Lovers of vintage tile — get ready to count the ways that this Friederichsen Floor & Wall Tile Catalog from 1929 illustrates the many patterns you can make with its decorative tile shapes and colors. Mosaics, pinwheels, basket weaves, plaids, geometric borders and much more eye candy fill this vintage catalog. Perhaps there’s a design here that you can replicate today, 85 years later?
Since we’ve focused our spotlight on Formica lately — with our stories of Formica’s 100th Anniversary collection — and revisiting the 24 styles of boomerang laminates that are available today — we thought this would be a good time to immerse ourselves in this vintage Formica catalog from 1938. Its 12 pages are packed with historic information — capture 50 historic Formica colors — and showcase possible uses, construction diagrams, available colors and forms, and even technical illustrations for both home and commercial uses.
Wow — 52 pages of vintage lighting in this delightfully illustrated Virden Lighting Catalog from 1959. Virden was one of the big name manufacturers of lighting in mid century modern America. Moe and Lightolier are two of our other favorites. This big catalog covers all types of lighting — for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, dining rooms, porch and patio — every part of the house. I was amazed by the variety of styles available — and even recognized a few models from the many stashes of New Old Stock and vintage lighting that we’ve featured here on Retro Renovation. Read on to see some of my favorite designs — and for a slide show of the complete 52-page catalog from 1959 –>
The idea of building the shell of a house in a factory has entranced American home builders for decades. Hodgson Houses claims to have made the first prefabricated homes in the U.S. The Aladdin Company, out of Michigan, was building kit houses as early as 1908. Sears offered them, too. In mid century America, we’d say this fascination was as strong as ever. The country was focused on scientific production methods… There was sheet metal and factories to put to work… And most importantly, the biggest housing boom in American history was “on.” Put these factors all together and: Lots of experiments in factory-built housing. So it’s great fun to look at today’s catalog — 28 pages of houses manufactured by Lincoln Homes in 1955. They were based in Belle Vernon, Penn., and it looks like they sold into Pennsylvania, Ohio, and a bit of West Virginia. These houses are such classic mid century modest houses … and inspecting the illustrations, you can get lots of ideas for siding, masonry, shutters, and other features to improve the curb appeal of a small house.
Who were the leaders in mid century bathroom fixtures? We tend to think: American Standard and Crane. Seems like we see these the most. We also tend to think of Crane as the creme de la creme. These sinks — vintage — are still around in great quantities. If you need replacement parts including instructions to DIY, see our longtime advertiser deabath.com — they are experts in Crane. So with all this background — it’s great to look at a big catalog of vintage Crane bathroom sinks, faucets, tubs and toilets from 1949. Just coming out of the war — there is a building boom on that will last for years to come. This catalog also is fabulous in terms of viewing aspirational (interior designer and illustrator conceived) color, tile, wallpaper and other 1940s and 1950 bathroom design ideas. Continue on for highlights of vintage bathroom design — and the complete catalog, enlarged in a slide show:
One of our resolutions for 2013 here on Retro Renovation is to start featuring more fabulous vintage home improvement catalogs — featuring kitchens, bathrooms, decorating, light fixtures, house plans — the list goes on. What better place to start this new series than with a fantastic 1958 kitchen catalog from Sears — with 32 pages of great information and style — oh if only we could still order from this catalog. The optimistic color combinations and fun designs will have you wishing that one of these kitchens could magically appear in your own home.Heck yeah there is more →