Bruce Rosenbaum bought a fixer-upper in 2001 and promptly went into renovation mode. After dealing with the roof, chimney, wallpaper and floors of the century-old house, he prepared to tackle the kitchen.
That's when Rosenbaum fell in love with a Victorian-era stove named Defiance. The affair transformed Rosenbaum from a handy homeowner into a steampunk wizard adept at turning intriguing antiques into functional modern furniture.
"This gorgeous sculptural stove commands the kitchen and brings back this nostalgia for a period when people put pride and craftsmanship into objects," Rosenbaum tells Wired.com by phone. "There's all this ornate detail even behind the thing, where nobody would see it. You can't get that type of quality nowadays, so we decided to bring it back and give the piece a modern use."
He and his team updated the stove with a sleek glass cooktop, and the rest is steampunk history. Today, Rosenbaum's house in Sharon, Massachusetts, brims with weird eye-examination contraptions, gleaming nautical devices and other antique oddities picked up from nearby flea markets and repurposed with fully functional digital guts.
Besides serving as home for Rosenbaum, his wife and their two sons, the house showcases his credentials as a go-to guy for all things steampunk. Rosenbaum, who runs steampunk shop Steampuffin, curated a retro-Victoriana exhibition at a Manhattan tattoo gallery earlier this winter and has partnered with a producer of The Biggest Loser on a reality-based steampunk series that's being pitched to cable TV networks next month. Later this year, he's outfitting a Nantucket hotel, a Los Angeles nightclub and a New York City office building with turn-of-the-century objects embedded with modern technology.
Check the gallery above for a guided virtual tour of Rosenbaum's steampunk house.
Bruce Rosenbaum lifts the lid of a digital scanner that he incorporated into an 1880s-era pump organ. "When I saw this organ, I said, 'This is a desk,'" he recalls. "I pulled out all the stuff, the bellows and stuff, and that created a perfect cavity for all the technology."