Jun 7, 2006

In addition to promoting democracy (read on for details), Retro@Home specializes in Scandinavian and American mid-century furnishings, textiles and decorative arts from designers such as Eames, McCobb, Panton, Saarinen, Lazlo, and Nelson.

Owner Val Ibardolasa has a practiced eye for this era and is always refreshing and rearranging the room vignettes with new (old) pieces.

Retro@Home's furniture collection is pretty extensive and includes seating, tables, and storage units. There's also a lot of really quirky and hard-to-find stuff like high-quality tiki paraphernalia, vintage European ceramics and the reissued, quintessentially Californian Architectural Pottery line (profiled here some time ago).

Home accessories have a fun, pop sensibility, and include vintage Andy Warhol tableware (who knew there was such a thing?) and brand-new Jonathan Adler vases.

Price is usually not the deciding factor when you shop at a place like Retro@Home, since every piece is unique. The decision to take one home usually has more to do with that eureka moment you have when you finally discover the very table and chairs that will fit (both aesthetically and physically) in your tiny EIK.

With that in mind, we'd say that prices seem fair but not cheap, as compared to that other vintage marketplace -- eBay. Right now, for instance, seating starts at $85 for a mushroom stool and ranges up to $2000 for a low-slung sofa, and tables are going for $195 to $3000.

Every item in the Emeryville store is in good condition, and much of it is collectible.

You can also shop online. Submit your zipcode for a shipping quote via email, or (says owner Val), "if you have any questions feel free to call me at 510.435.4710."

And here's the democracy part: If you go before the end of June you'll be rewarded for having voted in Tuesday's election. Bring in your ballot stub and you'll get an additional 10% off sale price merchandise or 20% off regular price merchandise.

Retro@Home's site is worth a visit despite its clunky interface: it has info right now on everything from who to vote for to where to drink in tiki style in the Bay Area.

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