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. TappanTrailerTami says:

    These are awesome colors! I tried their dealer locator, and the west is completely dry 🙁

    I checked SF & LA California, Portland Oregon, Seattle WA, Las Vegas & Reno NV, Phoenix AZ, and no dealers.

    When it comes time to paint, I’ll have to contact a dealer back east to see about having it shipped out, or maybe one of our local paint dealers would agree to start carrying it, although California is probably a pain since our environmental laws here are so stringent about what can be sold.

    Great find Pam!!! Can’t wait to see everyone’s photos after they get done painting with their favorite colors 🙂

    1. pam kueber says:

      Tami, I have a question into my contact at California Paints to see if there is an easier-to-navigate map and if there are any dealers on the west coast…

      1. TappanTrailerTami says:

        Great, thank you for checking with them Pam. If they really have no west coast dealers, they are missing the boat, especially since CA is a huge mecca of mid century everything, and lots of 20’s/30’s bungalows.

  2. Annie B. says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing these with us. I want some concrete screen blocks to paint in “Automotive”, “Hot Tin Roof”, and “Teal Accent” just for the fun ot it. I’m loving all these colors.

  3. Laura says:

    We found original paint chips in our 1955 house hidden away in the rafters of our basement and Pittsburgh Paints, Carnation Pink was one of the colours. For use throughout the hallways of course.

  4. Hayley says:

    I just love the names of these colors…draft card, war weary…and a dealer 2 miles from my work. I just love Massachusetts! BTW, I’m Russell’s wife from North Attleboro and it only took me about 2 weeks to fall in love with the pink bathroom! Thanks for all of the sources!

  5. Lydia B says:

    I found your website a few weeks ago when we were trying to decide what color to paint the living room in our 1941 Cape Cod. I searched for “1940s decorating styles” and landed here! It’s been fascinating reading and I was amazed to see this post. Our house has almost no original features left (kitchen & bathrooms were both redone in the 70s) but it’s fun imagining what it could have looked like. I had already decided on a pale, soft yellow for the living room before I saw this post. I don’t know how similar it is to “Sunny Day” because my monitor doesn’t show colors accurately, but for anyone who is looking for yellows with no green undertones I suggest Glidden Cotton Blossom (35YY86/117) for a pale yellow and Glidden Champagne Sparkle (35YY81/174) for a deeper yellow. They are both discontinued by Glidden but I had quarts of Benjamin Moore mixed to match these colors at my paint store. The numbers are part of Glidden’s Master Palette and if you understand what they mean they can really help you narrow down the undertones of a color before you sample it. I realize this post is about California Paints but if you think anyone would be interested in an explanation of the Glidden system I can email you the links.

  6. Emma says:

    [Eyes wide] Incredible! We’re moving into a 1960 home next month that has a lot of its original features, but nothing but white walls! I am feeling inspired. 🙂

    1. pam kueber says:

      Jan – I got my paint chip cards, too, on Saturday. I agree: Awesome. In particular I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the white selections. White can be the trickiest of all.

  7. Toni says:

    Was there any word on dealers on the West Coast? That 1960s palette was exactly what I was looking for. I live in Los Angeles. There just HAS to be a way to get them here.

    1. Sarah says:

      I am in Sacramento and when I contacted the company they did tell me “Although at this time we do not have any dealers in your state, we do have a dealer in Missouri who will ship our paint product anywhere in the continental United States. Their address is:
      Raytown Wallpaper and Paint
      6320 Raytown Road
      Raytown, MO 64133
      Phone: 816-353-2832

      You can also order online from Miller Brothers Paint at the following website: http://www.millerbrospaint.com or by phone at 1-877-531-1517. They have a very low flat rate shipping fee, $15.00, regardless of how much paint you purchase.

  8. e evans sweny says:

    love this site, and i cant get off of it, since i have finally found an all in one website. i have been living in mid century modern homes all my life, and my mother always decorated in scandanavian furniture, so my influences come directly from the times they represent. It is just wonderful to see all this flashback and now the paint, this is the best! My 1953 home has angles so unusual inside and out,rounded exterior window frames, and curved ceilings,and more, i have been researching to find the right shade and color to accentuate this. This is the closest i have come yet, i will take pics when i am through.
    thanks loads ln

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