Matt Goes for Mid Century Modern Furniture

To celebrate the 5th season of Vintage Garage Chicago, we gave away $250 "Garage Bucks" to spend at the April season opener. Chicago designer Kevin Grace (HGTV, "Steve Harvey" show) was on hand to help our winner spend his bucks on mid century modern furniture. If there is anyone who knows how to incorporate great vintage pieces into our everyday lives, it's Kevin!

Who knew how lucky we'd be to get Matt Lieberman as our winner!? Matt is a long time Garage customer. Since the first season in 2012, I've seen him shopping with concentration and purpose and I knew he had an eye for mid century modern furniture and decor. I'd see him leaving with bright colors and he always seems to find the coolest stuff I never even noticed!

After the April show, I knew I wanted to write about what he picked with his winnings. I asked for some background for my story and I was blown away by Matt's collector savvy. So, I share Matt's story in his own words below.

Thanks for coming each month Matt, and being such a great customer!

Sell vintage at the next Garage!

A very special thanks to Kevin Grace. You can visit his website anytime at Kevin Grace Designs.

Vintage Garage Chicago

Matt and Nate waiting in line for the Garage season opener
Matt and Nate waiting in line for the Garage season opener

My name is Matt Lieberman. I am 41-years-old, the youngest of four children, Deaf, and a proud resident of Chicago, IL.  My fascination and passion for all things midcentury officially began in 1987. 

Matt and Kevin Grace hunt for Midcentury furniture at the Vintage Garage
Matt meets Kevin Grace and teaches him the sign for colors first thing.

In the early 90’s, I attended a deaf high school in Washington, DC, which had been constructed in 1976. As a result of being constructed during this “retro-vintage” period, the campus consisted of several geometric, mazed, and concrete buildings. These buildings were all designed with a yellow, orange and brown color scheme which was shown in the buildings walls, carpeting, and furniture. This was the first time that I found myself slowly growing fascinated by this unique design.

Midcentury bright colored pillows and textiles.
Matt gets drawn in by the bright orange and yellows.

I initially started my collection by buying small items. I focused on dishes and ceramics like Fire King and Pyrex. All of these were bright and colorful. As the years went on, I began to branch out and invest in and purchase larger items like Midcentury modern furniture.

Kevin and Matt pick up a few midcentury lamps to check out
The real shopping begins.

On April 1, 2004, in St. Louis, MO my lucite fascination was born. On that fateful day I went to a retro store and saw something I'd never seen before: Both a blue-green chunky lucite swag lamp AND a yellow-orange lucite swag lamp. I was captivated. I knew I couldn’t leave one behind. Since it happened to be my birthday, I decided I should buy both :). This was the official beginning of my most prominent collection/theme.

Shopping for Midcentury is what they are all about.
Kevin and Matt get into a shopping groove.

I have been attending the Vintage Garage since it started on June 17, 2012.  It was also in 2012 that I bought my first lucite yellow & orange grapes at an antique store, adding another important item to my lucite collection. I own 97 table & swag lamps, most are lucite. I have 43 sets of lucite grapes in all colors. I also have an impressive collection of 65 velvet throw pillows, period books and magazines. I currently have almost 300 vintage decorating, interior design, and vintage themed decorative books.

midcentury tables
Here's where things start to get serious. Let's look at what's under all these bits.

My collection is very color coordinated and I tend to stick to 6 main colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple.

Mid century modern furniture topped round table.
Hmmm check this out, it's Midcentury, it's tile topped and a great shape.

It wasn’t until April 2009 when I moved into my current apartment in Uptown that I was able to fully showcase my collection. This was the first time in my life where I was able to showcase and stage my own themed colored rooms. If you ever have the opportunity to come and stay at my place I will more than likely ask you what your favorite colors are. I ask this so I can incorporate your favorite color into your guest room, as well as customize your specific color to your towels, linens, and decor.

a whole set of midcentury modern tables are up for grabs.
Negotiations are underway, will he or won't he?


Kevin Grace, Matt and Common Order made a deal
He will! A deal is made! 

I do not separate a set. A set was designed to be sold together. It annoys me to think of an item not paired with its other piece(s). A set only looks complete when all pieces are together. I must admit that I have made this mistake only once when I separated a set of lamps. I learned from this mistake and have never made it again. 

Vintage tile topped 1960's midcentury modern furniture
The deal is made! Thanks to dealer Common Order an amazing set of Midcentury furniture tile-topped tables.

I only collect items prior to 1980 since items after 1980 are typically mass produced and lack quality and character.

Vintage set of midcentury modern furniture matching tables
The whole set! Except the one matching table Common Order didn't bring to the show.  Matt acquired that 4th piece sight unseen, he never breaks up a set. 

About Kevin Grace He made me feel comfortable, listened to my interests and understood my color choices.   He really helped achieve my goals. Kevin was so easy to work with, especially considering that I'm Deaf. He did not let any communication barrier get between us. We constantly talked about jokes, laughed with each other and he let me share my experiences in vintage. We worked really well together shopping for vintage and as a result, I was able to purchase the coffee table set. On top of that, I was able to get the 4th "lost" table added to the set!!

- Matt

Vintage Garage Chicago Vintage Market Chicago Flea Market
Thanks for everything Kevin!    
Matt Lieberman collects midcentury Modern furniture.
Thanks for coming to the Garage Matt. Without you and other vintage enthusiasts support, we couldn't do it! 🙂


Matt Goes for Mid century Modern Furniture
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