January 13, 2014Joan and Rick’s Amazing Home And Fantastic Mid-Century Collectibles At Atomic Dimestore!
Get ready to pick your jaws up off the floor as we introduce Joan and Rick from Atomic Dimestore! Not only to they have a ton of vintage goodies for sale at their store in Hyannis, Massachusetts, but their house is crammed full of awesome vintage and retro as well. They were nice enough to send us some pictures and answer some questions, so grab a cup of coffee and get ready to chat with Joan and Rick from Atomic Dimestore!
1. How did you get started selling vintage? What was your inspiration?
Joan: I collected vintage clothing and my husband collected comics before we met. After we were married, while I was away with my mother, we both happened to attend large flea markets. I went to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris to look for chic fashion bargains, and Rick went to the Brimfield Antique Show in western Massachusetts with a friend who collected vintage dishware. We found we really loved all the midcentury things; we had no idea there was such a well-developed market for it.
Rick: Yeah, I always collected. And Brimfield opened my eyes to a whole new world of stuff. So, I just thought, “I can do this”, and started buying and reselling. This was almost 25 years ago, the market has changed a lot, but back then I could just stumble around and buy stuff that seemed cool, and resell it
2. What is the focus of Atomic Dimestore?
Joan: We focus on midcentury toys, ephemera, clothing, comics and home accessories. We generally have items from the 40s to the 80s, with a primary focus in 50s-70s. I like some earlier things, like 30s and 40s Miami Beach deco tropical styles, and Rick likes some 80s toys.
Rick: I try to buy items that are very evocative of the eras they were made, so if I buy 50s items, I want it to scream 1950s at me. One of the reasons I’ve really begun appreciating the 1980s stuff is it has its own defined aesthetic, you might not like that aesthetic, but you can be damn sure it’s from the 1980s. I don’t buy traditional antiques, and I don’t buy items that were made to look like they were from another era. And I hate reproductions.
3. Do you have any vintage or retro collections? We would love to hear about them, in detail!
Joan: I have many collections – you probably don’t want too much detail! I mostly like things that can actually be used, like home accessories, textiles and kitchenalia. Some of my favorites are several pairs of barkcloth curtains. I do actually use these in windows, but I have UV protection in most of them and liner curtains in all of them to protect the vintage fabric as much as possible. I also use a lot of my kitchen and barware, like colorful Pyrex bake ware and cocktail sets. Almost all of our lamps are vintage, usually 50s figural ones with tiered fiberglass shades, although I have some 70s chrome in my living room that actually belonged to my parents. I also collect Heywood Wakefield furniture, which we use in just about every room. There are so many different pieces. You can usually find something to suit your needs, even if it needs a little repurposing, like using a desk for a bathroom vanity or an end table for a printer stand. I do find that pieces that have been refinished with modern reproduction stain are a little easier to live with than ones with nice original finishes because the older stain is a little delicate, but the furniture itself is nearly indestructible.
Rick: It might be easier to say what we don’t collect. I have action figures, lunchboxes, non-sports cards, bobbing heads, model kits, Nutty Mads, and punk rock store displays in my own collection. In the rest of the house we have salt and pepper shakers, beer and liquor advertising, tiki, movie posters, lobby cards. I’m not a completest; I prefer to have interesting examples of a lot of different niches. Oh, and Halloween! We have lots of vintage Halloween, that collection is pretty deep. And vintage Xmas too. If there is one theme to my personal collection it would be “Monsters driving cars”, I love me some monsters driving cars (Rat Fink, Nutty Mads, Weird-Ohs).
4. What was your best vintage score ever? How did it happen?
Rick: Oh, so many. I’m always out there beating the bushes. We have a saying “If you keep swinging, you’ll get your share of hits, and you’ll hit a few home-runs”. So, I’ve had my share of home-runs. One time I was at the local flea market and as I walked by one table, the seller took out a Space Patrol Space Helmet box, and threw it on the table right in front of me. The way he tossed it on the table, I figured it was just an empty box. I asked his price and paid it, and then as I walked away I realized it was too heavy to be an empty box. And sure enough, the toy was in there, unused with all the paperwork. And recently I bought an authentic Golden Globe award from a local estate sale, no one knew it was Golden Globe, it wasn’t inscribed, and I wasn’t sure, but I figured it was worth gambling the modest amount they were asking. After I researched it, I determined it was indeed authentic and was probably from the mid-1960s. So that was cool.
5. Have you always loved vintage?
Rick: I think so. But I didn’t have an outlet to feed my habit, or an adult around with interest in antiques to pique my interest. I remember as a kid, finding an old 7-Up bottle somewhere, (probably 40s?) bringing it home, and my mom saying “Why do you want that old thing? It’s just trash.” But I thought it was cool, so I put it on my windowsill. Also, growing up on Cape Cod, there just wasn’t much in the way of cool little funky shops. So, for me, while I liked vintage stuff, I wasn’t really exposed to much until I moved to Boston.
Joan: I think so, too. My grandmother had quite a few 40s and 50s modern things still in use in the 70s that I loved as a kid, and I also spent a lot of time looking through her attic at other things she wasn’t using anymore. I used to go with her to church sales too. I started collecting vintage clothing to wear in high school and as a young adult, and started collecting all sorts of other things after I had my own home.
6. Speaking of your home, you have done some work on your kitchen and your bathroom, haven’t you? Do tell!
We have! Here are before and after pictures of my kitchen.
The after is a mix of midcentury vintage accessories and Ikea.
Here is a before and after picture of my bathroom vanity, Before is something the previous owner found by the side of the road in the 80s I think.
After is a Heywood Wakefield desk from the later thirties or early forties. I had to get one of the earlier desks because they are smaller and my bathroom is small.
The metal patio furniture that my dog is modeling is reproduction because I think it is just to hard too find original motel chairs in decent condition, and if I ever did I wouldn’t want to leave them outside.
We actually sell this Torrans Manufacturing furniture through our shop. It is a little more expensive than some other repro motel chairs I have seen, but it held up really well to a season on our patio in the relentlessly damp and salty Cape Cod air. The cheaper stuff I saw online had reviews that said it rusted and faded after one season.
7. What does your house look like right now? Be honest!
Joan: Well, it looks a little full, but otherwise not too bad. I do try to take care of all our things, and we have every-other-week cleaners to help out. It does get a little dog hairy between vacuuming.
The barkcloth curtains and pillow cover are vintage. Here Lily is modeling a pillow that she later destroyed!
Rick: My office looks like a 12 year olds bedroom in 1969. (Except for the computer and the punk rock displays). It’s ridiculous. But it makes me happy.
8. What is your favorite vintage possession? What is the story behind how you came to own it?
Joan: I have a lot of things I love, but my flamingo chenille is one of my favorites. I collect vintage chenille and flamingos, so one day when I was supposed to be working I started wondering whether there were any vintage flamingo chenille. I looked all over the web, but the only one I found was the one on your site or repins of it. This is how I actually found your site the first time! It took me another few months of daily searching on eBay to find a flamingo chenille of my own.
Rick: This is a tough one. I do love my Strange Change Machine. It’s a toy from 1969 that comes with small cubes of memory polymers, and you put them in the “time chamber” (an oven), and they release into various monster. Then you can take the creature and heat it up again, and then toss it in the compression chamber which smashes it down into a cube again. “Create ‘em…Crush ‘em…Create ‘em…Crush ‘em…again and again”. It gives the child the ultimate power of creation and destruction. If these monsters came with little cars they could drive it would be perfect.
9. What would you rather have: An Eames lounger or an enormous pink vintage sectional?
Joan: I always have a hard time deciding between high style and kitsch. I generally try to use both (with mixed results). In the abstract, I would pick the pink sectional. But I have red walls in my living room that took many coats to achieve, and it took a long time to find the right primary color vintage curtains, so I would regretfully pick the lounger as easier to match. Or redo my living room.
Rick: I think I would lean toward the Eames lounger too. But I am constantly torn between low-brow and high-brow. But never middle-brow.
10. If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be?
Joan: Fried oysters with a good IPA.
Rick: A grilled ribeye, Med-rare, with lumpy mashed potatoes and beer-braised brussel sprouts with blue cheese. And a beer, maybe an IPA, but maybe a Belgian farmhouse ale.
Wow! Thanks, guys!
If anyone is in or around Hyannis, please stop by and see Joan and Rick at their store. Otherwise, you can check out some of Atomic Dimestore’s listing on eBay and Etsy.
Thank you for the tour of your home and your awesome shop, Joan and Rick!