“In my heart I want to be a minimalist with my decor — but there are just too many fun things that are a joy to have around — it’s tough.”
Ted — who is a collector of all things retro — and his main squeeze Stella recently let me take a virtual tour of their amazing mid century home. Ted met Stella after she read a local newspaper article about Ted’s previous retro home then decided to write Ted a letter. He responded, the rest is history — and you can bet their together-house is retro-dreamy. Their place aims for authenticity to a tee: vintage magazines on the end tables, and there isn’t a flat screen TV in the house. Oh and did we mention — there’s a vintage appliance and electronics museum of sorts in the basement. Walking into Ted and Stella’s house is like taking a big beautiful step back in time.
S0 what’s Ted’s story and how did he become such a collector? He writes:
I am a collector first and foremost — I have a regular day job, but reselling the modern stuff is a great way to support my own collecting habit. I am a musician and I do carpentry — furniture restoration, and custom modern style hardscape/landscape installations on the side.
I am seldom at rest. Also design and build a lot of modern inspired sculpture – tables and lamps. (Currently working on a series of very interesting large scale floor lamps that use re-purposed vintage 50’s metal lamp cones and saucers that I have amassed from years of thrifting.)
When I was 15, I was at an antique mall with my Mom and Aunt. I spotted a pair of atomic 50’s lamps — it was the 80’s and they were like $250 — that was expensive !! I rode my bike back there a few days later and bought them with my grass cutting money. I could neither explain nor control the desire to have them. When I brought them home, my mom said, “Why are you buying lamps?? We have lamps all over the house!! and you are 15 — you don’t need lamps!!” I still have them and they still make me really happy every time I look at them.
The house was an architect-designed home that looked really modern on the outside but awful and compartmentalized on the interior with early American fixtures. I got the keys at the settlement and immediately started ripping all of the walls down. I have done a great deal to it, including building the addition on the back myself…(with the help of my Dad and a friend).
What a gorgeous house and interior! I asked Ted about this photos with the awesome Predicta TV set. He said:
That Predicta set is a reissue by Telstar. I could not stomach having a new TV out ruining the decor. They make a great set in the old style with modern guts. I actually do have almost all of the real Predicta models as well.
I got rid of the microwave as well for the same reason. I even have to leave old magazines laying out instead of new ones.
Pam wrote about those Predicta reissues in her post Back in 50s TV land with Predicta — it is great to see one out in the wild — in a mid century home.
Ted, you and Stella have an amazing house — every little detail has a story. For example, I love that you have a juke box in your kitchen — definitely not the sort of “kitchen appliance” you see every day.
The main level of the house is like a carefully curated showroom. Ted is both a self proclaimed retro loving minimalist and collector. I can imagine him, constantly editing the decor and accessories in his home as if it were a work of art — additions and subtractions constantly being made — only the artist knows when it is truly finished…. but then, the beauty part of a house interior is that you can keep playing with it… forever, right?
Ted’s amazing basement full of vintage appliances
It is when you get to the basement of Ted and Stella’s house that Ted’s true collector self becomes apparent. Just around the corner from this framed vintage Nutone advertisement lies a truly awesome sight — what Ted refers to as “the appliance room.”
There they are — lined up in pretty rows — shiny vintage appliances.
It isn’t often that you find a gem of a house with a mini museum in the basement — could Ted possibly have more plans for these beautiful appliances? He replied:
Since I was a kid I have wanted to build a retro town… not like a lot of people do with overdone diners and cutouts of Elvis and James Dean… but something more on the Macabre side — like a 50’s Stephen King ghost town — where everything looks authentic and worn… like it was left one day and forgotten. I am planning on putting up a big barn and building a street scene/movie set kinda town inside… I have been gathering things for years — big signs off buildings — 50’s cars – vintage mannequins — the works!
Ted — I think I speak for most of us when I say — as soon as you get your retro ghost town built and set up, let us know. I’d gladly pay the price of admission to come and check out your collection of vintage stuff — which you would likely have arranged meticulously.
A huge thanks goes out to Ted and Stella for allowing us a peek into their fascinating home and collection and to photographer Veronica Hamburger for giving us permission to use her photos.