Atomic Age aesthetic
Forget Shabby Chic. These antiques harken to the future
There are a lot of turn-of-the-century houses around Rochester where a handcrafted wood antique would look just perfect. The patina of age, along with little chips and scratches, would make it all the more authentic. It’s easy to forget that there was a time when Americans rejected the craft of furniture as too old-fashioned. We wanted our kitchen tables to look like our cars: trimmed with chrome and upholstered with vinyl. Our appliances and cabinets should be milled in a factory and shipped to the Sears and Roebuck store— the Amazon.com of our grandparents.
ReHouse Retro, on West Ridge Road, is an architectural salvage showroom of”
Atomic Age design, a tribute to Bakelite and Formica. Here, you can find a kitchen that comes all in one piece. Gleaming steel countertops, after all, are so much easier to polish than today’s trendy granite and marble. These are the kitchens Rochester dreamed of installing in the stately foursquares up and down our tree-lined streets, but they’re all too rare these days.
Across town at South Avenue Treasures (1992 South Ave.), you can step into the next decade. Wood trim is back, but the mid-century lines are sleek and geometric. This is the stuff Ikea is only pretending to be. And you’ll never find that exact vibrant hue among the tastefully muted earth tones of today’s furniture stores.
Go ahead and embrace the avocado.You might as well roll back the clock while the work crew installs the bomb shelter in your backyard.
If you’re not so brave, explore the rest of ReHouse for more conventional antiques and fixtures. This is where you’ll find that clawfoot bathtub you’ve always dreamed about. ReHouse also offers classes on how to mix knobs, hinges, braces, and other hardware into your own objet d’arte.
Mark Gillespie is an avid fan of the region’s food, culture, and great outdoors.