Patti and Darin’s yabba dabba DIY kitchen makeover — more thumbs up for Wilsonart Betty laminate


Patti writes:

Hi, Pam! Oh my, where do I begin? A few years ago you featured my pink bedroom with the silver starbursts wall and Heywood-Wakefield furniture. This was where my midcentury obsession began. Since I had moved out of my ‘big house’, a 1903 four-square and into my 1948 garage apartment out back, it was the perfect time for out with the old and in with the new modern. But that’s a whole other story. This one is all about Betty.

“Howdy hudee, bring it on,” we told Patti! “Let’s hear more. Let’s see more.” And she delivered.

Photo viewing tip for this and all stories on RR:
On a desktop computer, you can click on any photo,
and it should enlarge on screen, up to double in size.

And so our email back and forth commenced:
retro kitchen remodel

A little over a year ago, I moved from my apartment in the town I grew up in to North Carolina. I dreamed of buying an untouched ranch. And I found her, a 1957, no less. She’s as old as I am and equally as worn. The kitchen has the original cabinets, counters and sheet vinyl floor. Original appliances are long gone, and craigslist replacements were there for resale. I wanted a period stove and just couldn’t find what I wanted to fit the 36″ space. But I had to do something with those cabinets so I could unpack my dishes….my dishes! My 1957 set of Franciscan Starburst, my coveted dishes!

retro kitchen remodel

My original plan was to restore the cabinets to their former glory, sand them down and clear coat. But after 2 weeks of sanding I couldn’t get the wood tone even. And the inside of the cabinets were a worn out mess.

I had leftover paint from my vintage camper redo, Sherwin Williams 6758 Aqueduct, which just so happens to match my coveted dishes. So I decided to give the paint a try — and my cabinets turned out beautiful, inside and out.

And so my kitchen waited since last December, until I could find the perfect laminate for my counters.

retro kitchen

In the meantime, the search was on for a late 50’s stove. We said we wanted gas, but when I found my pink wall oven and cooktop on craigslist, I had to have it.

retro laminate

It waited patiently covered up and off to one side in my kitchen for the perfect laminate. Many, many samples were delivered to my house but none were ‘the one’. Until you, dear girl, featured Betty and Endora. Finally!

The original counters are tan linen. (It’s still in the main bath. The half bath is original gray boomerang.) The finish was completed worn off in several places, and the counter was still solid as a rock. We decided to relaminate over the old.

Editor’s note: Remember, readers, a special reason we love Betty and Endora is that they are stock laminates — not special order. Stock laminates are generally much, much cheaper than custom digital print laminates made-to-order. For example, this 4×8 sheet of Wilsonart Betty from Home Depot is just $59.

retro pink laminate
Patti wrote, “This is the Endora sample on my pink cooktop, so you can show folks how well it matches. I love the pink!”

When I saw Endora, I was so tempted to repaint my cabinets pink but, you know — those coveted dishes! So Betty won out.

I ordered two (5 x 12) sheets as soon as she was available from Home Depot. Shipping was free to my door, and I asked them for a 10% discount, and they said yes! We’ve contemplated how to do it for months, then, finally a few weeks ago we dove in.


I measured and calculated and made all the cuts…


Darin wired it all up…


(… Weensie Scarlett was ever so helpful every step of the way proving how valuable a lovely assistant can be.)

It was a lot of work, hard work. Laminate is not forgiving, once it sticks, it’s stuck! But I just had to work slow, be patient, and think it all through.

retro-kitchen retro-kitchenretro-kitchen

I’m so happy I ran the laminate up the wall as the backsplash. That was tricky, because nothing is level or square, but it got easier when I quit being so particular and decided caulk was my friend. The trim where the counter meets the wall is aluminum 90 degree L from Lowes. I used contact cement to adhere it.

“I bought the colander at a flea market years and years ago, paid a dollar for it,” Patti said. “There was a 24″ tube florescent fixture above the sink when I moved in and, of course, that would never do! When Darin came home and first saw it he looked at me like I was crazy (a look I know well!) but he says he likes it now. (He’s sweet that way.) I am not a fan of the twisty light bulbs but it made it look atomic to me.”
retro kitchen
The Franciscan night light was an ebay purchase about four years ago, Patti said.


I painted the walls SW 6360 Folksy Gold.


I still can’t get over it!

retro decor

My Burke tulip table and chairs (too big for the kitchen) are now kinda in my living room, which I suppose was once the dining area, though I don’t know how in the world they ever fed a family in that space.

retro decor

(Side note: When I took the living room carpet up a few months ago, there was a patched place in the floor between the door  on the left and my table. Must have been some sort of divider to separate the dining space. I thought about putting it back, but had already moved the ceiling light and hung my flying saucer retractable light up, so I patched in flooring I stole from the entry to the attic. You never know what you’re going to find. I always say, “If it doesn’t say Sunkist, you don’t know what’s inside”!!))

Yowza, Patti and Darin, this is just Yabba Dabba DIY Awesome.


Patti sent us some other photos — some decorating tweaks to her 1957 bathroom and to the basement, where the couple has created an office and crafting area. And — sneak peek that snack table and boomerang clock. Come back tomorrow for the details on how Patti made those. Meanwhile, I lavished praise on Patti for her decorating and design inventiveness. And, I asked for a personal photo to go with the story.

It sounds like they make every moment an adventure… She replies:

The truth is I just have way too much time on my hands! And, wow, it’s hard to take a good picture of yourself. We’ve been laughing our heads off. But here we are.

Golly, Pam and Kate, I can’t thank you enough for all the awesomeness you share and all the hours you spend finding the things that help us make a house our home. And eight years?! Good grief that sure went by fast. You have drawn together so many like-minded souls. These midcentury homes keep us grounded in a simpler time. We are all forever grateful!

Thanks a ton…

Thank YOU, Patti and Darin! xoxo

DIY laminate countertop:


More Wilsonart Betty:

Sneak peak of Nancy’s kitchen. We like how this laminate looks with orangey-blond wood cabinets, too.


  1. Kathy says:

    I love your painted kitchen. Can you please tell me how you painted the front of your dishwasher?

    I love my 1950 cupboards and don’t want to get rid of them. My cupboards were built very well and in they are in excellent condition since I am only the second owner of my house. The original owner built the house himself. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to paint over wood but I’m loving the look of painted cupboards. Paint will definitely be cheaper than new cupboards. My whole house has golden/orange wooden trim and doors that may also get painted white.

    I’m thinking about going all white or possibly grey cupboards. My refrigerator is white but my dishwasher has a plastic black front. I have a galley kitchen and the side with the sink and dishwasher is fine by me. The other side has a built in 1950 oven that is too small and I can’t find a replacement. There is a more modern range top with a broken knob, and a large clunky black 1980 microwave over top, and then my small white 90’s frig. I’m going to have the cupboards rehung on that side so I can put in a standard oven/stove. The microwave will not remain that large and I plan to put it on a shelf at the end where my built in wall oven was. I’ll put a separate exhaust hood over the stove which will give the stove area room for larger pots.

    I too love my Corelle dishes. I started collecting all cups patterns as all the new ones are now being made in China. I love holding the original Corelle coffee cups.

    Did you use a deglosser and primer before painting? Is that a satin or semi-gloss finish? Finally, do you have suggestions or advice for my project?

  2. Ondrea says:

    Oh what a beautiful kitchen, I love the laminate work tops, I wish I could of found something like that in England UK!! You guys are lucky you do seem to have more choice 🙂

  3. Mindy says:

    Did you use regular paint for the dishwasher? I have never seen that before and it’s giving me an idea!!

  4. Rachel Carey says:

    I came across a pink Holly stove at a yard sale for $100. My husband forbade me to buy her, but no worries, I have a 54″ from the 70’s that still reigns supreme. Your counters are PERFECT. The cabinets are beautiful! Very eye-catching!


  5. Hannah says:

    Hurray! Someone else has installed Betty (vs Endora) with pink appliances! My 1959 kitchen redo will be built around a pink vintage stove/fridge set, but I’ve been struggling for over a year with how to work with that pink without going completely pink kitchen-wide. And I love seeing how well the paint worked out for your cabinets-awesome job! I also was planning on stripping the very nasty cheap white paint, with BLACK paint underneath, to what I hope is a nice natural wood underneath…but your story reminds me that I have some doubts about what kind of shape that wood is in.

  6. Jack says:

    This is an unreal improvement! And honestly almost exactly what I want for my kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration you guys!

  7. Lynn says:

    This is absolutely wonderful! You did an amazing job! We are moving from our 1980s house to a mid-century one next year and I’m excited about the chance to use Betty in the new kitchen. I hope we can find something with the original cabinets. Your kitchen is so beautiful it should be used in an ad for Betty! Endora is really pretty too, but Betty matches my kitchen stuff better. I have beloved dishes also so I understand that. Mine are Corelle’s Spring Blossom Green (aka Crazy Daisy).

    1. Patti Cannan says:

      WOW great minds think alike! I got rid of all my Crazy Daisy that I had for years to make room for my Franciscan Starburst. I had a complete service for 12! I redid the kitchen in my last place and used Formica Skylark blue boomerang on the counters and Mod Walls penny rounds tile as the backsplash in blue, crazy daisy green and white. I loved my Corelle dishes too 😉 Good luck!

  8. Jen says:

    This post was like an early Christmas gift! I’m dying to redo my counters with this, but was unsure of the shade of turquoise. My woodwork is already a warm shade that will match the gold, my walls are yellow, and I acquired a Chromcraft cracked ice table with yellow chairs that match the walls! It’s gonna happen! Reading this gave me renewed ambition!

    1. Patti Cannan says:

      Aqueduct is almost identical to Holiday Turquoise. I love the color and originally used it on my camper. Then I painted my front doors with it when I got here because I still had it leftover (yes, I brought my leftover paint with me!) Then I realized how well it matched my dishes. And now I’m famous! Before I painted my walls Folksy Gold, I had primed them buttery yellow (the original blue wall color clashed terribly.) I’m looking forward to you being famous too!

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