Meet the “Betty” of Wilsonart’s Betty laminate

BettyWe met many awesome Wilsonart people at KBIS — seriously, how fun is it to talk boomerang laminates — but this was a particularly happy connection: Sally Chavez, a senior designer, introduced herself, we got to talking, and she mentioned that the “Betty” of Wilsonart Betty laminate (a welcome design here) was named for her mother. That’s Betty (center) with daughters Sandy (left) and Sally in a circa 1964 photo taken at the family home in Dearborn, Mich.

(Note: The original photo is blurry, it’s not your monitor:)

wilsonart betty laminateAs a member of the Wilsonart design team, Sally works to select and determine patterns and colors for the company’s residential and contract laminates. She was new to the team when the laminates soon-to-be-known-as-Betty and -Endora were gearing up toward introduction.


Betty installed in Nancy’s kitchen

The turquoise colorway immediately reminded her of the wallpaper and paint in her precious family photo, so she asked if they could name the laminate Betty, for her mother, who had died just a few years earlier. Yes, they could! So they did.

retro laminateHow was Endora, the name for the pink colorway chosen? Sally said the team then researched and considered other popular names of the era, and chose Endora.

Thank you, Sally, for sharing this wonderful memory! It makes us love Wilsonart Betty all the more!

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  1. Eileen says

    Betty is one of my favorite retro designs. What a perfect pairing with an iconic mid-century name. All the better to know of the real person who it was named for!

    I had been thinking recently about how to reproduce the Betty design for a walkway. Wouldn’t that look so cool?! It may end up being beyond my abilities… I’ll have to wait for Wilsonart to expand into pavers!

  2. tammyCA says

    I wondered about the choice of those laminate names (my mom’s name was Betty..a popular name for those born in the ’20s, along with Dorothy & Irene). But, the only Endora I ever heard of was on TV’s “Bewitched”.
    Btw, I’m watching the new season of “flippin’ RVs” on the GAC channel & I wonder when they’ll discover the new RR boomerangs & start installing those in their flips. Dang, I want a charming little camper trailer sooo bad & go to the Pismo Beach rally & be with my own kind!

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Tammy, you have enough recreation vehicle “real estate” for now! But here’s an idea for the future. I went to the flower show in Providence, Rhode Island recently, and one of the mock-up gardens featured a partly restored 1950s vintage Shasta as a little garden retreat–sort of like a gazebo–where the owner could go and read and soak in the vibes of the era. They wouldn’t let us go beyond the pavers to look more closely at the trailer, but it was very cute in the garden.

  3. Deanne says

    Great story! Betty was a super close second for us, but ultimately was just a little too cream color overall with our bright white trim. Made it look dingy. But, I kept the sample in my kitchen remodel binder simply because I love it so much!

  4. tony says

    cool. going to use Betty w/bamboo slab cabinets in our mid century post and beam house kitchen. will do same for edging and full backsplash like the one pictured.

  5. Carolyn says

    It’s possible that Betty and Endora may be better sellers overall because they are evocative of the era without hitting you over the head. Don’t take me wrong – I loooove me some boomerangs – but that’s one of those things that “others” object to and ask when you’ll “update”. Maybe they’re those “gateway” colorways you always here about…!

  6. Gary says

    I used to sell Wilsonart. Back in the 70s and 80s. The patterns were much more attractive Almond Cameo was my favorite

  7. Rick G says

    Fantastic story !!! – I’ll be ordering a bunch of the Wilsonart laminate real soon, we’ll be in our “new” ( but vintage / 1960’s ) home in a month & it’s begging me to reverse any & all ….. YUK ….. “updating” that was done ASAP !!!! bathroom & kitchen counters are top on the list out with the boring & in with the Kool 🙂

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