When I was a kid, my family lived in a house with the ultimate '50s style relic: a pink kitchen. It had a pink sink, a pink stove, pink tile and even a pink wall-mounted refrigerator. To our '70s eyes, it was a garish eyesore. My junior high friends usually laughed when they saw it, and my parents couldn't wait to be rid of it. As soon as they'd saved up enough money, they ripped it out and replaced everything in earth tones.
Today, that flamboyant '50s kitchen would be a coveted collectible. And its "tasteful" replacement would look drab and dated. Home styles always cycle in and out of fashion, and right now, mid-century modern is having its moment. Vintage '50s and '60s decor has been gaining favor with niche collectors for about a decade, but now that look is
moving into the mainstream.
Atomic Ranch magazine (www.atomic-ranch.com) and bloggers are leading the charge to preserve the millions of mid-century ramblers and ranch houses that were built during the decades following World War II.
"It's history -- 50 years have passed, enough time to give us perspective," says blogger Pam Kueber (www.retrorenovation.com and www.savethepinkbathrooms.com). A new generation of first-time homeowners have fond memories of their grandparents' houses and are ready to embrace that look at home, she says.
TV's "Mad Men" also has been a huge influence, according to trend-watchers, making mid-century style look glamorous and retro cool.
Now vintage clocks, furnishings and even ashtrays are acquiring renewed cachet. Even a few years ago, they wouldn't have gotten a second look at a garage-sale bargain table. Now they're being snapped up on eBay and in stylish shops that cater to fans of the '50s and '60s look.
"Midcentury is just starting," says designer Carri Carlson, Array Kitchen & Bath of Edina. "We are on the verge of this taking off."
Do you agree? What era does your home date from? And what style relics from that era have you kept?