Carole Sloan -- Casual Living, October 24, 2011
A WAVE OF NOSTALGIA HAS BEEN ENVELOPING OUR LAND of late and it's evident in the kiddy comfort foods we crave, the throwback fashions we wear, the memory-fueled fun from childhood we seek out and, yes, the document vintage and retro-inspired furniture we desire.
Flowing from Mid-Century Modern design forward into the funky, flamboyant waters of the 1970s, these looks of yesteryear have finally come to pool in that most wistful stretch of real estate - the great American backyard.
It makes sense, because in times of economic uncertainty, global unrest and devastating natural disasters, the comfort of the past is a handy narcotic to rely upon - or in the case of casual furniture, to recline upon.
Whether you grew up with the advent of modern suburbia when the U.S. was experiencing a Levittown, trickle-down post-WWII housing high (when grass was still that green stuff that makes up lawns) or were born a decade or two later, the backyard was a rite of passage.
The nature-nurtured children of the 1960s kicked off their shoes and ran barefoot through it. (Ever heard of Woodstock? Yeah, so what if it was someone else's backyard?) Even the television-addled, latch-key kids of the ‘70s dragged themselves away their sitcoms and after-school specials for an occasional game of kickball.
Today, many of these demographically diverse consumers are drawn back to those simpler times and are refurbishing their own backyards - as well as metro spaces with limited square footage - with designs that reflect that. Recessionistas are responding to economical retro scale as well if only as a 3-D reminder of eschewing excess.
Homecrest Outdoor Living is one of today's casual companies capitalizing on all of these factors, and these riders of the retro wave gave buyers a sneak peak of their plan during the ICFA Market in Chicago last month.
In 2013, the company will celebrate its 60th anniversary and is reintroducing the five-decade old, 15-piece Vintage Collection. It is stocking its inventory by buying back frames from consumers and paying exactly the cost of the frame from a 1967 price list. The buyback campaign starts in 2012 and then Homecrest will refinish the steel, replace the swivel kit, make new cushions with an era-appropriate pattern, install glides and re-sell pieces on a limited-supply basis thus incorporating recycling into the retro mix.
Sometimes history is well-worth repeating, and while the bomb shelter hasn't made an across-the-backyard comeback yet, I have a feeling I know how some folks will decorate it.
Executive Editor Nicole Crews roosts on a barrel chair from Homecrest Outdoor Living’s Vintage Wire Frame Collection that originally debuted in 1967.