Retro Designs by Airoom

Renovating character-driven homes that are grounded in a particular aesthetic or time period is known as retro renovation. Chicago and the surrounding suburbs are home to a wide variety of architectural designs worthy of retro renovation—from Victorians to Mid-Century Moderns, from American Four Squares to Chicago Bungalows, from Craftsman and Prairie Style homes to the quintessential Chicago Graystone.

Sometimes retro renovation means bringing an older home into the 21st century while staying true to the original design concept. Other times, it’s a matter of un-remuddling an older remodel to bring rooms into keeping with the sensibility of the house as a whole.

The benefits of retro renovation often extend beyond the walls of your home, helping preserve the character of your block or neighborhood. When renovation is done right, the changes look and feel as though they belonged there right from the start.

Vintage Vs. Vintage-inspired
Families today need and want modern conveniences, so start with a good plan that will give your renovation vintage personality with innovative solutions that will let you live comfortably for years to come. Kitchens and baths especially can happily accommodate the feeling of a bygone era while still boasting state-of-the-art amenities.

Not every component needs to be original. A well-planned retro renovation pays attention to the telling details. A qualified design professional will focus on such elements as:

  • materials—flooring, cabinetry, countertops, hardware, and backsplashes

  • fixtures—lighting, appliances, sinks, tubs, toilets

  • colors—palettes that evoke a particular era or design tradition

What you want are the latest features created in vintage-inspired forms and finishes.

Keep What Works, Replace What Doesn’t
Say you love your 1950s pink bathroom and the tiles are in perfect shape, but the original sink is water stained and you really want a deep soaker tub. If the bathroom layout works, it may be possible to salvage those tiles and upgrade the sink and tub. Many manufacturers offer lines of high-efficiency appliances and fixtures in retro-chic designs that will fit seamlessly into a renovation.

Vintage homes often feature unique architectural elements such as arches and coves, distinctive moldings, or a built-in hutch. Repairing and/or refinishing those features or replicating them in new spaces adds authenticity to a retro renovation.

More Than Decorating
Retro renovation is more than just choosing paint colors, fabrics, and accessories. It often involves upgrades to existing electrical service, plumbing, and other mechanicals to meet local codes, as well as the added demand of a modern household. High-quality design and workmanship will ensure that your renovation meets your current and future needs in fabulous retro style.

If you would like to learn more about finishing your attic space and how it could work in your home, contact Airoom to schedule a complimentary designer consultation. Or browse the remodeling galleries at