Dreaming in Vintage: Meet Instagram’s Mid Mod Mike IRL

For Michael Harris, it all started with Mama Ruby and Papa Jim. Trips east to Georgia as a child to visit his grandparents and their ensuing marathon visits to thrift stores and flea markets sparked a love for vintage that stuck with Harris.

Fast forward to 2020 and a chance road trip to Dallas to pick up a midcentury modern-style vanity he spotted on Facebook Marketplace. Once he discovered the seller ran her furniture business solely through social media, Harris was sold on how to marry his vintage love and entrepreneurial streak.

Now Harris finds, styles and sells vintage furniture and decor under the moniker Mid Mod Mike on Instagram. From brass animal bookends to rattan chairs to a propensity for stylish ashtrays, his feed is a beacon for diehard thrifters and redesign daydreamers alike.

We caught up with Harris to talk favorite pieces, unexpected adventures and the perfect day in Little Rock.

Credit: Jason Masters

From scouting to selling, what’s your process for running Mid Mod Mike?

No one could have prepared me for all the little things it takes to run an online store. Finding quality pieces can be tricky, but I have traveled to about 15 states so far shopping for Mid Mod Mike merchandise. It takes time and patience to find pieces I consider special. Once I do find something that sparks joy, I purchase it.

Many vintage items have been heavily loved by their previous owners and require some restoration. I take all of my lamps to be completely refurbished at The Shade Above, a local lamp store. Wood furniture, if needed, is professionally restored by Danny Harrington, a local craftsman.

Once the item is ready for its next owner, I stage it and photograph it. Before posting, I research the item to find out as much about it as I can including maker, designer, material and what current price trends are. Once all of my t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, I list the item and it sells to the first person to claim and purchase.

It’s been so much fun seeing how excited these vintage goods make people. I love it when customers send me photos of their new piece in its new home.

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Time to pick. Which is your favorite piece to date?

Since starting Mid Mod Mike, I have found myself hunting for pieces in scary basements, barn lofts and in hoarder houses. Every piece has a story, but my favorite is this beautiful 1950 Heywood Wakefield Kohinoor vanity designed by Ernest Herrmann. When I found this birchwood beauty, she was a diamond in the rough. She had been heavily loved by many owners during her long life. At the ripe age of 70 years old she got a new lease on life. It was worth the wait!

What’s the best vintage hunting adventure you’ve had so far?

On my first buying trip I somehow ended up in the middle of Indiana in the loft of a barn with junk piled up everywhere. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a 1960s Broyhill Saga buffet and china hutch. I instantly recognized the distinct star pattern. When I questioned the man about it, he said it had been collecting dust for too long and that he bought it from an Amish family several years prior. I made an offer and he accepted.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think there is something extra cool about it being owned by people disconnected from the modern world. Now that she’s mine, I am having her restored and can’t wait to show y’all once she is finished!

Credit: Jason Masters

What has the online world of Mid Mod Mike brought you that you didn’t expect?

When I started Mid Mod Mike, I knew very little about the Little Rock vintage community. It didn’t take long for them to swoop me up as one of their own. The new friendships and connections have been the most wonderful aspects to come from starting this new business.

Where do you hope it goes from here?

My ultimate goal is for Mid Mod Mike to grow into a retail space one day. It would be a dream to travel the country as a full-time job, searching for vintage to bring back for all of you Little Rock vintage lovers!

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What’s your dream way to spend a local Saturday?

The best way to spend a Saturday in Little Rock is starting with brunch at South on Main. My favorite things to order are their mimosa buckets and country benedict. After my belly is full, I walk down to M2 Gallery to check out what’s new. Little Rock has so many talented artists!

An afternoon drive through the historic Quapaw Quarter is something I never get tired of doing. The architecture is unique and captivating. Then, I love taking an evening stroll with my pup Token down by the river. The view of Pinnacle Mountain with the sun setting behind is the perfect way to end a relaxing Saturday in Little Rock.

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Credit: Jason Masters

► Where you grew up: Just east of Little Rock in the small town of Lonoke.

► Your favorite thing about Little Rock: It’s a community of incredibly talented individuals who come together to create a fun city to live and play in. Everything from the arts to restaurants, local shopping and nightlife, Little Rock always has a new experience waiting for you!

► Favorite social media platform: Well, Instagram, of course! I love that there’s an account for just about anything the mind can think of. I draw inspiration for my business and personal life from other creatives local and worldwide. As the song says, “We do it for the Gram!”

► Favorite local account: Little Rock has a ton of great accounts to follow, but my favorite is the Facebook group “Forgotten Little Rock.” There you find interesting historical facts and photos from Little Rock locals. It’s neat to learn something new about Little Rock while scrolling through the feed.

Credit: Jason Masters

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