Jon Balderston makes what he calls art furniture.
He makes what he calls non-functional art.
He collects toys and packages.
And he designs kitchens. All of the above is quirky.
Jon Balderston was born in Berkeley. His father was an economist who taught at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Jon was Berkeley High Class of 1977. He has lived in Berkeley. He expects to live and die in the same zip code.
For his art furniture, he primarily uses a product called Trupan. It is made with pine fiber and is free of formaldehyde. It is a lightweight MDF (medium density fiberboard).
He makes his art and displays some of his non-functional art in what he calls the Hodge Podge Lodge behind his house.
His kitchen is a showcase for his design — an open, unexpected palette of color, and accents of antique toys.
The piece de quirky resistance are up the stairs from the kitchen to Balderston’s attic. He calls it the Balderdash Museum.
Balderston’s attic is filled with thousands of antique toys, packaging, brochures, board games, luggage labels, World Fair ephemera, etc.
The pitched ceiling is covered with board games, dart boards, etc.
Balderston describes himself as a bottom fisher. He doesn’t spend a lot on any one piece. He haunts flea markets, especially Alameda. He has a tremendous eye for placement. If there is one recurring theme, it is moving vans. Balderston was given one by an uncle when he was young, and it stuck.
In every material aspect of his home, Jon Balderston is Quirky Berkeley personified. He is self-effacing and funny. He is unceasingly creative. He is a Son of Berkeley to make us proud of who we are and of our values.
Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-plus-year resident muses on what it all means.
For a fuller version of this post with many more photos, see Quirky Berkeley.