Ruth’s blue Geneva kitchen… peach and pink bathrooms… and more


Ruth’s Geneva kitchen, pink bathroom, peach bathroom, Tennessee granite fireplace — everything in her 1957 Michigan home — are just fantastic. I thought that I had more Geneva metal cabinets in one place than anyone, but Ruth sets a new record. And look at it: A curvacious island… marble counter topped baking area … original range exhaust fan … and more. Ruth did replace the kitchen floor – so you also can ogle her design and see if it might be right for you. I think it’s terrific – the scale is just right and the soft gray and blue have just the right ‘coolness’ to go with the lovely light blue Geneva cabinets.

Read on for Ruth’s story…16 photos…and a link to more on her flickr stream…And when you’re done be sure to check out her new blog: No Pattern Required.

Ruth writes:

Hi Pam!

I love your blog and it has been an unending source of information for us since we have purchased our new home. At the time we bought our 1950’s brick ranch, we didn’t know anything about mid-century modern, but we knew we loved the way it looked. Thanks for helping us to restore our house to the style it was meant to be.

The house was built in 1956-57 and was designed by the homeowners. They owned if for their whole lives, and we purchased it from their daughter.

The cabinet colors are original, and totally awesome. I almost lost it when we walked into the kitchen for the first time. It was really well thought out and is so wonderful, the amount of storage space is just amazing. My favorite cabinets are the round ones in the front of the island, they are so perfect for holding big equipment that takes up counter space and big serving pieces. And to the right of the island is a whole extra bank of cabinets that serves as a pantry with extra countertop work space. In front of the long window and next to the oven is a low marble slab that matches the marble windowsills. Underneath the slab is 9 drawers, including drawers for flour and sugar, and a built in breadbox.

I wish I could think of more things to tell you, but if I did everything would end with an exclamation point. We love it! It’s fantastic! Cooking is a breeze! Etc, etc. :)

{I ask about the new kitchen floor and Ruth explains:] We are using Armstrong Imperial Texture Standard Excelon in Blue Cloud and Soft Cool Gray.

The living room might be awhile, we have to put up our gold atomic wallpaper and figure out how to make pinch pleat drapes out of our existing drapes!

Oooh, you know that “gold atomic wallpaper” is going to keep my attention on your house, Ruth! In addition to the images above, Ruth has posted more photos on her flickr photostream. Many thanks for sharing, Ruth!

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  1. sablemable says

    Beautiful home, Ruth! Would love to see an exterior photo.
    Don’t we have gorgeous ranch homes here in Michigan?

  2. astrosonical says

    I love all those pictures! That’s a dream house for sure. I cringed when I watched HGTV last night, Mr. and Mrs. Yuppie traipsing through houses, the Missus sniffing haughtily over the “outdated” kitchens in the 1913 and 1927 houses, and neither were neglected! If I ever win lottery, I want an original ranch somewhere up north. I love the built in cooktop and oven in Ruth’s house, as well as the fireplace and hanging fixture.

  3. Elizabeth Mary says

    To see the exterior of this great house go to her flickr album. The link is at the end of the article. Lots of pictures there.
    Elizabeth Mary

  4. Milster says

    Oh my goodness Ruth, I hate to say it but I’m in house envy! That place is amazing and if I would have walked in there as a potential buyer they’d have had to pick my jaw up off the floor! The whole place is amazing and the only thing I would probably change is the pink carpet too and leave the rest just as fabulous as it is! You’re so lucky and it almost makes this Floridian want to move to Michigan!

  5. Brenny says

    Woo Hoo. Good Grief. I cannot believe some peoples luck. Not mine, that’s for sure….lol
    But seriously, beautiful home and kudos to you. When I get past my house-envy I will give you a heartfelt congrats, but for now I’m just green and sullen.

  6. Pam Kueber says

    MidCentKeith – on pinch pleats – honestly I don’t think you are going to be happy with trying to convert existing panels into pinch pleats. Better to: Watch for vintage to fit (this has worked for me) or to start from scratch. Reason: You will want to make sure the panels fit the entire window expanse plus the wrap plus the stack-back – and this takes a lot of fabric considering the pinch pleats create all those… pleats. See Femme1’s PDF in the comment on this post – which seems to provide some good basic instructions:

    Ruth – what does your mom say about this question?

  7. RetroRuth says

    Hey everyone! Thanks for all the comments and the envy! I do agree, sablemable, that we in MI are more fixated on homes than anywhere else I have lived. I love the home preservation spirit here, it is the best!

    My mom, who is a sewing teacher, approved my conversion of regular drapes to pinch pleats for two reasons. 1) In our old rental, we had more windows in the living room, so I have about 10 panels of the same fabric. It takes a lot of fabric to make pinch pleats, and I am going to need all 10 to do it. 2) In the living room we have an overhanging “box”, kind of like a jumbo cornice box, that hides the tops of the drapes and hardware. So she thinks it is a good idea for me to practice on these to get ready for the main event: pinch pleat sheers for my bedroom.

    But the main issue is the fabric! Pam is right. You have to realize if you convert, purchased drapes won’t cover the same space anymore when you are finished.

  8. Jeanne says

    That home is fantastic!! That’s all I can say!

    And my mother always made pinch pleat drapes for her living rooms, whenever she redecorated. And she’s a perfectionist, too, so they always come out beautiful. She just made some for her home in Florida last year. I wish she lived in Michigan and could make some for me, but I’d never ask her to do that, as she’s 82 and it’s quite an undertaking. There are women who run ads in our church paper who advertise that they make drapes. Maybe check local papers for ads of someone who sews at home. They are not that hard, just need good measurements.

  9. Elvis (aka) Jane says

    OK, I’m officially in lust! What a wonderful home, Ruth – thank you for sharing. Enjoy all the fun you’ll have making it sparkle with that mid-century shine!

  10. Kristinski says

    I’m filled with a mixture of envy and relief. I’m envious of your house, but so relieved it’s in the hands of someone who appreciates it. It’s like a time capsule. Beauiful.

  11. Kitschy Kimberly says

    Ok, I am officially in love with this kitchen! A baking center,that island, the baby blue….oh my goodness!

    ~swoons and faints with envy~

  12. Tikimama says

    Oh no, what is there left for me to say??!! I checked out all the photos on flickr, too, and you are one lucky duck, lady! I agree with Kristinski that I am so HAPPY to see a beautiful house, so lovingly cared-for all these years, go to someone who loves it for what it is and does not want to “update” or “remuddle” it! The changes you have made to the floors were spot-on though! Keep posting pics as you decorate this lovely space.

  13. Colleen says

    Ruth, those blue cabinets are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! What a find! And I am SO jealous that you have the original plan! I wish I had mine! I called the planning department on the off chance that they may have it still (on file or scanned in) and was told that while it MAY exist, their filing system for the old stuff is so bad that they are lucky if they can find something from a few years ago let alone 59. At least he was kind enough to take down my information and promised to call me if a miracle occured and he stumbled across it the next time he goes to the storage facility.

    I’m originally from Michigan and my parents designed and built my childhood home in the late 60’s/early 70’s. They built the downstairs first and lived down there while they finished the upstairs. Because of the stages the downstairs was much more vintage 60’s with metal edged laminate and metal ringed sinks. We had speckled 60’s tile and marble windowsills too… Ah, memories! Thanks!

  14. Joe says

    Talk about inspiration for the Geneva kitchen I have waiting to be refurbed and installed. I never thought of using the two quarter round cabinets on an island.

  15. says

    What fun! I am most envious over the rounded island in the kitchen! The builder was so meticulous in providing incredible storage and workspace in the kitchen!

  16. RetroRuth says

    Thanks for the compliments and support, everybody!

    Colleen – I was so stoked to find those plans. It is so awesome to have the plans to an older house, it was so fun to see what the owners originally intended and what changes had been made.

    Joe – You should use your round cabinets in an island, too! It looks so wonderful.

    Thanks for all the feedback and envy, too! I was kinda scared to mess stuff up when we first started giving the place a little facelift, but this room has really built up our confidence!

  17. Cheryl says

    Ruth; what a great job you two have done on the house. If you don’t have enough fabric to make pinch pleated drapes you know where to find more!!! Love you lots!!! Mom

  18. atomicgrrl says

    Oh my giddy Aunt!! I pride myself on being comfortable,happy and content with what I have but those feelings just went right out the window! How amazing. I can’t believe the condition of the tile in the bathrooms, the cabinets and, well EVERYTHING! Hard rock maple built in storage areas….girl you are living the dream. Enjoy!

  19. says

    About making pinch-pleat drapes – my mom and both my grandmothers’ drapes were essentially a huge square/rectangle of fabric with a special pleating tape sewn across the top. (I remember putting the three- or four-prong curtain hooks back in my grandmother’s drapes after spring cleaning). That would seem like an easy way to make them, unless they don’t make that tape any more?

  20. Mary Ann Williams says

    I too have the blue kitchen with the push button stove. But the someone replace the stove top. Have the original oven!. Lived in 3 Homes and all had Geneva Kitchens WOW. (Webster Groves, MO)

  21. Eric Gregory says


    My wife and I just bought a home on Keuka Lake (One of the finger lakes in NY). Neo Bauhaus (and so inexpensive you cant believe it!) To our suprise it has a complete Geneva Kitchen. Mint condition.Teracota red? Just moved from Arizona so thats whatt I would call it. We are looking to expand it and create an island al la those great curvatious Geneva end peices on that island in the picture which linked me here. I can work with square as well, but those curved beauties absolutley rock .

    Any Ideas?

    I would love to hear from you!



    • pam kueber says

      Hi Eric, you are in the right place. Check our Forum, epicenter of the entire Milky Way Galaxy for buying and selling vintage steel kitchen cabinets: You must register and get used to the forum, but it’s free and loads of addictive fun. Welcome.

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