Retro flooring: Awesome vintage designs from Armstrong circa 1963

1963-pink-kitchen-with-typical-floor.jpg

embossed-vinyl-1963_2.jpgembossed-vinyl-1963.jpg

As I see and learn more about home design in the postwar period, I seem to be getting more liberal in my views. That is, stuff that used to disgust me, I find, well….actually pleasing.

Take vinyl sheet flooring. In all the houses I remember living in, from 1971 on, we absolutely had vinyl flooring. I am the oldest of 5 children. And I must say – from sweeping then scrubbing the kitchen floor every Saturday morning for about 10 years – it cleans like a dream. The best, hands down. It also lasts – way longer than you want it to, if your choice was trendy.

girl.jpgWell surprise surprise, I pulled the advertising above from an Armstrong flooring brochure came from 1963. Although they call the product shown “embossed inlaid linoleum,” I am sure they are what we would call vinyl sheet. Click on the thumbnails to see the designs – some of them are absolutely awesome, with starbursts and gold flecks and such. If only these were still available today.

armstrong-sutherland-beige.jpgMeanwhile, I searched Armstrong’s present day line, and also looked at some other manufacturers, and could only come up with one current design that I thought could work in a retro renovation.

I’ll keep a lookout for more. As I said – I kind of like this stuff!

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Comments

  1. Sumac Sue says

    I like vinyl flooring. Easy to clean, easy to stand on, and it comes in a big sheet so you get few or no seams. We’re tolerating our current beige kitchen vinyl, probably from the 70s, while we do other projects. I would love to replace it with something fresh, like one of these pebble designs.

    I think that red 5352 brick pattern was in my mom’s kitchen in the 60s. It sure beats the avocado kitchen carpeting she had installed in the 70s. (Surely there won’t be a time when people are longing for that look again!)

  2. moddog70 says

    You might like the congoleum vinyl in there commercial line, it looks like terrazzo. And I remember my Aunt had something like this in here kitchen in a lime green and yellow color way.

  3. Femme1 says

    I have some similar-looking flooring in the entryway of my 1957 ranch house. This stuff is different that what I think of as modern vinyl flooring. It isn’t flexible; it’s more substantial, almost like hard plastic. And talk about wearing! In this entryway, which has been used for 50 years, the floor looks almost brand new. There are two little black smudges that may have been caused by cigarette burns (oh, those unapologetic 50s smokers).

    In the spirit of complete disclosure, I must tell you that for years I have wanted to replace this stuff with tile. But, for once, I’m SO glad that my husband and I have slowly (sometimes, ever so slowly) redone our house. Just lately I’ve begun appreciating it. And after seeing Pam’s entry about these floors, I really wish I could find something similar (especially the pebble floor) for my kitchen. I was looking at the flooring store yesterday, and Armstrong did have a pebble design, but it didn’t have that distinctly edged pebble as shown above. It just looked too darn contemporary.

  4. 50sPam says

    I went floor and laminate hunting yesterday and found some good things. I’ll prepare a post for later this week, with preliminary findings.

    Interestingly, I think there’s even a larger world of Commercial flooring for us all to explore – that might hold even more solutions.

    Femme 1, I think that you are ever to right about being happy you didn’t rip things out. Once you understand the background of something, you can then appreciate it, even love it. I think we have all learned this lesson the hard way. Isn’t that why they say, you should never give your antiques or other vintage 1961 (or whatever year, I am trying not to annoy Stephan) items to your kids before they are at least 30? I’d vote for 45, actually!

  5. Femme1 says

    Oh…forgot something. I sent Pam a photo of my entryway flooring; maybe she’ll post it.

    And…I was searching the Web and found this interesting article about these old “inlaid embossed” floors: link broken

  6. Judy says

    We built our house in 1978 and the one thing my parents told us to do was upgrade the builders quality in kitchen flooring to inlaid linoleum where the pattern and colors are the same from the top to the bottom of the flooring. We spent the extra money and now 30 years later I have 2 very deep scratches right in the traffic pattern and a burn hole which occurred the day we moved in and was erased with steel wool which has become noticeable. I went to the flooring place and they stated they no longer carry inlaid as I know it. Now it is only 1/3 down into the flooring. Has anyone else ran into this?

  7. Sandra says

    I am searching for a source for Armstrong red 5352 Embossed Inlaid Linoleum. Any idea where I can go to buy this great stuff, 50sPam?

  8. Bill Steele says

    Hi Pam,

    It’s me again, Bill. If you’ve got Sandra’s email address let me know. I might be able to help her out with the Armstrong 5352. As I mentioned, we have a roll of it that I can’t use because it’s not enough to re-do our kitchen with.

  9. Sandra says

    Bill,

    I have asked 50sPam to share an email address with you offline. I am very interested in connecting to discuss the roll of flooring you have available.

  10. Paulo says

    I also would be interested in obtaining some of this material. I can use remnants if that is all that is left. I am in the middle of a restoration, and have run short of this pattern. Whatever help that I can get in obtaining this pattern will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Paulo…

  11. just gettin started says

    I love your site! I happened upon it while looking for info about repainting dark wooden kitchen cabinets. Our first home was a 50’s ranch. When we decided to remodel our kitchen I had considered embracing it’s original decor, but practicality and resale value changed my thinking. This seems like the forum to share what we had, and to think about what could have been…
    The cabinets were original (I think) painted white wood with chrome handles. The counters were dove gray with stainless edging and white plastic tile back splash. The sink was a single bowl, white with original faucet, and my favorite…the in-the-wall double Thermador oven and counter top range with griddle in the middle. We had the progress pull down light fixture that appears on this sight. When we took out the oven and range we contacted an antique store, but they didn’t want it. We ended up putting it out for recycling pick up:(.
    Our bathroom was pink and blue tile, white tub, toilet, and sink, 1 inch pink and blue tile floor and white mirror medicine cabinet with florescent tube lights on either side of the mirror.
    Now we are in an early 70’s ranch. Most of the retro effects were already changed when we moved in (mirror tiles covering the walls in the foyer) but we still have some harvest gold ceramic tile in the foyer and the bathrooms. I have a chandelier in the dining room with dangling crystals that I think I’ll keep. Here’s what I’d like advice with… we have a 40’s radio (not a table top, but one that stands on the floor, a 50’s t.v. and an early 60’s console record player. How do you integrate them into the rest of the home. We don’t have any particular “decor”, except that I have a 30’s or 40’s era Duncan-Phyff(?) style dining table.

    • says

      just gettin started – welcome. let me think about your question – and plan a post. it may be a while, though, as there is a lot queued up at the moment. can you send me some photos at pam at retrorenovation dot com? thank you!

  12. Jan says

    The original asbestos flooring in my kitchen and bath were redone in an off-white ceramic tile, which looks okay, but……
    We have a sun room off the kitchen, which still has the original floor tiles, done in gray and red. The original owners of this home kept the home immaculate. The second owners removed the front entry door (!) and put up one of those new style steel doors. Yuck! Same with the storm doors-originally, there was a wood storm door and it was replaced with one of those all glass styles that are on the market. Double yuck. Thankfully, the second owners didn’t change the original wood garage overhead door.

  13. says

    I have and old Bunk House that was built in the 40’s that is used for hunters, guests etc. In 1989 Armstrong Designer Solarian 89242… also known as Stencil Craft Series Colonial Classic was installed. It looks very much like the # 5352 that Bill Steele mentioned and still looks like new. Unfortunately the vinyl needs to be removed to repair the flooring underneath. I would like to buy 50 square yards of the same pattern if I could just find it. I’m wondering too if the vinyl could be cleaned up and reused? I keep thinking there is some of the out there somewhere. There is nothing around to compare. Have searched and searched.

  14. Steve says

    Are there enough of us out there to convince Armstrong to produce the once and still popular red 5352 inlaid linoleum? It would seem that there is a lot of interest in finding this wonderful classic flooring. I would like to redo my kitchen and bathroom floor, but can’t bring myself to rip up my red 5352. It will have to last as long as I do, I guess!

  15. Joel says

    Inspired from this and other discussions here I decided I wanted some inlaid vinyl for my BR. I called to a lot of flooring retailers ,I did find some on a website of a retailer in Bakersfield called Carpetcave.
    However it turned out that the Dobson lane I wanted was gone except for a 5ft*6ft piece. Then I found a flooring discussion page a store closing and an online friend who is sending me a vintage 92 flooring
    example of Armstrongs inlaid vinyl enough for my project. I would love to find some more it has been quite an adventure, but for now my quest is over.

  16. poodlema says

    Retro bathroom

    Just got some Earthscapes Rivulet vinyl for the floor in our 60’s bathroom that is the “grey blue” and “tan pink” color. It looks super!!!

  17. pam kueber says

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Crusty, regarding your DIY project with your similar floor. However, I did not approve your comment as this is not a DIY site, the focus is on aesthetics and current-day resources. I also will take this opportunity to remind readers to: consult with pro’s regarding what’s in the old materials in your house and make informed decisions about how to handle environmental and safety issues.

  18. KimT says

    Please help! We have just bought a 1964 house that has the coolest round… yes round kitchen with great turquoise linoleum/vinyl sheet flooring. Which I want to keep BUT found out that we need to replace the sewer line which,of course, runs right under the flooring. I’ve searched web sites that say they have retro flooring but don’t. Is my only option solid vinyl that I have to find a really good vinyl floor person to cut geometric designs? Or is there a company that actually makes this stuff like the vintage wallpaper companies?

    • pam kueber says

      KimT, your kitchen sounds fantastic. See my ‘Kitchen’ category: ‘Flooring’ for all the retro-styled flooring options we have identified so far. Good luck.

  19. Amy says

    This retro flooring is exactly what I was looking for! The pebblestone look like the one with metallic accents. An uncle of mine had a cottage that had this. Too bad it’s not available anymore, but the Armstrong example (from related post) of Lucky – Island Sand is pretty close. I’m not a fan of the cushion step flooring though. It’s too easy to damage. Our kitchen floor with that is full of cuts that turn black with dirt. It doesn’t hold up at all. For a small bathroom, which is what I’m doing the search for now, it might be acceptable. I’ll have to try a sample and give it a test.

    • pam kueber says

      Welcome, Amy. I have lots of stories on flooring possibilities. See the Category: Kitchens/Flooring.

  20. Curt says

    I had enough Armstrong Designer II to do a retro bath last year… coved the walls and ran it under the new tub… this floor should be here long after I’m gone.

    It came out great and several people asked where I got it.

    About 10 years ago, an old floor covering shop I had bought from was going out of business and they had this remnant they were tossing… thought it would be good to line shelves in the garage… got it home and decided it was too good.

    Glad I waited because it is perfect.

    The old inlaid floor with the miribond urethane finish will last forever with slight care….

    All I can say is it must have bee too good!

  21. Cameron says

    Hi Pam:

    I’m searching every resource I can find, and asking anyone who might know, how to find a replacement for the floor in my great-grandparents’ kitchen (flooring installed by my grandparents in the ’60’s). I have identified the design as Armstrong and the pattern is identical to the embossed, red brick #5352, however, mine is yellow and green. I have never seen a photo of this color scheme online or in any linoleum book, nor have I seen anyone even mention it. Any thoughts as to what the style # might be? Was #5352 only the red brick or did it refer to the pattern in any color? I have pics if anyone wants to see. Thanks so much for any help anyone can provide.

    • pam kueber says

      Cameron, I don’t know for 100% sure, but I am fairly confident in guessing that 5352 — the most popular flooring pattern ever made by Armstrong and likely, by anyone — was sure to have come in different colorways over the years. No, no exact match today. Please also know: there can be vintage nastiness such as asbestos in old flooring — consult with a professional.

      • Cameron says

        Thanks, Pam. I found Armstrong on FB (I see you’ve ‘liked’ them as well). They’re checking into things for me. I anticipate you are correct w/re asbestos. We’ve encountered it before in this old house and are prepared to deal with it accordingly. I have other things to pick your brain about, but it’s late. More later…

        Thanks again,
        C

        • Cameron says

          BTW, on Armstrong’s FB page you can see a photo of the floor with the (seemingly) unique green/yellow/tan color combo.

  22. says

    any new news on that #5352 lino being ever ever made again? We are remodeling my moms house nin Nor Cal and would LOVE to find THAT lino or something very close to it!!! Can anyone guide me to any new leads?

  23. Joan Simpson says

    I am looking for a vinyl area rug, like my grandmother had under her dining room table. It was not wall to wall, but had a large flower print in the center with floral border around the edges. We need floors with personality, yes, like the wallpaper used to be. I wish I could take back all the changes I’ve made in my house that have not withstood the test of time like my grandmother’s house did. Thanks for any comments.

  24. Penny Bach says

    I am redoing my kitchen and I want the simple red brick pattern , I can’t find anything??? I have had lots of different floors and nothing is more perfect than red brick in my antique cape please help! I do not want stone I want good inlaid vinyl that takes a shine and is soft on the feet.

  25. Sarah says

    I just discovered some sheet flooring very similar to these styles as the oldest layer in my 1948 kitchen – probably not original, looks like the kitchen subfloor has been redone. It does say Armstrong on the backing. It’s more of a “bubble” pattern or maybe “pebbles,” with gold sparkly lines in between. Any ideas on style/date? (Pam, if you tell me how, I can send you a photo).

    • pam kueber says

      Sarah, I don’t know. Note: Be sure to consult with a properly licensed professional about what kind of vintage nastiness may be in those layers you uncover – a properly licensed professional can help you understand how to handle.

      • Sarah says

        Thanks, Pam! Yes, that’s a good idea – looks like lots of flooring from that age range has asbestos. Whee!

  26. maureen mouton says

    My mother needs to replace her kitchen floor. The only patterns available in vinyl sheet are fake wood and fake stone, which we don’t like at all. We preferred the fake brick! She loves a red toned kitchen floor and there aren’t any available. She had cherry cabinets and a granite -look counter. Some of the floors look like granite. I agree with you- the patterns I grew up with I now like…thanks for validating our opinion : )

  27. Carley says

    Hi Everyone

    I’ve been looking for vintage flooring for a resto-mod of our house, and came across this flooring by Zazous. Several of the flooring options (they are all self adhesive squares) look quite appropriate for early houses.

    http://www.zazous.co.uk/PBSCCatalog.asp?CatID=1837736

    What do you think? I’m picturing it with a lovely old white enamel stove and cupboards with red push button handles.

    Cheers
    Carley

  28. Judi Austin says

    I am looking for teal and tan squares to create a look for my 1967 vintage trailer, it won’t take a lot, but does anyone know where I might look? I am hitting lots of dead ends.

    • pam kueber says

      See our Kitchens / Flooring category to see the stories we’ve written about various suppliers today. Good luck.

  29. Marjorie says

    I need to replace the 1980 sheet vinyl flooring in our large kitchen-den combo room and can find nothing I like. Manufacturers have discontinued any of the beautiful older patterns and I do not care for the stone, granite or wood patterns which are all I can find available. I have been filling in the cracks with furniture color markers until our floor manufacturers begin making the beautiful older patterns again. Thanks for sharing – nice to know I’m not the only one unhappy with latest trend !

    • pam kueber says

      Yup. It’s awful out there. See our entire Kitchens/Flooring category for all our research about options we’ve found…

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