May 28, 2009

Atomic Pad of the Month

1953 Modern, originally uploaded by Space Commander.

Well umm, assuming if we actually featured a "pad of the month" as a regular feature, I'm absolutely sure this would be a natural pick!

1953 Modern: cowhide rug, sling chair, linear sofa, wall sized drapery, pole-mounted artwork... this room has it all.

May 27, 2009

Danish Lounge Chair on eBay

This one immediately caught me. Though I treated her as a infatuated whim at first, she whispered and she spoke to me. So I bid on her, her ebony laquered arms and legs, the supple form of her spring-filled cushions, and the promise she held at the end of a long weary day. Yes, I bid on her, and while I went to my job, dreaming happily of coming home one day to lounge in my very own Danish Modern easy chair of stylish comfort, some one else had the same idea as I and took her away from me. Which makes me come to the conclusion that I wish I had a normal 9-5 job so that my dreams couldn't be taken away from me again...

... not at least while I off to work.
This auction was offered by The Modern Line.

Pearsall/Craft Assoc. Sofa on eBay

Still on my never-ending quest, forever searching for the crowning jewel of any respectible man's retro-lounge-hep-cat-bach-pad. And I found this. Just a tad outside my budget, but I can still enjoy looking at those lines on the arms and back rest, and those narrow long legs make it all float on air.

Adrian Pearsall Craft Sofa Reupholstered Restored Eames This is being auctioned by All Nines.

May 26, 2009

A-Frame Beach Cabin

Designed by Dr. David T. Hellyer

May 25, 2009

Wall Unit Bookcase on eBay

Mo Moderne always has something appealing on hand. *Sigh*.... I need one of these...

Room Divider/Wall Unit/Bookcase/

May 24, 2009

Bathroom Retrovation Update

Has it been 3 months already since we started this?
Are we done yet? Are we done yet? How 'bout now?

Yes, its been 3 months. Tile work for the new shower stall is complete! 80% of the walls and some rotted studs around the tub were ripped out and replaced. The plumbing was also a joy (after days of trying to find why replacement parts weren't fixing a leak). The old faucet knobs went back on for now while the hunt for a retro matching Hot/Cold/Shower set continues.

Just to give a moral boost to the project, the old lavender paint is now history as well (Thank Goodness). The tangerine color makes the north facing bathroom pop and sits well with the neutral gray tile and aqua furnishings. Not so much Moderne, but very 50's feeling.

New lighting has been installed. A fixture that Home Depot offers is just like those found in every one's bathroom when I was a kid. Thanks to Retro Renovation for putting me onto that.

I found a little white metal medicine cabinet that fit nicely into my tight budget, only $20. The side shelves allow for some display - which is always a good thing. Until a cabinet like the original bath had is found, this is it.

Up next - removal of another eyesore, a deteriorated 1980's sink & cabinet. Looking for its successor, I've found some pretty interesting vintage sinks, including an aqua-colored pair at salvage place. One of these had a built-in faucet molded right into the sink... hmmmm. As much as "going totally 50's" appeals to me, none I found would do. Menards has a simple white hang-on-the wall version that comes close to the bath's original, if a bit sleeker.

And then the rest of the tile work continues...

May 23, 2009

No Need To Buy An Eggbeater to Keep Cool... Buy Vornado

Electric Fan-tasies

"A Fan of Fans"
"Whatever Tickles Your Fan-cy"
"Cool Fans = Warm Heart"

My electric fans are like my chairs, lamps, film cameras, tube radios... uhh, you get the idea... I've managed to accumulate an assortment and they're all over the pad. Whats worse is I seem to have this inexplicable need to accumulate more (possibly encouraged by the fact that were topping-out near 90 degrees all this weekend). Anyways, here's the run-down of some of my fave mid-century electrical cooling appliances which will help make these dog-days of summer more bearable.

1. Vornado Ball Fan
Oh, if I had the room I might buy the one I saw w/ tripod legs at my favorite shop. Maybe I should get it anyway?

Vornado Table Fan
Originally uploaded by sharpknees

2. Vornado Table Fan
This is quite possibly one of the oddest oddballs I've seen, which instantly means I like it!

You can tilt the fan face up, down, point it at your dog, or directly straight upward at the tabletop deflector.

3. Spartan Box Fan
This little baby kicks out a veritable tornado of cool breezes. Mine's been doing it for 60 years and hasn't skipped a beat yet...Yessiree, Good ol' American engineering!

4. Various Oscillating Fans
No list of Fifties fans would be complete without the ubiquitous Oscillaters. These little fellas just buzz right along, looking this way and that, making sure everyone in every corner of the room is touched by a refreshing breeze.

Just be sure that Junior keeps his fingers out of the blade guard!

5. Window Fan
Remember these? My grandpa had one in his bedroom for as long as I could remember, which was later passed-along to me. It got the job done splendidly, if you didn't mind that the thing had a tendency to drown out any audible speech within a 50 foot radius and obliterate anything which wasn't nailed down when switched into high gear.

May 22, 2009

Summer Has Arrived - its Friki Tiki Time

Tiki w / Bubble shade lamp
Originally uploaded by gtykal
Memorial Day Weekend is finally here! It's time to roll out the bamboo furniture to the patio, open up your grass umbrella, inflate the kiddy pool and poor a very tall cool glass of your favorite beverage.

Its also an excellent time to go garage sale-ing, in which I hope to unload a great bunch of my overburdened clutter on the general public in our humble ranch's very own driveway. Stop by, and Buy! Buy! Buy!

1949 Cosco Step Stool

More on our ubiquitous Cosco step ladder. You didn't have a properly outfitted kitchen unless one of these were in it. My mom had one. My grandma had one. What more authority do I need than that?

This ad came from Better Homes and Gardens.

May 21, 2009

Atomic Mower on eBay

Hurry! It's going soon! Vintage Retro Sunbeam Electric Lawn Mower Eames Era

Seaside Summer House

May 20, 2009

Candy Dishes for the Space Age

Any one for a mint?

Here's a couple of un-boring shapes to serve up your guests in retro style. Naturally the split boomerang is my fave. It's a bright red glaze over ceramic, maker unknown. The dappled green glass plate is also unlabeled.

New Cosco Retro Chair/Step Stool vs. the Original

Here it is, a kitchen classic, and it's been reintroduced by Cosco, finished in red, yellow and black. The new version is convincingly like the original, but with a few notable exceptions (so be warned if you're expecting to get the real deal). Appearance-wise, the four main legs fasten completly underneath the seat and I've read that the chrome finish does not stand up well over time. Also plastic has been substituted for metal for various parts. It's not as structurally rock solid as the original which was American made. This one's made in China.

You can order online from It's available on various home sites such as Target and Home depot, but wasn't available at any our local retailers. Mine came from a flea-market (of course) covered in accumulated layers of grime, stained blue paint and nasty rust. A week and a little magic later, and the below photo shows the result. The corrosion came off with steel wool and the chrome below reappeared like new. The paint job was a bit more difficult, trying to find the proper shade of vermillion red, I finally settled with Testors Bright Red modelor's spray paint.

Junior now has no trouble at all climbing up it's steps to reach the forbidden cookie jar!

May 17, 2009

More Roof Overhang Supports

Mid Century Modern House
Originally uploaded by JAVA1888
I like these. Look how flat that roof is!

I've been looking at external accents that help pull a home back to its "built" era. Though none of the ranch houses in our neighborhood have anything this retro, it would fit in easily. Something like this might work well on my overhang too.

Roof Overhang Supports

Saw this on Flickr and wanted to share the wrought iron work on this ranch - subtle and very retro.

May 15, 2009

I call it: "Art"

This can almost be considered as "vintage" now. This piece was done with oils on a large frame of canvas back in the 80's when I wanted something abstract and retro to place with my mid- century modern decor, which I was just beginning to collect more and more of.

Weekend Beach Cottage

May 14, 2009

Danish Modern Swag Lamp

Here I was brooding over the fact I couldn't find the right lighting to hang in the living room when I ran across this fine example of Danish Modern at the Nest, one of my fave shops lately. They always have forward-thinking items.

Today was a day for finding deals. At another shop I found a brushed-aluminum flying saucer pull-down kitchen light (like this one at Retro Renovation). My kitchen's original lighting was a pull-down. But do I want true to the original, or to go with new pendant lights? Home Depot's offerings of retro lighting with glass or metal-cone shades are pretty tempting. And then there's that Sputnik Light at Bella Modern that keeps calling to me from the background...

Decisions, decisions.

Out of curiosity I looked up an identical Danish lamp on eBay, and found that their's was being offered for over $200 smackers. My aquisition only put me back for the amount as the other's shipping charge - Go me!

Mood Music for your Pad

Illinois Street Lounge on SomaFM
Genre: Exotic Lounge
Classic bachelor pad, playful exotica and vintage music of tomorrow.

Listen in iTunes - 128k

I've been putting this on a lot while tiling my bath. Some selections remind me of the background music in the department stores my mom used to drag me through as a kid. Lots of xylaphones, electric organs and stacatto drum beats. The calypso sounds are so early sixties and fun.

May 13, 2009

But I wouldn't want to live there ...

re•tro-life•styler : Any individual who appreciates a previous era, such as the 1950's. Not only does the individual appreciate it, but loves it enough to adapt it into their everyday current life.

I love mid-century modern design. I love collecting items (space toys, decor) from that decade. I love the tv programs and movies from that era. I even like reading old science fiction paperbacks. The sheer exuberence, forward-thinking into the future and the optimism of the time, it all carried into so many aspects that went into products sold to consumers, which we can appreciate today.

So there you have a definition of what I mean by a retro lifestyler.

Do I love everything about the fifties? Nope. Nada. No way, Jose' I'm a child of my time. If a time machine were to transport back and drop me off, the culture shock would be so great I doubt if I'd ever truely go native and fully adapt.

After all, as a kid I did want to grow up and live in one of those futuristic push-button homes that you always heard about (George Jetson's pad had a definite 50's flavor, didn't it?).

The Fifties - It might be a fun place to visit, but (for me anyway) I wouldn't want to live there ;)

What Ever Happened to Ruby Montana?

What ever happened to Ruby Montana, the indesputed Queen of Cowboy Kitsch? Oh how I looked forward to getting her mail order catalogs for her shop Ruby Montana's Pinto Pony, located in the great northwest... and deciding what I should spend my meagerly saved pennies on :)

Ruby Montana
by James Crotty
September 15, 1998
The Queen of Kitsch

Rex Ray

Retro Artist for Today


I saw this print come into the store four months ago and sell out in a week. More came in, time passed, but I kept gravitating to this print. I can't explain it, I just like it, except to say Art is a personal thing. It speaks to me... "take me home!" so that's exactly what I did.

According to his biography, Rex Ray is a San Francisco based fine artist whose paintings and drawings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums. He is also a celebrated graphic designer. His highly collectible artwork is coveted in design as well as art circles. Abstract and handcrafted, with a retro-futuristic mid-century feel, Rex Ray's meditations on fluid forms are a rare combination of sophistication and decorative appeal.

You can strive to be totally Fifties in your decor, but I think you lose out on whats to come, the exciting, and the looking ahead that made up so much of the Modern movement. Don't lose track by looking back. Pull in something brand new among the vintage.

May 12, 2009

What We Watch - Sid Caesar

There have been a number of Sid Caesar releases out for awhile, but I just watched this one again. Like everything else, I used to watch the "Best of Your Show of Shows" when it was in syndication, usually with me doubled over from laughing so hard. Sid's timing and facial expressions make him timeless. It's no wonder why he is a pioneer of television.

One of my favorite ongoing skits was Sid's slant on a modern atomic age couple in "the Commuters." The first offering on the dvd is "Nan Hires a Maid" where wife Nan (Nanette Fabray) has had enough of picking up after hubby Sid's slovenly ways and hires blond-headed, Brooklyn-tounged bombshell to be the new house-keeper. It isn't long before mayhem erupts, Sid Caesar style.

...And the "au courant" home set isn't half bad either.

May 11, 2009

Radio Line Scooter

In the Fifties, it wasn't just bikes and little red wagons
kids clamoured for

Produced in the 50's and early 60's, you can see these scooters pop up from time to time in the shops, missing chunks of the hard rubber tires, covered in orange rust and looking very neglected.

If you are in the process of restoring one of these, there are scooter decals available through this site.

If you're interested in browsing through retro reproductions, try Radio Flyer's site.

Unlike most this foot scooter is in nice shape. A little bit of fine steel wool, cleaner, elbow grease, and Junior's good to go!

May 10, 2009

Atomic Moms

Mothers deserve MORE respect. Sure moms on average are held in very high esteem by their offspring, but the actual Job of Motherhood is not. Lets just say that sometimes it's not exactly looked upon by the enlightened with admiration.

If your choice is to stay at home, raise your kids and make a house into a home, you'll often find more scorn than sympathy. Yet a growing number of women, including young mothers are turning their backs to the "me-first" culture and choose to face the "drudgery" head-on, nurture their home, family, and maybe even squeezing in 12 years of home-schooling just for good measure!

Sure, Retro Mom's may get ridiculed at other places, but here at Atomic Living we couldn't respect you more! As a single dad, I struggle to manage the daily grind with the same cool expertise my Mom did. Hats off Mom, no paying job comes close to the high office you hold!

May 9, 2009

Rebath Alternative for Tired Tubs

Hmmm ... This might be a possible alternative to replacement or re-enameling that old tub. ReBath simply drives up to your front door, rings the bell and as quick as "zip-zip" installs a new liner custom molded to perfectly fit over your vintage tub (mine is "Arcadia").

According to their site, ReBath uses exact duplicates from an inventory of over 1,000 bathtub molds. Since they are using the same bathtub you have in your home to make your bathtub liner, they say they can guaranteed a perfect watertight fit for your tub or shower. They don't even need to remove your tiling. How cool is that?

*zip-zip quoted from the Chief of the Future, The Honeymooners, Episode 7 - "Better Living Through TV" ;)

May 4, 2009

Number 1 on the Runway

Nothing says "I'm a Hip Happenin' Cat"
quite like a propeller beanie cap.


I have a confession. I am crazy for atomic-age toys. Even though they predate my childhood for the most part (late 60's-70's), I did get my chubby little hands on quite a few hand-me-downs, such as my brother's Electric Robot and Son - minus the son.

Nothing has the styling, imagination or color combos today, especially when you're speaking of Japanese Tin. That's why collectors pay big bucks for these one-time common gems.

I have to settle more for a bargain-basement collection, mostly of space toys. Some of the repros and imitaions produced today are just as good as the originals (though to be honest, the Chinese have yet to attain the quality of craftsmanship that the Japanese achieved). Junior's room (retro-styled of course) is bursting with toys that I've aquired over a lifetime. Fortunately he doesn't seem to mind (yet), as long as Daddy shares the treasures with him every once in a while. He's captivated by them just as kids a generation before were.

May 3, 2009

Cars of the Future

I posted these over at the other blog, but thought this is appropriate for here as well...

1954 GM XP-21 Firebird

1956 Buick Centurion

1959 Cadillac Cyclone

View Car Styling for more...
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