Sandy and Danny from Grease would not seem out of place in Maria’s eye-catching dining room, and one could almost imagine Marilyn Monroe and James Dean relaxing in a booth.
To the left of the staircase is a red and white dining table and chair set, positioned against a striking backdrop of metal signs from the chequered linoleum floor to the ceiling.
A replica telephone box stands in the corner of the dining room, with two Blues Brothers figurines and a life-size waitress in roller skates perched nearby.
A quick glance into Maria’s lounge offers a vision of wall-to-wall pop culture that also includes a stereogram player, fire engine-red coffee table, fibre optic lamp, and Betty Boop throw.
“Hanging them up, I think that’s the biggest challenge,” says Maria, of her vast, varied and growing collection of signs.
“I didn’t want them square, square, square. They had to be different shapes. I just love them, plus it covers the wallpaper.”
Her home’s retro décor is a source of considerable pride for the mum-of-two, who loves seeing the looks on visitors’ faces as they reach the top of the stairs.
“Their reactions are great,” she says. “When someone comes round for the first time it’s really neat to see. People spend ages just looking at the signs.
“There’s disbelief and amazement because they can’t believe that I’d do this. I think even if they were dying of thirst they’d have to stop and look.”
“I’m not your average housewife, I suppose,” she smiles. “I like to be different.”
Over the last 12 months or so Maria has spent hundreds of dollars purchasing 50s, 60s and 70s metal signs and vinyl LPs from garage sales, antique stores and online auction sites.
The signs range in size and shape and feature glamorous movie stars, singers, style icons and even humble household products.
“I started buying them off Trade Me. People would say to me ‘you must have been buying these for years’, but I’m not a collector over a long period of time. It’s not one a week or one a month, but 20.”
Slow and steady isn’t Maria’s approach to decorating either, with most of the signs and LPs fastened to walls in a hiss and roar of action over one night.
One of the many signs in her dining room declares “this is not Burger King”, and comparisons to the fast food restaurant’s decor don’t go down well.
“When Burger King first opened I thought it was really cool,” she says. “But I’m classier than Burger King.
“People will say ‘oh my god it’s like Burger King’, but I say it’s 50 times better and you don’t get fed here. You won’t be getting a burger and fries.”
“There are more than 200 records on the walls,” she says. “The Space Invaders machine is just magic. It’s so old-school.”
She attributes her penchant for collecting to her dad, who has a large number of caps and bar accessories.
“I’m a collector, not a hoarder. I think it runs in the family,” she says. “It’s just a passion for collecting.”
Clambering up ladders to put things on walls has been disastrous at times, with one fall resulting in seven stitches in Maria’s lip, cheek bone, finger and heavy bruising.
“I’ve never been scared of anything, but getting back on that ladder was a hard thing to do. The things you do to cover ugly wallpaper.”
Passion as well as pragmatism has led her to decorate her home in its current style.
“It was going to cost too much to bring it into the 21st century, so I decided to leave it in the 1960s and 70s,” she says.
“I’m so proud of my home. I’ve never been a trend-setter or a follower of fashion.