Applying an international twist to the American Dream, the globe-trotting French native Aymerick Rondeau, 44, now scours the world for authentic 1960s Scandinavian mid-century modern furniture, bringing it all back to his San Marcos warehouse and home.
Like Cher and Oprah, the effervescent Rondeau is known by first name only as Aymerick. He followed the sun as a young man working in the hospitality industry during tourist seasons from St. Martin to Miami, Hawaii to London and San Francisco to Paris.
“I have gone from being an immigrant in my mid-20s with a few bucks in my possession to living the American dream,” Rondeau said. “The American dream was something I heard about. Now I live it.”
Rondeau added: “My business is me, myself and I. The importer is is me, the restoration, accounting, documenting, shipping is me. I am so grateful. I am the master of my own time. That’s precious because it is a passion. I find it. I restore it. This is a very personal, one-on-one business.”
The vintage life
Always a lover of 1960s-vintage automobiles, Rondeau became officially infatuated with interior design aesthetics around the time his daughter was born in 2007.
Rondeau began adding signature pieces that lent “some sense of history for my home,” he said. “A lot of furniture seemed dull. I didn’t know anything beyond Ikea. My interest in 1950s-60s furniture grew into a hobby. I fully furnished my home and didn’t need any more furniture.”
The itinerant immigrant spent seven years at San Francisco collecting, restoring and fitting Scandinavian mid-century modern furniture, fitting it into a small apartment as he pursued a career in the hospitality industry. Eventually, apartment, lifestyle, cost of living and career ceased fitting the Bay Area aesthetics.
“I left my heart in San Francisco after 12 years there,” Rondeau said. “My wife was from Vista and we had two beautiful young children, so we were looking to relocate. We traded a 1-bedroom apartment for an 1,800-square foot San Marcos home with a pool and yard — the American Dream.”
Now relocated to San Marcos, Rondeau toiled as a waiter at Rancho Santa Fe’s tony Mills Fleurs restaurant from 2015 to 2019. He gradually reduced his workload from 5 days-to-4 days-to-3 days-to-2 days a a week as he turned his personal attention, and business focus, to acquiring, refurbishing and re-selling vintage Danish Modern furniture and furnishings to an ever-growing clientele from local to far and wide.
Rondeau continued his San Francisco practice of importing, refurbishing and reselling with mid-century modern pieces eventually overwhelming his San Marcos home. As opportunity soared, and his home one again overflowing with functional vintage furniture, he decided to take the plunge into a full-time private outsourcing of pieces to customers.
Ah, showing the showroom
Rondeau opened a 6,000-square foot showroom at 3208 La Mirada Drive, San Marcos. He imports, refurbishes and ships from the space that resembles a mid-century modern museum with functional pieces as much as a furniture warehouse.
While Rondeau spends a good deal of time working out of the showroom, visits are through appointments only. He also does a good deal of business over the Internet. He may be reached by phone at (760) 509-5974 or at the web a http://www.aymerickmodern.com
By foot, or by web, customers in search of hard-to-find and unique pieces, find Aymerick Modern by search and through word of mouth.
“If you shop with me,” Rondeau said, “it is almost like a treasure hunt. You have to find me and be interested in modern. You have to call, which takes a desire and curiosity. I explain to my clients that I am completely addicted to, I live in, the 1960s. I even drive 1960s cars. Imagine (the space) is like a ‘Mad Men’ set of mid-century design.”
A very broad range of clients from near, and far, flock to the La Mirada space that is set in an industrial area near a wholesale florist, microbrewery and Sunset Park.
“Everybody from youngsters who understand value, to artsy people, those who invest in furniture, and to the elderly who grew up with these things to designers to collectors, buy from me,” Rondeau said. “It is a very very random customer base.”
Recent customers have included the celebrity likes of actor Val Kilmer and the hot new viral female skateboard star Lizzie Armanto, of particular interest to Rondeau who has been a skateboarding enthusiast for many years. Kilmer called out of the blue and bought a vintage 1964 piece. Armanto got wind of the unique offerings and bought an authentic 1962 item.
What everybody who comes calling at Aymerick Modern has in common is a love and interest in mid-century modern design. This style features clean lines, gentle organic curves, and a love for different materials and designers, according to sources.
While there is some disagreement about when the period started, it roughly lasted from the mid-1930s to mid-1960s. The timeless quality of the style, however, continues to appeal to today’s homeowners.
The distinguishing features of this style consist of a classic, understated look, and clean lines with minimal fuss.
- Functionality is important, as form follows function
- Uncluttered and sleek lines with both organic and geometric forms
- Minimal ornamentation
- An exploration of different traditional as well as non-traditional materials
- The juxtaposition of different, and sometimes contrasting materials
- New methods of construction and new materials such as plastic, dramatically influenced later mid-century modern designers. Plastic was used for its own qualities rather than to imitate wooden furniture. Designers engaged in liberal use of traditional material, such as wood, and non-traditional materials such as metal, glass, vinyl, plywood, Plexiglass and Lucite. They employed a vast range of color, including colors from neutral to bold, and graphic use of black and white.
“I have the biggest Scandinavian modern inventory in San Diego,” Rondeau said. “Stores in Los Angeles are two hours north. I am very well aware of the market and three times a year go to Europe filling three containers a year with 600 pieces of Danish goods, later restoring them myself. I refurbish 5-to-8 pieces a week, sometimes working with upholsterers since that is a specialized field.”
The supply of such vintage goods will end some day, according to Rondeau. There are only so many houses in Scandinavia and Europe with such pieces form the 1950s and 1960s remaining. As people die and estates diminish, the supply shrinks even as demand seems to rise.
Rondeau said he is more interested in pieces with a history, with a specific character. Look at his website and you find such items as an authentic, and documented, rocking chair that once graced Frank Sinatra’s 1960s Palm Springs home as seen in an iconic Life Magazine story on the Rat Pack crooner.
Museum quality functionality and affordability aside, Rondeau pursues a further vision. “I have a vision of what I do,” he said, “an ecological aspect of making the world a greener, one action at a time. I’m selling quality pieces, and tell people that buying vintage is better.
“It is better to invest in a piece with character,” Rondeau continued. “I sell the more antique pieces with manufacturers stamps. I tell people that if you respect it, that value will hold.”
Aymerick Modern furniture categories are divided into storage, tables, seating, design designations. He offers a variety of services to real estate firms, prop stylists, staging companies, interior designers, photographers or private parties looking for the perfect pieces. He assists them with tailored rental, staging or design consultation programs.
Shipping is an important consideration when purchasing a vintage piece. Handling is important. Hassles and delays in staging are inevitable when an item is broken in transit. Rondeau works with 4-to-5 reliable, white glove shipping companies to ensure the safe delivery of furniture, which takes about 4-to-8 weeks to deliver, depending on location. He also ships himself by special arrangement.
Rondeau is on the road again this month, jet-setting to Scandinavian and English vintage mid-century modern markets.
“Yes,” Rondeau said with his trademark enthusiasm when asked about this summer buying expedition.
“All those pieces and many more,” Rondeau said, “will be in the shop or about to arrive from Denmark by mid-July 2021 before soon entering their cleaning and refinishing process. I say, if you see something you like, please contact me and I will be glad to assist you with any questions…or to give you first dibs.”
For more information visit http://www.aymerickmodern.com/. Or call (760) 509-5974.