Retro Renovation on location in mid mod Kentucky & Indiana

From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky

Over the past year of blogging, I’ve decided (and henceforth declare) that the true epicenters of main street middle class mid century modern are: Columbus, Ohio, and Rochester, N.Y.

Last week I got a little closer to the source when I visited family in Louisville. I filled the week not only with nephews, nieces, enchilada dinners and just plain visitin’, but also with some serious retro renovation recon.

That’s me with Sumac Sue, aka Judi!  I’ll be reporting on the visit starting this week — with some breaks for reader questions/spotlights — including:

From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • My visit with Sumac Sue: Judi is one of the original retro renovation readers so I had to visit! She boldly knocked on doors and got us invited into three neighbors’ homes for some serious retro recon. My little sister Jenni joined us!

From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • Cindy’s pink bathroom: Cindy has a time capsule pink bathroom. She is an eclectic, artsy decorator – and her bathroom is a delightful mash-up of retro, girly, bohemian, Victorian and even Hello Kitty….
From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • Amy and Gary’s aqua bathrooms: “You can have them. Today.” That was Amy’s response when we cooed over her two time capsule bathrooms filled with aqua tile and fixtures. By the end of our blitzkrieg, she agreed to put the bathrooms in front of readers for suggestions on how she might keep the retro fixtures yet still update or decorate the bathrooms for resale. Readers – we have a chance for an intervention this week!
From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • Mr. Bartlett’s 1954 time capsule: Original kitchen, den, sofa and draperies, bathrooms. 70s wallpaper. Heaven. That’s Jenni on the right.
From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • Antiquing in Louisville: 5 floors of antiques at the Louisville Antique Mall and a mid mod treasure trove down the street on Barrett Ave. I’m developing a true lust for Outrageous Oriental!
From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • Huckleberry’s Chair Fetish in Lexington: Earlene Huckleberry is a life coach who got bit by the retro bug just one year ago – and she’s now in full fever just like us! Her shop in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Lexington is tons of fun.
From Mid mod Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky
  • And a visit to the home of the Dishmaster in Mitchell, Indiana: Can you believe that the home of the Dishmaster in Mitchell, Indiana, is just one hour away from my mom’s house atop Hog Waller, Kentucky? Pam and Fran take a road trip!!!

  1. Susan Manning says:

    I love this site!! I was happy to see you mention Rochester, NY. We have a Frank Lloyd Wright house, the 1957 Alcoa aluminum home, several classic MCM Don Hershey homes, and some by an awesome, little-known architect and builder named John Pfluke.
    I’m always surprised that Pfluke’s homes aren’t well known. They are south of Rochester, mostly in Rush, NY. He designed and built creative and classic “mid-century modern” homes, and a cool small subdivision called Rush Hills.
    The first home he ever designed and built here was in 1957, when he was just 28 years old. He “wanted to do something different” and he sure did! He built an over 2000 sq. ft., 3/2, flat-roofed ranch, this home has cedar walls inside and out, wrap around decks, mahogany cabinets, built in buffet and bedroom drawers and cabinets, stone fireplaces, walls of windows, and lots of extras.
    It’s a true Usonian design, with a sleeping wing, cooking/eating wing, and living room wing with a central hearth. The indoors and outdoors blend, with a terrace off the dining room and master bedroom, and lots of outdoor living spaces. Outdoors are a carport, shed, greenhouse, redwood deck, and a free-form gunite pool.
    The best part is, it’s MINE!!! Well, ours. My partner and I bought it this summer. Thankfully, it’s only been minimally changed, and is nearly all original. “She” needs some work and $$$, but our goal is to restore and preserve this amazing house. We hope to do photos, and eventually a blog. We’d like people to know about Mr John Pfluke; a fabulously talented and creative architect who embodies the contemporary ’50’s and ’60’s home design we love so much!

  2. Mid Mod Pam says:

    I’ll have to get out there soon, Susan, Mitzi & Michael! Really! Susan, send pics in the meantime! And…I’ll opine on Columbus as epicenter…soon!

  3. Susan, aka Kitty Mommy says:

    What a fantastic idea! An “on location” in Columbus, Ohio! I, too, would love to be a part of that, either showing you around town, Pam, or tagging along while someone else shows you around. You see, I’m rather new to this whole “mid century modern” thing, having just been introduced to the term when we bought our ’61 ranch last April. We lucked into a home sold by the original owners (now in their 90’s and in a nursing home), who had done very little updating (so I have a yellow bathroom, a pink bathroom, lots of Nutone, etc.!). It was love at first sight! I would love your input, Pam, on how I can restore it to its original glory and put the finishing touches on it…”pull it all together”, so to speak…and I could really use your help! It would be like one of those HGTV shows, except without the disparaging comments about the pink bathroom! ; )

    Susan, aka Kitty Mommy

  4. Mitzi says:

    Wow, Columbus peeps are in tha house! 🙂

    Thanks Michael for sharing those links, I’ve never seen that neighborhood… I’ll have to take a drive and check it out sometime!

    I would love for you to elaborate on your “true epicenters of main street middle class mid century modern” choices Pam, of course since I am in Columbus I would especially love to hear those reasons! 😉

    I am guessing Lustron homes, Lustro Ware, and Federal Glass might be at least a few of them?

    It does seem like you could do an “on location” in Columbus and have a few people to show you around town…

  5. Susan, aka Kitty Mommy says:

    Wow…Columbus, Ohio, huh? That’s where I am! I had no idea! Now, could you elaborate on your chosen moniker of “true epicenters of main street middle class mid century modern” and what lead you to that decision/declaration? I’d love to hear more…

    -Susan, aka Kitty Mommy
    Resident of Westgate (a subdivision in Columbus, Ohio)

  6. Michael says:

    You mention Columbus OH being one of the “true epicenters of main street middle class mid century modern”. This reminded me of this hidden gem right in my own neighborhood. It’s only blocks from my current house. It is our biggest dream to leave here some day. The houses don’t come to the market very often so we’re watching closely!




  7. sumacsue says:

    My house is fairly lean compared to some when it comes to great mid-century details. But after taking Pam and Jenni on a visit to some of my neighbors’ homes, I got some ideas on how to keep tweaking here and there on my home’s appearance.

    After seeing the original hallway light fixtures in Cindy’s and Mr. Bartlett’s houses, I was in the mood to replace my cheapie 1990s fixture. Lo and behold, I found the prettiest 50s-era fixture at the ReStore, and it is up and sparkling. After gazing at all the lovely colored tiles in those other bathrooms, I removed an over-the-toilet storage cabinet in my half bath that was covering up a lot of the pretty pink tiles. Looks 100-percent better in there!

    Best of all, while checking out some retro items on Craigslist, I met a woman who owns a 50s-era home in another part of town. We discovered we are both retrorenovation.com readers! We had a great chat about our houses.

    One of the best aspects of fixing up our mid-century homes is how we can make new friends in the process. Thanks, Pam, for your part in bringing us all together!

  8. Anne Horvath says:

    Hey Pam, I am from Louisville, and this is such a treat to read about my hometown. I hope you had a nice visit.

    There are lots of Mid-Mod ranchers all over Louisville, and many of them are made out of Limestone! Off the top of my head, you can see lots of these around the Zoo, the Gardner Lane area, out Fern Creek, and the Taylorsville Road area. Great stuff!

    And I agree, the Louisville Antique Mall is just the best! I look forward to more Louisville posts…

  9. Femme1 says:

    ACk!!! Pam! I’m only 45 minutes away from Mitchell…I would have loved to have met you and shown you around the ranch! Maybe next time you’re in Louisville.


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