Retro Renovation TV: Laminate countertops for your mid century kitchen

Laminate countertops with metal edging are among the most popular choices for homeowners updating the kitchens in their mid century homes. In this video, I show you the Formica Skylark boomerang countertops in my aquamarine kitchen… We take a look at the stainless steel edging that we found at the last place that makes it in New York… there are design tips for adding diversity to your countertop materials… tips for shelves… and, I show you some problems I encountered but worked my way through. I have to tell you, I sure do love writing the blog, but there’s nothing like video to make the tips that much… easier.


  1. Pat says:

    I also found a bunch of the switchplates with the vertical lines and replaced all of mine. I just love them (I’m taking them with me when I move someday!). I thought I was the only weird person that thought about switchplates!

  2. Jeanmarie Zalinka says:


    I love your website. I bought a house last year that was built around 1969. The previous owners, let’s say, ruined its charm. I have a VERY long TO-DO list to restore it to back to its roots. Your website has been so helpful in that quest. I call it “Mid-century meets 21st Century”.

    I’m thinking of using one of the boomerang patterns for the kitchen counter as well. The metal edging, wow, would really complete the look.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Love your videos, Pam! They’re very practical & informative. My husband and I are considering using the charcoal or coral Formica boomerang laminate in our own kitchen when we’re finally able to renovate it. I look forward to seeing more videos in the future!!

  4. manu says:

    HI, I have horrid renter’s white laminate countertops in my pre-war kitchen, and I would love to replace them w/ the blue boomerang in your video. However, I’m wondering if I will have the same problem I have w/ my current white laminate, which is that if *anything* touches the countertop it makes an ugly mark or spot that is hard to get out. Is the laminate you are featuring in your vid like this? or is it a better quality? thanks

    1. pam kueber says:

      Manu, mine is just fine – I believe there are good/better/best grades of laminate. And: see my post about “Countertop Magic.”

      1. Gavin Hastings says:

        I think they have changed the formula of laminates. EPA, maybe?

        It is not as indestructable as it once was…I’ve seen vintage ads with housewives in heels going after it with blow-torches and hammers.
        “Cracked Ice” lives forever and everytime I see it it is in showroom condition.

  5. Gavin Hastings says:

    What is you feeling toward no ledge at the back of the wall and laminate used as a backslpash right up to the bottom of the wall cabinets? Every home I ever lived in had this feature, but I never see it applied any longer.
    I always have found that ledge after 1970 (why?) and it tends to be a dust collector.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Gavin, it’s not my favorite look… probably because that’s what I ripped out of my circa 1975 kitchen to create my circa 1951/63 kitchen. That said, I certainly understand the functionality of the design… and the aesthetics is a personal thing.

  6. Shane Walp says:

    Very kool video Pam! I think I MAY have enough original stainless 4″ backsplash to do my whole kitchen….my Youngstown stuff came with original gray cracked ice laminate, stainless edge for mitered laminate surfaces, and the backsplash.

    I have afeeling I’m going to end up making another 5′ myself tho.

  7. Gavin Hastings says:

    Another great video!
    I think your outlets are perfectly placed. It seems most electricians want to place them too high….My toaster is in front of, and covers the outlet, the mixer covers another. I don’t like to see cords.
    Another tip I wouold advise is ivory or white plugs and switches for light colored backsplashed and brown or black (they do make red!) for dark ones.

    Not that I’m obsessive or anything….

    1. Shane Walp says:

      I’m obsessive. I’ve gone around my whole house and replaced all my outlets with (grounded) ivory and all the outlet covers and switchplates with original ivory covers with the vertical lines. LOL

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