Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1946 Decorating Advice

I ran across this decorating book in an antique store in Steven's Point, WI. It is from the Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Co., Yonkers, NY. It is dated 1946. A brief search on the internet uncovers the business was started in the mid 1800's and that part of the mill is still standing. It is considered the largest intact mill site in the Hudson valley. Another interesting tidbit, Alexander Smith ran for congress at the age of 60 and died suddenly on the evening he was elected.

This brochure is titled Clara Dudley's Color Idea Book. Clara's title is Color Scheme Consultant for Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Co.

What makes it unique is that they take one type of carpet and show you three different room variations by having a cutout in each picture. The rug is fully on the 3rd page of three pages and the two preceding pages have cutouts in them so you can see through to the rug on the third page.

The color, furniture and stylings are just beautiful.

Here is an excerpt from the first page:

Each year thousands of women write to me about their decorating problems and ask my advice on color schemes and arrangements. Now, the wonderful new B.H.F (Basic Home Furnishings) Color Coordination Plan gives us all an easy, practical answer to almost every color problem. This plan, launched by the Home Furnishings Style Council and supported by Alexander Smith and Sons is a heavenly idea that will make it easier for you to find colors that really do go together in your home because the different manufacturers planned it that way. Here, in actual room settings you will see these colors used in effective, different color schemes.

There are nine B.H.F. colors and their group names. Each comes in a wide range of values from very light to very dark intensities:
Tan - Alamo Group
Rose - Grand Canyon Group
Burgundy - Adirondack Group
Mauve - Prairie Group
Green - Shenandoah Group
Beige - Cape Cod Group
Blue - Great Lakes Group
Cedar - Santa Fe Group
Grey - Great Smokey Group

This is the "Colorcade of America"
Follow the guide posts of these color names on the labels of everything you buy and you will always be sure your room colors are harmonious.

The picture below is titled "Color Contrast for a Family Room"
Text is:
In this room burgundy (B.H.F. Adirondack) is used in sharp contrast to the distinctive cool Shenandoah green of Alexander Smith's Floor Plan Rug. Green is the predominant color of this room; burgundy is second in importance; and Alamo tan and sharp white are used for accent. Much better than using each color in equal quantity. Now look at the next two pictures and see how the same Shenandoah green rug can form the basis of a new color scheme for two entirely different rooms. These might easily be adjoining rooms in your home, with the rug setting the theme for a coordinated color scheme throughout the house.

The picture below is titled "One Color for a Formal Look"
Text is:
This room shows you how you can use a whole symphony of the light and dark values of any one of the B.H.F. colors to create a room of quiet dignity and elegance. The effect is the exact opposite of that obtained with the contrasting colors used on the previous room. Furnishings now seem to blend into the walls, expanding the size of the room and creating a restful harmony. Sparkling mirrors and the interesting shadow box add to the spacious effect and give the room a jewel-like quality.

The picture below is titled "Blending Colors for the Modern Trend"
Text is:
On the walls of the room serene Great Lakes blue blends with the Shenandoah green from the same leaf-patterned rug shown in the preceding rooms. Draperies almost one with the wall color, highlight the window grouping - the room's most interesting feature. Blending colors are another way of making a small room appear more spacious and they can make a large furniture piece seem to melt right into the wall. If you are planning color schemes for adjoining rooms, do consider combining your colors in this way: one room in contrast, one in a single color and a third in blending tones. Thus your entire home will be in pleasant harmony

The picture below is titled "Prairie Mauve for an Intimate Air"
Text is:
The delicate roses of the patterned wallpaper in this room reflect the feeling and motif of the carpet design, with the fragile, full length white ruffled curtains are hung straight to break the movement of the rose pattern. These and the crystal lamps and dressing table mirror all add to the room's charm.

The picture below is titled "Striking Effects for Drama"
Text is:
Every color in the carpet has been used in this room. The convenient conversational grouping of the furniture creates a friendly air, while the boldly striped wallpaper, the solid color of the fireplace panel,and the important window treatment, all contribute to the dramatic effect.

The picture below is titled "Coordination for Harmony"
Text is:
This might be an adjoining room to the previous room. The wall to wall carpet which stretches right out into the hall and up the stairs in a luxurious expression of color. Often, a solid color carpet repeating one of the colors of your patterned carpet may be used in an adjoining room . . . thus making your home a veritable symphony of coordinated colors.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Love those vintage motel signs

I would love to travel down the road and come across a great vintage motel with vintage furnishings and a great vintage bathroom. That is the stuff that dreams are made of. But for now I will just enjoy this awesome vintage neon sign from a hotel in Montello, WI.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yellow and Jade Green Vintage Bathroom

We love our beautiful vintage bathrooms. Earlier in the blog, I featured our Pink and Green bathroom. This is what we consider the master bathroom though it is not directly connected to the master bedroom. The key color combination in the bathroom is yellow and jade green. All the woodwork is a great blonde color.

The floor is original with various size tiles and the tiles have yellow in darker and lighter shades with a dark grout.

The tub, sink and toilet are jade green. The tile is a nice light shade of yellow.

We have a spacious built-in medicine cabinet that looks as new as the day it was installed. It has three shelves to place items and is very convenient. The lighting is great and is provided by the two lights on the side. The base cabinet has six drawers and is great for storage.

The sink with the hundee ring is in great condition.

Of all the rooms in a vintage home, I am just really drawn to original baths and kitchens. There is no mistaking a 50's bathroom. The color combinations are fun and the workmanship is off the charts. Our tile seems like it is brand new.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Italian Food a la 50's Style

We were bumming around Oshkosh, WI looking for treasure and were getting hungry. Across from the antique store we were shopping at was a cool vintage sign for Red's Pizza. We thought we would give it a whirl.

It was a step back in time. I would imagine they opened in the 50's. There were also some decorations added along the way from the 60's and 70's. As you can see in the picture, great neon sign, nice architecture and beautiful stone on the outside of the building.

After ordering, I went to the powder room. Now when most folks talk about a restaurant, they focus on the food or the atmosphere but a true 50's design fan is going to not only take notice of but document the cool 50's bathroom that was found. I can't help myself!

I immediately saw the 50's pink 4x4 tile. A light pink field tile with a darker bullnose.

Then there was this cool laminate stall. I have never seen this type of laminate before. It is a blond Formica type laminate for the stall and stall door.

Even after all these years, the original sticker for the stall was still there. I would say that is some sticker!

Then my favorite was the floor tile. I like how the very small tiles sit upon the little bit larger tile that sit upon the single largest tile. This design is then alternated with a single large tile. I have not see this design before.

In addition to a cool bathroom there was interior stone work, some groovy hanging lights and of course the wall of fame.

I am a big fan of interior stone work. This design connects the interior stone to the exterior stone.

They had several of these funky late 60's/early 70's lights hanging from the ceiling. We were there during the day but I am sure they offer just the right ambiance at night.

Like any great vintage restaurant, you have your wall of fame.

After enjoying all the vintageness of the restaurant, the final payoff was delivered to our table. A delicious dish of spaghetti and meat sauce. It was very good.

My favorite part of visiting other places is finding remnants of days gone by. Our visit to Red's Pizza was a delicious pit stop in our travels.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Buffet for Formica Dining Table - FOUND!

Like many MCM fans, I love a good chrome and formica Dining table. We have several and find it hard to pass one up when we see them. I always wondered if they ever made matching formica and chrome buffets to match the tables. I was browsing through an old House Beautiful from October of 1956 and I finally found a matching buffet. Isn't this set stunning? It really is a more dressed up version of the chrome and formica table. I just love the style of the matching buffet and the backs of the chairs.

This past Sunday we went to Elkhorn, WI which has a huge fleamarket several times a year and lo and behold in this really atomic booth was a formica buffet. I immediately fell in love with it. It has two upper shelves and then inside the doors is another shelf.

The formica is kind of a beige/green. It is a hard color to pin down. Overall it is in very good shape. The inside shelf has a more 70's green contact paper so I am going to change that out with some aqua contact paper I picked up along the way.

This fits perfectly on the wall in the dining room. Our current formica table has a black top so I am going to be on the look out for a matching table. Wish me luck!

In the upper part of the picture below, you can see a cart that matches our table. We picked that up at Elkhorn last year as well. Too bad they all don't already match. Oh well, the hunt for the table will be a fun one.

I hope everyone is having a great summer and finding/rescuing great vintage items.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vintage Eats in OKC

We are always on the lookout for great vintage neon signs. We were visiting OKC and ran across the Charcoal Oven. We were drawn to the sign like moths to a light.

We were hungry so we thought why not!

It is a drive through. We had a cheeseburger and the best cherry limeade I have ever had. After we ate, we drove back through and got another cherry limeade to go.

If you are ever in Oklahoma City, I would suggest making it a must see/eat.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vintage Vacation

For my birthday this year, we decided to go back to where I was born, Miami, FL. We lived in Miami until I was 7 years old. I believe my love of MCM came from my time in Miami. The climate was conducive to great indoor/outdoor living and the area was growing. Even today you can drive around and see wonderful examples of MCM architecture.

Our home was a modest late 50's home. But my parents thought it was a castle. After years of apartment living, they had three bedrooms and two baths and a wonderful yard. Here is a picture of it in the early 60's.

Here is a picture of how it looks today.

We decided to visit tourist spots that were part of Florida back in the 1950's and 1960's. We even hit one spot that I went to as a small child.

Thirty miles south of Miami in Homestead, FL is a place called Coral Castle. A man named Ed Leedskalnin moved here from Latvia. He had asked a young lady he called "Sweet Sixteen" to marry him in his home country but she turned him down. So he moved to the United States and spent the rest of his life building a home for her made completely out of coral. The bulk of what he built was in the 1920's and 1930's. He was a very slight man and it was always a mystery how we could move these huge coral pieces that weighed up to several tons by himself. I visited the Coral Castle back in 1964 with my family. Below are some pictures from the 1964 visit and our 2011 visit.

Within the grounds of the Coral Castle, Ed built the necessities of daily living and he also built pieces that showed his interest in the stars. Here is his crescent moon and planets. In the older picture my Dad is sitting in the base of the Crescent Moon and I am sitting in a chair he built under that.

Ed built these three chairs so that he would be able to read by sunlight no matter the time of day. The first chair was for the morning light, the second chair my Dad is in is for mid day and the third chair I am in is for evening reading.

Dave is sitting in the same chair my Dad sat in. He thought it was pretty comfortable considering it is made out of coral.

For my birthday dinner we went to the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. It is a tiki themed restaurant and show. It opened in December of 1956. When we looked at old postcards of the Mai-Kai it seemed like it was out in the middle of no where. Now it is this oasis right in the middle of a busy shopping area.

They have a Polynesian show right after dinner. It is complete with beautiful dancers and of course some fire dancing. They also have a neat Tiki themed garden you can walk around after dinner.

I love pink flamingos, so it seemed appropriate for us to visit Flamingo Gardens. We spent our lunch just sitting and watching the flamingos. They can be extremely graceful as they walk around and then just as extremely clumsy when they try to run or kinda fly. It was very cool to watch.

I always wanted to go on an airboat ride in the everglades. I remember watching a tv show when I was a kid and being amazed at how the airboats glided so smoothly across the water. We went to the Everglades Holiday Park. We took an airboat tour of the everglades and even saw some alligators along the way. The airboat was as cool as I was hoping it would be.

I snapped this photo as I was sitting by the pool as the sun set on my birthday. There is just something about Palm trees that invoke tranquility for me. It was truly a wonderful birthday and a great vintage vacation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MCM Architecture in Oklahoma

We were visiting Duncan, OK last November and ran across some great MCM buildings in and near the downtown area. I love travelling to other cities and looking for MCM buildings. You never know what you will find.

Below is an electric company's office. I believe in front you could drive up and pay your bill.

This was a most unusual building. The block pattern on the sides of the building ran all the way up through the overhang. It almost seemed like scored concrete.

This was a building right off the main street. I just love the old planters and the glass case in front. I have always wanted to open up a MCM shop and have some great glass cases out front to highlight some super cool vintage furniture.

This building had so many cool things about it. Cool planter out front, an unfinished type terrazzo trim, wavy glass and metal vertical shutters.

This trim was very interesting. It was not shiny and smooth like terrazzo. It was very rough to the touch but it really reminded me of terrazzo.

This is a shot through the front window into the office area.

These are the metal vertical shutters.

I love this type of iron work. This was at the entrance to what I would guess to be an old grocery store.

I can't wait for spring to come so we can get back out on the road and see what other MCM jewels are out there.

Hope you are staying warm!