“Don’t be afraid of color. Promise me,” says Amy — 16 photos from her 1920s row house

white kitchen with yellow wallsamy and darioAmy Mescia, the founder of Oscar & Izzy Tiles, is such a creative cutie that you know her house must have a story, too. Yup: She and her husband Dario live in a 1920s Philadelphia rowhouse, which vintage kitchen and pink-and-blue bathroom — and it’s retro perfection. This is one talented couple — Dario also is an accomplished photographer — so you bet the photos are inspiring. Click on through for 16 images and Amy’s story about their own colorful, vintage-inspired brand of young house love –>

Amy writes:

My husband, Dario, and I (both graphic designers) fell in love with this house.

amy and darioWe bought our 1920’s south Philadelphia row home 3 years ago and as old houses usually go: We have done renovation after renovation ever since. Our goal, if possible, is to maintain the retro and authentic architecture and feel of the house.

pink and blue bathroompink and turquoise bathroom Most of the previous updates to our house happened around the 50’s (seen especially in the tile work in the bathroom and the vestibule).

retro kitchen collectibles

Our kitchen has Formica countertops and cupboards. [Pam notes: The countertops could be Formica White Onyx – authentic vintage still available today.)

chartreuse paint in a kitchenpantone knobsWe’ve maintained the retro feel with a light chartreuse green wall paint — Valspar Greek Tapenade, and funky knobs from Anthropologie — ours have Pantone numbers on them, perfect for two graphic designers!

retro kitchen tableWe purchased a retro formica table from Craigslist (rust and all!) and enjoy it with our two cats, Annie and Max. (They literally sit with us at dinner!)

retro curtains with ric rac The curtains handmade by my talented mother, Elinor Sinclair, who delicately added Ric-rac to each curtain to hold true to the 50’s look. I also collect retro signs and tins and those are strewn throughout the kitchen.

1920s rowhouse with retro decormid century buffetWe purchased the mid-century side board from craigslist and I’ve replaced the knobs with my own choice, to give it a little mod flair.

1920s row houseThe dining room table is a piece of butcher block wood from the 70’s that my parents had. We had a carpenter, John Duffy from Stable Tables add on salvaged wood legs. He specializes in doing restored wood pieces … a truly amazing carpenter and artist. Wall color: Benjamin Moore™2024-50 Jasper Yellow

amy and darioI hope to have the funds to add some of my tiles to our kitchen…as renovations go, we are taking it one step at a time….

Thank you, Amy — like your tiles, LUV your house! But oh my, dear, that is just so Wrong: Like the shoemaker without shoes, the tile designer has no tile. 🙁 I think that may change soon, though, Amy, because you have the makings of a Design Star! Please keep in touch — I want to say I knew you back when!

P.S. Have you seen Nora’s pink time capsule bathroom? She’s in Philly, too. It looks like you have the same pink and blue tile!


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  1. Cindy says

    This is one beautiful, very inviting home! I especially LOVE the shower curtain and the beautiful wood credenza. Was that a stereo cabinet at one point? And what a cute couple! Good luck with your home!

  2. jeanne says

    Lovely home! I love all the color, especially the bathroom. And that credenza is gorgeous. Nice touch with the Ric-rac. I also bought Ric-rac to add to my kitchen curtain project that is awaiting me.

  3. Jordanna says

    Woot! I love to see a post like this that’s cool and gorgeous and from my hometown!

    Why, it’s as cute as a Tastykake Krimpet.

    I love it. I love chartreuse, for one. I also love the amount of fun going on in the kitchen with still having white cabinets and white counters. It’s not drab or sterile at all, just light and bright!

    The bathroom is adorable. My parents (in Northeast Philadelphia) had a blue bathroom that shade of blue, and a separate pink bathroom (and a beige powder room, not as exciting) and I think the combo in one room is eye-popping but cool.

    That dinette set is nice. I like how it captures the ’50s style but not in a particularly demanding colour. It makes a nice contrast with all the bright red reproduction ones that seem to be the only ones I can find here in Oz. 🙁

  4. Lynn-O-Matic says

    Wow, I love everything about this house, but the tile and the arch between the dining room and kitchen are beyond fabulous! I would have thought the tile work was original to the house. The Pantone knobs are a kick. Adorable place, adorable couple.

  5. Charlotte says

    Gorgeous and inviting! I love seeing retro homes like this, that look livable and not like museum pieces. Well done Amy and Dario!

  6. Lauryn says

    Love them, love their house, love that their cats have dinner with them!! And thank you for the ric-rac idea … I have some really sweet white-on-white (flower) curtains that my dear mother made for me. I plan on retro-fitting them (or more truthfully, have her retro fit them) for cafe style curtains, and that ric-rac is perfect to give it the splash of color they need. Amy and Dario, you guys rock!

    • pam kueber says

      Natalie won the Lion and Dove, and it’s on her way to her from Bradbury & Bradbury. I’ll update the story now, thanks for the reminder!

  7. says

    I love their house! So very nice. I am especially interested in their kitchen, and I like that they have white cabinets and chartreuse walls. My kitchen is similar but much smaller. I am in the process (will it never end?) of painting my kitchen a stronger shade of chartreuse. I have been a bit faint of heart because it turned out GAAAA-REEEEEN! So this makes me feel better about my choice. Thanks for the peek inside such a nice home.

  8. says

    Very cute kitchen!

    The mushroom pot on the table brings back memories. My mom had a whole canister set, curtains, spoon rest and salt/pepper shaker in that exact pattern. It’s all probably still sitting in a box somewhere at my dad’s house.

  9. Gwen says

    What a beautiful house! I grew up in South Philadelphia in a rowhouse with a similar layout – actually the kitchen had an almost identical footprint to Amy’s (and a similar kitchen set – but ours was aqua – wish I still had that!). Thank you for bringing those memories back to me!

  10. Julie says

    What an adorable house, it’s so inspiring! The shower curtain is from Target, for those inquiring, but the website says it’s out of stock:( I got another similar owl curtain from there for my bathroom, so don’t give up hope!

  11. Jay says

    Yeah! Let’s hear it for the home town! Great story, great pics. I was in Center City today for a doctors appointment and I had lunch in the Reading Terminal Market. Well, thanks to Pam, the retro reno godess; I can now ID formica. I sat in a booth with a table that was covered in charcoal boomerang; the other tables were covered in gray cracked ice. See! I’m learning.

  12. nina462 says

    love yellow & red in a kitchen! As for ricrac – I’m waiting to add pom poms to my bathroom curtains.
    Lovely tour – thanks for sharing.
    ps – I had a dinner party last night and my friends raved about my chalkware in the kitchen & bath. hmmm back in style? (never out of style).

  13. Lynda Bourgeois says

    I find the interior design cheerful, but I must say that it would have been a bigger joy to see the space restored to it’s 1920’s glory, rather than the mix match of periods shown here. 1940=1950’s Of course to each is own, but in terms of restoration recognition I am more of a purest, go with the period of the architecture and you can’t go wrong.

    • pam kueber says

      Lynda, I hear what you’re saying — but remember, this was the interior they “inherited” from the previous owners…. They did not gut the kitchen and then put in ’50s — they worked with what they had.

  14. Joe says

    I need to keep the wife away from this post or I have a feeling we’ll have that same shower curtain in our house by tomorrow. She’s on a HUGE owl kick these days. very cute.

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