I recently added a 1951 Formica “Vanitory” brochure to my collection. A Vanitory is a lavatory (to wash your hands) and a vanity (to powder your nose) — all in one. I love this brochure, because it not only shows 10 Vanitory designs, but also it clarifies that Formica Vanitories were not actually sold by Formica — they were an idea… a concept… the goal was to design your own. In fact, this snapshot of 10 Formica bathroom vanity designs also includes a “Vanitory Imagination Stimulator.” You gotta love the marketeer who came up with that one. Let’s take a look — and I’ve included a slide show of each Vanitory design 1000 pixels wide. Heck yeah there is more →
In the early days of steel kitchen cabinets — the 1930s — the cabinets had a “deco” or “streamline” look… they were always white… and there were only a few brands that we know of so far — including Whitehead Among the very early brands were Whitehead/Monel, Servel, Elgin, and Dieterich. It’s not easy to find examples of these old originals any more, so it’s very exciting to discover and be able to archive this vintage Whitehead catalog from 1937… so that we can ogle late 1930s kitchen design ideas… so that we can identify these rare birds when spotted in the wild… and to add as another wonderful piece of archeology to our short history (3,000+ words, gulp) of vintage steel kitchen cabinets.
The vintage Lane Acclaim line of furniture seems to have been very popular in mid century America. We speculate that — much like the popular Drexel Declaration line — the design of Lane Acclaim appealed to Mrs. America because it was a good compromise between traditional and modern. It was a little bit Early American, a little bit mid mod.
Pam is truly madly deeply in love with the mid mod mad flower power Broyhill Premier Chapter One furniture line — so much so that our 2013 Retro Renovation Color of the Year is named after the “ecstatically colorful” Broyhill flower power green… We also have been building a growing photo archive of all the pieces. So you can bet, that when reader Rose found us, and offered to scan and send her original Broyhill Premier Chapter One catalog, we hop skipped and jumped at the chance. And now: 24delicious pages, capturing every piece in this line once and for all.
Heck yeah there is more →
Thanks to reader Cat, who spotted this terrific 1957 catalog of Swift Homes. This catalog is typical of others we see from many home manufacturers from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Yes, an old house catalog may help you identify your home — that’s how Cat found it, she owns a Swift. But most catalogs have something for every homeowner: The beautiful illustrations are chock full of ideas to help add curb appeal if your home needs some era-appropriate exterior design or landscaping TLC. These illustrations were impeccably crafted to make these homes look as appealing as possible — scrutinize them for details you can bring to your ranch, Cape Cod, or split level.
We know that many of our readers love 1940s decor. To be sure, there’s a lot to like! For example, this 1940s kitchen — with its lovely green cabinetry, bits of red scattered about the room and that fantastic linoleum floor — is just calling me to come inside and spend an afternoon baking pies. For some, creating these kinds of rooms is easy — others may need a little help, especially if the room they start out with is less than ideal. Luckily this week’s vintage catalog provides lots of ideas and inspiration. The catalog was directed by Hazel Dell Brown — an amazing historical figure, the longtime queen of interior design at Armstrong.