Thursday, September 1, 2016

There's more to life than cars.

How about a painting featuring cars? This painting is hanging in my Den (Never refer to it as a Man Cave!) If you are familiar with Historic Downtown Los Angeles you might recognize the Angels Flight railway at the Third Street tunnel. I purchased this painting several years ago at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market. Besides being a huge Raymond Chandler fan, I am also a great fan of the city of Angels, as I worked their for a few years in the early 1980's. Michael Connelly, my current favorite author, wrote a thrilling novel simply titled  "Angel's Flight".

My Den is one my favorite places and creations. I have developed a love of classic detective novels from the 1930's and 1940's, Big Band music, and the furnishings of the period. So I have tried to create a vintage vibe that blends the styles of that time into a spot I can use to read, listen to records and relax. There is no TV, or sports memorabilia, instead I am trying to create a mature, lounge atmosphere.  Why does everything have to be "family friendly"? I think it's about time that we can act like adults without it being a pseudonym  for unnecessary profanity, crudity and stupidity. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up I wanted to be a "Grown up". I don't drink very much, but when I do, I don't think I need to apologize for it.

I found a 1940's secretary desk on Craig's List and turned it into a bar. I fixed the broken foot, broken glass, removed the letter shelves and drawers, and refreshed the finish. I added mirrors, lights, and some recycled brass material.

This display case is filled with lots of stuff and on top I have a cool neon "Drinks" sign as well as two giant Martinis. I've got all kinds of stuff displayed all over the place.

There are bookshelves all around the room. I have a very old cabinet that was once a built in unit in a turn of the Century Craftsmen house. This cabinet had been in my family for over fifty years. My Dad bought this at some kind of auction in the mid 1960's to house the Encyclopedia Britannica. My folks bought those, at a great expense, the same way that parents today would buy a computer so that they could help their kids succeed in school. My parents were great believers in education. They paid for twelve years of Catholic schooling for each of their three children. Is it a coincidence that all three of us graduated from college? I don't think so. That old cabinet now holds the Encyclopedia Britannica that my wife and I bought for our kids in the 1990's.

One wall of the room is dedicated to bookshelves. These are mostly filled with auto related books that I've read and don't want to part with. These aren't anything special or even old. They were a gift from my Mom when we first bought this house.

The top of the bookcase is filled with some lounge type stuff. That slot machine replica was a great find. I've wanted a real vintage slot machine for years, but I could never afford one. I found this at a vintage travel trailer antique sale in Auburn. It cost me all of 15.00!

That painting is special because it was painted by my Daughter in her Junior year of High School. It's a detail view of the 1996 Mustang that I still own. That multi meter to the right of it is the same model that my Dad built from a kit. This was in the very early Sixties when he had a foot operation that laid him up for a couple of weeks. He took the time to put this instrument together and study a correspondence course on television repair. He then opened up a repair business that he ran out our house for many years. My Dad was not one to waste time!

I store some of my vintage record collection on the bottom shelf. I prefer "High Fidelity" albums from the 1950's. There was a format change from 78s to 33-1/3 rpm long playing records. There was a re-release of earlier recordings to the newer format. Do you remember when cassette tapes gave way to CDs?

This is a 1942 Silvertone console radio/ record player. I bought this from a lady whose parents had bought it in the summer of 1941. New model year radios like cars, were released in the fall. I believe that she and her family heard FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech on this radio. Amazing. I restored the case by repairing the veneer, replacing the grille cloth, and re-staining and refinishing the cabinet. I found an elderly gentleman in Castro Valley who restored the electronics. I added a modern Denon record changer which has been very satisfactory.

Now we come to my favorite place in the room. I love to read. I can sit here without the distractions of the family watching television in the family room. This big leather club chair with ottoman was purchased from a Salvation Army store. It was on sale for 60.00! I think the thing that prevented most people from buying it was just that it was so big! The bridge lamp is a reproduction of the a style popular in the 1930s. I found it falling apart in an antique store in Healdsburg for 15.00. I brought it home in pieces in the trunk of my Mustang. I stripped and polished the uprights, rewired, replaced the socket, repaired a broken die cast joint, and added a mica shade. I researched the manufacturer and found that it had been made in the early 1970s.

I usually use the ottoman as a little table. I have a little wooden tray that I'll put my drink or coffee cup in. That tray came from a local flea market for 5.00. I usually don't like to sit with my feet up. This is an incredibly comfortable chair. 

This desk is a little hard to see. It's a mid 1940s Oak unit with a black work top. I picked this up at the Salvation Army main headquarters in Healdsburg Ca. I'm pretty sure that I paid only 10.00 for it. Lucky I saved it. It was about to be smashed to smithereens. Furniture that doesn't sell after awhile must be destroyed to make way for all the new inventory coming it. That Bakelite telephone looks right at home on top. Do you know why the telephone number would be Penn 6- 5000? 

This is a very comfortable room to hang out, listen to music, read or talk with friends. I will share some of the details about the little treasures displayed around the room in the following post.

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