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Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap

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Well, Mel and I have finally gotten back to normal after such a big event.  The home tour was a lot of work, but well worth it.  We had a fantastic turnout and we got to meet so many of our neighbors, followers of our blog, and made some new friends.

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An event this large doesn’t happen by accident.  It is through a lot of hard work and sacrifice of dedicated people.  We’d like to thank the following folks for everything they put into making this such a successful event.  First off, we would like to thank the SacMod team who put this all together and made the event run seamlessly.  Thanks to the Sacramento Art Deco Society volunteers who helped manage the crowds during the tour.  A special shout out to our friend Jon of SacMod, my Mom Shirl & Step-Father Dave for sticking with us the ENTIRE day!  Finally, a huge thanks to the guests!

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We were up early on tour day trying to make sure everything was perfect.  We even tried to stage the front yard with vintage cement pink flamingos, atomic lawn furniture, and of course, Betty-Lou our 55′ Chevy Bel Air!

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Mel & I even dressed up for the event.  Shane: Vintage Paradise Found Pink Flamingo shirt. This is the same style shirt worn by Tom Selleck in Magnum PI.  Mel: Pinup Girl Clothing Jersey Cap Sleeve Top and Best Frocks Forever – Circle Skirt in Midcentury Bubble

People started showing up right at 9am and they came in waves.  Below is a video of the line that started to form outside our house.

The line is forming!!! #sacmcmhometour

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 As you can see in the video below of our kitchen & dining rooms, our house was literally packed with tour guests.

 

Here’s a video of our living room.  Volunteers from the Sacramento Art Deco Society even dressed in Art Deco period clothing, which complimented the tour nicely.  This is Linda at our front door.

All the folks who toured our home were very respectful and so complimentary of our home and collection.  We loved being around so many folks who appreciated the same things we do.  We even received gifts from folks who wanted us to have items to add to our collection. We received a lamp, bathroom fish & bubbles, and tiki mugs.  It was also great to find out that some of our blog followers made special trips just for the home tour.  Some readers came out as far as Texas, Arizona, and Los Angeles.  We want to extend a special thanks to those guests who traveled a great distance to see our home.

As promised, for folks who were unable to make the tour, we’re posting photos & videos of each room in our home.  There is too much to include in just one post, so you’ll see separate posts for each room over the next few weeks.  Let’s start with a video of the tiki room.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any music (so we don’t infringe upon any copyright issues).  Just imagine Martin Denny’s tropical music playing in the background.

Below are some shots of the room for a more detailed view.

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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 End Table Restoration

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Mel and I purchased this table a while back from our friends over at M.A.R.K. Vintage. This table was well used and I decided to freshen it up!

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The front lower corner had a couple of pieces that broke off that I glued back into place. Those are the piece in the foreground.

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As you can see, the top is well worn….that will soon be remedied!

I started sanding the top with a low grit sand paper so I could get rid of the years of build up and expose the beautiful wood grain underneath.

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This is one of my favorite things about restoring wood pieces. I love how the grain comes back to life when sanded.

The sides of the tabletop had a couple of places where the veneer had chipped off. Here is how I fixed it…

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you can use this repair process on all veneer pieces. The issue you will run into is finding wood that will match the existing wood grain and color. Matching the color can be achieved with stain but there are no guarantees.

With damage like this, the first thing you need is to chisel the damaged area square.

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Next you need to try and craft a piece of wood roughly the same thickness and as close as possible to the same measurements. You want it tight so the repair will be a seamless as possible.

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Next place a light amount of glue on both surfaces. If you cut the piece right it will have to tap it into place, like I said it should be tight.

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Once it is in place cut off the excess.

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This is roughly how it should look.

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Next, apply some glue on the surface area of the repair.

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While the glue is wet you will want to sand the repair area. The sanding will produce dust and friction/heat making a paste that will fill in any gaps around the inserted piece of wood.

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Those are some good looking toes!

As you can see, the base is worn and dried out from years of sitting.

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I decided I would apply a darker stain to the base to help hide any damage sustained over the years. After I made the repairs to the top, I sanded it all down one more time and stained it with a light stain. After all this was done I sprayed both pieces with numerous coats of polyurethane.

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SHAZAAAAMMM!

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Since I didn’t have exotic wood for that repair I had to hide the repair by imitating wood grain on the side of the table top. This hides my repair. I think it turned out great.

With the base being darker than the top it makes the top stand out. I am very pleased with how this turned out.

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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.

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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

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