Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vintage & Market Finds on One Kings Lane

In January, I was fortunate enough to run a successful Tastemakers Tag sale on One Kings Lane.  Over 35% of the items sold including vintage furniture, lighting, art and accessories.  Of the items that did not sell in the 3-day sale, One Kings Lane selected pieces for their newest category, VINTAGE & MARKET FINDS. In it's first day launch, this category has already proven to be a successful venture.  We have already sold an English tea set and six Asian inspired lamps, however we still have some fantastic items at huge discounts - over 50% off.  Check out our brutalist copper chandelier by Tom Greene which normally sells for over $3600 marked down to $1599 - or, a 1930s Dorothy Draper style plaster mirror for under $2000 and a mid century modern driftwood wall sconce for only $499! 
To access the site visit

Friday, February 10, 2012

Modlife launches a new online store on

It took a long time coming but I am thrilled to announce that Modlife has launched a storefront on  As of the end of the month we will officially remove all of our inventory from and continue to build our storefront on 1stdibs and plan to have over 50 items posted by April 2012.  It takes a while to build these sites so please be patient and if you need information on any inventory not listed we will be glad to provide you with it upon request.
We had a very successful Tastemaker Tag Sale on One Kings lane in January and will be building a storefront on that site as well.  It will feature the items that did not sell and will be available for a "last call" opportunity before we launch another full sale this summer in July.
Meanwhile, we have several new pieces in the showroom which I invite you to come in and preview, as well as a line of vintage reupholstered pieces that will be arriving for the Spring.  Look forward to more information - or visit us at or

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Kings Lane Tastemakers Tag Sale

This morning my Tastemakers Tag Sale on One Kings Lane went live and already over 25% of the inventory is sold out.  
Up to 60% off of mid century modern home furnishings including seating, case goods, lighting, art, sculpture and accessories.  
Sale runs through Monday but catch it now before that item you've been coveting is SOLD!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Exposed!

Check out this months CS Interiors magazine featuring a 2 page article on my loft cleverly written with heart and humor by my friend Barri Leiner Grant.  Barri is the author of "Jersey Girls" and a funny girl hailing herself from Jersey.  The article features a handful of cropped images of some of my prized possessions and some wide views of the architectural structural of the turn-of-the-century church I now call "home." 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Reinvention of Iconic Music

Whenever I hear a cover of an iconic song I ask myself if this artist has brought new life to this song or should they have best left it alone.  You can go to a wedding or a street fair and hear a band try and sound as close to the original version of Tina Turners "Proud Mary, " Three Dog Nights, "Joy to the World" or even a more contemporary, Jason Mraz, "I'm Yours."  And you may say to yourself, "Wow they sound almost just like the original."  But no one wants to buy a copy of an original - not in antiques and not in music.  And like my passion for reinventing vintage and iconic 20th century furniture, there are recording artists and labels out there doing what I am doing to furniture to iconic music.  And very well I might add.  Because they are not replacing the original vocals nor making the melody unidentifiable, the original score is enhanced by layering contemporary lounge and "chill-out" style tracks.  The tempo may be spun-up, "technofied,"or electronically modernized into a more current sound yet maintaining the magic of the original version.
One can only imagine how thrilling it would have been for the Jazz musicians of our parents and grandparents generations to imagine their music being reinvented for a younger audience - not recovered but renewed.  As a result, this allows an opportunity to cross over into a younger audience introducing them to songs that once saturated the airwaves and motivated the stomping on dance floors for decades before we ever heard of Lady Gaga, Madonna or even Elton John!
I think perhaps the best thing about the reinventions of some of these jazz greats is that the chosen tracks aren't the overplayed, over-covered iconic songs that these masters recorded...rather, they were the "B-Side" of the 45 which makes this an ideal subject for me to blog about! 
The best way to introduce yourself to these remixes is to go directly to the label of mid-20th century masters of Jazz - VERVE.  The Verve catalogue grew through the 1950s and 1960s including some of the greatest artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Betty Carter.  the label was later sold to MGM Records who was responsible for building their bossa nova catalogue of music from Stan Getz and Gilberto.  In the 1970's they revived again representing some rock bands and then in the 1980s and into the 1990's reissuing the bossa nova track.  In 2002 they began their remixes begining with The first Verve Remix featuring reinvented tracks of "Who Needs Forever?" by Astrud Giberto featuring Thievery Corporation, two unforgettable swanky tracks by Sarah Vaughan, "Fever" and "Peter Gun," the lovely melodic, "Wait Till You See Him" by Ella Fitzgerald and, my signature song, "Speak Low" by Billy Holiday.  In 2005, Verve 2 followed by Verve 3&4 as well as an inevitable Christmas Remix.
In recent years we've seen other remix albums honoring the works of Billy Holiday, Nina Simone and Nat King Cole (Regenerations) where Cee-Lo superbly revives "Lush Life"  in a ballad for the lounge room or a funkier version for the dance floor.
There is limitless potential for the reinvention from our favorite vocalists from the past.  And where some have retired their aging voice, or have dearly departed, it is a great gift to reintroduce their body of work to us in a new package.  I recently heard some tracks from Doris Days album of never released songs from the 1980s and it sounded very well... early 1980s... and I am not talking about the good 1980s for which U2 and the GoGos where responsible.  Now if Day sat down with DePhazz and remixed Que Sera Sera she would have a hit that would be spinning from New York to St. Tropez.  Can you imagine blending the angelic voice of Karen Carpenter with some electronica lounge loops or Edith Piaf, "LeVe En Rose" or how about Kiri Tikawana's, "O Mio Babino Caro?"  The stars the limits.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Next month Modlife will celebrate its 7th Anniversary - which in this economy is close to "dog years." And in lieu of throwing my annual champagne parties I opted to give the showroom a remodel - we closed down for a week in July and completely painted the floors and walls for a fresh clean look.  Then I tackled the kitchen which was long overdue.  There we went for a high -gloss red and I vow to make more panninis and order out less.
Miraculously, in spite of closing down for a week and suffering from record high heat temperatures in Chicago, the store experienced record high sales, rentals and design revenues which we have never seen even before the recession.  And when sales are up - inventory goes down.  So I got the chance to go out on the road and scout for more inventory which is one of the responsibilities I enjoy most of this business.  As a result I uncovered a mother load of Robsjohn Gibbbings and Widdicomb furniture, some gorgeous Chinoiserie pieces by Renzo Rutili for Johnson Furniture Co., Atomic chairs by Karpen, and even some Bergere French chairs which I have some rock star ideas about reinventing.  Many of these pieces have already been sold through our global web portal, - which got me thinking it was time to renovate the website as well.  This is the 4th web design since my second year in business and certainly my favorite.  I think it has a better vision of the direction of Modlife in not only showcasing the pieces in our inventory but, also spotlighting the potential we see in all good design furniture be it a chair in your livingroom, your mother's chaise lounge, your grandfathers credenza or a coffee table found in the back alley.  Send us a picture and we can help you reinvent it into one of your favorite pieces of furniture.
So stop by and see our fresh look at our showroom on Lincoln Avenue, and if you are not in the Chicago area please visit our new website:  And as always, thank you for being a Modlife customer and checking us out from time to time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those Zany Screwball Comedies of the 1960s

Growing up in the 1960s, for my family was a era of television.  Saturday mornings were dedicated to cartoons and the evenings were usually spent watching family sitcoms and those "zany screwball comedies" which often didn't require your full attention because they all had the same slapstick, simple plots, and a host of Hollywood's comedic actors.  You will always find Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra hiding other mens' wives in bedrooms, Doris Day running from Rock Hudson because her virtue is at stake, Elke Summers taking a bubble bath and Ann Margaret dancing for no apparent reason.
Very often these movies blended the same lame plots which positioned television not so much as something that required viewing as much as background noise while playing gin rummy or Monopoly, petting the dog or doing your homework.
The classics have sustained time because they were well written, directed and probably adapted from a Broadway play or novel - like the great films of Billy Wilder, Joseph Mankiewicz and Hitchcock - these films roped you in and got your undivided attention, even as kids, when the dialogue was more intelligent and the subject matter less, "adult."  But with the "Swinging Sixties" the movies seem to dummy down the dialogue and  pushed the envelope on the subject matter making it sexier and screwball.  And who can forget the beach movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello - which I cannot recall a single plot, just a string of scenes of teenagers doing the twist on the beach.
I remember when the technology of VHS and video stores became mainstream I was addicted to spending nights researching foreign and classic films that  I either haven't seen in decades- or ever- and thinking how fortunate to live in a era when you can go to a video store and for a few dollars rent a movie and watch it in the privacy of your own home.  And in time I seemed to absorb every film made by Lina Wertmuller, Luis Malle, Bertolluci, Cassavettes- even Woody Allen!  But in time it seemed I've seen it all and the only thing left to watch was new releases and more recently- Reality TV.  And while the Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore and.. well anything New Jersey makes for good TV (I mean we all like to watch a train wreck) I don't share America's infatuation with vampires or forensic science stories).
Recently, I moved into a loft converted from a 110 year old church which although has been modernized for some reason or another I could not get a television cable connection into the family room.  Well, as necessity is the mother of invention, I was forced to install a wireless blue-ray DVD which includes Netflix and the "Instant Que" to retrieve a huge library of movies and television series which we haven't seen in video stores - some of them released for the first time in decades.  While many of them were not the classic family comedies that we've loved for our lifetime and never forgot those quotable lines... most are still enjoyable films that at least make for good background noise while cooking, petting the dog or surfing the ipod.
And in the genre of those screwball 1960s comedies, while the plots may be mundane, the saturated technicolor is mesmerizing, the corny dialogue is a language of it's own and the set design is... well inspirational!   I've always said that much of my inspiration in design came from these 1960s movies and the set decoration in some of these films still enliven my design senses.  All those crazy, zany movies at the press of a button... this may require an intervention!