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Announcing 7 new boomerang laminates — “Retro Renovation® by Wilsonart” — woot!

retro boomerang laminateDrum roll, please: Today we unveil the seven new boomerang laminate color palettes that we have developed in collaboration with Wilsonart — the new Retro Renovation® by Wilsonart® collection! Kate and I are in Las Vegas at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) 2016 — we’ll be meeting with design media and kitchen and bath professionals all day today and tomorrow to show them the new designs. Meanwhile, here are all the official press materials, including photos of the seven colorways. We hope you like them — in terms of getting additional retro designs into the pipeline, it’s a start!

retro boomerang laminate

The official news release:

Wilsonart Teams With RetroRenovation.com for Project Boomerang

Seven New Colorways Created for Homeowners Decorating Kitchens and Bathrooms in Midcentury and Vintage Styles

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 19, 2016) – Put on your poodle skirts! Make some milkshakes! Stack up those 45s!  Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of decorative engineered surfaces for 60 years, has teamed up with home design bloggers Pam Kueber and Kate Battle of RetroRenovation.com to introduce Retro Renovation® by Wilsonart, seven new colorways of boomerang laminate designs.  Developed to coordinate with both vintage materials and new products available in classic retro colors, the seven new colorways were designed to appeal to the growing number of homeowners who want to bring popular colors from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s into their kitchens and bathrooms.

Finding small-scale, tone-on-tone, abstract pattern laminates in a variety of retro colors has been a particularly vexing problem for Retro Renovators, until now.  The new boomerang designs, part of Wilsonart’s Virtual Design Library (VDL) “Retro” category, combine with other abstract shapes in the following colorways:

  • Retro Renovation® First Lady Pink – A warm pink color popularized by Mamie Eisenhower in the 1950s, super popular in pink bathrooms and great for a sweetheart kitchen, too.
  • Retro Renovation® Delightful Jade – Inspired by vintage jadeite milk glass, a beloved color and collectible among retro enthusiasts. Kate used this color in her 1962 bathroom. We love it for vintage-style kitchens, too.
  • Retro Renovation® Créme Caramel – A delicious pale golden yellow background with butterscotch boomerangs. This colorway looks great with wood cabinetry.
  • Retro Renovation® Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruby – The only design that is not tone-on-tone, this one is a bold retro design inspired by diners with waitresses on roller skates.
  • Retro Renovation® Aqua Ripple – A soft, retro aqua that also plays well with blue.
  • Retro Renovation® Nostalgic Gray – A warm, relatively light gray that would work well as a neutral or with color-coordinated tiles or décor.
  • Retro Renovation® Friendly Beige – A warm, light rosy-beige also intended as a neutral.

Tapping Wilsonart’s Design Heritage

“With an ever expanding collection of curated laminate designs, our Virtual Design Library (VDL) allows for beautiful, individual, customization. VDL gives the designer the opportunity to make every space unique,” said Natalia Smith, product design manager at Wilsonart. “From High Pressure Laminate designs that include footballs to folk art, and checkerboards to cherry groves, the digital design library contains something for every space or inspiration. Adding Retro Renovation by Wilsonart to our collection will expand our selection of popular retro patterns.”

“My blog is all about helping owners of midcentury and vintage homes find the products they need to get their projects done,” said Pam Kueber, publisher of RetroRenovation.com, a popular home renovation design and decorating website with more than 325,000 unique visitors each month.  “Because this market is still a niche, there’s been a real shortage of mass-market laminates available to use in retro kitchens and baths. When I learned about the flexibility of the Virtual Design Library, I knew it was a great place to offer these beautiful retro-classic colorways.”

Retro Renovation® by Wilsonart will be available online February 1. For more information about Wilsonart products, including the new Retro Renovation by Wilsonart, visit www.wilsonart.com or call 1-800-433-3222.

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About Retro Renovation

Founded by mid mod mad journalist Pam Kueber in 2007, RetroRenovation.com today attracts more than 325,000 unique visitors each month – enthusiastic fans of midcentury and vintage design who are looking for products and ideas to help remodel, renovate and decorate their homes in a way that is sympathetic to the original architecture. The site’s top goal is to help readers find the often hard-to-find products they need to get their projects done. It contains more than 3,000 stories, including categorized research on scores of products suitable to renovate and decorate a midcentury home; detailed stories about readers’ remodels; photos of more than 100 time capsule houses to scrutinize for ideas; an archive of rare architectural features from the era; a history of vintage steel kitchen cabinets and list of more than 70 brands, and more. The New York Times called RetroRenovation.com “the go-to destination for enthusiasts who want to restore houses built during the post-World War II boom.”

About Wilsonart

Wilsonart is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of High Pressure Laminates and other engineered surfaces used in furniture, office and retail space, countertops, worktops and other applications. The company operates under the Wilsonart®, Resopal®, Polyrey®, Arborite®, Ralph Wilson® and Durcon® brands and has achieved success through a combination of outstanding service, high-quality products and a focus on continuously redefining decorative surfaces through improved performance and aesthetics. For more information, visit www.Wilsonart.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Let’s take a closer look at the seven colorways:retro boomerang laminate

retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® First Lady Pink – A warm pink color popularized by Mamie Eisenhower in the 1950s, super popular in pink bathrooms and great for a sweetheart kitchen, too.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Delightful Jade – Inspired by vintage jadeite milk glass, a beloved color and collectible among retro enthusiasts. Kate used this color in her 1962 bathroom. We love it for vintage-style kitchens, too.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Créme Caramel – A delicious pale golden yellow background with butterscotch boomerangs. This colorway looks great with wood cabinetry.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruby – The only design that is not tone-on-tone, this one is a bold retro design inspired by diners with waitresses on roller skates.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Aqua Ripple – A soft, retro aqua that also plays well with blue.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Nostalgic Gray – A warm, relatively light gray that would work well as a neutral or with color-coordinated tiles or décor.
retro boomerang laminate
Retro Renovation® Friendly Beige – A warm, light rosy-beige also intended as a neutral.


And finally, more background that we wrote up in a fact sheet:

An Evolution

  • Wilsonart already had an established “Retro” Virtual Design Library Category in several midcentury styled patterns and colorways. This retro pattern includes three abstract characters – line-drawn boomerangs intermingled with a loose figure eight and a rounded rectangle.
  • To refresh the palette and open the design to more potential uses, Pam and Kate envisioned lower-contrast, tone-on-tone colorways that would meld with the most popular midcentury bathroom and kitchen colorways, especially those calling for warm pastels.
  • In the new colorways, Pam and Kate wanted to see the boomerang more clearly “floating” on top of these other elements to ensure dynamism, but with carefully controlled contrast.

Setting the Mood

  • Pam and Kate compiled design boards that were the influence for each of the colors. The boards included both new products available today in appropriate retro colors, such as tile and flooring, as well as vintage materials, like wallpaper, chalkware fish, hardware modules and even several cabinet doors.
    • These products – both vintage and new – reflect what actual renovators might be using or decorating around in their kitchen and bathroom projects today.
  • Pam and Kate created collages that would give even more life to the boards and to evoke the happy feeling and vibrant color that retro décor inspires.

Developing the Colorways

  • Wilsonart’s design team selected colors for each character of the design to get the right combination.
  • A sample was generated and compared against the design boards for coordination. Through each phase of this process, the slightest alteration needed evaluation to ensure a perfect balance of color and contrast.
  • Laminate samples were sent to Pam and Kate for review. Changes to one layer of any design potentially impacted the whole look of the pattern, affecting intensity or color. Some of the retro shades were more difficult than others to get just right, so the review process continued until the seven new colorways were achieved.

Epic, huh? Yup. This has all been pretty epic.

We are at the show today, so may not have a lot of time to respond to comments until much later. Wish us luck and lots of publicity for The Retro!!!

retro boomerang laminateBoomies-samples-now-availableFB

When can I get samples and/or buy these?

  • UPDATE FEB. 1: The designs are now available — you can order free 8′ x 10″ samples within their Virtual Design Library Retro collection. Of course, it’s important to get samples to see this in place in your space; as you can even see from our photography and graphic representations, colors render differently on screen vs. in place.
  • UPDATE: You can buy these online at Home Depot. You can also go to a specialty retailer like Heffrons A Moment in Time Retro Design [disclosure: A longtime Retro Renovation advertiser). NOTE: When I ordered samples from Wilsonart to test the system – a list of dealers in my area came up alongside my order in the Cart Checkout.

Disclosure: I want readers to know: I do not make money if you buy this laminate; “the deal” that I have with Wilsonart includes other elements of consideration. For example, on Feb. 1 they will launch an advertisement on the blog, for which Retro Renovation is compensated. So, I do not have any incremental financial reason to promote the laminates in this collection over other options — see all our research on countertop options to find the product that’s right for you! – Publisher Pam.

  1. susieq says:

    These are lovely and I think your next big project should be to enlist someone young and energetic to do a reality TV show . Instead of following the currant renovating crowd with using the same off the shelf products (with virtually no color besides neutral ) in every 50’s 60’s house, the show could introduce the concept of pastels and diversity.I’m sure I’m not the only one who is bored to tears with the sameness of every one of these shows.Yes it’s wonderful that they are rescuing homes that need repair but not that they are wiping out every bit of the homes true “character”.

  2. I love them! I was glad to see the info. on samples. I have a brand new work table in my craft room just waiting for this! I just need to choose a color. Thank-you for your work with Wilsonart in creating more colors of the boomerang pattern. 🙂

  3. sherree says:

    Yes Maureen you can use laminate for a back splash! I just remodeled my 1953 kitchen and used Wilsonart retro Betty laminate for the counter tops and back splash. The installers kind of rolled their eyes when I told them what I wanted but in the end they agreed that it looked great 🙂 It it very easy to keep clean and creates a more simple look I think.

  4. Greg Nieberding says:

    I just finished restoring our 1957 Jack Woods ranch in Dallas and used Wilsonart “Betty” laminate for both countertops and backsplashes, replacing the original, damaged G. E. Textolite laminate. Looks fantastic with aqua Geneva steel cabinets and new Marmoleum flooring. The original laminate covered the backsplashes, too. It’s perfect. Kudos to Wilsonart for embracing the retro look and giving retro fans more great design options. And MANY thanks to Pam and Kate for giving all of us an indispensable resource for mid mod restoration and design.

  5. nina462 says:

    Most definatly…my kitchen has original laminate countertops and they include a backsplash all the way around to just under the cabinets. It makes clean up a breeze!

  6. Sam R says:

    Do you have any information on the price point of the new laminates? My ’54 house has some probably 1990s production boomerang laminates on the original bathroom countertops (they appear to be Formica, as they’re muted multi-tones), but the blue in the blue/pink bathroom that sold me on the house is starting to get some unsightly worn spots, and the white/brown/green in my master bath does not look at all right with the blue/”yet to be determined” colorway that I’m working on in there.

    Interestingly enough, the original green linen laminate countertop in my tiny green/yellow 1/2 bath is in pristine condition even after 61.5 years. Now I just need to get enough matching yellow ceramic tile and jade green accent tile to replace the original plastic tiles in there…

  7. pam kueber says:

    Heffrons [disclosure: an advertiser] just put them on their site today, they are going to charge $221 for a 4’x8′ sheet, plus shipping. You can also check prices at big box stores.

  8. Dan O. says:

    Nice interpretation of the original Brooks Stevens designed Skylark pattern, I’m assuming that Formica retains the rights to that design yet refuses to make it available due to limited demand.

    I’m a big fan of laminate and I’m pretty sure all the big domestic suppliers offer the option (buried on their respective sites) of “custom” laminates based on any artwork/design one could furnish. I’ve never looked into what the “custom” route would cost or if it would even be a practical option for someone working on something smaller than the entire floor of an office building.

    I’ve always been curious, I’m sure that somewhere in a dark corner at Wilsonart headquarters there exists an archive of every design that’s been offered since day 1, in working with them did either of you get a peek? How awesome would it be if one could arrange a limited quantity group-buy based on an archived pattern?

  9. pam kueber says:

    Hi Dan O.,

    I did get a peek at the archives. I told Wilsonart I liked ’em and they subsequently reintroduced Daisy and Compre, in several colorways each, with some modest modifications, as I recall. See these two stories: https://retrorenovation.com/search-results/?q=wilsonart%20daisy

    Both of these document laminates are in the Wilsonart Virtual Design Library, same as the boomerang designs we worked with them to recolor. A cool thing about the Virtual Design Library (vs. getting your own design made to order) is that Wilsoart already has done the color work/printed onto laminate and can send you samples. I am told that Wilsonart and Formica (and there may be other makers; I have not researched the topic] have programs where you can work 1:1 with them to create your own laminate patterns. I am not sure how much either of these options cost, nor can I tell how how likely it would be that what you see on your computer-screen design would be matched once your computer-screened design when to print then to lamination. We struggled mightily to get our colorways “just right” based on such issues.

    Final note: Formica boomerang still available in one colorway, Charcoal – and “stock” at that; and there is a line via the Vitro brand (I believe this also is pressed by Wilsonart, but I am not 100% sure). Here’s our story on all the options — story needs to be updated, though!: https://retrorenovation.com/2013/01/24/24-colors-of-boomerang-laminate-for-kitchen-counter-tops-formica-boomerang-but-much-much-more/

  10. Yvonne Hersey says:

    YAY!!!!! We can’t even believe our luck! We are just now starting our budget and picking out all the stuff for our new construction 1960’s ranch! We should break ground in a few weeks. You made our day when you posted these from Wilsonart. The local flooring company we are using also said there is a new line of flooring coming out that we can see in February!
    We have referred to your site almost daily in the past year. The Bootz sinks and the chrome cabinet knobs are all so so cheap!!
    Thank you, thank you for all of your research and making our job so much easier!

  11. pam kueber says:

    Oh I need to go look. That’s a ginormous site! I met the publisher Jaime Derringer years ago and we became friends. We saw her at KBIS — and she did a video with me, too. I will go look right away! Thanks for letting me know!!!

  12. Ruth says:

    My sample of the First Lady Pink arrived today and it is absolutely smashing. One of the things that would be useful is the Pantone Color Info, or other paint color match info, that can be used when selecting paint. Is obtaining this a possibility? Thanks, Ruth

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