Trish and her two-family 50s house in Woonsocket, RI

Welcome to Woonsocket Trish (way fun to write that), who has questions about her new/old two-family in the beautiful state of Rhode Island:

Hi Pam,

I found your website while I was searching the web trying to find out more about our kitchen. I absolutely love what you do and enjoy reading your blog. I was never a big fan of the retro look until recently. My boyfriend and I bought our first house in January of this year in Woonsocket, RI.

The house was built in 1954, and it’s a two family. The 1st floor apartment, which we are living in, has been updated through the years, but the 2nd floor apartment looks like it hasn’t been touched since the house was built. When I first saw the apartment, I really hated the kitchen and bathroom, and couldn’t wait to start working on them. But now I feel like it would be wrong to destroy something with such a history…. Everything is in great condition, the stove works great, and the countertops are almost perfect.

I have a few questions for you if you dont mind answering them for me. First, I’m not so sure the floor in the kitchen is original, when do you think that was put in? Also, I’m not sure about the linoleum on the stairs and hallway being original (almost a marble effect w/red and blue)? Lastly, do you have any idea what the blacksplash and countertops are made of? It’s not a completely smooth surface, you can kind of feel the ridges in it. It’s a light beige color, with gold threads or cracks, and pieces of gold glitter in it. Thanks so much for your time and help. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you, Trish

Hmmm. I asked Trish about her countertops and she reported that they were indeed quite hard – impermeable. My answers:

Yes for sure, the linoleum on the stairs is original. This is in all my historical material, quite common. And very very cool!

Your awesome pink bathroom is original, too. Love love love the floor. Although, I am doubtful about that sink/vanity. That looks like it was installed later. One quick investment – a black toilet seat and cover would really pop. And if you want to invest — wallpaper would make this space over-the-top fabulous. Send me a photo of the lime green bathroom, too, Trish!

Sink and cabinets: Here’s where everything turns tricky. This photo and the three that follow all lead me to believe that the kitchen was re-done in the mid- to late 60s.

To start, I have never seen a porcelain sink-top installed on top of the counter like this. I tend to think you had a steel cabinet in at least that spot originally. When the kitchen was updated, the owners retained and reused the porcelain sink top:

Stove: I am NOT an expert, but I do not think that this harvest gold came into style until the mid-60s. I love your arched entry way!

Your flooring also has a 60s or even early 70s look to it. Which isn’t bad — if it’s in good shape, it’s got a ton of character. I’d work with it! Cute dogs, if indiscreet!

Countertops: While I’ve never seen these live, I have seen ads for “laminated plastic,” which these could well be, considering their look and hard surface that Trish describes. However, the finish certainly sounds 60s rather than 1954. Overall, the surface sounds extremely cool – and if it has held up in perfect shape – all the better!

Recommendations for the kitchen: As this post is getting quite long, I think I will do recommendations within the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, congratulations, Trish, on recognizing the jewel that you have and for seeking out the resources to maintain it.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. maddy123 says

    Gorgeous tile and floor in the bathroom.

    I’m amazed that so much of the flooring (bathroom and elsewhere) looks to be in such good shape after so long.

  2. Trish says

    Pam, thanks so much for the post! I’m definately keeping the tiles in the bathroom. The only thing that I want to change is the kitchen floor. Its in really good shape, but its making the kitchen look so much smaller than it is because its so dark. Hopefully I can get to it before my mother moves in there, and hopefully with a few suggestions!

  3. Palm Springs Stephan says

    LOVE the pink and black bathroom!!! I agree with Pam that a black toilet seat and lid would really “pop” … preferrably one with chromed metal hinges rather than the modern plastic hinges. That vanity definitely looks like something from the 1970s. I’d snatch that thing out in a heartbeat and but in a black wall-mounted sink with chrome legs. Unless, of course, the tub or shower is white. Then I think you’d be obligated to either use a white sink or (more fun!) replace the tub with a black one. VERY dramatic! Throw in some Miller Studios chalkware fish wall plaques and you’d have the best bathroom in the neighborhood!
    I am going to disagree (with all due respect) with Pam when it comes to the kitchen. Judging solely by the photos, I have the feeling that the kitchen cabinets are themselves original, though I suspect they were once clear varnished to match the panel wainscoting on the walls and painted over only later. I think the countertops may be original, too, though perhaps the sink is not. I do agree with Pam that the stove is probably early 1960s, though probably not later than 1965. And I agree with Pam that the flooring looks like something from the early 1970s.

  4. Another Amy says

    Oh, my God. We had this flooring in our tiny San Francisco kitchen, and I’m breaking out in spots just seeing the same pattern. It was in horrible shape when we began renting. Scuffed, worn, burn marks, etc. The embossed surface also made it very hard to clean, because dust and other particles got stuck in the different levels of each square.

    I miss many things about that house, but NOT the kitchen floor.

  5. Lois says

    I disagree about the kitchen sink. My boyfriend’s parents built their current house in the 1940’s after the old farmhouse burnt down and the kitchen sink is just like this one, and is likewise installed on top of the linoleum-covered plywood countertop. Their cupboards are made of plywood and were built in place (many of the old-time carpenters built cupboards on site).

  6. Kathy says

    Oh!, that framing around the sink is so cute! The shelving on each side and the sweet little thing across the top.Love it.

  7. patti says

    I’m looking for pictures of a black and white tile bathroom. Regular size tile and also 1 or 2 ” square/hexagon glued on 12 x 12 mesh. I’d like the mesh for the tub surround or at least to accent the regular size tiles. I’d like the floor to be in the regular size tiles, but don’t know what kind of trim to buy for any of it. Can anyone help me?

  8. Ann says

    The kitchen floor dates to somewhere in the 70’s. We bought our 1950 ranch house in 1980 and the previous owner had done an update sometime in the 1970’s. The kitchen floor was the same pattern and color as this. Also, we were the proud owners of wall to wall burnt orange shag carpet in every room but the kitchen and bath! Plus, avocado green Mexican tile had been installed in the entry, bath, and laundry room. I wish they had left everything as is….sigh.

  9. Melly says

    I would NOT put in a black sink or bathtub..unless you want to pay for softwater equipment. We used to have a brown tub, toilet, and bidet.

    The kitchen sink is awesome but probably from 40’s. I love it.

    Countertops from 50’s but not that floor….and stove was from 60’s. I’d have it painted/enameled in white. Or get one from the 50’s.

    Love the cupboards…40’s or 50’s.

    Kitchen floor must go. 🙂 Forbo makes wonderful retro flooring.

    Cool house!! That bathroom tile is fabulous. I’d get a larger vanity.

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