Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Thursday, July 30, 2015
WORLD DESIGN / FOREVER MODERN DAVID SKELLEY
AU CURRENT. David Skelley is easily one of San Diego's leading Modernists.
Phyllis Kessel--It’s a well-trod path of nostalgia that leads me to Boomerang for
modern in San Diego’s Little Italy. As owner David Skelley wrote to me on the
occasion of his 25th year in business, “You’ve been there since the
This month David celebrates
his 30th year of unearthing and selling mid-century modern furniture
classics by the likes of Aalto and Eames, Nelson and Panton, Wegner and Wormley.
I’m still here, relishing the
comfort of dropping in for stimulating conversation often, as I did yesterday, and
we both wonder where the time has gone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Phyllis Kessel, aka Phyllis Van Doren, recently
retired after 35 years as an editor at San
Diego Home/Garden Lifestylesmagazine.
Thirty years ago both the
kitsch and the true stars of the 1940s-1960s were a hard sell in San Diego. David
first set up shop on Park Boulevard in 1985, in a tiny former garage space of the
retro 1920s Egyptian Court Apartments.
Boomerang for modern in 1985
The outpost for vintage goods
immediately caught my eye on my rounds as an editor for a local shelter
magazine. He also remembers sending press releases (pre-email) and I would have
been on the list.
This was the start of a long
editorial relationship, keeping an eye on David’s constant expansion that was
catnip to an editor with design news stories to discover and monthly columns to
As his taste and knowledge of
the best designers of the period grew, so did the need for space and David took
the leap across the street in 1987. LP records of the period were part of the
aura. A surreal experience for him was when a jazz icon of the 1950s, my
husband Barney Kessel, wandered in with my 1940s kitchen clock for repair. Soon
the space-age clocks and vintage lamps that might have landed at Cape Canaveral
were supplanted with more classic enduring furnishings.
David then lived upstairs on
the Adams Avenue end of Park Boulevard in University Heights, close to a
Mexican take-out. (When I came to do a story he recommended their lobster
tacos.)The perfectly curated interiors of that apartment loft made for an
eye-popping eight page spread and trending story in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine.
After ten years at the
Hillcrest location, David moved Boomerang to a neighborhood that was building
its own design steam, the awakening Little Italy. The sophistication of the
interiors was evidence of his continuing scholarship as a moving force in
mid-century collecting across the country. (Besides he now was next door to my
favorite pasta shop, owned by the Assenti brothers.)
Boomerang for modern in Little Italy
Here David was able to shed
new light on local talent that had fallen into the shadows such as Malcolm Leland, Dot Kimura and Min Koide and early international innovators who were
not on our radar. When David bought a condo in a Jonathan Segal building, I was
there for another photo spread.
Boomerang continued to
reflect a bit of my past, hence nostalgia. My 1950s college apartment in West
Los Angeles was minimally furnished with a 1946 Eames dining table and chairs from
the Herman Miller showroom on Beverly Boulevard. German porcelain dishes like
so many white moons and Gense stainless Swedish flatware from Van Keppel-Green
in Beverly Hills were the perfect complement to Eames design.
In 1957 when I moved to San
Diego, you shopped for contemporary design of the period in showrooms like Dean
Marshall Interiors and Armin Richter and Associates, Allan Adler in the Green
Dragon Colony, the Design Center on Fifth Avenue.
Today it’s always a pleasure to
slip into a really good vintage chair at Boomerang and tune in to modern design
with David Skelley.
Boomerang for modern
2475 Kettner Boulevard
11:30 am to 5-ish Mon.-Sat.
Or by appointment.
"Papa Bear" chair by Hans Wegner in the window of San Diego's Boomerang for modern
Artist/Architect James Hubbell with David Skelley, 2013