Cu­rat­ing Mid­cen­tury

Thanks to the pas­sion of an en­thu­si­as­tic cou­ple, mid­cen­tury trea­sures are found in ev­ery cor­ner of this 1953 Boise, Idaho home.

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - By Lind­say Jarvis Pho­tog­ra­phy by Al­li­son Corona Styling by Jes­sica Lunque

Thanks to the pas­sion of an en­thu­si­as­tic cou­ple, mid­cen­tury trea­sures are found in ev­ery cor­ner of this 1953 Boise, Idaho home.

a piece of Fran­cis­can Ware don­ning the now iconic “Sput­nik” pat­tern kicked off a deep-seeded love of all things Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern. Rob Baker opened that box from his grand­par­ents’ house and made his fate­ful dis­cov­ery in ele­men­tary school. Now the owner of a mid­cen­tury home and the cre­ator be­hind Mod­ern Mail­box, his pas­sion for the de­sign move­ment has yet to wane.

SEARCH­ING FOR MOD­ERN

Fast-for­ward to 2013, and the mid­cen­tury style Rob and his wife, Car­rie Quin­ney, love so much just wasn’t shin­ing through in their tra­di­tional 1950’s brick home in Boise,

Tucked safely in a card­board box and wrapped in news­pa­per pages from the 1950s,

Idaho—de­spite their best ef­forts. With a baby on the way, the cou­ple also wanted more space for their grow­ing fam­ily. “We re­ally tried to make that [the pre­vi­ous house] into some­thing it wasn’t,” Rob ex­plains. Want­ing a truly mod­ern home, the cou­ple searched and searched only to end up in mul­ti­ple un­suc­cess­ful bid­ding wars.

While search­ing on­line, Rob and Car­rie stum­bled upon a 1953 home with plenty of prom­ise. In what proved to be a whirl­wind process, the cou­ple some­how man­aged to tour the house within an hour, fell in love with the prop­erty and made an of­fer af­ter only a few min­utes—an of­fer which was ac­cepted later that day.

UN­EX­PECTED FIXES

“When we had our in­spec­tion done prior to pur­chas­ing, the AC unit was on its last leg,” says Rob. While they thought it might last at least a few months longer, the AC unit died three days later. Hav­ing al­ready set their sights on re­fin­ish­ing the orig­i­nal oak floors with a dark wal­nut stain to match the ceil­ings, Rob and Car­rie com­pleted both tasks within the first week. “A pretty big ex­pense be­fore even mov­ing in,” Rob admits.

AES­THETIC CON­TI­NU­ITY

While the ar­chi­tect of the house is un­known, Rob and Car­rie have come to find that the rec room ad­di­tion from the 1950s was com­pleted by Bob Vin­cent, a lo­cal gen­eral con­trac­tor whose wife lives down the street. The ad­di­tion wasn’t his only work on the house, as he also con­verted the home’s orig­i­nal car­port into a garage. “[It’s a] sin­gle car garage and ties in so beau­ti­fully,” says Rob.

About six months af­ter mov­ing in, the two French doors on the rec room were changed to a three-win­dow wall. “We ripped the wall apart and re­framed it to look pe­ri­od­cor­rect,” Rob ex­plains. The fre­quently used front room now has dou­ble-paned win­dows, but the orig­i­nal sin­glepane win­dows re­main through­out the rest of the house.

Another phase of ren­o­va­tion meant it was time for what Rob and Car­rie called their “Tus­can night­mare” bath­room

to be ripped out and re-imag­ined to com­ple­ment the house’s retro roots. Left­over vinyl com­pos­ite tile from the cou­ple’s pre­vi­ous house brought a piece of their past, and a funky pop of green, into their new space. Rob re­placed the clear slid­ing doors of a vin­tage medicine cabi­net with solid lam­i­nate for a vin­tage touch.

BIRTH OF MOD­ERN MAIL­BOX

About two and a half years af­ter mov­ing, the Rob and Car­rie felt that some­thing was miss­ing. “We to­tally decked this house out and ev­ery inch was Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern ex­cept for the eye­sore that I walked by ev­ery day,” says Rob. That eye sore was the mail­box. Af­ter search­ing for just the right de­sign with no luck, Rob set out to cre­ate his own, start­ing with a card­board pro­to­type. It took mul­ti­ple vis­its to dif­fer­ent metal fab­ri­ca­tion spe­cial­ists be­fore fi­nally find­ing one that un­der­stood his vi­sion—and so be­gan his com­pany, Mod­ern Mail­box.

The first run of ten units sold on Etsy within a few weeks and Rob knew there was more to this idea than orig­i­nally pre­dicted. Thou­sands of units later, his sleek mail­boxes can be seen ev­ery­where from hard­core mid­cen­tury en­thu­si­ast homes to bun­ga­lows and Vic­to­rian houses. Most re­cently, Rob be­gan pro­duc­ing sub­tlety boomerang shaped wooden light switch and out­let plates for an ex­tra touch of kitsch.

Now with a per­fectly mod mail­box and retro light switch plates ac­cent­ing their care­fully curated fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion, ev­ery de­tail of the Rob and Car­rie’s home re­flects their deeply held pas­sion for mid­cen­tury de­sign.

A WITCO PAINT­ING HANGS ABOVE CARVED TIKIS FOR A WHIM­SI­CAL AD­DI­TION TO ROB’S HOME OF­FICE.

THE FIRE­PLACE FLOAT­ING DE­SIGN EDGE WAS PER­HAPS IN­FLU­ENCED BY RICHARD NEU­TRA, AR­CHI­TECT OF THE NEARBY MOUN­TAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE. WHILE THE FIRE­PLACE IS AN ORIG­I­NAL FEA­TURE, THE BRICK WAS PAINTED BY A PRE­VI­OUS OWNER.

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