Sometimes, our greatest loves in life can start at an early age. For Dream Green DIY blogger, freelance writer and photographer Carrie Waller, her adoration of the mid century decor and houses began with timeless movies. She shares, “My sister and I grew up watching classic 1950s and ‘60s movies with our mom and dad, so we were exposed to that style of architecture and design right from the start.”

mid century modern dining room with red oriental rug, danish modern dining set and george nelson bubble lamp
Carrie’s dining room is a mid century dream, with a Kipp Stewart for Drexel 1959 dining table purchased at Lynchburg, Virginia’s Galaxie Modern (“a housewarming gift to ourselves,” Carrie explains) and two attention-grabbing green lamps from Staunton Antiques Center.

Fast-forward to 2015. Carrie and her husband purchased a 1962 home in Waynesboro, Virginia. She had started her blog in 2011, and now, she had a true mid century space to work in, displaying DIY creations (like macramé wall hangings and plant stands) around her home and showcasing her décor style.

corner of a mid century modern kitchen with seafoam green wallpaper, a starburst clock above the counter and a sputnik chandelier
The kitchen is a perfect blend of throwback midcentury style and contemporary elements. The atomic wall clock was bought at an estate sale for only $12—one of the starburst arms was refurbished to make it complete. Original cabinets lend warmth to the space.

How to Add Your Own Style

Carrie shares, “I love clean lines, tons of live trailing greenery and mashing different wood tones up against each other. To me, that feels like the perfect blend of my favorite elements from both the 1960s and ‘70s eras.”

 a midcentury dresser with teardrop-shaped designs painted on the drawers
Scoring this midcentury dresser for less than $60, Carrie gave it her trademark DIY spin with teardrop-shaped designs in various hues of chalk paint. To view the tutorial, head to her website.

Carrie artfully and playfully weaves vintage items with new. She explains her approach, saying, “Our home budget is tight. We don’t have a ton of money to spend on authentic mid century antiques, as much as I wish that wasn’t the case. So, to fill in around the true 1960s furniture we’ve managed to uncover that has been within our budget, I like to source new reproduction versions of the mid century furniture and fixture designs I love. I try my best to nail a 75% ‘authentic’ to 25% ‘new’ formula within our home so that your eye is naturally drawn first to the ‘real deal’ items we’ve collected.”

built in credenza in a mid century modern house with ivy pants draping over the edge, a tall vintage lamp and album covers on the wall as art
Carrie dedicates this corner of her home to old-school records. As for the décor, Carrie shares, “The credenza is a built-in feature of the house. We love the earthy, dark-stained wood and sliding panel doors. The record player is a reproduction portable briefcase style unit that we added ourselves.”

How to Find Vintage Treasures

Carrie is a veteran at tracking down treasures at estate sales and secondhand shops and shares some words of wisdom for thrifting  mid century decor like a pro. “My favorite way to shop estate collections is by sourcing from shops that carry these types of whole-home estate collections. My favorites are Estates & Consignments and Estates Revisited (both in Lynchburg, Virginia), and Circa in Charlottesville, Virginia. The prices tend to be a little bit higher at Estate Sale shops versus going to the in-home sale itself, but this allows me to shop on my own schedule, and I get to see a pre-curated mix of all the best pieces from a certain estate collection.”

the exterior or a brick slope roof 1962 mid century modern home
The exterior of Carrie’s home looks just as it did in 1962. “Other than replacing the roof a year ago and tweaking the landscaping, we haven’t done anything to the outside of our house,” she says. “It’s all original and I know we have the previous homeowners to thank for that.”

“If you’re on the hunt for a true estate sale, my advice is to check out Facebook Marketplace! People often post advertisements and sneak peeks of upcoming in-home events prior to the sale so you can make your game plan ahead of time. My biggest piece of advice for those in-person sales is to act fast when you spot something you’d like because inventory goes lightning fast, and to bring cash in small bills.”

Make sure to keep up with Carrie’s blog for DIY tutorials, home inspiration and more at dreamgreendiy.com.

Looking for more tips and tricks on mid century decor and scoring mid century treasures? Check out An Insider’s Guide to Flea Market Bargain Hunting: Part 1 and Part 2. Or take a look at 9 Of The Best Flea Markets For Mid Century Collectibles.

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