“Love the House You’re In collages by Mel Kolstad” — the complete collection of 13

love-the-house-youre-in-october-2010-copyright-retro-renovation-comTo follow up on our kaffee klatsch with Mel Kolstad, I asked Kate if she could go into our archives and pull together all of Mel’s “Love the House You’re In” collages into one final collection page. Looks like we have a baker’s dozen — 13 collages in all, created starting around March 2010, with the final one published May 2011.


What a wonderful way to enter into the holiday weekend, don’t you think? Hey, on that note: Kate and I need to unplug completely from the matrix over the holiday or our heads will explode (well, mine, I shouldn’t speak for her). So at day’s end today, I will flip a switch and direct all comments for the next few days into moderation until we return Monday morning. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone! Drive safe, and eat more pie!

Note as you are looking at these: (1) These are all custom collages representing readers of Retro Renovation and their houses — sometimes folks wanted their personal, family or pet photos included… (2) These are actually just 4″ x 4″ collages. The size of a bathroom tile. So you are likely seeing them enlarged on screen… and (3) We enlarge the scans for the blog because I want you to see the excruciating detail — Mel cuts out the itty bitty pieces by hand or with a punch and then applies them. *Some therapy,* as I like to say. Starting after the jump, we display the series as it was created — so we can see the progression of Mel’s work. For the lead photos, though, I show Mary Ellen’s house, featured October 2010 because it is my favorite *of the moment*.

Love-the-house-youre-in-amys-houseAmy — April 2010

love-the-house-youre-in-robinRobin — May 2010

love-the-house-youre-in-july-2010-retro-renovationLugine — June 2010

joe-anthony-bella-july-2010-love-the-house-youre-in1Joe, Anthony & Bella — July 2010

love-the-house-youre-in-collage-august-20101Carlos — August 2010

love-the-house-youre-in-collage-annie-b1Annie B — September 2010

love-the-house-youre-in-october-2010-copyright-retro-renovation-comMary Ellen — Oct. 2010 (repeat of lead photo.)

Looks like we did not publish one Nov. 2010.

susan-house-collage-feb-2011Susan — December 2010

collage-of-mid-century-blue-houseKara — January 2011

mid-century-modern-house-collageStacey — February 2011

retro-renovation-love-the-house-youre-in-collage-copyright1Amy — March 2011

stacy-collage1 Stacy — April 2011

love the house you're in collage Mel KolstadShelly — May 2011

I love these so. And ya know, I think it is really pretty cool how this random selection of reader houses — chosen monthly in a little contest — ended up showing quite the diversity of mid century modern — but mostly modest — housing styles. It might right be a pretty darn good approximation — statistically, even — of “what’s out there.”

xoxo, Mel!love the house you're in


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. says

    That is a great post in so many ways: sampling of “what’s out there,” a retrospective of commissioned collages, just fun to look at! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. JKaye says

    These posts on Mel, her work, and these collages have been a great way to pull together a lot of themes regarding the blog, homeowners, artists, and giving thanks for what we’ve been blessed with. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving weekend.

  3. says

    OH MY!!! Pam, and you lovely readers, thank you so much for your very kind words about my collages!! It was so much fun to do these sweet little guys, and wonderfully voyeuristic for me (tee hee) to see all of your beautiful homes! Thanks so much for posting these all in one place, Pam! I appreciate it so much! <3

  4. Jay says

    Wonderful seeing all the collages as a collection, not having seen all of them before. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. No RR until Monday! I guess I’ll have to hit the thrifts and antique malls and try to rustle up some vintage goodness.

  5. Robin, NV says

    Aww, what a great way to send us off on the holidays. I love all the houses featured – my little MCM is in good company! Can’t wait to fill my house with the smells of baking pies and turkey! Happy T-Day everyone!

  6. Sara says

    Wow, these are SO COOL! I love every single one! Love love love the colors and the composition! These houses look like the ones in my neighborhood. I’m going to try my hand at doing some lino block prints of my 1950 house. We’ll see how that goes. If they turn out good, I may “borrow” this idea and do some of the other cool MCM and 30’s-40’s houses in my town.

  7. Shelly in PHX says

    Not only am I honored to be the *final* recipient of one of these masterpieces, but I get joy every day from seeing my mid-mod home rendered in such loving 3-D. I’m currently featuring the collage in my vintage Santa entryway vignette! Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are “crazy in a good way.”

  8. Annie B. says

    Thank you, Kate, for pulling these together into this wonderful RR reader sampler. What a lovely kick off to the holiday season.

    Mel, I can’t even begin to express my amazement at your talents – and my luck at being a beneficiary thereof.

    Pam, thank you for sacrificing your sanity for the sake of our little community. It that’s not true love, I don’t know what is!

  9. tammyCA says

    I was viewing the collages yesterday…very cool, I love collage & really want to do more of it.
    I have had a long time obsession with cute houses, especially handmade…(I’m in the midst of crafting my “putz” houses – gotta email pics to Kate)..and, I just got a sweet framed cross-stitch “dollhouse” from an estate sale.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Suzanne says

    Love these collages! I have to say that Shelley’s is my favorite, but they’re all wonderful. I also love all the cats in Susan’s ‘yard’. Very cool. Everyone have a very happy holiday weekend. Pam & Kate, recharge…you sure do deserve the rest. Thank you for all you two do for us readers.

  11. Lauryn says

    Okay, I have always adored these collages, for so many reasons, but I don’t think I realized until these last two posts that they were so tiny!! Oh my goodness, now I REALLY wish I had been one of the lucky winners. I cannot even fathom the amount of work it must be to do that kind of detail on such a small “canvas”. My husband and I love miniature artwork and have several gorgeous miniature paintings all around our house. Mel, you are an extremely talented (and apparently very dedicated artist) and we hope you continue to have heaps of wonderful blessings bestowed upon you and your career. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with the RR community!

  12. Blondie7 says

    Happy Thanksgiving Pam, Kate and Denise! Enjoy this wonderful holiday with your precious families! I miss visiting your phenomenal site everyday, I have been soooo busy! Take care! GOD BLESS always!


Leave a Reply

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