Dita Von Teese’s kitchen on a budget — Candace wants our ideas


Hey, Candace!
Candace channeling the Marilyn, too!

DesignDilemmaIs it possible to create a flirty kitchen worth of Dita Von Teese — in a rental apartment? In this week’s Retro Design Dilemma, reader Candace asks us to help her make her basic brown kitchen feel a little more feminine and — yes, retro-sexy. To give us an idea of the look she wants, Candace pointed to burlesque star Dita Von Teese’s retro kitchen (go look online readers, we don’t have photos to post here). Well, hello, pink! Of course, paint would be ‘most anyone’s first idea to begin to channel the Dita. Alas, Candace is in a rental, and the landlord will not allow her to paint the cabinets or the walls. So, we need to recommend creative decorating ideas that she can remove easily.

It’s time to play decorator, readers — what do you recommend to spice up Candace’s kitchen in pretty pin-up girl style — on a budget, no pink paint in sight? Continue on for Candace’s quandary –>


galley-kitchen-with-eat-in-areaCandace writes:

I was referred to you by your Facebook page. So here is my dilemma. I absolutely love Dita Von Teese’s kitchen — if you’ve seen it, that’s what I’m going for. This is just an idea that I have, but I am open to suggestions. Unfortunately, I can’t paint the the cabinets. I’m hoping that I can tape or nail in a design — for example, diamond shapes. I want something that would last long —  something that I could buy and/or reuse over and over again. I want the kitchen to be in pastel colors… I can’t wait to see what ideas you have.


galley-kitchen-stove eat-in-area-in-galley-kitchenIt’s nice that Candace has a large dining area on one end of her galley kitchen — with plenty of room for a table and chairs. She also has a fun pass-through in the kitchen — peeking into the living room — where she can place a collection of decorative objects. It’s challenging that no paint can be applied, but I think that with readers’ help, we are up to the challenge to suggest ideas to emulate the feminine, flirty vintage feel of Dita Von Teese’s kitchen <– see it here.

Readers — what would you do to add some Dita Von Teese sugar and spice to this rental kitchen?

Posies and polka dots pink and black vintage kitchenPams mood board for a Dita Von Teese kitchen — Posies and Polka Dots

1.  Vintage pink club aluminum dutch oven — Ebay seller r-great-stuff

2.  Pink KitchenAid mixer — Amazon.com

3.  Jessie Steele pink polka dot apron — Layla Grayce

4.  Ticking stripes tailored valance in pink — Country Curtains

5. Vintage metal Tole Dome chandelier embedded Crystal shade light from lampdoctor32 on Ebay 

6.  Vintage head vase with original plastic flowers — from Ebay seller 2010hamjam79

7.  Pink ceramic lady head vase from Ebay seller iisiss

8.  Vintage pink dinette set — reader Wendy’s from the uploader 

9.  Geometric Floorcloth — CanvasWorks (other options are this wool runner on sale at RugStudio or one of these black and white runners at FoFlor.com). Or, you could paint your own faux “linoleum rug” — reader Lauren shows us hers, and we also link to several online tutorials.

Sweet and Saucy pink and black kitchen mood boardKate’s mood board for a Dita Von Teese: Saucy and Sweet

1.  Pink KitchenAid Mixer — Amazon.com

2.  Vintage Martex kitchen towel — Etsy seller fuzzandfu

3.  Pink Hostess Vintage-Inspired Apron [link now gone] — Sur la Table

4.  Pink Vintage Boudoir Slippers — Etsy seller SusanHaywardVintage

5.  Pinwheel Pink Fabric Blended Accent Rugs (2×3 and 5×8) — Overstock.com

6.  Vintage Pink domed glass ceiling light fixture — Etsy seller ivorybird

7.  Too Cool for School Retro Modern Wall Clock — Amazon.com

8.  Park B. Smith vintage inspired window valance [product no longer available/link gone] — Macy’s

9.  Vintage pink dinette set — reader Laurie’s from our uploader

In addition to our mood boards — Pam asked her friend Margaret from AWayToGarden.com about the pretty pinky plant that Dita keeps on her windowsill. Margaret’s response:

Caladium. Not really a houseplant — it is an “annual” up North, grown from bulb-like tubers, and can be used in shady pots or the shady garden beds. Down South it can grow in the ground.

Head over to Caladium World to see their pink illusion Caladium, which looks like a pretty close match to the variety on Dita’s windowsill. Adding this bit of “greenery” or “pinkery” if you want to call it that to Candace’s ledge in her pass through would be one more way to make her kitchen a little more like Dita’s.


Finally, Hannah is a super-reader who continually researches terrific etsy finds and gathers them for us to ogle and maybe even buy. Coincidentally, she just told Pam about her latest treasury — pink kitchen finds, above. Click the photo to see that treasury, or click here to see all of Hannah’s etsy treasuries, curated with Retro Renovation readers in mind. Thank you, Hannah!

  1. Leah says:

    How about using double sided command strips to put up the place mats that Sandra mention above … that way the cupboard doors won’t be damaged …At the craft store you can get all sorts of beautiful vintage style papers as well as balsawood with some decopodge she could make panels to cover the fronts of the cupboard doors or she could use fabric to cover the balsawood panels. put them on with the command strips and no damage done.

  2. joan says:

    Hi Pam;
    Someone may have already suggested this:
    Remove a couple of the Kitchen Cabinet Doors (store to put back when she moves). Then she could display some retro Pink Treasures on the shelves.
    I found the same pink Dutch Oven at a Thrift Store recently, I am shocked at the amount of money the one you posted sold for. wow I am only using it for storing smaller kitchen items in.

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