Sunday, 31 August 2008

Kitschy Cottage Style - Creating a Fresh Vintage Look

If you are looking for a new twist on vintage style, then perhaps a "kitschy cottage look" is a perfect match for you. Many of the kitchen and home accessories produced during the 1950s were made in "cottage colors" such as soft yellows, greens, pinks, blues, peach and aqua, and were patterned with tropical prints and beach novelty images. There are plenty of kitchen, bath, bedroom and patio collectibles out there and still priced well.

The good news is that you don't have to live near the water to create cottage style. All you need is the desire to have some fun and experiment with fabrics, flea market finds and furnishings. Cottage style is all about achieving a comfortable, relaxed, laid back home.

One of the best ways to get acquainted with what to hunt for is to read through some old home magazines. My favorite source for 1950s kitchen and home products is vintage Family Circle Magazines. These periodicals are easy to find in stores and online for a few dollars. You can usually buy them individually or in lots.

When you browse through these magazines you'll see full-page advertisements of some of your favorite collectibles such as Pyrex, tablecloths, aprons, mixing bowls etc.

As you read through these fifties' women's magazines you will recognize many household names of manufacturers you probably grew up with. Popular producers of today's "kitschy collectibles" are: Fire King, Gay Fad, Corning Glass Works, Lincoln Beautyware, Blisscraft of Hollywood, Burroughs and Dapol Plastics, Federal Glass and Lustro Ware.

In 1951, Corning Glassworks advertised oven and refrigerator sets for $2.95 that came in primary, pastel and desert colors. Homemakers (politically correct term in 1950) adored these dishes because they saved time. You could cook in them and then easily store the left-overs. Today Pyrex is once again very popular because it works well during the summer months and in warmer climates.

Pyrex is not the only kitchen collectible cottage style homeowners are after. Retro Canisters sets are also a nice addition to a kitschy cottage home because they are decorative and practical.

Not only can you accessorize your kitchen with collectibles, but there are many other forties and fifties treasures that look terrific in other rooms as well. Barkcloth pillows and draperies, Chenille bedspreads, white or pastel painted furniture, enamel top cottage tables, ceramic planters, lemonade sets, vintage garden accessories and wicker are great options when your goal is a comfy cottage feel.

Salvaged vintage items, like the collectibles just mentioned, are very popular today. It is amazing to watch prices climb for what was once junkyard clutter. Chipped and painted furniture is a hot trend, along with old windows, shutters and doors. With a little imagination you can use these salvage objects in new ways.

If you enjoy re-painting older furniture, there are plenty of resource books out there to help you with specific painting and restoration techniques.

C. Dianne Zweig is a kitschy collector and the author of the newly released book Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes and Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s

Her collectibles can be found at her shop Kitsch-n-Stuff which is part of The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT. For further information write to her at Dianne@CDianneZweig.com or visit her website

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