Best Retro Renovation bathroom remodel of 2014: Kristen & Paul win The Hard Way Award

retro bathroomHard-way-award-All hail to the Aqua Glo! Yes, readers seem to have been mesmerized by all the gorgeous, glimmering aqua Daltile in Kristen and Paul’s gut-remodeled bathroom, rewarding this couple’s creativity, perserverance — and parsimony– with our The Hard Way Award – Bathroom Remodel for 2014. Yes, this was a gut remodel — Kristen and Paul did a fabulous job creating a bathroom that looks like it’s always been there and in fact, grounded the entire plan by essentially recreating the original, worn aqua wallboard — but with more durable tile.  Congratulations, Kristen and Paul!Heck yeah there is more →

Best Retro Renovation kitchen remodel of 2014: Luke and his family win The Hard Way Award

best kitchen remodelHard-way-award-Frankly, I think that grandma’s cafe curtains nailed it for Luke and his family: Yes, the people have spoken, and Team Luke’s family-affair restoration of the flood damaged, poorly maintained kitchen in their new 1953 home has earned them our The Hard Way Award – Kitchen Remodel for 2014.  Instead of gutting the weary space, this family embraced its vintage heritage and repaired, rebuilt and refinished the kitchen cabinets — a grueling DIY job that turned out great and demonstrates the incredible beauty to be found in prosaic birch wood cabinetry. Heck yeah there is more →

Five places to buy beautiful double cone “bowtie” lights — from $79 to $205

bowtie-cone-sconce-lightsFollowing up on more leads for sputnik chandeliers, we discovered what look to be five great sources for six styles of midcentury style double cone lights aka “bowtie” sconces — all made in the USA and ranging in price from $79-$205 each. Surely there are original vintage fixtures like these cone lights out there to be found. But, if your lighting project requires matching multiples — which can be difficult to source vintage, or, if you want to avoid a long search — well, golly, these look like lovely options to have.Heck yeah there is more →

Six kitchen designs from 1953 — Avco American Kitchens

kitchen salesmans sample kitI scan, therefore, I am. For our reference and enjoyment today –10 photos — six kitchens — excerpted from a 1953 American Kitchens catalog in my personal collection. American Kitchens was the brand name for steel kitchen cabinets made by Avco Manufacturing Corp., of Connersville, Indiana. Avco American was among the major brands of the day, and we see these cabinets fairly often in the wild — in their natural habitat or on craigslist, etc. This brand also is noteworthy for its porcelain drainboard sink with the unique faucet — I get questions regularly about to get this faucet, new, which until quite recently was possible, can you believe it.Heck yeah there is more →

Seven steps — and 70 hours (!) — for Kate to build a dollhouse from scratch

dollhouse-patternKate-Builds-a-DIY-DollhouseAre you ready to read the epic tale of a modern girl trying to build a vintage dollhouse from an original pattern? You can take the trip in warp speed — in comparison to the 70+ hours it took me to construct this 1955 McCall’s Do-It-Yourself Dollhouse. Yes, 70 hours. This one was not a walk in the park. My journey was filled with frustration and required loads of patience, but the end result: nothing short of amazing, if I do say so myself!Heck yeah there is more →

Vote for our The Hard Way Award — Bathroom Remodel winner for 2014

retro bathroomsUpdate: Voting is closed. Stay tuned for announcement of winner Friday, Jan. 23.

We believe that bathrooms are the most excruciating rooms in the house to renovate — and when you’re trying to do it the retro vintage way — The Hard Way — well, golly, there goes the ante, up up up! This year, Pam and I selected five finalists in our The Hard Way Award Bathroom Remodel category. Wanna help us select the winner? Voting is open through Wednesday night Jan. 21, we’ll announce a winner Friday, Jan. 23.

Heck yeah there is more →