Greatest hits: The 50 most popular stories about renovating a 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s house

1946 pyrex kitchen

Measuring the popularity of stories on the blog is a very inexact science. What makes for “popular?” The number of comments? The number of views? The amount of time readers actually spend reading the story? And how do I adjust these for growing readership? Heck. For this first scannola, I’ll make it easy, and spotlight the top-50, most-clicked-on stories since 2007. What lures you in? Paint colors. Vintage drainboard sinks. Bathroom tile. Vintage wallpaper. Curb appeal. Oh – and Nora and her time capsule house :) .

The posts with the most views, by category:

Readers’ Houses & Time Capsules:

Retro Paint Colors:

For Kitchen Renovations:

For Bathroom Renovations:

Vintage-style Wallpaper and Accessories:

Other Rooms:

Improving Curb Appeal:

Mid-century Architecture, History, and This ‘n That:

Readers, do you remember the exact first story
you ever found and read on Retro Renovation?
What were you looking for, that brought you here?

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Jeanne says

    I should be scraping the snow/ice off my car and heading to work but can’t resist posting first….

    I’ll never forget my first time here. As a Mad Men lover, I was searching Betty Draper’s kitchen and found this:

    http://retrorenovation.com/2008/08/18/recreate-don-betty-drapers-50s-mad-men-kitchen/

    Whoa boy! It was love at first sight. And timing was everything, because we just downsized to our “new” home and I was looking for all sorts of inspiration and resources. I was a bit sad to give up my larger home, but am so much happier to have less to clean and a smaller yard to take care of. This blog is a little bit like therapy. :-)

  2. Julie P says

    I had ripped out my bathroom console sink and put in a vanity and I hated it! I found the site trying to find a new old console sink to replace the one I had sadly gotten rid of. The site lead me to several fully restored sinks which were quite expensive. Of course that made me even more unhappy with myself for my quick decision to rip out the original. The plumber I had been using told me I could not fix the drips. I found a new plumber who was able to walk me through removing the stems and told me where to have them repacked. That started the hunt for the new old sink. We finally found one at our local salvage yard store. When we hooked it up the water was spraying out everywhere. The plumber’s instructions worked like a charm. We had the sink up and running in no time! When we moved we asked the new buyers to please call us if they ever planned to replace that sink so we could come and get it. Finding it then repairing it was a labor of love!

  3. Lynne says

    We purchased our 1955 MCM in July of 2010. The kitchen was a fright and the very first project on the to-do list. I knew I wanted a turquoise kitchen, based on memories of the neighbor’s kitchen when I was growing up. I Googled “turquoise kitchen” and what popped up???? Yeah, you guessed it : PAM’S INCREDIBLE KITCHEN !!! Read the story, and I was hooked. I’ve been an everyday reader and sometimes poster ever since. Many thanks for the work you do, Pam!

  4. Trouble says

    Eartha’s kitchen, I think, is my favorite so far – or one of them. Man, I would LOVE to come over and make a Western omlette in that kitchen!

  5. cookieknits says

    I googled pink bathroom.
    I was looking for ammunition to support my defense of the pink bathrooms in a house I was considering buying in Fort Worth, Tx.
    So, what happens? I end up buying a house with brown and sand colored bathrooms. Today’s retrospective may have shown me a way to actually turn one of those baths pink, however, so thanks, Pam.

  6. Susan K says

    My first visit must have been a search on steel or metal cabinets. As soon as I saw the vintage advertising, I knew this was a go-to site. Haunting thrift stores for old magazines is one way to get an eye-ful of the good stuff, but coming to retro-reno has lots of added benefits to go along with the eye candy.

    Exploring old threads (such as Pam’s designer tips using old kitchen advertising) can be delightfully diverting for untold hours! I visit at least 3 times a week now (usually 5!), but I think there were a few years where I visited only occasionally. What fun I have catching up!

  7. Gail says

    It would have been in the fall of 2009. I was looking for vintage drainboard sink – bingo! And even though I didn’t end up going the vintage drainboard sink route I was hooked…

    • Kristy says

      Same Gail!

      I too, did not end up going the vintage drainboard sink route… but I did just recently pick up a set of vintage Geneva cabinets that are now taking up 1/2 of my living room!

      Starting on the kitchen as soon as the plumbers finish my basement plumbing & first floor bath replumb!

  8. Gavin Hastings says

    My Kentile kitchen floor is pink with a grey marble swirl.
    I Google-d: “Pink 50s Kitchen Floor” . The rest is history.

  9. Jackie says

    Is it sad that when I saw that picture I thought. Hey I have that pie plate on my table. It’s my moms and I haven’t remembered to take it back to her since Thanksgiving.

  10. Pja2trees says

    I first came across your site after finding some Salem “North Star” plates in one of the many thrift stores I rummage around in. I wasn’t specifically looking for these plates, but when I saw them on the shelf, I knew I had to have these beauties. I came home, immediately Googled them and that’s how I came across your website.
    I, too, have become hooked and it is a daily delight for me to see items that were around as I was growing up. The day I saw those wood and brass mallard duck wall ornaments posted on your site, I went a little crazy because I remember we had them on our walls as a kid. I called my mom and asked her if she still had them, but she hasn’t gone through the boxes of items from a move recently.
    Keep up the good work–it is a joy to look in each day and relive some good memories!

  11. Katie Cappello says

    Our home has an amazing brown 1960’s GE Americana stove, complete with broiler/rotisserie above the cook-top. Through your blog, we found out that there was also a matching refrigerator…the search is on!

  12. STL Mom says

    I found this site after we bought our 1950 cabin with dark knotty pine paneling. My husband does not believe in painting over stained wood, dark brown or not, so I was looking for ideas about decorating around the paneling. There was a wonderful story here about a knotty pine kitchen, and then I just kept reading and reading and reading. Seriously, I think I lost an entire weekend to reading old posts!

  13. says

    Yay! Our kitchen is still in there! I still love that kitchen and I bet I always will. : )
    I love how everyone is telling how they got here. I think that mine was through Flickr – maybe the Save The Pink Bathrooms group!

  14. Sabrina says

    After scoring a totally awesome Broyhill Brasilia dining set (china cabient, table, and 6 chairs– for just $800!) on Craigslist for our “new” 1957 MCM home in the summer of 2009, DH and I googled “Broyhill Brasilia”– and that’s how I found Retro Renovation. I’ve been reading it ever since. It has totally changed the way I look at the features of our house, including what to do about the very much needed kitchen renovation (already bought our Formica aqua boomerang!), learning to love rather than simply tolerate our pink bathroom, and deciding what original features I definitely WON’T keep as soon as we can afford to replace them– single pane aluminum frame windows come to mind!– and for that I thank you!

  15. CindyD says

    I googled ‘1950’s kitchen’ and found this site a year ago, December. We had been trying to figure out what to do with our too-small kitchen. We have a friend who designs kitchens and she had suggested several door styles we could go with, but none of them really hit me right. Her mantra has been ‘DO NOT scrimp on your cabinets – you want them to LAST!’ After 6 years of indecision, this site gave me my answer. And I can say with authority, I did not scrimp, and they have and WILL last!

  16. scarolina says

    I believe I first stumbled upon the site while waiting to close on my home, which was built in 1954. I was dreaming about sprucing up the kitchen with colorful cafe curtains. I don’t know exactly what post I ended up reading, but I bookmarked Retro Renovation immediately, and read tons of old posts. I’ve returned regularly. This site has been inspirational. I’m not matching the era exactly, but I have fully embraced late 50’s and early 60’s style. I love the results. My mom and I made those colorful cafe curtains I was dreaming about a few months ago. We also refinished a mid-century dining room table. I bought an amazing crescent shaped couch that the seller had only sat on once – when she met her in-laws for the first time. Just last week I bought great shaped coffee and end tables off Craigslist. I think I actually screamed “look at those pinch pleats!” when I walked in the seller’s house. Pam, you’ve warped me (or time-warped me). Thanks because I’m having a blast.

  17. Cynthia says

    I found this site about a year ago, when we were starting an addition/remodel on our 1958 tri-level. We are all done now (ONE of these days I will take a bunch of pics and send them to Pam, and she can post them if she finds them worthy ;-)) and I owe a lot of the finishing touches to the inspiration I found here on RR. We’re not as hard-core authentic as so many readers here are — unfortunately, a tight budget and small children in the house (I’m a stay-at-home mom with 6-year-old twins and a 3-year-old) win out over authenticity…but the bones of both the original house and the addition are great (IMO, of course ;-)) and, over time, we hope to add more true 50s and 60s touches. We plan to be here forever, so we’ve got time…

    Thanks, Pam, and everyone, for all the great ideas and all the support I find here. It’s so refreshing to talk (even virtually) to people who “get it.”

  18. Wendy M says

    I’m a relative newbie…I happened upon the site in September of last year when we first looked at what is now our home. I honestly can’t remember what I looked up that led me here, but I know I was Googling all the quirky features of the house. What started out as curiousity turned into a quest to save this house. I just had a gut feeling that if we didn’t buy this house, someone would come in and strip out all the character. As our home inspector commented, “It’s a shame the owners weren’t famous…they would have turned this into a museum if they were” because it’s so well preserved in it’s original state.
    Anyway, thank you, Pam. for providing so much inspiration and a forum for everyone who appreciates the past and it’s lovely homes! I enjoy checking in each day.

  19. TappanTrailerTami says

    Well, gee…….I can’t really remember what made me arrive at RR. But, now, it just seems like “it’s always been”………kinda like how I feel about my husband and all of my antiques and collectibles….. this blog is just the right fit, comfortable, yet exciting everyday!

    Thank you Pam and everyone else here!

  20. Peggy says

    I stumbled across the Retro Renovation site while searching for pictures of the small square bath tub that I have in my 1955 low roofline Crawford home. My parents had a pink bathroom in their 1965 era house and it also had a corner tub, but it was larger than the one I have. I think mine would be classified as a shower tub because only a small child could bathe in it. The sides aren’t as high as the tub that my parents had in their house, but mine has the corner seating area and is one of the few vintage things left in the house after multiple owners renovated almost all of the character out of it. About the only thing left is the very low roofline which leaves no attic space, the high windows that were popular at the time, a pink wall tiled bathroom, a medicine cabinet and the square cast iron tub that my contractor said was a gem and can’t be replicated today. Yes, I had it resurfaced and kept it. No glass walled, walk in shower for me! Love this website and check it almost daily for updates.

  21. Ellen says

    My first time? I Googled period-inspired fabric for kitchen and bathroom (pink, of course) window-coverings for a 1956 2-story duplex, which I own and decided to move into after one of the apartments became vacant. And I somehow stumbled on Retro Renovation. I’m in the camp of those who need to send you some photos, because you helped me embrace my pink and maroon bathroom tile, and in fact, play it up. I also learned about period plumbing fixtures and hardware, floor coverings, and potential colors for an eventual outdoor paint job. Having grown up as a child in a new home built in 1957, and having just moved from a restored 1912 Portland (OR) four-square, I wasn’t interested in going back to the 1950s, so I credit your site and its readers for pointing me in the right direction to enhance all the original features, including a hued ring for a new bathroom sink! What a helpful community of dedicated people!!

  22. sandy retroSpective says

    Can’t remember exactly… but I have googled lots of stuff on ‘retro’ and ‘mid-century modern’. This one is, for me, by far the most interesting blog on retro style. I love Pam’s style of writing, and feel like I can hear her speaking to me / us. I find the various stuff Pam posts so interesting, love her various finds, that I spend way too much time on here!

    Hate to disappoint all of you pink lovers, though… I HATE pink anything, I will never be caught dead wearing pink, and certainly wouldn’t have a pink bathroom! My parents had a split level I lived in from when I was 12 (until I went to college), that had, in the guest bathroom, beautiful sandy-brown coloured fixtures. Now, THAT’s a colour I could happily live with! And we had a mint green in the main bathroom. And now, I will continue to visit some of those ’50 most popular stories’,: right now, am enjoying one on MCM sofas and where to get not-so-expensive ones.

  23. Taylor says

    My first visit to this site was the result of a Google search. Our house was built in 1956 and has an ugly knotty pine kitchen and den AND a pink bathroom. In the hopes of figuring out a way to decorate and revamp our house to our tastes, it’s not looking promising. I specifically am searching for ways to paint or otherwise lose the knotty pine for minimal effort, but the post that came up in the google search was Eartha’s kitchen.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Taylor, Welcome, but you may not be in the right place. Here at Retro Renovation, we love da knotty pine. No no no, we do not allow the *u* word here, when it comes to talking about k.p. or pink bathrooms or hudee rings or push button stoves or, well, most all of the loveliness in postwar houses. Cruise around the site a bit. Maybe we can change your mind.

      • Taylor says

        Oh, I don’t mean to offend anyone who likes it. It’s just not what I would have preferred, and it makes the rooms so orangey-dark and cabin-like. I can tolerate knotty pine in small doses, but our kitchen is big, and everything is knotty pine except for the floors & countertops. I actually really like vintage homes, but the k.p is a challenge for me. My husband likes the idea of painting it all, so we still might paint the den for him, but I can understand the historical aspect of restoring a home to it’s former glory. I’m actually contemplating (thanks to your site!) how to restore the kitchen. It has a 40″ oven, k.p. crown molding, and the original black hardware. As for the pink bathroom, I don’t think it’d be as pressing of a project if we liked the pink and the plastic tiles weren’t falling off the walls. :(

        Thanks for this website – it’s a very helpful resource!

  24. Holley says

    I happily stumbled across your site when I “GoOgLeD” something like ‘old 1940’s kitchens,’ ‘time capsule houses,’ something like that.. so happy I did!! Awesome site — Thank you so much!

  25. Ted says

    Found this site today after a friend sent me a link to the story about that guy Cullen and his amazing apartment. Neat site. I’m not sure what is more amazing – all the great photos of stuff I like or how everyone who comments seems to be named Sarah, Heather or Betty. =)

  26. Helene says

    I found Retro Renovation because I’m researching my parents’ belongings. They both passed away in 2009 & I want to find new loving homes for their retro stuff (a 1959 bedroom set, a 1970’s avocado/green glass hanging lamp, vintage Drexel furniture, lots of kitchen stuff & more). I’m happy to see so many people love the stuff & value its history… finding good retro homes for their possessions is more important to me than the money!

  27. MCM is Grand says

    OK…personal confession time…I came across this site because I was planning to GUT the pink bathroom when we purchased our 1955 home…but soon realized that was neither a wise nor affordable option (and still is not), so instead I decided to replace some of the chipped tile……I googled “pink tile” and VOILA! Up pops retrorenovation and along with it, a new appreciation of all things MCM..

    Now, three years later, I am bragging about our pink bathroom, and of course this site is my first stop when I check my favorite blogs each day…(PS I will share more once I finally complete the period-appropriate renovations…..)
    THANK YOU PAM!

  28. Melissa says

    I found this site while looking for ideas for renovating the kitchen in my 1938 home. The first article I read was http://retrorenovation.com/2010/03/17/linoleum-floors-and-countertops-brighten-up-dave-frances-1938-kitchen/
    I love the way this kitchen has been done up. I still have no idea what I am going to do with my own kitchen, mostly because I live in Newfoundland, Canada and am not able to get most things I need to remodel the kitchen. The kitchen was renovated at some point since it has gold painted cabinets and a stainless double sink with laminate floors. I would love to use a deep blue as the main colour in my ‘new’ kitchen with white cabinets but it may be a while yet before I get that far.

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