Austin Midcentury Modern

Elle of Austin Midcentury Modern runs an Etsy store as an online presence for her appointment-only brick and mortar vintage business, working chiefly with interior designers on the east coast. They have a constantly rotating selection of items, including some really interesting architectural and industrial pieces. Austin Modern was also recently asked to give a lecture on decorating with Mid Century and vintage pieces at Design Within Reach in conjunction with the Birth of the Cool exhibit at the Blanton Museum.

Tell me about how you originally got interested in vintage goods, Elle.
My family has been involved in the antiques business for the last three generations, so I honestly can say I grew up in the business!

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I love to go shopping! Though my version of shopping is more than likely a little different that the standard trip to the mall or galleria! lol

Antique and vintage dealers lives revolve around "the find".
I think of it as a hunting expedition, and finding great merchandise is a terrific rush! Fortunately I love road trips as well.
I spend half my time driving and seeking, and the other half with the 'business end' of the business. I've been known to drive halfway across Texas just to acquire a fabulous lamp, or down to Florida and back for a lucite dining set! It's what I do best so I feel very lucky to be able to do this as a full time business!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Being point man for what amounts to three businesses is the biggest challenge.

My husband is the main programmer and 'go to guy' for online and behind the scenes work. Without him I would not be able to maintain the three online stores we have.

I have the Etsy store, my website AustinModern and the Bondandbowery site. Each website has a variety of different merchandise and each 'store' needs to be stocked, which means I need to hit the road and hunt down the fresh finds.

I am the acquisitions, sales, photography, packing, mailing, cataloging, accounting, research and restoration depts. If a movie or TV commercial is being filmed and AustinModern is propping it, I work with the drivers to schedule pick up and returns. It sounds glamorous but I don't go on set, so I'm not personally rubbing shoulders with Brad Pitt or Tarantino. Austin has a serious film community and a lot of motion pictures are filmed here!

The biggest challenge is I have not figured out how to clone myself yet!

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
Ohh tough one! I'll pick my current favorites from each store.
BondandBowery: the Industrial photographic spot lamps
AustinModern: the "Jungle Red in black and white" photograph
Etsy: the Modernist Ikebana vase

I'm on a Hollywood Regency kick right now, but I'm blending it with Industrial pieces and 60s Pop Art. It's a lot of fun, sort of a cross between eclecticism and absurdist decor

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
An archeologist, so I didn't stray too far off course!

What other shops or artists out there do you love?
I have been a huge fan of buying neat ooak items on Etsy so I'll give you a rundown of my favorite Etsy sellers for Vintage, Jewelry, Original Art, Soaps, and cool TShirts!

and of course for unique vintage and antique art, furniture and lighting: pure eye-candy!

What does your future hold?
I wish I was Psychic!
I would like to scale back to two online 'stores' and focus more on movie and advertising prop rental. I have such a great time sourcing props for motion pictures, it's like a statewide scavenger hunt!

Visit Austin Midcentury Modern at one of three online stores representing Austin Modern:,, and Each store is designed to focus on different aspects of 20th Century decor.