Newsflash: California Paints introduces “the most authentic historic color collection ever created” including 55 mid-century colors

Big news in Retro Renovation world: California Paints has just introduced a new 20th Century paint palette including 23 historically based colors for 1940s and 1950s homes:
And… 32 colors in a 1960s and 1970s palette:
I know that we also have a lot of readers with pre-WWII homes, and you’ll be happy to know that this new lineup also includes 46 colors for Arts & Crafts/Craftsman homes spanning 1900-1920… and 38 Art Deco/Art Moderne colors spanning 1920-1940. The project has been more than two years in the making. California Paints worked with Historic New England to develop the new/old palette based on archival materials. This is so exciting — and a fantastic addition to any Retro Renovators’ arsenal.
A couple more things that I like about California Paints and this new paint palette:
  • Reputation for quality: Their 2010® and FreshCoat® Velvet Flat paints have been rated the #1 house paints by a leading consumer magazine (you know who this is…) for 11 consecutive years.
  • They are based in Massachusetts, my home state… their dealers are mostly in the Northeast, but check California Paints’ dealer locator — you can get this paint all over.
  • The colors in this palette were taken from historical “documents” — actual houses and wallpaper.
  • On their website, California Paints gives little descriptions about the relevance of each color. For example, they explain their pink color, called Baby Boom: “One of the iconic colors of the 1950s, this clear, strong pink was popular in all aspects of fashion andinterior design. It had strong connections with the First Lady at the time Mamie Eisenhower, a foremost color trendsetter. During the era the color was commonly referred to as “Carnation Pink”.” tee hee. Save the Pink Bathrooms! Their color-names all have something to do with the period. So they add: “The post-World War II “baby boom” from 1946 to 1964 resulted in an estimated 78.3 million births in the United States. Sylvia Porter, a columnist with the New York Post, is often credited with coining the phrase in 1951.” Nifty.
  • There are a number of whites… and maybe that “Sunny Day” yellow is what several readers have been looking for – a yellow without green undertones.

Thank you, California Paints — well done. I think you will do great with this paint.  Here is the link to their 20th century paint palette, and below, their complete news release:

California Paints Emerges as the Industry’s Historic Color Authority

Andover, MA – April 21, 2010 – California Paints is proud to release an authentic and documented historic color program which includes their new and exclusive 20th CenturyTM Colors of America color palette. The quality manufacturer of paints, zero VOC coatings, and exterior stains has partnered with Historic New England to introduce the most authentic historic color collection ever created. Historic New England preservationists have partnered with the colorists at California Paints to provide historically accurate documentation for each color in the new palette. California Paints’ historic color program truly represents authenticity in interior, exterior, and decorative color.

Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation.  They bring history to life while preserving the past for those interested in exploring the authentic New England experience from the 17th century to today.  Historic New England has provided California Paints with supporting color documentation, including the use of color at the 36 historic home museums they operate.  Historic New England Preservation Specialist Sally Zimmerman states, “In creating this palette, Historic New England has drawn solely from highly relevant architectural paint sources.  Our 20th century museum properties and our archives of 20th century paint and wallpaper documentation were the basis for pinpointing the actual use of these colors in the 20th century home.”

California Paints’ 20th Century Colors of America features 130 colors, including 12 off whites, and captures the vibrant tones and subtle shades of the past. Each color of the palette has its own unique and distinctive biography and includes the cultural themes that influenced its emergence in the nation’s collective color history.  All biographies can be read at California Paints’ website, www.californiapaints.com.

“The 20th century palette is a road map to recreating the past through design”, says Maryellen Mantyla, Director of Marketing for California Products Corporation.  “Anyone looking to replicate an authentic interior or exterior color palette referencing the architectural styles of the 20th century can do so with ease using this collection” adds Mantyla.

California Paints ensures that each historic color is accurately replicated through premium color quality and precise color reproduction.  Merging authentic historic color with California Paints’ color technology allows colors from any era to be translated for present day use.  The entire collection showcases 279 accurately reproduced historic colors and features the new 20th Century Colors of America and California Paints’ successful Historic Colors of America.

About California Paints
Based in Andover, MA, California Paints is a division of California Products Corporation, an innovative manufacturer of quality paints, coatings and sports surfacing systems. California Products is a leading producer of California Paints® and Storm Stain® architectural coatings, including 2010® and FreshCoat® Velvet Flat, the #1 house paints as rated by a leading consumer magazine for eleven consecutive years. Committed to providing outstanding quality and exceptional color choices, California Paints is constantly seeking new innovation while keeping true to quality standards. For more information visit www.californiapaints.com

  1. Adriel says:

    Great resource, thank you for sharing.

    Wonder if accept additional colors? My Grandparents have left over ’60s paint that is still liquid. Been a while since looked (out of state), know one is a wonderful dusty rose, mauve color (other side of the windowless hall was a dark green).

    Maybe someday have a midcentury home, even if only built in the era, in which to put my collection of Danish and Midcentury Modern furnishings, then this will be great to do it all right. Also feel like home, as grew up with my grandparent’s who’s home was last decorated in the early 60s except never got to the master (late 40s or early 50s from previous owner).

  2. Deaun says:

    Yes, thank you so very much for letting everyone know of your super find! I collect and restore 1930s-1950s Keystone of Boston dollhouses, and they all use period colors–hard to find on the shelf these days or to whip up at home. Does the color palette offer a mixing guide? I would love to have a way to match the colors I use frequently!


  3. Woonstruck says:

    Along with the wonderful colors, California Paint products are of SUPERB quality and a delight to work with. I first became a convert with their floor paints, which outperform (w-a-y outperform) the competition. For a years, it had seemed that theirs was a sort of hardware store also-ran brand. In retrospect, I’ve come to think that their corporate energies went into the product, and not the marketing. Highly recommended.

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