My most recent Netflix binge has been Call the Midwife. There's nothing like coming home from work, settling in with a bowl of soup and glass of beer, and procrastinating my packing with a couple episodes of this British hit series. The show centers around young midwives in impoverished East London during the 1950's. Every episode is filled with lovely vintage fashion, era appropriate music, heartwarming and heartbreaking plot twists, and nods to political, social, and medical issues we're still dealing with today. I love the characters and their stories – just have a box of tissues nearby.
One of the aspects I love about the show is the set design. While it all goes down in the mid-century, this is no glamorous Mad Men-esque era. War is still fresh on everyone minds. People, especially the poor in East London, are trying to recover the bits and pieces of their lives. So you won't see homes perfectly decorated and curated by homemakers like Judy Cleaver or Betty Draper. Antique furniture mingles with hints of mid-century modern. Old books share shelf space with vinyl records. The walls are dressed with vintage damask wallpaper as well as magazine clippings of silver-screen starlets.
The main character Jenny Lee lives with her fellow young midwives in a convent. Their rooms – while on the antique side – are much more comfortable than what most of the East Londoners dwell in. And though outdated and antique, the spaces reflect the girls' youthful delights and up-and-coming womanhood: tubes of red lipstick on the dresser-top in front of the mirror, a turntable and records strewn across the floor, and a cleverly hidden bottle of gin or "babycham."
I created this simple decor board based on the mingling of eras: turn-of-the-century, roaring 20's, depression, wartime, and mid-century modern. It's vintage and (at that time) contemporary. It's both fresh and perfectly aged. It's neither glamorous or gritty.
Get the Look: Mix and match furniture from different eras (from 1910ish to the 1950's). A vintage iron bed-frame, antique trunk, and old dresser are a great place to start. Add in a desk, chair, and small loveseat from the 30's and 40's. Accessorize with old books, a vintage-inspired turntable, and black and white photos of glamorous film stars. Other great accents include wooden crates for storage, an antique tray for perfume, a vintage alarm clock, and damask wallpaper.
To shop items from the decor board, check it out on Polyvore here.
Disclaimer: I'm neither the the set designer nor in touch with the set designer for these television and movie rooms. Unfortunately, I do not know the sources for most of the decor, furniture, etc. These inspiration boards and posts are meant to show a similar look and help guide you in shopping for items that will help you get there. If you really want to know the source of a specific item (for example, where a pair of curtains can be purchased), feel free to leave your question in the comments. If I knew, it would definitely be listed in the post. However, maybe another The Lovely Side reader out there will know!
I love that show!
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