• Welcome to Retro Renovation!

    Welcome to Retro Renovation — your daily dose of mid century and vintage renovation resources… design inspiration… fun finds… and a growing community of people all interested in cherishing their mid century and older homes.

    Our focus here, first and foremost, is to help you find the products and resources you need to help remodel, renovate and decorate your house in authentic mid century style. Increasingly, we  feature resources for pre-war and post-modern homes as well. We’re here to help you get the job done — doing the research so you don’t have to. How can you make the most of the blog?:

    • Dive into all our categories (in the navigation along the top of the page) and you will see, we have lots of research into all the products you might need to Retro Renovate. Along the way, we have lotsa other fun, too — always showing great gratitude and respect for the houses — and their owners — who came before us.
    blue kitchen

    Escape from NY: I found this set of 1963 Geneva aquamarine kitchen cabinets at a cooking school once run by nuns in New York City. We removed the cabinets and brought them back to my house in Lenox, Mass. The contractor and DH thought I was nuts — but it turned out great.

    We have fun here. Photo credit: Erica Berger

    <– I’m Pam Kueber. That’s me with my crazy wallpaper room… that’s my kitchen above — and this my blog, oh I luv it so. Doing all the research to renovate my 1951 colonial-ranch house in Lenox, Mass., is what got me into this online escapade. In the course of my endless hunt to find products and design ideas sympathetic to my house’s undeniable mid-century bones, I got…. obsessed… I learned a lot… and I figured, why not share all my finds with other folks undertaking the same journey. And now – you have arrived!

    This blog has lots about *modest, mid-century, middle-class* homes — ranches, Capes, Colonials, split-levels, contemporaries, bungalows. I also write about sleek *mid-century modern homes*… I love them all, but admit that I tend to worry more about the modest homes (themselves full of charm) being at more serious risk of being gutted, with regrets to follow later. Interestingly, both mid-century modern and mid-century modest homes shared many of the same technological features and design cues (like pink bathrooms) inside. For further info see my Mid-Century Modest Manifesto and my micro-site SaveThePinkBathrooms.com.

    What do we gab about here? Well: The design aesthetic of retro interiors, exteriors, culture, people, steel kitchen cabinets, colors, pink kitchens, pink bathrooms, hudee rings, pecky cypress, illustrations with people playing accordians, wallpaper, pinch pleat curtains, mint-in-box items — and readers’ fabulous jewel box houses, too. Get ready to be sucked into the retro vortex.

    More info:

    Restoring the Retro House in the New York Times Aug. 18 2011

    Above: As featured in the New York Times — yup, read all about our escapades in this 2,200-word feature story that appeared on p.1 of the Home & Garden section on Aug. 18, 2011.

    kate and leo from retro renovation

    Hey, Lo0K! The blog made another American job! Above: That’s Kate, my new Managing Editor, along with Assistant Leo. Kate does a lot of the writing for the blog these days, too. We publish twice a day (4:30 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. Eastern) Monday through Friday, and 24/7/365 if there if we spot important Breaking News in Retro Design World.

    Oh, and here’s me showing off my latest project — my office remodel. Which was epic: My friend Denise and I pasted 300 squares of vintage wallpaper on the four walls, creating a crazy patchwork quilt of 18 different designs of wallpaper. We celebrated by getting all Love American Style Gothic with the photo.

    Hey, see me talkin’ about Mid Century Modest in this etsy.com video:

    If you need ideas — or just love the era — be sure to check in for daily updates on new products to recreate that retro style…design tips…vintage finds…history…and more. To email me, click here.

    Meanwhile, if you want to read more about my kitchen saga:

    - I find my cabinets – at a cooking school formerly run by nuns in NYC

    - The kitchen reno starts — lots of pics of the old kitchen here

    - The kitchen comes together #1

    - The kitchen comes together #2

    - I sell my leftover cabinets to a man from Milwaukee

    - Bo Sullivan of Rejuvenation identifies my light

    Important for anyone undertaking a renovation: We all care very much about managing environmental and safety issues properly, so when undertaking your restoration project, be sure to familiarize yourself with and use recommended best practices. For example, the EPA hosts a  website on lead paint in the home and a website on asbestos in the home. Consult professionals regarding these materials, and also about the proper disposal of debris, etc.

    Press Coverage


    • Der Standard newspaper profiled the blog. It was in German, so I’m not sure what it said. But I asked on Facebook, and a reader told me, “You are now as loved as David Hasselhof in German.”


    • Fixing to Die: Retro Renovation and a reader remodel featured on the blog inspired the setting and  story line for Elaine Viets’ “restoration comedy” murder mystery, Fixing to Die. The book debuted #9 on the Barnes & Noble paperback list.
    • Yankee Magazine: Six-page story in Sept./Oct. issue — 1.7 million readers! — about the blog and my house. “Fifties and Fabulous.”
    • Globe and Mail: Loud and proud 1970s chalet
    • Columbus Post-Dispatch: Back to the bones: Restoring ’50s homes
    • California Home + Design: Celebrating Midcentury Modest


    Summer 2011

    Feb 2011

    Jan 2011

    December 2010

    October 2010

    • AP interviews Pam for story, Used Building Materials a Hit Among Home Owners, that runs in news outlets nationwide.

    August 2010

    April 2010

    March 2010

    February 2010

    January 2010

    June 2009

    April 2009

    March 2009

    • Our tour of the St. Louis 1995 time capsule home covered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • Desert Living Magazine

    Dec. 3, 2008

    • Pam talks with the National Kitchen & Bath Association about retro kitchen design popularity

    Sept. 29, 2008

    March 2008

    Winter 2008

    Fall 2007

    November 8, 2007 — News Release, PRWeb

    Thanks and Credits: Many thanks to the many folks who have helped, and continue to help, make this blog possible. Including:





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    1. I started following you on Facebook a month or two ago and always look forward to seeing your posts. My favorites are the “Before and Afters.” I also enjoyed your Etsy video (above) and have found myself pondering some of the points you make. Anything that keeps the brain operating in a creative, imagining mode has gotta be great!

    2. Michael Colter says:

      Hello and thanks for all you do on Retro and Pink! I am a single guy, owner of a sprawling 1950 ranch that I bought with nearly no updates ever! I have a pink bath, moonglo formica in the kitchen, mahogany and knotty pine paneling, quite a bit to work with. Already some work has been done (hardwood floors, new windows etc). I hope I’ve not made any blunders along the way and could really use some decorating help. Currently having to replace a kitchen sink and I’ve located the Delafield which is an exact replacement of the original. I am also a photographer so feel I could give back to your site by documenting the changes as they are made. What is the best manner to become a ‘time capsule’ or ‘renovation asking for design tips’? Thanks!

    3. I am seriously considering making an offer on a diamond in the rough – a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1939 split level being sold by the original owner. The house is bad shape. My goal is to restore the home and modernize it. Any idea in your experience what the restoration costs typically are?

    4. I have a company that does demolition sales almost every weekend. Many of the homes that we do that have good reusable materials like the one this weekend in Glencoe Illinois. I also have a 25,000 s.f. warehouse that I sell items out of. I seeking your help to move these items, I price to sell, not to get rich off of it. You can go to my website: http://demo-pro.com. to sell the sales and the warehouse. You can contact by phone at: 630-880-6328.

      Terry Cronin

      Warehouse is called ReUse Depot in Bellwood Illinois, just 9 miles west of Chicago.

      I’ve been following your website for years and give it out quite often.
      Keep up the great work.

      • pam kueber says:

        Wow! Thanks! Looks like you have a great resource!

      • Terry, are you the guys who used to have the Reuse warehouse on 55th Street in like Countryside who were once featured on Wild Chicago? If you are, I highly recommend a visit – I got some fabulous mid-century lighting there many years ago and reasonably priced too.

    5. Love your site – a delicious feast for the eyes. I don’t have a mid-century home – just yet, but I am mid-century in age – that has to count for something, right?
      I am obsessed and planning my dream home renovation

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