Bill Needham was shopping for furniture to fill the rooms of his new home when he first discovered his love for mid-century decor.
After starting a collection of chairs, tables, lamps and other furniture from the late 1940s to mid 1980s from various auctions, Needham turned his hobby into a successful business.
Needham, of Morristown, has been selling home decor from the mid-20th century for about a year now with his father, also named Bill Needham, out of his house and primarily on eBay through his business, Morristown Modern.
But as of last month, customers now have the opportunity to check out the furniture in person at his new store located on 73 Mendham Road.
The Morristown Modern store, in Morris Township right along the Morristown border, is filled with unique furniture collections from famous 20th century designers such as Warren Platner, who designed the Windows of the World Restaurant in the World Trade Center, and Charles and Ray Eames who are known for their iconic furniture and architecture designs.
There are nearly 200 items for sale at Morristown Modern, and many have history attached to them. One of Needham's favorite pieces, a black Steelcase chair, was in a NASA office in Seattle. The chair was one of Platner's designs.
A yellow coffee table designed by Karl Springer that belonged to the renowned composer Richard Nanes is also for sale. There's even a lounge chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames that was used in the soap opera One Life to Live.
Some of the tables and dressers are made from a rosewood tree, which is unique because it isn't used to make materials anymore.
"You can't cut a rosewood tree down anymore so these pieces are not only iconic and well-made with great materials, but they hold their value and they're being recycled," Needham said. "It's almost like an environmental way to look at home furnishing."
Needham gets Morristown Modern's furniture from auctions, mainly in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The furthest Needham has traveled for an item is to Ohio.
Needham has shipped furniture to customers all over the world in Singapore, France, Spain, Switzerland and England. While many of the items run big, he said he can fit the chairs in boxes for postal service, and blanket wrap the larger ones.
The decor ranges in price from $50 for smaller pottery items to several thousand dollars for chairs and couches.
Needham said that in his month of having the store open, he has seen many people come in, and it has also helped boost his eBay sales.
"People are more than welcome to come by and check the pieces out," he said. "We're always buying and selling, and everything really is negotiable."