Retro fifties decor art by deb prints mobiles blenko

retro fifties decor art by deb prints mobiles blenko

retro fifties decor

Retro fifties decor? Mid Century Modern Art? Well, it sure looks pretty unassuming from the exterior.

Originally my sweet little (actually quite large!) Arizona home was no where near the Mid Century Modern Art home it has become today and doesn’t show a clue that it might have elements of retro fifties decor inside. Here’s what it looked like the day I first set eyes on it in Spring of 2006:

From Rainy Marin to MCM

I currently live in Los Angeles in a home that I am renovating/updating. Before I lived here I owned a home in Arizona. This is my story of the Arizona MCM Renovation.

I was living in Marin County in California in a very nice 2300 sq ft contemporary home with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a beautiful swimming pool, but I was longing to escape the months of cold drenching rain in the winter that Northern California is famous for, and I wanted something a bit more. customizable, something more Mid Century Modern, something with more of a Retro Fifties Decor. So I did what a lot of people do — I searched the internet! The MLS listings to be exact. One day this home popped up on my screen. It intrigued me. A few weeks later I was in Arizona looking at the property, and a month after that, I owned the property!

Technically this home is a ranch. All one story, with a soaring 16 foot ceiling in the living room and 11 foot ceiling in the master bedroom. And, technically, this is not a mid century modern marvel. It was not filled with retro fifties decor. But. I saw it’s potential. With a total of 3,900 sq ft I knew this was MY HOME and I also KNEW it had the potential to become a masterpiece of Mid Century Modern Art!

And I was right!

This home captivated me like no other, and still does! It was almost like I could «see» the retro fifties decor elements in the house in the corner of my eye, I could feel it, breathe it, smell it. I knew I could transform this home into something very special.

I am happy to leave the exterior front of the house alone. Let cars driving by think it’s just one of the typical Arizona sand box homes. However, I should mention that it is not a clone of other homes, it is not like any other home in the neighborhood. This area was developed in the late 1980s before the «cookie cutter» style took hold (and NO HOA!!).

above left: red Eames plywood chair and a custom hanging art mobile.

Mid Century Modern Art Elements

  • No stairs at all — everything on one level
  • Interesting roof line
  • 4 sets of french doors
  • 16 foot beamed ceiling in living room
  • Epoxy floors throughout
  • «Arizona Room» reminiscent of the famous Eichler atrium
  • Backyard very «tropical» Palm Springs feel

Floors Doors & Sweat From The Pores

I wasted no time, and got to work as soon as we moved in. I started painting ALL of the walls and woodwork PURE WHITE. Painting made a huge difference right away. Everything looked fresh and clean and bright, but man, was it a LOT of extremely hard work! Geez! Well worth every drop of sweat.

I also picked out new ultra cool modern ceiling fans to replace the 1980s brass ones. This meant replacing 10 ceiling fans!

Fans are a necessity here in Arizona. After mulling it over for some time, I chose fans that were modern and in keeping with the retro fifties decor feel:

  • Monte Carlo «Gemini» fans in the living room
  • Minka Aire «Cirque» fan designed by George Kovacs in the dining room (my ModPodz work area) — I love this fan, it reminds me of a mid century modern mobile
  • Casablanca «Trident» fans in 3 bedrooms (2 snow white and graphite black in the den)
  • Casablanca brown leather «Monaco» in the Master Bedroom
  • Hampton Bay brushed nickel and black fans in my Studio
  • Minka Aire white «Concept II Flush 44″ in the Blenko Lounge (aka Arizona Room)

From Blah To Mod Kitchen!

One of the (many) first orders of business was to take the blah kitchen and turn it into a blend of retro fifties decor and contemporary modern. Actually, anything would have been an improvement!

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

Due to budget concerns, I did not replace the cabinets (the kitchen has a million cabinets and a $10,000 quote helped me make this decision). Instead I opted to do a faux paint job on them, which darkened them up. I also painted the «L» shaped sink area cabinets black, as well as tall side cabinets black (not shown). The faucet is Grohe K4 in stainless steel. Countertops are Corian pure white (I don’t know about yo u, but to me granite is way too overdone and not very mid century modern looking). I added a splash of lime green (some would say chartreuse) for some bright cheery color.

A Sonneman wall lamp shines over the telephone and a Sonneman «Handkerchief» light replaced a ceiling fan over the dining area (not shown). GE Profile appliances complete the room with modern functionality.

I love glass mosaic tile, and decided to do a backsplash in monochromatic colors. We did this tile work ourselves, and I really love it.

The Modern Living Room

Next up, a fun task and the biggest endeavor of all: ripping out the horrible stained beige wall to wall carpet that ran throughout almost the entire house. I ripped with glee! I ripped and tore until no carpet remained. So where did that leave me? With bare raw concrete floors. YAY. I loved it. Bare mid century modern art CONCRETE floors. But what to do with these wonderously industrial looking floors? Concrete stain? Hardwood? Epoxy? I love hardwood floors but really had my heart set on keeping them concrete. Considering the numerous cracks and other weirdness, I decided to paint the floors with epoxy. So the floors of my mid century modern art home became light gray (almo st white)!

Concrete In The Raw

Here’s a pic of the living room floor after the carpet was pulled. Oh what fun! This concrete slab had not seen the light of day since 1988. I took some «after» pics (below) — what a difference a couple coats of light gray epoxy makes! It is in keeping with elements of a super cool retro fifties decor!

I think the almost white epoxy floor adds a real retro fifties decor look to the room. We ran into a snag with the floor when we discovered a stress line in the concrete, apparently put there on purpose when the house was built. It ran all the way from end to end in the living room, and we filled it with a rubbery material that will still allow the crack to «give» as things shift and settle. I was also told that most of the shifting and settling should already have happened by now. The house was built in 1987-1988.

The «after» pic! Quite a difference I’d say:

The Mood Studio

Choose from a variety of colors from vibrant to cool. Cool canvas art, also available on premium paper, for your modern home:

Blenko Decanters (920s and 5826s) on the fireplace:

The amethyst 920 decanter shown above was purchased from Pachucos Cadaver s. a wonderful Blenko Glass dealer in New York. Great people, excellent inventory, and highly recommended!

My Blenko Inspired Artwork:

Another shot of my living room, featuri ng some of my Mid Century Modern Art giclee canvas prints :

You can peer into the Blenko Lounge through the french doors:

Another view into the Blenko Lounge. The rugs are delightfully retro Couristan Recife Pathway outdoor rugs for durability in such a high traffic area that leads outdoors to the backyard.

I found these amazing shelving units at Ikea. The shelves seem to float, but they are very sturdy and secure. I wouldn’t trust my Blenko Collection to them if they weren’t!

As you can tell, I love Blenko Glass! Check out more of my collection and get some info on Blenko you might not know about! I also create very special giclee art prints of Blenko Glass catalog covers. and I also have a line of B lenko inspired art in the works!

Blenko Catalog Art Prints:


As avid book collectors I converted one bedroom into a Library/Den room. I am still deciding what chair or lounge chair to put in front of the window instead of the one that’s there. The rug is from the Andy Warhol «Pop Abstracts Pop Circles» collection.

Vintage Vinyl LP Lounge

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