Vintage Vegas: At home with Courtney Mooney and Josh Rogers
The local couple lives in historic digs with decor to match
Thu, Aug 4, 2011 (midnight)
Photo: Steve Marcus
Courtney Mooney and Josh Rogers have a deep love for vintage kitsch and design, so it’s really no surprise when they answer the door to their 1950s ranch-style home with cocktails in hand and retro lounge music playing from speakers near the Rock-Ola jukebox. Inside, a Heywood-Wakefield bamboo living room creates that ’50s indoor/outdoor theme. A vinyl composite tile floor, mirrored wall and a wall-length stone fireplace further enhance the ambiance. This is Vegas 60 years ago. No question.
The vintage life
Mooney, the historic preservation officer for the City of Las Vegas, has been collecting and preserving the past for years, starting in high school: “Growing up with parents really into antiques, my dad had a healthy distaste for anything modern or new. Even our toys were from the thrift store, so I’ve always appreciated things that have a history.
“I’m very emotionally attached to my stuff. A lot of it appeals to me for some nostalgic reason. I rarely let things go. Everything in my house is associated with something in my past, either visually or contextually. ”
Rogers, a restoration mechanic who works on vintage cars and motorcycles, is drawn to the look and quality of that bygone era: “In our day and age everything is made quick and cheap. It’s a Walmart world. With this you can sense the quality. You feel it. You see it.”
The still-functional 1950 jukebox, purchased from the owner of the now-closed Underground record store, has a vacuum tube amplifier and plays 45s. The selections are categorized into Waltzes and Polkas, Hit Tunes and Old Favorites.
Atomic-era design thrives in this swank home. Among the larger pieces of furniture—an eight-foot refurbished sofa and a Formica dining table—live the functional accessories: a Sputnik chandelier in the dining room, a floor-to-ceiling tension lamp in the living room and tiki objects. Snacks are piled on Blue Heaven dinner plates. Knickknacks and tableware fill a retro china cabinet with sliding glass doors. Restoration of the cigarette machine is in progress; the plan is to keep its front vending façade and use it for storage.
The shared work space includes a bulky steel office desk with matching chair. On one wall, Mooney displays a collection of band stickers from her punk-rock days, stuck to a stainless steel sheet. She stores papers and art in one of her favorite pieces—a wooden file cabinet from the Bureau of Reclamation. “I like to collect things that are Nevada native,” she says.
While the living room serves as a “ballroom” when entertaining—the furniture cleared away for dancing—the den is where Mooney and Rogers spend 99 percent of their time. A cozy, partially enclosed addition, the room houses a celery shag rug and taupe couch (reupholstered at Alex Rivas), which stretches across the back wall, painted robin’s egg blue. Together they create a color scheme that is “quintessential grandparent,” Mooney says.
Two-tiered end tables from Red Rooster flank the sofa, and a stack of blue vintage lockable suitcases complete the space. Filling the wall are framed music posters for bands Mooney saw in Las Vegas, Detroit Cobras and Thee Headcoats among them.
The acquisition process
Almost everything in the house came from eBay, thrift shops, antique stores, yard sales, friends or Craigslist.
“The Internet makes it easy,” says Rogers, who has a Craigslist notifier that alerts him to certain designers, manufacturers, parts and products. “I’m constantly watching for Heywood-Wakefield furniture. It’s a lot easier than in the day when all you had were estate sales.”
Mooney browses the Funk House and other stores from time to time, but mostly, she says, “A lot of our stuff just came to us. Somebody wants to get rid of something. We’re not that proactive. We just know what we want.”
Rogers adds, “It finds us. We’re really big on taking things that are not in the greatest shape and giving them love.”