Lora’s vintage style kitchen makeover — inspired by a single Franciscan Starburst dinner plate



Lora and her hubby Stephen.

After we ran our story about the new colorful Wilsonart Laminates, reader Lora flagged Pam down on Facebook to let her know she had recently installed the Kiwi Go Wavy laminate profiled in the story. What a bright and cheery kitchen. I can’t imagine you could ever feel sad when cooking, eating or entertaining in such a happy and inviting space.



Above: Lora’s “before” kitchen.

Lora’s old kitchen was pretty cute too — decorated in red, white and yellow with lots knick-knacks. I had to ask her — why the change — and what was her inspiration for the new kitchen design? Apparently it all came down to one plate:
Lora wrote:

Before I renovated, my kitchen was more in the reds with a lot of Formica cherries…my new design was inspired by the star burst plates! I loved my red kitchen, but after 8 years, I wanted to change our interior style to more mid century!

The process of renovating my kitchen went good and fast! I painted the walls with the star burst pattern, and colors from my inspiration plate. Just the paint made such a change, plus de-cluttering and changing the room from the warm color collectibles to cool colors. Most things were found at thrift shops, Ikea (flower hanging lamps) and Ross were I get some nifty odds and ends. I wanted to do the boomerang counter tops, but knowing the re-sale of houses in the future, boomerang might not be something the next owner would want. I went to our local counter top biz and saw the Wilsonart Go Wavy in kiwi and fell in Love! Two weeks later, the new laminate was installed in only one day! Hurray!

Lora’s effort to replicate the googies on her Franciscan Starburst plate onto her walls was quite impressive indeed. as Pam would say, that must have been *some therapy* — but certainly cheaper than wallpaper, and easy to paint over if you move:



What a great way to add some mid century pizazz to your dining room, Lora — those starbursts really help tie all the colors in the kitchen and dining area together.

When I asked Lora about her love of all things vintage, she replied:

I’ve been into Vintage for years! I’ve owned my own Vintage Boutique since 1991. A Friend offered her Vintage Boutique to me after supporting her shop for years! I do Retro Chi Design for Vintage renovations, run my Boutique for Fashions and Collectibles, and also do window design for theaters, local businesses and movie sets, in period pieces. I even drove a 1956 Mercury for 16 years-which added to the fun!


vintage-mosaic-tile-on-green-counterLora’s next project for her kitchen — to install a mosaic tile backsplash (pictured above).



What do I love most about Lora’s kitchen designs — past and present? She was able to pull off two completely different looks. She started with basic white cabinets with a vintage feel — and with just a little bit of paint, changing around her accessories and installing different laminate countertops — all inexpensive fixes — Lora has a totally “new” kitchen. That’s creative folks — and fits into the mid century mantra of working with what you have. Bravo on a job well done, Lora — and thanks so much for sharing your photos and your story!

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  1. Janet in CT says

    Just stunning! I love the turquoise in particular. Many a time I have seen a fabric or plate or piece of furniture that I could just build a room around so I know that feeling! Are those TINKERTOYS over the cabinets? Who ever would have thought to use those to decorate? Great kitchen!

  2. lynda says

    Creative kitchen! The Starburst plates were sold in the 50’s I believe. The colors must have still been popular in the 60’s. I remember our first apartment in 1966 and I used same color palette. I had some Melmac dishes with bright lime and turquoise flowers. I painted an old refrigerator pale turquoise with epoxy paint and used some paper cutouts of big flowers to decorate the fridge. I put magnets on the back of the flowers. Back in the days when decorating was cheap and uncomplicated…..you know. I love the new counter and the tile you chose for the backsplash is just perfect.

  3. Alice says

    Lora – what a cheerful, inviting space! I have a little collection of those Starburst plates and after much contemplation, have decided to change the color palate of my kitchen to tie into them as well. (I am starting off with already yellow cabinets.) I am impressed by your creation of the starburst googies…I have wondered if I might be able to replicate them and you just may have given me the courage to try it!

    Those rectangles under your table are perfect! Are they individual rugs or carpet squares?

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. BETSY HAMBY says

    Loved the article! I couldn’t read fast enough! I am collecting that very pattern (Starburst) because it’s what our mom served food on! Everything looks neat, crisp, tidy & fresh. Well done…nice work. I will be looking at your photos/article over & over, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    I am in love with this kitchen. Love the color palatte, love everything about this. The rug under the dining table looks like it was created from smaller rugs, too clever and looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing this incredible space. xo, suzy

  6. Natalie says

    Lora – I love the colors and the happiness of your kitchen! Two questions: where are you placemats from? And the rug under your kitchen table – are those bathroom rugs put together?

    Great job!

  7. Penne says

    I love your new kitchen Lora. About a month ago I bought a grey and pink formica table with hairpin legs that I love, but my kitchen is red, white and green. You inspired me to take a closer look and really all I need to do is make new curtains and change out some accessories and the table would fit right in. The rug under your table and chairs caught my eye. Is that six bath mats pieced together? It looks terrific. It gave me an idea for my office/craft room. Thanks.

    • Cheryl Voorhees says

      I would love to see a picture of your gray and pink table. I have one that we have used for about 20 years. In my last house, I had pink counter tops and had the pink and gray color scheme going on. Now I have only the table and lots of pink kitchen items from the 50;s.

  8. says

    I love the before and the after. Both are great! I love the cherries from the red kitchen. Super, super cute. I also love the colors in the after and those kiwi countertops are fab. Either way, I’d be very happy cooking in that kitchen! I also drooled a little over that car. Yum!

  9. Wendy M. says

    Oooh, I think I am going to be revisiting this story repeatedly for inspiration. I LOVE what you’ve done with your kitchen, Lora! I have the same accent colors in my kitchen, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to pull it all together. Beautiful job!

  10. says

    Love, love, love! As Pam said, a great reminder that a lick of paint nad some creativity can give you the look you want without the big pricetag. It’s looking crisp clean, retro but still relevant- I’d say a great mini-investment in your home, Bravo!

  11. Dawn says

    I loved it before. But the after is spectacular. I have seen that plate in many an antique store and have ALWAYS loved that design. I love how happy it all looks!

  12. tammyCA says

    Gosh, I love it…lots! I love those colors of the new kitchen but, I also love the prior kitchen, too! That is my dilemma…I love a lot of styles and colors and can never decide. My collectibles & small appliances are also in various colors…I’ve got aquas, pinks, jadeite, chartreuse, reds, yellow…must be why I love vintage tableclothes so much.
    But, Lora’s kitchen is fun and cheerful and that is always my style. Great job!

  13. Pamela H. says

    Beautiful! I would be interested in knowing where the tile for the purposed blacksplash is from. I previously mentioned doing my kitchen, and have a nice vingtage pottery collection I want to showcase in my remodeled kitchen. Lora, if you don’t mind, could you kindly share info on those beatiful tiles? Many thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Pamela,
      Thanks for asking! The tile is authentic Vintage tile I purchased on line years ago while I was remodeling Vintage houses for a local Agent. There was a 12 sheet leftover and Now I have the Tile to finish my back Splash! The tile looks like Pool tile, in the day! I’ll paint random Kiwi color to really make it match! 😉

  14. says

    Lora it is just adorable.
    I’m so glad that you did not rip everything out and start over :-)
    It was cute before but I really love it now!
    Great job.

  15. Mike S says

    The dining side is definitely retro, while the kitchen side looks more light a bright French Country. Both are awesome!

  16. says

    It’s a WOW color combo!! Just beautiful! She also did a fantastic job on the wall stenciling. It looks so good and so creative!!! I also love that PINK ’56 Merc and the PINK Victorian!!!

  17. Martha says

    Are those Tinkertoys on the top of the kitchen cabinets?? An Anne Taintor calendar? I appreciate the absence of stainleds steel. Can you tell me something about the fabric on the windows in the dining area?

    It’s a great space.

  18. says

    Absolutely beautiful! One of the best that I’ve seen for sure! I liked the “before” too but the after is even more stunning. The countertops are so great. And is that a mobile made out of Cooties by the window?

  19. Ana says

    Love what you did with your kitchen and the cool painted accents that reference the dishware. The room looks so cheery and functional.

    I inherited a set of Franciscan Atomic dishes from my favorite great-aunt and also used it as an inspiration for my kitchen (not quite done). It’s a great palette for a mid-century room.

  20. Cheryl says

    I also love your kitchen! Would love to find those dishtowels that you used for curtains……..any tips on where to look? My google search was unsuccessful. Thanks!

  21. vicky Shilzony says

    OMG! I saw some salt & pepper shakers on Oakland, Ca. craigslist a few weeks ago and was so excited because I had never seen this pattern outside my childhood home, where it’s on the tile in my dad’s bathroom! So neat to see an entire kitchen planned around this unique design…thanks for sharing!

  22. Jay says

    A little late to the party, sitting out the storm. Tinker toys and cooties? I want to come play in your kitchen! Looks great! Really like the idea of the bath rugs being used for an area rug.

  23. Ethan says

    Totally love it! The colors and decor are bright and cheery and very “Jetsons” to me. I love 70’s stuff but I love this too. Great job!

  24. says

    Blue and green are my two favorite color combinations, and you’ve done a beautiful job of combining them in your house. I really like the way you painted the back of your cabinets, but the doors are white. I gotta do that next time I paint my kitchen.

  25. Dan Dexter says

    The colors you chose are wonderful. Recreating your own Franciscan Starburst pattern to simulate matching wallpaper is brilliant, simply brilliant!

  26. amanda says

    This looks AWESOME! Just the right amount of color and blue and green are my favorite colors so of course I love it. This is definitely going in my inspiration file!

  27. Sonia says

    Lora, you did such a wonderful job in your remodeled kitchen; it brings the Starburst pattern to life! I still have the 8 place setting set that I bought shortly after I was married in 1954, and I have these treasured since. They were the first good dishes I had, and bring fond memories from family dinners over the years. I am almost 80, in process of downsizing, and it is nice to see a younger generation that appreciates the same magic I see in those dishes.

  28. Jennifer Jenkins says

    Please let me know what the brand and color of paint that you used. I have been at several paint stores and can’t seem to find the right combination! You did a FABULOUS job and I am in AWE of your decorating talents! I am currently am renovating my kitchen and needed some inspiration. You, my dear, provided it! Thank you so much. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  29. SY says

    Too bad i didn’t find this site earlier, my great aunt’s kitchen had the Franciscan Atomic Starburst tiles to match her dishes…I inherited the dishes, but we weren’t sure how to get those tiles off without cracking them.

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