Retro Renovation http://retrorenovation.com Remodeling, decor and home improvement for mid century and vintage homes Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:30:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Elizabeth’s red and white kitchen and Cath Kidston cowboy wallpaper http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/21/red-white-kitchen/ http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/21/red-white-kitchen/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:30:41 +0000 http://retrorenovation.com/?p=113389 Reader Elizabeth and her husband have been hard at work fixing up their 1920s era farmhouse in Texas — most recently completing their retro red and white kitchen remodel. To find the finishing touch, it would take a trip all the way to Ireland — where the couple found Cat Kidston cowboy wallpaper — vintage western […]

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vintage wallpaperelizabeth175Reader Elizabeth and her husband have been hard at work fixing up their 1920s era farmhouse in Texas — most recently completing their retro red and white kitchen remodel. To find the finishing touch, it would take a trip all the way to Ireland — where the couple found Cat Kidston cowboy wallpaper — vintage western appeal perfect for the accent wall leading into the cheery new kitchen. 

vintage wallpaperElizabeth writes:

I thought I would send you some photos of how our summer facelift went on our 1920s era farm house, which is located on our ranch, thereby making it a ranch house??  (What are the rules for what constitutes a ranch-style house, anyway??)

kitchen-before2
kitchen-before

Above: Here are some ancient “befores” from when we bought the place furnished in 2012…of the kitchen as we inherited it.

red-big-chill-refrigerator

Next is a photo of when I got the red NorthStar for my wedding anniversary (July 2013), but with old cabinets, cabinet pulls, and counters.

kitchen-remodel

We leveled the pier and beam foundation, which necessitated new floors, paint, kitchen cabinets, and ceilings.  We took up the 1990s vinyl parquet floors and laid down wood laminate; and took off the popcorn ceilings and put wood beam ceilings — taking it back in time a bit.

vintage-strawberry-wallpapervintage-wallpaper-flowers

Here is the most beautiful wallpaper in the world–strawberries with a Delft plate, discovered in the kitchen during remodeling…it had jute backing and was estimated to be from the 1920s.  Boy, did I want some of that back in there.  Pink flowered wallpaper was also estimated to be about that old, also found in kitchen.

black-and-red-wilsonart-boomerang-laminate

The countertops are dark gray with red boomerang countertops from Wilsonart.

vintage wallpaper

Your recent article on what one accent wall of wallpaper can do was so true–we tried it ourselves, and like the effect. Why, yes, that IS Cath Kidston “Cowboy” wallpaper, what else??  The funny thing is that we were on vacation in July to Scotland and Ireland. While in Belfast, we walked down a street to a restaurant, and there in front of us was a real live Cath Kidston store!  I begged my husband to take me in, as I had seen her on your website, and we walked out with Cowboy wallpaper designed and made in England, bought in Northern Ireland, and dragged home lovingly to Texas where it OBVIOUSLY belongs, haha!

retro red kitchen

Next room is the kitchen, with its red Northstar refrigerator that started my obsession with your website.  And that room leads into the laundry room, where Hubby let me put my beloved red and white VCT tiles!

azrock-VCT-flooring

My husband made me go to the local hardware store today, so while there, I photographed our laundry room floor tile from the Azrock Collection of Houston. We love that it was made in USA! He chose the non-spotted/non-streaky solid colors, which unbeknownst to us cost “premium” prices. Surprise! It was very expensive for VCT tile!

retro red kitchen

I hope these bright red photographs cheer up your broken arm, and that you continue to feel better and better.

big-chill-refrigerator-pink

The pink Big Chill is in my Ranchette, a knotty pine cabin in the backyard of the Ranch House.  I wanted them put together with an attached garage.  That’s what started all the trouble.  To put the attached garage on to both houses, it required the old ranch house to be leveled…which necessitated the new walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, etc.

And the most exciting news of all, I am closing on October 27th on a 1965 traditional brick home that has been a rent house — with ORIGINAL PINK BATHROOM and ORIGINAL MINT GREEN BATHROOM and ORIGINAL KITCHEN with ORIGINAL rather boring cream colored Formica, but HEY!  It’s from 1965, so I’m happy!  The only thing new in the house is the floors where they have laid cheap indestructible ceramic tile.  EXCEPT the entry hall which is ORIGINAL TERRAZZO.  Also, the house is FULL of ORIGINAL WOOD PANELING and BUILT-INS.  I cannot wait to get in that house.  I … will photograph it and submit for a Retro Design Dilemma!!

elizabeth500

And finally is a photo of me…a selfie taken at our historic house in town built in 1873…which is another lovely story.  But the only thing midmod about it is the fabulous closet we added on, and the mint green Northstar refrigerator.  But I digress.

Wow, Elizabeth, you are one busy remodeling maven. Yes, we want to get regular updates of your many projects in three — soon to be four — houses and/or cabins. Woot! We want to have all those historic rooms to decorate, too! You need your own HGTV show, we’re not kidding!

We love the Cath Kidston cowboy wallpaper accent wall — it  really helps tie the kitchen and the living area together,while adding visual interest and retro western appeal great for your real deal ranch house. Nicely done — thank you for sharing!

Pam adds: Elizabeth, I adore the wallpaper, and the kitchen is great. But it’s that photo of your husband that had me all crackers. I am reading in to it that he was … putting up with it all. And then you had to take a picture. Classic. Just classic. In the running for my favorite photo of 2014. The best. xoxo

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4 cheery new barkcloth patterns in 8 color ways — coming in November http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/20/retro-style-barkcloth-patterns/ http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/20/retro-style-barkcloth-patterns/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:30:21 +0000 http://retrorenovation.com/?p=113776 Exciting news — come this November they’ll be a few more options of retro inspired barkcloth on the market. Designer Jessica Jones is releasing her ‘Time Warp’ collection –a selection of 4 different retro inspired patterns in eight color ways. Pam and I instantly gravitated towards the ‘Sunburst’ and ‘Quadrant’ patterns because of their playful coloring and mod shapes. The […]

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retro-inspired-barkclothExciting news — come this November they’ll be a few more options of retro inspired barkcloth on the market. Designer Jessica Jones is releasing her ‘Time Warp’ collection –a selection of 4 different retro inspired patterns in eight color ways.

retro style barkclothPam and I instantly gravitated towards the ‘Sunburst’ and ‘Quadrant’ patterns because of their playful coloring and mod shapes. The fabrics — which are 54-55″ wide — will be available through Cloud9 Fabrics for $16.95 per yard.

retro style barkcloth

Fabric designer Jessica Jones on her inspiration for the collection:

This collection for Cloud9 Fabrics is called “Time Warp” since the retro-style prints are inspired by mid-century modern design. I love poking around vintage shops and looking at furnishings from decades past. Sunburst is a take on a Nelson clock, but made into a floral pattern. Quadrant was influenced by brutalist brass wall sculptures.

The patterns are printed on bark cloth, a textile used in the 1940s-1960s. It’s exciting to bring back that interesting texture and make it new again. The prints are simple and pleasing, and although this collection has roots in the 20th century, it’s also contemporary enough to be popular today.

retro style barkcloth retro style barkclothMega thanks to reader Julie for this wonderful tip!

And remember: Pinch pleats on traverse rods, peeples, pinch pleats on traverse rods! You can do it!

Link love:

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Route 66: The Road and the Romance — 33 photos — at The Autry through Jan. 4 http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/17/route-66-history-autry/ http://retrorenovation.com/2014/10/17/route-66-history-autry/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:30:22 +0000 http://retrorenovation.com/?p=113560 Route 66 became a part of America’s physical landscape in 1926 — and for decades after, it came to epitomize the many twists and turns along the journey to achieve the American Dream.  Now, thanks to an exhibit — Route 66: The Road and the Romance — on view until January 4, 2015 at The […]

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Route 66 Car

Photo courtesy of The Autry

Route 66 became a part of America’s physical landscape in 1926 — and for decades after, it came to epitomize the many twists and turns along the journey to achieve the American Dream.  Now, thanks to an exhibit — Route 66: The Road and the Romance — on view until January 4, 2015 at The Autry National Center of the American west in Los Angeles, you can take a 2,400 mile trip through Route 66’s fascinating history in one afternoon. Let’s take our own virtual tour…

Route 66 sign

Road sign, “66,” circa 1960s. Collection of Steve Rider.

Often referred to as the “Main Street of America,” “Will Rogers Highway” and “The Mother Road” — Route 66 was a model for the modern interstate highway. But this famous road was more than just a way to connect Chicago to Los Angeles: During the Depression, it was a route from the dustbowl to the promised land of California. In the 1950s, traveling along Route 66 itself became as much of a tourist attraction for newly affluent middle class Americans as the many hotels, businesses and roadside attractions that lined it.

The news release from The Autry is really informative:

The Autry Presents Route 66: The Road and the Romance

Featuring more than 250 historical artifacts, the exhibition explores the facts and fiction surrounding the most famous road in America.

Los Angeles — U.S. Highway Route 66 is both a physical road and a romantic notion, comprising experiences and ideas that are real and imagined, historic and contemporary. Route 66: The Road and the Romance explores the significance of our nation’s most famous highway and demonstrates why it is still known as the “Main Street of America.” On view at the Autry National Center of the American West from June 8, 2014, through January 4, 2015, this is the first exhibition to consider Route 66 from a national perspective.

Route 66

National “66” Convention & Will Rogers Memorial Celebration, 1940 (printed circa 2010). Collection of Steve Rider.

Connecting Chicago to Los Angeles, the 2,400-mile-long highway was a witness to history and a symbol for America on the move. Featuring more than 250 unique objects, Route 66: The Road and the Romance travels the iconic road from its inception in 1926 through the drama of the Great Depression to its heyday as a travel destination and eventual displacement by the Interstate Highway System. The exhibition concludes with a contemporary look at the road and the movement for its preservation.

Route 66 presents historical artifacts from institutions and private collections across the United States, many never before displayed together. Notable examples include:

  • the oldest existing Route 66 shield,
  • an early Jackson Pollock landscape painting,
  • a Ford Model T engine,
  • a ten-foot twin visible gas pump,
  • the handwritten page from The Grapes of Wrath manuscript that introduces the “Mother Road,”
  • John Ford’s Best Director Oscar for the film version of The Grapes of Wrath,
  • renowned Dust Bowl–era photographs,
  • Woody Guthrie’s guitar, the original typewritten scroll of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road,
  • and a classic 1960 Corvette.
Gas station 1962

Ed Ruscha, Dixie, Lupton, Arizona, 1962 (printed 2013). (Loan courtesy of the artist).

“I have fond childhood memories of summers in our 1950 Ford,” said W. Richard West, Jr., President and CEO of the Autry. “Every other year, we would take Route 66 from Oklahoma, where I grew up, to California, where my mom’s relatives lived. I loved the journey and I am delighted that the Autry is presenting this exhibition. Through a dizzying array of objects, artifacts, artwork, film, music, and more, it highlights a diversity of stories—from Chicago through Indian Country all the way to Santa Monica—and represents the opportunities and struggles that define the American West.“

The exhibition was created by Jeffrey Richardson, Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms at the Autry, and Jim Farber, project advisor and contributing curator.

“Although it was primarily in use for only a few decades, popular culture and a sense of nostalgia firmly established Route 66 as a powerful symbol of twentieth-century America by the time it was officially decommissioned in 1985,” said Richardson. “The hope is that after seeing this exhibition, visitors will leave with the notion that there is still a lot of work to be done but that there is now a concerted effort to document and preserve what is considered one of America’s great resources.”

Thomas Hart Benton, Boomtown

Thomas Hart Benton, Boomtown, 1928, oil on canvas. (Courtesy of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: Marion Stratton Gould Fund.) Art © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

The Roots of the Route

The exhibition opens with an overview of the major industrial and technological changes that radically altered American life and paved the way for a national network of roads. Energetically supported by local boosters and bicyclists, the Good Roads Movement advocated for improved roadways, which were mostly unpaved when it began in 1880. Artifacts of this effort include an 1895 Columbia bicycle and a sign from the National Old Trails Road. Legislated in 1896, Rural Free Delivery initiated a public postal system, noted here with a mailbox from 1900. As the automobile replaced railroads as the chief mode of transportation, a new American landscape emerged, dotted with oil rigs and gas stations, motels and billboards. Thomas Hart Benton captured the era in his painting, Boomtown. The section concludes with the establishment of Route 66 in 1926 featuring many of the signs and promotional materials that helped make it the “Main Street of America.”

Human Erosion in California (Migrant Mother)

Dorothea Lange, Human Erosion in California (Migrant Mother), 1936, gelatin silver print (13 7/16 x 10 9/16 in.) (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles). Also highly recommended: This PBS documentary on the life of Dorothea Lange. Pam watched it and thought it was riveting: Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

The Mother Road

In this section, artifacts and newsreel footage relate the extraordinary hardships of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era, when weary refugees traveled Route 66 in search of a better life. The Mother Road features a variety of paintings and photographs reflecting their plight, including iconic photographs by Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Horace Bristol. California was marketed as a “promised land,” even though many migrants met police “Bum Blockades” at its borders. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was and remains an accurate portrayal of these times, and this section details the inspirations for the novel and subsequent film.

Among the countless travelers on Route 66 was charismatic musician Woody Guthrie. The highway imbued Guthrie’s public persona as he gave voice to the Depression’s downtrodden. On view are one of his Martin guitars, along with hand-drawn lyrics and sketches, and various personal effects. Visitors may also listen to selections from his acclaimed Dust Bowl Ballads.

Often overlooked, the New Deal’s impact on economic recovery along Route 66 closes out this section, with the road’s improvement and nearby new buildings, bridges, and parks creating millions of jobs. The newly paved highway was an important military transport route during World War II.

Western Motel Neon sign

“Western Motel” neon sign, circa 1950. Collection
of the Museum of Neon Art. (Photo courtesy of
Museum of Neon Art)

Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction explores Route 66 in its golden age, as increased tourism and a growing car culture turned the highway into a major thoroughfare and vacation destination. The postwar boom and increased consumerism are illustrated through promotional materials the average traveler would have seen on the road, including a complete set of Burma Shave signs, a Phillips 66 gasoline pump, and a large contemporary neon sign. Songwriter Bobby Troup immortalized the highway in the song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” and the map he used to drive the highway is featured. The catchy song turned Route 66 into a national phenomenon and even engendered a TV series. However, objects in this section probe beyond the romance of the road. Native American stereotyping is seen in promotional souvenirs and African American segregation is exposed in signs and travel guides that identify “sundown towns”—places not to be caught in after dark. In addition, newspapers give evidence of the treacherous accidents that inspired the “Bloody 66” moniker.

On The Road Jack Kerouac's scroll

Author Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript for On the Road, 1951. (This manuscript is on loan from the collection of James S. Irsay. Photograph Courtesy of Christie’s, New York. Copyright Estate of Anthony G. Sampatacacus and the Estate of Jan Kerouac)

The emerging youth generation, including the rebellious Beats, also made use of the new highways. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road embodies their thirst for freedom. Never before seen in Los Angeles, Kerouac’s manuscript, a 120-foot-long, single-spaced typed scroll, is on display alongside a digital version that provides complete access to its contents.

Jeff Brouws, Dixie Lupton, Arizona

Jeff Brouws, Dixie, Lupton, Arizona, 1991 (printed 2013). (Courtesy of the artist and Craig Krull Gallery)

End of the Trail

In 1956, Route 66 was effectively bypassed by the Interstate Highway System. In this final section, the popularity of Route 66 is further diminished by air travel and by the allure of attractions such as Disneyland and Las Vegas. The commercial exploitation of Route 66 by multinational chain stores, restaurants, and motels also eroded the unique appeal of the road. Ironically, the first McDonald’s was opened along the route in San Bernardino in 1940. The exhibition documents the degradation of the road and its surrounding businesses with pieces of asphalt from the original roadway and several photographs from Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) set alongside Jeff Brouws’s stark 1991 “updates” of the same sites.

The decline of Route 66 is portrayed in the Pixar Animation Studios film Cars (2006), which introduced the highway to a new generation. The historic remains they encountered along the road, such as the rusting tow truck that inspired the popular character, Mater, captivated the film’s creative team. This section unveils their creative process from early research photos to sketches, models, and storyboards.

Finally, the exhibition finishes with examples of the work of the National Park Service and preservationists to restore and revive the road’s rich history and heritage, an ongoing process initiated in 1999 with the enactment of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Visitors will also be able to share their experiences and thoughts about the highway by filling out postcards and placing them on a Route 66 map.

Route 66 show

Photo courtesy of The Autry.

Exhibition-Related Programs

During the run of the exhibition, the Autry will celebrate the “Mother Road” through seminars, tours, family activities, films, and more. Highlights include Route 66 Lost and Found, an afternoon with photographer Russell Olsen presenting his multivolume book comparing contemporary photos of Route 66 with postcard images from the road’s heyday (July 20); a Neon Cruise of Downtown L.A., an open-top bus tour hosted by the Museum of Neon Art (August 21); a theatrical production Waiting for Jack with prominent L.A. poets reading the works of Beat poets in a loose reenactment of the historic 1955 Six Gallery poetry reading (September 11); and a screening of the documentary American Road, which delves into the artistic, musical, and literary resonances of the mystique of the road in American lore (November 13). On select mornings, visitors can see classic mid-century cars outside the museum and sip coffee with car enthusiasts through a series called Morning Joe and the Mother Road (exact dates TBA). Other family-friendly activities include a Route 66 Lego® Day with an afternoon screening of the Pixar animated feature Cars (September 14).

This looks like an amazing show — and there’s still time to see it before it closes on January 4, 2015. Mega thanks to The Autry National Center of the American West for allowing us to feature photos from their exhibition.

Readers, do you have memories to share of travelling along Route 66 — maybe even from the heyday years?

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… click anywhere to move forward and look for previous and next buttons within photo to move back or forth… you can start or stop at any image:


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