House Tour: Olivia’s Atomic Ranch Revival
Olivia and Ed are restoring and reviving their 1958 ranch to it’s original atomic splendour …. and beyond …
Where does your love of vintage come from?
Vintage has always been a part of my life. One of my earliest and fondest memories is listening to my parents' old records as a little girl and jitterbugging and twisting with them in the living room. I was the child who listened to the oldies station, loved The Monkees and had sock hop birthday parties. I began collecting mid century modern furniture in college and never stopped. Now, I manage a vintage clothing store, wear vintage clothing every day and live in my little atomic dream home with my husband, Ed, and all of our animals.
I would usually ask what your favourite era is, but I think it’s obvious that you’re both Atomic fans! So, what is it about this era that you love so much?
Architecturally, I love the clean lines, open floor plans and the concept of bringing the outside in through the use of glass and windows. From a design perspective, it's fun, it's hopeful, it's futuristic in the kitschiest way. What's not to love?
Do you have a favourite maker, artist or style from that era?
I am a huge fan of Eero Saarinen, Googie architecture, retro futurism and Space Age design, which all played a huge role in the design for our house. Our vision was to create a Jetsons inspired 1950s House of the Future.
What’s been your favourite room to restore?
Although it's not entirely done yet, the kitchen/dining room area has been my favorite restoration so far -- specifically the restoration of the wood paneling on the bar. Originally our house had wood paneling in the dining room and in the living room. Unfortunately, at some point it was all removed. The only remaining piece was on the bar in the dining room and it had been painted over many times. Removing all of the paint and restoring the original wood was a painstaking process, but having an original feature back in the house is so rewarding! We have been discussing adding a wood feature wall to the living room to pay homage to the original design of the home.
Do you have a favourite piece in your home?
That's a hard question! Ed's favorite piece is the 1950s Nutone Built-In Food Center that I got him for Christmas. My favorite piece is our giant vintage kinetic mobile that I won in a storage auction for $8. It was missing an arm, so we made one to match.
You are doing a lot of the restoration work on your home yourselves, do you have any training in restoration?
No, we don't have any formal training in restoration. The majority of our knowledge and experience comes from DIY projects we've done in previous homes and from watching videos on YouTube. We always try to do as much of the work ourselves as we can, but we did call in the professionals for a few of our major projects such as restoring our wood floors and rebuilding/restoring our pink bathroom. I think when restoring a house, it's important to be realistic and to understand your limitations. Some people really can do it all, but we are not those people and that's OK.
I love the fact that having failed to find the right wallpaper, you have created your own mural / wall painting – I’m assuming you must have a background in the arts?
I've always been a crafty and creative person, but Ed is the real artist -- he has been drawing and creating art his whole life. He is a full-time graphic designer and illustrator, so when it comes to painting circles on the wall or taping off crazy shapes, I always defer to him.
Where do you source your items / furniture from?
We prefer to find our pieces "in the wild" as we like to call it. We often spend our weekends taking mini road trips and exploring small-town back roads looking for antique stores and junk shops. There's something thrilling about digging through dusty, rusty junk and finding that one amazing piece. You never know what you're going to find and that's part of the adventure! Sure, it takes a lot longer to accumulate things, but every piece in our house has a story and a memory associated with it, which makes each one of them even more special to us.
What other plans do you have for the ranch house? ... And what happens when it’s all done?
We have a long list of projects and dreams for this place. We need to install new countertops in the kitchen and tile the backsplash. We decided this week to add a mural wall in the dining room, so look for that soon. The tiki room is still a major work in progress. I'd love to someday restore the original pocket doors in the kitchen and dining room. The master bedroom still has moving boxes in it, so that space needs a lot of work. The outside of the house was such an overgrown mess when we got it that it will forever be a labor of love, but some day I hope to put in a kidney shaped swimming pool.
I don't think we'll ever be done working on and creating this space, but should we ever run out of projects, look for me by the pool!
Follow Olivia and Ed’s progress on Instagram @atomic_ranch_revival
Photo credit: All photos kindly provided by Olivia
Feeling inspired? ... Browse our Atomic Collection at The Inkabilly Emporium