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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Kim Carson Takes You To Her Home, Then Teleports You Back To The 1950s!

Oct 02, 2011 03:29PM ● By WLMagazine


I have to tell you I fell in love with this house as soon as my real estate woman Bev Boerman opened up the front door for me and I walked inside.  The first thing I saw was the tile in the kitchen and I said out loud, "Oh my God, look at the tile!"  Bev spun around quickly and said, "Well you can always paint over it."  I said, "What are you talking about, "I LOVE IT!"  So why does this little house of mine on the SE Side of Grand Rapids look, but more importantly feel, just like the 1950's?

Well here's how all of this first came to be.  My friend, Audrey Depenbrok was visiting me a couple of months ago and we were standing in my kitchen saying goodbye when she blurted out, "Your kitchen is so cool.  You should have some old-fashioned pictures taken with you all dressed up in 1950's clothing and hair.  Maybe some of you taking cupcakes out of the oven or something."  I had no clue what she was talking about but it did sound like fun!  "Let's do it, set it up for us", I said.

Let me introduce you to my house, through my eyes.  You see, when I walk into my kitchen and I see a state of the art Swanson Built In The Wall Toaster, and I prepare my Thanksgiving dinner in my Frigidare Custom Imperial Built In The Wall Double Oven with pull out burners, manufactured by General Motors, I really do sometimes forget what year it is!  But, what I do remember is how much George must have loved Virginia.   You see George and Virginia had this house custom-built in 1949.  They never had any children, just like me.  George was an engineer, Virginia was an artist!  I even have one of Ginny's paintings, sitting on an easel, in my living room.

George, being the geeky engineer type did a lot of custom work in this house.  He wired all the closets with a light that goes on when you open the door and it goes off when you shut it.  I imagine he did that so when he awoke at 6am every morning he wouldn't have to wake Virginia by turning on the ceiling light.  I discerned that both of them must have loved music too, because this little 956 square foot home has Central Radio wired to the basement and the garage.  It comes complete with intercom too.  George was a brilliant tinker-er.  One bedroom has a 1949 Zenith Radio built into the wall.  The thing about that is, George adapted it to become a clock radio.  Please remember this is 1949 we're talking about here, 1949 and a built-in the wall quality clock radio.  When I moved into this house back in November/December 2003, and to this day, it is set to go on at 6am.  I am guessing that was the time George awoke for work.


This house, this home still has the warm feel, the warm spirit, of the previous people who lived here. Have you ever noticed that about homes?  There are houses you can walk into that leave you feeling warm, and there are other houses you can walk into that leave you feeling cold.  This one leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I oftentimes think about just how much George must have loved Virginia to make her life so easy in the kitchen back in the 1950's.  Virginia was probably the only girl on her street that had a "George Jetson" oven, toaster, trash compactor, dishwasher, and  refrigerator (with built-in butter warmer for easy spreading every morning).  It should come as no surprise that I find myself asking if I have somehow been  teleported back in time.  For real.  Saturday morning, when I am having my toast, fresh out of the same toaster Virginia made her toast in, well it's a really comfortable and familiar feeling.

I had that same feeling the first time I met Rebecca Gohl.  She was the woman responsible for making the visual 1950's Pin Up Retro Transformation.  She took Kim Carson 2011, back toa time before Kim Carson was born.  Even Rebecca and my first meeting had a surreal feel to it.  I had my kitchen window open, I heard a knock on the side door, I turned around and saw Rebecca peering into the side window.  It literally made me jump, because I wasn't expecting what I saw!  For those who do not know Rebecca she kind of looks like Lucille Ball, with her striking red hair.  But more than that, another thing you may not know about Rebecca is she lives the 1950's, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Her clothes, her hair, her make up, everything; she lives it!  When I saw Rebecca peeking into my kitchen window, it might as well have been Harriet, June, Alice, Donna or Lucy  looking in my window asking, "Can I borrow a cup of sugar?"  That's how this photo shoot began...

As soon as Rebecca arrived and unpacked her bag of tricks she started transforming my friend Audrey Depenbrok,  and myself into real 1950's Pin Up girls.  Audrey's look was more Mad Men and mine, well, it speaks for itself.

Audrey Depenbrok


After all of this I realized women back in the 1950's put a lot of work into looking perfect.  They kept regularly scheduled hair appointments every week.  Each day they applied full and flawless make-up; and, if you dare ask Rebecca, and I did, "What do you think happened, why don't women do this anymore.  The girdles, the make-up, the hair."  Her answer might shock and surprise you,  "Laziness, women got lazy", will be her response.  All I know, was after Rebecca completed my transformation, I felt girly and  I liked it!  Audrey liked it too!  There was something magical about looking, and dressing and feeling that way, if even for a few hours.  Then when Kelli Wiseman, from Clever Creations Photography documented this whole experience in a beautiful portfolio of pictures; well, the whole fantasy came alive.  The funny thing is, when Rebecca arrived with all the retro clothing from Peri at Flashback On Leonard, my eye immediately went to the salmon colored dress with the black lace.  I also went to a hundred reason why I shouldn't wear it because of body hang ups.  But that night I was determined to step outside my comfort zone, step outside the box and do something I felt uncomfortable doing.  That is the lesson to be learned here.  Don't get into a rut and if you are in one, get out of it as fast as you can!  Is it uncomfortable?  Yes.  Will it make you feel anxious?  Yes.  Will it expose you to new things?  Yes.  Will it change you?  Yes.  On the air I have said several times "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result."  Stop the insanity.  Take a walk on the wild side and see what happens...

Kim Carson

Writer and Author of the book Essence of Life

Listen to Kim Carson in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 100.5 The River 10am-3pm and Online at

Host of Faith Hope and Love Songs Sundays 9-11am and 7-9pm on 100.5 The River

Creator of The Church Signs Greeting Card Line at