Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Acorn" forged iron exterior hardware for retro style

My brick, ranch-style home has a colonial feel, especially on the exterior. I am dressing it up with black-iron hardware and lighting -- and it looks terrific. In fact, if you look at a lot of the classic "California ranches" you see these kinds of colonial touches, with the black forged iron really making the wood and brick "pop."
"Acorn" hardware appears really well made and just what the doctor ordered. Van Dyke's Restorers has a great selection -- you can see it best by browsing their Catalog (rather than online). In their Fall 2007 catalog there are 8 pages of Acorn products. Call 1-800-558-1234 for a catalog. Their url is, but again, the catalog is the way to go.
For the most complete listing of Acorn products, you can go to the Acorn website -- However, it is a bit hunt-and-peck, not really oriented to consumers. Looks like you can buy closeout items direct from them, but otherwise you must go to a retailer.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More great 50s style kitchens!

It's an abundance of kitchen designs this week! Starting soon I will be analyzing each kitchen and pointing out great design features and ideas to consider for your own 50s restoration!

Friday, September 28, 2007

What's not to like about these retro kitchens?

Come on, how can you not LOVE LOVE LOVE these kitchens?
In our collective American memory, we may think of 50s kitchens as kitschy -- and maybe that is one word you can use. But, in my view, these kitchens are full of great style... daring, exuberant and non-conformist. In addition, there's a lot we can learn from layout and use of materials in these designs - which benefited from learnings from time/motion and efficiency studies that went earlier in the decade and post-WWII, were being brought into the home.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

St. Charles Steel Kitchen Cabinets: Sold for $500 on eBay

This looks to be a terrific set of vintage steel kitchen cabinets now on eBay through October 5. I like the color - and the glass fronts look really great, I've never seen that before.
Also - grab the stainless steel and laminate counters, the two sinks, the stovetop, warming oven (!), backsplash and hood, and the built-in ovens.
What a find! If you're near Lake Forest, Ill., and want to create a great vintage kitchen - here's a great set!
For those of you simply interested in retro kitchen design, there are lots of great tips in this kitchen - a nice one!
Update Oct. 6: This kitchen sold for $500. A steal!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Use this great 50s style retro paint palette

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

I love the Sherwin Williams Suburban Modern paint palette. I've used a couple of the colors in my house, and they've always been spot on! Note, they have separate interior and exterior palettes - but don't let that stop you from using an exterior color inside your house, and vice versa.

Check out the web pages - and be sure to download the entire brochure - it's a great feature and let's you see good-sized color chips, I'm really impressed. When I buy their paint, I've always purchased the best quality possible. If you want to save some money, wait for a holiday weekend, it seems like there's always a decent sale.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cast iron shower pan can be fitted for retro reno

I would have loved to use this cast iron shower base for my 50s bathroom renovations a few years ago. In two of my bathrooms I was forced to use Swanstone (fiberglass style) bases because I simply could not find any other materials. I've seen numerous vintage 50s bathrooms with these square style tubs/showers. The porcelain on cast iron finish is GREATLY preferable,. If you use this, though, do not use the Victorian feet. I'd set the base onto a tile base/surround/alcove with the tile base built out along one side created for a glass shower door. Use 4-1/4" tile. Look at Olympia Tiles for some great colorways. I'll do a separate post on that next.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stainless steel edging for your laminate countertop

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

My husband hunted down the only place we could find -- in Astoria, Queens -- that still made the exact stainless steel edging that we wanted. We installed this very easily and successfully on our new countertops. We purchased 1.5" U-style eding for the counter edge, a little piece that married the counter to the backsplash, and finally, 3/4" ss for the top of the backsplash. This is EXACTLY what we saw used on the 1963 countertops that we threw out, and the guy from Dave Sanders agreed - they've been making it since the 1950s!
The photo used is from someone else's kitchen that I saw on ebay. The edging is the same... Also see the final product in my kitchen post of 9/16/07.
Here is the url for the company. However, please note, the edging is NOT featured in the catalog, you have to call for information:
To anyone near western Massachusetts - I have a lot left of this stuff, as we had to order in commercial quantities. If you're interested in buying the leftovers directly from me, post a comment and I'll be happy to sell it to you at cost.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Chemex Coffeemaker - in production since 1942!

This beautiful coffee maker is a must-have for any mid-century-modern home. Designed in 1942 and still in production today, the Chemex® Coffeemaker is found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

According to the manufacturers: "This merging of form and function came out of Chemist Peter Schlumbohm's taste for fine flavor. Applying the techniques used to insure laboratory purity, he set out to brew what may have been the first cup of truly, clear, full-bodied coffee - free of undesirable fats, oils, sediment and most of all...bitterness."

For info on where/how to buy: