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Blog Cabin

May 28

Blog Cabin 2014: We All Scream for Melamine

Hello again from sunny Winter Haven! I arrived this afternoon and I can’t wait to get back to work on this gorgeous, lakeside bungalow. I’ve spent my first few hours digging into all of the final touches that you, yourselves, chose over the past few months.

Photo: Williams-Sonoma.com

One decision you had to make caught my eye right away: outdoor dishware. You fine folks voted to stock the Blog Cabin with blue melamine dishes instead of yellow. These unbreakable, affordable dishes were at their height of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, and have recently seen a resurgence. Modern day melamine sets, like those dishes pictured above, are readily available in a wide variety of styles and colors.

Photo: Barking Sands Vintage @ Etsy.com

These dishes were first created to be used by the US Navy during World War II. Inexpensive and indestructible, they were an excellent option for sailors eating on the high seas. Eventually the trend caught on in restaurants and in homes, the two biggest manufacturers being Melmac and Bootonware.  These days gorgeous, vintage melamine dishes are big collectors’ items.

Photo: Zak.com

These dishes are put to great use when dining outdoors, with children or on the go. After being overshadowed by disposable plates in this 1970s and 1980s, new environmental concerns have made them popular again. Reusable, practical and pretty – melamine might be a great option for your summer dinner parties this year. I know the Blog Cabin 2014 winner will enjoy several meals outside while looking at that beautiful lake – and now they don’t have to worry about dropping their plate in awe when they see the view

Photo: WestElm.com

It’s important to note that – vintage or brand new – unless these dishes are clearly marked “dishwasher and microwave safe,” you should hand wash them with a non-scouring solution and you should not use them to heat food. Other than that – you just need to stack, pack and head outside to dine!

Do you have memories of your childhood melamine dishware? Or are you using some of the newer styles now?

  • Posted at 11:19 pm on May 5, 2014
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226 Comments

  1. Haha. remember those dishes, how is the raised garden doing, are there any tomatoes planted? Laurie you are sooo cool. My mother got rid of those dishes, she was a worry worth, well . This place turned out to be sooooooooo, perfect the scape is what I'd never dreamed. The size is just right.B)B)B) me at the dock with my fishing gear.

    MaryPA on May 28, 2014 at 11:44 pm
  2. Yes I too remember them. It seemed thats all everyone ate off of never off of the glass china breakable ones. these do bring back memories and if I like some in the store I buy them and use them. Some dishes here and there are being handwash only and usually not microwave safe. ok with me. I enjoy our baby boomer stuff making a show back brings back so many memories , now records called vinyls thats ok they are still records to me. the things for the home everything a homerun and nautical things inside gosh can't wait to see . thats how a home in Florida on water should be . love looking at home and pier every moment , love it, love it ane just love it.;)xD:D

    bogartandbacall on May 29, 2014 at 12:07 am
    • I have my grandmother's china and it has a gorgeous metal trim on the rim – so it's a loving 'hand-wash' item as well. While I'd hate to have pots and pans that need a ton of hand washing, I never seem to mind washing a few dishes by hand here and there… :)

      Laurie

      Laurie_March on June 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm
  3. Love the practicality of melamine, just don't use it in a microwave. :S

    AnniesOwn on May 29, 2014 at 1:42 am
  4. Isn't Melmac the planet that sent Mork to visit us?

    Ralebird on May 29, 2014 at 3:19 am
    • Actually, MORK was from ORK. NaNooNaNoo.

      ALF was from MELMAC.

      MAOW on May 29, 2014 at 9:32 am
    • It was Alf's home planet. :D

      Sally on May 29, 2014 at 9:38 am
    • Boy that shows our age if we can answer these question, or even know who we are talking about.

      Jay Michajluk on May 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    • It shows our age and our capacity for retaining meaningless fictional alien-related trivia.

      TwoCorgis on May 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm
    • Fictional?
      ROFL

      Eugenia27 on May 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm
    • Fictional? Alf was cool. When my son was very small we got him one. Full size, was bigger then he was at that time. Alf went everywhere with us. He still has him somewhere. He shows up from time to time.

      Jay Michajluk on May 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm
    • Yeah, especially when we get them mixed up.

      Ralebird on May 30, 2014 at 2:50 am
    • Nanoo, nanoo!!

      Laurie_March on June 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm
  5. I have missed so much.

    StormyWV on May 29, 2014 at 6:11 am
    • Every time I swing by here they have done so much . I wish I could get this group of workers out here.

      Eugenia27 on May 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm
    • Yes the progress is amazing. I am sure once they are done. They will head your way. Make sure to have your list ready for them. I think my list would be a mile long

      StormyWV on May 29, 2014 at 10:24 pm
  6. They are absolutely beautiful! A perfect "final touch" for outdoor entertaining. :)

    CreativeGraf on May 29, 2014 at 7:23 am
  7. Growing up, the kids always got the melamine dishes at the cook outs. They are much sturdier than the paper plates! Nowadays there are the character melamine dishes, but I won't purchase them because most of them come from China and I fear for the materials they use.Are the two companies mentioned still in business?

    Di-di on May 29, 2014 at 8:43 am
    • Boontonware is made in Ohio. Not so sure Melmac exists any more. Vintage pieces of their ware from the 1940's -1960's are much sought after and can fetch 4 figure prices.

      ALL Melamine is toxic to some degree. Don't use it in a microwave.

      Sally on May 29, 2014 at 9:44 am
    • Melamine is generally regarded as safe to eat off of but not to eat.

      Due to the Melamine poisoning issues which occurred several years ago (Melamine was found in Chocolate, Dog Food, Eggs and Milk) many manufacturers and retailers quit calling the product Melamine because of the negative reaction most consumers had to the word Melamine. Retailers began using generic terms such as Dishes, Housewares, or Tableware when selling this product. However, due to stricter controls related to the safety of products which come into contact with food the public impression of Melamine has improved and retailers are again using the term Melamine for these types of items.

      All Melamine is not equal. The Melamine found at Dollar Stores, Drug Stores, and other price driven retailers will be diluted (ie. 50% Melamine which is usually sold in a lighter weight and has a grey colored shadow to it).

      MAOW on May 29, 2014 at 10:08 am
    • Thank you for your research.

      Eugenia27 on May 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm
    • Eugenia27,

      I am glad you found my comments useful. I've sold Melamine products from factories in China to US Retailers for the last 12 years so when I started to construct my comments I was worried about rambling on for too long and boring everyone.

      Twelve years ago Chinese factories had difficulties selling Melamine to the US because their designs were so bad. To the Chinese factories a plate was a functional item and as long as you could eat off of it it was a good plate. This was in tune with the Chinese philosophy which basically states, "WHITE cat, BLACK cat, no matter … as long as the cat can CATCH MICE". Once US Retailers convinced the Chinese factories to manufacture designs created by the retailers (Which resulted in huge orders) the factories improved their designs and the business took off in the US.

      The lesson I learned from this situation is to never underestimate the importance that DESIGN plays in the success of selling an item.

      MAOW on May 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm
    • That sounds very much like my philosophy on food. Presentation is everything.

      Eugenia27 on May 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm
    • Good for you. I don't buy stuff from China either. Lately there have been dogs dying from the poison in their chew toys.

      Eugenia27 on May 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm
  8. I remember the melamine dishes. China only came out T,C and E. The melamine dish designs have sure improved since I was a kid!

    As for the veggie/herb garden I have gone back to view the veggie garden. Took me awhile to figure out the little red building was the water pump area. How nice to have it next to the veggies. Can't you picture delicious veggies being served on the beautiful dishes.

    Trish on May 29, 2014 at 8:57 am
  9. I noticed the ladder behind the pergola, is someone getting ready to put up the sail cloth for additional shading? We haven't put up our's yet, but we don't have Florida weather either, well not yet. lol

    I just figured out the pergola is angled a bit so it provides a little private nook from the lake. There are so many little places to go and relax. Aaaaaah, the sweet life of relaxing. ;)

    Trish on May 29, 2014 at 9:03 am
    • The truck on the far side of the raised vegetable garden says it's a gutter company. Could this home be so fortunate to get some gutters?

      Florida Native on May 29, 2014 at 10:20 am
    • That would be smart otherwise the ground around the house will take a big hit when it really rains and there will be a waterfall in front of the doors. ;)

      Sally on May 29, 2014 at 10:59 am
    • Didn't the gutters come out gorgeous?

      Laurie
      http://blog.hgtvremodels.com/2014/04/14/2014-blog

      Laurie_March on June 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm
  10. marypa, we have fishing gear. We have a trolling motor and NO boat. LOVE, love, LOVE the idea of being able to fish. Those who live in the area….can you fish from the dock? My hub says it's really not possible. However, he forgets…our best fishing from a boat was off someone else's dock. The owner came down and visited with us and said it wasn't a problem. Hope we can be so generous. I keep thinking the owner was feeding the fish we were catching.:D:D
    DH just introduced me to a fishin' movie that was filmed in Florida years back. It was hilarious! Joe Pesci and Danny Glover starred in "Goin' Fishin'. If you haven't seen it, you should.

    Trish on May 29, 2014 at 9:11 am
    • when do we vote for the boat colors? any idea?

      CucumberHOH on May 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm
    • I'm certain you can fish from the dock here! We live about an hour away from this house. Our last house was on a lake, about 40 minutes away from the BC, and we fished off our dock all the time … Bass fishing is HUGE in the lakes around here. Our son fishes everywhere – off docks, from land at the edge of the water, you name it … we had a dirty old abandoned paddle boat at our other house – Our son used to tie it to the dock and bring all his fishing gear aboard – push himself about 15 ft out and spend hours out there fishing … If you love fishing, this house would be a perfect fit for you! … and, you're welcome to visit when I win it too. LOL (the power of positive thinking!) ;P

      CreativeGraf on May 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

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Blog Cabin is the groundbreaking multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It! This truly interactive series asks Internet users to vote on the design features for a real vacation getaway. Expert hosts from DIY Network series will be on hand to rebuild the 1920s lakeside house that will become a luxurious home for a lucky sweepstakes winner. Plus, a one-hour Blog Cabin special, hosted by tool expert Chris Grundy, will highlight the incredible transformation.
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