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- 4 March 2013, 10:03

This is way too cool for a Dentist Office.

Hot Rod Orthodontic Office


Well, after a three year pregnancy, here it finally is.  I have posted odds and

ends of my new office here and there on the board, but I have had several

requests to do a separate post on it once it was all done. So, for what it’s

worth, here is our new hot rod orthodontic office.


Being the 50’s/60’s car nut I am, I also get a kick out of the architecture and just

the whole look of the time as well. Not wanting to build your average taupe

brick building, I wanted something that had more the look of a 50’s era

diner/drive-in/gas station sorta thing. I talked with the architect about that

and I think they jumped inside my head and knocked it out of the



The interior was a bit more of a giving birth process (or as I would interpret that

having never been pregnant personally ). I had the

vision of the inside being a bit of a city inside with the outside of the rooms

having facades of different 50’s buildings you would think of when you think

50’s….soda fountain, burger joint, gas station, etc. It took a fair amount of

back and forth with the interior folks to get that sort of thing meshed with the

stuff you gotta have for an orthodontic office. But, eventually, I think we got


Stepping in the front door, you are greeted with the woodie wagon front desk parked in

front of a Big Boy (although I still have to finish the signage for that).


The front desk started as a rusty $100 ’47 Merc coupe. Yes, a Merc…with a 46 Ford

grille. The Merc grille parts were not easily obtainable, where the Ford parts

are. Getting that Ford grille to fit the Merc….not a bolt in job. The

front clip and rear fender are off the car while the “woodie” part is cabinetry

made to look the part. The “roof” has the planked headliner look of the woodie

and is complete with vinyl top and surfboard. You get funny looks pulling up to

a surf shop with your wife and kids while on vacation and buy a board blank. To

the surfer dude, you do not look like a guy who knows what on earth to do with a

surf blank. But, I did and carved it down, glassed it and got it painted, then

proceeded to cut holes in it to run the mounts through…..I couldn’t bring

myself to do that to a vintage long board, so you build your own for the




everything here has a story and a fair amount of my childhood is in here. The

Big Boy out front was my favorite restaurant my folks took us to when I was a

kid. Next up is our new patient exam room with a soda fountain facade. Named

Fairmont ‘s, it is the soda fountain my grandpa used to take me to. This pic was

taken before the rest of the signage was put on the frosted windows and door,

but you get the idea. Inside, we gotta have the spinning fountain chairs in red

Zodiac vinyl. Also have the aluminum banded counter tops (all the counter tops

in the whole office are banded and in cool Formica).



on back to the main treatment area, we have lots going on, so here is the big

picture before we go around.



the far side, we have the movie theater tooth brushing area. We put the kids

names up on one side of the marquee when they come in for the first time

welcoming them to the office. On the side facing the treatment area, we put up

the kids names when they get their braces off as the “feature movie.” They get a

kick out of it and often take pictures with their name in lights. I had someone

stop me one day and ask me if I had a movie theater in my office. I told them I

sorta did and they said they saw it on Facebook with someone getting their

braces off. Guess the pics get around. LOL The lit movie poster marquee in the

back ground has a 1950’s sci-fi, b-movie poster of giant plaque eating the quiet

little tooth town that the awesomely creative graphic guys I use did for




really started this whole design concept in the first place was the staff asking

if the new office could have some seating areas in the treatment area for

parents and friends that often come with the patients. Being a car guy, I

couldn’t have just any seating area, I need couches made out of the back ends of

cars, right? So, get me some parts cars, a tape measure and start cuttin’. All

the car furniture you see was built by my dad and myself Not really being able

to come up with good information on how anyone else had done it, we just pretty

much went on the fly and figured it out as we went. Even jumped in to figure out

the upholstery myself. I figured I had read enough books and watched enough

upholsterers over the years, how hard could it be? Fortunately, I have an aunt

who is a professional upholsterer, so she was handy to have on the phone when

kinks came up.

’56 Olds 98. That’s real tuck and roll there…you gotta have tuck and roll, ya


’59 Caddy. Yup, that’s real fur on cow hide. Cows ‘n Caddy’s just go, no?



have a gas station, right? Well, mine is Sinclair. When I was a kid, there was a

Sinclair station near my grandparent’s house, so I knew I was almost to

grandma’s when I saw that great big dinosaur. I have spent most of my life

hunting one down and finally came across one of the smaller ones. This

particular one is actually a fiberglass copy and has spent the last couple of

years in my kid’s play area where they climbed all over it and played on it

while the office was being built. They were most upset when the time came to

move it to its new home, but I was blessed to find an aluminum original at the

same time to take its place. Whew!



the side hall, we have what will probably be a 5 and 10, but you can see I still

have to do some signage here.



My private office looks out onto the main treatment area and left a spot next to

the Sinclair station that would make a perfect garage door space. Rather than

make it a service bay, I thought doing it up as Larry Watson’s shop would be

cool. My dad’s first in 57 was a mild custom 51 Merc, which certainly had a big

influence on me. Another was getting the Grease Machines book for Christmas when

I was in Jr high. That book, if you’ve never seen it, is loaded with Larry

Watson paint jobs, as well as a spread on his Grapevine and panel painted ’59

Caddy. I’ve had this sickness bad ever since. So, in tribute to Larry (I finally

got a Merc in tribute to my dad…fortunately he is still here to enjoy it with

me), I built his shop and his Caddy for a desk looking out the shop bay with the

help of Rik Hoving, I got a picture of Larry’s shops (the blue diamonds are

actually from a later shop) and projected them on the wall for templates then

proceeded to paint and hand letter it all. I’m not going to take lettering up

for a living!


The Caddy desk was finally reassembled last week and still has some details that

need done….cabinet doors, paint some bare wood black, etc., but it’s pretty

much there. I wish I had some better pics of it, but it’s mucho heavy and has to

be assembled in place and can’t be moved back from the wall to take some good

pictures all the way around. Also, the candy and pearl white looks great

outside, but alas, it will never be outside. The sun shines through my office

window and hits it in the mornings, though, so I get to see it “right”




like this does not come off with just one guy. I really got to thank some folks

who without their help and input this would not have happened. First is my wife,

certainly,. She has been very patient and indulgent and most helpful with ideas.

My dad who is the reason I am a car nut and who helped figure this crazy

furniture mess out. I had a great building crew who at first doubted a Dr.

really knew anything about building anything, much less something they hadn’t

seen done before. They gave me a lot of rope. Toadfrog is one of the body shop

instructors at the local high school. He got the kids to help with bodywork when

I got in a time crunch, spray some primer and he sprayed the color on the front

desk and the paint on the Watson desk. I am a blessed man.

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