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Friday, February 21, 2014


Our kitchen is so small that only a tiny table would fit inside, and it had to be a bar table because we have two mid-century wood bar chairs I found years ago at a thrift store.

So the bar table had to be small and have a mid-century look too. Oy vey.

I found some great options online, like this Xert bar table on

This Saarinen-style bar table from Exclusive Mod is adooorable! It was my first choice, until I realized it would be too small:

This square bar table from Advanced Interior Designs was also charming (but again, too small for us):

The "Zen" counter-height table from Scandinavian Designs was really cute and the right size too, but didn't quite match our chairs:

Finally, we found the Utby bar table from Ikea, which seemed perfect:

But then we saw that the cane backs of our bar chairs wouldn't go with the stainless steel of the Utby. Poo. It would have looked fantastic.

Back to the drawing board -- well, the internet, where I found several examples of mid-century bar chairs paired with high gloss white tables! I never thought that would work, but it was beautiful! So we returned to Ikea where we put together a "Linnmon" table top and "Adils" table legs, and voila:

Best of all, it cost less than $50!

All these tables were quite affordable, most in the $200 range, and they look very retro-cool too. Can't beat that!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


It wasn't easy finding retro-inspired accents for our retro-inspired kitchen. Especially on a tight budget! We didn't want to spend loads of money on things like lights, fans, etc. I wish we could have found real vintage fixtures at thrift stores, but that just didn't happen.

Nevertheless, searching long and hard got us some amazing deals like these!

The Star backplate from Rejuvenation was so quintessentially '50s! We used it as small drawer and cabinet pulls: 

Also from Rejuvenation, the "Astron" pendant light is mid-century inspired and adorable over the sink (ours is the green but you can get lots of other combinations):

The fan was hard to find because the cute vintage-look ones were really pricey -- $300 for a fan??? I don't think so. Finally we got this one, the "Middleton" from Home Depot. The white color blends into the ceiling, and at least the "schoolhouse" lampshade is a genuine vintage style:

I'm glad we didn't spend loads of money on small things, but still got great style! No-one should have to shell out half the price of a new stove on a lamp or fan, know what I mean? And nowadays you really don't have to.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


When the Ikea installation people came to put in our new kitchen, I just had to take a pic!

The kitchen designer had told us everything would probably be done in a day, but it took three days. Made me kind of glad we didn't have a big kitchen!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Seeing the cupboards removed from the kitchen was really weird! They had been there since the '60s, so it was like they had a life of their own.

Now you see them:

Now you don't:

I thought I'd be so happy to see the cupboards gone, but the opposite happened: their absence hit me hard. I thought about all the people who'd lived in the house since 1951, what they would have done in the kitchen. Housewives cooking for their families, college-student renters drinking beer, so many different people before us. 

Thankfully my husband managed to get the cupboards re-hung in our little garden shed, so all was not lost! They're good hardwood cupboards, so I'm glad they got saved and re-used.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


A photo of our kitchen before the cabinets were taken out:

When we moved in, the only thing we could afford to do was replace the coverless fluorescent light with a cheap little pendant light from Ikea. 

These were original wood cabinets from the '50s or '60s. You'd think a vintage kitchen like this would be cute, right? Not this one. It was more or less functional but that was it. We had to duct-tape drawers together and the countertop was warped with water damage. It was depressing.

Monday, January 27, 2014


This is our first home, so I saved its real estate listing photos to show what it looked like before we moved in. Hope one day our son will find this interesting! I studied History in college so I'm really into saving stuff from the past as mementos for the future.

Here's the listing pic of the kitchen:

When we looked at the house the fridge was gone and the dishwasher replaced with an old ugly black one. It was a rental so I can understand the tenant taking away his or her fridge, but the dishwasher?? Weird!

The photo shows a simple small kitchen, but in real life it was pretty awful. The cheap acrylic sink was so dirty it was more brown inside than white! The floor was torn up in the corner, and the cupboards had strange stains that never came off. The ugly formica countertops were warped, if you can believe that. And the freaking fluorescent light over the sink didn't have a cover on it! WTF???

We had no money to make any kitchen repairs when we bought the house, so I thought we could just paint the walls and cupboards and it would be okay for a while. 

Err ... nope. A couple of the drawers started breaking apart and had to be duct-taped together. The garbage disposal in the sink broke. Water kept pooling in the sagging countertop whenever the dishes were washed. Just being in the kitchen depressed me. 

We knew it was time for a big change. But we didn't realize how much worse it could get.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Found some adorable photos online of mid-century Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), and wanted to share!

First, a busy street scene from Pettah, the central commercial and shopping area of Sri Lanka's capitol, Colombo:

Next, a pic of the big open-air market in Kandy, the biggest city in Sri Lanka's central highlands, where my family is from. This is from the '60s, and shows the market in front of the Kandy railway station:

Another photo of some little shops along the main road in Kandy, circa 1962. Note the cool retro van! Also, the white sarong-and-shirt combo worn by men in these photos was very popular those days, because the cotton material protected against the tropical heat and humidity. Nowadays there's so much pollution in these cities that wearing white is impractical - it gets too dirty from all the exhaust fumes and dust! Sad, isn't it?

Last but not least, the crew of Air Ceylon, Sri Lanka's main carrier from 1947-1978. This photo is from 1965. Check out the groovy beehive on the stewardesses! Saris and beehives, a very popular combo back in the day (according to my mom), is what I call Too Fabulous!

I love looking at photos of mid-century Sri Lanka, a peaceful prosperous place that everyone who lived back then fondly calls the Good Old Days!