Mid-Century.

A napkin holder exactly like this one sat on my grandparents’ kitchen table for decades. Even when the mid century style dining room table was replaced by a monstrosity my grandfather built (it could fold and expand and had inserts labeled with compass directions for proper orientation), the napkin holder exactly like this one lived on until my grandmother’s passing in 1996. I don’t know what happened to it after that.

I find a certain comfort in little trinkets and objects like this, especially those with a Mid Century flair. I mentioned last week that I was looking for drink glasses from the period that I remember in Grandma Country’s kitchen. They arrived earlier this week and I’m happy to add the glasses to my collection.

My interest in this time period is not only inspired by memories of my childhood but also because there was some pretty cool designs going on. While commercial buildings of the time are quite boring, I really liked mid century residential designs. When we were in Palm Springs a couple of months ago I could help but marvel at all the wonderful architecture.

While my grandparents’ custom designed was is pretty conservative in it’s mid century design, there are plenty of elements that lean the home in that direction. I love the use of slate and brick and the angles of the lines. My grandfather had a customer of the family contracting business design the home for him in the mid 1950s so the customer could pay off his bill. There were adjustments all the way; the kitchen was relocated so my grandmother could look out a window facing the front of the house when she washed dishes. She liked watching the trains pass by behind the hay field across the street. Because of this redesign the dining room was made smaller. My husband never liked the dining room. He thought it was too small, and honestly, it was more of a pass through area getting from the kitchen to the main living space. He didn’t like the kitchen off by itself. There were pocket doors scattered about. And the aforementioned slate and stone and brick. Built in 1959 it was a charming house.

After the kitchen and dining room were renovated into some dark wood colonial motif (that I absolutely hated), the only place one could find the speckled linoleum of the dining room floor was in the hall linen closet. The slate floor was reserved for the head end of the living room. The colonial linoleum that replaced the speckled original floor always seemed liked it shouted its presence. The dark cabinets that replaced were so very heavy in stature.

The house was sold after my grandfather died to a man that turned it into a hunting camp. I have the numbers from the in-wall kitchen clock that had stopped working sometime in the early 1990s. I might have to put them in a wall here in our home in the desert. It’d be a nice tribute to my fondness for Gram and Gramp’s home.

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