Dorothy Draper, drafty houses, pink bathrooms — and coffee: Friday link love

Friday-Link-Love-logo250A new weekly feature: Friday Link Love. As jammed as the interwebs are with link bait (deceptive headlines leading to useless content) and scrapers (sites that try to survive by copying others’ original content), there certainly are gems — true reporters and creators of unique original content — out there. Every couple of Fridays, I’ll spotlight a few, including from tips I may get from readers. And most assuredly, I won’t show you anything that looks like gravy (!) — (read on and you’ll understand…)

#1 — Pink Bathrooms: “Get with the program, people!”

  • pink-bathroom-leo-carilloPink Bathrooms: Hot or not? I think that the Bergen Record thinks they are!  — Reporter Kathy Lynn wrote a great story, including input from a long interview with Defender o’ The Pink aka me.


#2 — “Unchanging blandness seems to depress the human soul”

Designers and homeowners need to remember that it is sometimes OK to live in an imperfect house — one that feels a little hot in July and a little cold and drafty in January. In fact, this type of imperfect house might be more affordable (or even “greener”) than an expensive Passivhaus…. If you take this approach, you might discover that your imperfect house is fine just the way it is.


#3 and #4 — Dorothy Draper: “Show me nothing that looks like gravy!”

  • Dorothy Draper Library of Congress photoThe Wall Street Journal recently wrote about Dorothy Draper (I’m sending you to the google page – it’s the first story — a trick that crafty Colleen discovered gets us behind the paywall) — one of the 20th Century’s most influential interior designers, including during the postwar era. Reporter David Colman points out that there is not just one definition of mid-century design: Draper shrugged off restrained “gray-scale elegance” and instead, designed in “Technicolor Colonial.”He visited The Greenbrier, one of her colorful tours de force, and said:

A century ago, people came to “take the waters” for their rheumatism—but today, victims of seasonal affective disorder should come and take the colors.

Well, Dorothy wasn’t a minimalist, by any means. She used to say in her magnificent way, “Show me nothing that looks like gravy!” No fabrics that look beige, gray or mousy or gravy-like.

I take great (colorful) comfort that the great DD would agree with me re: today’s drab Greige Nation.


# 5 — I love coffee, yes, I do!

  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Bet that felt good! We’re pretty much all on the same side of the field as you are.

  2. LuAnn says:

    I must admit to liking Rehab Addict on THAT channel because it was a breath of fresh air. I started watching it about the same time I discovered Pam’s Retro Renovation website. I was so shocked and overcome to find that there are actual people in the world who would find value in my 1957 house’s ranchy cool-onial-ness. What? Awesome!

  3. LuAnn says:

    Aaah, yes, the mooing masses… “Sledgehammer good. Pink tile bad. Yes, master.” Sheesh!

  4. doris dear says:

    Miss Draper was amazing. Her best work was here in NYC. I even talk about Miss draper in my show “Doris Dear’s Gurl Talk” at Don’t Tell Mama’s in NYC! She designed one of the most beautiful spaces in NYC at the Metropolitan Museum here. It was called the “Dorotheum Restaurant” It was downstairs, had a large reflecting pool with water sprites dancing across it, large oversized birdcage chandeliers overhead and was a perfect mid-century modern space. Unfortunately they demolished it and turned it into a gallery. She also did the amazing Fairmont in San Fran. Check out a few slides of her work here: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architecture/archive/draper_slideshow_item1_2

  5. Enid says:

    That is why we are all so glad to have this blog as a resource and inspiration. I love my yellow kitchen and pink bathroom ceiling with glitter on it. My son called me his crazy artist Mom and I was happy to embrace it. Thank you Pam!

  6. Susie Q. says:

    I agree with everything you said, however, nothing makes me happier than when the masses DON’T like what I like. More cheap finds for me! Though it is disturbing to see people use a sledgehammer when at the very least they could donate old cabinets, etc to the Re-store. It’s very wasteful.

  7. Jay says:

    I sat down Saturday afternoon to look at the Phila. Inquirer’s Home and Design section and saw an article on PINK BATHROOMS and thought wow another story. I laughed when I saw that the article was imported from the Bergen Record; the very same article you linked to.

  8. pam kueber says:

    Yes, the Bergen Record story was then syndicated… I’ve seen it pop up in several other newspapers already. Glad to hear it made it to Philly, too! That’s big!

  9. Jamie says:

    I love Rehab Addict! You should give this show a chance, especially if you are disheartened by the whole HGTV/DIY Network love affair with granite, stainless steel, and all the homogenous rest. The host, Nicole Curtis, tries not to gut the homes she works on (mostly late 19th/early 20th century), but to keep them intact as much as possible with either original fixtures or age appropriate replacements. She embraces imperfection. As she says about her homes, “It’s just screaming ‘Make me pretty again!”” She lives with the occasional cracked vintage tile, etc.

    That whole mindset is starting to inform my planned rehab (more of a spruce up) of my family’s 60 year old tract home. Kids are agitating for granite or marble, but I have my eye on some of that lovely vintage-esque laminate that is coming out this summer.

  10. Pam Kueber says:

    Hi Ronda, I’m not sure what you’re asking about exactly – you can share a link to the photo if you post it on a photo-sharing platform – or contact me using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

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