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Shop Local Gift Guide '12: Watch the thrones at Modern Manor

Published: Friday, November 23, 2012

Updated: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:11

Modern Manor

Tiera Allen, College Times

Modern Manor co-owner Ryan Durkin sits on one of his store's many vintage couches.

Modern Manor, Bull

Tiera Allen, College Times

'70s abstract bull bank, $35

Modern Manor

Tiera Allen, College Times

A Bears from Chair bear, $145 to $295

Modern Manor, mirrors

Tiera Allen, College Times

Vintage hand mirrors, $15 to $25

Part of the Shop Local Gift Guide 2012

Modern Manor

716 W. Hazelwood, Phoenix, 602.509.7709,

Open Thursday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


On New Year’s Day 2011, Ryan and Kylie Durkin found out they were pregnant with their first child. As the story goes, they also found a rosewood and leather Eames lounge chair and ottoman set from the ‘60s on that day. It was damaged beyond repair, but the Durkins couldn’t bear to see the quality leather get tossed. So, they decided to make a bear from the chair’s upholstery for their son-to-be. Nearly two years later, over a dozen such Bears from Chairs, each named and numbered, sit perched along the wall of their vintage furniture store, Modern Manor.

Modern Manor is neither the biggest nor most-stocked store in the Melrose District rife with antique, salvage and vintage shops. However, it’s one of the finest places for a mid-century modern furniture snob to get his or her Hollywood Regency on.

Nestled beside Metro Retro and just off the main drag of antique row, the 4,000 square foot Modern Manor is a warehouse of furniture and décor manufactured between the 1940s and ‘70s. With the exception of narrow walkways, the store’s entire floor space is occupied by couches, desks, tables and designer chairs that will send an interior design nerd’s brain spiraling into colloquia lecture notes. The “mock room” setups are moderately decorated with pastel portraits of mob wives, vintage Boy Scout handbooks, lamps and a handful of miscellaneous oddities, such as gears and knobs.

“If you can picture it in a cool, funky loft house, that’s [Modern Manor],” says Ryan Durkin, 31, who co-owns the store with his wife, Kylie.

The Durkins are accidental design aficionados who fell in love with mid-century modern furniture while stocking their first home as newlyweds four years ago. The only problem was that they kept falling in love with and buying “granny’s couch” at estate sales and auctions, says Ryan Durkin.

The couple eventually turned to Craigslist to sell their finds. Shortly after, they moved to antique mall before setting up shop in their present digs.

Though Ryan Durkin spends 30 hours a week buying and selling reupholstered and refinished goods, it still remains a hobby – albeit a time-consuming one. His full-time job for the last 12 years is running a screen-printing and embroidery business.

Modern Manor shouldn’t be confused with an antique store. It’s not a treasure trove of old knick-knacks. It doesn’t have piles and stacks and buckets through which to sift. The Durkins take care of the digging, panning and mystery in favor of showcasing only the highest quality furniture and mid-century modern décor.

“Everybody wants to be a picker,” Durkin says of the trend captured in shows like “Storage Wars.” “Everybody who was an antique dealer is now [working with] ‘mid-[century] modern [furnishings].’”

Typically people don't drop thousands of dollars on a chair for someone's Christmas gift, but those who want to help someone else afford that pelican chair can pick up a Modern Manor gift card or help them spiff up an apartment with the store’s quirky-meets-classy décor.

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