business local spotlight

Modern Manor ‘bears, designer chairs & vintage flair’

April 8, 2014
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Bears, designer chairs and vintage flair—oh my! Modern Manor is bringing mid-century modern furniture and decor to antique lovers across the Valley. Ryan Durkin and his wife opened the shop in Phoenix about four years ago after discovering their knack for finding furnishings.

“We decided we didn’t want to go to Ikea and buy cheap crap that everybody else has,” Durkin said. “We thought, let’s go to Sun City and go to estate sales and see if we can’t come up with some vintage, unique stuff.”

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The couple realized they could make some money on their new hobby. After a stint of selling online and some time in an antique mall, they opened the doors of Modern Manor.

“My wife has always been into design, we’re both pretty eclectic and artsy when it comes to our aesthetic taste,” Durkin said. “It’s not about the money really, it’s about the fun and finding treasures—the treasure hunt.”

Durkin hunts for inventory everywhere, from Craigslist to auctions, garage sales and estate sales. Now that word has spread about their shop, sometimes people bring the treasure to him.

Every piece under the roof is hand-picked by Durkin, who has an eye for designer pieces from the 1940s to the 1970s. But inspiration can strike anywhere, and in the case of Bears From Chairs, it came when he found out they were having a baby.

“The day we found out we were pregnant with our son … we found an Eames lounge on Craigslist,” Durkin said.

The chair needed to be reupholstered, but instead of throwing out the original leather the couple had it sewn into a teddy bear for their son. That first bear grew into a collection of hand-sewn bears named after the designer pieces they were cut from.

“Being a collector-dork, the fact that the bear was made out of original Eames leather was really cool to me,” Durkin said. 

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