It’s Moving Day for Mr. Roger!

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhoods Blog has a new home! You can now find all your retro, mid-century appreciation, home news, and information at Mr. Roger’s Neighborhoods. Click on the link and sign up to follow.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

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Abide: Lessons From a Northwest Mid-Century Architect


Paul Kirk is The Dude. Abide.

Paul Kirk, one of the Northwest’s most influential mid-century architects, knew what he was doing in those post-war years. He was laying the groundwork for Northwest architecture that is still admired and applied to this day (thankfully). A graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Architecture in 1937, he is responsible for numerous homes and buildings around the Seattle area, including the Magnolia Branch of the Seattle Public Library, University Unitarian Church, Meany Hall on the University of Washington campus, and many homes in Seattle and Eastside neighborhoods.

Kirk was at the forefront of the modern movement, combining minimalist design with maximum function. Flat roofs and bands of windows were his style of choice here in the Pacific Northwest.  With limited sunlight during the winter months, many mid-century architects adapted this style to allow as much natural light in as possible. Simple cubic shapes and exposed wood framing, central to most of Kirk’s designs, are “back in style”…which is sad to say, because they should never have gone out of fashion.

Over the years, many architects and builders have forgotten some important lessons instilled by Kirk and other Northwest home design icons. Following is a list of 10 forgotten concepts (“that should never have been forgotten in the first place”), taken from BUILDblog:

1. Modestly nestling the home into the site rather than building “on top of” the ground feels better.


2. Keep it simple.

3. Good design creates a progression between privacy and transparency.

4. Connecting the inside to the outside creates harmony with the site.

5. Old school passive design is highly sustainable.

6. Small, efficient bedrooms are perfectly pleasant.

7. Outdoor rooms are just as important as indoor rooms.

8. Screen walls offer privacy without cordoning off the interiors.


9. Let nature do the work.

10. Quality of light is more important than the light fixture.

Curious? Want more details? Head over to BUILDblog for their take on these 10 lessons.




Ashkenazy, B., et. al. “Modern Views: A Conversation on Northwest Modern Architecture,” 43 min. Studio/216 and University of Washington Department of Architecture,

BUILD, “10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Modern Design,” (accessed March 6, 2012).

Docomomo-WEWA, “Kirk, Paul Hayden (1914-1995),” (accessed March 6, 2012).


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Green and Orange and Yellow, Oh My! Mid-Century Furniture: Early 1960s

1960s Floral Couch available at

When “kids these days” think of the ’60s, thoughts immediately turn to peace, love, and tie-dyed t-shirts. But if your mom was cutting your hair in a Beatle-esque bowl cut; your grandparents’ green, orange, and yellow floral couch was covered in plastic; and Bing Crosby was still pining away on the hi-fi, you know it wasn’t quite the “Summer of Love” but the year that the world’s longest floating bridge opened for traffic between Seattle and Bellevue. It’s 1963!

I digress…back to that green, orange, and yellow floral couch!

You hated that couch as an adolescent, but now, look at it! It’s retro-tastic! And you want to find one along with other mid-century gems to feather your retro nest, but where? Beyond Goodwill, Salvation Army, and estate sales, where do you find such treasures?

Teak cabinet at Antika

For impeccably curated pieces, head over to 1st Dibs, an online marketplace for fine antiques, mid-century furniture, vintage jewelry, and couture fashion. Check out their dreamy collection of 20th Century furniture masterpieces. The site allows you to search items from worldwide sellers and negotiate prices (think upscale flea market).

My favorite neighborhood resource: Antika in Greenwood! They specialize in mid-century teak furniture, like curio cabinets (perfect for your grandma’s sequin-covered dolls and tea cup collection). But you have to visit often – new items come in and it’s not too long before they are gone!

Where can you find great stuff at reasonable prices? Etsy! Head on over to, select Vintage from the drop-down menu, and type in “mid-century furniture” into the search box. Wah-lah! Some fabulous finds, including a great shop out of Seattle, JunkHouse!

Vintage Kroehler lounge chair from stuffsgottagonow on eBay

Don’t mind a bidding war? eBay is the answer! Where else can you find a vintage Kroehler lounge chair with a starting price of $39.99?!?! Some sellers offer the “Buy It Now” option, so you don’t need to monitor bids and wait for the listing to end. I typed in the search term “vintage furniture” and over 13,000 results popped up. Warning: Make sure you pay attention to the descriptions (e.g., vintage vs. vintage design or vintage style).

Know of any gems in your neighborhood or online? Comment below!

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Happy Retro Valentine’s Day!

Pull out the red and pink crepe paper streamers, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Do you remember the giant paper cupid cutout and honeycomb paper hearts hanging in your 2nd grade classroom on Valentine’s Day?

What about those quirky valentines that you handed out in school, stuffing them in shoe boxes decorated with tissue paper and over-glued heart cutouts?

I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite mid-century valentines. Reminisce with me, friends!

Happy Retro Valentine’s Day!

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Mid-Century Home Renovation Tips for the Fearful

You just had to have that mid-century home, didn’t ya? Well, golly, who can blame you! But what you didn’t realize is that updating those kitchen cabinets would strike such fear in you when you found out the floor is not level and the plumbing is not up to 21st Century standards. Hmmm…what to do? Can you do it yourself or do you hire someone to do it for you? Before you decide to take the plunge into retro renovations, you might want to check out this article first from repairhome.

I’ve gathered a few resources for your retro renovation…whether you do the job yourself or hire a professional. (FYI: I’m not endorsing any companies on this list, nor am I paid to endorse them.)

In the kitchen

Wilsonart: Need to replace the chipped laminate countertop? Wilsonart has come to the rescue with their “Indie Collection” (Boomerangs are back!).

Ballard Refinishers: Don’t rip the cabinets out! Refinish them!

Retro Renovation: Calling all retro kitchen DIYers! This is your one-stop web resource!

In the bathroom

Vintage Tub & Bath: This site has a fabulous list of resources for those hard-to-find retro bath resources, contractors, and design ideas.

In the rest of the house

Crestview Doors: Bought the mid-century house but the previous owners replaced the original door? If you can’t find what you need at your local salvage yard, go to the masters of mod!

I will, however, vouch for the folks I’ve listed on Roger’s Recommendations! If you live in the Seattle metro area, check out for a list of contractors, foundation repairers, plumbers, and more.

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A Mid-Century Marvel: 50 Years of the Seattle Center

Photo courtesy of the Museum of History & Industry.

Where were you in ’62?

1962…Cuban Missile Crisis, John Glenn orbited Earth, Marilyn Monroe died, West Side Story won Best Picture, and Seattle hosted the World’s Fair.

The Seattle World’s Fair birthed the Space Needle, monorail, U.S. Science Pavilion (now known as the Pacific Science Center), Coliseum (today’s Key Arena), and the International Fountain, among many other advancements to the Seattle metro area. Seattle’s high-tech roots were established thanks to the infusion of people who flocked to the area for the fair and discovered Seattle’s hidden beauty. The fair attracted scientists from around the world with its Space Age theme, and “38 years ahead of schedule, Seattle entered the 21st Century” (History Link).

Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

But the fair wasn’t all business. The amusement zone boasted rides for the kiddies with Space Age names like the Meteor, the Space Whirl, and the Trip to Mars. And for adults, there was “Show Street” — Las Vegas style shows, adult-only puppet shows, and a chance to take photos with naked women (although that one was shut down quickly!). Even Lawrence Welk came into town (“wunnerful, wunnerful”)!

A series of events beginning in April 2012 in the Seattle metro area will celebrate the golden jubilee of the Seattle World’s Fair. Do you have stories to share about the World’s Fair in Seattle? Tell me! Or head over to to submit your story.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of History & Industry.

Hey! Whatever happened to the Bubbleator?


More sites to help bring back those faded memories…

Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr photo set)

The Next Fifty

Museum of History & Industry

Seattle Times article: They wrote the book on Seattle’s World’s Fair



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The Classics: Mid-Century Tile in a Modern World

Perfect peach...vintage tiles in mid-century Seattle home kitchen

If you are lucky enough to have the original tiles in your mid-century home, I beg you — do not remove them! Granite countertops in the kitchen and bathroom and artistic mosaic tile designs in the shower are all the rage now, but to maintain the integrity of your mid-century home, original tiles are the “bee’s knees.” While it’s not as simple as running to The Home Depot to find a match, there are plenty of local area resources and contractors that can assist with the task of replacing any cracked or missing tiles no matter how big or small. (You might be seeing big dollar signs in your head, but keep in mind that replacing missing or damaged tiles will reduce your environmental impact…a bigger payoff for the Earth in the long-run!)

In need of a few repairs...vintage tile in mid-century Seattle home kitchen

Scouring the internet for ideas, the best resource I found was Retro Renovation’s blog article about the amazing collection of authentic vintage tiles at World of Tile in Springfield, New Jersey. Don’t want to trek out to the Garden State? You can email send Chippy (yes, that’s the co-owner’s name…how fitting!) at World of Tile with a photo a sample of the tile(s) you need replaced.

If you live in the Seattle area and enjoy sleuthing around architectural salvage yards for treasures, be sure to head over to Second Use in South Park, Earthwise in SoDo, and RE Store in Ballard. Earthwise and Second Use also have additional resources for salvage junkies. Live in other parts of the country? Check out the list of salvage yards compiled by (scroll down to bullet #5).

The classics always have a spot in today’s modern world. I have the proof! Like the beautiful blues in this mid-century Seattle home’s bathroom…

Beautiful blues...vintage tiles in mid-century Seattle home bathroom

And this marvelous mint surrounding a tub…

Marvelous mint...vintage tile in mid-century Seattle home bathroom

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