One small step for man, one giant leap for our homes!

Here is our latest article for Vintage Lige magazine..all about how the space race in the late 50s and 60s influenced the design of our homes.

One small step for man, one giant leap for our homes!

Space exploration during the 1960s was not just about NASA officials and the competition to see who would successfully reach the moon first. It influenced everyone on the ground too, even impacting the design choice in our homes.

The Space Age began in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, followed with the first man in space in 1961. One of the defining moments in modern history happened in 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. This decade started and ended with a fascination of the unknown and a great belief in the future. Television didn’t escape the excitement either with programmes such as the Jetsons characterising life in 2062, with high tech gadgets and a space influenced home. Before this, the focus was on the past, now we were aiming to the future….far into the 21st century.

Every part of the house was affected. Lighting, ceramics, furniture, fabric, clocks and even toys took on space age shapes made from newly developed plastics.

Beam me up…

The biggest impact was on lighting. At a time when the Victorian reproduction look was booming, spaceship like shades emerged with interwoven pieces made from gently folded plastic or metal. Furniture designers of the time also got on board with Guzzini’s pull down mushroom light and Panton’s astronaut helmet inspired lamp. For budgets that couldn’t stretch to these, the choice was a simple paper moon shade.

The defining lights of this era were both rocket shaped. The lava lamp was designed in 1963 but didn’t become popular until later in the decade. The hippy generation loved its psychedelic feel, but with its torpedo shape and flowing lava inside, it is reminiscent of outer space.

The rocket lamp made from spun resin was a must have in the 1960s. Standing on 3 teak legs, the orange rocket is tall and eye catching….and lit up sends a warm glow around the room.

Furnishing your pod!

Furniture also embraced this love affair with all things space related. Many people rejected the country cottage pine trend, instead choosing new radical shapes and materials. Chairs became pod like with popular styles such as the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, with its winged back and metal swivel base. Even wicker joined in with the ceiling hung pod. The Arkana table captured the mood perfectly with the free flowing lines of its tulip base. With the addition of a glossed white finish it looked futuristic and sleek.

The ultimate space design was Panton’s inflatable chair, designed as early as 1960. However, it was his S chairs that literally defied gravity. This one piece of free flowing plastic took an amazing 10 years to produce with the end result being stackable, brightly coloured and still influences furniture design today.

Complementing the look

Clocks became a feature in the 1960s, desired for their style rather than just function. Metamec’s starburst clock was seen as modern with its glossy moon like face and teak spikes. Candle holders were often on 3 legs with the candle forming the rocket.

The 1960s kitchen got involved too, using the newly fashionable and durable melamine. Egg cups in flying saucer shapes brightened up the home as well as camping trips. The ultimate in space age influenced design is the Caddy-matic: a rocket shaped tea dispenser. Designed by Arthur Douglas, they were wall hung, sprung loaded and always in bright colours.

The science behind it all

While the 1960s look was rocket shaped, the 1950s was influenced by the planetary world. At the Festival of Britain, great displays of molecular structures explaining our universe were shown to millions in the newly built Dome of Discovery. The focus here was on the science behind what would be achieved in the next decade.

New designs for the home had brightly coloured ball feet, hooks for the wall resembled the science seen in the dome, magazine racks, coat stands and planters all joined in creating a modern look to complement silver metal legged chairs and kidney shaped tables. Still seen today, they are a great way to add a 1950s look to your home.

Both Lucienne Day and David Whitehead designed textiles for the festival.. New bark cloth designs emerged covered in stylised planet forms, always with Saturn’s rings, which were joined by bright swirls and spindly drawn connectors. Even the plant designs such as Day’s Calyx is reminiscent of the atomic world with rocket shaped flower heads again with the fine lines connecting each plant.

Nothing since has impacted home wares on such a scale as this, except maybe world travel. Ironically, interior design recently has been influenced by the past, replicating this space age look…the look that actually focused on the future. Modern retailers now sell almost exactly the same pieces…but the originals are still out there to be found. The way we are going our homes will actually look like the Jetson’s, in 2062!

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Beat the Monday Blues, Part 4

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday I introduce you the fantastic AbiLu Creations owned by Abigail Lucy Bruford.

I first met Abigail at a very rainy Lovebox festival in July. She had the next door stall to me, selling her collection of hand-made necklaces, hair accessories and other gems. I was drawn to her stall like a magpie..infact I seemed to spend more time with her, trying stuff on than on my own stall. I bought a peacock feather head band which I proudly wore watching Blondie with my gold and blue vintage Jean Muir style Grecian dress……sorry I digress!

So back to AbiLu…their handmade charm plectrum necklaces are legendary. She sells them online at http://www.abilucreations.com but also at many markets and festivals across London such as Portobello and Camden.

After studying Costume Design and Fine Art at university, she went on to teach. However, spare time was spent building up her business. Launched in 2005, Abi now sells to boutiques and wholesalers such as NME.com and is part of the amazing Filthy Gorgeous London in Debenhams (along side Now, Voyager who we featured a while back).

We want to share with you, in particularly the fab plectrum charm pendant necklaces. Abi rescues treasures, often vintage and adds her signature branded spectrum. These  hang on a long chain, are eye-catching and whats more unique. Every piece is different, and with Abi’s bespoke service you can have a necklace which is totally personal to you. You can have roses for splash of colour, guitars, microphones even a welly for those muddy festivals.

All are grouped together to give you a rock look, a pirate look..whatever you choose! And the best bit is prices start at only £10. On some you can also choose the length of chain as well as between silver or gold on the snake chains…..great service huh?

Each comes wrapped beautifully and in a little pouch…a perfect gift for yourself (or a loved one if you can bear to part with it!)


Check out some of our favourites

Beautifully British

Pirates of the Caribbean

My rocking Valentine

Singing in the rain

Rock Garden


Check AbiLu out at http://www.abilucreations.com and on Facebook and Twitter!




All dressed up & ready to go

We are busy getting ready for next weeks Twinwood Festival here in Bedfordshire. It is a 1940s/50s festival so we have been busy getting our frocks ready.

Here are just a few we will be taking to sell. We have prom dresses, swing dresses, day dresses and wiggle dresses. Some are hand made and some have great labels such as Selfridges and Horrockses. We have sexy, we have pretty, we have brights. We are all dressed up and ready to go!

Sheer hand made day dress with beautiful pleating.

Bright, hand made, silk floral swing dress with ruffle pleat detail on skirt, size 16

Autumnal coloured wiggle dress with rouched pleating on one side.

Lilac floral barkcloth day dress

Horrockses 60s dress (yes slightly wrong era but it’s gorgeous!)

Floral rayon wiggle dress with rouched tummy…so flattering!

Rose cotton swing day dress….so cute!

Bright cotton day dress with tie waist#

Stunning lilac prom dress with devore flowers

Pastel box pleated, tie neck dress

Rouched chiffon bright blue maxi prom dress

Bright day dress with white toggle buttons

Pleated edge, belted dress

Blue floral bow neck Selfridges dress

Grey and brown pleated dress with belt

Aqua rayon rose fronted wiggle dress

Silk purple wiggle tulip dress

Purple rose cotton day swing dress

Blue floral silky swing dress with tie neckline

Red & white long sleeved day dress

If you’re coming to Twinwood, make sure you drop by and say Hi!

We’re all going on a summer holiday

Here is our latest article from Vintage Life magazine, all about the Great British holiday!

We’re all going on a summer holiday

As schools are finishing for the summer break, now is the time to get ready for your annual holiday. With so much opportunity for world travel nowadays, it’s hard to imagine life before package holidays and cheap flights. However, even though we now can explore far off lands, we are beginning to fall in love again with a simpler experience, similar to the holiday adventures which began back at the start of the 20th century.

Escaping the city

The Victorians were the first to enjoy camping holidays but it was between the 2 wars that it began to really take off. People craved  a sense of healthy, outdoor living alongside a strong desire to escape the city. With the increase in pollution due to the manufacturing boom,  urban families needed to escape to the countryside. Later, as car ownership increased and  motorways opened up new possibilities, whole families and friends all travelled together to create a real home from home. Often camped alongside the British beaches, the main objective was to get as much air as possible. Playing on the sands, collecting shells, watching Punch and Judy and riding donkeys…children were out from dawn to dusk and their parents were happy that their offspring had unpolluted air inside them. Some families by now owned a caravan; a cramped affair with no electricity but parked alongside your neighbours it helped to add to the sense of community. Mother created a little haven with her usual china and linen, still keeping up her traditional look far from home. For some, this experience was enjoyed up to the late 70s with china swapped for more practical melamine, embroidered linen for a wind breaker and a tartan blanket.

Hi-Di-Hi campers!

An alternative experience was the Great British holiday camp. The first one opened in 1906 but it wasn’t until the 30s that the holiday camp experience really came into it’s own. Butlins was a key player, opening  Skegness in 1936 which accommodated 2000 guests in purpose built chalets. It was handed over to the soldiers during the war with Butlins able to buy it back after victory. Ironically, one regimentation was swapped for another, with the red coated staff dictating when you woke and when lights were turned off. Because of this, many people rejected the camps especially the middle class who didnt want to spend their precious days off with just anybody. But for most, these holidays were fun with non stop entertainment even if it rained in the shape of Glamorous Granny and Knobbly Knees competitions. More importantly these holidays were safe, with the red
coats entertaining children all day and baby sitting all evening. For the adults (and some teenagers), this was the time to relax and take to the bar. These were often decorated with a Hawaiian theme adorned with pineapple ice buckets, hula girls and cocktails with parasols on the side.

This will have inspired families to create their own version on return home, with a free standing bar, stools and cocktail cabinet.

Viva Espania

Into the late 60s, the baby-boomers were now teenagers and wanted more excitement further a field. In 1950, Horizon introduced the first package holiday to Corsica but it took another 15 years for it to be affordable for most. Holiday makers flew for the first time to Spain to enjoy the sunshine and by all reports rather a lot of sangria! It was still quite regimented though with everyone sharing meals together in long rows. This was a real turning point for British homes as everyone brought back souvenirs to remember their good times. Suddenly Flamenco dancers, bull fighters and traditional costumed dolls adorned walls and shelves as well as again, the recreation of a cocktail bar.

Now the Hawaiian  influence had gone, replaced with a more Spanish feel with macrame hanging baskets and carafes of wine. Before this, wine wasn’t generally drunk let alone
used as a table centre piece. How many of us can recall an empty bottle of Mateus Rose with a candle burning in it?

These holidays not only changed what we drank but also what we ate. Paella and later pasta became desirable forecasting the change in the way we cooked with a need for larger saucepans and fewer roasting trays and carving knives.

This holiday trend continued to grow through the 70s with holidays to most European destinations. The 80s saw the rise of skiing trips and package holidays to Florida. With city breaks, African safaris and cheaper long haul flights since the 90s we have been able to travel where we want as often as we can afford. Now however, having developed an understanding of the environmental
impact of cheap air travel we are re-discovering the simple delights of holidaying in our own country, exploring the beautiful coastlines and countryside. It seems we’ve come full circle back to our camping roots.

The winner takes it all!

This month we had  our first competition winner. We launched a simple competition at the end of June and the prize was this lovely 1960s glass jug and tumbler set.

It will be perfect for your lemonade (with a little Pimms added) this Summer.

The winner was Saffron who was so pleased. She sent me a note saying:

“This is great news to wake up to on Monday morning!! Thank you so much. I can’t even remember what the prize looks like so it will be another surprise once it arrives.

I got made redundant last month while on sick leave and am still waiting for my operation so as funds are low it makes winning this prize even more special. Once I’m fixed up and am working again I will definitely be back to Your Vintage Life to treat myself and maybe even find something to add to this prize.”

We are so glad you were chosen too Saffron, it makes our job so worthwhile to cheer someone up any morning!

For news on Augusts competition and how to enter simply click  Your Vintage Life