Kurt’s silver pearlescent 1952 vintage plastic tile kitchen

A READER BLITZ continues – I only have about 50 more to go. Today, one of the wildest vintage kitchens that I have ever seen. Yes: All of those 8″x8″ plastic tiles are original. Kurt explains: .
I have a 1952 kitchen that I’ve restored.  The walls and ceiling are covered with 8″x8″ silver pearlescent Tilemaster tiles.  It’s a mind blower. I inspect houses for a living (10,000 and counting…), and I’ve never seen anything like it. When I bought the place, I had originally planned to gut the kitchen, but once in, I became entranced with the stuff.  It’s magical………I bought the house from the home’s (built in 1922), second owner, who remodeled the kitchen in 1952.  The tile is held in place by the old crappy tile setting adhesive they used then; periodically, tiles will come loose, and I resecure them with modern adhesives. I put the cabinets in, and moved some of the tile around to fill in holes left from removing some stuff so I could fit in a real refrigerator.  I worked pretty hard to keep the flavor of the original remodel in ’52.  I want to put in boomerang formica when I change out the countertops next year. There’s a little eating nook/banquette built into the corner (out of the photo) that’s equipped with some Thonet chairs from the early 50’s.  It’s a pretty tight little composition.  If I had a better camera (wide angle lens), you could get the feel of it better. Note the original Nutone fan over the door @ the left.  The sink is an original Elkay Lustertone with draining sideboard.  I think you get the idea.  It’s pretty wild in real life with the correct lighting.
grey-tile-kitchenKurt, while I have not seen a kitchen quite like this one, I have seen a few with larger, Marlite- (laminate-style) walls and ceilings. I think this was an uncommon midcentury renovation for older homes and farmhouses. Case in point: See this vintage kitchen with Marlite covering the walls and ceiling, just like yours. If, for example, you had troublesome plaster walls — you could just cover them over with these miraculous manmade plastics. Thanks so much for saving this little architectural gem – and for sharing it with us. And yes, Kurt, we also need to see your 1959 American Standard bathroom, in seafoam green when you get a chance!


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  1. scathingjane says

    OMG. After growing up with this stuff in the 50’s, no wonder so many needed to ingest LSD in the 60’s…

    LOVE IT.

  2. tailfin says

    I’ve never seen the 8×8 plastic tiles – and never on a ceiling. But the 4×4 plastic tiles were very common here in Western New York. Kudos to Kurt for keeping them in place!

  3. Heidi Swank says

    Fabulous kitchen! Makes me anxious to get the paint off the tiled backsplash in our 1956 kitchen. We don’t have these wonderful pearled tiles but we do have a lot of 4″ tiles that are yellow with blue vines. Once unconvered I’m sure they will have a similar effect!

  4. sablemable says

    This is a first for me! I’ve never seen tiles used in this way, but I like it! Big thumbs up, Kurt!

  5. Missouri Michael says

    I really like the way that this kitchen is done – I almost feel like I’m underwater from the effect of the tile!

  6. Femme1 says

    My aunt has these same tiles in her kitchen, just not on the ceiling! It is kind of mind-blowing.

  7. Colleen says

    My parents had this in their kitchen, only in the 4×4 tile and pastel green with a black border. It’s gone now, sadly.
    The bathroom still has the original blue tile with a grey trim. I searched for this stuff about 10 years ago and found nothing online. Amazed when I saw that kitchen. Love it!
    Way to go!

  8. Marjorie Anderson says

    Love those tiles! Looks glamourous. I have the 4x4s still in my kitchen and 4×4 coral/pink swirl plastic tiles in my bathroom. Looking for some replacement pieces for the bathroom. Any idea where I can find them?

  9. Beth Olcott says

    My husband and I bought a circa 1954 rancher 9 yrs ago. It had a very small kitchen which was covered, ceiling and all walls, with 4×4 pearlized blue tiles. Ours also began to fall off, and to be honest, with the kitchen so small, and tiles looking so dingy (not to mention the years of dirt in between them) we had them removed and the kitchen renovated. Don’t miss the tiles, honestly…but we are thrilled with our new kitchen. In keeping with the ‘feel’ of the house, the kitchen has white cabinets, a black laminate counter top, black and white checkerboard ceramic flooring tiles….and it is all painted a very retro turquoise.

    • pam kueber says

      Beth, it sounds like you made a great choice. I am not the biggest fan of plastic tiles and on the ceiling would probably put me over the top for sure! Your kitchen sounds lovely!

  10. Scott says

    That’s crazy wild, I’ve never seen anything remotely like those tiles before let alone on the ceiling too. But you know if it was a kitchen that saw heavy-duty cooking, or the owner was a clean freak, or both, what could be better?

  11. Joe Felice says

    I don’t find it “amazing.” Too much for me. But if the homeowner likes it, that’s all that counts.

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