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Maribeth’s house and Retro Renovation spotlighted in the Knoxville News

Remember Maribeth and her Brady Bunch kitchen? After I featured her renovation in November, I asked her if I could pitch the story to her local newspaper. Maribeth was game, and it turns out, so was the Knoxville News. Reporter Allison Rupp and I talked for more than an hour, then she went out to visit Maribeth and her family and their home. Meanwhile, photographer Saul Young looks like he had a blast with the photographs. The result: A great story about a 70s retro renovation with a fabulous photo gallery to boot.  And — did you know that HGTV is in Knoxville? I bet they will see this, too, including mention of the pink Cinderella bathtub. Thanks, again, Maribeth, for opening up your home to the world all in the cause of preserving and cherishing our mid mod heritage. Thanks, too, to Allison and Saul for treating this story with such empathy and respect. Readers — if you would like to see your completed projects featured in your local newspaper, contact me and we’ll see if we can make it happen.  🙂 Photo: Courtesy the Knoxville News / Saul Young.

  1. MrsErinD says:

    Great article and such a beautiful home, I just love it! You did a great job too Pam.
    The one commenter was right, most midcentury style is a mix of previous eras, nobody’s home even now has all completely new up to the decade stuff in it. My parents, grandparents, inlaws etc were all like that.

    I don’t understand why there is this thing with people online now, seems to be worse with younger people, but see it with all ages, that they just seem to go from place to place just to write something horrible and mean, why?

  2. atomicbowler-dave says:

    I have a co-worker who claims that every person is a character or mix of characters from Winnie the Pooh. If she’s right, these are some of the Eyore types.
    Playground bullies and types with other various feelings of inadequacy tended to sling verbal trash in Jr. High and High School. Some never grow out of it.
    And…the adage of “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing” has gone the way of “Each to his Own”.
    In truth, tho…there are two sides here. In the MC boom years, there were surely many folk who looked askance at the tract homes of yesteryear just as we do those of today…like in the song ‘Little Boxes’.
    Really…I do not understand the phenom of commentary on news stories, sort of tossed out in the air to strangers. Don’t these people have anyone to talk to, or anyone of like interests? No water cooler? No one at home to look at the paper with? (I lived on a boat once with a cat who really tried to appreciate Wooden Boat magazine, or at least pretend to!)
    I must be growing old in a hurry, as I find the more I understand people the less I understand the world I live in! Sigh…
    Dave

  3. Julie Rogers says:

    A few comments from a fellow journalist:
    – All newspaper comments seem to be of the nasty variety. We know that if a story is great, 1 in 10,000 readers will let us know. If they don’t like something, 1 in 10 readers will let us know – often with words not suitable for print. But they’re keeping us on life support for now, so we smile and take it.
    – Few people know how to pitch a story to get it quickly picked up by a newspaper. With Pam’s background, she knows how, so I really believe she can get almost anyone covered by their local paper. Midcentury style is a trend, so Pam offers a trendy story, with a local tie, easy photos and an expert to interview. This is newspaper heaven.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks, Julie, for that clarification — I really appreciate it. Also, thanks for that vote of confidence regarding getting stories on other readers — I agree that this is a great story for local newspapers! Did I even mention that in the mid-90s I wrote freelance cover stories for the Ann Arbor News’ Sunday At Home section? Yes – this is a great topic for home sections, I would have jumped on it!

      And as per atomicbowlerdave’s comment — yes, I agree we all can and should understand that vintage home design is not everyone’s cup of tea. And to be sure, there were extremes, some of it is easier to take that others. This is a journey we are on to understand it better including what is worth keeping and what is worth letting go. We should all take the high road — me included — when it comes to folks who don’t quite get our interest — yet.

  4. sumac sue says:

    Wow, the comments to the newspaper article make me feel glad that Pam has a “nice comments only” policy!

    The message here isn’t really about a particular style so much as it is about loving your life and creating a home environment that you and your family love to be in. When I read the newspaper article, I thought, wow, they moved their little daughter all the way from Maine to Tennessee, which had to be a big adjustment. But she found a Cinderella bathtub waiting for her, and she got to help Mom and Dad decorate their cool castle. They look so content in the family photo — that’s the best part.

  5. Mick says:

    Great Job Pam! I have been trying to get the Drive-In In our Local Wichita Falls Tx paper FOREVER. But… when a 15- 19 yr old kid walks in and says “I own The Worlds Smallest Drive-In theater, and a 1940’s/50’s house to match” im generally laughed out of the building… Love your tactic interview! Work some magic for me! : )

  6. Mich B says:

    Funny- I actually am a director of programming for HGTV, and saw this on facebook while on a business trip. Yey! More midcentury fans in Knox Vegas! Echoing some of the previous comments: Maribeth and family, don’t pay any attention to the “unenlightened.” We retro enthusiasts decorate our homes because we love the aesthetics of vintage pieces, and the way they make us feel… happy! I have done precious few updates to my 50s rancher in North Knox, and when I do, they will be in keeping with the home’s period look. Bravo to you for mixing and matching decades for a truly fun, funky and liveable home! (other great places to find vintage pieces- Nostalgia in Bearden, and the Dutch Valley Antique Mall.)

  7. Lara Jane says:

    I do agree with the comments over there that this ISN’T a 70s renovation. But for that fab kitchen, their stuff is solidly 50s, maybe some 60s thrown in.

    I can’t blame them, the 50s were fab, after all! 🙂 And mid-century modern is generally more appealing than 60s & 70s decor to people these days.

    Not only that, it makes sense, the way they’ve done it, because most people buying their first home aren’t able to afford all new stuff, so they’re likely to inherit older cast-offs from family, resulting in furniture being older and sometimes in discord with the style/architecture of the house.

    1. pam kueber says:

      You know, I personally think the key is: Anything that is ‘permanent’ — aim to make it sympathetic to the home’s original design intent in order for it to make long-term sense. Kitchens / bathrooms — those are expensive and often need serious work, serious money and therefore, serious consideration for how to approach. That said, “sympathetic” is not an exacting word – there’s a continuum here – from exacting reproduction/restoration….to lighthearted reference. Homeowner’s choice.

      Stuff like furniture, draperies, decor: Well, that’s not really renovation $$$, that’s decorating, and that’s easy to change / mix up / have fun with.

      Finally, Importantly: I have never ever said that this is a site about exacting period restorations; I am not a purist, there is no “right way”, it’s your house. I just offer up period-appropriate alternatives, if that’s the route you wanna take.

  8. kim says:

    I can’t get over those reader’s snarky comments about
    the house. I’d love to have a house like it–it is bright & airy,
    looks brand new, and has that cool retro look in the decor. It isn’t
    as though the homeowners have run amok with kitch or ugliness.

  9. atomicbowler-dave says:

    Again, the key thing…
    Maribeth and her family have put a lot of soul into their home, and it pleases them. They didn’t do it to please anyone else, and they shouldn’t have. We are fortunate to belong to this little community of like-minded people where we can share in it and be pleased, too.
    While surely any older structure will take on a vibe of what has passed before–not being soulless per se–it’s the love and energy of the folks who put it together into something theywant to live in that give it life. These people have certainly done that, and in the process have given enjoyment to many others by sharing it here and (thanks to the love, enthusiasm and time-generosity of our own Pam K.) in their hometown newspaper…so that others can be entertained, educated, inspired.
    Many thanks to Maribeth and her family and to Pam.
    As to the inevitable critics, I gotta take my own advice there.
    Dave

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