If ever there were a home that perfectly reflects the personalities of its owners, then the artful home of Chip and Leslie Buckley would certainly fit the bill.
Located at 910 East Maple Avenue, the Buckley’s 1941 French Eclectic residence blends the couple’s family heirlooms and collectibles with their appreciation for mid-century pop culture. From an authentic 1950’s jukebox and vinyl-upholstered diner booth to formal chandeliers and antique Parisian furnishings, the Buckley’s many treasures combine to create a show-stopping trip down memory lane.
“Every room is completely and wildly different from the other,” said Leslie. “The living room was designed to accommodate Chip’s artwork, my dressing room accommodates my grandmother’s treasures from her world travels, and the master bedroom features the many treasures we’ve found in Old Towne Orange. I think we’ve done a good job of mixing the old with the new.”
Before they could accomplish their decorating feats, however, the Buckleys needed to put a substantial amount of work into the home’s renovation after they purchased it in 2001. Previously owned by Robert and Betty McAuley, the 2,650-square-foot house had been renovated in 1969, revealing some outdated touches from the era including florescent lighting in the kitchen.
A commercial plumber by trade, Chip had the construction know-how to do much of the retrofitting himself, including all the plumbing in the house. (He works for D/K Mechanical Contractors in Anaheim as a general foreman/detailer). Chip also restyled the house with hardware true to the period, including push-button light switches and deco-style hardware and fixtures. The master bathroom was recreated around a 1910 barber sink they purchased at Tony’s Architectural Salvage in Old Towne.
“I worked on the house every day after work and on the weekends,” said Chip. “I even worked in the rain. I wanted to get the house done because I knew we were going to have a family one day. When our daughter Lauren was born, the push was really on to get things done.”
Among the many projects included a new roof, a new stone entryway and a remodeled kitchen. Much of the home retains its original architectural elements, including paned glass windows, a Greek revival fireplace, bay windows and the original 1-1/2 inch white oak flooring in the living and dining rooms. The same flooring was sourced and installed throughout the rest of the house.
Originally from Fullerton, Leslie attended El Dorado High School in Placentia, and has previously lived in San Diego, Chicago and London. Chip, originally from San Gabriel, moved to Orange from LA in the mid –90s, having gravitated back to town with fond memories of his days of swing dancing at the old Circle City in the –80s. The two met in Old Towne when Chip was residing in a rented house on Grand Street just a few doors down from Chapman University.
“The year we got married, this house came up for sale,” Leslie recalled. “Living here, I had fallen in love with the neighborhood, its sense of community, the shops, the restaurants and the antiquing. It’s hard to imagine living anywhere else other than Old Towne.”
A collector of mid-century pop culture, Chip brought his cherished art pieces into the marriage, including enormous airbrushed originals of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, painted by a friend. In the breakfast nook, Chip’s 1954 Seeburg jukebox stands aside a ’50s diner booth and chairs, sourced from Woody’s Antiques in Old Towne and upholstered in green metal flake vinyl in tuck and roll style.
Elsewhere in the home, Leslie’s heirlooms highlight the premises. The dining room and dressing room showcase her grandmother’s collectibles obtained from world travels.
The “chinoiserie” influence in the dining room showcases her French furniture and Asian silks. “She was quite an adventurous lady. She treasured the clothing and furnishings that she collected during her travels. Many of her glamorous portraits are framed in gold in my dressing room. The built-in shelving proudly displays a collection of handbags from the 1920s to the 1950s. My dressing room feels like a Parisian apartment.”
In addition to her own family treasures, Leslie enjoys perusing the antique shops of Old Towne Orange, collecting vintage clothing, fabrics, house wares and handbags. Her “best list” of favorite places to visit in town includes Elsewhere Vintage, Rutabagorz, Mr. C’s record store, Heavenly Hostess, and Summerhill Antiques.
A hot rod enthusiast, Chip owns a 1954 Lincoln, a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville and a 1932 Ford three-window coupe with open engine and no fenders.
“I drive the Deuce Coupe down the streets of Orange,” Chip said. “It has a high-performance engine. All the neighbors know me.“
And speaking of neighbors, one day when Chip was working in the front yard, an elderly woman walked by and told him she remembered the house from the old days, and that she actually had photographs of the home when it was first built.
“She came by a couple of weeks later and brought us the photos,” Chip said. “We have three photos of the house from 1941.”
For the Buckleys, living in Old Towne offers them everything in life they could ever want.
“Our families have graced us with many family treasures because of our appreciation for family history andcollectibles.“ Leslie said. “I love that we can preserve those memories in this house. Our home is so unique and holds so much family history. We knew when we started the remodel that we wanted this to be a home for entertaining our families and a gathering place for the holidays. We love our surroundings and enjoy creating memories for our families and friends.”
Written by Karen Anderson, photos provided by Will Hare