Vintage Formica?

mtnrdredux_gwMay 24, 2010

I am redoing a 1902 Connecticut farmhouse on a pond. I want a high end yet casual kitchen that doesn't look fussy and is unique ( call it 'Peacock 2.0"). So far I am planning on wideplank wood floors, painted creamy white light distressed cabinets, a wooden work table, and white marble (preferably aged) island. The only place I planned to use color was on the beadboard inside the cabinets (a very light robins egg blue). I also planned on zinc countertops.

Then I saw the kitchen above (see page 8). I love the look of the old formica. It just looks like every summer cabin you stayed in growing up, doesnt it? I love it, although I am usually all about neutrals. I also would like the surprise of using a humble material among upscale cabinets, appliances, etc. But I have been searching and I don't think you can buy it anymore. It is a linen look. It seems all of the formica you see today is either faux something, or it's retro 50s boomerang (not at ALL the look i want).

Before I give up and go back to zinc, has anyone been able to find linen look formica in cool colors like this one?


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Formica does not seem to make the Irish Linen pattern at all anymore. For a while they still sold it in Canada in one or two colorways. My parents have this in a pale green in the kitchen, a yellow in the sewing room, and I have seen it in a maroon/brown in diners.

The closest thing they have now is flax gauze, jute gauze, shoji screen or painted screen in terms of pattern, but they are all also in muted beiges or greys, not colors.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:32AM
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According to RetroRenovation website, Canada still has Formica Irish Linen in its lineup in a beige.

Look at Formica Atomic Orange or Atomic Turf (green) if you want slightly gridded non pattern in a brighter color.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:36AM
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thanks, P.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 12:11PM
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You should consider either linoleum or Marmoleum (by Forbo) countertops. Check out the cute countertop in the clickable link at the bottom. Below is another link:


Here is a link that might be useful: Marmoleum

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Ps. And here's a link for the vintage countertop metal edgebanding

Here is a link that might be useful: Retro Metal Edgeband for Counters

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:39PM
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Found this cool manufacturer of linoleum. It has the aqua green that you like! (Arctic???)

Wow, I may have to get this for my next kitchen!!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Tilo Brand Linoleum

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Here is a link for a new vintage Formica "linen-look" in white/off white (could not tell exact shade from the sample on computer)...alas not that nifty aqua that was in that Martha's Vineyard cottage...but hopefully the company will come out with colors in the linen-look down the road....

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Circus Peanut

ARPA makes some very nice vintage colored laminate in a variety of textures:

Here is a link that might be useful: arpa usa

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:57PM
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Have you looked at ALL the standard laminate manufacturers? Nevamar, Pionite, Wilsonart, and Formica? Besides the retro boomerangs, there is an amazing array of old- and new-fashioned choices, including some faux cements that are light color and some fantasy substances with unexpected tiny collages. You might well find something that you did not expect. I always do. I know that there were a number of light color ones that intrigued me when I went to a restaurant supply house which had a whole display of samples of the laminates. And they had samples of metal edging also.

If you're rolling in dough (pun intended), I also suggest looking into a complementary butcherblock from one of the salvage places we mentioned in a thread about 2 months ago (labeled Timeless Timbers or something like that). There is a blue color in some of them that might be spectacular with your neutrals and blues. The damage to trees by insects in Oregon has produced some very distinctive blue-ish wood. The salvaged old growth logs in Lake Superior being pulled out of the water at Ashland also have blues and greens in them. Even a salvaged wood cutting board lying atop the countertop would give a special zing to your life in the kitchen.

The Marmoleum suggestion is a great one. You can do an edge design like Mom's old lineoleum had or a big check or just use a sheet of a single color. Lots and lots of options. And the floor would be able to handle everything that an outdoors retreat can dish out.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:00PM
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I have been through the Nevamar, Pionite, Wilsonart offerings and they each have some unique solids but they are all on a faux stone kick. There Is Abet Laminati for a huge variety of choices, but it is very expensive for laminate and not easy to find. I was able to get samples when I had a friend who worked for a place doing large corparate jobs, but I have never found a local distributor...some cities must have one...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:08PM
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Wow, guys, some great ideas here. I did see Arpa, but never heard of Marmoluem or Tilo before, and then have some great colors.

Only thing is, hate to be a stickler, but it really has to be linen. That's "the look". I am not going for midcentury or diner, i'm going for a summer lake cottage look. That's linen.

I will see if my architect or KD knows of Abet Laminati.

Thank you all for all your input!!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:25PM
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This site has several brands of laminates. There is a linen or two.

Here is a link that might be useful: laminate

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:51PM
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I was visiting a laminate samples display today.

You will want to look at Wilsonart Grey Mesh. If you're looking for white-ish very regular weave, this is it. White-to-gray.

Pionite Cavalcade South is also a weave pattern, but somewhat more irregular. White-to brownish gray with a more prominent grain.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Someone on another thread mentioned Arborite and so I figured I would bring it up as well. There tatami line kind of reminds me of linen tile, though I confess I have no idea what linen formica looks like.

Tatami by Arborite

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 4:51PM
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Here's a long shot, and I don't know what your timeline is.

Try calling the customer service department of some of the major laminate companies, especially the ones making "small batch" retro lines.

All industries, like the fashion industry, look for new trends from time to time. If they get calls, or see it as a good idea, they might decide to make it.

Cite the layout in a major magazine. Linen sounds nice to me -- an idea whose time has come around again. They might just possibly decide to revive the pattern.

Of course, you'd have to wait a year or two, even if you were successful.

It's even possible they have dead stock in a warehouse -- not enough to sell commercially, but enough for your counter.

It is a pretty kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 5:27PM
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The Arborite Earthen Hemp and Weathered Hemp are Very close.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 6:45PM
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