Saturday, April 17, 2010

Family Heritage at the Antique Mall

Here's one of my recent antique mall finds. It's a book called How to Break and Train the Western Horse. It seems like an odd book for me to buy, I know. The reason I bought this book isn't to realize my dream of becoming a rodeo queen. It's because the cowboy on the cover is my great uncle.
The funny thing is, this isn't the first time I've gone shopping in an antique mall and found something with his image on it. Last year, I noticed this 8X10 photo of a group of people in western attire. Vintage western clothing appeals to me, so I picked up the photo to look at their clothing. While scanning the photo, I recognized my great uncle! I bought the picture and showed it to members of my family, who pointed out that another great uncle is also in the photo. Now I feel like I need to pay attention to every photo I come across in flea markets and antique shops.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inspiring Interiors from Armstrong 1950s

I bought this book called "Inspiring Images from Armstrong 1950s" thinking it would help me decide on a VCT tile pattern for the house. The book is filled with images created by Armstrong Tile for advertising purposes, to show customers how they might use Armstrong tile in their homes. Although we ended up using none of the ideas in it, I'm really glad I bought the book. 

The book is frequently advertised in Atomic Ranch magazine, but somehow it never really piqued my interest. It seemed to me that photos from a tile company wouldn't be that exciting. The Early American style interior on the cover led me to believe that the book didn't contain many photos of mid-century modern rooms. Boy, was I wrong. 

Instead, it's a really fun read that shows imaginative and colorful interiors from the 1950s. The focus is on the flooring, but all of the rooms are fully furnished and decorated, which makes this book a great source of information and ideas for mid-century modern homeowners. If you appreciate the not so subtle designs of the '50s, you're sure to love this book.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Replacing the Carpet with VCT for a Vintage Look

First off - sorry I haven’t posted in so long! The blog isn’t dead, we’ve just been really, really busy. The irony of blogging about home improvement projects is that when you’re actually working on projects, there isn’t much time for blogging.
We’ve been working on replacing the bright green carpet in our house with vinyl composition tile. A lot of people ask, “Is the carpet original?” Although this shade of green was a popular carpet color in the ‘50s, our carpet was installed in the ‘90s. I found scraps of the carpet that was installed in our house in the ‘70s and it was even louder than the green carpet we just removed. It was tri-toned with the same bright green, an even brighter blue, and purple. The original flooring for our 1955 ranch house was vinyl in the kitchen and family room, and carpet in the living room and bedrooms. We have decided to return the house to its original flooring materials, but we’ll use different colors.
When we pulled up the carpet, the original vinyl tile was still underneath and it was in better condition than we had expected. We really wanted to keep it, and thought for a while that might be possible. 
In the end, there were just too many issues. There were holes every 4 inches around the perimeter of the room from the carpet tacking strips. A couple tiles were cracked and others had strange spider-web lines that were sure to become cracks in the future. Then, there was the problem with what tile to put in the kitchen if we kept the original tile in the family room. The kitchen tile was replaced long ago, so the adjoining rooms would have to be tiled differently.
Our decision was made when it came to removing the metal strip that allowed the carpet to tuck under at the threshold. The metal strip was attached with nails only an inch apart and the tile really got torn up when we removed the strip. We went ahead with removing the original tile. It was sad to see it go, but there were just too many problems to make it work.
After agonizing for weeks over what color the floor should be, we finally decided to go with the white tile with specks of turquoise, yellow, and coral. We realize that we’re taking a risk by using color on the floor. One thing that encouraged us to choose the turquoise color is that the kitchen has the original turquoise countertops and sink, which we'll never want to remove. We’re crossing our fingers and hoping it work will look okay.
The new tile is coming in this week and it will be installed at the end of the month. We’ll keep you updated as the project moves along.


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