February 28, 2007

The Pinstriped Bugaboo, Part 2: The Driver

After spotting the pinstriped Bugaboo Gecko online a few days ago, I tracked down the owners to hear their story. They turn out to be friends of Vanessa, who had published the rig and a link to the annual Blessing Of The Cars event in downtown LA, on her retro design blog, Populuxe Books.

pinstriped_bugaboo-2.jpg

Anyway, I emailed back and forth with the driver dad, Bret Kane, who's an at-home dad in Pasadena and Orlando. Here are some excerpts from our interview:

DT: First off, congratulations on a very cute, well-behaved-looking kid, Second, congratulations on the insane stroller, and third, thanks so much for your willingness to share a bit of your experience with it. Had you thought of kustomizing your stroller before going to Blessing Of The Cars?
BK: Finn (Finnegan) is a pretty happy kid, he's 11 months now. We did talk about what things we could do to the stroller make it unique. We talked about stickers and maybe attaching neon underneath. Although we found a few cool stickers it just seemed sort of lame.

I have to admit that the pinstripe idea was sort of a spur of the moment thing. We saw Doug at the show and were like "that it!" We thought he would laugh at us but he didn't even blink an eye.

DT: Did you and Doug [the artist, he'll have a separate post in the series--did you know he's an at-home dad with like four kids?] discuss the design and any ideas for how much striping to do? How did you decide what to do?

BK: So we talked about colors a while; I wanted to go for reds and yellows, perhaps some flames. My wife Charissa wanted to keep it more classic pinstriping, with just black and white/cream. We had specifically chosen an all black Bugaboo so it wouldn't clash with clothing, etc., and she wanted to keep it that way.

DT: How much does work like that go for? How is it to live with? Has there been any reaction to it?
BK: I think he charged us a hundred bucks or so. It has lasted well so far. We are careful with it, but not obsessive. It drew quite a crowd as he did the paint job, but surprisingly, I don't think alot of people even notice it. The rare person will comment that they like it, but I think most people tend to ignore strollers altogether, especially non-parents. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I ever noticed a stroller till we talked about getting pregnant.

DT: I never thought about it until I saw your stroller, but in that second, I realized with all that bare aluminum, the Gecko is a near-perfect canvas for customizing. How do you like the Gecko? How to Bugaboos do in LA generally?
BK: We live in Pasadena when we are working, which is about 10 months a year. The Bugaboo has been perfect for Pasadena life because our apartment is in the heart of downtown Pasadena which is very urban.

kane_atomic_ranch.jpg

Our permanent residence is in Orlando, Florida, and that's where we are currently. It doesn't happen often, but Charissa landed a job right here in O-town, so we get to stay in our own house for awhile. [By the way our house was featured this month in Atomic Ranch magazine. Vanessa blogged about it, I think.] We don't use the Bugaboo as much here in Orlando, because it's much more suburban than Pasadena.

DT: Any other kustom kid stuff in the house, or is the stroller pretty much it? It's funny, I'm automatically assuming that you're artists or some such, and that you've been making all kinds of stuff, and kid-friendly DIY projects and hacks I guess now would be a good time to ask what you do, and how you'd characterize your approach to being parents.
BK: My wife and I both work in the film biz. She is an Assistant Director, and I am a Leadman in the set decoration department. Yes, I am an art guy. Charissa took the first 10 months off from work to be with Finn, and now I am taking over, and she is going back to work.

DIY projects etc: We are pretty handy, and fixing up our mid-century modern house is sort of our hobby. It's been a constant struggle now that Finn is here to keep up the mid century feel of the house. Although we are finding more and more hip toys and furniture for Finn, most of the time we feel they are too overpriced.

We are contantly thinking what can we get from Ikea and adapt for Finn [furniture, etc.] Since my job is decorating sets, I have the next 4 or 5 designs for Finn's room already planned out. The nursery is 40's circus theme. All custom, no border prints or anything like that. The plan is to change the room every 2 to 3 years. Next up is cowboy vs. spaceman theme , then archaeologist, then tiki. But I'm sure he'll be telling me what he wants.

buzz_woody_limowreck666.jpg
image: disney-mgm parade...in orlando, via limowreck666

Oh yeah, we almost completely avoid any branded toys for Finn, ie. no Mickey Mouse, Power Rangers etc. Now admittedly a few Elmo pieces have snuck in, but to us it's a dirty little secret that were ashamed of. So, it's a constant battle to find interesting toys that he likes that aren't corporate crap.

DT: What are you working on now? Or are you just taking off completely to stay home with Finn?
BK: Actually, I just started writing for a website myself, it's called Motorati Life, and it is a Pontiac site about their island in the virtual game of Second Life. It's a complete career change that just sort of happened.

I apologize if this is a rambling, incomprehensible mess. I had to crank it out during a moment while Finn is distracted and playing nicely by himself.

Thanks to Bret for taking some rare/valuable time. See Part 1 of The Pinstriped Bugaboo here, and check out more photos at Populuxe Books.
Buy a pinstripe-ready Bugaboo Gecko at Amazon [amazon]

4 Comments

Love the idea for pinstriping, but don't think it would work on our Cameleon because there's less aluminum with the adjustable handle. Oh well...

By the way, our house was just featured in the previous month's issue of Atomic Ranch (Winter 2006) and included a shot off our living room, which has that very same chair that's in the photo above. So small world.

[no kidding. suddenly I'm all worried what I've said to offend Atomic Ranch; they've never called us... -ed.]

Until I read this blog I had never even considered the idea of putting any sort of paint job on a stroller. I do like to do a lot of different creative things to make my son’s stuff unique, but dressing up a stroller never would have occurred to me under normal circumstances. However, based on the picture above, I think that it’s a really neat idea that obviously helps to add a little style and flair to an otherwise everyday object. I do agree with Bret though when he said that many times people who don’t have kids tend not to notice things like strollers. I sometimes think that they block out anything having to do with kids altogether as they are so totally not on their radar.

The last thing that I’ll do would be to play with my baby’s stroller. I’m very much particular with stuff associated with my baby because I really don’t want to put him into any risk. For instance, I’m not sure what kind of paint will I use to beautify the stroller because it might intoxicate my baby. Our pedia even told us not to overdo any trimmings on the stroller because it might limit the vision and the world of our baby. So, what can I do?

[1. stop huffing the paint. 2. is the kid ever out of the stroller? -ed.]

This seems like a very artistic activity but then again I am kind of particular with the materials used for this. As you know, a lot of lead-containing materials are sold nowadays and these are very harmful to kids. My son would really love an artistically designed stroller but is it safe for him?

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