Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fabulous Formica!

Several of you have recently asked to see my formica dinette set. I used it as a backdrop (tho not really intentionally- it was the closest flat surface, LOL) for some of the giveaway pictures.

I bought it from someone on the old Atomic Magazine message board (the precursor to the current Fedora Lounge) who was moving and couldn't take it with her. This involved a trip into South Philadelphia with my truck, and finding a place to park it. I couldn't even drive down her street- the streets are too narrow there. I ended up double parking it around a corner (if you're from Philly, you know this isn't unusal) about 2 blocks away. Which meant that we girls had to carry the table & chairs all that way. They made it mostly intact. Oh, and I paid $100 for it!

So here it is:

I love the Penna. Dutch tulip design. It's not inlaid like the very best formica sets, but printed on. It also has an expandable leaf that pops out from underneath to make the table bigger.

The chairs are all in great shape except for one that has a rip in the bottom cushion. I guess I can buy new cracked-ice vinyl, but until my kids are a little older I'm not going to bother. We need to use cushions anyway because they're too short, so it's covered up now.

I think my favorite part of the design is the little details like the chrome tubing around the table. There are two tubes all the way around and they are connected by little chrome balls near the legs.

The original label is underneath with the date of manufacture: 11/28/52.

You may have noticed that this is not in my kitchen...and you may be asking yourselves why. When we moved to this house, my husband had another table, a solid oak one with 6 chairs that we had intended to use as a dining room table and use this for the kitchen. Problem is, Chez QT does not have a dining room!

So the larger oak table is in the dining space in the kitchen and this is in our game room downstairs. We've set it up kind of like a diner- hence the jukebox wall box you can see in the first picture. But I am really wanting to use this as an everyday table (not too mention that the colors match my kitchen perfectly...) so maybe for the summer we'll swap them. We'll see if I can convince my husband...;)


  1. Oh that's STUNNING! The design on that is so happy and awesome... and I love the chairs! I wouldn't worry too much about the rip- was it on the chair pictured? If it's not too bad, I usually just think of it as "character"..after all, you can never really replace that gorgeous vintage vinyl!


  3. Oh My God! That's beauuuutiful. I have several in storage but can't ever find this good shape. I do have one with oriental ladies, which I love. But right now I'm using the green.

  4. Oriental ladies? I would love to see that!

    Decades- the rip is pretty bad it's almost the whole length of the seat (not the chair pictured). The previous owner had put a piece of packing tape across it and that at least kept it closed, but it left an ugly tape mark that gets sticky in the heat. (As if hot vinyl weren't bad enough!) I will have to fix it someday.

    I also have two different cracked ice chairs out in my barn that need to be re-covered before they can come inside. That's a project for another day.

  5. I've been to Philly and know the narrow streets you are talking about! But let me tell you, carrying the "Fabulous Formica" even if I had to had carry it on my back would of been worth every ache pain and every huff and puff! Oh my gosh this set is beyond beautiful! I can't even find the words to define it's beauty! And to think you paid only $100! "Mary faints on the spot". Dang girl this is one nice set!!

  6. LOL! I remember sitting on her front steps taking the table legs off with a screwdriver so it would fit in my truck! Even without the legs that table is heavy!

  7. OMG, what a fabulous dinette set!! Mine is just plain old gray, with red chairs. I like yours MUCH better, it is really spectacular.