Let’s be serious


1961-formica-kitchen.jpg

Sunday is the day I reflect on the goals of the blog blah blah blah. When I studied journalism in college, I learned about being a columnist and immediately thought, “How horrible — to have to have an opinion all the time.”

As a result, I vowed to keep it to once a week and then, to try and keep it light and not preachy. I am actually very worried about this.

So here goes…my opinion today is: There is no need to take any of this retro renovation stuff too seriously. Yours, mine or anybody else’s.

1961-formica-kitchen142.jpgSo what if the 1961 Formica kitchen above is ridiculously over the top? Like, so over-the-big-top it’s blown out the bulb on my scanner. It’s a kitchen for gosh sakes, and frankly, if it (or one like it, I acknowledge this is an ad) made its owner happy, then who else should care?

The postwar period was full of lots of “kitsch” that high stylists sneer at. Frankly, I think this says a lot about them. And it isn’t good.

I say: Life’s a big canvas, throw on a lot of paint. Let us enjoy our dinnerware collections, our flamingos and boomerangs, our useless but wonderful estate-sale treasures– that is, let us have fun with our homes, usually on a tight budget and infused with lots of creative joy. Sometimes the project goes sideways and it turns out…well, tacky…but hey, it’s only a house. It can be fixed, and it makes for a much more interesting story than expensive retail perfection, any day.

You know, the more I look at the pink carousel kitchen, the more I actually like it. Why not? Seriously.

This post was first published Dec. 16, 2007.

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Comments

  1. Femme1 says

    Well, Pam, you know what they say, “Life is a carousel…” (Wait…was that “life is a carnival”?) Anyway, if you can’t feel like you’re in the middle of a carnival whilst cooking in your kitchen, what good is it?!

    I like your take on the seriousness of the renovation thing, as it is also my view on it. I’ve just had a lot of fun with it over the years, and it sure ain’t perfect. And sometimes I even get tired of the house stuff and do other things for a while, and rarely think about fixing the house up more.

    But then…sometimes something will happen, like finding this blog, fer instance. Then I get all enthused again.

  2. 50sPam says

    Life is a cabaret? Hey, I have basement photos of that, too! I see a whole series here…. Thanks, Femme 1. I couldn’t agree more. I, too, tire of working on the house and move on…the garden and yoga are two things I’ve also gotten entirely obsessed with at times. But then, I come back again after a while. Right now, I’m in ‘down’ mode relative to the house…actually trying to clean up and clean out, lighten up….Meanwhile all those photos of attic renovations I posted recently, got me thinking about the attic….Maybe next spring!

  3. Sumac Sue says

    If you take the stripes and the red out of that carousel kitchen, you can see that the kitchen layout isn’t really that wild. The color and pattern make the entire kitchen seem unusual. The great thing about color and pattern is, it can be changed. In the past, if I picked a paint color that wasn’t quite right, I just lived with it. I thought I had to “get my money’s worth” out of that paint! My frugal attitude left me feeling sort of grumpy when I was in that boring beige kitchen. Now, when I make a paint choice I come to regret, I know it’s well worth the cost of another gallon or two of paint to get something that is more pleasing, maybe even more fun!

  4. 50sPam says

    Yup! To your point – this photo is a great example of how the last few finishing touches can make all the difference!

  5. Mer says

    I enjoy this kitchen even more when I imagine that within that wild carousel structure she is storing some serious liquor reserves. Bottoms up!

  6. Missouri Michael says

    The red corkscrew spirals go in different directions on the island posts than on the stool posts – that would drive me nuts! Otherwise, I think this would be a fun second kitchen in the family area in a basement.

  7. says

    I think most people are actually afraid to do fun things in their houses. My husband and I are always teased about the “bold” or different choices we make when it comes to paint and such, but then our friends and neighbors love it. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “Wow. I wish I could do this in my house. I just don’t have the guts.” Well, why NOT?! Life is short, and you should do whatever you can that makes you happy.

    And I can admire the high-end designer furniture, and those lucky enough to be able to afford having it in their homes. But when I see homes that are TOO serious, I just think “boring”!

  8. says

    I got a real kick out of this article Pam! Thanks for posting. The photo did make me giggle when I first saw it. But advertising, especially in an outrageous way, helps people remember you. I LOVE looking at all the old ads. Very inspirational and yes, sometimes humerous!
    Maryann

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