Robert & Michael's Midcentury Pad

House Tour

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Name: Robert McClure and Michael Marincic
Location: North Park, San Diego, California
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: Rented, 1 year

As Jonathan Adler says, "Minimalism is a bummer." Just look at Robert and Michael's home in North Park, one of the hippest 'hoods in San Diego. The couple agrees that the prescription for joyous living is lots of color and texture and eye candy. A shared love for all things midcentury doesn't hurt either.

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I should've suspected their home would look like this. Robert's got a good eye. I could tell from his scissor skills at Salon Tonic, where I got my hair done for years in San Diego. He wasn't my stylist, but we always chatted, and I knew he had a thing for midcentury and '70s design. Still, I was very impressed the first time I walked into the home he shares with his partner, Michael, a flight simulator technician.

Everything is so colorful and cheery! It takes a deft decorator to stick almost entirely to a certain era without turning a comfy living space into a kitschy altar to retro. These guys make it work by embracing bold colors, from walls to accessories, which all tie together really nicely. The macrame and other '70s arts and crafts add groovy personality alongside iconic pieces of furniture. I also love how they've divided the space with warm and cool hues. From the energizing den to the calming living room, each side is cohesive yet transitions seamlessly into the other.

Michael says he didn't know much about design when he first met Robert. Now he's hooked. In fact, when the two moved in together, they both had so much stylish stuff that they had to rent a storage unit. And with Robert making new pieces regularly — he's designed ceramic water fountains, clocks and wall hangings — the couple is smart to rotate pieces in and out, a sure boredom buster for design enthusiasts. (Though I'm not sure it helps their eBay habits!)

The happy vibe of this home is so infectious that even the couple's two cordon blue finches, Cho and Po, are lovebirds.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Midcentury, arts and crafts, the rough and handmade, 50's-70's, bold color and dramatic textures, and retro futuristic.

Inspirations: Palm Springs, my grandma's house, ceramicists (Bitossi, Bitters, Bennett), fabric prints and textures, vintage decorating and architecture books, sci-fi atomic TV shows, California modernism, and of course eBay and Etsy!

Favorite Element: Right now it's the fiber art hangings and macrame, coupled with the textured fabrics in the drapes, pillows, and area rugs.

Biggest challenge: The tall angled walls for painting (and trying to get clean tape lines!). For decorating, trying to find enough space for the stuff from both of our combined apartments. And trying to have clutter balance as well! Also finding enough power outlets for all our lights, lamps, and accessories.

What friends say: Your place looks like it should be in a magazine, but it's also very comfortable. I feel like I just stepped into the past, or the set of a Mad Men episode. Where did you get that?! I love all the color.

Biggest embarrassment: The outside of the building and the walk-up. The view off the balcony of the neighbors’ backyard mess. Also, the huge amount of paint samples I buy to decide on just the right colors.

Proudest DIY: Making the large pendant light above the dining table. We used a painted cake pan to conceal the wires and mount the fixture to the ceiling. We found brass fittings and stained the wood for the spacer dividing the pendants, which were collected from different auctions on eBay.

Biggest indulgence: All the different colors of womb chairs we have bought, that we have no room for and keep in storage. We swap them out at different times. And our collection of David Weidman prints

Best advice: Don’t be afraid of color and buy samples! Try painting just one wall for accent and to highlight different objects. Hang things form the ceilings in unique ways, to create room divisions, or points of interest. Look, look, and look more, for things that interest you,  and you'll find those treasures and deals that don’t cost a total fortune! It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special!

Dream sources: eBay, Etsy, Google searches, vintage Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset magazines, collector's books, antique stores and malls, online searches for different architects' works.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

Valspar at Lowe's

  •    living room:  Ocean Sigh/5002-10a
  •    den:  Earthen Sienna/3007-5b
  •    bedroom:  Carmel Toffee/3009-7
  •    bathroom 1:  Modera Garden Ochre/3005-5a
  •    bathroom 2:  Roasted Squash/2006-3a
  •    kitchen:  Herb Cornucopia/6005-5c

ENTRY

  • macrame divider - Etsy
  • long 'birds on a wire' print (David Weidman) - weidmansart.com
  • driftwood/copper wall water fountain (H. Chandler Steele) - Perez Design Center
  • 2 lamps (Bitossi) - Ebay
  • coffee table - Ebay
  • ceramics on table and fireplace  - made by Robert

LIVING ROOM

  • tall white room divider - Perez Design Center
  • womb chair - moderntomato.com
  • eames bucket chairs - moderntomato.com
  • couch - Room and Board
  • danish credenzas - local auction and simplemod-auctions Ebay
  • pillow and drape fabric - Electra@urbanburp.com
  • chrome coffee table - Ebay

DINING ROOM

  • Lightolier chandelier - Ebay, made by Michael and Robert
  • large print (David Weidman) - local antique store
  • dining table (Herman Miller) - base Ebay, top IKEA
  • Eames fiberglass chairs - midwest antique store
  • wall candle sconces (Hanova of Pasadena) - Etsy
  • wall clock and vase (Bitossi) - Ebay

DEN

  • rosewood wall unit - Mid Century for Modern in San Diego
  • womb chair - modernchairrental.com
  • round coffee table (Herman Miller) - Ebay
  • wall of art (David Weidman, Bitossi, unknown artists, and Michael) - Ebay and Etsy
  • hanging totem candle holders (Hanova of Pasadena) - Ebay and assembled by us.
  • capiz shell hanging ball light - owners previous house
  • couch - Room and Board
  • abstract wall rug - Etsy

BEDROOM

  • prints (David Weidman) - antique stores
  • tapestry - Etsy
  • lamps (Raymor) - Etsy
  • caned headboard - Ebay
  • night stands - Mid Century for Modern San Diego
  • credenza - simplemod-auctions Ebay

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Thanks, Robert and Michael!

(Images: Dave Murphy (619-840-5212))

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