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Tag Archives: atomic tiki

Paul T. Frankl set designed for Kane Kraft

Paul T. Frankl set designed for Kane Kraft

Mel and I picked this set up recently. Paul T. Frankl designed this set for Kane Kraft sometime in the late 40’s or early 50’s. I have always wanted a vintage bamboo dining set and this was the exact style I had in mind.

As you can see, the set was a little grubby from years of use. Most of the filth came off with cleaner, but the backs of the chairs had years of oil and grease built up on the surfaces. I cleaned them and resprayed them with polyurethane.

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I have yet to clean this piece but that is all it should need.

We purchased this with plans to pick it up the following week. When we returned the store owner brought to our attention that there was a matching sideboard if we were interested! Yes please!

The top of this piece is fantastic!

So much storage, and we love those knobs.

The wood used appears to be solid Koa or Narra. The sideboard is solid and heavy. The grain of the wood glows like beams of sunlight in the sun.

I am currently on the hunt for appropriate fabric to recover the seats in.

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Amazing Bar with Frederick Weinberg Stools

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As usual, I was cruising Craigslist and came across this set last night. I noticed it had been on Craigslist for a couple days, and I thought I would just check to see if they still had it.

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I assumed since it had been on there for two days that someone would have snatched it. We got a call this morning from the owner who stated she still had it. We jumped in the car and shot on over.

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The thing that drew us to this bar are the cut outs in the front. The owner said it used to have colored plexiglass that was lit from behind. She said it was amazing when it was lit.

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This bar will need a 100 point restoration. Since the Formica is chipped, I plan to redo the formica in black. That will go better with the animal print vinyl instead of the faux marble top.

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I also plan to replace the silverfish finish on the foot rest area with black formica.

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I might have to reinforce the bottom as well.

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The shelf is at an angle so the alcohol labels can face up towards you, cool idea!

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This bar has this cool little ornament on the front with a small chain draped across the front.

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I am pretty sure these are Frederick Weinberg from what I could research online.

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These stools don’t match the bar very well with the animal pattern they have on them now. I will try to find a similar cheetah pattern to recover the seats in.

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This bar and stool set is now my next project. I am excited to see how it turns out. We have a bar in our living room that will be put into the shop since we snagged this one.

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We try to upgrade our collection as we go along. This bar will make someone very happy, I am sure. It has served us well. Below are the bars we have owned over the years.

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This swanky diamond bar was so cool with it’s two tier top. It had such an atomic feel to it. This is now sold.

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This bar is the ultra rare Expando bar. We sold it recently to a lady in L.A. She was so pleased to get it.

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We sold this 1963 Tropical Sun Company tiki bar at our grand opening, it sold in less than an hour!

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This Art Deco bar was fantastic! It reminded us of an early jukebox because of how the front corners lighted up when the door was opened. This is now sold.

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This wrap round bamboo bar didn’t last long in our booth. It has such cool simplicity too it.

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This aqua bar was so awesome. We drove all the way to Fresno to get it. Now it is in someones home being enjoyed!

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This is just a swanky 70’s bar. It’s now sold.

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This tiki bar has already sold. We think it might have been a Paul Frankl, but we could not substantiate it’s pedigree.

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This Tiki bar is currently in the process of being restored and will be in our shop sometime soon.

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Here is the grand server that we still own and use today!

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This is the first bar we ever bought and restored. We purchased this one in the early 2000’s (sorry for quality of picture).

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Of course our beloved and rare Witco Tahiti Bar that we will be buried with, ha ha. We think a bar is a necessary piece to have in a home for entertaining. We think society needs more reasons to socialize with neighbors and friends, and what a better way to do it than sipping a drink at your own bar.

Tiki Room Tour

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Hello all, Mel and I thought it was time to show you our TIKI room. As with anything in our home things are never finished, so let this just be a tour of its current state.

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Though not everything in this room is tiki, it all seems to work.

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We collect random TIKI items. Our goal is to make this room as diverse as possible.

 

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This room has a lot of windows so I had to get creative with how to hang art. These Carlo watercolors look great in front of the chartreuse curtains.

 

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Here are a couple of the pieces I painted.

 

As you may notice, the floors are concrete. It originally had vintage asbestos tiles. Unfortunately, numerous tiles were missing or damaged, so we decide to remove them all. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do with the floor yet.

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We hope you enjoyed this tour. I am sure it will change and evolve as time goes on.  Later, we plan on showcasing the rest of the house, stay tuned.

Witco

witco1Mel and I are new to the Witco scene, but we have had a few of the smaller pieces. Our friend Tracy at m.a.r.k. Vintage reached out to us to see if we were interested in this tiki end table she picked up. Mel and I hopped in the car and shot over the next day.

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We love this little table and need to restore it. It will look great in one of the Tiki areas of our home. At the time, we didn’t know who produced this piece.

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I then remembered that our friend Dennis had a tiki table that would go well with the one we got from Tracy.  The next day Mel and I met Dennis at his shop and we picked this piece up. Dennis said he thought it might be Witco. That got Mel and I thinking maybe the other table was Witco too!

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Upon researching this table we were able to identify it as a Witco end table. It is always important to know who produced a piece but to be honest, I liked it regardless.

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This other table has been harder to substantiate who the maker is. It appears to be in the same style of Witco, but I was unable to locate anything online to compare it with. I reallly dig the tiki faces on this piece.

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As you can see, the tops on both of these pieces will need to be refinished. The one on the left will be an easier repair, but the table on the right will need a lot of work.

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If anyone out there has a matching table to either of these and want to give it a new home let us know. Also, if any of you Witco experts out there can confirm the one on the right is also Witco, I’d appreciate it.

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In The Beginning…

By the late 50s, Tiki-fever was in full swing and Americans couldn’t get enough of it.

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Tiki temples and Polynesian-themed bowling alleys, golf courses, television shows and pop music saturated the land from coast-to-coast.

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But strangely enough, Tiki’s presence was still largely missing from the ultimate mid-century sanctuary:  the American home.

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That would soon change with the mass production of primitive décor and home furnishings that made it possible for Americans to finally bring Polynesia right into their own living rooms.

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Here is an ad out of a 1940’s magazine selling Tiki bars. This was the first step in introducing the Polynesian themed rooms into homes of that era.

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William/Bill Westenhaver, founder of Western International Trading Company (WITCO).

Tiki’s ultimate triumph was due largely to cartoonist and artisan William Westenhaver. William Westenhaver, a would-be graphic designer and painter, Westenhaver studied at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles during the late 40s.  His early works showed the large influence of Picasso and early-century European impressionists and expressionists, who themselves often used imported Polynesian primitiva as sources of inspiration.

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Westenhaver was no stranger to it either, having visited Melanesia during his time in the Navy.  It was here in the Admiralty Islands that he witnessed the natives carving their ancestral deities into everyday utensils and furnishings.

Yet it wasn’t until the late 50s that Westenhaver would finally be able to fuse his own modernist artistry with the native kinds he had observed.

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In 1957, his cousin Bob Post called and asked if he could help design some of the primitive artifacts his Western International Trading Company (WITCO) was importing from Mexico. Still eking out a living as a cartoonist, Westenhaver jumped at the chance and moved with his family to Mt. Vernon, WA.

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Here, he and the other WITCO artisans began carving and chain-sawing an array of unusual tribal designs into bedposts, tables, chairs and any other home furnishing you could think of, often accenting them with striking leopard-skin prints.  Island décor such as masks, spears, statues and even home tiki bars followed.

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This “Pop Primitivism”, or Modern Primitive, was a perfect complement to the clinical, steel-and-glass minimalism of American architecture at the time, giving homes the aura of a worldly and exotic whimsy.

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And it wasn’t just the fancy of Middle American eccentrics, either.

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion had a special “Jungle Room” (click here to see a 360 view of Jungle Room) outfitted with nothing but WITCO furnishings.

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Popular icons Hugh Hefner and Roy Orbison also decorated their abodes with them, too.

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Here we have a pic of Hugh and his bunnies by the pool. There appears to be 3 Witco tiki masks on the wall and a Witco bench they are sitting on.

By the late 60s, with WITCO having showrooms in most major American cities, Tiki had finally conquered the final American frontier. Yet, with nowhere else to go, the end was inevitable.

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After the cultural cataclysm of the late 60s and early 70s, WITCO’s fortunes began to decline, and in 1977, it closed it doors. Although Westenhaver went back to work as a freelance artist, the story doesn’t end there.

As the Tiki revival bloomed in the 90s, Westenhaver’s grandson-in-law, Ken Pleasant, picked up the torch and now carves his own WITCO-style furniture, much to his grandfather’s delight.

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Source Link:

http://www.enterthetiki.com/content/william-westenhaver

1950’s Bamboo Set

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Mel and I recently came across this really cool set on Craigslist and thought if we refinished it, the set would be one to go crazy over.

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Mel and I purchased the chair on the left about 2-3 weeks ago with the intention of reselling it in our shop. That all changed when we discovered a matching chair, couch and ottoman on Craigslist.

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The gentleman we purchased the set from said he had it for over 20 years.  Before that, his mother bought the set new. What a family heirloom!

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This set has these cool caps on the armrests that offer a cool bit of styling to the set.

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The corners of each piece have reinforced strapping.

IMG_3718The next thing to do is to start to look for new fabric to bring these back to life.  They need new strapping underneath, and I need to refinish the frames.  We look forward to their completion.

Retro Tiki Bar Upgrade

 

IMG_3369Last week sometime I drove out to the bay area to pick up this fantastic tiki bar! It has such great color and design. The gentleman I purchased it from said it was bought new by his father and was now his after his father passed. He hated to sell it but he had no room for it.

IMG_3374This thing is heavy as heck! What really caught our attention is how the formica is o the sides helping break up all the bamboo.

IMG_3371This bar is solid in construction. It tapers from narrow at the bottom to wider at the top.

IMG_3372This bar has a cutting board, drawer and a towel pole. There is plenty of room for storage too. This thing still needs to be cleaned up but it doesn’t need any kind of restoration.

IMG_3375The formica has a parquet style to it. I am debating if I will mount a tiki mask on the front of it. Now that we have this bar I think the tiki bar I restored previously will be sold in our store.

IMG_3368The best thing about this set is it has five stools and the upholstery is like new and they feel great to sit in.

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