Posts Tagged ‘retro’

Blue & orange. If you know a thing or two about the color wheel then you know the BAM! that this complementary color scheme has to offer. Blue and orange are definitely a color trend now in film, video, media. Think CSI Miami! Anyways, here are 2 young but not juvenile dining spaces with deep navy walls the perfect accents of orange. This rooms also have something else in common: records! Being a vinyl hoarder, I love to see records used in design.

Celerie Kemble dining nook

The first room is from designer Celerie Kemble’s portfolio. This is a cool space. It’s a little more modern than what I do, but it has vintage. OK, so the room isn’t “navy” but it is a bit of squid ink paint shade, so there is some blue in that gray. This gray appears more “blue” with the touches of orange. I love dark gray walls. It is a bit of a “modern” shade and it can come across as very masculine, but it packs drama. You want to transform a room in a weekend, paint it this color. Everything you own will look completely different. Whites will pop and blacks will shine. Anyways, I love the record storage in this nook! It is so clever to have it under the seating in a small space. I got to tell David. He need to build us one of these.  Anyways, this is a cozy space, very hip. I want to listen to records and lounge around drinking beer and eating guacamole and chips in this nook. *Oh, I love the textiles in here because it keeps this color combo and space from being too masculine. It’s a nice balance.

The other dining room or nook is from Rejuvenation’s website. It is a really cool space as well and totally reminds me of the early 1910-1940’s Craftsman homes in the Seattle area being fixed up by young adults like ourselves. (Rejuvenation is based in the PNW). This dining room is the kind of dining room you’d see in our neighborhood while your taking the dog out for an evening stroll. It’s classic but it has a special type of vintage lust seen in the under 40 crowd. I guess what I’m saying is that I love the look of vintage mid-modern pieces shoved into a Craftsman. The cool thing about this space is that you remove the furniture and the accessories and you have a classic Craftsman home that appeals to everyone. You didn’t do anything to ruin the vibe or the bones of the house. You worked with the house and added your tastes without destroying the authenticity of the home. I’m all about that.

Rejuvenation dining room

Anyways, I love this room. Once again, it is a “squid ink” shade that looks awesome against that white mill work. The orange accents are brilliant in this room. The lighting isn’t very typical of old homes but it has a nice vibe, a young vibe. I love the records on the ledge (recognize a few from our own collection). And one can never go wrong with a Saarinen table.

I guess we are going to try to finish the upstairs bathroom this weekend. I have to admit that I’d rather do something else, you know, like something fun. Oh, well. This house isn’t going to renovate itself. Bummer.



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Vinyl green thrift chairs

Some of our weekend thrift haul

As if we don’t have a million other projects to wrap up, my chair fetish caused me drag in three more chairs this past weekend. I couldn’t pass them up. I love chairs. I love to “fix” them up. Here’s 2 chairs that we bought for under $3 each. I call these the “green tea” chairs because their color reminds me of brewed green tea. I think this shade only happens to old green things covered in tarry cigarette smoke. It’s one of my favorite colors. I really do like the damage that cigarette smoke does to furniture and paintings, haha. It’s like tea staining everything. So, yeah, these chairs are pretty darn grotty.

Does anyone know how to clean old vinyl furniture? These chairs are filthy. In the pic above, I have washed these chairs with Murphy Oil Soap twice. You would not believe how dirty the water has been both times. The pic is doing the chairs some favors. They are much dirtier in real life. Pen ink marks are on the mid-century modern chair. And the chairs are just so dirty. Any suggestions on what to use to clean these? I keep reading that people clean up these mid-century modern vinyl chairs with soap and water. That’s not really cutting it. I need your ancient vinyl cleaning secrets 🙂

I’ll scrub them again today with Murphy Oil Soap solution again and lots of elbow grease. I’m not really fretting because I like these chairs and I don’t go for perfection, I do like some imperfections.  And the price of these chairs were cheaper than 1 large green tea latte. I’m not losing much. I still need to clean up the wood, maybe coat the wood with Howard Wax to disguise visible scratches and add a nice sheen.


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"Fancy" 5 cent pulls (only 2 of those)

OK, so it took me some time to find the kitchen drawer and cabinet hardware that I wanted, but I did find it. I wanted something chrome-like and 50’s dinner or 30’s streamline moderne. In the basement, there were some built-ins with the coolest pulls. I wanted something like that. The items offered at Lowe’s were either Scandinavian modern or country kitchen. Not what I wanted. Here’s what I wanted and how I got it:

Our kitchen. Don't judge me on the mess. No dishwasher 😦

Hickory Hardware "The American Diner" knob, reproduction

For the cabinets we purchased from Van Dyke’s Restorers “The American Diner Knob” in Chrome. We paid less than $2.50 for each. I don’t know if Van Dyke’s is carrying the chrome knob anymore. We of course ordered many of them and needed one more. Van Dyke’s was sold out. We found our last one on Amazon for more money. The American diner knob is manufactured by Hickory Hardware. So if you are looking for this style of knob, search for places that sell Hickory Hardware. Total cost for us: $21.50 plus shipping (including Amazon knob). I think shipping was like $9 (ordered some other things). And I had to buy that lonesome knob from Amazon for like $4.50.

OK, now to the drawers. I wanted something that matched the built-ins in the basement. We looked and looked. We were about to order The Deco Drawer Pull from Rejuvenation in Polished Chrome. This beautiful pull retails for $16 each. Ouch, we’d have to buy 13 of them. But, I was sick of looking and I wanted to open and use my drawers. By chance that afternoon I went to our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. I found the pulls picture here for 5¢ each! OK, so they aren’t as jazzy as the Deco Drawer Pull. But, they are so cheap, in awesome condition, and are original. I picked up more than I needed (in case I didn’t notice rust or needed to replace a few). I even got a set that was very fancy. I used these on the cabinets under the sink. It pays to thrift! Now looking at all of them up. I think I like these better than The Deco Drawer Pull because they are simple. The kitchen has

5 cents kitchen "plain" retro pulls

more of a pink/aqua 50’s vibe and the ones that we have “fit” better. Total cost for us: 65¢

We were fortunate enough to have these hinges already on the bottom cabinets. They cleaned up nicely. They aren’t perfect but I’m not going for perfect. I’m also going for cheap. Total cost to us: $0

Our total on kitchen hardware: under $30 (including shipping) for 20 drawers and doors. We didn’t have to buy screws for the vintage hardware. We already had that lying around.

Guide to Retro Hardware:

Looking for retro hardware or retro looking hardware? Look at dealers such as Van Dyke’s Restorers. Do not overlook their clearance page. It has awesome deals! Who knows? Maybe what you want is on sale or you can settle for something similar. If you know you like a reproduction knob/pull. Find out who the manufacturer is and search for them on-line. Find the best deal that way. Love the ease of Internet shopping! If you’re not on a budget search at places like Rejuvenation or Anthropologie.Don’t forget about salvage yards, thrift stores, and even antique stores. Sometimes you can find a great deal like we did. By thrifting we saved over $205! If you choose to go the thrift route be prepared to look and look. Keep a list of the number of knobs/pulls that you need and their dimensions on your phone or in your wallet. And if your going cheap, don’t forget to mix and match. It can look really great and polished. Check out kitchens in design magazines. They usually use up to 5 different knob/pull designs in a large kitchen. I need to add that sometimes salvage yards will make “trades”. Have a 40’s sink you switched out for something else? Trade it for hardware. (I’d call before hauling a sink around). Also check out vendors on Etsy. Etsy has options that fit into the no budget range and the budget range. It’s worth checking out.

*I’m not the best at pictures. Excuse my crummy quality. Photographing small chrome things is not easy. Also, this is a living and working kitchen. Excuse my crummy mess. I don’t have the mad skills to Photoshop the dirty dishes out 🙂

Original hinges


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Mary Greetis living room

I am attracted to a Hollywood Regency style. I like for things to be over the top and costumey. Here are two living rooms that I have stumbled across that I like. The first room is a Mary Greetis living room. It’s pretty stark and really benefits from the pops of red orange. It isn’t very Hollywood Regency but it is quirky and fun thanks to the Jonathan Adler lamps. We have 2 picture windows in our great room this size and it is nice to see how others decorate with such a ridiculous aquarium windows.

The other room is from somewhere. I can’t remember. It is just a close-up of a mantel but I do like quirkiness of it all. It’s a good use of symmetry. The red really pops in this space as well. And I need to find a use for all of the silly 60’s-70’s Baroque style picture frames and mirrors that I have collected from thrift stores and spray painted over the years. I think that this display is a nice use of somebody’s collection.

I think this last room fits more of the Regency style. It’s symmetrical.

These rooms aren’t OTT Hollywood Regency but they do have a retro Regency “don’t take yourself too seriously” vibe.


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Our unfinished kitchen

I think it is only appropriate to show such a “moody” picture of the kitchen. This is how this kitchen makes me feel. I feel we made many gains quickly and then it stayed in this shape for 4 months. If you need a refresher, I’ll give you one. All of our cabinets and drawers were covered with blue faux fur, think Cookie Monster here, underneath the custom van complex addition, there were layers and layers of paint. This included an adorable mint green with the cutest vintage rose decals ever, too bad that couldn’t be. I think David spent 3 months just removing layers and layers of paint off of the cabinets/drawers. Oh, and Trappy’s Pepper Sauce (rehab homes are not easy may I remind you). Months later and we are still waiting for the fresh coat of white paint to dry on two doors. It then took me a couple of months to find the perfect vintage hardware (not seen in this pic). I did find the perfect hardware and that is a post soon to come. David redid the floor with eco-friendly (I couldn’t resist) and vintage fabulous marmoleum, the white tiles have been salvaged. We ordered the black. The original floor was a wreck, once again, a post in waiting. We did keep the original fixtures. I adore my faucet and my light fixtures and my shallow, long sink. I worked with my pink with gold flake counter top. I do love that as well and would get it new if I could. The walls are painted a ’57 Chevy teal or a milkier Fender Strat in Taos Turquoise, of course not seen in my moody pic.

It’s not the best picture. But, this hasn’t been a picture perfect renovation. It is going to take some time to get there with us both working full-time. I just thought I would share some of the progress we’ve made and to also complain a little about how I live. At least we have a stove and fridge. We lived off of a George Foreman and a mini fridge for many, many months. I guess I shouldn’t complain that one can see my spice collection, tea library, and bare white dishes. There used to be a dead muppet on the doors in there and a wigs worth of crazy bachelor’s hair. Oh, and I forgot the shagadelic, mod felt faces wallpaper!!!


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Living room from Elle Decor

I love robin’s egg blue and chartreuse both as accents but I have came across 2 rooms that use both of these colors as more than just accent colors.

This first room is from Elle Decor magazine. I love the powder blue walls with monochromatic trim. This comes across as a very 60’s Regency look to me. It looks like something that would have been in a swank 60’s hotel in a tropical locale like the Philippines . I love the “classic” accessories such as the lighting and mirrors. I also love any space that displays underwater finds such as coral. The chairs really make the room. OK, so they aren’t quite chartreuse, more acid yellow, but they really add a fun and quirky touch to this otherwise stuffy room. It’s the only “real” color in the room and I like it.

This other room was featured in Cottage Living magazine. Once again this is a “formal” living room that is made fun by the choice of color: robin’s egg blue and chartreuse.

Cottage Living living room

This room also has the addition of a vintage golden orange. This room also puts off a 60’s Regency vibe. I love these colors together. They are bold without being obnoxious.

I really love “icy” shades paired with bold ones. I love a combo of powder blue and chartreuse, pale lilac and grapefruit, mint sorbet and fire engine red. These are those great retro color combinations that I feel many of us “young moderns” overlook.


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The kitchen is about finished. It looks nice. It isn’t what I would call my “dream” kitchen. I worked with what we had and the result is that I have a cute kitchen for cheap. It works with the house. All you really need is something that works, that gets the kitchen duties done. Our kitchen does that. It does that while being a total “cheesecake” of a kitchen with its pink counter tops, aquamarine walls, and black/white checkered floor.

early 20's apothecary

early 20's apothecary

If had to start from scratch, I would like an “apothecary” styled kitchen. I love a Belle Epoque apothecary vibe for any space really, but I always thought it would be cool to have an “apothecary” kitchen since this is where my creations are born.

I look at antique apothecary pics frequently. This 20’s one is one of my favorites. It has amazing millwork, ceiling tin tiles, interesting floors, and of the course the built-ins are fabulous. I would love to have a kitchen like this. I would have a stove, fridge, all of that shoved in there, open cabinets, cute jars for my spices/dry goods, and that amazing kitchen island for workspace and dining. I’d love beat up wood planked floors and oil rubbed brass fixtures. The colors would be light with dark rustic woods. This is my dream kitchen. This doesn’t go with my house.

I also found this kitchen in Southern Accents magazine (RIP this month, right?). I love the rustic, creepy vibe of it. I wouldn’t mind elements of this kitchen in my pretend “dream” kitchen as well. Just like the apothecary look, it adds a bit of macabre.

Southern Accents kitchen

Southern Accents kitchen

And it’s functional. I pretty much love everything about it from the taxidermy to the rough plank floors to the types of bowls they have out on the island. It is almost an antiquarian kitchen, a kitchen for collectors.

Well, it’s a bit silly to think of this kind of kitchen after my current kitchen has been finished. I don’t dislike my kitchen. It’s retro and fun. In fact it is too fun. And to be fair my “dream” kitchen doesn’t fit with the house at all. It would take a complete kitchen remodel. Not a “make it work” remodel like we pulled off on very little money. But, I love working with what I have. It’s rewarding to be resourceful.


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