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April 8, 2011

MCM Home Improvement: Woe Is Me

By Sablemable aka Jan

Now that the weather is improving, I’ve got to get cracking and begin my MCM home improvement.  Thus, I need your input, readers.

I’ve mentioned my gas fireplace before and apparently none of you recall it or have seen photos.  Stay put, because I will not disappoint you. 

The said fireplace was put in by the second owners and it was done in river rock.  Not my idea of Mid Century modern, but I’m stuck with it for now.  I know that I can have it refaced, but if you can help me figure out how to incorporate this river rock into my décor, I will be forever grateful.

First off, I found a picture of a modern living room with a rock fireplace.



Now, here’s my fireplace.



Since my fireplace is made up of mostly gray colored rocks, here are my decorating ideas.

1.  Change the carpet color to gray.  I found 2 colors I liked from Mohawk.




Silver Dust



The wood trim would be refinished along with the ledge on the fireplace.  I prefer the blonde color stains.



Blonde finished interior louvered shutters would be my choice of window treatment, but I’m open to any and all suggestions.



Vintage or vintage reproduction Danish furniture will be my final choice, as I think it would go well with the fireplace.  I would have them upholstered in a matching gray of the carpet.

Also, I have 2 Heywood-Wakefield tables: a corner end table and revolving round coffee table which will be refinished in the Champagne finish.

Accent colors can range from brights to pastels.  Some of my favorite colors are coral, lemon, mint, aqua, but again, I’m flexible. 






Psst!  The mint green fabric (third color swatch) is from Andrea’s shop, www.sewwhatfabrics.ca.  Andrea is one of our devoted readers and her fabric shop rocks with MCM colors and designs!  Visit her site and buy!

Wall color will probably be ultra white semi-gloss paint, since we already bought gallons and gallons of it. 

I haven’t found any MCM table or floor lamps yet and I’m still looking.

Okay, gang, tell me your décor ideas!

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10 Responses to MCM Home Improvement: Woe Is Me

  1. Queen of Fifty Cents Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Your river rock fireplace looks pretty MCM compared to the southwestern Kiva style in our 1957 post-and-beam house! Not sure what we’ll do with it, sure looks odd! Your remodeling plans all sound great to me. I know you’ll love it when it’s all done!

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Ooh! Exciting!

    I wish that we could see that entire wall where the fireplace is or a shot of the room to maybe get more idea of how things are in the room? My first thought is that if you are going to use the clean lines of Danish Modern furniture, there is going to be a clash with that black fireplace insert (gas logs?) It seems more decorative and with that fireplace possibly being a focal point, it might clash with clean lines? I think that you’re dead-on with lightening up the mantel wood so that it doesn’t stand out and look quite as lodge-y. Not that there is anything wrong with the lodge look but it doesn’t sound like it’s what you’re going for here.

    I really love how the rocks in the vintage illustration have poppy colors. I wonder if there is something that you can do to your stone to make it do that? I kind of do wish that you didn’t have to use white paint because I’m really digging that pink up against the rock in the vintage illustration. I think that I’d be careful about using too much gray upholstery as the carpet and the rock of the fireplace are gray. I think that you should definitely do some furniture upholstery in colors so that the entire room isn’t gray and white. Give it some pop.

    But that said, those are just MY opinions. You should always and without fail do what makes you feel good when it comes to your rooms. You know the vibe that you are going for better than anyone else and you’re the one that has to live there. Good luck and I can’t wait to see your beautiful new room! 🙂

  3. sablemable Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Queen of Fifty Cents: If you and you’re spouse/partner are talented with tools, then check out http://www.brickit.com where you can easily put up/on real stone or brick veneer sheets. It’s supposed to be very easy to do. That would give you an option. Also, send me a photo of it, I’d love to take a look at it.

    Earthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! LOL, too much gray was blind hope that maybe the fireplace would recess! There is more of a peachy-rusty colored rock dispersed among the gray rocks, so pink wouldn’t do. I may still see about having the fireplace refaced. That cast iron insert is too country for me. If I did get the FP refaced in a buff brick color, then I would consider a pastel pink paint. The reason I didn’t show the whole wall was there is still boxes and stuff left around from moving that I haven’t cleared out. Also the tenant left “furniture” that she apparently didn’t want and I am not able to move them out of the way. Darn.

  4. Sara in AZ Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with Eartha, I really like that pink against the fireplace in the vintage pic. It really flows nicely. Maybe you can get some color added to that white paint! 🙂 I’d ditch the fireplace insert too. I also think gray carpet might be too much for a room with an already mostly gray fireplace. Were you thinking about any other colors?

  5. sablemable Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm


    Yeah, dark brown, but I like gray better and gray is so MCM. I’m really, really leaning towards getting it refaced-I just can’t stand it! Give me brick or limestone any day!

  6. Andrea Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    My grandparent’s house (which will always be the epitome of MCM in my mind) had a colossal river rock fireplace in it, so I wouldn’t say the two are mutually exclusive (as the pic that you found shows!).

    Based on what I’ve read in the comments, I am going to echo Eartha and Sara – do you have to go with white walls? You say there are peachy rusty tones to some of the stones in the fireplace – what about a light coral paint (or is that too off colourwise as well)? I think if you put some colour on the walls, you could stick with the grey upholstery/carpet as planned, and then maybe add some green for another accent? I think the grey/coral/green would make a nice palette and go well with the blonde wood. I would consider ditching the insert as well.

    Also – thanks for the plug for my store! 🙂 I always appreciate it!

  7. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    April 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I agree. I think that if you paint the walls white, that fireplace is still only going to pop. I say embrace that fireplace and let it be a feature and use a color that will meld well with it. I think that it’s really pretty both in that vintage illustration and in your home. I think that you can really work with it so don’t give up. I have a very fancy Colonial looking fireplace and I’d give my hen teeth to have your beautiful rock. 🙂

  8. sablemable Reply

    April 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Andreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! You have the most wonderful fabrics, so it is my pleasure to plug your store, LOL! I love the color coral, so maybe I’ll “paint” my walls on the Behr paint website (www.behr.com) and see what happens.

    Earthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Send us a picture of your colonial fireplace.

    I totally agree with those of you who have said to chuck the cast iron insert. Maybe that’s the problem with the fireplace and why I hate it, LOL!

    Thank you all, so far, for all of your ideas. I really love asking my friends advise. Keep up the good work, Readers!

  9. Courtney Reply

    April 9, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I wonder if you couldn’t get a glaze or varnish to add the varied colors to your rocks to get the look of you model room? I think I’d try to find a way to switch out the fireplace insert with a clean straight lined one, or just cover the curve of yours. What are you going to do with the wooden beam across your mantel?

  10. Dave Reply

    April 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    No question – ditch the insert. Now on to more important cultural iconish things.

    Ricky & Lucy had louvered shutters separating the kitchen from the living room in their first apartment. That look always makes me think 1953. Since I’m a 60s guy I have just two words for you

    Pinch Pleats

    Well, seven words actually

    Floor length pinch pleats with sheers underneath.

    You just can’t beat pinch pleats when it comes to softening up a wall. With all your hard surfaces and straight lines the softness and the pleats might be a welcome break.

    Of course that’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary

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