BAD BATHROOM IDEAS – 1970s

Wall to wall to toilet carpeting in your bathroom - yuck!

Wall to wall to toilet carpeting in your bathroom – yuck!

While flipping through some 1970s catalogues I have I came across these colourful photos of bathrooms, they’re definitely not mid century, but I couldn’t help but be amazed and bewildered and had to share them. I know wall to wall bathroom carpeting and fuzzy toilets were a thing back then, I just don’t quite understand it. Who thought it would be a wonderful idea to cover everything in a bathroom with carpet? And not just any carpet; plush, shag, super furry carpet. I can imagine stepping onto this lush carpet after a shower would be delightful but I also can imagine the bacteria and smell that would hang out in bathroom carpets – yuck!  Thankfully this décor trend is no longer popular, but these fun and fuzzy bathroom photos will live on.

1970s yellow bathroom carpeting.

1970s yellow bathroom carpeting.

 

Plush blue carpeting everywhere.

Plush blue carpeting everywhere.

 

 

PEACHY PULLS – VINTAGE CABINET HARDWARE

My cool vintage chrome hardware for the kitchen cabinets.

My cool vintage chrome hardware for the kitchen cabinets.

One thing I really wanted for my new kitchen was cool chrome hardware…but without spending a fortune. After looking at reproduction hardware options, I decided to try to find original boomerang style chrome hardware. Many of my Ebay and Etsy searches were unsuccessful because shops either wanted too much money or only had a few of one style available. I was patient though and it paid off. I ended up finding two shops selling lots of the same chevron or boomerang shaped hardware, a style that was popular in 1950s and 60s kitchens like in the illustration below.

Love the sink and hardware.

Love the sink and hardware.

I bid on both and won – yah! But I was still short a few. As luck would have it, I soon found another lot of the same hardware from yet a third shop. And, after a brief bidding war with another bidder (someone with good vintage décor taste) – I won. So for over 40 original mid century chrome cabinet pulls I paid around $100 (plus shipping) which is still cheaper than buying similar new hardware.

Hardware has arrived.

Hardware has arrived.

I also purchased a lot of 25 vintage chrome circular pulls (below left) for just $25. If I don’t end up using them in the kitchen I’m sure I’ll find another home for them. Some deals are just too good to pass up.

Vintage hardware - nice and shiny.

Vintage hardware – nice and shiny.

Most of the pulls were in pretty good shape but there were a few that were a bit rusted and dull so I shined them up and they look almost as good as new!

Ready to put on the new cabinets.

Ready to put on the new cabinets.

Unfortunately one of my attempts to clean some of the chrome pulls was a small disaster…see my post on how to clean chrome – and how NOT to clean chrome here:

http://modranchreno.com/2015/03/cleaning-up-chrome/

 

MY LITTLE VINTAGE ART COLLECTION

Some pieces from my small collection of vintage art.

Some pieces from my small collection of vintage art.

One of the finishing touches for any new home or renovation is the art that will hang on it’s walls. Being an artist, I display my own art work once in a while, but I prefer to showcase my small (but growing) collection of vintage art. My modest collection is not really worth much, but each piece I’ve gathered over the years is unique and interesting to me. I especially like small paintings. They are not only much more affordable than large art but there are more options for where to put them. You can hang them on a smaller wall space or group them with other framed art and photographs. If I spent thousands of dollars on a large painting specifically for one spot, I would feel committed to hanging it there for years…and I prefer to change my décor a few times a year. Here are a few of my favorite art.

I bought this very small (only 5″ x 4″) mid century painting a few years ago. It was painted by Hrkalovic Strahimir, who from what I have found out, was born in Yugoslavia in 1907 and studied in Prague. He had many exhibitions in the 1960s and 70s. I had the piece framed in a thick black frame to give it a little size.

Small mid century painting - Hrkalovic Strahimir.

Small mid century painting – Hrkalovic Strahimir.

Close up of abstract Strahimir painting.

Close up of abstract Strahimir painting.

The painting below was another one I purchased a few years ago. it is a 1950s fashion design painted sketch. I love the fun poses the artist created in this fashion sketch. I also really like how the artist’s painting technique makes the sweater have a mohair like texture. This piece is 11″ x 15″ and I kept it in it’s original simple black frame.

One of my favorite vintage paintings.

One of my favorite vintage paintings.

Close up of vintage fashion sketch.

Close up of vintage fashion sketch.

I also love old architectural and interior design drawings. This is a vintage interior design drawing of a mid century living room space done by interior design student Kay Beyer. The original mat had a seal from the Ringling College of Art and Design which was a college founded in 1931 by John  Ringling (yes of the Ringling circus family) in Sarasota Florida. The college is still open today. I had the drawing (9″ x 7″) reframed as the mat was quite yellowed and the frame not in good shape.

Vintage interior design sketch.

Vintage interior design sketch.

Interior design art.

Interior design art.

And what 1960s art collection would be complete without some form of big eyed art. The artist who signed her work Maio painted mostly serious, even sad looking girls and young women with very large eyes. Prints of her art were very mainstream and popular in the 1960s. I picked up this ‘ballerina with Flower’ litho print at a thrift shop for a couple dollars. It is 10.5″ x 19″ in the frame.

Maio ballerina print.

Maio ballerina print.

Maio ballerina close.

Maio ballerina close.

One of my latest art purchases was this amazing pair of mid century popcorn art plaques made by artist ‘Jonero’ for the Illinois Moulding Co. This type of popular plaque art was done in different design, colours and shapes. I really loved the bottle design and the colours in these and I am sure they will look wonderful in our future dining room.

Mid century art by Jonero.

Mid century art by Jonero.

Close up of mid century Jonero art.

Close up of mid century Jonero art.

So as you can see, I’ve got quite a mix of styles in my little collection so far, but I will find a place to display each piece in the new house…I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

CLEANING UP CHROME

Ready to clean some chrome.

Ready to clean some chrome.

I love chrome. It shines and reflects light beautifully and adds a retro feel to a room. When I think of a 1950s kitchen I think of Formica tables and countertops with sparkly chrome trim and legs and vintage appliances full of shiny chrome accents. I have quite a lot of chrome in my current kitchen and will likely have even more in the new one. However there have been a few times while out picking and thrifting that I’ve almost turned something down because its chrome had a dull patina or spotted rust. But the good thing about chrome is that even old rusted chrome can shine almost like new again. I have a few items with chrome that I have been meaning to clean up before it goes in the new place. So I have gone on the search for the best and simplest ways to clean up chrome. I first did a search through a few of my go-to vintage books for home makers. From ‘Heloise’s Kitchen Hints’ book (1963) she suggests soaking a cloth in vinegar and snuggling it around the chrome and soaking for an hour which will make your chrome ‘bright as new’ again. ‘The Encyclopedia of Household Hints and Dollar Stretchers’ (1960s)  suggests simply dipping rusted metal ware in cider vinegar and then letting it dry and then wiping away any remaining rust particles. I had an antique shop owner once tell me that tin foil worked to shine up chrome and steel wool worked for removing thicker rust. I had also heard of using lemon juice for cleaning rust. I have used lemon to clean our shower with good results in the past but had never tried it on chrome. I also did a brief online search which brought up 16 000 000 results! One suggestion was to wet the area with cola and then rub it with tin foil. Another idea was to use a mix of toothpaste and baking soda on a cloth to wipe the rust off. So I gathered a few things to try out some of these ideas on and here are the results. I decided that I would try the toothpaste and baking soda mix for a chrome 1950s clock I picked up recently. Here is the clock before. It has a rusty spotted finish all over the chrome.

Vintage chrome clock 'before'.

Vintage chrome clock ‘before’.

Rusted vintage chrome clock.

Rusted vintage chrome clock.

I mixed a tablespoon full of toothpaste (I used Crest whitening gel but I’m sure most toothpastes with fluoride would work) with about a tablespoon of baking soda. I used an old toothbrush to scrub all around the clock with the mixture. I then left the clock covered in this mixture for a couple of hours.

I let the toothpaste and baking soda mixture sit for a while.

I let the toothpaste and baking soda mixture sit for a while.

After wiping the somewhat dried toothpaste off with a hot cloth and drying it, I think it definitely looks much better. I would say the toothpaste and baking soda mixture worked well.

Nice and shiny.

Nice and shiny.

I did the same on a chrome plastic wrap/paper towel dispenser that had quite a build up on the top. Here’s the before:

Wrap dispenser before...nice layer of dull grime.

Wrap dispenser before…nice layer of dull grime.

And the after…

Shiny and clean.

Shiny and clean.

The chrome on this children’s chair wasn’t in horrible shape but had light rusting all over as you can see in the second photo below.

Before, child's chrome chair.

Before, child’s chrome chair.

Light rust on the chrome.

Light rust on the chrome.

I tried the steel wool on one side. I used S.O.S pads and they did a great job of removing the rust pretty quickly with just a little elbow grease.

S.O.S. steel wool pads can be a bit of a blue mess, but they work.

S.O.S. steel wool pads can be a bit of a blue mess, but they work.

And after wiping clean:

In pretty good shape after using steel wool.

In pretty good shape after using steel wool.

chrome cleaning For the other side I tried the cola and tin foil method. I simply poured some cola on a cloth and saturated the chrome then poured a little on the tin foil and started rubbing the foil on the chrome.

Ready to try the coke and tin foil method.

Ready to try the coke and tin foil method.

This worked pretty well I think.

Bright and shiny after.

Bright and shiny after.

The chair legs are much shinier than before.

The chair legs are much shinier than before.

For my next experiment I used some vintage chrome hardware I just got for the new kitchen cabinets. Most of the pulls were in okay shape but some had a sticky grimy coating and some had very dull chrome with spots of rust.

Hardware before.

Hardware before.

I soaked the first batch in pure apple cider vinegar. And if you have ever used apple cider vinegar it does not have a very pleasant smell. I let them soak for about an hour before rinsing them and shining them with a soft rag.

The pulls in their apple cider vinegar bath.

The pulls in their apple cider vinegar bath.

They came out pretty clean and shiny.

The cider vinegar worked well.

The cider vinegar worked well.

I soaked another bunch in a mix of pure lemon juice and hot water. They also turned out pretty good.

After cleaning with lemon juice.

After cleaning with lemon juice.

Finally (and unfortunately) I decided to try out a product I bought a while ago but hadn’t tried yet. It was a naturally derived calcium, lime & rust remover. The only ingredients listed on the bottle were water and organic salt so I thought it would be safe to use on chrome.  However, I should have tested one of the pulls before I optimistically dumped all of the remaining door pulls in the solution. I left them for a minute to soak and when I removed them I noticed many of them had darkened to an almost black. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The cleaner had eaten away their chrome coating apparently. I learned a very valuable lesson, ALWAYS test a product such as this on one item or on one spot before assuming it will not damage your things. I am not blaming the product though – it is my own fault. After reading the small print fully it does say not to use it on aluminum or painted/metallic glazed surfaces – that would have made me hesitate to use it. Oh well, lesson learned. Now I am hoping to find someone in the area who does chrome plating.

So, I guess my top picks overall would be vinegar for simply shining up dull chrome, toothpaste and baking soda for cleaning up dull and mild rust spots on chrome (this method definitely beats cider vinegar for smell) and for heavier rusted areas both the steel wool and tin foil worked but I think the steel wool was a little easier to use than the tinfoil and coke mixture. So don’t give up on old or rusty chrome – it can shine bright again. Happy chrome cleaning!

FINE DINING – FURNITURE FINDS

 

My lovely tulip table.

My lovely tulip table.

Because the kitchen and dining room in the new house will all be one space I’ve kept my dining room furniture in mind while planning the kitchen design to make sure everything will work well together. The dining room furniture pieces I have so far are things I’ve gotten over the past few years. The beautiful 1960s oval tulip table and chairs (above) with their original yellow vinyl seat cushions are one of my favorite vintage furniture pieces. I had searched for a tulip table for quite some time when I saw this set online at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in a town that was three hours away. I wanted the set so badly but alas, it was out of my price range. I lucked out that it didn’t sell for a few weeks and eventually they advertised a half price sale. I was able to pay for it over the phone and my sister and her boyfriend were nice enough to take the trip to pick it up with his truck. Every time I walk into my current kitchen it makes me smile. There is really no room for more than a tiny two seater table in my current dining room so it sits there but really isn’t useable. So I can’t wait to put it in our new spacious dining room where it will be the room’s highlight and not just stuffed in a corner like it is now.

Stereo credenza for the dining room.

Stereo credenza for the dining room.

I really want to add some teak wood to the dining room and kitchen area to give the rooms some warmth. I picked up this teak stereo credenza at a garage sale a few summers ago for only $20 – score! The record player in it doesn’t work and has cracked so I will likely remove the stereo and use it for storage. Eventually I’d like to find an actual dining room buffet with more suitable storage but for now it will work. It will likely go on the far wall behind the table and can hold a few colourful vases.

 

mid century pendant light.

mid century pendant light.

And this mid century pendant light was a barn sale find. I think it will look great above the table and match nicely with the credenza and the white of the table and cabinets. I am still looking for the perfect piece of art for the dining room. I’d love to find a large original mid century abstract painting but I will likely paint something myself until I find the perfect piece of original art.