All photos in the slide show by Jay Groccia.
Would you consider dressing your home in thematic way? We're not talking about a sports-themed man cave or a child's room designed to look like a Disney World. We're talking about remodeling several rooms in your home — including ones that can't be hidden, like the kitchen — to reflect a design aesthetic so unique, that it sort of looked like you turned your home into a movie set.
Bruce Rosenbaum had no qualms about doing so when he began remodeling his home in 2004. His domicile is a Victorian-era style home, and when he remodeled it, he decided to create an interior that stayed true to Victorian-era aesthetics. "I enjoy the richness of [Victorian] look and the story it tells," said Rosenbaum. To take the look a step further, he began to reconfigure modern amenities - like his computer and present-day range -to look like something described from that era's science fiction books. Making modern items look as if they are from the Victorian era is a basic principle of design aesthetic called "steampunk," a term Rosenbaum was unfamiliar with when he first started remodeling his home. But once he was introduced to it, and realized the style had quite a cult following, he quickly became passionate about it. So passionate that he got his contractor's license and started two businesses that revolved around Victorian design and steampunk objects.
His first business venture was starting a company called ModVic (short for Modern Victorian). He purchased and began remodeling a Victorian-era home in North Attleboro, Mass (pictured in this article). When he finished the restoring the home, it had a beautiful façade and an interior with an updated Victorian look (but not a complete steampunk makeover). Unfortunately the house went up for sale in 2008 when the real estate market was in tatters; Rosenbaum readily admits the project was "not the best financial decision at the time."
While the house remains on the market, Rosenbaum has doubled down on his steampunk business efforts and his determination has paid off. In the past few years he's curated several steampunk exhibitions, been hired to create a steampunk office space for a Manhattan-based architecture firm, and created and sold steampunk objects via his business Steampuffin. He's currently finishing a book about steampunk and pitching a steampunk reality show too. He's also doing his best to cultivate the steampunk culture and expand the demographics it appeals to; Rosenbaum mentioned he's "been bridge to an older generation of people who like the look." Even though most people he works with aren't quite ready for a complete, steampunk home makeover — "It's difficult and expensive to do in a big way," he said — there are people who like the idea of having just one or two steampunk objects for their home or office (indivdual objects can still be rather expensive, for instance, the kitchen range on his Steampuffin website goes for $10,000).
Rosenbaum plans on continuing to be a fixture in the steampunk community, and we wouldn't be surprised if his Sharon, Mass. home eventually becomes some sort steampunk museum (you can check out the slide show of it at the top of this post). His home has received a plethora of press coverage, as the uniqueness of it has provided what Rosenbaum called a "media feast." The attention he's received and his success might not be enough to convince you to theme out your house, but perhaps you'll consider not keeping all your quirky design ideas behind closed doors.
The kitchen in the Victorian-Era home that Bruce Rosenbaum restored.