Friday, August 19, 2011

Rust Belt Chic: Retro Renovation

Attend Retro Beer Night or drink retro at a Buffalo bar. Both are Rust Belt Chic experiences measured in terms of authenticity and nostalgia. I've been tuned into that trend for a while. New to me is Retro Renovation:

As Edwards put it: "I'm into the old stuff. I want things to be absolutely authentic."

Being authentic isn't easy. Hardware, appliances and even furniture sizes have changed significantly in the last 60 years. But Retro Renovation, with its abundant and highly specific information on vintage d├ęcor, offers a practical resource for doing the impractical. Old advertisements for terrazzo shower floors, how-to tips for cleaning a Saarinen tulip table, where-to-buy guides for dead-stock plumbing fixtures — surfing the blog is like visiting a time-warp Home Depot.

Rust Belt cities are listed as places where you can find a lot of great stuff on the cheap. "Great stuff" means "authentic". I see the trend as a turning away from sterile Emerald Cities, urban environments with shallow roots in the local cultural geography. You could be anywhere.

Rust Belt Chic is retro renovation on a regional scale. For now, I imagine suppliers in Cleveland are being matched with buyers in boho LA. The trend will expose more people to the Rust Belt Chic aesthetic. Pittsburgh is cool for all the same reasons it has been uncool for decades.

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