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Retro Renovation Nation

With 80% of the homes in the U.S. built before 1980, and homebuilders pulling back to 75% of their housing boom building pace, chances are you are buying or currently living in a home that is ripe for remodeling. 

As you wonder whether to tear out that pink bathroom or save it, it might help to learn more about why your 50s era bathroom is pink in the first place.

Pink was one of the most popular decorating colors in the 50s and early 60s, popularized by Mamie Eisenhower, who wore a pink rhinestone-festooned gown to her husband Ike’s inauguration and decorated the White House presidential suite in pink. According to Pam Kueger, operator of, President Eisenhower sent Mamie pink flowers every morning.

Now you know the origin of “Mamie Pink” or “First Lady Pink” and you have a great story to tell. Admit it - your pink bathroom is growing on you, isn’t it?

The other thing you might be wondering is if you do decide to go retro and save the pink bathroom, can you buy replacement fixtures to keep the look as authentic as possible?

Absolutely. Pam’s pink bathroom site is a companion to her main site, a resource center for homeowners who appreciate and want to update and save their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s homes.  On her sites, you’ll find product guides, new and antique vendors, galleries of old advertisements from Hotpoint, Kohler, design ideas and advice, quirky trivia, and blogs and photos from enthusiastic homeowners, and so much more. 

Why save an old kitchen or bath? It may seem hard to believe, but the features you found to be dreadful, kitschy or charming in your home were once state of the art, says Pam, and they can still make a statement. About 29 million tract or modest mid-century homes were built following World War II, allowing many to experience homeownership for the first time – affordably and in comfort.

Retro renovation is all about “re”words. “Re Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Restore,” says Pam. “Returning to the source of ‘The American Dream.’”

What goes around comes around. It’s time we appreciate the American Dream of homeownership again.

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