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What's old is cool in decor

A new generation moving into 1960s bungalows appreciates their vintage vibe

Jon Hunt was intrigued by the avocado-green squares peeking out from under the peeling vinyl floor in his 1960s kitchen.

"Go for it," encouraged his wife, Trixi. So he pulled back the vinyl and revealed what Trixi called "a midcentury treasure."

Under the vanilla vinyl, which was installed in 2004, was the original green brick-patterned floor that looked straight out of an Armstrong ad, circa 1963.

It took the Hunts about two months to peel up the vinyl, section by section, and scrape off the glue. The discovery turned into a mission to bring their kitchen back to its authentic midcentury glory - with avocado the guiding hue.

"We got so excited," said Trixi. "The kitchen went from 'greige' to a world of colour. It was beautiful." The couple installed a retro multi-appliance NuTone food centre in the Formica countertop, which was uncovered beneath grey tile. The finishing touch is a 1968 avocado-green Frigidaire refrigerator they found online.

The Hunts are passionate about "loving the house you're in," said Jon. "People rip out and replace everything. So much of this era has been underappreciated. But now the TV show Mad Men is making it trendy."

Trixi and Jon have posted details of their projects on the website Retro Renovation (retrorenovation.com), which offers vintage resources, tips and ideas to help retro enthusiasts preserve their home's midcentury modern esthetic.

"There's plenty about these houses to love. They have character and style," said Retro Renovation founder Pam Kueber, referring to the postwar homebuilding boom.

"A whole new generation of old and young homeowners are moving into ranch houses, splitlevels and Cape Cods. They appreciate the innate charms of these homes."

The Hunts have continued the retro revival in their modest Robbinsdale, Minnesota, bungalow by also restoring its pink bathroom and furnishing their living room with vintage finds.

This fall, they plan to remodel the basement rec room.

"People say our kitchen reminds them of their grandma's house, with the same sink and the same floor," said Trixi. "We consider that a compliment."