Thursday, March 10, 2011

Suddenly, it's 1956! The Living Room

The great thing I like about my 1950's furnished condo is that I can leave 2011 at the doorstep and walk back into the past...1956, that is! Even though the condo wasn't built until 1962, I have painstakingly made sure that it resembled that of a mid-50's, contemporary, modern house. The condo consists of a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms (well, one is now a laundry room/bathroom) and two bedrooms.

The majority of the living room furniture I have is blonde. I've always liked the blonde furniture because it has a clean, modern look that is so well remembered by those who were fortunate to have grown up in that era. I decided to go with a somewhat bachelor pad look using blonde and black as the main colors throughout, which gives it more of a "guy lives here" appeal. See what you think.

The Living Room

This what you see when you walk in the front door.

This three-tiered corner table was a junkyard find. With a little paint and polishing, it was resurrected.

The two-tone upholstery of the sofa and sofa chair compliment the two-toned tables.
The object in the middle of the coffee table is a Cypress tree root. In the 1950's, they were used as mantle decor, plant holders and also served as lamp bases. This was one of two that my grandparents bought in 1956 while in Florida. The other was made into a TV lamp, which I will post later on.

I picked up this free form end table, it's twin (not shown) and matching coffee table on Ebay three years ago. I plan to replace the legs with tapered round ones soon. The little drum ashtray was my grandfather's.

Another shot of the living room looking from the dining room.

When I renovated the condo, I had laminate wood flooring installed and birch doors. Luckily, I had an old door knob escutcheon that I shined up (those don't come around too often). The fiberglass planter is vintage. Also, from my godmother.

Now, no 1950's pad is complete without a hi-fi console. This little gem is a 1957 Olympic that has AM/FM, phonograph and also plays my Mp3 player. I listen to it constantly, and the tubes give it a rich, mellow sound. This hi-fi console screams 1950's with it classic design and tapered legs. (I have a few other 50's hi-fi's that I may be selling soon.) BTW...the black panther on the console has been in our family since 1951.

The drapes are from original vintage stock. There wasn't enough material for them to close completely, so I left them open and got some original-style 2" venetian blinds with cotton straps, just like the original ones were. The valance I made from white oak and put an Ebony oak finish (black background with white highlights in the grain).

Another view looking towards the front door.

This tripod floor lamp I had made from an original design I saw out of a 1950's lamp catalog. I already had the lamp shades, but needed something cool for them to go with.

This is the matching tripod lamp. They were actually quite easy to have made. Again, they are not original vintage, but they are vintage design.
How often do you come across a pole lamp with colored fiberglass cone shades?

The artificial jade tree was my godmother's, whom gave it to me before she passed. She said she's had it since 1954. The gooseneck lamp was restored to original, but having it re-brassed wasn't cheap.

This actually a 1912 Mission clock that I had a new face, casing and pendulum stick made out of white oak and then I finished them in blonde so that it would go with the rest of the place. The original 1912 clockworks are still inside it....and it works great!

This painting is from an artist out of Los Angeles named Gen Matucha. I tried looking him up on the Internet, but no luck. Nonetheless, it has a very cool Carlo-style trapezoid frame that really sets off the living room.

This Asian-style shadow box was in bad shape when I got it out at the Rose Bowl 10 years ago. I plan to sell this when I find the right wall hangings I really want to hang there.

Things made of wrought iron, such as this ash tray and magazine rack were very popular in the 1950's. Though these are original, I'm sure they can easily be reproduced.

Right now, I have a 1956 Admiral television/phono/radio console that I'm having restored (this is a rendering of what it looks like). Of course, it's a blonde console, but I'm having a newer TV put inside it so that it looks original, but can receive cable hook ups. I don't watch much TV anyway, so it will mainly be for when I have visitors over. I will definitely post photos when it's done.


  1. WOW WOW WOW!!!!

    Your place is sooo amazing!!

    Hey looks like you got your blog going yay!

    Gee, and is that your car in your profile too?

    Fantastic, you really should feel sooo proud of how your place looks. I hope mine aspires to something like yours one day! Dang, I'd better get a move-on getting mine in shape!

    Hey, the blond tables arrived today. I can see wood grain, but I'm still not sure what the differences are in regards to what different kinds of blond wood there are!

  2. Take a close up shot of your tables and send them to me. I'll let you know. Some were formica topped and some were real veneered plywood. you have phots posted of your place? I can't find them.

  3. Okie doke. You sure know your wood and wood finishes!

    I have an old 50's blond wood coffee table that I'll need to refinish, and I will redo it in blond wood style, however you do that, I'm not sure!

    No, no finished photos yet. I'm waiting on getting my original hardwood floors re-done, the kitchen and bathroom floors, and a few more rooms painted, and the "new" old stock pink 50's kitchen appliances installed in the kitchen. And more...

    Lots of work yet to do I'm afraid, before I can show off. =(

  4. Hi! I'm a new follower. =) You left a comment on my blog not long ago, and when I checked on yours, I guess you were, well, making it! Haha! I LOVE your apartment. I can't believe how much detail you put into everything! It really is amazing! Can't wait to see pics of the other rooms.

  5. Thank, Liana! I believe I made a comment on how ghetto some woman dress today. LOL!

    I'm getting some other pics taken this weekend and should have some more up by early next week.
    Thanks for checking the place out!


  6. Looks great! The sofas look SO inviting.

  7. I'd love to see more! Please post other rooms! Love it!

  8. WOW!!! Love the additional photos, but no one else will know about them unless you make a new post ;)

    Huh, your family lived or lives in my area. I know about Mc Manns in Ontario!

    I also have that exact same kitchen table. How much did it cost to get the chrome redone?

    I'm going to try giving mine a dose of Naval Jelly first and see if I can do without having it redone. Sadly the cushion parts in the chairs are all falling to dust underneath the chairs every time I sit in one of them. =(

    Just amazing! I adore your place so much! I'd love to know the brand and color of your light green walls. I think I will paint the Space room in that color, since it's been a light 1950's blue since, well, since the 50's!

  9. Oh yeah, and please tell me where you got your lamp rewired. I have a bunch I want rewired! =) Not to mention a couple I need to buy that hang from the ceiling...

  10. Dawn...okay, it took a while, but I got the other post made and transfered them over. This whole thing is still a learning experience. :)

    I see that we live near to one another...I live in the area too. Don't know many atomic/mid-century people out this way, but it seems that they are mostly out L.A. way.

    Okay...let's see. I don't remember how much it exactly cost me to get the chrome redone. It was less then $75, but a former student of mine had his father chrome them. They are out of Pomona. They also did the chrome and polished the stainless on my '47 Plymouth. The problem with the navel jelly is that even though it removes the rust, the stains from it will still remain.

    I don't know, off hand, the name of the color on the walls, but it's very close to the green they used back in the 50's. I matched it at Home Depot and purchased it there. I'll get the name of it and let you know.

    If the material on the chairs is still good, it's possible that they can still be saved. I have a friend that does upholstery pretty reasonable. They can remove the material and restuff the chair seats and backs.

    As far as the lamp...I did the rewiring. I've rewired all of my lamps because I don't trust the old wiring. I was lucky to have been able to find a whole, unused retractor assemble and wire for the pull-down lamp, but after a couple months of being installed, the retractor broke and now it doesn't go up and down anymore. I WILL hunt for another one and get the lamp to do what it was originally made for, once again! I do see those lamps pop up on Ebay from time to time. I have a couple 1950's Sears catalogs that have some real keen lamps in them. ;)

  11. Moondoggie and Zuitsuitmama...thanks for the nice comments. I have posted some more things from my place on another blog. Check them out!

  12. Thanks for all the info! And I see you got a new post going! Good, that way it will show up as a new post in blogrolls, otherwise, it does not get bumped up, if that makes sense.

  13. Pretty cool, Darin! This stuff really brings back memories from my childhood. What's interesting is that we were born in the mid-sixties, and yet we have a nostalgia for a time prior to our own. I think a lot of it is due to growing up with t.v. and films that were made before our time. In a way, it's almost as if we actually grew up in that era.

  14. I can't add much to the accolades, but thanks for posting all the details of the living room, it's great! I've been watching for a console stereo like that blonde one you've got - very jealous. I'll definitely be watching for a future post on that TV console restoration/conversion. Great stuff.

  15. you guys had this stuff in your house too? I have photos of our place in Montclair when I was growing up in the late 60's with all this kind of furniture. The onlt thing is that the stuff was "hand-me-downs" from my grandparents. My parents did have a newer TV and stereo console, though.

    @Uncle Atom...I have a few other blonde consoles that I plan on selling soon, butI need to clean and fix up. Yes, I will keep you posted on the TV consol conversion as it progresses.

  16. Starduster - Sorry to reach out to you this way, but I didn't see an email for you on your profile. I saw your frames on 1950's Atomic Ranch House and I think you'll remember that I am DYING to buy some. Do you have plans to make any?? I am in need of some 9 X 12 frames. You can email me at

    Amazing, amazing house by the way. Love it.
    XOXO Dana

  17. Hi there, I'm putting a book together about vintage fashion and looking for people that 'live' in particular eras and would love to feature you and your home for the 50s section. Please can you get in touch with me on
    Also more info about book here:
    Look forward to hearing from you!
    Thanks, Jo

  18. I Love, Love, Love, it!!! It has a real home feel..

  19. Have you decided to sell your living room shadow box yet? If you do, I'm interested in buying it. Thanks, Anne

  20. Anne...are you talking about the Chinese Modern one? If so, contact me at


  21. I think Blogger ate my first message. I saw your comment on another blogger's page regarding Carlo of Hollywood frames. I am curious if you do custom orders. Thanks for your time, and a beautiful home you have.

  22. Hi there, do you have any photos of how the TV turned out? We are looking at doing a similar thing. Rooms look great by the way

  23. Hi Hilary-

    I never did end up finishing that TV set. It's sitting in my garage. I ended up getting a 1956 GE console TV set. I'll see if I can post it. To make a TV work inside one of the old cabinets, you are going to have to find a 2000-2007 TV set that has a curved picture tube that will fit the older escutcheons more so than a modern flat screen.

    I haven't updated this blog for a while now, so some things have changed slightly.

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