How to boil down a year-and-a-half of Retro Renovation learning into a 45-minute home show talk? A number of readers have asked… no, I don’t have it on video, sorry… but here’s what I talked about at my recent talks at the Lane County Home Show in Eugene, Oregon. A mix of… social history… vintage 40s 50s and 60s eye candy… my own story and how I got into the blog… and products and ideas to preserve, restore and renovate modest, middle class ranches, capes, colonials, splits and bungalows. Oh – and read on for some other fun stuff from the show, too!
- To start – I talked about the historical context for our midcentury, middle-class homes: The many years of privation in America, beginning with the Great Depression and extending through WWII… and how that created pent-up demand for housing and things like dream kitchens – as in the 1942 Hotpoint kitchen ad, above.
- Fast forward from 1942 to 2002 – and my own search for a dream kitchen ultimately led me to create this blog.
- I talked about Cape Cods by Barry Wills… then ranch houses… and how these two American housing styles mashed up into all kinds of combinations in the postwar era.
- We raced through 25 years of design history and looked at interiors from the 40s, 50s and 60s.
- Of course this included hudee rings (only one person out of hundreds knew what these were already)… pecky cypress (totally alien to the west coast)… and of course, pink bathrooms. Everyone loves pink bathrooms!
- At the end of each talk I showed the St. Louis 1955 time capsule. As an example of just how much these homes meant to their original owners… and of how caring people today are recognizing their value and the reasons for preserving and restoring them.
In all: The audience was very receptive… these were folks who owned midcentury homes and were looking for more inspiration to love them… and some folks, too, who had lived through the era and wanted to rekindle memories.