THE ESTATE SALE ON FRIDAY was a jackpot — the 1964, single-owner split level house was in gorgeous condition. What I really liked about it was that it was a very middle class, unpretentious house – but it had features that were clearly chosen for their high quality and craftsmanship. It was timeless in the true sense that everything about the house can endure. Oh lordy, I hope that the new owners understand what they have in hand! Today, two slide shows: The first of an awesome midcentury mailbox, recessed into the roman marble brick of the exterior. I know lots of readers will be so envious of this feature, I’ve never seen anything like it yet. And second, a fabulous time capsule kitchen — it includes two-tone cabinetry, a great little breakfast counter with original stools, and yellow GE appliances with gorgeous design features. One of my new favorites ever — like this house. 27 photos in all. Heck yeah there is more →
Update: Here is my new favorite go-to place for these kinds of recessed dishes –> Recessed soap dishes in white and lots of colors from World of Tile … Tell Chippy (the co-owner) that I sent you!
WHEN I WAS RENOVATING my three bathrooms, I searched high and low for recessed soap dishes like this. I finally found them at a small Ohio Company, Apple Creek. (Separate post to come at some point.) But now, SableMable has also spotted this online site, Eclectic Ware, which seems to carry a big lineup of Lenape recessed bathroom ceramics – in white and a small selection of other basic colors. I’ve seen Lenape at Home Depot (I think) and at my flooring/tile store — but what’s great about this site is that they seem to have a much larger selection — included “recessed” and “semi-recessed”. The stuff is not cheap — but definitely a great detail for your bathroom retro renovation. Please note, that for the toilet paper holder, I kinda prefer chrome (or stainless steel, as per the Franklin Brass lines.) Thanks, Sable Mable!
And click through to see more photos. Heck yeah there is more →
I am in love with this NuTone Deluxe Ironing Center – with a plug, a light and a swiveling ironing board built right in. Just like a mid century housewife, I love any kind of recessed appliance. They are so handy to have if you are working in a small space. This model also has the ability to use a mirrored door, so you could even put it in your bedroom. At my house, I iron in the mudroom, I wish I had installed one there so I didn’t have to lug the humongous ironing board out every time. Nutone Ironing Centers
A wonderful vintage Moen faucet. Linen laminate to die for. A Westinghouse appliance center. But maybe still not “flamboyant” enough for Tim, a longtime reader who now works at Rejuvenation – parent company of Satellite, our contest sponsor. He’s house hunting…and has sent some pictures. Tim, I will not push you. Hold out for the house that makes you jump up and down in the foyer. And first and foremost: Location location location – it’s true.Heck yeah there is more →
Another recessed fixture aimed to torture Speedway Ron. Or, bankrupt him! Image: vintage GE.
Speedway Ron has now developed an intense need to acquire every small appliance ever made that was recessed directly into the wall. To go with all his steel kitchens and now, he tells me, 4 vintage refrigerators in his possession:
Pam, again I blame you…I was pretty happy living my life and not knowing that Chambers ever made a full copper stove in the late 1950’s. Now I know it’s out there and I want one. Dare I say, that I might even NEED one. So I got to looking and I think I’ve found a full copper Chambers kitchen and it also has a stainless Hotpoint fridge in it. How cool would that be? I do think I need to try to buy it.
That would make four fridges that I don’t want to sell though. That’s a lot. Someday this will all be worth something right!!?? hehe… Ron
Read on for more – including a recessed Modern Maid wall toaster! Heck yeah there is more →
Update: Very old story; all the links now broken. If you are looking for this lighting, you’ll need to google the companies mentioned.
The recessed lights throughout my 1951 colonial-traditional ranch are all in square housings. I also have two recessed lights on the stairs to the basement that are longer rectangles. From my trips to estate sales, I think that square lighting was much more common than round cans in the postwar era, although round was used.
I have searched high and low for replicas of the squares, and the best that I have found so far are the Halo lights in the drawing above. There are several other makers that have similar designs – but this company seems to have the most choices when it comes to lenses, including the cool “Glass Drop Opal Splay,” which is directionally similar to the lenses in the lights in each of my three bathrooms. I also am showing photos of the Nora lights, with both “albanite” (appears to be what we’d call “frosted”) and “fresnel” (or “pressed glass”) lenses. These are also directionally similar to historic lights, which at minimum were frosted, and often included frosted patterns, or a decorative pressed glass shade kind of ‘dropped down’ from within the housing. In terms of overall dimensions, the 8″ square is right on with the Nora – same as mine.
I do have one key issue relative to authenticity: The visible housing for these are all metal (I presume) painted white. As far as I’ve been able to determine – from extensive, obsessive online searching — nobody has them in chrome, which is absolutely positively preferable. If any readers know otherwise, please share!
In case you want more options: Thomas Lighting also offers an 8″ square with what appears to be a frosted shade. And, Progress Lighting has two choices, in 9.5″ and 11.5″ squares (see very last page of their Recessed housings page). I would check with a lighting authority – but I presume you could buy and cut patterned glass to fit, just be sure of fire safety.
These lights are great in hallways, small bathrooms, mudrooms — anywhere, really, with a low ceiling and compact volume. And, they are absolutely classic above a kitchen sink, tucked into the bottom of the soffit. Watch on your travels into midcentury homes – there are some great ones!
I do caution, however, about using them in a larger space in multiples. There is something about a square that stops your eye, compared to a circle. In my kitchen, for example, round cans were a much better choice – actually providing a nice counterpoint to the square room, square cabinets, square floor tiles…and repeating the round exhaust fan, table, and retractable light.
The “right” choice – comes from “eyeballing” the situation. But a starting rule: Small room, one light, go square. Larger room, multiple lights, go round.
Hi Pam, Since discovering RetroRenovation.com it has become a “must go to site” each morning! Thanks for all the information and enthusiasm you provide.
I am about to update some aspects of my 1960s bathroom and two of your posts this week caught my eye – I never thought much about my shower base and was considering replacing it…not anymore! I have an original terrazzo base.Heck yeah there is more →
I haven’t seen one of these available yet, though: A recessed rack for toilet paper, magazines and “cigarettes, matches and knick knacks”!
You can be sure if I do, I will be very evil, not feature it on this site, and snap it up. Sorry ’bout that. Ad: vintage Hall-Mack
Okay, I really only bring this up because there seem to be SO MANY COINCIDENCES among readers of this blog. Like, Femme1 is also the granddaughter of Pennsylvania coal miners. Steel kitchen cabinets show up from readers just as I am about to do a post. We all eat corn on the cob using the typewriter method! So… anyone else have a birthday today? Aquarians? 1959 same year as Barbie?
I also get to show off the recent ebay presents that I bought myself. You don’t think I list EVERYTHING awesome on this blog, now do you? I am all about mint-in-box these days, as you can see.
Finally – and I really mean it – my best birthday present this year, in addition to having a healthy family, is this blog and all the great friends it’s helped me make. It’s actually quite amazing.
So here are the goodies:
Mint-in-box Boy Scout sign. (I set their current politics aside.):
Mint-in-box 1978 Sears kitchen faucet (which I don’t need one bit) but look at those cool hot and cold handles:
And best of all, mint-in-box Sunbeam appliance center which is making me SO SO SO Happy, even though it’s going to cost even more to install. Now, why did these not catch on?: