Four years ago, Daddy Types was the only Internet mention of Toobs, the awesome modular/homebrew/adaptive reuse children's furniture collection by Los Angeles designers Penny and Jim Hull. The Hulls and their new company, Hull Urban Design, Development, Etc., or H.U.D.D.L.E., for short, were prominently featured in Hennessey & Papanek's 1973 classic sourcebook, Nomadic Furniture.
Like so many modern kid design stories, H.U.D.D.L.E. began when the Hulls couldn't find children's furniture that fit their lifestyle, so they started making it. In this case, out of lengths of heavy fiberboard tubes used to cast concrete. Which they would sell, finished and ready-to-assemble, or raw by the foot.
There's a 1971 patent granted to Hull for uh, "Cylindrical Members." And on Dec. 30, 1972 the NY Times covered the Toobs' debut at D|R, Design Research, Ben Thompson's pioneering modernist design store. [Which happens to be the subject of a new book by Jane Thompson and Alexandra Lange.] So we learn the dimensions and pricing: 84 in. high, 77 in. long, tubes 36 in. diameter, with 30 in. wide mattresses. In red, white, and blue, for $325 [plus 2 convex mattresses, $100]. Also that "the Hulls actually see their [bunk bed] design as a play environment, too."
It seemed an awesome but somewhat utopian venture, which seemed to have disappeared with barely a trace. And even though I eventually ended up on Penny Hull's Palos Verdes real estate mailing list, I couldn't find any more info, or pictures, or product.
Well, now I know that not only did the Boomer dream of stacking your kids in cardboard tubes not die, it thrived. And spread across Southern California. For over a decade. And it may have even resulted in the world's first plexi crib, and the first crib that converted to an actual bed.
But more on that later. By 1981, H.U.D.D.L.E. was a chain of kids furniture stores, with locations in Westwood, Orange County, and San Diego. The OC store was actually located at the ground zero of California consumptionism, South Coast Plaza, and was advertised every month in Orange Coast Magazine. Those ads are now on Google Books.
And it looks like, for one thing, the Toobs bunk bed was advertised as late as September 1984--in an issue with supermodel/superstar Loni Anderson on the cover. At least 10 years. So there HAVE to be some of these things out there, right? R.I.G.H.T.? N.E.W.P.O.R.T., I'M L.O.O.K.I.N.G A.T. Y.O.U..