Reader Laurie waited more than two years to close on the house of her dreams — which was stuck in what seemed like endless foreclosure. Now that it’s a done deal, Laurie is trying to spiff up the house before moving in and unpacking all her long-collected retro goodies. Amidst all her excitement, Laurie emailed us for help with her Retro Design Dilemma: Choosing the wall color for her mostly original retro kitchen is making her lose sleep. Read on for her story, and our kitchen color ideas…
Laurie decided to keep the original laminate counter tops (#5 on Pam’s Most Endangered List.) She also told us would be keeping the original red-and-beige checkerboard resilient floors.***See Pam’s boxed comment at the end of this article about making sure you know what materials are in your old floors.
So here’s what Laurie had to say about her Design Dilemma:
I guess my biggest question is, if I have a pink topped table with flecks of grey (chrome legs) with pink and grey chairs, and the counters are like a beige or tan color WHAT DO I PAINT MY WALLS ? My valances are going to be pretty busy, the aqua and pink ‘Whats cookin’ fabric…. We purchased white appliances from Sears. The shiny white not the ones with a texture. These are the questions I am losing sleep over! ANY advice/help is MUCH needed and appreciated. Thank you.
Kate responds to Laurie’s Design Dilemma:
Fear not Laurie! The answer to your retro design dilemma is as easy as doodling… atomic doodling that is. Upon seeing Laurie’s kitchen, Pam immediately suggested this wallpaper from Bradbury & Bradbury called Atomic Doodle.
The colors in this wallpaper coordinate perfectly with Laurie’s kitchen. The metallic copper on the wallpaper (which reads almost as a yellow) echos the original, warm wood cabinets and tan laminate counter tops. And, the pink blends with her checkerboard floor and dinette set (which incidently was featured on Retro Renovation before — in the story about reupholstering retro dinette chairs affordably).
While Atomic Doodle does fit the color scheme of Laurie’s kitchen, I fear covering all the walls with it might be overkill — initially Laurie had worried about having too much going on in her kitchen — so instead I took a color cue from the wallpaper itself and “painted” Laurie’s kitchen with the magic of Photoshop:
I also “moved in” Laurie’s pink and chrome dinette set so that she could get a sense of how everything would come together. I picked the light pink and the golden yellow right off of the wallpaper pattern. To add some interest, Laurie could order one roll of Atomic Doodle wallpaper and use it sparingly in small areas in her kitchen — namely as a backdrop for her small rounded shelves on either side of the window (which would be great to display vintage glassware, small dishes or even a retro salt and pepper shaker collection). Laurie mentioned having a set of chrome canisters, possibly similar to these, which will work nicely in her space.
Keep in mind that Laurie has purchased white appliances — which will help to break up all the color and pattern that is going on in the room. Adding a new or vintage chrome rimmed clock on one of the soffits would echo all of the chrome accents in her table, counter edging and cabinet pulls.
As far as window treatments go, I’m a big fan of cafe curtains. If Laurie opts to add the little bits of Atomic Doodle wallpaper near the window, I’d keep the curtains a solid color — probably white or a coordinating yellow. Cafe curtains are relatively easy to make and install with little to no sewing involved. Heck, I made the cafe curtains for my kitchen windows without sewing at all! Pam has covered cafe curtains before — in her post 15 cafe curtain designs and ideas – which is both full of ideas and information on how to make your own cafe curtains.
So there you have it Laurie, hopefully you can rest easy — well once all your moving and unpacking is done!
Do you have a room that causes you to lose sleep?
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Pam takes over for Kate here: In our email exchanges, I reminded Laurie that her that vintage floors may contain nastiness such as asbestos, and that she should consult with properly licensed professionals to determine what is in her floors and how to handle. I do not give this kind of advice on the blog… and I edit out any reader comments suggesting what others should do. Again, homeowners: Consult with properly licensed pros to determine what’s in the original materials in your particular old house and how to handle safely.