Over on the Forum, a homeowner in St. Louis has posted a set of vintage St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets for sale — with their original terra cotta paint. I’d noted this color in a brochure I have dated 1957 — a year in which the company spotlighted a number of fantastic colors and designs. But, this is the first time I’ve seen terra cotta in the flesh, and I like it. “Rust” actually has been on my mind a lot these days — I’m putting it on my list of *hot* colors for 2010. Note in the kitchen design above: The rotisserie operating in the bricked-in, built-in barbeque… the white wall cabinets that lighten up the terra cotta and play off the mortar in the brick…and the scalloped cafe curtains. Great kitchen. And great cabinets, asking price $5,000. Gulp. Prices keep going up, didn’t I tell ya.
Welcome to retro-wonderland, Apartment Therapy voters. 🙂 Here at Retro Renovation, a lot of us are “accidental modernists.” We ended up in our (generally) small, mid-century homes because they were in the right neighborhoods or because the price was right. Mid-century *modern* homes, yes, but mid-century *modest* homes, too… ranches, capes, colonials, contemporaries, bungalows and split levels that real estate agents generally suggest should be gutted. We kinda like the quirky charm, though, and our motto has become “Love The House You’re In.” So before we make any drastic changes, we meet here to share renovation resources, lots of vintage eye-candy photos and a friendly and helpful community — all with the goal to update our homes in a way that’s sympathetic to their original postwar design. I like to think we’re playful and unpretentious (just like our simpler houses), and we’re not “purists” — it’s your house, make the changes that are right for you — love it! In fact, our main rule for comments is that “no one can be made to feel bad for their choices.” So take a tour… ask questions… and we hope you have a blast. After you’ve soaked it all in, if you want to vote for us, we would be honored. If you haven’t registered yet, go to Apartment Therapy; once you’ve confirmed your registration via email, click on The Homies 2009 to vote. Many thanks and all the best, Pam.
A kitchen island can be fantastic, for seating and especially for expanding useful prep space. But in my mind, there is nothin’ more cozy, comfy, homey than a kitchen table set close at hand. There’s just something… egalitarian and *grounded*… about sitting together around that most basic piece of furniture. Mid-century America was boom times for kitchen dinettes. It seems there were a gazillion possibilities to love — and in my mind, the quirkier, the better. I’ve been grabbing screenshots from ebay for the past several months, now collected into a gallery of 46 examples.Heck yeah there is more →
In 2010, I will try and hunt down and feature the entire series of mid-century kitchen design vignettes produced by the American Gas Association. They are all so elegant — like a design board, pulling together a few simple elements to showcase key inspiration elements for a particular kitchen. The gas stoves are wicked awesome, too. Heck yeah there is more →
Several readers have asked where to get cabinets faced with laminate, a style very appropriate for mid-century kitchens and bathrooms. I checked my notes from Cindy — who used laminate cabinets in both her kitchen and her bathroom renovations to very good result. She reports that her cabinets were made by Holiday Kitchens, which turns out to be a relatively large national brand with production in the U.S. Their doorstyle for laminate kitchen and bathroom cabinets is called “Geneva” (you will have to scroll through the door styles to get to it.) I am presuming that you can specify any particular laminate you like. Check out my Countertop Category for my list of laminate manufacturers.
Make a pledge to Save the Pink Bathrooms, and you never know: You might become the lead story on Retro Renovation. Sheila’s story about her vintage pink bathroom was so perfect (and her bathroom, so dreamy) that I just had to feature it. Heck yeah there is more →
Merry Christmas, everyone, from Ike and Mamie and me, too, of course. Thanks to Carol Hegeman, Supervisory Historian at the Eisenhower National Historic Site, for providing this wonderful 1957 Christmas card from the Eisenhower collection, featuring Mame and Ike in a Crosley utility vehicle. (Yes – that’s the same Crosley as produced steel kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and the like.) The Eisenhowers’ Christmas cards were designed and produced by Hallmark. Each year the Eisenhowers used a formal card, for obligatory mailings. More interesting (to me), Mamie also had personal cards designed — “fun” cards that she may have put on gifts she was giving, Carol explained. No question: This is a fun one. I wish you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Credit: National Park Service, Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Oh my goodness, this Christmas wreath from Georgia Peachez makes me happy happy happy. Drats. I know what (else) I’ll be hoarding from estate sales and thrift shops this year. Beautiful work, Suzy.
Following up on my post about vintage rhino cloth, here is my little stash of vintage Waverly “Las Vegas cloth” from the same estate sale time capsule. This pattern — called “Caprice” — is quite “interesting” — there are atomic subparticles mixed with… maple leaves? The colors include mocha, mauvedust, sandalwood and seafoam. Sublime, each and every one.Heck yeah there is more →
THE PARTY is only getting started here at Retro Renovation. I have a feeling that American design in 2010 is going to be even more retrograde-retrocrazed, than ever. Looking ahead to year #3 for the blog, I’d love to hear from you. What do you want to see more of… less of…? What are your favorite features? What are your biggest needs? How can the blog help you out with your projects, even more?