New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Bounty of Bakelite (and other things)

Barbie on a Harley welcomes us to Palm Canyon Drive

Well. Well, well, well. Talk about heaven on earth. Talk about a collector's dream. Talk about a Vintage lover's paradise.

I'm talkin' about downtown Palm Springs, of course!

From the 1930's to the 1970's Palm Springs was in its heyday and became known as "Playground of the Stars". That it was considered a place of relaxation, wealth and glamour attracted many from the hills of Hollywood. Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Elvis, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, to name a few, all owned homes in Palm Springs. A half Century later and 'everything old is new again'. Palm Springs still beckons stars from L.A. and Mid-century design influences can be seen everywhere in Palm Springs proper, from Desert Modern architectural design to classic original home furnishings and accessories.

The first thing my eyes spied as we exited the vehicle on North Palm Canyon Drive was a Bertoia diamond chair set out in the sun in front of a Retro shop. And then another retro shop. And another. And another. Each of them chock-a-block full with Mid-Century Modern classics. Delighted delirium was quickly overcome by sticker shock. An Arne Jacobsen egg chair, suffering from some mildew and damage on the fabric, was commanding a sticker price of $2,200. A 60's office chair, with rusty chrome and very worn orange fabric was tagged at $425. A pristine pair of retro lucite table lamps were priced at $1,800!

The Diamond chair was a sad looking faded orange and did not translate well in a photo. These pristine chairs, courtesy of a Google image search, illustrate only a small sampling of the great mid-century furnishings I was able to lovingly caress!

My favorite stop, by far, was a shop called Route 66 Antiques.

Laden with Vintage designer and costume jewelry, owner Matt Burkholz has created a haven for vintage jewelry afficianados but particularly so for those who adore Bakelite. Mine eyes have never before feasted on such a vast array of Bakelite. A former New Yorker, Matt now resides in Palm Springs and penned the well known tome "The Bakelite Collection" (a copy of which I presently have on order). His boutique is a *must-do* for anyone venturing to Palm Springs. Out of respect for the owner's wishes I kept the lens cover on my camera but I managed to find a few pictures of some similar to in store items on the web. These illustrate only some of what one will find upon crossing the threshold to Route 66 Antiques.

Two styles of the amazing Bakelite bangles out of the seemingly hundreds in stock at Route 66.

Bakelite birdie napkin rings were available in a good variety of colors, all of them in superior condition!

As if that wasn't enough... He also has an amazing collection of breathtaking Lucite handbags. I'm kicking myself now that I didn't pick one up for myself.



All in all, it was a wonderful spring break trip for everyone. The chicklets (Harv's and mine) basked in the sun and superior outlet shopping, I got to do the Palm Canyon Drive thing and the Thursday night street fair. We all enjoyed a day at The Living Desert where we got to see all manner of creature we hadn't before seen up close. We grownups suffered through a scorching full day at Soak City waterpark. Okay, okay, we had fun too. The screeching-oh-my-God-am-I-going-to-die variety of fun. A blurb from the site on our favorite ride, the Pacific Spin; " blasting down into a 132-foot long tunnel, then dropping a stomach-churning 75 feet into the mouth of a six story funnel." Yeah, I'd do it again.

All of it.

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