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Mid-Century Modern Furniture Fan?

December 25, 2019

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Interior design of Mid-century modern eames chair in a modern room

The enduring popularity of Mid-Century Modern furniture is based on many factors. It gives us clean lines, gentle organic curves, a love for different materials and designers that are idolized even today. Just one look at the Eames chair and ottoman pictured here and you’ll understand why.

Mid-century style can easily be incorporated into your everyday life with furniture. But buying great pieces isn’t always easy. To help, turned to readers to learn where they’re finding their favorite gems from this period. Whether you’re looking for original vintage items or the best replicas, this blog covers the spectrum.

Craigslist, Antique Stores, or Yard Sales

A ton of mid-century modern obsessives are scoring amazing finds on Craigslist, at local yard sales, Goodwill, or antique shops.

READ: How to Decorate Your Mid-century Modern Home

One reader said that she’s found great Mid-century modern furniture in her “grandma’s basement.” Another suggested getting dirty: “I am a serious thrift store/antique mall rat. I am never afraid to dumpster dive if it looks MCM either.” And a third hunts at her local thrift stores: “Found some of my favorites at Goodwill and other thrift stores.”

Santa Barbara has many thrift stores for those who enjoy hunting for mid-century treasures. And today, they’re gaining in popularity. If you have ever experienced the thrill of finding a perfect piece of Mid-century modern furniture at a thrift store, then you know why. But more than that, here are 5 reasons to shop thrift stores:

  • Thrift stores help the community.
    Not only are many of these establishments run by charitable organizations, but they also use their retail platform to provide other much-needed services to the community. Shopping at these stores keeps them in business and allows these important services to keep going.

    Take Santa Barbara’s Unity Shoppe, for example. Shopping there helps supplement basic necessities for local people who don’t have the ability to pay their rent and utilities. The Unity Shoppe also teaches office and computer skills, merchandising, inventory control and customer relations; preparing people in need of future job opportunities.

    Nearly 18,000 people are referred to this unique charity yearly by more than 300 non-profit agencies, churches, schools and hospitals. They also operate a year-round “Free” grocery and clothing store so people can shop with dignity for their basic needs. More than $2 million in merchandise is distributed annually.

  • Thrift stores keep more out of landfills.
    Obviously the very idea of a secondhand store is eco-friendly. Thrift stores are like humanity's hand-me-downs. Someone scratches your back, you scratch someone else's back and so on and so on.

  • Thrift stores transport you to another time.
    Especially for mid-century fans who can find all sorts of goodies for their collections.

  • They make you appreciate how far technology has come.
    You’ll leave feeling thankful that you don’t live in a time where big, bulky CRT computer monitors, CD Walkman’s, and original PlayStation ruled the day.

  • You never know what you might find.
    There's something about entering a thrift shop that is just packed with potential. If a great time for you is dropping into a store of once-owned goods with no idea what you're looking for, then thrift shopping is for you. Endless possibilities and endless questions. Who owned this before? WHY? What the hell is this? Is this amazing or is this awful?

Consignment Stores

Here in Santa Barbara, we also can take advantage of our local community and shop at a number of excellent consignment stores, too. These stores sell secondhand items on behalf of the original owner, who receives a percentage of the selling price. Here are some excellent ones to check out for mid-century nuggets:

Jones Robin Appraisal

Serving Santa Barbara since 1969, this place is known for handling quality artifacts and antiques. As a member of the International Society of Appraisers, they also offer an appraisal service and estate liquidations. Visit after they’ve received items from a local estate, and you’ll be amazed at what you can find.

The Blue Door

If you even mention consignment/vintage/antique shopping in Santa Barbara, you’re sure to get recommendations to visit The Blue Door. Located in the Funk Zone and standing tall with three floors of inventory, the store combines new and vintage home items that will pique any shopper’s interest. Plus, with new items arriving every day, you’re sure to find something unique to bring home with you!

Summerland Antique Collective

If you’re looking for some serious luxury items for your home and outdoor space, look no further than Summerland Antique Collective. Specializing in fine designer pieces and unique collectibles, the shop prides itself on offering a wide range of styles. Whether you’re looking to redecorate or just browse, this spot is definitely worth a stop if you’re in Summerland.

The Art of Consignment

Specializing in hand-selected top-quality and tasteful furniture, home goods, and décor, the inventory here features second-hand items from well-known brand names and manufacturers. This store regularly accepts donations, consignments, and on-spot sales, so the inventory is always expanding.

Big box retailers

Believe it or not, big-box retailers are the place to go when you don’t have time to hunt for pieces in antique or consignment stores. The mid-century modern collections at Target and West Elm can provide good value for those who don’t mind new replicas of the originals. Other online shops that feature mid-century-inspired pieces are JoybirdArticle, and AllModern. You can even turn to places like IkeaeBay, and Amazon for decent recreations. 

If you are looking for a mid-century home for all your mid-century modern furniture, there’s just one place to go: my portfolio of fine properties in the area. I’ll search the area to find you the mid-century home of your dreams. Just give me a call at +1 805.886.9378 or email me at I can also sell your existing property at the same time.

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- J & A

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- M.F.

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- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

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- Johan and Paula van den Berg

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- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

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