Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm moving!

We're at a new url: !

Click the link above to see the same great coverage -- and even more new features -- about 50s and 60s kitchens, bathrooms and everything for your mid century modern retro reno!

Toilet choices for 50s bathroom reno's

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50s kitchen accessories: eBay weekend picks

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recreate yesterday’s sunny coral-yellow-green 50s style kitchen

I've moved: Please see my dramatically improved site:

Today: Modern day products to recreate yesterday’s flashback kitchen. My finds include:

"Redi-Baker" for your retro kitchen: eBay pick of the day

This adorable Nesco Redi-Baker seems like a great countertop addition to any 50s style kitchen! eBay link:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Flashback Design: Sunny coral, green & yellow 50s kitchen

Isn’t this a happy Dream Kitchen?

READ THIS ENTIRE POST at my new site:

Stangl birds are classic 50s style: eBay pick of the day

Stangl art pottery is totally near and dear to my heart...

READ THIS ENTIRE POST at my new site:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Watch soon for a new url:

After several months of very active blogging - and learning more about how to do it effectively, I will soon be changing my url to

I'm getting help from local experts, the Berkshire Web Wizards. Our #1 goal is to ensure that people who really want to know about this topic can find the site and hopefully, tap into information that will help them in their 50s and 60s style retro renovations.

I have a long long list of topics yet to cover. It seems like every day, I come up with 5 more! Stay tuned and look for my weekly updates on this and other topics every Sunday morning.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

50s style bathroom towel bars – Hyde Park series by Delta

When I renovated our three bathrooms, every single detail became an obsession. At one point, I wanted to re-chrome the original, rusty towel bars. But it was ungodly expensive, and they weren’t expensive to begin with, just very typical for the 50s.

After a lot of online exploration and poking around stores, I ultimately bought the Hyde Park series from Delta, available through my Home Depot. Fortunately, I’d seen it there during my research and had taken notes, because when I finally went back to buy them, they were no longer on display. But – Home Depot can order them for you.

The reason in particular that I liked them – was the 6-sided kind of reverse-lug wrench look of their base. (I am sure there is a technical term for this: Help!) This lug wrench styling was exactly what is on my vintage faucet. They also have a nice hefty feel. Go for the chrome – of course (!) (even though one photo in brass finish)

The problem with so many towel bars today – as with toilets and sinks – is that they are so fussy, designed "on victorian steroids". 50s styling came out of the streamline and deco eras…very clean, industrial looks to reflect the new modern, non-fussy viewpoints.

One last thing – if you end up going with a wall-mount sink and Franklin Brass legs, simly add the Hyde Park towel ring to the right or left. A fine solution.

No url today. Go to Home Depot.

Fabulous mid century lamps with traditional 50s or 60s style -- Weekend eBay pick of the day #1

These mid century lamps are just gorgeous. Great shape, great design, great shades -- they have it all! They are well worth the price!
When you decorate in 50s or 60s style, remember, our moms were not slave to a "modern" look. More traditionally styled elements like these can look fabulous and ensure your decor is not too predictable. I have instructed my friend Linda B. to buy them but you can snap them up first if you move fast!

eBay listing ends soon:

50s and 60s style Thibaut wallpaper -- Weekend eBay pick of the day #2

My favorite wallpaper company of all time is Thibaut. They make beautiful wallpapers at a reasonable cost - not cheap, but a very good value for the quality they deliver.
I love their sense of style. In many cases it is quite timeless. Case in point: These 2 eBay wallpapers -- which I think would fit beautifully into a mid century retro renovation style home. As you can tell, I love the oriental theming. I did this in my foyer (with vintage paper) and it's awesome.
Importantly, you can also get these through wallpaper stores. Watch for a future posting on more Thibaut papers, I am going to do more research as I think this is a hot topic for many people.

Both papers are from the same seller, click here for one of them (my favorite) and then go to Sellers Other Items for more possibilities:

Retro 70s style chandelier set -- Weekend eBay pick of the day #3:

Okay, so these may be screaming 70s or 80s, but I am finding that once you get into retro mid century, you develop an appreciation for 70s and 80s style that has vision, integrity, panache, too. This looks to be a great set - a chandelier and a single sconce to tie rooms together.

Link to eBay listing:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lands End towels and rugs – in 25 colors and complete sets -- great for your retro 50s or 60s bathroom

When we retro-renovated our three 50s bathrooms a couple of years ago, I searched high and low – obsessed! -- for towels and matching rugs in the perfect accent colors. The only company that I could find that had complete matching sets at a decent price, was Land’s End. They have giant, large, medium and small towels, washcloths, big rugs, small rugs, contour rugs (the kind that fit around the toilet. Hey, you have to have one of these!)… the whole kit and caboodle.

Even if you decide to go with a “toned down” retro look, vamp it up with the towels. The risk is quite modest – and the payoff immense! For example, in my husband’s bathroom we have a set of burnt orange towels and rugs to match one of the minor accent colors in the flamingo-and-Florida themed wallpaper. In my light brown-white-aquamint bathroom, I have dark brown towels. Our third light blue-and-white bathroom has bright red towels – to pick up on the faded geraniums in the wallpaper. In all three cases, the towels and rugs made a huge difference, they were a big add.

Thanks to Julie Roberts of Land’s End for sending images – great service – just like I’ve always had from the company!

Link to towel sets at Land’s End:

Vintage Copper tone Wagon Wheel Chandelier -- Friday eBay pick of the day

I’ve always wanted one of these vintage Wagon Wheel lights, they are so cool. In fact, I may have to build a screen porch $$$ just to make a place. Remember – that the term “ranch home” came out of the west, from homes built on ranches. So this kind of western motif can be totally appropriate in a vintage 50s or 60s home, and is guaranteed to bring a big smile to anyone’s face! A retro light like this can go in a kitchen, a rumpus/family room – really anywhere that you’ve got the ceiling height. I like this one because it has 4 globes, so will provide functional illumination. And, you know that I like coppertone, it always warms up a room.

This listing is for the first photo shown, For purposes of illustration, I’ve shown a separate light on eBay (smaller, second photo), assembled and hanging, so you can see how this looks hanging. Note the 2 have slightly different detailing.

Link to eBay listing:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Luxury Waterworks sink, wall-mount with chrome legs and towel bars

Finishing up my recent series on bathroom sinks matched with chrome legs, I wanted to spotlight this Waterworks model. No doubt, it is GORGEOUS. But, the chrome legs with integrated towel bars do run $1,475... while the sink is $315. If you've got the cash and the desire, this certainly would be the centerpiece of your retro reno bathroom. But, if you just want the look and the basic functionality, see my other, recent bathroom posts on wall-mount sinks from Crane that can be matched with $30 chrome legs from Franklin Brass. Another thought: Think about it, the original fixtures used in our retro homes were NOT luxury. They were stylish...and functional...but, accessible to the growing population. In that spirit, I really prefer to seek out affordable products to complete a retro renovation.

So in that spirit: Try salvage shops...or even place an ad in your local paper. I advertised in the items wanted section a couple of years ago, and immediately turned up a wall-mount sink with fabulous chrome legs with towel bars, and nabbed the set for $65. It had be sitting in someone's basement for 20 years. It was in perfect shape, and looks awesome in my tiny but functional - and beautiful - master bathroom.

Waterworks website, certainly worth salivating over:

Vintage Borg bathroom scale -- Thursday eBay pick of the day

I am absolutely opposed to weighing yourself - ever! But, I am an absolute advocate of finding a vintage bathroom scale to accessorize your retro reno bathroom! This olive-colored vintage Borg scale is promoted as being in mint be sure, the olive colors and design are great -- very late 60s, early 70s. Match this to the Olive colored towels (available from Lands End, watch for future post)...maybe even your wallpaper has a touch of olive?
BTW, don't settle for anything less than "mint" with these scales -- they can be had!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Retro style porch lighting - from Rejuvenation Lighting, our favorite!

Rejuvenation Lighting offers two styles of porch lighting that could be a good fit for your retro renovation – whether it’s ultramodern or modern-with-that-colonial touch, as many 50s and 60s homes were.
My home is of this latter colonial/modern variety and I used exterior lighting that’s similar to Rejuvenation’s black cast iron lantern model shown here, but with flat glass. It’s on my list to track down the other company, which does not have an online presence; I'll post that soon.

Here is the link to Rejuvenation’s porch lighting:

Wednesday eBay pick of the day: Vintage Lefton butter dish -- Turkey motif

Gobble gobble gobble. This is awesome. Buy it for Mom’s table – or your own!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Kitchen “Flashback Design Tips”

I’ve always loved this St. Charles kitchen taken from a 50s magazine ad. There are at least 11 ideas you can take from it, first up: Noting the mix of cabinet styles – pink steel coordinated with wood-toned. This works really well to break up what otherwise could be an excessive amount of pink. BTW it’s interesting that today’s kitchen designers think THEY invented the idea of mixing cabinet materials!

Ten more tips:

1. Countertop materials also are mixed. This appears to be the basic laminate color (also spotlighted in 9.) but without the steel edging. It’s used in what appears to be a decorative buffet spot.
2. The wall bumps out here to differentiate the stove top area. Doing these kinds of drywall bumpouts is a great solution if you’ve run out of cabinets and need to introduce a new element.
3. Stainless steel countertop on stove top area. SS gets scratched – but it’s a nice patina and you can’t beat the functionality.

4. Really great use of laminate to define a backsplash for the stove top area and to add visual interest.

5. Awesome custom stove-top exhaust fan, and in general, design element. Adding copper or coppertone elements works really well in retro kitchens – warms up all the steel.

6. Soffit ends before it hits the window – allowing window to be even taller.

7. Ceiling beams create visual interest in what appears to be a pretty big kitchen.

8. Very interesting window treatments. I’m not sure how functional this really is – would seem to block the view. But certainly cool! For stability, I think these would need to be made out of metal. Wood would to0 flimsy?

9. Here we see the “traditional” countertop set up – laminate edged in three places with stainless steel. Be sure to see my posting on Dave Sanders company for last place in America to get this great edging material.

10. Floors are awesome. At the far left bottom of the photo you can just barely see that these are regular VCT tiles, with diamond pieces cut into them. I can definitely see this totally glossed up to a high shine!

Okay, another item: Note the patio furniture used for a dinette. Seems kind of uncomfortable to me, and glass topped tables are a bear to keep clean – but the look is great.

And finally: Note in the wall cabinets – how even one glass-fronted cabinet can add visual interest and break up the wall of pink. If you don’t have a corner cabinet, you can replicate this look easily, by constructing a corner shelf – make it in ¾” MDF and use your ¾” stainless steel edging.

Tuesday eBay pick of the day: Coppertone kitchen canisters from West Bend

I am a huge fan of Coppertone accessories for your retro reno kitchen. There is really something about this color that warms up the space. These West Bend cannisters look to be in terrific shape and I love the black detailing!

Here's the direct link to eBay:

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Woodard patio furniture – vintage styles still available

Today is Woodard patio furniture day – with this feature on current styles still made, and the eBay pick showcasing a vintage set. My local furniture store has sets of new Woodard in stock, and I really liked the quality and the look. And to be sure, it’s nice to get the new enamel finish. My only nit with the new stock is that I believe the scale is significantly larger than vintage Woodard. The smaller scale seems better, in my view. But either way, new or vintage, these are great picks for your patio, deck, or porch.

Briarwood collection:

Windflower Mesh collection:

Also see the CafĂ© Collection, Dining Tables and Tables & Accessories links on these pages for tables and other pieces in the same mesh wrought iron – without the decorative flowers that differentiate the two collections above.

Monday eBay pick of the day: Vintage Woodard patio set

This vintage Woodard patio set is a great find. Even though the price seems high (compared to what I usually post) – it is very fair considering the size of the set, the desirable style, and the provenance.

I LOVE the occasional chairs – note the arms, they are terrific! If you can’t afford it or are too far from Detroit to really consider a pick-up, keep an eagle eye around tag sales where you live. These sets can be had – although it is rare to find so many matching pieces.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wall-mount sinks are the perfect solution for small, mid-century bathrooms

Yesterday, I wrote about a new source for chrome legs to go with wall-mount, aka wall-hung sinks. Now that we have that problem solved (thank you, Franklin Brass), I offer several wall-mount sink models to go with the legs.

Another very good alternative is to buy a vintage sink at a salvage shop or tag sale, of course. But if you want to put together a retro bathroom using new fixtures, you can certainly do it, with great results. In addition, these sinks are very affordable.
Remember: You also are going to use Olympia Tile behind them. And see all my postings on retro-styled faucets. Note, some of these sinks are also available with 4"- and 8"-three hole setups.
The last sink photo posted -- the one with legs -- is actually from Waterworks. This is more than $1500!!!!! So easy to replicate this look using more down-to-earth priced materials featured.

I've featured my very favorite models from Crane in the photos. The first photo/sink featured is particularly terrific. There are additional models available online:

Finally - check your local Home Depot. Last time I was there, they also had wall-mount sinks reach to cash and carry.

Saturday eBay pick of the day #1: GE makeup mirror - mint in box

Hey, the holidays are just two months away. This is a simply a FABULOUS find for the vintage diva in your life -- sure to make her very, very happy!

eBay url:

Saturday eBay pick of the day #2: Club/tub chairs

I have a pair of chairs similar in style to these in my house. They are great. They have the right scale for the space, they're comfy, and they can be situated in a variety of locations. I love the upholstery including the fringe, and the great Danish legs, on this Buy It Now @ $315 pair. A good pick especially if you're in the St. Louis area, and can go pick up the chairs, saving on shipping.

Saturday eBay pick of the day #3: Starburst clock

Every 50s or 60s home needs a starburst clock! While the "24-spoke models" (12 wood starbursts, 12 metal starbursts) are the most desirable among collectors, this more toned-down model has a really nice look -- and I like the idea that it's like new.