Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Countertops with 50s style

I've moved: Please see my dramatically impoved site: RetroRenovation.com

The countertops I removed from the two vanities in my 1951 bathrooms were both laminate, edged in metal. One - a soft aqua tinged green - imitated a really beautifully, nubbly linen weave. I could not identify any current laminate to replicate it in either style or color. (Greens really differ in popularity by era, I've found.) In the other bathroom, there was a marbleized pink -- and I found a good match for this one (see below).

Ultimately, these are the best choices I found for bathroom laminates:

- Wilsonart Bleu Windrift - a light, marbleized blue. Special order.
- Wilsonart Tearose Illusion - this is the pink marbleized laminate described above. Special order.
- Wilsonart Beige Illusion - also shown above. Special order.

Now, you can also get Formica 1950s replicas for the bath or kitchen. They all look terrific:

- Formica Boomerang - in four colors, shown above.
- Virrvarr - in two colors, light blue and white. This is a reproduction of a popular European pattern. I think it's terrific, and may use it in my upcoming kitchen reno if the salvaged aqua-with-gold-fleck counters I'm hoping to use don't work out.

Other details:
- I edged my bathroom countertops with the laminate, simple square edge. My husband the neat freak again begged me not to use the metal edge. I think this worked out fine, it certainly is 'softer' than the metal. I'll do a future post on where to find metal edging.
- The original countertops had a special piece of metal molding, a narrow T molding between the edge of the counter and the tile that ran up the wall alongside it. I saw at my local lumber store, this was still available. I skipped it.
- I ordered a high-gloss finish, although I think matte or a soft gloss would be fine and certainly less likely to scratch.

Finally -- if you really don't want laminate and prefer something more durable, I recommend you look at Caesarstone, a solid surface material. I thought their "Blizzard" was beautiful, a bit off white with some nubble but not overwhelming or a major contemporary statement. You could design around it.

Next: Tile.