Some people like to constantly Instagram their restaurant meals. Others obsessively selfie with friends. I, on the other hand, exhibit similar compulsive tendencies when my iPhone and retro flooring end up in the same room together.
This most commonly occurs during open houses or estate sales, but can also happen in Chinese restaurants, 1960’s office buildings, or dressing rooms at rundown discount clothing stores that somehow crept into the 21st century on a rayon wing and a shoulder-padded prayer.
But regardless of the time or place, there is a 100% chance that my feet and the amazing flooring will appear together in this snapshot. (There’s also a 90% chance they’ll be clad in flip-flops. Hey, you can take the girl out of Georgia…).
The reason for this is not because I have the cutest feet in the world (but thank you for noticing), it’s so that I can appropriately show the scale of the vintage flooring patterns, designs and tiles. Kinda like when people put a quarter next to their nerdy action figures for the eBay photos. Except my foot is the quarter. And the nerdy action figure is a 1968 hot pink & orange patterned asbestos vinyl laminate that hasn’t seen a proper coat of wax in 3 decades. But it still looks damn goooood.
One of the reasons I’m so fascinated with retro flooring is not only because of the amazingly endless array of funky patterns that people deemed acceptable to put into their house by the yard, but the mere fact that these floors have withstood the test of time.
A LOT of time.
Some are in absolutely perfect condition 60+ years after installation, as if no one ever traipsed over them in heavy Dr. Scholl’s clogs, or played games of Twister on them, or layed out countless Butterick sewing patterns across them on a Sunday afternoon.
Crank up the Bee-Gees, these floors are stayin’ alive.
Some vintage floors are virtually indestructible as well. Unfortunately the majority of those have the coolest designs and are also made of asbestos. So if you’re actively trying to destroy them, then you might want to stop what you’re doing and take a little ride over to the Mayo Clinic, because you’re about to be breathing through a straw.
Yeah, those are definitely not “The Fun Floor” like this 1968 advertisement wanted you to believe, now is it “Darling?”
And the colors! Holy Crayolas, Batman– I’ve seen some bedroom shag carpets that look like they’re made from muppet carcasses. And others that look like they’re made entirely from cocaine and Aqua Net. And somehow, both have virtually every groovy twirled fiber still attached, just like the day it was installed by those two nice boys driving that muraled GMC van, wearing some outta sight head-to-toe denim.
The reason I feel compelled to take all these photos is that I know once the house or business is sold, the flooring is the first thing to go out by the curb in a big heap. Retro style is not everyone’s thing, and lets face it, even people who dig vintage vibes don’t want their children rolling around on a carpet that also saw the moon landing.
Incidentally, the Retro Ranch also came with its original 1965 brown, sculptured carpeting. But even serious retro enthusiasts like us knew it wasn’t going to stick around. There’s just not many options for cleaning and disinfecting these vintage fibers. Try to steam-clean midcentury shag and you end up with a carpet that looks like a wet Irish Setter. And nobody wants that. Not even us.
So I’m ok with just appreciating, documenting, and possibly walking barefoot on these incredibly authentic retro floors one last time.
Oh, and posting them on Instagram. Of course.