Open thread: Does your significant other share your retro pursuits?

1948 GE Kitchen Lighting Ad 1948-1949-ge-kitchen-lighting.jpgGroup Therapy: Is your significant other into retro renovation and all things vintage as much as you are — or is your life a retro battleground? Has this interest strengthened bonds — or do you have to compromise (or finagle) to make it work? (Example: Like the couple in this 1948 GE advertisement, David and I juggle pretty well, but I admit, I have the estate-sale bug very bad and the number of things I constantly squirrel into the house is a source of conflict, to say it nicely…) Share your stories and tactics! This should be fun!

  1. Lenore says:


    Yes, exactly!! It’s why I embrace MCM so much!! I hope to find a guy who embrace it as well. 🙂

  2. Neil says:

    Oh yes!
    But maybe there can be too much of a good thing. Or not.
    This estate-saling guy’s just sayin’.

    Before I met my husband, I’d been living alone and shopping and collecting for years and years, to my solo taste, with vintage/charming/eclectric being the by-phrase. I had a busy eye, and loved to bring home some new/old treasure and introduce it into the homey mix, and enjoy it’s bracing eccentricity for a while….but then send it off to a new adventure when some other pretty caught my attention to replace it. Fun! And all with a delighted eye and easy grins. Again…such fun! Always cycling – in and out – fresh; light-fingered and -hearted.

    Actually I was talking about vintage home furnishings, there.
    But I guess, truth be told, that style got expressed in other areas too…..
    Then I settled down for keeps with this super fella, and soon found out I have to make more judicious acquisitions. He’s SO into the ensemble that fills our house just the way it is (bless ‘im; no empty spots left for any additions)….that he won’t let a single thing go. Ever.

    I know now that I have to keep me money in me pocket since….. if I bring home a new object it’ll Never Go Out the front door again. So I’ve settled down to appreciating home just the way it is. Truly. Now I love to look at handsome, patinaed objects, but don’t feel the need to purchase and possess. No more presto-chango. And I’m liking it. Funny how you can find your groove.

    Pay attention to what you’re bringing home. Choose for style, quality, and comfort; it could be around a long time.
    If you’re lucky.

  3. Mary Hutka says:

    Yes, my DH certainly does. We were featured in the RR blog in “Mary and John Remodel Their 1980s Kitchen”. We had a lot of orange in the kitchen. However, I have been able to add more MCM accents around the house if I use avocado green. DH’s mother loved the green, so as long as it is green he’s happy for me to buy it! Green vintage suitcases, green vintage glassware, and Franciscan Madeira dinnerware which is green and brown. Avocado green takes him back to his childhood. It makes us both happy.

  4. Nora says:

    My husband goes along with my design choices cheerfully, if somewhat reluctantly. His natural style is probably closer to transitional. He does really love the sleek lines of MCM, but our home is a 1947 colonial revival Cape Cod, so MCM is not a great fit. ‘40s colonial revival is a bit flowery for his taste.

    A few years ago he reluctantly took me antiquing for my birthday, and ended up being surprised at all the cool things we found. He suggested coming back with a truck!

    Over the years he’s expressed sceptisim when I describe a design project I want to do for the house, but then is impressed with the end result. Probably the best thing for getting my way design-wise has been going back to school for interior design. I’m making straight A’s and I’m a bit of a teacher’s pet, so he finally sees that I might actually know what I’m talking about.

  5. Joe says:

    I suppose one’s partner could be dragged along for the ride, but in most cases, I believe it’s part of the soul connection.

  6. I’ll say!!!!
    Wow, this story makes me appreciate what I have: a husband who shares my philosophy to preserve and build on the best of the past. (I’m also a retro jazz singer, and we work together to preserve old songs! He has a huge collection of vinyl.) We watch those home-reno shows together and cringe simultaneously when buyers talk about taking down all the walls and gutting vintage (“dated”) kitchens and bathrooms to make their homes “amazing.” And, it’s funny — the longer we’re together, the more he sounds like me about this.
    Our agreement on basic philosophy doesn’t always translate to the specifics, though. He’d like me to focus less on finding just the right midcentury sofa, for example, when we have an okay-sofa from Pier 1 that’s “comfortable.” I’d like him to “edit” his stuff to keep our 1955 space looking more authentic and clutter-free. But at the heart of it, we’re of like mind!

  7. Wow, your husband sure wouldn’t be able to relax in MY house. My hubby and I both love midcentury color and pattern — Hawaiian barkcloth and tiki design, gravel art, Formica with little boomerangs, etc. It’s so much fun! Extreme minimalism is beautiful, but to work it must be perfectly composed, like in a magazine, and trying to live within the confines of a static magazine picture would NOT be fun, at least not for me. (Talk about not being able to relax!) If I insisted on having that kind of house, my husband might divorce ME, and I might not blame him.

  8. Teri W. says:

    When we bought our 1957 mid-mod home two years ago, it was in terrible disrepair. We spent a year on renovation/restoration before it was even inhabitable. My husband did all of the demo and much of the restoration himself, and I’ve been playing GC and designer.

    I think his sweat equity in the restoration has given him a greater appreciation for the “bones” of the house. He mostly likes (or at least appreciates) the décor. His only real requirement is that the furniture is comfortable.

    I’ve been a mid-mod admirer and collector for years. I’m also an estate sale, thrift store, auction and on-line searcher for mid century treasures. Some of it for our home, and much of it for resale. Every so often I’ll bring home a piece and he’ll say “you can’t sell that”. Usually those are the pieces that become part of our home.

  9. Carolyn says:

    I’ve only discovered in the last few years that DH & I shouldn’t have gotten married since we are so unevenly yoked. I have gotten to an age where I “finally” heard what he’d said decades ago “A house is just a place to store your (barnyard term) in”. He doesn’t completely “get” the excitement of the details of a really cool ranch house but I put it down to his being an air force brat as a child combined with his parents didn’t buy homes until they married someone else in their 50’s. He was raised that you are frugal until the money comes in and then you hemorrhage cash to impress people who don’t know you and really don’t care. There are no such things as antiques, it’s all just “old junk” and it’s probably dirty.
    It does NOT help that he works in a big box store (luckily a smaller one!) for 15 yrs and gets distracted by shiny things.
    But, having gone thru a half-fast reno of a travel trailer, I now know that I’ll have to take the reins in decision making and let him pout until he relents and says “That looks pretty cool, I guess” and leave it at that.
    The closest I could say he was into retro is if something was his mom’s or grandma’s – then it was of value.
    WE DO agree on snow and Christmas…and cats.

  10. Wendell says:

    My “significant other” are my two cats. I got my folks’ midcentury modest home when they passed — and boy, has everything aged well — so the cats have enjoyed having minimal disruptions to their lives on renovations. Fifty years of cats have lived in this house, and *none* of them have been able to mess with the original jute carpeting.

    My siblings, their (human) families, cousins, etc., get a kick out of it and find the vivid colors in all the rooms to be a nice trip to the past. Meanwhile, I can’t imagine ever again living in an antiseptic home of differing shades of eggshell. Meh, different strokes.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Sneaked a discussion in with him: he wouldn’t want to live in a time capsule which is mostly the upholstery of the LR furniture. Wishes TV was still regular screen instead of wide-screen so we could have a console TV. He, too, has a collection of vinyl but it’s mostly music that needs tuners & woofers & sub-woofers & tweeters with concert speakers but wouldn’t mind a console stereo HiFi. We both wish we could’ve saved our pendant lamps, which in hindsight, was foolish of us to part with.
    Yet this is the guy who has the blonde bdrm suite while I have more antique furniture in my room (I snore like a chainsaw going thru a tunnel, he walks & talks all night).

  12. Tim says:

    Currently, my sig other is a 1963 Ford Falcon that I daily drive. I’m 19 and single and will be purchasing a fixer in a few years. My parents joke that my future wife will put all my collectables in the garage and I will be stuck in some new house.

    Sorry, but my baggage is my 3 cars (’62-63), 4 fridges (’46-55), and my mid century home. If my wifey can’t embrace my passion, I’m brooming her lol. It’s a shame my peers don’t see the beauty and the history of mid century items. My friends would call me “Old man Tim” b/c of my infatuation with this lifestyle. Youngsters are usually glued to snapchat and insta and here I am on retrorenovation 😉

    Few years back, my parents bought a small 1958 ranch. My mom wanted to legit bulldoze the surviving kitchen. I fought and came to a compromise (to include French),a year later the ’90s appliances were replaced with a ’63 GE wall oven and cooktop, ’54 Frigidaire fridge, grey and white pct floors installed, pink counters cleaned, cabinets painted white, copper drum lights buffed, and some French sprinkled into the mix all for under a $1k. This home was slowly becoming modernized and I stepped in and turned the clock. All the previous homes I grew up were always brand new and turn key. It wasn’t until I saw Back the Future and heard Mr. Sandman in hs that changed everything.

  13. Pam Kueber says:

    Awwww, it’s only Monday and already you have made my week:

    Youngsters are usually glued to snapchat and insta and here I am on retrorenovation ????

  14. Candy says:

    My husband and I were watching Mad Men, when he happened to comment, “Hey, maybe we could do this house in this style”…and the floor dropped and my mind exploded into glittery stardust. How could I have missed it? I had planned each of our preceding 2 houses with what was considered “desirable” and “normal”, a French rustic type of decor, but would always slip in MCM pieces without even knowing that is what they were. The style I had always loved, as a graphic designer, artist and lifestyle in general. I may have been born the day Elvis died, but my parents sought the entertainment from their youth, which enveloped my life.
    Now, in our 7400 sq ft disaster fixer upper of a Pennsylvania mid century modern home, my husband regrets the day he set this in motion…or does he?

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