Yes, it is possible that this 1954 bedroom from the interior design team at Armstrong went a little too far with the cork. On the closet doors? Well, maybe for a teen — you could thumbtack your Tab Hunter posters there…. Look beyond this cork excess, however, and this mid-century bedroom has some lovely design going on..


The accent colors — the rich peacock blue, flamingo pink, and black – are wonderful. Look: A robin’s egg blue-green ceiling, nice! The dressing table spanning the two closets certainly looks appealing, even if the use of space is kind of impractical. I have Exactly this same master bedroom set up — the closets like this with a (smaller) window in between. You can bet I have a nice low long dresser there for my loads of Stuff. And of course, those black lacquer cone pendants are fantastic. “Homey comfort blended with modern simplicity” — that’s what the copywriter tells us.


This is another in my treasured collection from Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, Inc. advertising comps. Oh, how I love my Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, Inc. advertising comps.

New Retro Renovators, have you bought your our anointed “bibles” yet? Use the links (affiliate links) below, or they are always there in my Pamazon store of favorite books:

And, here’s the ad text, for those who want to soak in more of 1954’s allure:


  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m doing a LOT of research in advance of opening a business I want to give an authentic retro feel. Since I won’t have any genuine retro touches in the space, I’m having to start completely from scratch. I’m considering a cork floor, but there’s so many patterns available in cork grains these days, and I don’t know if they’re all authentic. Could you point me towards some good resources for that?

  2. Christine Brown says:

    I have cork flooring in the entry hall of my 1954 ranch. It is in good condition but has darker brown wear marks in the main traffic areas. The corners all look like new. How can I “refinish” or clean the floors to renew their original color?

    1. pam kueber says:

      I’m not sure. But as usual, I will warn: There can be vintage nastiness such as lead and asbesto in old layers — best to find a properly licensed professional to make sure you know what you are working with before you go messing with it.

  3. James says:

    Yes- that burnt smell associated with cork, especially in the heat of summer. Never noticed a smell in association with cork floors- but the cork wall in my bedroom years ago was indeed odiferous. Maybe Armstrong or one of the cork companies have some ideas for sealants to cut the smell…

  4. nina462 says:

    oh the smell. a friend of mine had a cork wall in her bedroom (the 70’s) and I can still remember the smell! one wall-ok, but a whole room?

  5. sumac sue says:

    Have some relatives who once lived in a home with cork floors in the bedrooms. They’d been installed in the late 50s/early 60s. When I saw them in the 80s, they looked great. They had an interesting organic look, which went really well with the family’s collection of antique furniture and rugs. They were comfortable to walk on, but did give off a faintly burnt odor.

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