How 'Cool' is Your Mid-Mod House? You Might Be Surprised to Know ...

Real Estate Agent with The DiGiorgio Group

mid century modern style, vintage, retroMid-century modern houses are cool?

Yes. Yes, they are.  And getting cooler all the time.

At least, that's the case where I work and live - between Denver and Boulder, CO.

If you own a mid-century modern home that you don't love, maybe you've dreamed about removing all that 40s or 50s kitsch and 'updating', but haven't gotten around to it yet.  Think carefully about what you are planning to do - many, many people love the charm of clerestory windows, wood plank ceilings, rounded doorways, huge windows, groovy knobs and handles, pastel-colored bathrooms, and boomerang countertops.

I understand that some things are just better now, but few of them have the character we've been all-too-quick to give up!  I also understand that not everyone feels the same about retro style, as evidenced by this phone I saw at a house I was showing, someone had written on the white board next to it, "Get a new phone", and you can see what someone else thought of that!

Let the fix & flippers remove all the character from the mid-century homes and create cookie-cutter copies of the last hundred houses they renovated.  The rest of us have a chance to incorporate mid-mod cool into our design plans, and increase the re-sale value of our homes more than we had imagined.

Below are links to some posts I've written on this subject, followed by one article from (there are many others on the site), and a link to a really fun site where the retro-style lovers like to hang out.

Design Ideas for Renovating Mid-Century Arvada Homes

Remodeling Vintage Arvada Homes

Remodeling an Older Home – How Much ‘Vintage’ Do You Keep!

Mid-Century Kitchen Remodel

‘Remodeling a Vintage Home? Leave It Alone’, He Said

I Found My Pink Bathroom - It's In The Backyard!

I Found My Boomerang Countertop - It's In Arvada!

Furnishing Your Mid-Century Modern Home Denver to Boulder


Roots of Style: Midcentury Modern Design from


Retro Renovation


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Copyright © 2013 Joetta Fort, The DiGiorgio Group 

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Joetta Fort, Realtor       720-353-8031


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Tom White
Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN

Joetta, It really depends upon who is doing the looking. I think the retro style is pretty cool...but only for some things. The avocado or harvest gold not so much.

Nov 23, 2013 07:14 AM #5
Patricia Kennedy
Redfin - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Joetta, it's funny how mid-century modern seems to be making a comeback.  I grew up in one (boomerang countertops and all) and really hated it.  It's hard to believe they are becoming chic and trendy, but they are!

Nov 23, 2013 07:20 AM #6
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Cool, yes I agree!

Nov 23, 2013 08:15 AM #7
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Hi, Amanda & Jared - those homes are called 'time capsules'.  A completely original home may not be terribly appealing, but like you said - some of that stuff is pretty cool and if people remodeled with an eye to the historicity of the home, it brings good results.

Myrl - your comments are interesting, because of a home I sold earlier this year.  A young couple owned it, and they put in new boomerang countertops but kept the original cabinets.  They refinished them, and they were gorgeous.  They topped it off with stainless steel appliances, and people were going crazy over the house!  At the closing, the buyers told us their only hesitancy was they weren't sure they were cool enough to live in a house like that.  LOL!

AJ - you are right, pink seems to be the least desirable because the guys don't like it much.  But I've read more than one article where a female homeowner goes to great lengths to find an authentic shade of pink to restore her mid century bathroom!

Jeff - they are hard to find in some areas, for sure.  I hope to live in one some day myself.

Nov 23, 2013 08:27 AM #8
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Tom - I'm happy to say that the harvest gold and avocado green don't count here as they were not mid-century colors.  I'm glad of that, because I think the 70s were the ugliest decade.

Patricia - it's funny how sometimes just a change in outlook makes a huge difference.  When I started reading about what's called the 'atomic ranch', I realized that's the style of one of my rental houses.  I had previously thought it was a kind of pathetic little house, but after that I fought like mad to make sure none of the tenants touched any of the original features and even fantasized about living in it one day. 

Bob - glad you agree!

Nov 23, 2013 08:33 AM #9
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
I love these retro houses - so much charm! And actually the "flipper" I work with takes great pains to upgrade things like electrical system & insulation, but keeps the look consistent with the era. ( and yes, buyers LOVE them!)
Nov 23, 2013 09:10 AM #10
Richard Arnold
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Tempe, AZ
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix

You would love the white and coral tile in my bathroom, and the front picture window - they are all that remains of the mid-century flavor of my house.

A half-mile away, a flipper "retro" fitted one of the houses and it is absolutely stunning.



Nov 23, 2013 09:38 AM #11
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

It is always interesting to see what buyers perceive as retro and what they consider to be "dated"!     We have one of those p;hones on the wall.  It really comes in handy when there is a power outage! :)

Nov 23, 2013 11:22 AM #12
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Joetta, A couple of years ago I sold a very special mid century home. The new owners are updating everything but keeping the original design. There are many things that look old that can be purchased new.

I think you have just given me an idea for a post.

Nov 23, 2013 11:43 AM #13
Allison Bernard
Keller Williams Central Rhode Island - East Greenwich, RI
Real Estate & Relocation Services 401-533-6916

Our entire office is mid-century modern. Sometimes with quality interiors it is better to embrace it than do a complete rehab.  The telephone pic made me laugh because we have boxes of black phones just like the one in your picture in the basement office.

Nov 23, 2013 12:05 PM #14
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hi Joetta~ I think it's a love/hate type of thing. Everyone feels one way or the other. Not sure how I feel. I love the nostalgia of it, but don't know if I could live it!

Nov 23, 2013 01:59 PM #15
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It's like a parallel time warp! Love It!


Love and light,


Nov 23, 2013 04:30 PM #16
DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 )
American National Bank & Trust - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia

Like the old saying, it's in the eyes of the beholder.

Nov 23, 2013 04:47 PM #17
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

Love the phone. Reminded me of a few years ago when my daughter was like in first grade and the teacher had a worksheet for the kids, where they had to say what each item was in the picture. These should be basic things for the kids, but they obviously hadn't updated the worksheet in years as the kids had no idea that a telephone looked like the one in the picture above and I believe there was also a record player, which the kids had never seen before. How quickly things change.

Nov 23, 2013 06:43 PM #18
Ron Tissier
Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069 - Atlanta, GA
Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles.

Love the MCM style homes Joetta!  I have a trip to Palm Springs CA on my bucket list.  Plenty of MCM homes there to enjoy.

Here's a another cool website as well:


Nov 23, 2013 10:32 PM #19
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Some of the hardware on the older homes are worth $$$. I am talking about light fixtures, door knobs and hinges plus many other things. Demo people strip the values and resell them in lots of situations

Nov 23, 2013 11:49 PM #20
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager the comments about the phone. Personally it's not my style, but I guess that's because I never lived in that decade. But to each their own.

Nov 23, 2013 11:57 PM #21
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I think the older I get, the more I enjoy and appreciate retro. I find younger buyers who yearn to be hip enjoy it too. But the middle group, the guys who want everything conforming to trendy crap, have no joy in their hearts for original detailing, beautiful craftsmanship nor historical value.


Nov 24, 2013 01:17 AM #22
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Nancy - I wish we had flippers like that around here!  I've even seen them remove cove ceilings.  Why?  I just don't get it.

Rich - you should do a post on that 'retro'-fit, and link to it on this thread.  They might even feature your post at

Joan - so true!  One day I took a lady out viewing homes who was specifically looking for a pink bathroom, the next day I took out a young man who saw a pink bathroom in a house I showed him and headed straight back to the car.

Margaret - please come back and add that link if you write that post!  And also keep in mind that might feature your post there.

Allison - using those phones was sure a different experience than what we have now.  You look too young to remember!

Donna - I definitely think it can go too far.  I love the architecture and some of the interior style, but wouldn't want all the little knick-knacks you see crowding homes of the era. 

Nov 24, 2013 08:08 AM #23
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Laura - it sure is, love it!

Deanna - yes, but sometimes we can learn to appreciate something before we toss it out, yes?

Aaron - Wow.  The kids need to watch some old television.  Naaaaa - never mind, they should go outside and play instead.

Hi, Ron - I did forget about and considered going back to add it, but am just having too much fun reading comments.

Richie - they surely do.  I'll never forgive a tenant who took down an original light fixture and replaced with an 'updated' one, tossing out the old one to boot.

Suzanne - you'd be surprised, a lot of the buzz about MCM is coming from the younger generation.  They may not love everything about the 50s, but they do love the architecture.

I think you've hit it on the head, Elizabeth.  

Nov 24, 2013 08:14 AM #24
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