Win a Love the House You’re In custom collage of you and your house

copyright 2011 and mel kolstad

Update: We have a winner. Stay tuned for a new contest in February. My monthly contest to win a “Love the House You’re In” custom collage will continue this year, with collage artist extraordinaire Mel Kolstad remaining with scissors and vintage ephemera in-hand. Do you realize that Mel’s collages are just 4 inches square? A bit smaller, even, than what you see on your screen. To get us started for January, I asked Mel to make a collage for Susan, who was the winner of my first annual “The Hard Way” award. I love it! Click on through if you want to enter to win our next collage -> .

To win our January contest, all you have to do is: Leave a Comment answering the question, “What’s your hottest house project to get done now that it’s a new year?”  Please read all the rules here before entering, they all apply. I’ll pick a reader in 10 days, on January 21.
Meanwhile, Mel explains her journey in crafting Susan’s collage:

Susan’s house is wonderful in that it incorporates so many different textures: wood, brick, stone and glass.  It was the first time I’d ever “made stones” and I really loved the process.  It was also a hoot to feature many of her kitties on the collage as well! 

Thanks, Mel! Read more about her work on her cool blog, Ephemeraology.

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  1. says

    I didn’t realize the collages were only 4″ square….wow! that’s small work. I like the kitties in the windows on this one.

    My hottest project is to completely declutter….but if we’re talking renovation, then it would be to finish my kitchen. I’m so close and dropped the ball….I’m hoping to pick that ball back up and soon!

  2. Kelly Cornacchia says

    Number one on our list is to refinish the wood floors. We have gone back and forth about completely replacing them but have finally decided that these original (to the ’50s) are salvageable. They’ve been poorly redone by past owners but we are committed to restoring them to their former glory.

  3. Puzzy says

    Our current hot topic is an un-do of the kitchen which was updated around 1969. Although we loved the fact that it was very retro we felt it was more funky than we could live with day to day. So let the un-do (back to 1955) begin!

  4. says

    We hope to have the kitchen completely remodeled by the early summer. We are currently painting the living room and hope to remodel at least one of the two bathrooms. We hope to be pretty busy this year and finish all the interior items up. We’ll see!

  5. MbS says

    Mel’s small collages are perfect gems…I own three! Together, they make a triptych that channels the cool-llageness of

    hybrid tea roses and metal can fumigators
    poodles and poodle skirts: bark cloth, truly!
    the healing properties of the tincture of rhubarb….

    MEL, still lovin’ on my ephemeral gems….

    • says

      Oh MB, you are so sweet. It was an absolute pleasure making those collages for you – and it makes my heart happy to know that you love them! Thank you for making my day! 😀

  6. Nicole says

    Our hottest project right now is in progress! We are remodeling our bathroom a rockin’ retro bright avacado green and I am going to hand stencil starbursts throughout. Once that is done…we are in the plans for putting on a new roof, shingles and color to our 1900 bungalow with a 1963 renovation :) I truly love the house I am in and I am determined to win one of these collages before we change the outside of the house a different color! I want to have something special as a memory of how far we have come with our renovation. Happy renovating to all!!

    • says

      That’s so nice of you, Nicole – but if you win you could just send me a photo of your house with the old paint color! I don’t mind! 😀

  7. Patty says

    I want to get new windows for my knotty pine “club room” so I can fully enjoy it. When I moved in, my neighor, an original owner in this 50s neighorhood,, said that’s what this room was called by the builder.

    • eudora says

      Patty, when I lived in Stillwater, OK my ranch came with a set of plans. Mine, too, was called the “club room.” And I camped it up…many cocktails and games enjoyed there.

  8. says

    My hottest house project for this year is unfortunately the same as it was last year, although I actually finished the project last year. I am redoing the bathroom – again. I was so happy once I got it finished, and even though most of it was just paint, I thought it looked pretty good. Unfortuantely, over the summer the beadboard expanded (which it hasn’t done in the 4 other summers I have lived here) and it cracked and split and buckled. Now, I have another mess to clean up. This time, I’m doing away with the bead board. And, I’m getting closer to having the bathroom as it originally was. It was originally pink fixtures with pink tile, pink wall paint, and green linoleum. Now I’m working on the goal of gray tile, gray floor, pink fixtues and pink walls… We’ll see if I manage to get it done, again!

    • Trouble aka Shane says

      Sounds kool, man. I’m getting closer to the home stretch in my BR. It’s gray painted now…prob a black and some other color VCT floor. The fixtures are white but I’m debating on the tile color. I’m throwing in some reclaimed old school knotty pine and built-in shelving w/scalloped edges around the opening. 1954 all day!

  9. Laura Boynton says

    Well, I’ve been systematically erasing my ex-husband one room at a time. The last room to get re-painted (that’s all it needs) is the kitchen. So, I’m dithering over a paint color. . .gold? Maybe?

  10. Joanne Deschenes says

    The big project that my husband and I are planning is to get rid of the living room rug and the kitchen vinyl and either get hard wood or tile.

    • pam kueber says

      hey joanne, know that there can be asbestos in that old vinyl — consult with a pro before removing it so that you know what you are working with

  11. says

    The 2011 project for us is the back deck! Our current deck is basically falling off the back of the house. It’s small, ugly, and isn’t an outdoor living space, which is key in Colorado. The plan is to expand it and use some great turn-of-the-century wrought-iron fencing I scavenged as the spindles. The house was built in 1905, renovated after a fire in the 50’s or 60’s (giving us terrific knotty pine wainscot in the living room), updated again (badly) in the 70’s or 80’s, and is now an interesting, eclectic mix of virtually every decade. But, just like the funky town in which we live, it works.

  12. Nicole says

    My hottest project this year is a bathroom remodel. We’ll redo the floor tiles, vanity sink/countertop, add some wainscoting to the walls, reglaze the existing tub and add subway tile to the tub surround. A big undertaking, but we are excited!

  13. Mary says

    Our hottest project this year is to finally finish the walls in our living room. We’ve puttered away at other projects, because it’s taken a few years to finally settle on the right colors to get started! When the walls are done, a whole cascade of other living room projects will finally fall into place, as this is what we’ve been waiting for!

  14. Nancy Stevenson says

    Our Hot project to get done is to Paint, paint and more paint! Our house is 10 years old, and we are shopping for a new, OLD house to move into this coming summer. Of course we are looking for a nice 60’s model! I am so excited! Can’t wait for a pink bathroom! See ya on the Blog!

  15. eudora says

    The kitchen. It’s a gutter. Taking it from Marsha Brady back to Judy Jetson (my house was completed in 1951). Have a pink metal GE kitchen in the garage ready to go. Just bracing for the upset of not having a kitchen for a while. Last time I went through this I dropped a Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese container hot out of the microwave in the living/dining room, splattering it over about a 400 sq. ft area. So, clearly, swearing off the cheesy stuff is the first step. Sigh!

  16. connie says

    Hi Pam,

    Love love love your site! It keeps me working towards the past with an eye to the future, which is what my hottest project is all about.

    I bought a 988sf cottage last year and while it was built in 1955, there had been some remodeling, as a tree fell into the kitchen and fire happened in the front bedroom. The kitchen looks like a big box store kitchen center, but nothing that paint can’t take care of…

    My main project this year is adding access from the kitchen to the laundry room, accessible currently from the outside only. While I do not have a laundry addiction, I do like clean clothes and nothing beats tidying up during a lazy rainy and cold day and getting laundry off the list. However, it’s tough to get motivated to run outside in the rain or cold!

    Beside the task of busting through an exterior wall, I must raise the floor in the laundry room to meet the house. I will put off insulating and finishing until spring, just having access is my small goal.

    I’m learning to love my house that’s been “brought to current” without a watchful eye on the past. I am now that watchful eye.


  17. says

    I need to do my kitchen. If there is one more time that I have to bend under my rangehood fan to check some food (because it is WAY TOO LOW) I think I might scream! I have decided on only 3 different design and colour schemes… so I guess that means I am winding down towards just one very soon! Woo hoo!! I can’t decide between putting in pink counters (thanks to Nora’s kitchen for the inspiration) or to keep it a cooler blue-y green. Or maybe even bright red! See… 3 schemes. Help me.

    • Puzzy says

      Sara D- I’m having the same issue! I have decided on all but the counters. I too am considering red. Do you fear you will get tired of it? Are you planning on adding the metal edging? Wilson Art has a new laminate called Pomegranate which I like. Don’t think the pattern is period authentic. Have you seen it? I think I’m going to order a sample. Whatever I do I need to incorporate my avocado appliances for now. Happy to share ideas!

        • Puzzy says

          Thnx Patty- Don’t think I haven’t thought of that! I do need a pop of color and yellow isn’t working because I am in the process of stripping the cabinets (which were painted avocado) and they are beautiful birch with what I would guess is the amber shellac. I was thinking maybe an atomic orange..ish. I did see a red floor with an avocado wall in the 1957 accordion kitchen photo. Love that kitchen!!! Have you seen it?

      • says

        I’m not scared of tiring of it; my house growing up had that really old red formica on it (not cracked ice.. more like redy-blacky marble??) and I miss it. I actually found this engineered stone counter that was a bright deep red and though I know it’s totally not period it was SO HOT. My concern is I’d put alot of money into it then we’d end up having to move due to more babies and then I’d see it at the curb one day. I don’t think I could handle that! ha ha ha I am going to look into more laminates, there’s this really nice apricot pink that just might be the ticket, from Formica. I do have green walls but I already have red accessories, those two colours are complimentary and if you do it right it looks totally great, not Christmasy at all!!

  18. says

    While we have similar house projects as others (kitchen, bath, paint, floors, yawn!) I think the hottest project will be completing the handmade googie-esque house number plaque! Our house is somewhat restrained in style, so this will add that little something!

  19. says

    The Immediate Hot things are fixing a leaky tub faucet (we’re both lazy & clueless, so we’ve just been collecting the water and using it for making coffee, adding it to the brita, and the pet bowls). And, um, taking down Christmas. My dad passed away right after the new year, so we’re the only house on the block that still screams “HEY IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

    But my Happy Hot for this year is replacing the cabinet hardware in the kitchen. Getting rid of the fru-fru country brass, and putting in maybe “deco rings” nickel knobs or “saturn” oil-rubbed bronze knobs. And schoolhouse lighting fixtures! Yes, please! Can’t wait to hit “submit” in my shopping cart!

  20. says

    I’m a newbie to the site but am already madly in love with it!

    I’ve been hard at work since moving into my 1920s condo last April, making it a 1950s/early ’60s condo. :) The big project for this year is continuing to create a funky but comfy retro kitchen/dining area. I painted the kitchen and dining room a light teal, added a red polka dot rug, and got rid of the ugly lampshades on my vintage chandelier. Now it’s time to add two chairs (possibly bright yellow wood or maybe orange Eames-type shells) around my recently acquired early ’60s dining table. Major renovations are not feasible right now, but I think a smaller fridge and bigger oven will be a big improvement.

  21. Carrie says

    My hottest project is the kitchen…seven months so far, all do it ourselves, I am very ready to have it completed. Don’t worry, have been documenting everything with pictures so will get it to you soon!

  22. Anna says

    My fiance and I bought our 1960 MCM house in November… we swore with the holidays around the corner we would wait until the first of the year to even begin putting our touches on the house. Yeah, that didn’t work out! We have painted five rooms so far and our big project this year will be the kitchen. We are going to leave the floors, the Modern Maid oven, the Nutone fan, etc. but the cabinetry needs a little TLC:) Pam- I posted pics on facebook if you want to take a look… you will love!

  23. Ericka says

    Our hot project for the year is replacing the white ceiling tiles in the basement that had to be torn out when we did the full house rewiring last summer. The house is 1950, and the ceiling was probably installed some time between 1950 and 1960. We tore the tiles out ourselves so we didn’t have to pay electricians to do it, so we have a huge bare ceiling. It’s a pretty large finished basement so it’s daunting, and we’ve been putting it off, but this year, hopefully before spring, it will be done! Then we’ll finally be able to paint and decorate the basement’s two big rooms: space age bachelor pad with kitchenette, and parlor/music room. =)

  24. Jenny says

    Working on our basement family room. I have the walls painted and am on the last layer of floor paint before we get the room-sized area rug put down. Then it’s a matter of repainting some of the furniture, getting it all moved in and organized. After that, we move on to the next room in the basement which has a built-in bar from 1956 and lots of knotty pine. Patty and Eudora, I guess that must be our “club room” but my love calls it his “man cave”, lol.

  25. Nina462 says

    I love the little kitties in this collage! and the masonary stone work is very nice as well.
    My project(s) this year are: a new driveway – but that doesn’t really count as it’s just having a contractor come and retar the current one.
    Does staining the back deck count? For sure I am painting the living room and spare bedroom.
    and of course putting in a garden & clothesline this summer.

  26. says

    We wanted our house to have a screen door. It looks like there was once a screen door and I imagined it looked like those vintage doors with scalloped trim around the screen and a louvered lower half. At least that is what I thought would look great on the house as well, it was built in 1949. So we were able to procure a brown, vintage door on Craigslist. It needs to be stripped, repainted, re-screened and installed so we can enjoy the window of mild weather we get in Texas in the spring.

  27. Mary V. Thompson says

    HIring a cleaning person, so this mid-century modern rambler in a National Register Historic District will always sparkle!

  28. Amanda says

    My “hottest” house project right now is to replace one interior door and to install a cat door of sorts in another. Once that gets done I’d like to install some bathroom cabinets that have been in boxes since before we moved in (4 years ago). We’ll see what actually gets done!

  29. pam kueber says

    I’m gonna enter my own contest, cuz can you believe it, I don’t have a Love the House You’re In custom collage of me, my family and my house yet! Not sure I’ll really award it to myself if my number comes up. Anyway… my next hot project is to create a “drop ceiling” to hold my two 5’x12′ sheets of aqua boomerang Formica laminate — being discontinued in less than a week — that I bought just in case we needed them in years to come. Also, need to keep cleaning out and organizing the office. And basement. And garage. Have to get two vintage lights rewired and hung as well. After all this, I am in pretty good shape, as I did tons of projects last year (most of which I was too busy doing projects to blog about) and I am FED UP WITH PROJECTS.

    • says

      Pam, I would love to see what you come up with for me to do if you win – an exterior, or perhaps an interior collage? The sky’s the limit! 😀

  30. Michael says

    We accomplished a lot since purchasing our 1950 home from its original owner last spring, and have come to realize what we thought would be a “2 Year Plan” will more likely be a “5 Year Plan”! Finally finishing the powder room is first priority, with window coverings coming in a close second (fishbowl living has its challenges).

  31. Laura says

    I scored a really nifty 50s door on craigslist for $20! It has circle and semi-circle shaped windows in it. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can clean it up and hang it up. My only torment… does it want to be painted orange or aqua?

  32. Alan says

    The hottest project for the new year for my wife and I is to get our 1955 Youngstown cabinets re finished with ultra modern hammered black and to re-laminate the countertop with a wood grain. We have been inspired by two other posts on this site (Can you leave your metal kitchen cabinets unpainted – stripped down to the steel or with a clear gloss?) and (Painting metal kitchen cabinets: Jay and Jamie’s Nashville condo with retro renovated Youngstown cabinets) under the steel kitchens section! We will definitely post when its completed to share our experience. We just want a face lift and feel the over all color scheme we’ve decided on is super neat! My wife would love to win a collage! crossing our fingers and AWESOME SITE!

  33. Jay Emery says

    The big project is refinishing the original front door on our ’62 California ranch house. Everybody in our tract has “upgraded” their front doors–incorrectly–and I plan to buck the trend.

  34. effika says

    My hottest poject this year? Hmm… I SHOULD replace the 48-year old furnance… SHOULD replace the 20-30 year old roof… SHOULD get a new rangetop (one that won’t melt part of its wires when a certain (now removed) burner is on)… SHOULD get a professional to help me figure out how to fix the yard drainage issues that are contributing to our possible foundation issues… SHOULD install vents in the bathrooms… SHOULD fix the drain on the spare bathtub…

    But what do I really, really want to do? I want to make the closet in the master bedroom useful! First things first, right?

  35. says

    I’m with effika – SHOULD do boring things like add insulation in the roof. snore. But will be restoring El Pinko, my pink bathroom.

  36. Amanda Mann says

    My husband and I purchased our 1956 modern rancher last month. The beautiful thing was that we were able to meet the 92 year old owner. The home was owned by one family and the neat thing is that it was designed and built by the architect husband. Inside we have found numerous proposal books for our local airport in Cheyenne, WY that he helped design along with lots of blueprints for schools he had worked on.

    Our first project was removing wood paneling from the 70’s which exposed Pepto-pink paint in the kitchen to go with our fab Geneva cabinets. :) There is something vividly spiritual about being in home that was so well taken care of and we have loved every moment in our new retro-sanctuary. The previous owner told my husband and I this at our home closing…”I’m so glad a young couple has bought it. I just loved all the windows and had so many happy years there. You two will too!”

    So…just getting the wood paneling off to reveal what lies beneath is our first start.

  37. wendy wisniewski says

    After 7 looooong months of exile living in a temporary apartment, we are looking forward to moving back in to our CMR (cool mid-century remodel) in just 90ish short days. Phase I complete – – lots more phases to go! It’s going to be a loooong work in progress for our 1949 gem.

  38. Annie B. says

    Congratulations and welcome to the Kolstad Kollege of Kool Kollages. The #2
    4×4 jewel above is my very own humble abode.

    Mel, you’ve done it again. Another trophy. I’m still adoring mine.

    • says

      Oh, you are too sweet, Annie! 😀 Thank you so much and I’m so glad to hear you’re still enjoying your collage! 😀

  39. says

    Another cute collage- love those cats!

    This year I am not tackling any huge projects (did some expensive exterior work last summer that is limiting my budget)- my goals for 2011 are to decorate my home with thrifty vintage finds on a budget. So far it’s been a fun challenge!

  40. Elaine says

    My HOT project:

    Declutter, decorate and paint two bedrooms upstairs, including making walk-in closet in one more useful
    I already have the vintage cowboy bedroom set for one of the rooms, and both rooms have new windows and plantation shutters. Let the decluttering continue til it’s done this time!

  41. Cynthia says

    Hottest project is the kitchen floor. My husband tried to redo it himself about a month ago, using commercial floor tile. That was a disaster and a half…he is generally very handy, and I have never seen him give up a project, but this one did him in. The tiles would not stick and it was a total mess. I had to go to the dreaded big box store and get replacement stick-ons for the tiles he’d pulled up. Sad day, and we are back to our ugly floor that we’ve lived with for 5 years (since we bought the house). We are going to go “real floor” shopping soon, and see if we can find something that he can install and that we both can love.

  42. KM says

    Funny how many of us are “un-doing” kitchens; that’s on my plate, too. My house had a lot of un-doing, in fact. Folks, if you don’t like old houses, don’t buy one to mess up. Just buy new.

  43. says

    I am going to add a window to let in more light to my only living area, and paint my horrible 80’s fake oak kitchen cabinets.

  44. The Jenny says

    We are warming up to un-do our kitchen as well, but for this year we will be installing more built-ins. First up, a series of shelves in the bedroom to house my ceramic owl collection.

  45. Ms. Breeze says

    My hottest project for 2011 is to finish building the shed that looks like a younger sibling to my 1955 mid century modest house. Clerestory windows, period perfect paint colors and a security gnome to keep watch complete the look. Because the house is less than 1,000 sq ft, the shed is a must.

    Love love love the little 4″ collages.

  46. karen says

    Hope it’s not too late to enter…..I would love to win such a unique, and personal, collage! My first project is to get the Crestview doorlite kit I received for Christmas installed. Unfortunately the handyman gene seems to be missing from this household.

  47. says

    I want to enter! Yippy!

    Lets see, the project I am itching to get done is the bathroom in our 54 bungalow. We started it this weekend. We are ripping out the new toilet and putting in a Mammie pink toilet and wall mounted sink with chrome legs. So far, its a huge pain in the butt! As most vintage things are, it will be worth it in the end!