CollectorMANIA - Page 4

How the thrill of the hunt for mid-century paraphernalia moves collectors to put a personal stamp on their homes
CollectorMANIA
Walnut Creek Eichler owner Boris Letuchy with his wall of ceramics, much of it from the Bay Area and by experimenting local students.
CollectorMANIA
Letuchy's dining room features a Heywood Wakefield table and Russel Wright dinnerware.
CollectorMANIA
CollectorMANIA
Part of Letuchy's collection of ceramics, including pottery with painted figures (above) by Italian designer John Desimone.

"If it has the right material, if it has the right image," Boris Letuchy says, he will buy it. "It isn't even the age. If I find something interesting—it has to be simple intuition."

Here's how Jeff Morelli decides to buy: "It just hits me. I know the kind of stuff I tend to go for, something that is funky or has an offbeat shape. That atomic style is really what I go for."

"I just like being around it," he says of his collection. "I never get tired of looking at it."

"We buy what we like," Cindy McMullan says. She and Brendan clearly like a lot. Their home, which has a fabulous tiki family room that was featured in CA-Modern a few years back, is absolutely crammed with:

• Mid-century toasters, on display in the kitchen and routinely used to toast. "They last forever, and [Brendan] fixes them too. He likes to do that," Cindy says.

• Several complete sets of dinnerware, including the startling Franciscan starburst pattern.

• Colorful and quirky Bakelite radios, arranged in a still life with rock 'n' roll memorabilia and more.

• Raunchy men's magazines of the sort your mother would have thrown out immediately. But how would she have handled the McMullans' four paintings of nude women on black velvet?

• Even vintage office equipment like staplers and pencil sharpeners.

The house is so jam-packed, Cindy says, "People with kids are afraid to come to our house."

In the McMullan household virtually everything is mid-century period. About the only furniture in the house not vintage is the Weber barbecue and a flat-screen TV. Other collectors like to mix it up.

Lisa Berghout and Ed Apodaca, who work as designers in the field of motion graphics for film and video, select items for look—and fit. "Our whole concept of the house is to mix old with new," Lisa says, adding, "If everything is vintage, in my opinion, it doesn't look as fresh or interesting."

Their living room is a play of circles, with a semi-circular sectional couch in orange opening onto a circular mosaic table. "We have a lot of mosaics," Lisa says. Floating above the couch is a circular, iron chandelier holding Eichler-style ball lamps.