25 details from my office craft room remodel

“It’s kind of an acid trip-in the basement! Or maybe an episode of ‘Lucy and Ethel decide to wallpaper’!” — Lynne
“It’s like the ’60s and ’70s threw up in there. I love it.” — Lauri V.
“The patchwork effect works as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Early American style that was all the rage when we were kids. — Kathleen
“You led me astray with all the posts on Scandinavian wall systems… I was expecting some very pared down, sleek Danish modern-type space.” — Lynn-O-Matic
“…Alice in Wallpaper Wonderland…” — Annie B.
I’ve had not the best day so far today – it just got better! — Jason
My mother always used to say, “Well I better do something, even if it’s wrong.” — Lauri V., back again with wisdom for our times.

my crazy crafty office remodelIt’s been fun all week to show off my office craft room remodel — and to read your comments. Maybe I’d best get back to the rest of retro world, so my special series is coming to an end (although I will have its and bits more within the next few weeks spotlighting various resources etc.) To wrap things up: I did a big camera download, and here are 25 photos of some of the details — each one of them sweated and second-guessed, of course, right up until the minute the credit card was slapped down on a counter.

wagon wheel lightAbove: I kept the wagon wheel light that I had already put in place. I purchased it a long time ago from Eco Building Bargains in Springfield, Mass. I like that this light is… wonky and unexpected… compared to the sleeker 60s look going on throughout the rest of the room. But hey, the milk glass mimics the brite white in other details!

track-lightingDiminutive track lights: Bought these new from Ross at Berkshire Lighting Outlet up the road — the team there is always amazingly helpful. The lights and strips are Halo brand, *I think*. Just a normal brand. They are on a dimmer. Which may have to be disconnected — because even though I had the electricians install the kind of dimmer that does not buzz, I still hear buzzing.

Maybe to orient you, I should walk you around a pamorama of the room before I jump into all the details. Above: The east wall, aka the wall shared with the bathroom. I talked all about the recessed shelves in this story. The amazing butterfly tile was a surprise gift from Bungalow Bill. Squint center, low and you can see pipes sticking out the wall. While I had the walls open, I took advantage of the bathroom plumbing in the exact same wall, and prepped for a sink inside my office/craft studio. I will do something… crafty…with the sink and this area of the room. Soon. Even though I don’t need this sink terribly badly right now (the basement slop sink is not far away), I do neeeeeed to finish this room… I am going to finish what I started, because I have other little projects I want to do. I am all inspired.


Disclosure: Runtal gave me a discount on the retail price of this baseboard heater.
Above: The south wall. Some key details here: The Runtal electric baseboard heater — pretty! Orange shutters — which came from my mother-in-law; they are decorative, I have them hinged but I do not have them set up to go across the entire window. The wood trim all came from Eco Building Bargains, Springfield. More on that story in a bit.

west wallAbove: West wall or back wall.

west-wallAbove: The north wall. I’ve also talked a lot about this wall — the built in shelves… the vintage medicine cabinet… the New Old Stock Sunbeam Appliance Center.

runtal electric baseboard heaterNow, back to specific details: I love my Runtal electric baseboard heater. It is a new product for them — the company is well known for its radiators, which look just like this. The electric is a new thing. This heater is 4′ long. It is very heavy — like 40 pounds. And it is really powerful — the electricians had never seen one before, they were impressed. I have been able to turn it on a few times (before summer kicked in decisively) and it really does seem to warm the room well. It is more like a furnace, almost, than what you think of when you hear “electric baseboard heater.” Disclosure: This was the one product that I asked a company if they would be interested in providing to my project, in trade for advertising or some sort of sponsorship. Runtal declined that request, but they did give me a discount on my online purchase. Now that it’s installed, would I pay the full price if I had to? Yes. I love it. It looks fantastic and seems to work great. I will do a followup story spotlighting this particular product because I think it is so stylish and 1970s (at least) authentic.

Above: I put this photo in so you could see more of the track lights and my vintage wagon wheel light. The carpet — was already in the room, and runs throughout the basement. It’s gold-ish. You can also see the trim here… I’ll talk more…

antique wood trimThe shutters, as I mentioned, were from my mother-in-law. The paint is original. I had to get new hardware to attached the shutters to the window molding. The best place I found online for shutter hardware was: Shutter Medic. The hinges that I ordered came very fast, and they seemed very fairly priced. The green ceiling trim… the white window trim… and in other photos you can see the stained wood baseboard trim… all came from Eco Building Bargains. Now here’s a huge irony: They came from a house in Cambridge, Mass., that This Old House TV is working on and will feature in upcoming episodes. Yes: This Old House gutting original (?) 1887 trim… letting Eco Building Bargains take it… where it lands in my patchwork crazy office. Here’s the house. The “dated” word gets thrown around quite cavalierly. Ha! Their “dated” is my “triumph”! Dated dated dated dated.

antique wood trim This ceiling trim had amazing detail. Pardon my painting. At first I painted it white, but white was too milquetoast what with everything else going on in the room. Then I chose this green. Pointed at a color on a chip at Sherwin-Williams. Now that is living dangerously!

antique wood trimI had to repaint the ceiling trim this green when it was already installed. It was a real pain. The painter’s tape was not working too well, really. This close up makes my errors much more visible than they are in real life. There are three different styles of ceiling trim — because I could only get so much linear feet of the frou frou from the Cambridge House at Eco Building Bargains (there is more to this story, but I’m already writing too much this week.) The two 14′ long walls of my room both got the flowery trim. One short wall (above) got that piece you see; the bathroom wall got something similar. The corner bead (or whatever you call it) — which we needed because the different designs of trim could not be mitered neatly — are, get this: Lincoln logs. When Kevin and Dave were here to install the trim, I had to hustle around my hoarding piles to find something we could use for this bead. Last year, I had purchased some Lincoln logs — or, it’s something like Lincoln logs — and we played with the pieces until we found a combo that would work.

antique wood moldingAbove: The baseboard trim. Again — this i straight from the This Old House TV project house. The patina is fabulous. I left all the holes. There are rosettes around the doors, too!

vintage window shuttersThe cafe curtain is a fragment of lace curtain I had in a house I sold 13 years ago. It’s an Arts & Crafts design. Once I knew I was going to use those shutters, I knew I wanted a lacy white cafe curtain and remembered these, they were in a box in the attic. I bought the long adjustable rod from Home Depot.

affordable craft room storageI wrote a whole separate story about my Ikea and Eco Building Bargains storage solution.

built-in-shelves-and-sunbeam-appliance-centerOh the beauteous Sunbeam Appliance Center. I am going to do a whole separate story on this…

vintage step stoolYou gotta break some eggs to bake a cake. We had to remove the wall-to-wall carpet to gut remodel the room. The pad underneath was, at that point, already trashed. So I used the carpet pad for comfort and warmth when I was working in the room.  I love my little vintage stepstool, too — it was $4, the color is Safety Orange.

shelf bracketsI need to add support to the shelves in the craft storage unit. These are simple 18″ brackets from a local hardware store.

vintage medicine cabinetMy vintage medicine cabinet — purchased like 9 years ago and sitting in the attic waiting for its moment of glory. I love the scallop and the etched flower. There’s just something perfect about how it sits in the room.

selvedge edges of wallpaperI liked capturing the selvedge edge of the wallpaper squares, when possible.

tile butterfly is a gift from bungalow billThe frenzy of color makes me very happy. My favorite reader comment so far was from Laura V, who said: “”Wow it’s like the ’60s & ’70s threw up in there. I love it.” This comment makes me very happy.

built in shelvingKevin put brass grommets in the peg holes for the shelving.

my office before remodelRemember the Before (above)?

pam and denise Love American Style Gothic official room portraitHere’s the After… with Denise and me playing Love American Style Gothic for our big photo shoot.

real lifeAmazing what hair, makeup, lighting and a little photoshop gel can do. Above: Real life, up to our elbows in wallpaper paste, taking a break to capture the moment. Those are our boys — my Astro, Denise’s Bug. We had us some fun.

with makeup lighting hair wind and a tad of photoshopHave yourself some fun out there, too. Okay?

See all the stories about my crazy craft office remodel by clicking here.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. Dale says

    Very fun space, although I don’t know if I could walk in there with a hangover. I have a couple of old bath vanities in my kitchen to hold spices, food coloring, fruit pectin, etc. They are super handy for hiding clutter but keeping everything front and center since they are so shallow. Cheers!

    • pam kueber says

      If I drink too much the night before I think I will have to refrain from entering the room, yes. Although I am pretty good at tuning out the extraneous when I want to… Note: In my how-to-wallpaper story, I keep trying to underscore: Use the Level… I agree, if it was tipping sideways on top of all that pattern to begin with, it would not be a good thing.

  2. Lynne says

    Pam, I am curious as to why you chose track lighting as opposed to the flush can or pot lights? Was the track lighting more of the 70’s feel you were going for?

    • pam kueber says

      I had no ceiling recess. Also, I love the ability to be able to move the track lights around. 70s feel was 110% AOK with me. Yes: I would have chosen track lighting no matter what.

  3. Annie B. says

    This is the most joyous room! I would feel like Alice in Wallpaper Wonderland in your office, Pam.

    Each square seems like a portal to some mystical moment in the past. I would get lost in the variety of design on the walls and never get a single thing done!

    Love the green ceiling trim and its origins. The green color is the perfect complement for all the colors on the walls.

  4. Laurie V says

    Wow, I’m honored to have my comments in your post. It’s just like having your name up in lights. . well as close as I’m gonna get! You just can’t go wrong with a good throw up comment. ; )

      • Laurie V says

        Nope, just a lowly paralegal. But I grew up where dry humor and sarcasm was a family trait. I like to look at the world with my head tilted off to the side a little. It makes life a little more fun.. . and titled.

  5. Jay says

    Pam, Good morning! Thanks for your kind words. Really enjoying your pictures and waiting for all the additional stories. I will have to look into the Runtal heaters. I have perimeter baseboard hot water heat throughout the ranch and nothing in the basement. Makes it hard to use it in the dead of winter. Have a nice day!

    • Jay says

      forgot to mention the cute dogs. Friends have several schnauzers(?) sheese, what energy! I sat for them once, never again!

      • pam kueber says

        my Astro is really mellow. But then, he was abused for three years — he is a rescue. Whenever he gets feisty, I praise him!

      • says

        Oh, yes. You have to be able to be around a bit of happy, stubborn, sometimes high strung terrier personality. It’s not for everyone, but there are some mellow ones out there, like Astro, but it’s not the norm.

  6. RetroSandie says

    Pam, what a supercalifragalisticexpialidocious craft room!!!!! You have certainly put your creative, inventive, retro personal stamp of individuality and Retro Godessness in there!!! It’s awesome! Oh, and you and Denise look beautiful with or without the makeup beautification. But I especially love the last photo! You giving your final “Muwah”!!!

  7. Jason says

    I love it all, it’s so great! I really love the cafe curtains with the shutters – and I thought you had picked that carpet out special. I didn’t remember it from before, it’s perfect in there!

    And – you quoted me – good day all over again!

  8. says

    Stunning! Simply Beautiful! I love your attention to detail Pam….seems as though every need is addressed with great plans, effort and patience. I love that. You and Denise did a great job…taking the pic. without makeup(I like it). Hey Pam, your last pic. wearing the pretty flower dress is gorgeous and glamorous. Great job! PS….I Love the vintage lamp which sits upon your desk, if I’m not mistaken I think the pic of your vintage lamp is in a previous post pic. Love.

  9. Barb S. says

    EEEEE! The Appliance Center has a light!! Can’t wait to read the story on that! Pam, I feel so good when I read your articles. Makes me feel good about my own [flaming] retro choices. I wear those flower dresses that you and Denise look smokin’ hot in! And I wallpapered my soffit in the kitchen with 300 vintage advertisements. I collected them for pennies over the years like you did with your wallpaper. As you said – use the level for every square. I covered mine with Varathane for a yellowed vintage look. Also, mine were small… I used a paper cutter; it wasn’t a simple job, though. I applaud you! Can’t wait to see more! XOXO

    • pam kueber says

      Heck to the yeah to 300 tiny vintage advertisements. Was just watching Treme, the chef at Bernadin tells Melissa Leo: “We do things the right way here. The long, slow, hard way.”… I think the quote may even have been, “… the long, slow, stupid way.” Yup

      • Barb S. says


        By the way, why do I hear the Green Acres theme song in my head when I look at that Love American Gothic Style pic of you… haha

  10. Just another Pam says

    Your room is the most amazing celebration of Yankee ingenuity and colour, while being an unabashed collection of style from the past century I’ve ever seen. A little bit country and a little bit rock and roll….you and your lovely team made something wonderful and deserve to be rightly proud.

    Aside to Bug….we saw the photo, we know who had the hard job supervising this lot ;o)

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you, Just another! I do kinda like that I didn’t have the “choose a decade” — I just included them all!

    • says

      Yes, Bug has to have her little nose in everything…When she got to my house, she was like a little gnat, always right there being nosey….and then the name ‘Little Bug’ stuck.

  11. Just another Pam says

    or….rightly deserve to be proud….

    It’s a test….take all the worlds and try to make a coherent sentence.

  12. says

    Hey Pam,
    So I have been thinking about this room a bit. Truly. I have gone from thinking “That’s so crazy!” to “That is guts right there.” to “way to go” but mostly I feel admiration. It takes a lot to go against the grain these days, not just for retro decorators but for people to go out on a limb and to try something totally new and see how it goes, not only that but publicly. I think decorating magazine’s and websites have turned us into people who expect certain things when they see a room. Same colour or pattern on the walls, that the colours somehow all work together, or that there is only the occasional pop of colour, or that things are all the same, or the baseboards are all the same.

    However, you my dear, are kind of stellar. You have taken the things that you love and have meaning and surrounded yourself with them. I look at this and I see that it would make an awesome set design. It’s a bit like an artpiece. As a person miles away, only looking at photographs – this room confronts you and it challenges you immediately because it’s not what you expect. I think we are so inundated with images that sometimes seeing something original and interesting can be hard.This is original. Rock on Pam and kudos for sticking with what makes you happy.

    • pam kueber says

      Awe shucks, meesher, what a surprise — and delight — to see this comment this morning, weeks after I posted the story. THANK YOU, you made my day. Yes: Life is a big canvas, throw on a lot of paint. Or wallpaper. Or color. Or maybe just: Love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *