Let’s help Catherine retro-renovate her 1948 Ohio ranch

Sweetheart Catherine wrote me a while ago, asking for ideas for her 1948 Ohio ranch. She tells me she is already a daily reader — hurray! — and she’s also the Catherine who scanned and sent us some great Drexel brochures. So she is a Giver not just a Taker!

Catherine is fortunate to have a vintage Youngstown kitchen (albeit beat up) with metal tiles (do we agree – fortunate on this?), as well as a pink (metal tile) bathroom with some original fixtures. There are a lot of fun photos to look at, so I thought — I’ll post them today — ask readers to contribute their ideas via the Comments (or if you have a photo, send it to me) — and then on Saturday — I’ll do a post with all the ideas, including mine of course!

Hello Pam,

I am a big fan of your website and your passion for all things retro! I have recently (well, two years ago) moved into a 1948 brick ranch in Northeast Ohio. I am 27 years old and live with my husband and two young daughters. We like a lot of things about the house. It has a great location and a great .5 acre yard full of lilac trees. It’s just right right size for us, with good bones (brick with hardwood floors). There is very little that I want to change, it’s more about what I would like to add to it. I’m new to this so I need all the help I can get, as far as design and what would be the style of a house from 1948.

The kitchen

This house has the original Youngstown Steel cabinetry in the kitchen, with the original burgundy and cream metal tile all around. I am having a hard time figuring out which direction I should take this. The cabinet’s paint is severely worn, and the laminate countertops have been replaced with some sort of flooring material. I found out about your site when you wrote to me after posting an ad on craigslist for wanted: Youngstown Steel kitchen pieces. My cabinets only stretch one wall, and I am looking for a corner piece, and a few others to make an L shape with it. The stove and the fridge (both newer, came with the house and do not match) just float out by themselves on other walls. To sum it up, I want to pull my house together in a very clean and mid century modern design. Does this fit my house? How do I work that into a pink bathroom? I need a color palate to work with my kitchen tiles, and fridge and stove information. What do people think about repros like Northstar and Big Chill?

The bathroom

Here, the bathroom still has the pink and black tiles (also metal). Tub, medicine cabinet, and lights are original but the sink and toilet have been replaced. I love my house and the fact that it hasn’t been stripped of it’s originality, but I am having a hard time understanding the overall style and color palate.

I have purchased a beautiful Heywood Wakefield Sculptura bedroom set, and a Drexel Declaration bedroom set and dining room set for my house. And I think the style of those fit the house perfectly. All suggestions and information is greatly appreciated. Your website is such an inspiration, thank you!


So – faithful readers — let’s help Catherine retro-renovate! Post your ideas in the Comments section – or send them to me for the Saturday Ideas post.

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