Thursday, February 14, 2013

DesignEras WWII through 1980s

There seems to be a theme in my life and that theme is that I am stuck in my ways. This week marked the end to my laptop and a trip into some weird self discoveries. The computer had seen better days so it was not a total surprise that the end was near. A few weeks ago I had the good sense to remove pretty much everything of importance onto my desktop computer just to be safe, kind of like prearranging a funeral. After receiving confirmation it was gone and not coming back the sick feeling of having to shop for a new one sunk in. There is one thing I get worked up about and that is large purchases where I do not feel comfortable about the product due to a lack of knowledge. So I did what every proud computer illiterate does, I phoned a friend! Not just any friend but one that is well versed in every tech gadget that is out there and can remember the details of each. I am ashamed to say this but this is not the first time I have pulled this stunt, sadly it is the third and never with the same person. So my point of self discovery was when it came to purchase time. Everything pointed to breaking out of my shell and moving into the age of tablets but when it came time to make the purchase I fell backwards and went with another laptop. Yes I admit I am stuck in my ways and can not break free of what I feel comfortable with. Maybe they are right, you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

Now with my confession complete and out of the way lets pick up where we left off last week with the continuation of the design eras. We have covered from 1837 through WWII which encompassed Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian and Art Deco. In order to move forward we have to start this week by taking a slight step backwards on the time line to cover the lengthy Arts and Crafts Era.

Arts And Crafts Era

Style Time Line - 1860 through 1925

Just like in fashion styles sometime overlap each other, that is the case with the Arts and Crafts movement. With its start in the British Isles in 1860 and gaining popularity throughout Europe it did not flourish in the Untied States until around 1910 and continued through the mid 1920's. This style stood for traditional craftsmanship with straight simple lines and little embellishments. In architecture the Arts and Crafts era brought us the Bungalow style home along with Mission Revival, Prairie School and the "California Bungalow." While all having styles of their own they are a reflection of each other through craftsmanship and straight heavy lines. 

During this era home decor items changed to reflect the movement as well through simple pottery and furniture that carried the same simple handcrafted aesthetics as the buildings housing them. 

Modernism Era: 
Style Time Line - WWI through early 1970's

Trying to define modernism can be frustrating since as a style it is less coherent and its boundaries are loose. Being another style that developed in Europe first before reaching the shores of North America it embraced new technologies of the day such as concrete, glass and steel while leaving behind ornamentation. Interiors were sparse with a "Less is More" way of thinking while design around the concept of function being dictated by form.

Mid Century Modern Era: 

Style Time Line - mid-1940's through mid-1960's

The hot trend right now in city dwellings and home decor is the rebirth of Mid Century Modern. I especially enjoy Mid Century Modern and in fact it is my favorite design era. Names such as Eames and Eero Saarinen have become common in conversations discussing home interiors and design. Although this design era has a more distinct homey feel to it, Modernism is actually where Mid Century Modern finds its roots. Items were designed and manufactured with the average home owner in mind instead of the wealthy elite so from a collectors viewpoint this is an era that is full of treasures to be had. Items for the household were mass produced and put on the market at reasonable prices for consumers. Finding items now that are in pristine condition can be somewhat of a challenge since most items were used on a daily basis. Items that stand out as true Mid Century Modern Gems are Merman Miller produced plywood, fiberglass, and wire mesh chairs.

Hollywood Regency Era: 

Style Time Line - mid-1930's through mid-1960's

I have to admit that this style I am at a total loss over. Although I love it since it is truly over the top in everything I am not really sure how it should be described. In my research I found on Design Public the blog "Hollywood Regency 101" that does far better justice than I could ever attempt not to mention the collection of photos accompanying the information are outstanding.  Take a visit and enjoy this fun and over the top style!

Retro Era: 

Style Time Line - Over 15 years of age

That's right, Retro is considered to be anything over 15 years of age. So that country kitchen feel of the late 1980's with its geese, bows and country hearts could be returning soon. This is a style that encompasses pretty much everything from past eras but the hardcore collectors give the late 1960's through the 1980's  top billing. During this time wild and colorful designs were dominant in everything from clothing to home decor items. If the treasure you found at the Flea Market is orange, harvest yellow or brown there is a good chance you are in possession of a retro item.

So there you have it, the design styles from 1837 through the present. If you have some extra time in your day hop on your favorite internet search engine and do a little research of your own. The more information you gather on your favorite era the easier it will be for you to hunt out those hidden gems at your next flea market or visit to your neighborhood thrift store. If you started a Pinterest board of your favorite vintage items take a look at it and see what design seems to attract your eye. This is a great way to start getting a feel of what would appealing to have in your own home.

If you are in the Chicagoland area this weekend and need a break from cabin fever and a vintage fix you may want to check out this Vintage Garages event!

February 16th and 17th, 2013
11am to 6pm
$5.00 admission
1134 West Granville
Chicago, IL 60640


Salty and Sweet ... . WHAT A TREAT! 

If there is one thing that I find very appealing and I crave from time to time that would be the combination of salty and sweet together. In the past his phenomenon could only be found in the tasty morsels of Kettle Corn found at the local fair or in some wonderful Asian cuisines. No one knows for sure who had the courage to mix sea salt with caramel but it has taken over the confectionery world. This is an incredible recipe from "Table for Two" blog that is worth its weight in gold!  My recommendation is to make these on a Saturday morning so that on Sunday afternoon you will have time to make a second batch when you run out.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 package of Jello instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
For the salted caramel buttercream:
15-20 caramel candies, unwrapped
3-4 tbsp. heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
4 cups powdered sugar, divided




  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with baking cups.
  2.  In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl, mix together cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix very well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  3. Equally divide the batter into the baking cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and place them on wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  4. In the meantime, make your buttercream by first melting the caramel candies and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the caramel is all melted, stir in 1/2 tsp. of salt.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the remaining 1 tsp. of salt.
  6. Gently add half of the powdered sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Then drizzle in the caramel while the mixer is on low. If the caramel has hardened up a bit that you can’t pour it, heat it up just enough so you can pour it into the mixer with ease.
  7. Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  8. Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip of your choice.
  9. Pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.
  10. Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
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