How I Fixed Up My 1950s Refrigerator

A couple of months ago I found a busted down vintage GE refrigerator freezer combination with original ice tray online for about $100. The owner told me it didn’t work but that it should be an easy fix, so I took the risk and drove a couple of hours to San Diego to pick it up. It was in muchhhh filthier condition than the pictures lead on, and had some old wires sticking out of the back, but I figured I’d already invested the time and money to rent a pickup truck and drive out, I might as well just lug it home and see if I could bring it back to life. It’s hard to find the right sized vintage appliances to fit apartment kitchens, and this one was the PERFECT size for mine so I didn’t want to give up. I should note I also drove to Newport Beach, another couple of hours from San Diego, on the same day to pick up a 1950s gas stove that didn’t end up fitting my kitchen. More on that later, but I was extra determined to make the fridge work after that defeat.

Here’s what I was working with.

1950s GE refrigerator Refurb before

Rust, scratches, dirt, grime, and slightly corroded chrome. Not terrible.

But inside was much worse. Rust, mildew, a weird smell, so much grime. What did I get myself into?

1950s refrigerator before

Since this was going to be the place I stored our food I wanted to be cautious about what I used to clean the inside. I didn’t want to use anything that would leave a lingering chemical smell or residue so I turned to the following products and methods, and used A LOT of elbow grease.

First, I removed all of the shelves and drawers and soaked them in my sink and scrubbed the hell out of them. Then I did a whole general scrub down with Simply Green and let it air out with the doors open. I did this a total of four or five times until it was clean enough to move on to the rust and mildew.

For the mildew and rust I used a mixture of good old baking soda and vinegar, a Scrub Daddy sponge, and a toothbrush. The gaskets were still supple and the seal on the doors were good (test with a sheet of paper, if it slides out get new gaskets), so I just I applied the baking soda and vinegar paste and scrubbed over and over until the mildew was completely gone. Some of the rust spots corroded the paint, but I was able to use extra-fine sandpaper to buff it smooth and applied appliance touchup paint over the smaller chipped spots as needed. On the bottom the rust was too extreme so I used a couple of coats of white automotive spray paint. I wouldn’t recommend painting the whole thing that way, but it worked for this small part.

1950s refrigerator Refurb After inside

Now onto the outside! The original paint was mostly in ok condition, so I just wanted to fill in a couple of scratches and bring some lustre and shine back to it. For this I used automotive detailing supplies. I applied several layers of a buffing cream and car wax with an electric orbital buffer. Just as you would detail an old car. I used a chrome polish and superfine steel wool to bring as much shine to the chrome as possible. 1950s Refrigerator Refurb After

And there it is! The only thing was it still had a lingering smell. Not a horrible smell, just that general old freezer smell. The only thing that worked was these miracle Arm and Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Packs. They’re super cheap so we replaced them every couple days until the smell was completely gone. That took about a week and now we replace it as needed.

The last thing I needed to tackle was the mechanics. After all of that cleaning the damn thing didn’t work. I consulted a few vintage message boards, and spoke to a repair shop, and was confident it just needed a new relay. The problem is the replacement relay for this model is long gone so I had to rewire it with a new universal relay. This was way easier than it sounds, you literally just follow the directions on the package. Definitely consult with a repair shop or the manufacturer if you have questions though.

As soon as I plugged it in the compressor kicked on and I jumped up and down and ran around in circles because WOW WHAT A PAY OFF! IT WORKS!

I know old refrigerators have a reputation of being energy suckers, but our bill and usage hasn’t gone up at all compared to our modern fridge. From my understanding the high energy consumption comes from older models that incorporate an automatic defrost system. This model needs to be defrosted every couple of months, but I simply use a blow dryer and old towel and it takes me about 15 minutes. Another issue of concern for some people is size. It is smaller inside than a modern refrigerator, but we don’t store very much food at once, so that hasn’t been a problem for us.

Here it is living happily in our kitchen! Perfect fit. I love it.

1950s GE refrigerator in modernized kitchen.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Room/Office Floor Update with FLOR Carpet Squares

Have I ever mentioned on here how much I love working with FLOR carpet tiles? I’m sure I have. I used them in my own living room and they’re the best ever. Blogger Krys Melo's 1960 Mid-Century Apartment

After seeing how easy they are to install and clean, and how durable they are, I knew I wanted to use them somewhere else in my apartment.

We’re currently in the process of decorating our spare room to be a multi-functional office/guest room. Instead of looking for an area rug to fit the wonky dimensions, I decided to use FLOR carpet squares again. I had the Mod Cafe pattern in mind because I thought the sputnik style design would bring in mid-century hotel and vibes. After receiving samples of all the color variations, I chose the color ‘linen’. It’s a blue-grey that changes to more one or the other depending on how the light hits it.

Mod Cafe Linen Flor.jpgThe cool thing about FLOR squares is that you can customize a rug to fit your needs. You can mix and match colors and patterns to create something truly unique, or you can just go with one all over pattern like I’ve done. They’re easy to cut and they simply stick together using the included FLORdots stickers. Flor Squares Install.jpgThe stickers hold the corners of the tiles together and only stick to the backing of the carpet squares. Nothing actually sticks to your floor underneath so you don’t have to worry about ruining it or having to deal with sticky residue underneath. Plus, when we move we can just stack them up and take them with us to the next place.

OH! They’re also a breeze to clean. Some one spill a drink? Dog had an accident? Just pop up the dirty square and wash it out in the sink. Let it dry and stick it back down. Or if one gets ruined you can replace it. 

Here’s what the room looked like before FLOR squares.Before FlorBefore FlorFirst I laid out the squares to make sure I was happy with the placement. Any parts that need trimmed are easily cut with a utility knife or box cutter.

Flor LayoutThis room is tiny so I decided to do the entire thing. Once I was happy with the placement I easily applied the stickers to the corners to hold it all together and voila!

Flor Linen Mod Cafe

Atomic carpet! All done in about an hour!Flor Mod Cafe Linen

The lines blend together more and more as the carpet fibers fluff up a bit. Vacuuming helps.

Here’s what it looks like now!

After Flor Mod Cafe LinenTada! I think it definitely makes the room feel more put together and adds some much needed pattern. I love the way the blue-grey looks against the blush pink velvet of our sleeper sofa, and the black and gold of the table. Bonus, it’s perfect for home office use because it immediately eliminated any awkward phone echo! After Flor Mod Cafe Linen.jpg

If you’re thinking about getting a little creative with your flooring, be sure to check out FLOR! They always have good sale events and you can purchase in expensive samples of all their patterns before committing.

The room isn’t completely done yet, but stay tuned for a few more DIYs and the final reveal!

 

 

 

Patio Makeover with Article Furniture

Hey lovies! It’s been awhile since I talked about our little patio space. Remember when we added faux hedges and painted? Well we FINALLYYYYY got furniture out there and have made it a proper space to hang out!

Shopping for furniture was a lot more difficult than I expected and it took me forever. I couldn’t find anything I wanted within my price range, and everything I did find, both vintage and new, seemed to not be able to hold up in our 3 digit desert heat. Don’t ask me about the vintage chairs that completely scorched in the sun last summer. Wahhh!

Luckily Article expanded their outdoor furniture selection with quality and affordable pieces with the vintage flair I was looking for! Yay! As soon as I saw the rattan style chairs I knew I had to have them. They look a lot like ones I saw in a vintage magazine I have.

Wait, first let me jog your memory with what I was working with when we moved in.

Then we did a little painting and added some faux hedges and grass around the perimeter.

And here’s what it looks like now!

Renter friendly Patio Makeover

This is the view when you first walk in. Instead of re-painting the floor we laid out astroturf over the concrete like a big area rug. We removed the grass around the perimeter and added heat tolerant plants such as palms and hibiscus, and a potted lemon tree. Along the back fence is jasmine, bougainvillea, and yellow lantana which I’m hoping will continue to climb and cover the fence with beautiful flowers.

Hibiscus LandscapingHibiscus and FlamingoLemon tree

As for furniture, I really wanted a lush tropical vibe, so we chose the Daisy and Medan lounge chairs and Po side table from Article.

Vintage inspired Palm Springs PatioThe Daisy chairs and Po table go so well together in this little corner, along with this yellow umbrella I spray painted white and added fringe to.Rattan Chairs from ArticleEvery one who sits in these chairs is pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they are!Outdoor Table from ArticleThe Po table is the perfect little side table for drinks and small plates. Hot tip: it looks beautiful when you use a little mineral oil to bring out the grain and texture of the wood. Mid Century Tropical Inspired Patio

On the other side of the patio we grouped four Medan lounge chairs around a fire pit table and surrounded them with more plants for a lush oasis feel.

Outdoor Seating Space with firepitOutdoor LivingOutdoor Living SpaceAlong the wall we have a table with an outdoor pizza oven and cooking space.Palm Springs Apartment PatioTropical inspired patioArticle ChairIKEA plantersNow it feels like an extension of our apartment and another living space to enjoy! Mid-century inspired Palm Springs Patio

Just in time for the 110 degree summer days. Ha! At least the furniture is holding up exceptionally well in these temps and I don’t have to worry about anything getting ruined.

Stay tuned for a post about how I transformed those umbrellas!

 

Special thanks to Article for partnering with us on this makeover.

Mid-Century Resort Inspired Flamingo Bathroom Refresh

Around this time of year I always get the urge to change my decor up in at least one room. Chalk it up to spring fever I guess. Anyway, after having such a successful attempt at wallpapering a focal wall in my bathroom with Tempaper’s tropical print, I decided I was confident enough to go wild and do new look and wallpaper the entire bathroom. As soon as I saw Tempaper’s new peel and stick flamingo print I knew it was meant to be and immediately jumped on the chance.

To quickly jog your memory, this is what my bathroom looked like before. 

Peel and Stick Wallpaper in Krys Melo's Apartment Bathroom.jpg And here’s the new new!

Retro Inspired Flamingo Bathroom.jpgIt’s kind of crazy how it makes the room feel bigger. I thought it might feel closed in with so much pattern on the walls, but nope! It works. The print is so lovely. It’s a lovely mix of soft pink and reddish pink that looks amazing against white and gold. As always it was easy to work with and very forgiving. You can refer to my previous post for installation tips that work for me. Bold Flamingo WallpaperI also added a few new accessories.Flamingo Wallpaper and Hanging PlantI got this hanging planter on Amazon and changed out the original chain with one from the jewelry making section at Jo-Ann.Flamingo Wallpaper and Fringe Window ValanceI kept the original window valance and shortened it in order to let more light in. I loved the fringe on the new towels and rug so I added some chainette fringe to tie it all together.Vintage Inspired Flamingo BathroomAbove the toilet I removed a badly installed towel rack and replaced it with a cute framed vintage Camay Soap ad.Flamingo Mid-Century BathroomI replaced the light fixture with a new mid-century inspired two orb vanity light from Lucent Lightshop. Flamingo Wallpaper from TempaperI personally like mixing metals so I went with brass, of course. Mid-century inspired two orb light from Lucent LightshopFlamingo bathroom with gold and fringe Over on the other wall I picked up a brass mirror/shelf from Target’s Project 62 line and a new metallic gold and white geometric shower curtain from Project 62 as well.Flamingo Bathroom MakeoverThe new “fancy towels” (you know, the kind you’re not allowed to use), are from Target’s Opalhouse line. I love the texture and fringe.Flamingo peel and stick wallpaperI followed the wallpaper all the way around the room, meeting the last seam in the most inconspicuous corner. Everything is reflected in the mirrors so it’s all pretty much visible from every view point, which was intentional and I’m glad it worked out.

Retro Flamingo bathroom makeoverThere it is! This year’s new bathroom look. I looooove the way it all came together. Yay!

Next up, the guest room and patio. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Spring Wardrobe Update with Rit Dye

Hey, fam. I’ve been busy at updating some rooms and my back patio for spring and thought it would be a good idea to update some of my wardrobe too! While going through my closet I found this white dress I got last year from Tatyana that I haven’t worn in foreverrrr. Rather than giving it away I decided to try to dye it using Rit’s new coral color. I love that they came out with this color because I used to have to custom mix a few different shades together to make color, but now it’s ready to use! I figured if it didn’t work out I could just use Rit’s color remover, which I’ve had a ton of luck with in the past.

Coral Dress Before.jpg

The cool thing about this dress is that the fabric has an iridescent sheen and a subtle retro bubble pattern. My hope was that the dye would bring out the bubble pattern and leave some of the sheen.

Rit Coral Dye.jpg

The fabric is mostly polyester so I was worried it wouldn’t take the dye, but as soon as I dunked it into the dye bath it soaked it right up and I was not disappointed.

The way I like to dye everything, including synthetics, is to make a very hot dye bath in my sink with hot, hot water and a few drops of liquid soap. I let the garment soak for about an hour, stirring and shifting the fabric every 15 minutes or so for an even dye. Then I rinse with cold water and Rit’s color fixative. Then I line dry.

Coral Dress.jpgSee how the fabric took the dye and made the pattern pop? I love the way it turned out!

Spring Wardrobe Makeover Coral Dress.jpg

Now I have a spring-y new dress to wear while pretending I’m good at gardening.

 

This post was sponsored by Rit but all ideas, opinions, and words are my own. 

Custom Printed Lemon Peel And Stick Wallpaper From Tempaper

Melodrama's Vintage Inspired Custom Printed Lemon Wallpaper from Tempaper.jpgHello, there! I just wanted to share a little wallpaper update I made to our kitchen recently and talk about the process of ordering custom printed wallpaper through Tempaper.  Lemon Kitchen Wallpaper.jpg

Here’s the scoop. I already had lemon wallpaper in here from a different company, but it didn’t stand up to the demands of our kitchen. Any time we would wipe a food splatter or try to clean the walls the ink would smear or come right off, often times leaving behind a stain from the splatter. Our kitchen also gets a lot of sunshine and in the summers gets very hot. This caused the paper to yellow and lift at the creases. No bueno!

I already had a hard enough time finding a lemon wallpaper with the vintage look I had in mind, now I had to start all over again! I used Tempaper in my bathroom and bedroom and had no problems whatsoever, so I decided to contact them about printing something custom for me.

Vintage Lemon Kitchen.jpg

I had a repeating image of lemons that I had saved from a stock image website and was able to purchase the license to have it printed for my own use. I sent it off to Tempaper and worked with their graphic designer to customize the print to fit the exact dimensions of my kitchen walls. They sent a sample right away and I put it through vigorous testing. I poured coffee, pasta sauce, and grease on it. I wiped, scrubbed, and sprayed cleaner on it. I left it in direct sunlight for a week, kept it by the hot stove and oven, and even applied heat with a blow dryer. I did it all! And it passed each test.

Custom Printing Removeable Wallpaper from TempaperWhen the final product arrived it was pre-cut into manageable panels to fit each section of my walls. They sent over a little map and labeled each one. I barely even had to trim anything! It fit like a glove. Custom Lemon Kitchen Wallpaper.jpgSeriously, those pre-cut panels made getting around all these nooks and cabinets a breeze. And you can barely see the overlapping seams unless you’re super up-close! I’m so picky about that and it doesn’t bother me at all. Overall the entire custom printing process was a breeze.Melodrama's Custom Printed Lemon Wallpaper from Tempaper.jpgLOVEEE! Now I have exactly what I had in mind to begin with! Cute Vintage Lemon Kitchen

Thank you Tempaper!

 

 

 

Product was provided by Tempaper, but all views and opinions are true and my own.

 

 

 

 

Our Mid-Century Inspired Palm Springs Living Room Tour

How is it possible that I haven’t done a full post about our living room yet?? I’m the worst! Now that we’re coming up on our one year anniversary in this apartment (whoa already?), I figured now would probably be as good a time as ever!

Welcome to our mid-century inspired living room!

When you walk through our orange front door you’re greeted by all of my favorite retro inspired colors.

Welcome to Melodramaville - Blogger Krys Melo's mid-century apartment.jpg

This is what we jokingly refer to as the cocktail corner. The bar is an IKEA bookshelf that I painted and use to store our liquor and vintage cocktail glass collection.

The yellow chairs are from World Market. The color and scale fit the space perfectly which was something I wasn’t having luck with when searching for a true vintage set. I got these on sale for an amazing price so I couldn’t pass them up. In between them is a standing record player.

The mirror above the bar is a score from Home Goods that we had in our last apartment and was originally just going to be used as a place holder, but it worked so great here we decided to keep it.

The 3 orb floor lamp is from Target’s Project 62 line.

Mid-Century Inspired decor in blogger Krys Melo's apartment.jpg

To the left of the cocktail corner is our main conversation area where we hang out and watch tv. Because we have an open concept living space I wanted to create different areas within the room that felt separate but still connected. While a few friends are listening to a record and having a drink by the cocktail corner, more could be hanging out here, and something else could be going on over at the dining table. It makes the room feel bigger and more functional this way.

A sectional is perfect for this type of layout. Last year I was lucky to collaborate with one of my favorite mid-century inspired furniture manufacturers, Joybird, so a lot of our furniture is from there. I love Joybird because you can customize each style with different configurations, wood finishes, and fabrics. For our sectional we chose the Hughes Bumper Sectional in Notion Thunderbird with medium toned wood legs.

Blogger Krys Melo's 1960 Mid-Century Apartment.jpgThe kidney shaped coffee table, knitted pouf, and accent chair are also from Joybird.

I wanted to pull together all of the colors from the room so I chose multi-colored carpet tiles from Flor. These are great if you have pets or children and need to be able to wash your rug easily.

The curvy metal Bertoia barstools are a score from Craigslist.

Krys Melo's Mid-Century Palm Springs Apartment.jpgThe vintage Curtis Jere brass sculpture above the sofa was in bad shape when I found it at the Long Beach Flea Market but with a lot of patience I was able to fix it up and make it look great again. The Stangl Pottery vase on the coffee table is another vintage score from Long Beach.

mid-century inspired furniture.jpgWe added the conical fireplace to give the space a little more architectural detail. I found it on Craigslist and picked it up from the house it had been in since 1960. It doesn’t function in here but it has a little electric log and is stuffed with twinkle lights for ambience.

The adorable pink bow lamp is from a shop called RetrOKC in Oklahoma City. I found it while on a cross-country road trip last year.

The 3-tier marble side table and lamp shade are both from Target’s Project 62.

Krys Melo, the blogger behind Melodrama's mid-century Palm Springs living room.jpg

Here’s a wide view of the entire space. The palm print curtains are from H&M Home.

mid-century inspired furniture.jpg

The credenza is from Joybird as well, with our TV mounted above it. We opted for an ultra-slim television mounted on a low-profile base so it can double as artwork when the TV is in stand-by mode. Most modern televisions and streaming devices have a screen saver mode that allows you to choose custom artwork or photographs to display. The lamp is from Joybird and the glassware is vintage.

Vintage details in Krys Melo's apartment.jpgI try to add little moments around each room to give every corner a touch of character. I used a vintage rotary phone and vase from Baigelman Glass to add some color to this area by our breakfast bar.

Pink Mid-Century Door.jpgTo this corner I added wall hanging planters and a vintage magazine stand filled with home decor magazines from the 50s and 60s. And lastly I painted the front door a peachy pink (Peach Punch from Valspar to be exact) and added a little bit of retro detail with wood molding!

 

That’s the whole shebang! Thanks for stopping by!