Sunday, April 02, 2006

"The Bible" of 50s style and all things retro

My husband and I have found this book to be incomparable, in terms of generating ideas for every aspect of decorating our 1951 ranch. The interiors were all created by interior designers charged with selling Armstrong flooring. As such, they're "over decorated" -- but that's part of what makes this book so AWESOME. I've paged through it at least 1000 times, so far! It is well worth the cost.

Final note: You can see, I am not a midcentury modern snob. Sure, I like the expensive, renowned designer pieces. But only the rich lived like that. I love the eclectic mix - the fact that ambitious women were turning their creativity toward their home - and of course, the exuberance - of the period.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rubber tile for retro floors

These rubber tiles appear to have the same features as VCT and linoleum - and I really love the marbleized effect.

Azrock Cortina #423 is my favorite 50s style flooring

Forced to make final decisions about my kitchen reno, I have settled on this Azrock Cortina tile - #423 Autumn Haze. I haven't installed it yet, but the sample looks FABULOUS. Very streaky -- rather than "blotchy" like so many of the other VCT tiles today. I am going to install the tile at a 90-degree angle to each other.

In my research - looking through many old 50s kitchen catalogs - I think this particular tile is a great replica. My biggest regret is that I must buy it in 12" squares. All tiles today seem to be in this size, at minimum, it seems. In the '50s, from what I can tell, 9" tiles proliferated. In my home, all the tiles (under carpet in the basement, the original kitchen flooring) were 9" square -- as is the parquet in the dining room and the cork tiles in the foyer and bedrooms. In my back hall, the beige/white/black/coral streaked linoleum (fabulous) is 6" square. Fabulous! Oh well.

I also think that Flex-Tile is worth a look:

- Flex-thru tiles, Architectural series --

Here is the url for Azrock Cortina:

- And Azrock Cortina --

Note: The Azrock people were great about getting me samples. Give them your business!

A few more retro knobs and pulls

The catalog just arrived and I see that Van Dyke's Restorers also has several good cabinet knobs and pulls in their most recent catalog. I really like one pull in the catalog - p. 176 - an asymmetric aircraft-style design. It's not on the website, and it's not expensive ($5.99). Check it out. I also like the "Diner series hook" pictured above/center. The Diner series appears to me to be more contemporary/2005 than 1955 - but it's a nice tribute for someone who doesn't want to go completely retro. Prices on other pulls look good, too - for example, the waterfall style pull pictured first is featured on a post below, but I think the price is better at Van Dykes. Try their website, search "art deco" and "diner" - but for the complete selection, you'll need to call for their catalog. 1-800-558-1234, or