Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wayne Grubb and the Midcentury Pink Kitchen Near Fort Worth

For months now, I've been meaning to write about a Craigslist experience I had in June, one that cost me nothing but was extremely cool. It started with this ad:

"We recently remodeled our parents home in Hurst. We have a very unique Westinghouse Refrigerator/Freezer, circa 1957 that we would like to GIVE AWAY, rather than see it hauled to the dump. It is a side by side, built in the wall unit. I have been told that there were only 15 of these ever made and that one is in the Smithsonian. I have only seen one like it and it was in Frank Sinatra's home in Beverly Hills. ... It has the original mid 1950's pink enamel paint and is in really good condition. We have the matching pink built in oven, which still works, also."

OK, what MCM freak WOULDN'T sit up and take notice? With nowhere to store it and a vintage turquoise double-oven already hooked up and working in my kitchen -- and it's not what I would sell at RetroMania -- of course I answered the ad to claim it! (I was under the influence of some powerful appliance porn, people!) Just look at these pictures and tell me you wouldn't have done the same. You'd have to be made of stone.

A woman named Revis Grubb Plemmons answered my e-mail and told me that the appliances are from the house of her late father, Wayne Grubb, a designer/builder/philosopher/inventor who worked as a general contractor on large custom homes in North Texas until his death, in 1997. He designed and built the home, which is on Brown Trail in Hurst, in 1957. Apparently, it was so unusual that it became known as "the Brown Trail House." Now, the fourth generation of the family lives there.

I'll delve into some detail about what made the house so awesome and what made Wayne even awesomer, in a separate post, with pics and news clippings, courtesy of Revis. The good news: The family did major remodeling to the house but adhered to MCM style, I'm told. To which I offer a huge PHEW! and a heartfelt "BLESS YOU, FAMILY."

Back to the appliances: I thought better of accepting Revis' generous offer after she told me that someone from Dallas who had answered the ad after I did was crestfallen to learn that he had been scooped, because he was actually redoing his kitchen retro-style, with pink enamel appliances. What kind of monster would stand in the way of a mission so pure? Incidentally, that's the fridge interior (above).

More to come on this talented local visionary, the late Wayne Grubb, as well as some of his projects.