At one point Mel and I had a house in Sacramento and an apartment in San Jose. This was required because of Mel’s work. It was just easier for Mel to stay in San Jose during the week for work, and then come home to Sacramento during the weekends. As somebody who loves to decorate, I saw her apartment as an opportunity to decorate in space-age decor. When we decided to go “all in” in the bay area and buy a house, we didn’t want to get rid of all the space-age furniture. We ended up deciding to devote one of our rooms in our house to 70’s space-age.
I would of loved to have been able to find some super large vintage lava lamps but I don’t trust them.
These two really large lava lamps were purchased online from Wal*Mart.
While I really do enjoy decorating with atomic Mid Century decor, it’s nice to explore a different genre. Decorating in a different style can really get your creative juices flowing.
We purchased two of these lava glaze lamps at an antique shop up in Paradise CA.
I’m not sure if that shop is still around after the major fire they had up there.
We would hit Paradise all the time when we were on the hunt for cool stuff. I hope they come back from that tragedy.
The real issue was going from decorating a full apartment to decorating just one room. It came down to a battle for space. We had so many cool pieces in her apartment, but they coudn’t all fit in one room. We tried to keep the coolest items from that collection.
I am big into music. I wanted to create a room to hang out in and listen to records and cassettes. I think I’m one of the few out there who are still listening to their cassette tapes. LOL! I remember the first cassette I ever bought was the “Black Celebration” album by Depeche Mode. I was raised on 80s music, but listen to everything! This is our wall of cassettes! I also use this wall to display some choice records.
We were able to keep Mel’s Seeburg Olympian 160 jukebox. Because I was a kid raised in the 80s, we loaded this sucker up with all 80s music! Since space is an issue, I took the closet doors off and created a cove for the jukebox. I also had an electrician come out and wire an outlet into the closet so I didn’t have extension cords hanging out.
We have a few space-age radios and TVs, and the shelves in the closet above the jukebox are great for displaying those.
I’m not sure who the maker of this red chair is, but we also had this one reupholstered. It is so comfortable to sit on.
This corner table is really unique. We came across it at an antique mall, and I knew it would be a great addition to the space-age decor. The bottom is a terrarium and I was able to put some of my favorite artificial cacti in there.
I suppose this table could also have been used as an aquarium. I’m not sure if that would work, but it might be a cool idea.
These vintage concert posters are all original prints. We purchased them from a dealer at Midway Antique Mall. The story behind them is that an elderly lady living in the bay area back in the 60s would see these posters on telephone poles and light poles. She would take them down and save them not really knowing that they’d be worth so much later. Anyway, the house she lived in was being demolished and I’m assuming she had passed away or moved on. A couple of observant ladies were walking by the dumpster that was being used and noticed a bunch of papers rolled up. Since they were being thrown away, they grab them. When they got home it was a massive collection of original concert posters from that era. They went to Midway Antique Mall and sold quite a few of them to that dealer. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!
This is my whole set of these natives. The only marking on the bottom is “Japan”. If anyone knows who the maker is reach out!
These novelty figures were made during 40’s & 50’s. This kind of Black Americana or blackmoor collecting is sometimes uncomfortable for folks. Obviously it was a different time from now. During the last century a lot of races were depicted by stereotypes & in unfair ways that by today’s standards would be unacceptable. My goal with my blog is to share our collection and this is part of it. I don’t share it to make people feel bad or uncomfortable, I share it to show what existed during that time.
This one appears to have the original spear.
This one has seen better days. It’s going to be a small restoration project.
These are about twice as large as the “Happy Cannibals”
This native has a bow and arrow. I am missing the string and arrows.
I have been collecting these figures for sometime. For all of us who really enjoy the tiki/tribal feel, we try to create microcosms in our collection. It is not enough to just have a tiki cup on a shelf, you have to layer your collection to make it more interesting. I am always looking for a new way to add layers to our collection.
Obviously, this one is missing his weapon. A toothpick will have to suffice for now
I am not sure if I am missing anything or if this native is just praying
This was the first one I ever purchased
As you can see these figures were painted with bright color accents and sometimes things like skirts, bows, spears and even earrings were added.
It might be a little hard to tell from this photo but this is a native fishing. It appears this native hooked an alligator! I am missing the pole and string.
Gilner, an American ceramics company who was known more for its pottery and pixie figures produce something called “Happy Cannibals”. They would adorn planters with small tribal figures and also created standalone figures. NAPCO also produced tribal figures.
I see plenty of the “Happy Cannibals” while cruising the antique shops. I have not seen the guy in the cooking pot before.
Most of these figures were mass produced from Japan and were more than likely travel trinkets tourists would pick up to remember trips to far off & exotic places. People were always bringing back trinkets from their trips, sometimes it was a souvenir tablecloth, souvenir spoon, salt and pepper shakers and even these figures.
This was one of the first Gilner tribal planters we purchased
I like to use fake succulents to fill all my planters. I suck at gardening.
As you can see, some of them are missing their earrings.
This is another one that still needs to be restored.
This is one of my favorite Gilner planters
This tribal figure had no paint when I got it. A quick touchup fixed that.
This is a pretty common one.
This little lady looks kind of shifty.
I have not had a chance to plant all these yet. There are too many
This is one I have not seen before
I purchased a sample set of model paint and touched all these up
Our collection is elaborate and diverse. Things that were once normalized in the past are looked at with different insight today. Though some may be offended by these figures and might even feel it perpetuates the stereotypes, I promise you that is not my intention. In the end my only mission is to share my collection.
I remember the first time we saw one of these strange, but cool instruments. Mel and I were visiting our friend Christina and she asked if we were interested in this ukulele. She explained to me that these were pretty popular in the 60s. She said surfers would play them and when a righteous wave would come up, they’d turn them upside down, stick their heads in the sand, grab their board, and hit the waves! This explains the long neck of most of the ukuleles.
These ukuleles were considered novelty ukuleles and usually just ended up hanging on peoples walls as wood art. They definitely have a style to them.
They were created by Ancil Swagerty (1911-1991). These were produced by the Swagerty Specialties Company in San Clemente California in the 1960s. The firm ceased trading in the early 1970’s. These pieces of wall hanging art eventually became to be known as pretty good sounding ukuleles. With their exaggerated shape and bright colors they were real eye catchers.
The ukuleles that were produced by Swaggerty were the following 3 models…
The Tripartite-soundhole Treholipee (originally sold for $ 19.95)
The Kook-a-la-lee (Originally sold for $12.95)
And finally the Surf-a-lele (originally sold for $13.95)
These unique ukuleles were endorsed by musician, comedian & writer Steve Allen. These were proclaimed to be “a new sound for a new generation”. These Kooky-ukes were sold In department stores and west coast music stores. They were promoted as part of the California surfing lifestyle.
Some of the Swaggerty ukuleles have a “Murf The Surf” character decal on them designed by famous artist Rick Griffin! Only some of the ukuleles have this decal making those ukuleles more desirable.
These instruments are made of beech ply. They are quite thin in the body like a Travel Ukulele and apparently, people are surprised with how good they sound. It appears that there was also a 3 string strumstick kind of Kooky Uke and a double neck version, (that was supposedly never sold commercially but just given to Swagerty’s friends?)
The Polk-a-Lay-Lee was not part of this series. They are knock offs made by the Petersen Co. of Ohio in the early 60’s. It was given away as part of an advertising campaign for the Polk Bros. furniture and electrical goods company. It has a plastic fretboard, tuners and saddle, and comes in different colours (both the Ukulele and the plastic work). On the box they came in they are called Wander-a-lay-lee though the headstock says Polk-a-lay-lee.
The “Little Guitar” is also not part of the “Kooky Ukes” series but it was made by Swagerty as kind of the follow up. It wasn’t as popular and I don’t think Swagerty designed anymore Ukuleles after this.
Ancil was granted a patent for the Treholipee in 1966. There was believed to be roughly 60,000 of these manufactured. The Treholipee flagship for Swagerty’s Kooky Ukes line of instruments. Both the Treholipee and the Kook-a-Lele had long headstocks and the idea was the surfers could stick the instruments upside-down in the sand when it was time for surfin’.
Here is the companion book to these Kooky Ukes. This is pretty hard to find as well. If anyone out there has one reach out cuz I am on the hunt!
Here is an original tag that would have been hanging from one of these fantastic ukuleles. I don’t imagine many of these are laying around.
These pieces are great pieces of beach culture and I am sure many have not seen one of these in the flesh. Since I have started collecting them I plan to try and learn how to play a little. Off to the next thing!
So we got rid of our radical 70’ Camaro with a 427 racing motor. It was too much car. My wife has gotten used to me being around and that car was a widow maker. We wanted to pick up something with power but could shuttle the family around.
I was surfing Craigslist when I saw this yellow dream 1959 Willys Maverick Wagon 4X2. I had the great pleasure of meeting the owners of the Willys, Kelly and Janice. They took such great care of this Willys. This car was actually restored top to bottom in the early 2000’s. Kelly said the previous owners spent around $40K to restore it! It was restored as a promotional vehicle for a coffee shop in L.A.. That business went under and the Willys was sold to Kelly & Janice. They used it mainly as a grocery getter and to shuttle grandkids around for ice cream.
This Willys was built right. It sports a Chevy 350 motor that really moves this wagon because of the lightness of the vehicle. Wagon comes equipped with A/C, power windows, power seats all new gauges, newer seats and interior. This is one of the cleanest Willys classics I have ever seen. These vehicles were work horses and usually did not survive the hard life they were subjected to.
Things Mel and I want to do is add whitewalls, alarm, maybe a cool vintage roof rack and a new aluminum radiator (better cooling). I also want to add wood grain vinyl decals to the recessed rectangular areas on the body to give it more of a “woodie” feel. That is about it because everything is done.
I think this is the original radiator. It does the job and has an electric fan installed. If you have ever owned a classic, traffic can be a real headache because of lack of air flow. These fans run off a thermostat and kick on to keep the engine cool. Someone at some point also added an under the dash switch to manually turn on the electric fan. I drove this wagon home from Stockton about 80+ miles and she did alright.
The seller Kelly told me usually the roof on these wagons are smooth. He said while researching this wagon he could only find one other one that had the linear recesses on top. He mentioned at one point, Willys was in talks with a refrigerator manufacturer to produce body panels and he wonders if maybe this is a prototype???
Another thing we need to look into is maybe raising the Willys a couple of inches. This is due to the fact that the exhaust manifold hangs down and on rare occasions it may drag/rub.
The interior is still very fresh and in overall good condition. Having a power option on this wagon is a trip, because when they were built they were very basic.
All the panels inside have this cool Willys logo design. I actually think there might be speakers under each logo. This thing has a good sound system, but I don’t see any speakers.
Because Willys basically have no dash top, I had to create a small shelf for our Aloha dancer to perform on. I can’t make this a beach wagon without one of these!
Another quark about these wagons is that they don’t have access to the back seat. This means passengers have to enter through the back hatch to sit on the back bench. I guess they didn’t see any issues with that design! Thank god I am the driver because I am too big to crawl around in the back!
This is in no way a Concourse level restoration, but it is one of the cleanest drivers I have ever seen. It has little areas that might need attention, but once it is dialed in that’s it! Here are some other photos, enjoy!
I came across an original waterslide Beach Boys decal and I just had to add it.
As I always do, I was surfing Craigslist in surrounding areas and came across this set down in Fresno. Once I was able to coordinate a showing I hopped in the truck and shot down!These were being sold by a gentleman down in Fresno who had a warehouse full of stuff. He said that he buys a lot of items from estate sales.
My plans are to light sand these and then repaint them. These will be great as additional seating in our backyard.
Each section has five chairs. They’re mounted on really sturdy and heavy metal frames. It would take quite an effort to tip one of these over.
The cool thing is that both pieces still have the original manufactures tag on it. I’m assuming that these were made sometime in the 1960s. The gentleman I purchased them from didn’t really know much about them.
Once these are refinished, I think they will look really good in our side yard where we plan to put a horse shoe pit or bocce ball game area. It seems like anymore you have to go the distance to find the cool things.
As I blogged in an earlier post, I have been in the process of restoring these vintage Disney concrete garden statues. We have all the pieces except Sneezy who was too busted up to restore. Fortunately, we found a replacement that is shipping from the east coast.
One thing I noticed when trying to stay faithful to the color scheme of each character is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting info online. I did my best to match any images I found online from the original movie. Also, I wasn’t digging just a white beard. I tried to add more detail by adding gray and white to capture a more realistic look. Here are before and after photos of some of the characters.
Snow White Before
Snow White After
These pieces have started to be reproduced. They come in three different sizes: small, medium & large. Our set is original and would be considered the large set. We will be happy to complete the set once Sneezy arrives. Onto the next project!
Excuse the landscaping, we still need to work on the backyard.
Mel and I are trying to get our backyard in shape for the summer. One thing we have been looking for is a vintage outdoor water feature. As usual, I was cruising Craigslist when I stumbled across this!
I reached out to the folks who had it, and fortunately I was one of the first to inquire about it. They said the response was overwhelming!
This is in vintage condition and will require sandblasting and powder coating to bring it back to life. I will also have to replumb the whole fountain. Unfortunately, there’s no pump or tubing so I’m going to have to MacGyver it! If any of you out there have done it before please let me know. I would love some suggestions.
This fountain will be a nice addition to the Fibrella patio furniture and the Brunswick bowling benches that we’ve added to the backyard.
It seems to me that these fountains were more prevalent in Eichler and Streng homes. They were a great addition to the atrium in those style homes.
I searched online for any information about the manufacturer of these fountains, but was unsuccessful. The bowls of this fountain are metal, but I have seen fountains where the bowls were made of fiberglass. I don’t imagine there are too many of the fiberglass ones left.
I can’t wait until this thing is up and running. I love the sound of trickling water that fountains emit, it’s so relaxing!