Hello, Chicago! Retro Renovation and Save the Pink Bathrooms in the news

pam-kueber-in-the-chicago-tribuneMy “Drill, Baby, Drill” photo (which I affectionally and apolitically call it) made its first appearance in major media this weekend, when the Chicago Tribune featured a nice story about Retro Renovation and Save the Pink Bathrooms in its Sunday Real Estate section. I did the interview with writer Mary Umberger several weeks ago. Imagine this scene: Me, Friday 3 p.m., exhausted yet having just downed a double latte, holed up in my computer cave alone all week — and yo, here was someone on the phone all interested in pink bathrooms and other mid century ilk. My point: I am pretty sure I blabbered and rambled like a lunatic. But Mary did a great  job of latching on to, and capturing, some of my favorite ideas ever. Like: We’re not any smarter today about what’s beautiful than people were in 1956 — it’s just different. Thank you, Mary, for your empathetic coverage of our cause.

Great thanks, also, to photographer Jennifer Greenburg, who helped by finding, then shooting, a new photo of a pink bathroom in Chicago, for the Sunday story. I featured Jennifer several times on the blog last year — first, we looked at her fabulous book, The Rockabillies — and then, I followed up with an interview with her about the rockabilly design aesthetic. The interview is actually one my favorites — it really made some light bulbs go on in my head. 

 You can check out the Chicago Tribune story here. I’m told the photo ran in the paper kind Big. This is so embarrassing. Crazy, but in a good way. 🙂

  1. Edwin Wilson says:

    This retro revival is snowballing FAST and Pam is at the forefront. I am calling it:

    2011 to be a banner year for Pam and the retrorenovation blog. Like……….. B I G

    Congrats to more positive press – it is well deserved.

  2. dcgrl says:

    I live in a 1957 ranch whose bathrooms were redone in the 80s. it pains me to think about the pink, yellow, or blue tile that was demo’d for the sake of the flowered wall board they chose to replace it with. Give me pink any day over the cheap and ugly replacement the previous owners chose.

  3. Tracey Cole says:


    Congratulations on the article in the Chicago Tribune! You have hit the big time. Love it. Love it. Love it! There are thousands of Mid-Centruy Modest homes in the Post War Baby Boomer Chicago suburbs that NEED artilces like this! Just think of the “HOPE” that you have given to those scared pink bathrooms out there waiting for their doom. Just say no to “gut and add granite”! Retrorenovation will save you:)

  4. Tikimama says:

    Great article! Whenever you showcase an article written about you and the blogs, I get very excited thinking of the new people it will reach. The people who think, “Oh! There are others out there like me and a place to meet them!” The people who are resisting the pressure to tear up their mid-century homes to meet some current ideal. So, good for you!

    Where is the new photo of the pink bathroom? I don’t see it!

  5. Robyn says:

    Fantastic! Way to go Pam! As always your passion and sensible approach to this subject speaks volumes to the masses. Let’s hope that indeed, 2011 will have a shift back to common sense and the appreciation for the quality, and unique beauty that Mid-Century Modest homes give us. To me, it’s more than a tribute to the past, but a tribute to all those who struggled and sacrificed SO much in WW2. Those Vets and the folks who rationed at home had a tough way to go with the housing shortage right after the war. They worked, saved and sacrificed to own those houses, then often times lovingly cared for them for the rest of their lives because they knew those houses were their “reward” for all they’d gone through. Even if homeowners today just can’t live with a pink bathroom or a vintage kitchen, at least have the heart to remove it all carefully and for Heaven’s sakes donate the salvaged items to places that make them available to those who DO really want to maintain and restore these homes. Better for our planet and better for preserving something that only can be original once……our proud past.

  6. David says:

    Hi Pam!

    – Chicago

    PS My green bathroom is feeling hurt and unloved with all the adoration for pink bathrooms. I myself blame Maggie Prescott.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi David, welcome. Since you are new, I repeat: Pink bathrooms are “emblematic” – called out in particular because they typify, usually with the most venom, the disdain so often directed at midcentury pastel bathrooms. To be clear – we love them all!

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