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Tag Archives: tiki

Jungle Cat Carlo of Hollywood Pair They’re Grrrrreat!

Jungle Cat Carlo Paintings

Mel and I were contacted by Bobbie at At Home Modern regarding these fantastic Carlo of Hollywood watercolors she purchased from auction house in New Jersey. I had seen pictures of these online before but had never seen them in person. They are soo cool with the black background.

Jungle Cat Carlo

Unfortunately, these had some mild condition issues. It appears dust and some light mildew had accumulated on the surface of the art. This happens when the back dust cover is torn or missing or when the paintings are stored in a humid area. If you recall, we had a set of bullfighters that had mold that penetrated the paintings.  I had to do an extensive restoration of that pair. Luckily, the mold & dust on this set did not penetrate the art.

Jungle Cat Carlo

Jungle Cat Carlo

We were able to carefully remove the surface debris and they cleaned up great!

Jungle Cat Carlo

Jungle Cat Carlo

I refinished the frames of course.

Jungle Cat Carlo Paintings

These will look fantastic in our Tiki room.

Hepcat Tiki Room

Here is a sample of the Tiki Room so far. There is still a lot I want to do. So far so good.

Hepcat Tiki Room

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Tahiti Witco Bar Restoration

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Here is the original ad of the Witco Tahiti bar. This bar is out of sight and is one of the most ornate bars produced by Witco that I have ever seen.

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Mel and I came across this bar while searching Craigslist.  I thought it might be Witco so we shot down and nabbed it.

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The bars finish was really dry and the varnish on top was missing in some spots and peeling off on others.

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Mel and  I decided to try to recapture the original finish of the bar top by using Famowood Glaze Coat Gloss Polyurethane. This stuff is great, it is equal to 80 coats of varnish but can be pretty messy.

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Here you can see one of the stools is stained and polyurethane applied while the other is in as found condition. I used Minwax Golden Oak as the color stain I thought best matched the original finish.

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Here are the stools all done. We plan to have the cushions recovered in zebra pattern fabric by B&T Upholstery.

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Here is the top refinished. We didn’t do too bad considering it was our first time using a glaze coat. I plan to also get a piece of glass cut to make sure the top doesn’t get messed up from use.

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The wood looks so great with the refreshing it received.

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This will be a real conversation piece for our tiki room. We just love how ornate it is.

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 The pictures really don’t do this bar justice.  The wood grain is phenomenal in person.

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We will enjoy this for many years to come.

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.

Mr.Witco

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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

Here Are A Few New Things

IMG_3813Mel and I have been so busy trying to keep our store stocked.  We have driven all over northern California looking for things we think are cool.  Of course, not everything we buy is for the store.  After all, we are collectors before we are dealers.  The above piece is a new James Bunnell jungle cat we acquired.  We have a few of his jungle cats now (jungle cat 1, Jungle cat 2, jungle cat 3)

IMG_3811Here we have a fantastic 1959 Lane swan and ballerina tv lamp.  This will look great near a ballerina Carlo of Hollywood.  We picked this up from Rusty Relics and Funky Finds in Midway Mall.

IMG_3781We have been lucky as far as Tiki goes.  Here are some pieces we picked up to add to our collection.

IMG_3785While at Midway Mall, we also picked up these killer lamps.  We already have one, so this will make a set of three.  We also acquired another set of six band rattan that I will pick up this Saturday.  It will need upholstery and some restoring but it will be well worth it. I will have pictures soon.

IMG_3809This is a really cool bowl made by Trader Dick’s.

IMG_3787This set is so vibrant we could not pass it up.  The hibiscus flowers look so cool.

IMG_3790This is a menu cover used on the Matson Lines cruise ships and was painted by Eugene Savage (1883-1978).  I plan to get this framed with a bamboo frame.

IMG_3800This book is a trip.  It is bound in leather and has that fantastic image on the front.  This book was released in 1960 and covers the history of Hawaii.

IMG_3780Here is one of the most atomic looking televisions ever made.  This is a 1971 Panasonic Orbital television.

TheOrbital-Ad-blogHere is what the original ad looked like and here is also the television commercial.

IMG_3778This one works but has a few cosmetic issues, nothing major.

IMG_3773This unit just screams Mad Men.  I love the styling and the sleekness of it.  This would look great sitting on a shelf on a wall unit.  This was given to us by our new friend Jenn.  She’s proof that there are still good people out there :).  Thanks Jenn, this will stay in our collection.

IMG_3774This Panasonic will need a little work on the veneer, but overall it is in fantastic shape.  I still need to check the functionality of the unit.

IMG_3801This is an unmarked/un-engraved trophy that we came across.  I plan to clean it up and see what unique inscription we could add to it.

IMG_3806This set is so fun.  We love the colors and think it will dress up any bar top.

IMG_3808Each piece has wear, but I like them the way they are.

downloadWe also received this popcorn ceramic figurine set in the mail from one of our blog readers Dena (JuicyLucyVintage).  She gave this to us as a gift and we are soo thankful.  Click here to check out her Etsy store.

IMG_3815This is a fantastic mid-century Detecto scale.  We love the color combination.

IMG_3817This Jeco Electric clock is rather large and has a great Mid Century feel to it.  Picking has been going well for us lately and we hope the momentum keeps up!

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.

A Closer Look

Hello all,

Now that we have our new Carlos home we are able to take better pictures of them. We are very happy with these and look forward to trying to find a place to put them all.

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This is the largest Carlo panther I have ever seen at 52 inches wide and 33.5 inches tall.

Mark and Ann purchased these from a Carlo collector in Fresno that was liquidating his collection. They really scored finding a collector who was willing to sell his whole collection. We are soo grateful they thought of us when they got these and gave us first shot at them! As Mark always says, “these are investment pieces”. At this point, I think it is more of an addiction!!! This puts us up to 92 Carlos! Mel and I are going to have to throw a party when we hit 100!

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This is another monster about the same size as the one above. The colors of this one are breathtaking and there is a lot of detail. I like the dragon detail on the big flower vase. Mel likes the little dog.

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The background makes this piece really stand out.

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Bengal Tiger……what else can I really add?

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The black background makes these just POP!!

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These seem to be flawless.

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These are going to flank the large panther and will look killer with the red frame against these acid green frames.

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So simple but soo cool.

Mel and I spent all last weekend getting all our art in place in the Tiki room. With these new additions it seems we have to start all over again. With wall real estate at a premium, it is getting more and more difficult to find a new home for the Carlos we come across. Now off to the Carlo gallery to update it with these.

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