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Posts Tagged ‘retro renovation’

My Atomic Powder Room

April 22nd, 2014 Sears Homes 21 comments

Pink bathrooms. I love them all. I wish I could save every pink bathroom in America. I eschew the fools who decimate and destroy old bathrooms.

For one, it violates the First Commandment of Old House ownership:  “Thou shalt not destroy good old work.”

Secondly, the quality of workmanship and materials found in older bathrooms can’t be replicated by the modern junk sold at Lowes and Home Depot.

I loved the 1960s. And that’s why I love my old house. It was built in 1962, and it still looks like 1962.

We purchased this house from the home’s original owner (his estate, actually) and it looks much like it did in 1962. Style-wise, this old house would best be described as a “Mid-Century Modern” brick ranch, and (be still my heart).

Soon after we closed, I started looking for Retro Wallpaper and couldn’t find a thing. Then I saw a blog at Retro Renovation about a woman who did her own “Atomic Kitchen,” I decided to give it a try in my own 1960s kitchen. It turned out beautifully.

Next, I was ready to hit the bathroom. And yes, it took a lot of time (more than 100 hours), but oh boy, what a blast! My only regret is that I’m now out of rooms to “decorate” with Retro designs!

If you like the look, please leave a comment below!

To read about My Atomic Kitchen, click here.

To see vintage images of real-life 1950s kitchens (including a PURPLE kitchen), click here.

I also “restored” the bathroom in my 1925 Colonial Revival. Read about that here.

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It started

The trouble started when I saw that blog at Retro Renovation. It inspired me to replicate the "Atomic Ware" pattern on my own kitchen. And when I was done, it looked gorgeous!

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Bath

By contrast, my old bathroom looked dull as dishwater!

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bath 2

It needed some snazzy new colors!

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Crave yard (see link below)

At "The Crave Yard" (see link below), I discovered this pattern and thought it might work for my bathroom. I used this as a guide, but my own pattern was a bit different.

To see all manner of cool retro ideas, visit The Crave Yard here.

fve

It started with "flecking" the walls which made a big mess. I'm still finding charcoal gray flecks on the floor, the toilet, the shower curtain, etc. I used a toothpaste and a $2.99 sample can of charcoal paint to do the flecking. I dabbed the paint on the toothbrush, and then ran my index finger along the bristles, which sent all manner of gray specks flying onto the walls. I did a few practice runs with cardboard before I went crazy on the walls.

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Bath 3

Using that pattern (taped to the door trim) as a rough guide, I started behind the bathroom door. I figured it was the least noticeable part of the whole room. The door came off the hinges and stayed that way for several days.

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32

I used templates to draw the patterns on the walls. Spacing was random. REAL random.

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six

Next step was to paint "between the lines." I used Sherwin Williams Duration paints (quart size). The colors were pink, turquoise and gray (pink and gray were color matched to the existing bathroom colors). The turquoise was a wild gamble, but it worked. The chair atop the counter helped my aching shoulders. Kneeling on the counter left me too low and standing was too high. The chair was jusssssssst right.

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messy

The process was rather messy. Note the dead pen in the trashcan. I killed off at least 40 pens.

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Even before I was anywhere near finished, I began to fall in love.

Even in the early stages, I began to fall in love.

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undne

You can see how the black lines really make a difference.

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post 437

The cacophony of retro designs created a mid-century modern masterpiece. I was very pleased.

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home stretch

As I finished up around the door (which was back on its hinges by this point), I was quite smitten with the overall look. You can still see the "pattern" taped to the bathroom mirror.

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curtains

The turqouise worked out well. The towels were found on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond ($5.99 each) and that curtain, well, that's another blog. In short, it was a white curtain that I dyed turqouise (too dark). And then I bleached it (too light). And then I dyed it again (too dark). And then I washed it in hot water (just right).

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Pretty 376

Am I pleased with the end result? Abso-galootely!

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Pretty 2

I can not walk into this bathroom without a big grin on my face. The dots and the colors make me smile.

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nice

Even Mr. Grumpy Bear likes it. ;)

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Even bathrub

When we finished, I noticed that the bathtub was smiling.

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I made a few of my own

These are the "Atomic Balls" that I added to the pattern. They were easy to draw and looked right at home.

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North star

The pattern on the right is known as "North Star" and figuring out that six-point cross about drove me to hard liquor. The amoeba was easy and fun.

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not a rtocket

And my old favorite, the starburst.

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Who doesnt love ameoga

Two amoebas walk into a bar...no wait, that's something else.

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I went for a slightly differen tlook over thes shower head

I went for a slightly different look on the wall with the shower head.

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picture s84746

The whole gang.

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templates

I created templates to draw the patterns on the wall.

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About 25% of pens

Shown above are the pens that survived. This represents about 25% of the Sharpies used in the project. Many gave their lives in service, and went to the great beyond.

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For the amoeba, I used these oil-paint sharpies (white).

For the amoeba, I used these oil-paint sharpies (fine and regular).

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Peoples reaction to The Worlds Most Beautiful Atomic Powder Room is mixed.

People's reaction to The World's Most Beautiful Atomic Powder Room is mixed. Some fall in love with it, and others say things like, "Well, as long as you and Wayne like it, that's all that matters."

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And we do!

And we do love it.

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A lot

A whole lot!

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Please leave a comment below!

To read about Sears kit homes, click here.

The blog that piqued my interest originally can be found at Retro Renovation.

Read all about my kitchen dots, here.

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My Perfect Atomic Kitchen

January 29th, 2014 Sears Homes 23 comments

It started with an old dinner plate.

Sometime in the 1950s, my creative, colorful, California-loving mother purchased Gladding McBean Franciscan dinnerware with an “Atomic” starburst pattern. My brothers and I grew up eating breakfast, lunch and dinner off this dishware, and I always loved it.

In 2007, my new husband started systematically purchasing this “antique” dinnerware from eBay, until we had amassed a full 12-piece place setting. And then two years ago, we bought a 50+ year old house to match the plates.

Despite the passage of five decades, our brick ranch looks much like it did when built (which is part of the reason I found it so enchanting). Stepping into the kitchen was like walking through a portal back to 1962.

Unfortunately, my beautiful old kitchen had one glaring defect: Boring walls. Despite an intense search, I couldn’t find a wallpaper pattern that seemed “right” for the kitchen.

Whilst researching “Mid-Century Modern Homes,” I discovered a delightful website called “Retro Renovation,” and fell in love with the many well-written articles and dazzling photos posted there. And more recently, a guest writer at Retro Renovation wrote a piece about creating her own “Atomic” design for her kitchen walls, using the Gladding McBean dinnerware as a guide.

As soon as I laid eyes on the pictures of her newly painted walls, I was elated: I’d found my pattern, and better yet, re-creating that pattern would be a lot less expensive than the $100+ a roll wallpaper I’d been considering.

Two weeks ago, I started work on the project and I must say, it went more quickly than I’d anticipated, and I am tickled pink with the end result. It’s not a flawless duplication of the pattern on the plate, and it’s also not a perfect copy of the design featured at Retro Renovation, but I am DEE-lighted with the way it looks.

Every time I walk into the kitchen, I find myself staring at the walls and grinning from ear-to-ear. And that’s a mighty good feeling.

And as always, please leave a comment if you enjoy the pictures!

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Even as a child, I admired the unique pattern and colors on this Gladding McBean Franciscan Dinnerware. And best of all, its Oven Safe!

Even as a child, I admired the unique pattern and colors on this Gladding McBean Franciscan Dinnerware. Today, it's more commonly known as an "Atomic" starburst pattern, and can be purchased on eBay. According to Wikipedia, Gladding McBean created the Franciscan dishware line in 1934, and it was named in honor of the Franciscan friars who established California missions in the 1700s and 1800s.

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Wayne and I both loved the kitchen in our 50-year-old house, but the walls were rather drab. This photo shows the first dab of Sherwin Williams Duration Extra-White on the wall.

Wayne and I both loved the kitchen in our 50-year-old house, but the kitchen walls were drab and dull. This photo shows the first dab of Sherwin Williams "Duration Extra-White" on the wall.

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For a cleaner, non-textured look, I applied the paint with a brush. Much to my chagrin, the Duration paint did not cover the existing flesh-colored with a single coat.

For a cleaner, non-textured look, I applied the white "base coat" with a brush. Much to my chagrin, the Duration Extra White paint did not cover the existing flesh-colored paint with a single coat.

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dots

Following the suggestion at Retro Renovation, I created the dots by cutting out circular bits of sponge. After much consideration, I went with three sizes: 3", 2" and 1-1/2". I found that dampening the sponge and then wringing it out thoroughly made it *much* easier to work with (as opposed to using a dry sponge). I placed the round sponge on the wall and then gently rotated it 360 degrees.

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house

The end result was just what I'd hoped it would be! One of the reasons I love the "atomic starburst" design is because it's fun and fanciful, and almost child-like with its many imperfections. That's my kind of artwork!

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Figuring out the size of the dots needed for the large expanse of wall took some time, but in the end, I used three sizes of dots: 3, 2 and 1-1/2 dots.

Creating the templates for the starbursts proved quite difficult. After several hours of studying the patterns and trying to solve this puzzle, my buddy Milton helped me "see" the pattern on the plates in a different way. With that fresh insight, I was able to create a template, and drawing the starburst became quick work.

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We trekked up to the

We trekked up to the Sherwin Williams store in Ghent (on 21st Street in Norfolk) with a couple dinner plates in hand, and asked the clerk to create a paint color from the colors shown in the three starbursts. Unfortunately, the computer was not able to pick up the color from the plates, so we were forced to match the colors up the old-fashioned way - with our own eyeballs. The blue shown on the dishware is tad more gray than the blue we selected. As a fan of the 1950s, I had a decided prejudice toward turquoise. However the yellow ("Humble Gold") and green ("Baize Green") were a very good match. The blue/torquoise was "Aquaduct."

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dots

I was so pleased with the look of my polka-dotted wall that I almost stopped right there. It was such a joy to see the flesh-colored, food-stained wall transformed into something colorful and bright and clean. But once I finished my first "starburst," I was immediately in love.

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Looks snappy, doesnt it?

Looks snappy, doesn't it?

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rretro

By contrast, the "undone" dot (upper right) looks almost blasé!

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dots

Lots and lots of dots. As mentioned above, my hand-crafted starbursts are not a perfect match to the dinnerware starburst, but it captured the retro look that I had longed to find. I was quite pleased with the look.

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It did take a lot of pens

I did go through a lot of pens. For the lines within the starburst, I used the Sharpie Ultra-Fine point markers, and for the dots at the tips of the starburst, I used the Sharpie Fine-points. For drawing on painted walls, the "Industrial" sharpies were far superior to the regular markers. And it was wholly delightful to finally be able to DRAW ON THE WALLS without anyone yelling at me!

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house

These were the templates that I used for the starbursts. If anyone is interested in more information on how I used these to create the larger starburst pattern (blue), send me a note and I'll give you all the details. It involved some free-hand work, but it was darn fun - and easy - once I could "see" the pattern.

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house house

The space above the cabinet was painted with the "Aquaduct," and the "Humble Gold" was used below the cabinet. The end result was really stunning, and most pleasing. Best of all, it looked "period appropriate."

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Kitchen

The turquoise color really highlighted the details around the window valance.

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dots

This angle shows off the "Humble Gold" above the back splash.

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dhica

This is a shot of the small space over the kitchen door and beside the refrigerator.

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end result

The only downside of our "old" (un-remodeled) kitchen is the limited space. This small pot-rack has been a huge help and freed up much needed storage under the cook-top. The cabinet next to the pot-rack was found at a salvage store (ReStore) in Newport News, and has also helped alleviate storage woes.

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drab

That formerly drab flesh-colored wall is looking pretty good! Unfortunately, the ceiling isn't quite finished yet. And I'd love to hear suggestions on the floor, as the existing floor has GOT TO GO!

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dots

Several times a day, I saunter into the kitchen and admire my pretty dots. They always make me smile.

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Finis!

Finis!

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To read the original post at Retro Renovation that captured my fancy, click here.

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