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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Mid-Century Inspired Refrigerator Makeover with Peel & Stick Wallpaper

The only thing that really bothered me about my new kitchen was the way the refrigerator looked in the space.

Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator (before) (2)

Now don’t get me wrong it’s a nice brand new refrigerator, but the way the side of it created a big black rectangle in in the middle of everything bothered me.

I bought a peel and stick wallpaper a couple of years ago with the intention of covering my old refrigerator, but never got around to it. Luckily I found the paper when I was unpacking and since I’m still renting I decided to put it to use!Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator

I like the shape of the refrigerator door and I don’t mind the stainless, so I decided to only apply the wall paper to the sides and top to cover all the black. I was also inspired by the two-toned refrigerators that were popular back in the day.

The paper I used is a light minty blue with a metallic silver cross-hatch pattern. It looks very vintage to me and reminds me of mid-century upholstery fabric. I knew it would work perfectly for what I wanted to attempt.

All I had to do was pull out the refrigerator and apply the peel and stick the paper, carefully matching the seams and making sure to smooth out any air bubbles. This type of paper is very easy to work with and made the job extremely simple.Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator (before) (3)Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator (1)

To finish off the edges I used a thin washi tape in the same color and similar pattern. This gave it a more finished look and helped make sure all of my edges were properly secured.Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator 1.jpg

Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator 3.jpgWhat an improvement! The refrigerator no longer stands out like a sore thumb and adds a nice subtle color and more retro flair to the space. It also gives it a nice smooth texture which makes it way easier to clean than the bumpy texture that it had before. I love it!Use peel and stick wallpaper to cover a refrigerator 2.jpg

Now I’m going to use a different peel and stick wallpaper to cover that back wall as well. Stay tuned!

 

Peel and Stick Faux Tile Kitchen Backsplash | SmartTiles Review

If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Snapchat you’ll probably remember that I installed a white tile backsplash in my rental kitchen a couple of months ago. I didn’t want to post details about it right away just in case the product didn’t live up to its promises, but I’m happy to finally report that it has been great!When deciding on a backsplash I had some important requirements that had to be met. I’ve mentioned before that I rent so anything I decided on needed to be temporary, easy to install, and easy to remove. I also didn’t want anything that looked too fake and wouldn’t hold up over time. I came across the Metro Blanco peel and stick tiles from SmartTiles that met all of my criteria and decided to give them a try.

Peel and Stick Faux Tile Backsplash in Rental KitchenThey’ve been AWESOME. We use our kitchen a lot and I was worried they wouldn’t stick for long with all of the cooking and cleaning we do, especially behind our stove. So far they’re holding on strong and have held up to steam, 500 degree oven temps, pasta sauce splatter, and daily cleaning.

Peel and Stick Faux Tile Backsplash in Rental Kitchen
I could have taken progress photos but honestly, SmartTiles has wonderful installation videos that do it better than my photos could. All you need is a utility knife and a ruler. It’s really that easy.

Peel and Stick Faux Tile Backsplash in Rental Kitchen

They really have transformed my kitchen for the better. It no longer looks super basic and boring. My kitchen doesn’t get a lot of light, but these add some reflectivity and brighten up the space. (I had before photos but they got lost on my dead computer. Sad.)
Peel and Stick Faux Tile Backsplash in Rental Kitchen
My friends and family couldn’t tell that they weren’t real until I told them. They’re usually brutally honest with me so I can trust them.

Peel and Stick Faux Tile Backsplash in Rental Kitchen
If you’re looking for a temporary, easy solution for your kitchen definitely check out SmartTiles Peel and Stick Tiles.

 

DIY: Hand Painted Wooden Spoons

DIY Hand Painted Wooden Spoons

Sometimes I go shopping because I need something simple for the kitchen, like a pot holder or napkins, and I then I find myself getting frustrated because either everything is totally not what I’m looking for or just plain meh. Like these wooden spoons from IKEA. Borrring zzzzz. Cheap, but snoooozefest. I’ve seen cute wooden spoons in stores before, usually for like a million dollars, or at least more than I’ve been willing to spend on them. I knew I could totally DIY what I had in mind, so I did what any crafty betch would do…

HandPaintedWoodenSpoons

I dug into my collection of Martha Stewart Crafts products and grabbed my gold leaf pen.

This is so basic, you guys. Just tape off the handle and start painting however you want!

HandPaintedWoodenSpoons

I used Martha Stewart Craft paint in Camellia Pink and Wedding Cake white, Krylon gold leaf pen, and a good two coats of Martha Stewart’s high gloss decoupage to seal it all in. Just let dry thoroughly between coats. This decoupage is dishwasher safe and non-toxic so it’s perfect for kitcheware projects like this!

Hand Painted Wooden Spoons

Hand Painted Wooden Spoons Hand Painted Wooden SpoonsEasy peasy! Now you never have to let your serving and cooking spoons be boring again. Yay!

Home Decor: New and Improved Dining Banquette Ikea Hack

You guys, I have slacked on updates for you. I am the worst. Remember that banquette I made awhile back (last year)? Remember how I wanted a different fabric and planned on changing it? Yeah I changed it…like…forever ago. The new canvas goes so much better with my original vision inspired by my favorite cafés in Paris and my own personal style. I’m hoping to score some new furniture and accessories for the new look too.

TADA!

Striped DIY Banquette-Ikea Hack

DIY Banquette Seat Ikea Hack DIY Banquette Ikea Hack

Ikea Hack Dining Banquette

I got this fabric at Ikea for $8/yard. It was fantastic to work with and is exactly what I originally intended for this piece.

Head over to the original tutorial for instructions on how I hacked this Ikea Expedit bookcase.