Elizabeth’s red and white kitchen and Cath Kidston cowboy wallpaper

vintage wallpaperelizabeth175Reader Elizabeth and her husband have been hard at work fixing up their 1920s era farmhouse in Texas — most recently completing their retro red and white kitchen remodel. To find the finishing touch, it would take a trip all the way to Ireland — where the couple found Cath Kidston cowboy wallpaper — vintage western appeal perfect for the accent wall leading into the cheery new kitchen. 

vintage wallpaperElizabeth writes:

I thought I would send you some photos of how our summer facelift went on our 1920s era farm house, which is located on our ranch, thereby making it a ranch house??  (What are the rules for what constitutes a ranch-style house, anyway??)


Above: Here are some ancient “befores” from when we bought the place furnished in 2012…of the kitchen as we inherited it.


Next is a photo of when I got the red NorthStar for my wedding anniversary (July 2013), but with old cabinets, cabinet pulls, and counters.


We leveled the pier and beam foundation, which necessitated new floors, paint, kitchen cabinets, and ceilings.  We took up the 1990s vinyl parquet floors and laid down wood laminate; and took off the popcorn ceilings and put wood beam ceilings — taking it back in time a bit.


Here is the most beautiful wallpaper in the world–strawberries with a Delft plate, discovered in the kitchen during remodeling…it had jute backing and was estimated to be from the 1920s.  Boy, did I want some of that back in there.  Pink flowered wallpaper was also estimated to be about that old, also found in kitchen.


The countertops are dark gray with red boomerang countertops from Wilsonart.

vintage wallpaper

Your recent article on what one accent wall of wallpaper can do was so true–we tried it ourselves, and like the effect. Why, yes, that IS Cath Kidston “Cowboy” wallpaper, what else??  The funny thing is that we were on vacation in July to Scotland and Ireland. While in Belfast, we walked down a street to a restaurant, and there in front of us was a real live Cath Kidston store!  I begged my husband to take me in, as I had seen her on your website, and we walked out with Cowboy wallpaper designed and made in England, bought in Northern Ireland, and dragged home lovingly to Texas where it OBVIOUSLY belongs, haha!

retro red kitchen

Next room is the kitchen, with its red Northstar refrigerator that started my obsession with your website.  And that room leads into the laundry room, where Hubby let me put my beloved red and white VCT tiles!


My husband made me go to the local hardware store today, so while there, I photographed our laundry room floor tile from the Azrock Collection of Houston. We love that it was made in USA! He chose the non-spotted/non-streaky solid colors, which unbeknownst to us cost “premium” prices. Surprise! It was very expensive for VCT tile!

retro red kitchen

I hope these bright red photographs cheer up your broken arm, and that you continue to feel better and better.


The pink Big Chill is in my Ranchette, a knotty pine cabin in the backyard of the Ranch House.  I wanted them put together with an attached garage.  That’s what started all the trouble.  To put the attached garage on to both houses, it required the old ranch house to be leveled…which necessitated the new walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, etc.

And the most exciting news of all, I am closing on October 27th on a 1965 traditional brick home that has been a rent house — with ORIGINAL PINK BATHROOM and ORIGINAL MINT GREEN BATHROOM and ORIGINAL KITCHEN with ORIGINAL rather boring cream colored Formica, but HEY!  It’s from 1965, so I’m happy!  The only thing new in the house is the floors where they have laid cheap indestructible ceramic tile.  EXCEPT the entry hall which is ORIGINAL TERRAZZO.  Also, the house is FULL of ORIGINAL WOOD PANELING and BUILT-INS.  I cannot wait to get in that house.  I … will photograph it and submit for a Retro Design Dilemma!!


And finally is a photo of me…a selfie taken at our historic house in town built in 1873…which is another lovely story.  But the only thing midmod about it is the fabulous closet we added on, and the mint green Northstar refrigerator.  But I digress.

Wow, Elizabeth, you are one busy remodeling maven. Yes, we want to get regular updates of your many projects in three — soon to be four — houses and/or cabins. Woot! We want to have all those historic rooms to decorate, too! You need your own HGTV show, we’re not kidding!

We love the Cath Kidston cowboy wallpaper accent wall — it  really helps tie the kitchen and the living area together,while adding visual interest and retro western appeal great for your real deal ranch house. Nicely done — thank you for sharing!

Pam adds: Elizabeth, I adore the wallpaper, and the kitchen is great. But it’s that photo of your husband that had me all crackers. I am reading in to it that he was … putting up with it all. And then you had to take a picture. Classic. Just classic. In the running for my favorite photo of 2014. The best. xoxo

  1. midmichigan says:

    Sheesh! It all looks great!! That’s a lot of hard work that’s obviously paid off. Please share with us what the heck you guys are eating for breakfast. I’m guessing it must be Wheaties and habaneros to have that kind of energy.

    1. Elizabeth Walters says:

      Thanks! Hubby is the one with all the energy. He eats multi colored eggs from our 70 free range chickens for breakfast! That keeps him crowing all day.

  2. lynda says:

    Very nice and fun. And I agree with you on that first picture, Pam. We all know that look from a significant other–the “why me?” look!
    Cath Kidston may like that picture for an ad!

    1. Robin, NV says:

      The first picture reminds me of my husband on trips to the fabric store – gamely carrying around bolts of fabric for me but clearly wishing he was somewhere else. But as it turns out, he’s way better at picking fabric than I am!

  3. Jay says:

    You folks seem to really be enjoying all these endeavors you have taken on. I admire your physical energy and determination. The juxtaposition of the cowboy wallpapered wall in front of the rear red wall makes for a nice contrast. keep up the great reno work and please share pictures of your soon to be 60s house.

  4. Jacki says:

    Elizabeth, so which of these 3 awesome retro houses are you going to live in. I think that would be a difficult choice for me. :^)

    1. Elizabeth Walters says:

      Thanks! Hubby loves living out at the ranch, so the historic 1873 house in town is fixing to go up for sale. The 1965 house I’m fixing to close on next week will be my day house.

        1. Elizabeth Walters says:

          A “day house” is a name I coined to describe a house where you go during the day because your husband makes your ranch house and ranchette into a swirling vortex of visitors and activities (work related) and you need a midmod fortress of solitude, peace, and quiet in which to relive 1965. Haha, but seriously, it’s a house you go to in the day time, and go home in time to cook Hubby supper.

  5. Debbie says:

    North Star red frig? Big Chill pink fridge? No wonder you have both, how could you possibly decide between the two of them, as they are both fabulous. 🙂 What a great remodel you’ve done here—can’t wait to see what you do with the 1965 traditional brick house!

  6. Scott says:

    What fun rooms! I had no idea anything like that cowboy wallpaper still existed, I’m going to delve into the RetroRenovation archives and take a peek. Nice to see the AZRock tile in action too, so far that’s the front runner for my almost done kitchen, so many color choices. And a red Northstar plus a pink Big Chill at the same address. Wow!

  7. Laurie Louise says:

    Greetings from North Texas! I LOVE the cowboy wallpaper! We’re going ranchy in our own redo–lots of Ranch Oak–so I love seeing your take on the genre. Can’t wait to see more!

  8. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Well, Elizabeth, you have done a lovely job with that kitchen! Hope you enjoy all your other projects.

    You can look back in the archives here for discussions on what constitutes a “ranch style” house, but briefly, it has nothing to do with whether or not it is a farmhouse on an actual ranch. (The same goes for a “colonial” style house, which doesn’t mean one built before 1776, and a ‘”Cape,” which is similar to houses on Cape Cod but doesn’t have to be there!) A ranch style house is inspired by Spanish “rancheros” and is basically a one-floor house with a gradual incline on the roof, which usually has an overhang. It may be rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped, or it could enclose a central courtyard. In this part of the country (New England), we have such a thing as “colonial ranches,” which combine the ranch shape with colonial details, such as shutters on the windows. Alan Hess’ _The Ranch House_ is a good book to read to give you the breadth and depth of the ranch house in America.

    1. Elizabeth Walters says:

      Thanks! I will have to look for that book. This is a one-story rectangle with over-hanging roof. I can tell that much. But that’s about all I can tell ya!

  9. Heart says:


    Thank you for sharing your beautiful new kitchen & Cath K. feature wall, well done!

    What I’d like to know is, where did you get that Fab grey couch (aka davenport) with the horse head stitchery. Are the arms wagon wheels? What is the name of that style furniture? (anyone?) Ohhh so Awesome!

    1. Elizabeth Walters says:

      Thank you! I adore my horsie couch that I found at the Round Rock Antique Mall nearby in Round Rock, Texas. The arms are in fact wagon wheels. I call the style ’50s Cowboy Kitsch but I just made that up. My beloved Hubby says he had furniture like it growing up in the ’50s in East Texas, but the ends were barrels instead of wagon wheels. The end table is a match with the wagon wheels design as well.

      1. Mary Elizabeth says:

        I have seen furniture in that style called “rustic ranch” or “cowboy style.” It’s related to Santa Fe style and “Southwest,” you know, the sofas out of some combination of leather and Indian blanket.

        I sympathize with you having a husband who conducts business at home. I put up with that for several years when my husband was “semi-retired.” (All that meant was that he was still working but was underfoot all day instead of going to the office.) But we worked it out.

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