An outlet for the creative

Ryan Carter

Trying to sell classic, retro and vintage furniture in rural

Wisconsin did not fit Marc Modrow’s idea of interesting. Modrow and

his partner, Joe Dusick, started their business -- marcjoseph -- in


Brookfield, Wis., in January 2001.

But in time, they found that many of the customers for their

eclectic wares were from out of state, including California. Modrow,

who for the last decade has been collecting a mix of classic and


exotic art and furniture, was itching to move to California.

Together, they decided to open marcjoseph at 3808 W. Burbank Blvd.

The business opened last month.

Modrow and Dusick hope their new showroom, packed with about 3,000

items, will be a spot frequented by residents and area set designers

with open minds. They have staked their business on items like a

finely detailed wood-burned desk, a 1950s art deco- inspired retro

wooden console designed by Paul Frankl.


A Frank Lloyd Wright- designed lamp with a base sculpture of an

Egyptian goddess stands near the front of the store. Some items cost

thousands of dollars. Others, like unique pottery designed by the

Coors beer company during prohibition, sell for much less.

The showroom also includes a mix of retro and swank sofas,

accessories and artwork. A Grim Reaper made from scrap metal by

Wisconsin artist Ellis Nelson stands in a back corner. And vintage

clothes and shoes are displayed prominently in another room.


Modrow, who studied design and architecture in college, said the

new store has given him a chance to flex his creative muscle after

dealing with a clientele in Wisconsin with more conservative tastes.

“It allows us me a chance to be creative and to be a little

different,” he said. “Most stores fit in a pigeonhole and specialize

in styles like mid-century modern. I’d rather find interesting things

and mix them together.”

Modrow and Dusick met when Dusick was designing the interior of a

mutual friend’s home. Dusick is the designer and Modrow is the


Modrow said the business probably could have remained based in

Wisconsin. But customers of the Burbank store are already convincing

him he made the right decision in coming west.

“In California, customers ... they don’t have to fit things into a

category,” Modrow said.

Modrow and Dusick will hold an open house reception at the store

from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.