Today we decided to catch up with Ryan and Kylie Durkin, the owners of one of our favorite mid-century-modern furniture stores in town — Modern Manor!
Mid-century modern refers to modern design from the late 1940s to the early 1960s (prevalent in Phoenix). Located off of 7th Avenue between Indian School and Camelback in Midtown Phoenix, the 4,000-square-foot store is an ideal place to find a variety of vintage items including lamps, sofas, sectionals, art, and dining sets. Modern Manor has been around for over three years and it’s growing! The new Hard Goods booth will be officially opening soon, and the store will be expanding into the space next door (formerly occupied by Phoenix Metro Retro). We sat down with Ryan and Kylie to learn all about their store:
What got you two interested in mid-century-modern design?
RYAN: We both always liked design in general, but really got into mid-century-modern design when we got married and it was time to furnish our condo. We went to a lot of estate sales. Mid-century-modern design is so appealing to me because it’s collectible, stylish, and there are so many wonderful designers.
KYLIE: I grew up going to garage sales. I found that older items were simply better made, and I love the value you can find. I always wanted my room to look vintage!
How did you get started in the business?
RYAN: We actually started selling out of our garage. It was completely full! We kept buying pieces for ourselves, then changing our minds about them. We’d go to an estate sale and see an awesome couch for $50. Even if we didn’t need one, it was only $50 so we had to take it! We later opened a booth at the Antique Trove in Scottsdale. It was really successful and eventually a friend of mine, Jeremy, convinced us to open the store with him. I’d been hesitant because I have my own screen printing business (Retro Fashions) and that’s always kept me busy. We opened Modern Manor in April 2010; Kylie and I handled the business and marketing while Jeremy ran the store. We ended up buying him out; he was a full-time teacher and he just had a lot on his plate. Now our friend Dominic helps us by managing the store, and his dog Remi is kind of the store mascot.
What is Modern Manor known for?
RYAN: People love our prices and huge selection. They also love the fact that everything is ready to go; we reupholster pieces that are worn out, so none of our items are a project for the buyer. We spend a lot of time curating our items — matching the right lamp with the right credenza, to make sure the store looks as good as possible.
What items would you recommend to someone with a limited budget?
RYAN: A good chair or two is a great starting point. Mid-century-modern chairs tend to be very sculptural. Even if the rest of your living room furniture is rather plain, people will notice a great vintage chair. It’s more impactful than a painting because you get to sit in it and experience it.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the store right now?
KYLIE: I love this Eero Saarinen womb chair. We’re actually going to bring it home with us!
See the Durkins’ renovated 1950 Arcadia ranch home on AZ Central.
You can browse items on the Modern Manor website. However, only about 10% of the inventory is listed there. Kylie and Ryan post photos of new finds on Instagram and Facebook, but you really have to visit their store to see all their fantastic pieces! It’s open every Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 6:00.