Wham, Bam—Love that Lam'

Retro Renovation teams with Wilsonart for a line of 'boomerang' countertop laminates
Fridays On the Homefront
Retro Renovation's Kate Battle (pictured here) and publisher Pam Kueber teamed with Wilsonart for a brand-new line of MCM-styled 'boomerang' countertop laminates. Photos: courtesy Retro Renovation-Wilsonart
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront

Pam Kueber calls herself "an accidental modernist," but there was nothing random about her new partnership with Wilsonart to market a line of seven mid-century style laminates called 'Retro Renovation by Wilsonart.'

"It's been historically difficult to find laminate that's accurate to the [mid-century] period and has the color you want. This is why I was excited to be part of this," said Kueber, publisher of Retrorenovation.com, who developed the new countertop patterns with her managing editor, Kate Battle. Kueber publishes three websites in all, each focused on restoring mid-century houses.

When it comes to laminate's place among questions posed by her readers, Kueber says, "It is one of the greatest wants and needs."

Not that there aren't plenty of nostalgic laminate patterns out there. Kueber admitted that she lists ten different suppliers on her site, but, she confessed, none provide exactly the style that she likes most, one named for the boomerang-shaped graphic so popular in the mid-century.

"What I wanted to see was more tone-on-tone [patterns] on pastels…You just can't get a pastel with a color on it," explained the former corporate publicist for Ford Motor Co. "We're always looking for laminate patterns that are appropriate for our readers."

It was in researching the restoration of her own mid-century home in Lenox, Massachusetts that put her in touch with Wilsonart a few years ago. She visited company founder Ralph Wilson, Sr.'s splendidly preserved 1959 home in Temple, Texas while restoring the 1951 ranch house hybrid in Lenox she termed "cool-onial."

One of Kueber's websites today is Savethepinkbathrooms.com, so naturally she had to see Ralph and Sunny Wilson's pink laminate surrounding a Cinderella bathtub.

"Pink is a very flattering color. I call it 'retro Botox,'" she said of one of the seven shades she ultimately developed with Wilsonart to use for their new Retro Renovation 'boomerang' stable of mid-century modern laminates. 'First Lady Pink' leads the pack, followed closely by 'Delightful Jade' and 'Créme Caramel,' with 'Aqua Ripple,' 'Nostalgic Gray,' 'Friendly Beige,' and flashy 'Rock'n'Roll Ruby' filling out the field.

Boomerang is an iconic laminate and houseware graphic that Kueber sought to match with her precious pastels. Although boomerang laminate was available, even in Wilsonart's 'Retro' catalogue, "We really wanted to see less contrast."