Lakelanders love all things vintage. From searching for hidden gems at local thrift shops to occupying our charming 1920s’ bungalows, it’s no surprise that mid-century modern furniture has become a staple of our city. We reached out to Steele Strader, mid-century modern connoisseur and founder of Swan City Upcycle, for more information on finding and preserving the best vintage pieces.

The Lakelander: What inspired you to start Swan City Upcycle?

Steele Strader: Garage sales, thrifting, and collecting vintage in general are what inspired me to turn a hobby into a side hustle and now a full-time job.

TL: Why do you think mid-century modern furniture has become so popular?

SS: Mid-century modern furniture is always there if you’re looking — your favorite films, TV shows, magazines, hotels, offices, etc. I can’t help but attribute some of the resurgence to Mad Men, but more than that it seems that trending styles are interested in clean lines and space-saving design. I think people appreciate quality made furniture that has longevity, too.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SwanCityUpcycle (@swancityupcycle) on Jul 8, 2019 at 10:43am PDT


TL: Where are the best places to find mid-century modern pieces?

SS: The internet is probably your best bet if looking for something specific. As far as storefronts, Tampa and Orlando would be your best bet. And for someone who appreciates the hunt, thrift stores, estate sales, and Craigslist can be exciting places to look.

TL: What is your personal favorite mid-century modern piece?

SS: It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to choose, my favorite would be the Eames Lounger designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956 for the Herman Miller furniture company. The chair’s design was inspired by a baseball glove and for some reason that imagery has always stuck with me.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SwanCityUpcycle (@swancityupcycle) on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:37am PDT


TL: How do you identify and preserve mid-century modern furniture?

SS: The first step would be to look for labels and makers marks — search the whole piece over and do some online research if you get stuck. In regards to further identification and preservation, there are a lot of online groups that are very helpful.