LAUNDRY DAY – THE MID CENTURY LAUNDRY ROOM

Vintage laundry room

Vintage laundry room

I haven’t given a whole lot of thought to the future laundry room/mud room yet. Because my laundry room will be in the back entry area it will be open to guests that enter through the back door. So I really want to keep the area as simple and organized as possible.

I would prefer to have laundry in it’s own separate space hidden from the rest of the home but there isn’t a spot for it anywhere else in the house. In the fifties, it wasn’t uncommon to have the laundry right in their kitchen. I suppose that makes sense since they spent the majority of their day cooking…why not be able to keep track of what’s in the oven while folding clothing…brilliant really. The photo below is from Kitchen Maid Kitchens. You could add special laundry pieces to your kitchen like the laundry cart with lift-out hamper, the ironette – a built in ironing board that slid out and a retractable hide-a-rack for hanging freshly laundered clothing. What a great kitchen!

A very functional Kitchen Maid kitchen, 1953

A very functional Kitchen with laundry machines, ironing board and a drying rack in a Kitchen Maid kitchen ad, 1953

Laundry wasn’t a task that was fit in here and there throughout the week like today. Housewives usually allotted one day of the week as the official ‘laundry day’. They would spend dusk to dawn washing, drying, starching, ironing and mending clothing and bedding. I rarely iron our clothing but back in the day, everything was ironed to perfection, even the bed sheets were crisp and wrinkle free.

I do own an iron, even though it doesn’t get used much. It is vintage and aqua blue…and makes a nice accent piece. I figure you may as well surround yourself with pretty things while doing laundry.

My vintage aqua blue iron

My vintage aqua blue iron

Like my aqua blue iron, I would love to find me a vintage washing machine in a pretty colour like this one. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been for a fifties house wife to get a new automatic washing machine like this one.

Vintage Hotpoint washer and dryer ad, 1960

Vintage Hotpoint washer and dryer ad, 1960

 

 

 

THE 1960s HOME INTERCOM – A NOVEL IDEA

 

1960s home intercom

1960s home intercom

These ads for NuTone transistor intercoms were in the pile of home ads and information we got that belonged to the original home owners. I would have loved to have found an old intercom system within our future house but they obviously opted out of getting one. In the 1960s, intercoms were a popular addition to homes. You could talk via intercom to people in any room of the home, listen to music in any room, answer the door bell and even talk to people out in the backyard.

I think having intercoms throughout your home would be useful to a point but unless you had a really large home I’m not sure they would really be that useful. And they were quite large and a bit of an eye sore. They would certainly be a fun and novel toy though. I guess the novelty of home intercoms eventually wore off and their popularity dwindled. Nutone is still in business today though making all sorts of products for the home including intercom systems…although much smaller than the 60s versions.

Nutone intercoms

Nutone intercoms

BETTY MIGHT BE THE COUNTERTOP I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR

Wilsonart's new laminate counter top option, Betty

Wilsonart’s new laminate counter top option, Betty

This is Betty – a new laminate counter top option from Wilsonart with a great retro inspired look. I had almost given up on finding a retro pattern countertop that I actually liked so I was so excited when I saw this one online a few months ago. Wilsonart describes Betty as a ‘small-scale abstract pattern of interlocking boxes and squares in a retro colour blend of teal and orange’ http://www.wilsonart.com/homeowners/laminates/detail?sku=4972

The design will definitely go well with the style of our future kitchen. I put together a bit of a collage of parts of the kitchen design; a glossy white tile to represent the cabinets, one of the chrome boomerang handles, a piece of teak as I’m hoping to bring in a teak credenza and light in the dining room, a white subway tile which is likely what we’ll be doing the backsplash in, a photo of our dining room tulip table and the paint colours that are on the top of the list for one wall of our kitchen and dining room. They include Glidden paint Orange Cantaloupe, Rona Collection paint Baby Linen (aqua) and Sico paint’s Cloud of Volcanic Ashes.

Possible colours to go with the Wilsonart Betty counter top

Possible colours to go with the Wilsonart Betty counter top

 

This could be the perfect counter top for our kitchen if it wasn’t for one thing that has me hesitating. I just got the sample in the mail and it confirmed that the background of this countertop is not white, it is more of a dirty white or linen colour so I’m not sure that it will match well with our future glossy white cabinets. Also, I’m a bit worried about committing to a colour scheme long term…I mean, what if in a year or two I want to change the accent colours in the kitchen to yellow? A countertop in whites or greys would give me endless colour options. We still have some time before we have to order countertops so we can take some more time to decide but this is definitely my favorite retro pattern laminate counter option I’ve seen so far.

 

MY RETRO COUCH AND CHAIR GET A MAKEOVER

I showed you the 1960s sofa and chair I picked up at a thrift shop a few years ago in a previous post. They were a great find for a great price – only $65 for both. I used them in my photo studio for a year and since then, they were being stored in my parent’s basement. For months I hummed and hawed about whether to have them reupholstered and use them in the new living room or if they were destined to be old basement furniture forever.

Retro couch and chair.

Retro couch and chair.

I really liked the original orange textured fabric but it was quite worn and stained in spots and needed new foam. Our options were either to spend money on a brand new sofa and chair or invest in my original 1960s vintage set and give them a makeover – we decided on the latter. I knew of a local upholsterer who had redone a bench seat for me a few years ago which turned out great. I contacted her to find out if they were worth making over and to get an idea of the types of fabrics that might work well. Upholstery fabric comes in such a wide range of colours, prints, textures and prices. Each fabric sample that she showed me had a number on the tag that gives the amount of ‘rubs’ it held up to, the fabric world’s wearability code for strength testing. I learned that fabric is rubbed back and forth to estimate the wear and tear of someone actually sitting and getting up on the fabric. If a fabric holds well for more than 15 000 rubs than it is considered a more heavy duty fabric. I thought I was set on doing the sofa in grey and the chair in a turquoise like the sample on the right, but I ended up really liking the brighter chartreuse green on the left for the chair instead. That fabric had a great rub score (100 000 rubs if I recall correctly) so it should stand up very well to people, kids, the odd spill and a dog (who won’t be allowed on them but will likely sneak a nap on them when we’re not home.) And to top it all off, the price was right at $29 a yard.

fabric choices

fabric choices

When upholsterer extraordinaire Deb was ready, I stuffed the sofa in my SUV (amazingly it fit) and brought them to her work studio.

The sofa, delivered and waiting to be made over

The sofa, delivered and waiting to be made over

and the chair...

and the chair…

I was able to check them out after Deb had removed all of the old fabric and foam and bring it down to their original frame. The springs on the couch and chair were in good shape so they didn’t have to be replaced.

The sofa down to its bare bones

The sofa down to its bare bones

The wood looks as good as new

The wood looks as good as new

Rebuilding the sofa and chair included adding a layer of a burlap type fabric, strong felt, webbing on the arm rests, a fresh layer of foam, and finally, the lovely new fabric…along with perfectly placed new buttons on the backs.

Button back sofa

Button back sofa

Deb even touched up the wood in a walnut stain which really finishes off their new look.

Walnut stained wood base and legs

Walnut stained wood base and legs

They look amazing. I suspected that they would transform nicely but wow, they really are beautiful. I am so glad I decided to have them redone rather than buy new. Here they are at the upholsterer’s studio when I picked them up.

The couch made over ready to leave the upholsterers

The couch made over ready to leave the upholsterers

 

The chair gets a new colour

The chair gets a new colour

And here they sit once again in my parent’s basement until the house is ready.

AFTER photo of reupholstered vintage sofa and chair

AFTER photo of reupholstered vintage sofa and chair

I will of course add a photo of them once they are in their intended space – the living room of the new house where they will shine.

DRAINBOARD SINK DECISIONS

 

Lovely drain board sink

Lovely drain board sink

I like the look and functionality of a drain board style sink. As the name suggests, drain boards ‘drain’ any water and mess around the sink nicely back into the sink where it belongs, making for an easier clean up. They were a popular choice in the fifties and well before that mostly made of porcelain.

L shaped kitchen with drainboard sink - illustration from Republic Steel Kitchen brochure

L shaped kitchen with drainboard sink – illustration from Republic Steel Kitchen brochure

For someone like myself who wants to bring a retro look to her kitchen, a drain board sink can definitely do just that. They do take up a bit more counter space so may not be ideal for a tiny kitchen, but I think we have enough counter space for one. There are a range of styles and prices to choose from out there and you can go for a vintage original or a newer version.

Original vintage porcelain drain board sinks that have been restored or are in great shape range from  about $1000 to $3000 on Ebay, but unless you live close to the seller; shipping a heavy old porcelain sink might break your budget. The one below is on Ebay for under $1000 (US) http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Newly-Refinished-1950s-Vintage-42-Single-Drainboard-Stamped-Metal-Kitchen-Sink-/251754617502?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a9dbe9a9e

Refinished 1950s drainboard sink on Ebay in shop Readytore

Refinished 1950s drainboard sink on Ebay in shop Readytore

You can also get reproduction sinks that look very close to the true vintage variety. NBI Drainboard Sinks is one company who carry a range of drain board sinks that include mid century and early century styles. The model below has a double sink and drain boards on both sides and is in the $900 range. And for Canadians like myself, this company ships to Canada for a flat rate of $89 which is pretty reasonable. http://nbidrainboardsinks.com/?product_cat=mid-century

Model DBDW6625 from NBI Drainboard Sinks

Model DBDW6625 from NBI Drainboard Sinks

 

I also like the more modern style stainless drain board sinks – I think this is what we might go with for our kitchen. This one from is available online from Home Depot http://www.homedepot.ca/product/tipo-8s-rh-stainless-steel/429602 and is made by the German company Blanco http://www.blanco-germany.com/en_ca/en_ca/home.html

Blanco Tipo drain board style sink in stainless, Home Depot

Blanco Tipo drain board style sink in stainless, Home Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can get the drain board on the left or right side of the sinks.

Drainboard style stainless sink available from

Drainboard style stainless sink