Stepping in the front door of Pat Guinan’s home is like stepping out of a time machine.
“It’s like a time warp in here,” said Pat’s partner Steve Getz, gazing around the eclectic collection of sculptures, paintings and furniture adorning their home.
Pat and Steve are antiquers, often traveling far and wide across the Midwest to add to their collection. Each room is furnished in Mid-Century Modern pieces, contributing to the feeling of a set on an early James Bond movie.
Pat is Missouri’s state extension climatologist and associate extension professor of climatology for the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. Steve is a registered nurse at University Hospital.
Pat was introduced to the antiquing game by Steve when they met in 2000. Steve got his toes wet earlier when a friend brought him to the former Ice Chalet antique mall in Columbia. As Pat and Steve began frequenting the mall together, they discovered Art Deco to be the first genre they both enjoyed.
“Over time the sort of stuff we liked evolved,” Pat said.
Everything in their ranch-style home is from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. From the two walnut-frame couches in the living room to the kitchen table designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the St. Louis Gateway Arch, it all has years of embedded memories.
“This table right here in front of us has history!” said Pat, pointing to the maze-like metal sculpture table designed by Italian artist Marcello Fantoni, in his living room.
He went on to tell the story of when Steve was sick with a terrible flu. As they often do at home, he was browsing the Internet for any piece within driving distance to add to their collection. And that day, he found one. On Craigslist the Fantoni table was listed for a reasonable price. But it was in Wichita, Kan.
“So he just hopped in his car and drove right over to Kansas to pick it up!” laughed Pat.
Pat and Steve use several resources to find their next additions including eBay, Craigslist, antique stores, auctions and estate sales. Steve said they have even sold a few of their acquired pieces at an auction in Chicago to “change it up; it’s fun to switch out old pieces for new ones,” he adds.
As you may expect, Pat and Steve often see some of their art on television.
“We’ll see things we own on shows like ‘Mad Men’ and exclaim ‘Oh look! It’s our Saarinen table. Look, it’s our cyclone table!’” said Pat, “Even on ‘I Dream of Genie’!”
Pat and Steve say their hobby has led to new friendships.
“It gets pretty serious. People will camp out overnight, even two or three nights, in front of the door of an estate sale to get the pieces they want,” Pat said. “There’s a lot of competition going on there.”
But as they see familiar faces at each sale, friendliness is forged through a shared love of the activity.
“It’s funny, the dealers that were your rivals start to become your friends,” added Steve.
Shows like “Mad Men” have piqued interest in furniture of the time period. With that popularity comes more competition, but it has opened up new travel opportunities for Pat and Steve to visit different areas of the country to find new pieces.
“People think it’s like a West Coast or East Coast thing, or a big city thing, but it’s not — it’s all over,” said Steve.
Kitchen table designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the St. Louis arch and the Firestone Baars chapel, located on the Stephens College campus.
Fold-out bar located in the dining room.
The youngest item in Pat and Steve's living room is an RCA television.
Pat and Steve.
Artwork by famous metal sculpture St. Louis artist Brother Mel.
Living room furniture.
Living room artwork.