3 midcentury home design products we wish they’d bring back NOW

3-mcm-products-to-bring-back2014 was a great year for reissues of classic midcentury product designs.  Still, there are three very basic products — I’m trying not to be greedy — that I would love to see brought back to the market, mass produced for cost, quality and availability. My list is based on seven years of blogging about midcentury modest and modern homes, hearing about what Retro Renovators need and have been excited about whenever the products come up. 

1. Glitter laminate:

gold sparkle laminateThe absolutely positively #1 item on my list is glitter laminate.

Update, March 2018: Susan has brought this back! See the complete story here.

Made with deco paper — with real glitter inclusions, just like they were starting around 1950 all the way through the early 2000s — yes, this stuff was available for more than 50 years, non-stop. Today, this deco paper is still available — I have personally seen where it is made! Laminate manufacturers: I won’t even be greedy and ask for different colorways. Just give us a white (check the historic examples to get the rightish white) with gold glitter. The white field glitter laminate will solve for MULTITUDES of Retro Renovator kitchens and bathrooms.

Alas — this neeeeds to be a production laminate — it can’t be digital special-order run.  As far as I know, the metal glitter cannot be replicated with current on-demand digital printers. That means this must be done with paper with real glitter inclusions. Laminate manufacturers must buy minimum (lotsa) size rolls of the deco paper… once they make the laminate, the sheets must be stored flat, in climate-controlled warehouses… and then there’s the whole marketing machine to get it out to the public. Note, I also tend to think that laminates made with deco paper (on a rotogravure press or as in the case of sparkle laminate, with real inclusions) are nicer looking — the ink saturation will be more intense… AND production laminates are much less expensive than on-demand digital prints because they are mass produced.

Pretty please with sprinkles on top: Will some laminate manufacturer take a big gulp and take a market risk on this? We’ll buy it! Maybe there are enough of us!

Gold Satellite had crackles in it. Cool. Super cool. But I just show this for a close up of the glitter. If we can have ONE design, just give us plain glitter, sans crackles.

2. Double-bowl, dual-drainboard, metal-rimmed, cast-iron kitchen sink:


vintage-drainboard-sink-in-1940s-kohler-kitchenNumber two on my list: A double-sink, double-drainboard, hudee-rimmed, porcelain-on-cast-iron kitchen sink. The photos above show vintage Kohler sinks from our story about 16 vintage Kohler kitchen sinks.

kohler drainboard sink

And above: A 1956 ad for the Kohler “Clearfield” sink — now we know its name. Thanks to ebay seller splittinimagecards for giving us permission to show this photo of this ad for sale, we love having it for our archive.

Note, we love the hudee-rimmed Kohler’s Delafield sink currently available today — it’s a go-to recommendation for a replacement kitchen sink. But oh dear Kohler, can we have a design with drainboards?

Hey, I’d even settle for a double bowl with one drainboard. OR, a single bowl with one or two drainboards. Must have the metal rim, though!

3. Armstrong #5352:

armstrong 5352

armstrong 5352
From a 1963 catalog in my personal collection. Some of the other colorways, which I pretty sure varied over time. Lookie the one with the pink!!!!

Armstrong Floors, can we have #5352 — believed to be the most popular flooring of all time — back, please? Unbelievable: This floor was made from at least 1935 through to the mid-1990s — 60-some years!

This classic rich brick red color would be fine if we can have only one color. But if you can do other colors, how about something light and creamy (predominantly warm, rather than cool)?

armstrong linoleum 5352
Armstrong #5352 started off as an embossed linoleum. We’ve spotted it in catalogs as early as 1935…
… As manufacturing techniques and the market changed, the floor was printed on vinyl. We have a reader who worked in the flooring department at Sears and said it was sold there through the mid-1990s.

Note: I am not saying Armstrong #5352 floor should be paired with a glitter-on-white laminate countertop. To me, the brick red screams “put me in a warm cozy midcentury modest kitchen” with a rich-colored countertop. But maybe I’d pair glitter laminate with a light, creamy colorway of the floor.

Updated: Like in Lori’s kitchen, photo below, thanks, Lori! Well, she says that floor originally had green squares, but they’ve faded with use. Still, you get the idea of how a monochrome meet-up between a beige 5352 floor and the glitter laminate could look:

glitter laminate with armstrong 5352 beige

And another update:

vintage flooringReader Jan provided this photo (above) and the history:

Re: the Armstrong Brick flooring among the things we’d like to come back – I found this photo of the side porch at my grandmother’s house. This photo was taken in the late 1950s. My mom can’t remember when this floor was put down – she was born in 1934 and just always remembers it being there. I remember that it was a green colorway -very pretty! (The dogs are Come Here on the bench, Buster in the middle and Kilts on the right – Kilts was a full Scottish terrier and mom to the other two, who were “accidents” with a neighborhood dog – before spaying and neutering was the right thing to do!)

Thanks, Jan!

Some historical images from our files:

armstrong linoleum 1935Armstrong 5352 in a bathroom design, 1956

What do you think of my list, readers?
I’m wary of pushing our luck by being *too greedy*…
but for the “next wave” of we-wannas, what else?


  1. Anna says:

    YES!! I totally agree with your 3 wishes. We have a ’59 post and beam with the original double bowl white enamel sink with hudee ring, the red brick patterned linoleum flooring, and a sample left of a teal blue wood grain high gloss Formica countertop. I also would like to see a comeback of the hudee ring sinks, and some groovy patterned linoleum flooring. Ps, we are trying to find an original single bowl white enamel kitchen sink with hudee ring to pair up with our double bowl. Anyone know where one might be kicking around?

  2. Karen says:

    Oh, how I would love to see that light colored version with light green in the pattern! It would be so cute in my cottage kitchen.

  3. Marie A says:

    I have glitter laminate in my 1967 built home kitchen and I love it! Laminate is the best, I’ll never buy granite or anything else. I would also LOVE to have a double drainboard sink–I’ve wanted one for years. Please apply your clout!

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Yes, perhaps if I ever fulfill yet-another dream, of having a rustic woodsy lake cottage, I will pull out all the stops to get all three!

  4. Meg says:

    The house I grew up in was built in the late 1960s. We had the Armstrong Brick flooring, and the glitter laminate countertops (in white)! I remember my mother showing me that the best way to clean the floor was on our knees, with a cleaning cloth and a bucket with some Spic and Span in it.

  5. Dana says:

    Not only is my kitchen floor the red brick linoleum, they decided to line the (knotty pine) cupboards shelves (no glue) with it! My previous homeowners were so smart!

    A few years ago I found out about Norwex products and used their kitchen cloth and water to wash my cupboards. Worked great as far as I could tell. It also was fantastic at getting some nasty adhesive off of my plastic tiles 😉

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