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November 10, 2011

Mom’s Kitschy 1950s Time Capsule Condo

By Sara In AZ

My Mom recently had to downsize to a smaller home. We searched around a while and found this little enclave of old condos that would fit the bill perfectly for her. There were a few different condos in this development that were up for sale at the same time she got this unit, unfortunately some of the other condos had already been renovated. With granite. I know. Boo.

Mom’s condo is a total time capsule, minus the flooring, the appliances,  and some lights,  which is completely amazing being that it was built in 1959. The condo definitely needed work, it was a rental for the past 52 years!

This renovation journey started for us last April and just ended in October. It’s been amazing and difficult and fun and annoying and gratifying and really, really  hard work. My Mom, my husband Mike, and I did most of the work ourselves. Join us on this renovation journey where I promise no granite will ever show its face, but I want to warn y’all right now – this is going to take a while!

We will start from the beginning………this is the day Mom received the keys to her brand new 52 year old condo.  The half dead bush has died, and has now been removed!

use this front

I love this super sweet original porch light.


Mom still has the original old-timey wood screen door with the metal grill on the bottom and the original front door with those lovely little diamond cut-outs.

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The condo is pretty open in the living/dining area. All that white……..ugh.

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Here is the kitchen. I hate even looking at the old pictures compared to what it looks like now – those cabinets were SOOOOOO dirty.



Here is the original, painted over a million times, vent cover in the ceiling of the kitchen and the cute little copper light above the breakfast bar.

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All of the closets were cedar lined including the hall closet, which I thought was super cool.


And now you can see something that made me want to throw up, white painted blonde doors in Mom’s condo. I actually did  just threw up because I know I will have to refinish these doors back to blonde or else I will obsess about it for the rest of my ever lovin’ life. Let’s get out that sander again Sara! There are 5 interior doors and 2 are painted only on the outside. Every time I opened those half painted closet doors I would have to look at the lovely blonde interior and it would just drive me insane. I think I am going to start sleeping with that sander right beside me at night so I am ready at any second in case something needs sanding! Maybe I will even make a holster for it so I can wear it around all day! smile


Luckily, she still had the original vintage copper tone doorknobs! It was so nice of someone to slather white paint all over it wasn’t it?


The bedrooms.

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With the cedar closets. I could have sworn these closet doors were white painted over blonde too, I had seen the blonde closet doors in other units; unfortunately these were not ever blonde but I managed to kitsch them up for Mom anyway – just you wait and see! 

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The carpeting was horrible, just horrible and super filthy. I know you can’t really tell from these pictures, but trust me – it was!


Did I mention the carpet was horrible?   smile

Here is the original bathroom. I love the cabinets and tile and how everything was laid out. The bathroom was big and had lots of storage, which is surprising for a place built in the 1950s as a rental.


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Here is my very favorite part of the bathroom, the mini Cinderella tub with the original fish tiles! LOVE!!!! But, as you can see the shower is filthy and needs TONS of work! Oh, and that gaping hole in the tile, that is where the recessed soap holder goes.


Looks like Mom, Mike and I have our work cut out for us! Join me next Thursday for more renovation fun!

Please don’t forget to enter our Odds ‘N Ends Contest y’all?!?! If I could enter you know I would be all over this one. Uncle Atom, Eartha Kitsch – what do you say, I know you both are project and crafting geniuses, this would be perfect for y’all to enter! The grand prize is 52 brand new retro Christmas cards from What’s Buzzin’!


Click here to see the details and to enter the contest!

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25 Responses to Mom’s Kitschy 1950s Time Capsule Condo

  1. sablemable Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 7:02 am

    OMG, Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Can’t wait to see it’s MCM makeover! Good score on the condo, Mom!

    Oh, and when you’re finished sanding, I have some cabinets…….

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Oh Sable, you are in for weeks of MCM makeover madness! And about that sanding, would you want to help me out over here??? 🙂

      • sablemable Reply

        November 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

        Yes! Have Sander, Will Travel!

  2. Uncle Atom Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Very cool condo Sara, are you going to make us wait a week for the AFTER?
    I’ll see if I can come up with a contest entry

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Uncle Atom!!! Oh boy, you are definitely going to have to endure weeks and weeks of condo renovation updates here – can you make it through with me!?! 🙂

      Hey, what about just posting a link to the vintage metal chairs you just refurbished and posted about. It would be as easy as that!

  3. RetroRuth Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Sara! I am SO excited to see these pics! I know you guys have been working for months and I have yet to see any after pics, so this is going to be so much fun! I already am liking what I see, even if it does need work. The brass accents, the fish tiles, the fun door! Your mom is a lucky lady!

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks Ruth!!! This series will certainly last a while, so hopefully people don’t get sick of it! 🙂 As soon as I saw the original details I knew we had a keeper – even if it was filthy! And yeah, Mom got super lucky in finding this place – and having us as cheap labor!

      • sablemable Reply

        November 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        How could we ever, ever get sick of a MCM re-do? Never!

  4. Desirae Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I can’t wait to see how the renovation goes. It such a cute place!

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks so much Desirae! Stay tuned the renovation continues…… 🙂

  5. DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It looks like it is (will be) a darling place perfect for one person!

    Are you going to include a pattern for how to make that sander holster? 🙂

    • RetroRuth Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Ha ha ha!

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      It is the perfect size for one person Dr JulieAnn, and looks so much better now! Yes, stay tuned for a sander holster pattern! HA!!! 😉

  6. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Hey, at least they didn’t paint BOTH SIDES of the doors! 🙂

    You like sanding and you KNOW it. It’s so, so cute. I bet it’s a mid-century marvel now. Can not wait to see the progression! I’ll see what I can do on that contest entry…hmm.

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      I know, I was SO happy only 3 doors had been painted on both sides! I guess I must love sanding and I just don’t really realize how much I do love it. 😉 The condo is a mid-century kitsch-fest now girl!

      You would be perfect for this contest, you are a crafting whiz!!!

  7. Andrea Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    OMG, I cannot wait to see after pics! Soooooo much potential there! Y’know, you’d think that if they were going to paint the door, the least they could do was keep the paint off of the doorknob!

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      I know Andrea that is what I thought when we saw the place – SO much potential!!! 🙂 I hate when people paint over stuff like doorknobs and stuff. The previous owners also painted over ALL the register covers, so they wound up looking really horrible – we had to replace every one of those too. 🙁

      • Andrea Reply

        November 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        Uggh, what a pain! People should realize that house paint is for walls and not for things like register covers, or my other pet peeve, when people paint over the receptacles and light switches.

        • Sara in AZ Reply

          November 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

          I know, can we make it a law or something that house paint should only be used on walls and NOT register covers and light switch covers and outlets!?! Which, by the way, I forgot to mention before were painted over too. I think these people need serious jail time! 😉

  8. Jeanne Reply

    November 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Can’t wait to see results!! I love seeing stuff like this! And once I caught my husband painting right over the light switch cover without removing it!! UGH. He’s almost my ex now…maybe I should bring that up to the judge. LOL

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      I’m glad you like seeing stuff like this because the renovation posts will be going on for a while! That sounds like a bad (almost) ex Jeanne! 😉 You may want to consider bringing the light switch cover painting up with the judge! hee! 🙂

  9. Onyx Reply

    November 13, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I’m just beginning the remodel on the bathrooms in my 1954 ranch, I can’t wait to see what you do with this.

    • Sara in AZ Reply

      November 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Onyx! There is A LOT of cleaning and painting involved, along with massive amounts of plumbing issues we had to deal with in the shower/tub, but the bathroom stays pretty much the same. Stay tuned!

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