Midcentury Madness

Bill and Kara Kurth

Above: Bill and Kara Kurth, owners of Golden Age Design, surround themselves with midcentury treasures.

Shelves in the Kurths' Home
Carefully styled bookshelves hold the Kurths’ vintage collections

Bill and Kara Kurth swear they had no intention of moving—“We were making our dream home in Robbinsdale,” he says—but fate had other plans.

And maybe Bill helped fate along a little.

He used to drive past the 1959 Golden Valley fishbowl, architect-built rambler, though he was never able to grab a glimpse inside. “It was always buttoned up tight,” he says.

Eventually, though, he did stop in for the estate sale—a force of habit and a tactic for finding the midcentury gems that stock the couple’s Robbinsdale furniture shop, Golden Age Design. “After four dumpsters, the house still had a quarter of a million items to sell,” Kara says. The house was in rough shape, and it was sold to a flipper. Still, Bill kept his eye on it.

Then one day, he saw someone inside. He knocked on the door and met the real estate agent getting ready to list it. Kara was a mile away and drove over to scan it with her artist’s eye.

Brick Fireplace in the Kurths' Home
White-painted brick highlights the Curtis Jere birds-in-flight wall sculpture.

They made an offer.

They moved in January of this year, while 20-below winds blew. The flippers had done their due diligence: Built-ins were left intact, as were the funky aqua ceramic-tile bathroom and the in-floor planters—all the things that made the home midcentury marvelous. Bill and Kara exchanged some light fixtures and, just like that, it was home, albeit a smaller one than they had owned.

“We lost a bedroom and closet space, and have tiny bedrooms, but gained so much living space,” Kara says. “The kids love playing here, and we’re together more.”

Dining Room in the Kurths' Home
The Nelson Saucer, above the Frances Knoll table in the dining room, is a new addition.

The Kurths let go of “stuff I thought I would never sell,” Bill says, dumping warmer teak pieces to embrace lighter California modern, bringing the outside in.

“I get Eames now. The proportion is right, and what this space needed,” he says. He scored an Eames plywood chair at a local thrift shop for less than $10. A first-generation Eames gray fiberglass rocking chair sits a few feet away, as does a Saarinen Tulip table—found for free by Bill’s mom. But their vision isn’t purist: a green velvet sofa from Room & Board punctuates their otherwise-neutral room.

“I hope we never move again,” Bill says. He’d better stop driving around, then.


The Influencers: Bill & Kara Kurth

Where would you go for a night on the town?
We love to go to concerts together—we’re going to see Florence and the Machine this summer. We love brunch at Victor’s 1959 Café—we’ve been going there for over a decade. And we love Milton’s in Crystal. The owner buys furniture from us and that’s been a fun relationship to cultivate.

What’s your greatest find?
For me, it’s the green couch, which was discontinued and I wanted it forever and then it popped up at Room & Board’s Outlet store. For Bill, it’s the planter (in the dining room) he scored from a woman’s porch while he was out driving. It’s a significant piece of pottery and he got it for a fraction of what it’s worth.

Where do you go to fill your creative cup?
Hunt and Gather, Succotash, and Forage Modern Workshop. And I definitely love living so close to the Theodore Wirth Parkway—we hike with the kids there.

By Katie Dohman
Photos by Wing Ta

 

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