Past Perfect, Pomona
Rust — along with scrapes, dings, chips, and fading — are not usually high on the list of desirable qualities most people look for in furniture and decorative objects. Well, add ‘age’ to that list and you have my top six … I love items that have lived full and useful lives and are not above showing it; for me, new just won’t do … All of the pictures above were taken at the new shop/atelier of John Mihovetz, the young picker-furniture designer who was the subject of a previous post (click here to read). His new space, a historic brick warehouse/storefront, is on the fringe of the Downtown Pomona Arts Colony, and it’s an appropriate backdrop for his carefully curated collection of Americana, industrial artifacts, advertising signage and other worn curiosities from the past …
Mihovetz’s new space is the perfect spot to display wares he’s picked across the southwest and beyond. Concrete floors and rough brick interact beautifully with the worn surfaces of a dressmaker’s form, a painted metal box, and wooden crates; the attention-grabbing colors of an advertising sign pop with vintage charm.
Mihovetz has massed a great collection of advertising items that feature the distinct colors and typography of the eras in which they were created. Above, a painted metal command to drink Barq’s root beer, is all lively streamlining and vibrant color … And note the amazing art deco BOOTERY sign on the floor: It graced a local shoe store for many years and is a study in gorgeous patina. Oh, yes, that is the amazing metal cactus mailbox of my previous Mihovetz post … And, yes, it’s still whispering to me, “Take me home … to the Rancho.”
Vintage advertising pieces like these are fantastic ways to add panache and verve to a space and Mihovetz has some really fantastic examples … Best, they’re mostly large and would easily serve as a focal point in either an indoor or outdoor decorating scheme. Mobil’s trademark red-enameled Pegasus — chips and all — is especially attractive … its surface distress elevates its status from advertisement to work of art.
Amongst all the vintage finds, Mihovetz’s wood and metal self-designed furniture pieces add understated punctuation. Made of welded-blackened steel and reclaimed barnwood, they are simplicity defined. The V-legged coffee table-sized piece above would look great in almost any scheme. It has the whiff of a mid-century piece, but has been twisted and warmed with the addition of the rough-textured wood.
Looking down on the same table, the scarred, worn texture of the wood is intact, but it’s been lovingly treated so that it’s smoothed and possessed of a warm, subtle sheen …
Another of Mihovetz’s pieces is used to display a collection of items that have left their former lives in factories and garages in favor of more leisurely digs … De Kalb’s winged ear-of-corn holds colorful court on the top shelf.
All over the shop, the eye rests on tableaux that show how these pieces can mix and mingle in a space. Here, old gym lockers meet another dressmaker’s form, an old postage stamp dispenser, more shop items and a funny old enameled sign announcing an always-desirable gas station feature … Again, any of these pieces would add wit and charm to either an in- or outdoor scheme.
Small pieces stand out in the mix, some commonplace (Ball canning jars), others not-so-much (canned emergency drinking water). I’m not sure I really need a pale, smaller-than-normal gas pump, but its stodgy shape, cyclopean window-eye and winding hose-arm, would make it a fun garden object.
This was there, too, playing well together: A taxidermy ‘gator head, a gleaming multi-lensed vintage camera, a tiny version of the Mobil Gas Pegasus. Just another example of Mihovetz’s ‘eye’ and ability to mix-it-up in fun and unusual ways.
So much good stuff, so much I want! I know that nostalgia figures into my love for the worn good looks of vintage items, but then I’m old. Mihovetz, in his mid-twenties, is less easy to understand … I would think the shiny and new would be his focus … Whatever — I’m glad he’s out there rooting around the countryside for these amazing pieces … and I’m glad he’s found the perfect place to display and sell them out of. For another look at the shop, and an interview with Mihovetz, check out the video below:
Mihovetz’s shop/atelier, Mason Dixon Reclaimed Wood Furnishing, is located in Downtown Pomona at 558 W. 2nd St, Unit D; call 909.851.6993 for an appointment; email email@example.com