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May 19, 2009

Mid-Century Treasure Hunt in Texas – Part 2: Slender-eeze Atomic Health Lounge, Pink Beauty Parlor Hairdryer, and Pink Bathroom Fixtures!

5a9cAs promised, here is Part 2 of Reader Sara’s trip to an antiques festival/flea market in Texas, with all of her great descriptions! If you missed Part 1, check it out and see some of her great finds.

Once again, this is just some of the stuff she DIDN’T buy.  Stuff she bought is coming soon!

Also, when you are finished reading, please take the time to respond to Sara’s question about buying a MCM house which I have included at the end of this post. She took pictures to share with us, so please feel free to give her some much-needed advice!

Sara writes:

Here is the most interesting stove/oven. I have no idea when it is from, maybe 20s/30s??? It has a beige/cream enamel all over it with the cool scroll design on the front. As you can see there are some rusty areas on it and it looks like it could use a cleaning, but I thought it was really cool and decorative. What a fancy oven for that time. There was no price on it, so I have no idea what they were asking.
Here were some cool heart diner type chairs from a restaurant in Dallas (or so I was told). They were only $25 each – but the chrome was not in the best of shape, a lot of rust, so they would definitely have to be re-chromed. I thought they were very, very cute though!
Here is another cool 50’s Dinette set. I thought the Formica on this set was really cool with the pink background and the gray web like design. I also thought it was interesting that this set had hairpin legs. This set was also in really great shape. The price was $250.


I had to get a pic of the PINK beauty parlor set. How cool a – pink chair and hairdryer. The chair was $125 and the dryer was $65. I went through so many buildings and tents, it is hard to remember, but I think this place said everything they had was 20% off – so I am sure they were willing to bargain!5aef


I guess I was finding a BUNCH of pink stuff this year, I don’t ever remember seeing do many different pink things before. We will call this “The Year of Pink”! They had this really cool pink bathroom set for sale that was taken out of a house in small town Texas. I thanked them profusely for not throwing it in the trash! It was in really great shape actually. The tub had a color stamp on the inside, it said ‘Peachglow’. They were asking $1295 for the set. I was drooling all over it and told them I would love to take it home with me, but I just could not. Maybe next time though……………..5b11
And now, I have saved the BEST for last! Here was just about the absolute COOLEST thing EVER!!! It is a ‘Slender-eeze Health Lounge’ from the Mark Leach Health Furniture Co. in Milford  Michigan (maybe you know where that is?). The guy said the cut-out white parts would vibrate and massage. He said it still worked!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the vinyl on this. I wish I could have gotten this baby home, but it was just too big. He was asking $650, but I know he was willing to deal. It appeared to be in mint/near mint condition. I LOVE it!5b43
Wow, Sara!  The Slender-eeze Health Lounge is amazing! I would have loved to see that baby up close! I especially love the vinyl pattern. Amazing.
Thanks for all the great recon you did at the sale, Sara!  Stay tuned to see pics of things Sara DID buy!
For those who would like to help, here is the question Sara recently left in the comment section, asking for some advice on finding a good mid-century house: (Pam, maybe your readers would be interested in answering as well??)
Ruth, One question, about houses, while it is on my mind. When you moved into your house would you say it had been maintained pretty well? Mike and I have been looking for a 50s/60s house, more in untouched condition, like yours – and it seems like that is somewhat hard to find here, esp. in fairly good condition. I found this house here, from 1960, that I absolutely LOVED, but it had a lot of condition issues, eg. wood rot along a lot of the roof trim, water damage on the inside drywall (under most window sill areas) and also where toilets/showers had caused damage to inside drywall making the paint stained and chip off, also damage/stains (possible mold???) on carpet under window sills that had damage, all the patio sliding doors were out of frame and would not close or really lock that well, weird outlets that had been ripped out with wires just hanging out of the wall, etc., etc….. This was not a foreclosure, just a regular house for sale. It just seemed like the owners never really did any maintenance/general upkeep. I realize I want to buy an old house, and I definitely do not expect it to be perfect by any means – I was just wondering what your experience was. Should I expect most houses I look at (that are untouched/time capsule like) to have weird issues??? Anyone else have help on this subject – Tikimama, Sablemable – I know you guys have old houses as well……
Thanks in advance for responses!

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11 Responses to Mid-Century Treasure Hunt in Texas – Part 2: Slender-eeze Atomic Health Lounge, Pink Beauty Parlor Hairdryer, and Pink Bathroom Fixtures!

  1. 50s Pam Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I am a big believer in looking and looking and looking until you find a house that makes you jump up and down in the foyer. That feels “perfect” in terms of fulfilling your wish list. I think there ARE houses out there that have been well maintained. This is particularly important relatively to structural issues. Things that are “cosmetic” – even a kitchen or bathroom that need to be gutted because they are worn out, these are different issues – I’d call them “cosmetic.”

    Go see as many houses as you can. Refine your knowledge and understanding. Wait it out. The retro decorating gods will send you to the house you were meant to find. Oh yeah, and location location location.

    Here’s a post with more of my ramblings on house shoppping: http://retrorenovation.com/2009/04/20/shopping-for-a-midcentury-hom/

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

    The sad thing about this house was I DID jump up and down in the foyer and I would not change one thing inside of the house regarding any of the fixtures or cabinetry! But the maintenance issues are a bit overwhelming and would probably cost around $30,000 to fix! 🙁

  3. sablemable Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Wow, with all the issues that particular house has, I would keep searching. When you have water damage, you never know what the cause is until the drywall/plaster wall is removed. Could be faulty plumbing, or high water table/flood zone, leaky roof. And, if the house has black mold, that can run into big bucks. There’s probably asbestos in the house which means more money to have it removed safely.

    If it were me, I would keep looking. I agree with Pam that there are homes out there that are in excellent/good original condition. I wish you lived here, Sara, because our neighborhood is loaded with time capsule homes that are up for sale. You would go ga-ga over them.

    Let us all know what you decide and we certainly will support your decision and give you whatever help you need!

  4. Tikimama Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Sara, thanks for mentioning me! I’m so honored!

    We’ve bought 3 older (50’s era) homes now, and each time we spent a LOT of time looking. I looked obsessively online and then followed up in person with our realtor. I knew I really wanted the old character and features, but even then, we looked at houses that were brand new, or from different eras. Many times, I almost talked myself into a house that wasn’t my dream, because it was right in other ways: price, location, pool, condition, etc. But I’m sooooo glad that we waited and chose the homes we did.

    Now, the first house we bought was a real fixer, with no real original features except the hardwood floors, but the neighborhood was fantastic and so was the price. It was our first home, and we worked on it for 7 years. It’s a looong story, but we ended up selling it at the tail-end of the housing market boom, made a great profit, and moved to the desert. We both still wish we had that home. The house in the desert is huuuuge – 4000 sq. feet, one story. We did quite a few major renovations (floors, roof, plumbing, converting all-electric to gas) with all the cash we’d made from the sale. Then we decided we just weren’t happy being that far from our friends and family. So another house-hunt ensued.

    This time around, I had so much better idea of what I wanted, what my husband wanted, and what our family needed. I did not miss having a 2-story (like the first one), and we could NOT live through any more major remodelling. We came *this* close to buying a house that was really too small, and too “new”, just because it had a pool and was in the “better” part of town. Someone had told my husband that in our city, you didn’t want to be below a certain street, and the house we now have, is just below that “magic” line. After much debate, we bought here and are very, very happy. The house was a one-owner, and the children were selling it after their mother’s death. She had maintained it well, and hadn’t changed much over the years. They raised 5 kids here, and there are still a few original owners on our block.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling. I guess my advice is take your time, like Pam said. One thing I found very helpful was to print out the info pages from the websites I’d visit (like redfin.com), take those along to viewings, and take lots and lots of notes and my own photos. I had a huge binder full of these, and it really helped us remember all the myriad details of all the houses we looked at (we looked at at least 50 in the desert, and probably 30 this time around – and that was on a deadline!). Don’t try to talk yourself into a home that in your heart you know is not perfect for YOU! And never underestimate the time, energy, and money it will take to repair issues like the ones you mentioned above! If there is any other way I can help, please feel free to email me.

    BTW, where in AZ are you? My parents are in Sun City West, if that means anything to you!

  5. sablemable Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I forgot to answer one of your questions, Sara.

    No, when we bought both of our houses (1958 and 1955 built), there wasn’t anything out of sync, so to speak. All the plumbing and electrical were in excellent shape, no leaks, no mold, etc. Of course, roofs have to be replaced depending upon the condition of the roof when you buy the home (always a good question to ask the sellers: how old is the roof and when re-roofed, was it stripped down to the wood, felt removed, and any leaks repaired; or, is the current roof new shingles placed over old shingles). Another area to look into is the age of the furnace and central a/c, also the water heater. Most of the time capsule homes have the original furnace and central a/c which must be replaced to keep utility costs down and be more energy efficient.

    Also, keep in mind that some homes have crawl spaces, basements or are built on concrete slabs. If this house has a crawl space and there’s a lot of moisture, that could be another reason for black mold.

    All in all, you want a structurally sound home that you can move right into without worrying about gutting the place to its bare bones.

    Hope all this info is helpful to you, Sara.

  6. Sara in AZ Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Tikimama and Sablemable – Thanks so very much for your comments! I really do appreciate it. 🙂

    Tikimama- You are very kind, and I am honored by your response. It sounds like we do a lot of the same “obsessive” looking for houses on the web. 🙂 I will look all the time, just to see what comes up and then e-mail my realtor when I need more info – or have to see it in person. My husband and I also have looked at many different types of houses, both new and old – esp. when we bought out first house (that we are still in) 11 years ago. We live in Tempe, by the way – and, yes, I do know where Sun City is – my Grams lives there too! Our house, that we live in now, was built in 1979; and I have to say it is a really well built house. When we bought it we also looked at newer houses in Chandler and Mesa, but Mike wanted to be closer to ASU, where he was finishing his degree. So we actually bought in the same EXACT neighborhood he grew up in! Believe it or not, we were not trying for that – it just worked out that way. Our house is really an ok house, in a safe area, and there is no real reason we have to move. We just thought if we found a really cool house, with some more space (always need more storage) that we would make the effort. It sounds like your ‘fixer’ in the desert was a really intense job and that is why we are really leery of this house because I know when you start getting in to the ‘fix up’ process it can get pretty awful! Thanks for letting me know you are happy in the so called “bad” area. This house is in a great little area, but surrounding it the neighborhoods are really, really, iffy….. I was just really drawn to this house, in particular, because it is a custom house and has that Eichler/flat roof style, and has all these really great original touches, kind of like Ruth’s house. But, I will definitely not talk myself into a place that is not right just because it is cool. What would devastate me more is someone buying the house and tearing it down to build a new mini mcmanision. Be prepared, I may just e-mail you one of these days…. 🙂

    Sablemable – You are very kind too, and your responses definitely did help. Oh my gosh, it sounds like I would be in Hog Heaven in your neighborhood!!! And, I’ll bet the houses have been well maintained and are not that expensive!!! Maybe I will just have to talk Mike into a move one of these days! 🙂 This house does scare me because, you are right, you don’t know what is going on until you remove the drywall – and it seems like ALL of the windows had water damage around/below them. Oddly, the roof was the one thing he did recently replace (or so he said). But, it is a flat roof house, so it has a foam roof. The current owner said it was $18,000 for the new foam roof! I don’t have any experience, at all, with foam roofs, but we both wondered why he did the roof and nothing else, like what was he trying to cover up??? This house is on a slab. It seems most homes here are built on slabs, with no basements. If you get lucky you can sometimes find a basement, but not that often. I would LOVE to have a basement. I totally agree that we do not want to gut the place to the bare bones, we will be much better off just being able to move right in……

    One other weird question for everyone. We noticed this house had a funky type of drywall. I am used to the regular chalky white drywall in our 70s house. This house has a weird sandy type of drywall. Like where there were nail holes in the wall, it literally was a sandy type of material and you could just scrape at it with your fingernail and you would get little sandy grains on your hand. Has anyone ever had any experience with this type of drywall??? It was a custom house, so maybe it was some weird upgrade for that time? Just curious if anyone else has ever seen the stuff.

    Thanks again Ruth, Tikimama and Sablemable! I really appreciate all of your info. It helps knowing there are people I can turn to for these weird retro house questions!

  7. sablemable Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Sara, you are so welcome!

    I didn’t mean to be so long-winded in my replies to your questions, but my husband, Bob, had taught me long ago to look at the structure and not at the decor and as a woman, I feel it is my duty to watch after my “Sisters” and help keep them from becoming consumer victims. Also, when you reach 50+ years, you tend to mother people to death with advice, LOL!

    A lot of the homes here in my neighborhood have remained the same because when people were buying houses with loans that they couldn’t repay and ultimately got foreclosed on, the new owners couldn’t afford to make changes. It’s sad that they’ve lost the homes, but, at least the interiors weren’t torn out and made new. We’ve toured quite a few MCM homes and the bathrooms and kitchens are as they were when built, even down to the wallpaper!

    I do a lot of looking on Realtor.com to see what’s up for sale in my neck of the woods. But what I don’t understand is how sellers can ask for such high prices when people are unemployed because there aren’t any jobs.

    I saw a MCM home on Realtor.com and knew of the family that had lived there since it had been built. Realtor.com had photos of the interior, but wouldn’t you know it, no bathroom pictures! But the house was beautiful, one of those long, rambling creatures that I love so much.

    Can’t wait to see/hear what house you finally find that makes you and hubby both ecstatic.

  8. Tikimama Reply

    May 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Sara – that sounds like the ol’ lath-and-plaster! And oh yeah, I’ve got experience with it! What little I know about the structural side of remodeling, I’ve learned from my husband and our experiences in our homes. In our first (1957 built), the former owners had tried for a Southwest-style decor (shudder) and had splashed drywall mud on the walls for some sort of “adobe” look. We just scraped it off and painted. Until we got to the upstairs master bedroom. We went to scrape, it didn’t budge. Tried an electric sander, then a grinder, no luck. They had applied EXTERIOR stucco to all the walls (thank God not to the coved ceiling). So I, in all my wisdom, suggested that it would be easier to rip out the drywall and replace it. No big deal for hubby and his dad, who’d done it lots of times before. Turns out it was the original lath and plaster, and let me tell you, that stuff is a BEAR to remove. It will probably last forever if it’s well-taken care of, but if it has damage and you’re thinking you’ll just rip it out, think very carefully and/or get expert advice. It was very hard physical work, and extremely dusty. The only saving grace was that we didn’t have our kids at the time, and we weren’t using the upstairs yet.

    The house/owner you are describing sends up my alarm bells ringing. Just be very careful and ALWAYS get a really good inspector!

  9. sablemable Reply

    May 20, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Don’t see too much plastering of walls anymore. It’s an art that has died. My 1955 has plaster and steel laths, so they should last until the end of time.

    Oh, yes! Don’t forget the inspector as Tikimama suggested!

  10. Sara in AZ Reply

    May 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Sablemable – I did not think your response was long winded at all! I really appreciate your responses because it helps me to be better informed. And, you are SOOOO right – always look at structure first! I never understand it when I watch those home buying shows (like House Hunters) and the buyers always get freaked out about the way the current owners have it decorated. I always want to see the nitty gritty of the house, and who cares about the decor! We have a BOAT LOAD of foreclosures here too. I wish SO badly that it was not happening. It breaks my heart to see so many people lose their homes. I think everyone just got caught up in the hype. Unfortunately, when the real estate market was so hot here a few years ago, a lot of the older homes in the downtown Phoenix area were snapped up by investors to try to flip for a quick buck (or the homes were just leveled all together to build a mc manision). The Arcadia area here was built up in the 50s/60s, in an orange grove, and had a lot of cool retro homes – a lot of them are now leveled or totally remodeled. 🙁 I am sure Tikimama would know a lot about this too, being from CA – I know it happened a lot there too. The MCM house sounds REALLY cool, and that is awesome that you knew the people who lived in it. You should post a link, I would love to see it.

    Tikimama – I was thinking it was lath and plaster too. The guy who built the house was apparently some kind of builder/developer in this area back in the 50s/60s. He was partners with some other guys in building shopping malls and other stuff in this area. So, this being his personal home, I am sure he wanted it built the absolute best way he could. I can tell he did not cut corners. The kitchen had miles of real Walnut cabinets (with cool brushed steel pulls), much more cabinets than you would expect for a house of that time (kind of like Ruth’s kitchen). Really cool original lighting fixtures, awesome tile, original stainless vent/heaters in the bathrooms, a million walk in closets (which is also weird for a house in the 60s) – just all this really great stuff. So I am sure he built the house to last. It is too bad it was not maintained properly. 🙁 We will definitely get an inspector if we decide to move forward with this house. We are just still thinking about it, but probably leaning towards not buying this particular house. My realtor did say we could also think about getting a General Contractor over there to look the place over, and write up an estimate of how much it would be to fix everything, and submit the estimate with a lower offer. But we will just see….

    I will definitely let all of you know what happens with this house, and what we decide to do. My realtor did say if the house goes pending/sale, she will contact the other realtor and have them ask the buyer if he would let me come in (after he buys the house) and remove all of the original fixtures if they do not want them. I would REALLY hate to see all of that trashed. Who knows though, maybe someone (who has money) can buy the house and save it. I would really love to see that house remain intact……

  11. sablemable Reply

    May 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Sara, you and I see the same thing on House Hunters. It’s always the decor; never mind that the roof leaks or the basement floods, just comments about “ewwww, I don’t like that wall color?” Drives me so mental that I start yelling at the tv set, saying, “Who cares? What about the windows? Are they thermal?” LOL!

    I can send the house to Ruth and have her post it. Geez, I should shelp Bob along and take a tour of it.

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