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Modern Redux: Austin Source for Midcentury Furniture and Décor

Owner Kelly Locker sells furniture and décor with “qualities of line, proportion and craftsmanship”

Modern Redux

You would be forgiven if you start feeling a bit like Don Draper when you walk into Modern Redux. It’s like stepping onto the set of “Mad Men.” 

As one of Austin’s premier shops for midcentury-modern furnishings, Modern Redux (at 8120 Research Blvd., suite 108) was born of co-owner Kelly Locker’s passion for clean lines as well as the optimistic, happy feeling that post-war international modernism evokes. Locker sources his beautiful, hand-picked midcentury finds from estates and auctions, as well as a network of personally curated “pickers.”

“They are familiar with the sorts of things we sell, and share our enthusiasm for beautiful, well designed furniture and décor,” Locker says. “For example, our large collection of European studio and art pottery is sourced almost exclusively from an extensive network of European pickers we have cultivated over the course of several years.”

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Locker certainly has an eye for high-quality, well-designed objects after running vintage shops since 1992. “It becomes almost second nature to spot things of quality from across a room,” he says. “Anyone who has a passion for beautiful objects from any period of design history has trained themselves to separate the wheat from the chaff almost at a glance, and to recognize the qualities of line, proportion and craftsmanship that set one thing apart from another.”

He adds that it’s not just objects he is familiar with that catch his eye. “It’s often an intangible quality of a thing that speaks to us and draws us to it — a particular combination of qualities that forces us to pick it up and take it home.” 

Locker has a few tips for people who want to cultivate that distinctive mid-century look in their homes. “You want to keep your space as uncluttered as possible, and to furnish it with things that don’t take up a ton of visual space. ‘Long and low’ is a key phrase for designing in a modern style. Big, bulky furniture should give way to more sleek, lightweight or sculptural items that allow your eye to see under and around them.”

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If you’re starting from scratch, Locker says to go slowly and buy the best pieces you can afford — and above all, choose things you really love. And don’t be afraid to mix styles. 

“Keep that Hepplewhite desk you inherited from your great aunt and use it as a counterpoint to a predominately modern interior. The key is to use a light touch and to choose your pieces carefully, but antiques and modern furniture can be mixed quite successfully.”