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“Don’t be afraid of color. Promise me,” says Amy — 16 photos from her 1920s row house

white kitchen with yellow wallsamy and darioAmy Mescia, the founder of Oscar & Izzy Tiles, is such a creative cutie that you know her house must have a story, too. Yup: She and her husband Dario live in a 1920s Philadelphia rowhouse, which vintage kitchen and pink-and-blue bathroom — and it’s retro perfection. This is one talented couple — Dario also is an accomplished photographer — so you bet the photos are inspiring. Click on through for 16 images and Amy’s story about their own colorful, vintage-inspired brand of young house love –>

Amy writes:

My husband, Dario, and I (both graphic designers) fell in love with this house.

amy and darioWe bought our 1920’s south Philadelphia row home 3 years ago and as old houses usually go: We have done renovation after renovation ever since. Our goal, if possible, is to maintain the retro and authentic architecture and feel of the house.

pink and blue bathroompink and turquoise bathroom Most of the previous updates to our house happened around the 50’s (seen especially in the tile work in the bathroom and the vestibule).

retro kitchen collectibles

Our kitchen has Formica countertops and cupboards. [Pam notes: The countertops could be Formica White Onyx – authentic vintage still available today.)

chartreuse paint in a kitchenpantone knobsWe’ve maintained the retro feel with a light chartreuse green wall paint — Valspar Greek Tapenade, and funky knobs from Anthropologie — ours have Pantone numbers on them, perfect for two graphic designers!

retro kitchen tableWe purchased a retro formica table from Craigslist (rust and all!) and enjoy it with our two cats, Annie and Max. (They literally sit with us at dinner!)

retro curtains with ric rac The curtains handmade by my talented mother, Elinor Sinclair, who delicately added Ric-rac to each curtain to hold true to the 50’s look. I also collect retro signs and tins and those are strewn throughout the kitchen.

1920s rowhouse with retro decormid century buffetWe purchased the mid-century side board from craigslist and I’ve replaced the knobs with my own choice, to give it a little mod flair.

1920s row houseThe dining room table is a piece of butcher block wood from the 70’s that my parents had. We had a carpenter, John Duffy from Stable Tables add on salvaged wood legs. He specializes in doing restored wood pieces … a truly amazing carpenter and artist. Wall color: Benjamin Moore™2024-50 Jasper Yellow

amy and darioI hope to have the funds to add some of my tiles to our kitchen…as renovations go, we are taking it one step at a time….

Thank you, Amy — like your tiles, LUV your house! But oh my, dear, that is just so Wrong: Like the shoemaker without shoes, the tile designer has no tile. 🙁 I think that may change soon, though, Amy, because you have the makings of a Design Star! Please keep in touch — I want to say I knew you back when!

P.S. Have you seen Nora’s pink time capsule bathroom? She’s in Philly, too. It looks like you have the same pink and blue tile!

  1. B. Daily says:

    Love your house. Not just another South Philly renovation with open concept and everything painted Gray.
    Gray and open floor plans have had their moment.

  2. Joe says:

    I need to keep the wife away from this post or I have a feeling we’ll have that same shower curtain in our house by tomorrow. She’s on a HUGE owl kick these days. very cute.

  3. Lynda Bourgeois says:

    I find the interior design cheerful, but I must say that it would have been a bigger joy to see the space restored to it’s 1920’s glory, rather than the mix match of periods shown here. 1940=1950’s Of course to each is own, but in terms of restoration recognition I am more of a purest, go with the period of the architecture and you can’t go wrong.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Lynda, I hear what you’re saying — but remember, this was the interior they “inherited” from the previous owners…. They did not gut the kitchen and then put in ’50s — they worked with what they had.

  4. nina462 says:

    love yellow & red in a kitchen! As for ricrac – I’m waiting to add pom poms to my bathroom curtains.
    Lovely tour – thanks for sharing.
    ps – I had a dinner party last night and my friends raved about my chalkware in the kitchen & bath. hmmm back in style? (never out of style).

  5. Jay says:

    Yeah! Let’s hear it for the home town! Great story, great pics. I was in Center City today for a doctors appointment and I had lunch in the Reading Terminal Market. Well, thanks to Pam, the retro reno godess; I can now ID formica. I sat in a booth with a table that was covered in charcoal boomerang; the other tables were covered in gray cracked ice. See! I’m learning.

  6. Julie says:

    What an adorable house, it’s so inspiring! The shower curtain is from Target, for those inquiring, but the website says it’s out of stock:( I got another similar owl curtain from there for my bathroom, so don’t give up hope!

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