Pass the Avocado: Mad Men Your Apartment


Crowd favorite and critical darling Mad Men returns to AMC this Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. EST, which means you have less than six days to whip your space into fighting shape. Don Draper is omnipresent, and he doesn’t want to see your dingy IKEA couch, Target artwork, and paper towels. Besides, what better way to get in Betty’s head than from a kitchen bedecked in preppy plaid and retro yellow appliances? As Don said during his American Airlines pitch, “Let’s pretend we know what 1963 looks like.”

Set designer Amy Wells has an army of vintage resources behind her including high-end Los Angeles boutiques Futurama and Denmark50, Long Beach second-hand shops like Deja Vu, and a team of in-house designers who can whip up a sixties-era prototype at the snap of two well-manicured fingers.

For those working without a Matthew Weiner subsidized budget, there’s always eBay. Good luck finding a complete set of plaid wallpaper, but mod collectibles are a dime a dozen: think princess telephones, chrome bar sets, glass decanters, leather desk blotters, sleek tie clips, and ladies’ vintage purses. Here’s what we found on a recent jaunt:

Remember Pete Campbell’s most treasured wedding gift, the chip ‘n’ dip? Ebay has plenty. Don’t worry about finding an attractive one; in a world of repressed ’60s newlyweds, the kitschier or more culturally insensitive, the better.

Fetching office accessories distract from the secrets hidden in your desk drawers. Get your mistress or mister to practice on a vintage Smith Corona (bonus: this one‘s a Sterling model) while you mix the cocktails.

Turn off the A/C and suffer like a true housewife. If the thwap-thwap-thwap of a vintage Eskimo fan drives you batty, delve into a selection of mother’s little helpers and snack on some Wonder bread, crisped with the help of an avocado-tinted toaster.

For further visual inspiration, we give you the following:

Mourning is just extended self-pity.*

Don and Betty’s boudoir is dominated by a blue velvet tufted headboard, similar to many produced by Restoration Hardware, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Pottery Barn. Urban Outfitters can hook up the look for $300.

Life is like a horseshoe: fat in the middle, open on both ends, and hard all the way through.

Accessorize with pine cabinets, that wallpaper, graphic prints, and brightly-hued appliances like the retro-styled fridges from Big Chill.

What you call love was invented by me to sell nylons.

Careerists like Draper and Sterling love George Nelson furniture; like them, it’s modern, efficient, and sexy as hell. Comparable pieces stocked at flea markets and thrift stores near you. Note: If you’ve got $72.8 million to spare, adding a Rothko a la Bertram Cooper wouldn’t hurt.

Gave me the full Don Draper treatment. I wanted it and I got it and it was even better than they said.

Betty tries to harden herself into an enigma instead of a child once she figures out her shrink has Don’s ear. Discourage emotion and invest in modernist pieces like a minimalist daybed and stem table (the Docksta table from IKEA does the trick).

Anyone can write a prose poem to a potato chip.

Remember: girls get floral prints and wall-to-wall carpeting, boys get mid-century modern and leather. Of course, it’s 2009 now and we’d like to think gender parity has reached the interior design field. Just don’t forget the cocktail shaker.

*These images actually have little to do with their captions. Can you attribute each quotation to its proper character?