Less is more in a world where more is more

It is a predicament that many small retailers face. I want to succeed and thrive and the only way to do that is SELL, SELL, SELL. 

In my own life I'm trying to embrace the less is more, quality or quantity and with a babe in the mix I just can't spend like I used to nor can I continue to pull all the itty bitty bits out of his mouth . I've also come to a point where having a few things that I love and cherish and creating a cohesive collection is much more satisfying then having one of everything. Since Ace's arrival my ability to search high and low and have a vast collection of products has all but disappeared. I may have been seen once or twice sprinting through estate sales with a babe strapped to the front of me knowing that my time is limited so I snatch my must haves and move on opposed to this time last year where I was slowly waddling and sifting through every nook and cranny. 

Are you still reading? (for a lady with a baby you sure are rambling and now talking to yourself) So what does this all mean for Modern Commissary? Over the next week I'll be uploading a bunch of new products that currently make the cut. Items that I would treasure, use, display, and continue to love well after the holidays have passed and the gag gifts have made there way to the donate pile. I'll also be featuring people and companies that I just can't get enough of. 


Posted on December 4, 2014 .

mourning the weekend

Mondays seem to always sneak up on us here at MC leaving us a bit sad that another weekend has passed and often in the whirlwind of life we can't even remember what we did. So stop by on Mondays for a quick weekend recap and we encourage you to reflect on a few of the small moments from your weekend before the vanish into the busyness of the week ahead. 

WIth a new baby in our home our weekends have shifted gears quite a bit. The days of impromptu late night shows, afternoon cocktails at bars, and sleeping in until noon are pushed to the back of the closet right next to my impractically high heels. With all these changes we have welcomed intimate dinners with friends at home, morning walks in the Oakland Hills with the dogs, and mid-afternoon naps with the newest member of our family, Archer. 

Being new at this parenting while running a home and business has left us a little helpless and a lot hungry when dinner time rolls around. Lucky for us we have talented and generous friends that have been surrounding us and Friday was no exception. Our good friend and record player collaborator Ben and his talented (and also pregnant with Archer's soon to be playmate) wife Bethany came and and spoiled us with the most perfect dinner of salmon. Bethany crafted the most spring filled salads that I'll be replicating this week, asparagus with a kumquat vinaigrette and  green beans with cherry tomatoes. 

Saturday was filled with a little of this and that. We got our lil babe checked by the midwife, lunch with the uncles at our favorite taco place, quiches dropped off by a good friend and as I'm sure you have guessed a dinner in bed with Archer and ....Quiche. 

Sunday's are not a day of rest around here. With a home remodel in full force we had my brother and father in law over to continue the work. Justin, Archer, Kayou and Honey did get to escape for a quick bagel and walk in the hills.  

This past weekend has inspired a few things, spring veggie salads, fancy chickens, naps in the sun and hikes where the sea and mountains meet. 

Posted on March 24, 2014 .

My Vintage Valentine - pop up shop 2/8/2014

We have partnered with one of our favorite shops Lost & Found for a Valentine's sale. We have selected some of our favorites from our unique collection to bring over and accent their already amazing selection. Hope to see you there!!


Posted on February 4, 2014 .

50% off all Pitchers 12/4/13-12/6/13

We LOVE decorating with and therefore gifting pitchers. So our top 5 uses:

1. Beverages. Duh. 

I know this is a given but really I love to use a vintage pitcher to pour seasonal     cocktails. I think our silver art deco set is screaming for spiked eggnog.  

2. Flowers.

Why oh why do flowers continue to come in ugly, clear glass, made in China, and never to be used again vases? Another major plus to using a stunning, unique, vintage pitcher is that the flowers can be simple and let the vessel sing. West German pottery is something that is beautiful on its own that slipping some simple dried lotus pods or tall pussy willow branches. 

3. Desk Storage. 

In the land of laptops having a Dansk Kobenstyle pitcher filled with your favorite pens (sharpies, color pencils, perfectly sharpened no.2 pencils) and some blank paper on my desk always gets my creative juices flowing it also keeps you from the "hold on, let me find a pen" while on the phone. 

4. Adding a pop of color or texture.

With all the greys (dove, whale, fog) and off whites and taupes a pop of color and texture can really change the look of a shelf, table, or mantel. Another major plus to a vessel that is display worthy and functional, it is not taking up valuable cabinet space. 

5. Adding a vintage touch to modern tabletop. 

My first set of dishes were a lovely shade of olive green. I loved them and still enjoy my morning coffee out of the lone surviving mug. As my culinary skills have improved I have subscribed to the idea that food looks and therefore tastes best off a clean slate so now all my dinner plates are white. I am not about to abandoned my crisp dishes but I do love to warm up my tablescape with vintage touches. Pitchers are meant for tabletop, a beautiful blended soup is easy to serve out of the handmade teapot and coffee service is really livened up with the art deco influenced California Pottery cream a sugar set in robins egg blue. 






Posted on December 4, 2013 .

Weekends are for channeling the Eames' - 15% off at Modern Commissary Labor Day Weekend

Some weekends are all work work work. Other weekends are for smoking and riding the motorcycle. We don't own an motorcycle nor smoke a pipe but this Labor Day weekend we will be doing what we want. We recommend you do the same! If we get to 200 "likes" on Facebook we will be having a give away on Tuesday.

In the mean time we will be having  a sale this weekend, 15% of any and all orders through Monday. Enter the code LABORDAYFUN2012 on www.moderncommissary.com .

Posted on September 1, 2012 and filed under Not to be missed, The details, Uncategorized.

It does not always have to be so serious

Life is serious. Jobs and children and bills and illness and the list goes on and on. I am a pile of worry on top of worry and on a good day my to do list has less then 100 items. That is life but not all things have to be this way. Some things can just be fun. My closet is  75 shades of gray but I have been trying to channel my inner 15 year old by infusing with color. You know the person that buys as much orange clothing as possible even though it does not go with anything else you own and you can't wear it to work.

This summer I have challenged myself to lighten up. Not every piece of clothing has to be appropriate for a funeral. I drank the bright color pants kool-aid.

Gap jeans yellow pants-2

I own these. I wear this and I now own a pair of flip flops that are the same color. But bright colors are nothing new..hello Vogue.

Vintage Vogue

Fun does not have to stay in your wardrobe! I'm gonna bring this blog post home (pun intended).

Accents can change a space. New lamps, pillows, throws, art, or slip covers.

Not every piece that you buy needs to be an heirloom or something that you are going to use all year long.

I love this nautical flag. Its such a statement piece and would look awesome as a window covering, as a summer time "throw" over a basic sofa, hanging on a porch to block so sun.  It's on sale for $100, what a deal:-)

How about just a pop of color on the table?

Think about some of the most recognizable artist...its not always serious and is almost always colorful.

Andy Warhol

Milton Glaser

  Pair Persimmon & Magenta Italian Lounge Chairs

Posted on August 29, 2012 and filed under Inspring, It makes the room, The details, Uncategorized.

Steamer Trunks

Have you noticed steamer trunks popping up here there and every where? They are so multi purpose! Coffee table that doubles as storage for extra blankets or board games, end of bed bench to keep the extra sets of sheets, perfect hiding spot for a game of hide and seek. I have been seeing vintage suit cases that are mounted to the wall for bar storage or with a pet bed tucked inside for a chic spot for fluffy to curl up. Growing up my mother always used steamer trunks in her bedroom. She used them for both her and my fathers bed side tables and had a large one full of goodies at the end of her bed. I loved when she would open that one. It had linens from my great grandmother and her mirror and brush set as well as other odds and ends that she could not part with but did not need under foot.

Not too long ago we happened upon an estate sale that had lots of good ones and Have been enjoying them around the house. These made the journey from Shanghai to California. When we purchased them the family had to shuffle out wedding dresses, table linens, dolls, and all the other goodies that can accumulate over the years. We are so excited to have them for sale on our site but will have a little bit of sadness when I pack them up to ship to their new home.

WWII Trunk

Early 1900's trunk

Samsonite Suitcase

Posted on August 28, 2012 and filed under The details, Uncategorized.

What would Charles and Ray Eames do on a Sunday morning?

If you answered work from bed while drinking coffee and listening to Ray Charles then we are hoping you are correct. This morning we are knocking out some Modern Commissary work. This week you will see some new items, a give away, and the musing of yours truly. In the mean time we are channeling our inner Ray and Charles (Eames that is) and getting geared up for a busy week.

Posted on August 26, 2012 and filed under Inspring, Uncategorized.

New Orleans Style

New Orleans has no shortage of inspiration. Staying with family that has an unbelievable collection of collections (art, taxidermy, linens, books, furniture) who so kindly showed us all of his favorite hidden gems my cup runs over with ideas..A few of my must haves for my New Orleans home. Oyster Baskets

French Art Deco Antique Solid Wrought Iron Double Entry Gate Must See

Antique Victorian Fleur De Lis Cast Iron Finial Fence Post Gate Topper Vintage 1870s Architectural Salvage Arts and Crafts Old Yellow Paint


Lost Dixie- "8x10" Print

Large Antique Crystal & Gold Chandelier


I could go on and one but I won't.

Thanks New Orleans! I hope to see you really soon


Posted on August 23, 2012 and filed under Have you been, Inspring.

Stop 3. New Orleans

This Southern girl can not get enough of New Orleans. I'm lucky that the other half of Modern Commissary has lot's of family there. We had an amazing time celebrating Justin's grandmother's 90th birthday. ImageImage


Posted on August 22, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Whidbey Island Style

When you drive off the ferry onto Whidbey Island its like enter a different time. Back to a time where there is always an extra chair to pull up to the dinner table and if you want to pitch in feel free to shuck some corn, help pull laundry off the line before the rain, or push the kids on the tire swing. A place where the dining chairs were your great aunts and the floor boards creak loudest in the middle of the night.

I'd have a house like this.

You can rent Belleve Farm House  along beautiful Wescott Bay!

And these stunning chairs would surround the dinner table.

Belgium Primitive Farmhouse Chairs Belgium, c.1890s. Primitive Turned Wood Farmhouse Craftsman Hand Made Chairs

Belgium Primitive Farmhouse Chairs

Around this salvaged wood with industrial leg table.

Urban farm table with industrial machine legs and extensions

All the pots and pans would be copper and enameled.

Image of Large Enamel Bowl

Man Painting II gold, black, vintage

Smoot-Holman Light L white, vintage, unknown

Thanks for the step back in time Whidbey Island.

Posted on August 21, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

A vintage wedding on whidbey island

We drove an hour north of Seattle to whidbey island for the wedding of our good friends Ben and Bethany. It felt like a hot day in Savannah and had a certain charm that was just missing the smell of jasmine. She was a dream in a ivory lace dress and he was quite dapper in a three piece wool suit. Pimm's cup was drank, piano played,  vows, kisses, tears and toasts.

We stayed in a small apartment next to a huge garden with a home made baseball field in back. We took the ferry over and enjoyed a brunch as Useless Bay Coffee and a wine tasting just up the street. It was not too hard for us to imagine living here as we had thought of relocating north of here to a town just past Deception Pass, Anacortes.

I was in such a vacation mode that I did not take many pictures..I did paint a map:-)


Thanks Bethany and Ben for having us on your big day!

Photo: Bethany and Ben dancing down the aisle

Posted on August 20, 2012 and filed under Have you been, Uncategorized.

Seattle Style

Seattle is all about the view. My ideal space would have clean lined neutrals, tactile, reflective, and pops of color to get through the rainy times.

This sofa is stunning, clean lines, warm wood, bright white leather.

Large Hand Crafted Mirror

This mirror is perfect for reflecting light and having an industrial feel (made  of metal) but still bringing warmth with the round shaped.

Image of Candy Dish And Holders 

1- Cute mod candy dish and candle holder on www.moderncommissary.com

2- Abstract wall relief of sawn, stained, painted, and collaged wood by Lithuanian-born American artist Josef Twirbutt on     www.1stdibs.com

3-Amazing mirror wall sculpture by Miroir Froissé by Paris-based Hungarian artist Mathias Kiss

Mid Century Aqua Enamel Freestanding Fireplace

And any good Seattle home will be warmed by this Mid Century Aqua Enamel Freestanding Fireplace by Retrograde LA.

Thanks Seattle for an amazing few days.

Posted on August 17, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Oh Seattle.






We spent a few days in Seattle and could not have had a better time. You know how everyone talks about how rainy and cold Seattle is? It was over 90 the whole time we were there. Seattle does not know how to handle the heat. But on to more charming things..

Seattle was so charming. The food was wonderful, the public transit is clean and free, street art and adorable 80 year old baristas. So a few of my favorite things..

  •  It is sleepy. Our hosts took us down to the Public Market around 10 am. The streets were empty, and clean, and warmed by the relentless sun.
  • The Public Markets was a buzz with tourist and locals and teeming with the bounty of the area. Stands full of produce and the infamous fish stall with surly fish mongers tossing halibut back and forth, and dahlias to die for. If I lived there I'd go back over and over knowing that I could get similar things for much less and without all the tourist.
  • We lunched at The Pink Door on Post Alley. Awesome food and a swing in the middle of the dining room for the burlesque shows they host at night. There was a huge basket FULL of tomatoes.
  • Such great antique stores. Miles and miles of awesome finds. 
  • Our favorite neighborhood was Freemont. There is a huge sculpture of a troll crushing VW Bug. There is also a sculpture of Lenin that was purchased by a man who took out a second mortgage to bring it here from Slovakia. We had cocktails at a bourbon bar called  9 Million in Unmarked Bills, dinner at Revel, and missed having chocolate at Theo. 
















Posted on August 16, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Where have you been?

Sorry for the long hiatus. Here at Modern Commissary we have had a few months filled with buying, shipping, traveling, sipping wine with friends and perhaps watching too much baseball. We are back now and I promise to be much more consistent. Cross my heart. We have been all over this grand land and have lots of pictures and new treasures to show for it (as well as a thinner wallet). I can't get enough traveling. I love seeing places that I've been before and remember all the wonderful thing that brought me back and I love going new places and all the pleasures of experiencing something for the first time. When away from home I enjoy seeing how regions influence spaces so much and imagine where I'd live if I was to make that spot home.

Our next few post will be all about our travels the past few months and things that are in my mind a quintessentially - - - fill in the blank. First up, Seattle.

Ohh...lots of new things at www.moderncommissary.com , go check it out.


Posted on August 15, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

It's a perfect day for getting out there and supporting local art

One of my first jobs was at an art gallery in Leesburg, VA. I loved first Friday art walks, the energy, the people, the feeling of community, and to top it all off the art. We are getting our selves together to head down to Oakland's Art Murmur. Its a perfect night out and has potential to be free (I can't help but duck into the bar's and cafe's along the way to hear all the live music and have a glass of wine). 

I'm looking forward to the Beau Geste ( Beautiful Gesture ) show at the creative growth art center ..




Posted on April 6, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

What way should we go and other questions maps answer.

Remember the days before Google maps, GPS, and smart phones? Put on your rose colored glasses and think of road maps, atlases, and globes  (forget about the where exactly are we,trying to fold up maps and the pleas to PLEASE stop and ask for direction).

I’ve always loved maps. Road maps that took you down the dirt road that lead you to the ma and pa junk shop and and put you at the counter of the diner with the thick chocolate shakes. The globe that I’d spin on my father's desk and learn how big and small this world really is. I have a very distinct memory of the wall between East Germany and West Germany coming down and my teacher pulling down the world map and pointing out just exactly where that was.

As we hunt for items for the shop I have a hard time passing up maps or globes. They come in the most beautiful blues, yellows, and everything in between. They have been popping up in interior design blogs and great DIY projects.I’m very excited for the maps that will be featured on our Fab.com sale tomorrow and for the globes and road maps in our shop. If you don’t get to these in time have no fear, we are ALWAYS on the hunt for them.

Modern Commissary LOVES pull down school maps. The size is perfect for a large wall, behind hind a bed, or mounted about a television hung on the wall. Here are a few from our collection that can be purchased on Fab.com.

School Map III  School Map IISchool Map I

Posted on March 27, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Does it get better then Serge Mouille? No, but we can try.

Earlier this week I was looking at New York City base photographer Emily Johnston Anderson Instagram photo's and saw this.

It is such a dreamy photograph, as are all of her interior shots, and made me a little sad that Surge Mouille is just not in my price range, not even a little. When I emailed her to see if she minded I used her image she gave me the news that is light is from West Elm (insert grin here, West Elm is in my budget).

I’m loving the resurgence of Serge Mouille. He is a brilliant french lighting designer from the 50’s that got his start at 15 while studying with Gabriel Lacroix . By the age of 30 he was already the director of silversmithing at the School of Applied Arts in Paris.  Brilliant.

His simple lines, truth in materials, and focus on craftsmanship was revolutionary. Seeing his lighting in current homes is such a reminder that great design is timeless. I try to imagine him working in Paris in the 50’s (in my mind he is day drinking, smoking cigarettes and is wearing a very dapper suit) designing something in response to the overly fussy lighting of the time and if at that time he could imagine his lights being sold in 2012 and looking so current.

I would love to show you images of my home with these beautiful lights but at this point they are out of my price range, sigh. As a want to be collector I believe that buying the licensed versions of things is a good investment and for the most part you get what you pay for and worth saving for. You can buy vintage Serge Mouille pieces through many antiques dealers. A search on 1st Dibs will bring up around 50 beautiful lights.

You could buy this pair of stunning wall sconces from the 50’s for $12,000 from Modern Times in Chicago .

If that is out of your budget perhaps buying the licensed edition from Gueridon in Brooklyn. They carry the same design as the original but they are being made current day and a pair will only run $4,100.

That brings us to knock offs. This grey area is a bit of an ethical slippery slope. My personal thoughts, at this point even the $4100 price tag is out of my budget so I am in the market for lighting that is MUCH less but perhaps the designers were influenced by Serge Mouille. I will continue to save my pennies for a stunning vintage piece or save a few less pennies for a licensed re-edition. My line is in the naming, if a company that is not selling a vintage piece or is not selling a licensed re-edition but still is calling it a Serge Mouille then this is not a company that I want to give my money to. I am not in the market for a Prado purse or a Surge Moille light.

So these lights remind me of the designs of Serge Mouille and are perhaps a little more in my current budget.

West Elm Finn Chandelier - on sale for $199.99

Design Public- &Tradition BH2 Spinning Pendant Lamp in Black $590

Design House Stockholm Manana Lamp $229

I recommend reading the Serge Mouille site for a more in depth look into his life and his work and double recommend looking at Emily's photography. Her photographs speak for themselves as to how talented she is and to really add insult to injury she could not be any kinder.

Posted on March 22, 2012 and filed under Inspring, The details.