Ted Ralph (l.) and husband Charlie Honse are mid-century modern mavens at Antique Specialty Mall. Photo courtesy Stone Crow Photography Credit: Michelle Dillon/Stone Crow Photography

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Ted Janka and Charlie Honse started their decor and furniture business by collecting everything.

“We had just gotten out of design college and were knee-deep in interior design,” said Ted. “We had an appreciation for mid-century modern and we specialized in accessories. Then Modernism Week began organizing in our home town and it catapulted us into mid-century furniture.”

Since then, Ted and Charlie have collected mid-century modern pieces from all across the country to sell in their booth at The Antique Specialty Mall in Nob Hill. Charlie said that those pieces are getting harder to find. “More people became interested in mid-mod during COVID and it has almost doubled in price since three years ago.” The two are scouring Arizona, California, Nebraska and Texas at the moment to bring quality pieces back to the booth.

Luckily, 2 Bears Collectibles and Design has a stash in storage and at home. “We get to integrate at home what we’re using in the booth and when we’re finished with them, we sell them,” said Charlie. That frequent rotation keeps both home and shop interesting and fresh. The furniture pieces on display at the antique mall are burnished to a warm glow and in pristine condition. The glass collection glistens and the vintage lamps are will wow you.

Ted has ongoing collections of vintage Viking art glass and L.E. Smith pottery. “They are substantial collections on vintage tension shelving, which is a cool thing in itself,” he said.

Right now, the couple dine on a Danish teak table with six Hans Wagner chairs in the original nubby fabric. An Albuquerque group of mid-century modern mavens are proposing a home tour in October 2023 and Ted and Charlie plan to be on the route. “There’s already a lot of buzz about it,” Ted said of the tour.

When they first got into collecting mid-mod designs, “We knew NOTHING!,” they said simultaneously. The two have learned a lot since, like the difference between European and American mid-century design (“They’re two completely different things.”) and the signs that say “This is real Danish teak.”

“The number one sought-after type of furniture still is Danish teak,” said Ted.

Charlie is pessimistic about the longevity of the national mid-mod obsession, however. “In five to eight years, it will run its course because it’s going to become even more expensive.”

Asked what the next trend might be, he grimaced. “It could be all of that oak furniture from the ’70s.”

Don’t groan. Ted thinks the next big trend might be Art Deco.

For new collectors, Ted proposes that people take their time and find out how much quality they can get a price. “Start slowly, one piece at a time, and stick to one collection,” he said. “Pay attention to the asking price. Not everybody knows what they’re selling.”

“Buy what speaks to you,” adds Charlie. “If you love it, you can build from there.”