House Tour | 1950s Home Decor
That said, she does carry on a secret life downstairs, where she squirrels away remarkable antique finds. During my visit, she disappears below and emerges a few minutes later hauling a 30-pound 1963 “Electro-Sink Center.” It’s a two-foot-long hunk of metal with a faucet in the center and a motor on either end, designed to drive a bevy of Cuisinart-like attachments, including mixers, choppers, and juicers. It sold for $399 in 1963 (about $3,000 in 2013 dollars), and Kueber says it appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
She also shows me an original Republic Steel Kitchens salesman’s kit; each one came with dozens of dollhouse-size cabinets that you could use to lay out your dream kitchen on a gridded mat. “I’m so fascinated by the social history of these things,” Kueber says. “At one point when I was building my kitchen, I set up this little model in my dining room for reference.”
Ultimately, Kueber has become a crusader for preserving the flamboyance of a bygone era: “We’ve come through this decade where people have been told to do everything in a neutral way for resale value. So when you see unapologetic color, it brightens your day.”
She’s also found herself defending the quality and aesthetic of a period that many still remember with a tinge of embarrassment. “A few years ago, no one understood my other little blog, ‘Save the Pink Bathrooms,’” she says. “People were flipping houses and gutting pink bathrooms, replacing them with 16-inch faux granite.” Now people send her photos of their salvaged pink tile.
“I’m starting a campaign for knotty pine,” Kueber says. “It’s the classic eye-of-the-beholder thing. Grandma wasn’t wrong; she just had a different perspective.”