now!

    I sort of liked the 80's. At least it had a unique style: a sort of Art Deco revival with a little punk thrown in.

    My prediction, said it a few times: The next hot collectable era will be the 80's ;)

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  7. I read somewhere that anything over 20 years old can be listed as "vintage"....huh? Really? ok....whatev. LOL. I was born in 1972 so I grew up in the 70's and although the decorations were a bit "different" I do not remember seeing homes as "different" at the pics in this post. I remember my mom like the avacodo green, so all of our kitchen appliances were that color...but mostly, my mom, her firends, and sisters were always going to Home Interior parties so they decorated with that kind of stuff.

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  8. if thing from 80's was called vintage..heheh..man i m old :P

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  9. Hey you KNOW how much I love the late 60s/early 70s but I'm well aware it's to be used in moderation. Unless we're talking tiki bars, then it's all systems GO!
    Anyway Ms 1950s, I don't think of you as old at all - so there!

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  10. I think the avocado green and harvest gold lasted until the mid-80's lol...

    Ha ha it will happen to you too, moondoggie, when you see things from the 90's being called "vintage" lol...

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  11. Like you, I consider "mid-century" over by about 1965 or so. The pictures above belong to the later Mod, British Invasion, Psychedelic, Peter Max era...a time when you'd be much more likely to see a Twiggy than a June Cleaver at your party.

    You're exactly right that we recognize the difference clearly because we were THERE. When I see those things called "mid-century,"
    I cringe too.

    I'm comfortable calling it vintage, but mid-century it most definitely isn't! (The long hair and bell bottoms on that pervy kid is a dead giveaway that it's post-Beatles. Mid-century kids had short hair...till they got to college...LOL)

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  12. In a spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I painted a patio door with huge, garish Peter Max flowers and decorated the apartment with tons of beads and Mexican paper flowers. Incense, anyone? :)

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  13. 70s is definitely vintage to me, but it will never be mid-century, to call it that is just WRONG. Some of those pics just make you wanna vomit, don't they?

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  14. lol Dana, I think I told you how I almost threw away Moms hippy blue Bitossi dove because I thought it was just that: a hippy era thing (which isn't my thing). Annnnd then when I saw how much a broken and repaired one sold for on eBay, suddenly I liked it a whole lot better =D

    Yeah Kitty, I KNOW there are folks who like this style, I am trying not to offend anyone, but gee... It's not a look *I* would have ;)

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  15. I like to think of that time and stuff as Retro; and so does Christopher Kent from Flee Market Mania. ;)

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  16. I was reading Apartment Life magazine back then! I already loved vintage then, dressed vintage etc.. So, most of that stuff didn't appeal to me. I do remember the Peter Max stuff, and had a friend who could do that kind of artwork really well. Zootsuitmama

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  17. I think just being literal it CAN'T be mid century, you're right it's 3/4 century. I personally don't like it but that's just cos it's not my thing at all.

    I knew no-one who had their house like that when I was a kid in the 70s, but then I guess all style magazines etc will show what people are aspiring too and what the richer people can afford, those weren't people i mixed with, I was surrounded by either antiques (old stuff then) or 50's/60's stuff.

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  18. To us 'old' farts, the 70's isn't really retro.....yet. But I see what you mean about the difference between the 50's and the 70's......HUGE!!!
    JIm

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  19. I love those interiors!!! I wish we had some of that stuff,but my parents were old enough to be my grandparents,so they weren't very "modern"!! I'm in agreement,though that it isn't mid century!
    Ha,I can't stand 80's being referred to as vintage for the same reasons!
    XXX

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  20. Ohhhh, I didn't like the 70's look at all even when I was a kid (especially the dress), I was all too glad when the 80's came along. And there was a bit of that funky stuff in our household *shudder* But for some twisted reason I kind of have a trace of kidhood nostaligia for that time period.

    With that said, I've been waiting and praying for the '70's Revisited' in today's culture to finally play out!

    Anyway, Mid-Century-Eames-Era-Modern was what the 1970's was trying to bury, and in no way was it a continuation of.

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  21. Clever post-- hate the seagulls, but love the Jere piece. To each their own, I guess! Neat blog.

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  22. I'm one of your older readers and I am definitely mid-century having been born in 1950. However, if you get literal, mid-century is actually 1960, right? I know, I know--each era needs a name and the 60's were groovy and psychodelic and Eldridge Cleaver, not June Cleaver and and hula hoops. I was in San Francisco in the 70's which was pretty awesome, actually. Merry Xmas to ya, mi amiga!!!

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  23. The top few designs look very 1960s to me. They loitered into the '70s here in the UK, but the real face of the UK 1970s was Punk - such anger and despair! Few of us were well off enough to share the 1960s "drop out" culture, and by the early 1970s people in their 40s and 50s (like Noele Gordon in UK soap Crossroads) were wearing the groovy, cutting edge late 1960s designs - which made them distinctly "uncool" to we youngsters. So, hooray for Punk!

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  24. An extremely late comment, but I agree that 1970s is not mid-century. I adore 1970s. I would love to be able to buy a house built before 1975 and completely do it up in 1970s fashion. But it's not mid-century. Mid-century, as a style, began in 1945 and ended some time between 1960 and 1965, depending on the region and the element.

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