Kristin has been doing some retro renovation – of her garden. She has uncovered lots of shrubs and perennials under years of scrub. She has planted her built-in brick planter with retro style plants. And her neighbor Lee — another RR reader — nabbed this patio set for her off another neighbor’s curb. Dumpster divers unite! Hey, Kristin. You mention that your neighborhood is “newly popular.” Were you being serious? Tell us more….
Kristin and I exchanges several emails, I think it’s fun to read all pieced together. She writes:

So glad you like! One caveat is that the quality is beneath my standards as I took them with my iPhone. Still they are decent! The ones in the front aren’t as detailed as the sun had gone down quite a bit. Perhaps a reader can identify the shrub in the photo titled “unknown shrub”? The utility company lopped the top off a month or do ago as it was near the wires…grrrr. I when left out a number of uncovered gems but I’ll do more next Spring after we have pruned and really fixed things up. The back of the house is up against an alley with a 50’s strip mall and there is a wood privacy fence there and along the neighbors to our west, but the fence is still up all around. We were cutting crap out last weekend and discovered rounds of the original stuff cut at the height to protect beds just as if they had sat there for YEARS! We have a huge backyard…somehow it didn’t rust one round, but the other got a little rusty.

I met a neighbor through Retro Renovation who has become a friend and he just gave us a vintage set of wrought iron patio furniture his neighbor had just put on the curb! Retro Renovation equals Social Networking site! Wait til he sends pix of his ranch interior!!! Holy moley.  I posted about trying to remove my vintage antenna from my chimney and I mentioned we lived in Colonial Acres. Well, Lee is an avid reader and follower of your site (as is evidenced by his time capsule home) and he lives 5 blocks south in the same newly-popular neighborhood! So he posted a response and he invited us to several parties, none that we’ve been able to make yet! But he came to my yard sale and then we became Facebook friends and there ya go! Well, it is just amazing how much stuff in his house was untouched!  He has the original metal cabinets, porcelain sink, formica countertops, linoleum floor, hardwoods, all the doors are the original, unpainted wood including his pocket doors (mine were all painted white–any idea how to get that off?)…plus original crystal chandelier in the dining room, cracked brick tile mosaic add-on floor with brick fireplace….it is just a  little miracle!  Plus he has 1.5 baths all with original tile and the colored fixtures!

Looking around in out neighborhood at the houses for sale, I’d say we were lucky to get what we got as far as it not being chopped and remodeled  to bits.  My only dismay is the Home Depot tile over the lino in the kitchen, the Home Depot stainless sink and ugly replacement faux wood countertops in there and the thick white paint over every door including my fantastic pocket doors on all closets.

Thank you, Kristin! To heck with our houses, all. Let’s get out and garden!

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh and the planter is now filled with upended fieldstones and small sun-loving perrenials: Various sedum, Red Thyme, small ornamental grasses etc. We call it “Mini Stonehenge”!

  2. Kristin says:

    WOW! Just fell across this post had to laugh at myself a bit at how innocent I was because I have completely (well almost!) redone both the front and backyards and well, they’re both fantastic. Many of the original plants remain however and that little Bloodgood Maple we’d planted a couple of months before the pix above were taken? Well, he is at least 15 feet tall now and fluffed out like mad! I’ll send along some new pix of the gardens if anyone is interested.

  3. Matt says:

    Can someone tell me what I could plant in a brick planter that gets full sun in zone 9. It’s a midcentury mordern home.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Great patio set to find curb-side! What a treasure! Unfortunately I have to say “go Blue” haha, but I can appreciate seeing the Spartan flag down in Memphis, being from Michigan. 🙂 I love the built-in planter box.

  5. kristin says:

    Oh and while we do use sunscreen…this is Memphis and that is a bottle of OFF!

    *Colonial Acres (and Sea Isle…I think we live in Sea Isle and Lee in Colonial Acres proper, but everyone calls all of it Colonial Acres now) IS indeed becoming something, can’t really tell what! It definitely is the up & coming neighborhood for first time homebuyers that are young marrieds and small families. The general mindset of the young & hip, however, is still firmly/stubbornly entrenched in the Midtown area, where I grew up, which was the first suburb of Memphis built in the 1920’s.

    I was very reticent to purchase “out East” but was priced out of Midtown and fell in love with this 978 sq. foot ranch and its comfy yet wide open floor plan and the lean angles and simple grace of the exterior. It was the best decision we made to relocate from a Midtown rental to this neighborhood–it is surprisingly diverse with original 70+ year old homeowners included (though the hip Midtowners think their neighborhoods are the only diverse areas of Memphis!) and it is only 15 minutes from Downtown. It is home to two great parks, situated blocks from numerous restaurants, groceries and shops and home to some wonderful people like Lee, who are equally as in love with the 50’s way of life as we are!

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