Mezzanine is the product of a chair and a dare.
Back in late 1997 I was in Chicago rummaging around furniture resale shops with my friend Monti Ponce, looking for furniture for my relatively barren living room. She and I were both fans of modern and, well, who doesn't get a kick out of scrounging around to score a cool piece? I found this great Danish Modern club chair, not a designer chair but proportioned nicely and well-constructed. The problem was the fabric, which was in good condition but a shade of green I was wasn't loving
Over lunch, Monti and I discussed the various merits of the chair, and whether it was worth reupholstering. At one point I said something like "well, if I reupholster it and later find another chair I like better, maybe I could just sell it." The proverbial light bulb lit up for both of us at that point, and our conversation evolved into ideas for a shop that had great vintage modern, restored and in fantastic condition, merchandised in a clean, gallery-like setting.
That starting point was a very Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland "Let's put on a show!" moment. We began tentatively moving forward, almost like it was a dare, each of us expecting the other to say "um, we can't really do this." Which, as it turned out, never happened. By summer of '98 we'd signed a lease and were preparing the space.
Mezzanine officially opened in November of 1998 on Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor, dealing specifically in mid-century modern design. We specialized in vintage, but also sold reissued designs by Herman Miller, Vitra and the new Heywood-Wakefield Company.
In February of 2000, we were approached by the owner of Atys, a store selling contemporary living accessories on Main Street, about the possibility of our complementary styles sharing his under-utilized space. We did it and it was good. Eights months later career opportunities led him to close Atys. At the same time, my partner Monti decided to pursuer some other passions as well. So I did what any total idiot would do and took Mezzanine as my own, took over the entire Main Street space, and expanded the scope of our merchandise to include the kind of contemporary design Atys was known for.
Three years and two nervous breakdowns later, Mezzanine has evolved into the kind of store I'd always hoped it could be. We have an absolutely beautiful collection of modern design, from classic to contemporary, and we represent some of the world's top manufacturers.
Walking through the shop, it is easy to get a feel for our aesthetic, and our goal is to capture that same feeling on this website. This is not a one-stop super-shop for all things modern. It is a carefully curated collection that captures the spirit of Mezzanine: clean lines, an emphasis on natural materials, and always at least a glimmer of a sense of humor. I like to think we've got one foot in the roots of modern, the other on today's design.
And since you are dying to know, I bought that Danish Modern club chair, never reupholstered it (the fabric ended up being damn cool) and to this day it sits in my house.