Thrifting, Upcycling, Trash Picking

Vintage Kitchen Additions

While we’re on the topic of kitchen-y updates, would you like to see our new-to-us dishes?

When my brother and his wife recently moved into their 100-yr-old home, they discovered this awesome vintage set of atomic dishes in a basement crawl space:

And when he asked if we wanted them, I jumped at it faster than a cat on a mouse!  Our only dishes are a pricey set of Denby stoneware.  Therefore I’d been glancing at thrift stores hoping to find a few inexpensive vintage plates for casual daily use.

These fit the bill almost perfectly.   And after a smidgen of online research, I now know we obtained Salem China’s North Star pattern, made in the 1960’s.   They seem pretty popular amongst mid-mod enthusiasts.  I’m just not sure about two things.

1) I don’t like to save things I don’t need.  And I certainly don’t need the teacups and saucers that came with the set.  For nightly mugs of tea I prefer a large mug.  For a morning coffee or post-dinner-party coffee I use my “good” stoneware teacups.   Should I split up this vintage set and give away / sell the teacups and saucers? Or should I store them in a box in the basement, so that the whole set can remain together?  As a vintage dish fan, I’m reluctant to split up a pristine set.

2) I have no idea if this stuff is microwave safe.  Anyone have any idea?

Check out the sweet platter that was included.  And from what I found on Atomic Inspired, there’s even more fun to be had with the matching teapot, cream and sugar set, and casserole dish.  If Ryan approves, I may have to hunt those pieces down on Etsy and eBay.

But that’s not all the vintage goodness we received!

Also in the crawl space was this set of white stoneware, made in and shipped by Ceramano in West Germany (circa 19-??).  Even better, most of the dishes were still in their crumbling original packaging.  Never opened or used. Would I love to know the story behind that.

All in all, our set is comprised of 8 dinner plates, salad plates, pasta bowls, mugs, and 1 cream and sugar set.

How much fun is the recessed circular pattern?  The only thing I can’t figure out is why there is a mismatched black stoneware lid for the sugar bowl.   Information on this exact pattern seems to be lacking, though a similar pattern, Ceramano Omega, exists.    If you know anything more about these dishes, or can point me in the right direction, I’d love to know!!

So now we have not two, but THREE sets of dishes.  Oh dear.  I’m absolutely keeping the Ceramano cream and sugar set, because I can’t wait to make some small flower arrangements in them.   And the Ceramano pasta bowls are awesome – a cross between large bowls and small plates.

So back to my anti-hoarding tendencies.  There’s NO REASON we need three sets of dishes.  But I can’t decide if I want to break up the Ceramano set either.  So I told Ryan that for now we’ll store the white plates and mugs, and the atomic teacups, in a box in the yet-unused attic.  And I promise to make up my mind in a few months.  Decisions about mint-condition sets of vintage dishware are not to be made lightly!

In case you haven’t yet noticed, I have a thing for vintage dinnerware, Pyrex, and barwareWhat’s your weakness when it comes to collecting?

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  • Renee at 5:26 pm

    Have you discovered Homer Laughlin? It’s quite easy to get single pieces, esp platters, going back 100+ years! Platters, antique or vintage, are my weakness…

    Renee 🙂

    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 7:23 pm

      Renee – Had not heard of them, but thanks so much for the tip! I’ll
      definitely check it out.

  • Jenn at 5:31 pm

    Those are amazing finds! I LOVE the recessed circles on the Ceramano! These would be perfect for something like Antiques Roadshow :). I don’t know anything about either of these patterns, but in general I know that sets are worth way more than pieces of a set. So if you ever thought about maybe wanting to sell either of these, you’ll be better off keeping all the parts together.

  • Katie makingthishome at 5:33 pm

    Cool! Ask my friend, The Antiques Diva, if she knows anything about the German set. She’s in Berlin and just the coolest lady ever.

  • Aurora at 5:45 pm

    I’m kind of in love with Fire King’s Jadeite Jane Ray design dinnerware and have debated whether to go about collecting a full set. Been meaning to acquire a single teacup and sauce so I can be classy about my tea consumption.

    And imho, if you’re going to be using the atomic dish set regularly, you should definitely hold on to the tea cups and saucers. Why, you ask? Well, what if some day you decide to throw a tea party? WHAT IF?!? While I personally would be into a Mad Tea Party-style spread with wacky odds & ends, you are definitely the neat and coordinated type and so you should keep them. Just in case. For tea parties. 😀 Pinky up!

  • Jennifer Poppy at 6:16 pm


    I love, love, love these new to you dishes!!! Vintage dishes are my fave:)

    I don’t like excess “stuff” either, but if I were you I would save the entire set and NOT split up the cups/saucers from the rest of the dishes. You may have a fun gathering in the future where you can put them to use…or maybe as mini-vases for flowers…or wall art.


    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 7:22 pm

      Jen – Thanks for the recommendation. I’m leaning towards storing what we
      don’t use now. 🙂

  • Fauxshionable at 7:19 pm

    I’m so freakin’ jealous of the mod dishes!!! How lucky! I vote keep them together as a set. You could always use the cups and saucers for a fun themed party or even put some Easter eggs in them and make a little spring holiday table scape!

  • Jennifer Laughlin at 7:35 pm

    Ohmygosh you lucked out! They are AWESOME!!!!! =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  • Anonymous at 8:03 pm

    Try for information. If that black lid for the sugar dish is indeed not the correct one, you may also be able to get the right one through this website.

  • Melanie at 8:16 pm

    Do NOT break up any of the sets!!!! lol Store them forever if you have to. That circle pattern is gorgeous.

  • Melanie at 8:16 pm

    Do NOT break up any of the sets!!!! lol Store them forever if you have to. That circle pattern is gorgeous.

  • Nancy Wiggins-Goff at 10:34 pm

    Definitely be cautious about microwaving. Keep the cups! Always fun to use for ice cream or hot cocoa.

  • Nancy Wiggins-Goff at 10:36 pm

    I would be surprised if it was safe to microwave but you never know. Try one of the cups since you’re not sold on keeping them. That said, KEEP the cups! Use for ice cream, hot cocoa, you never know what might come along. Very fun set. Isn’t it great getting things like this?

  • Becky Hull at 10:42 pm

    I *love* the Salem China North Star set. I wouldn’t split up the set (especially if you think you might want to sell them at some point down the road), but before you pack them up you might want to think about alternate uses for the teacups and saucers. I’m not much of a cup-and-saucer person either (I always drink my coffee from a travel mug, even when I’m at home), but the cup could be the right size for a smallish “bowl” of cereal and the saucer could plate a piece of toast. Eat ice cream or drink juice from the cup. You’re so good at repurposing items — think about alternate uses before you box up the unused items!

  • Abby @ a delightful design at 11:39 pm

    Wow! I’m dying over those white dishes!! What amazing finds! Thanks for stopping by today. 😉 If you really loved me you’d make your email address visible on blogger so I can reply to your comments.

    • Sarah in Indiana at 1:12 pm

      I have a weakness for vintage dishes, too. These are so great! I definitely wouldn’t split them up. You could use the tea cups to sort odds and ends like office supplies or jewelry, or I use small bowls and ramekins constantly for serving sauces and dishing out small portions of snacks. They seem like they would serve admirably in that capacity.

  • tracie at 1:41 pm

    keep them! mix and match the sets.. 🙂

  • Stacey Strus at 4:56 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the atomic set!!! I vote to keep the set together!!!

  • Liz at 5:23 pm

    These are so great! I love the atomic set. You are one lucky girl to get gifted 2 free sets of vintage dishes!
    There is always a need for more dishes, I think!

  • Mikalah at 7:19 pm

    Oh my gosh. Unbelievable! I would so be doing a happy jig right now if I had “inherited” those! I LOVE the 2nd set. Oh my goodness.

  • Nina Nevermind at 8:10 pm

    You lucky girl! I love both sets!! You could rotate all of your dishes weekly. hehe 🙂

  • Bonnie Pearson at 11:36 pm

    I’m so old that I actually remember the first set, the atomic ones!! But, save them both. Not hoarding, but sensible since it’s it’s what you love and, who knows??You may start an antique online store or something.

  • Denise Ehrlich at 4:03 pm

    What lucky finds! I absolutely love the atomic set. Keep the complete sets and look for additional pieces. You can use the tea cups for individual flower arrangements/placecard holders. I’m a big fan of vintage dishes – I have 5 sets myself. I understand trying to avoid the hoarding tendancies, but if you simply store stuff and don’t use it, then you are hoarding. Better to keep the items handy and actually use them. I know five sets of dishes seems crazy, but I rotate and use all of them when I’m entertaining – which I do frequently. Oh, and I live in a 985 sq foot 1920s bungalow. As a matter of fact, I’m using my 60’s era dishes for a retro dinner party this Saturday.

  • Anonymous at 8:13 pm

    Those are sooooooooooooo cute!! I love them both. I’d lean toward keeping the sets together if that really is an option. Have you looked at Replacements, Ltd? They could be good for ‘resell value’ if not for history on either set. They might also be able to tell you about the weird black sugar cup cap thinger. I love Replacements, I used to live near their warehouse and they’re always so friendly! Plus their employees can take pets to work…I always thought that was cool. Anyway – how awesome is that atomic set?? I make candles in funky old teacups (and really anything containery) so that could be a fun project if that’s your style 🙂 And I’ll propogate succulents in little cups too, they make interesting ‘planters’ while the baby plants are small enough. But I’m sure you’ve already got it all figured out!

    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 8:24 pm

      Get out of town! Replacements, Ltd. lets their employees take pets to
      work? I’m glad to hear they’re good to their people.
      I love the idea of planting succulents in the teacups. Will definitely keep
      that in mind. Thanks!

      • Jessica Miller at 2:17 am

        Holy cats! Pets around antique china?! That’s amazing that they let them do that!

  • cait @ hernando house at 8:13 pm

    What great finds! I’d definitely keep the sets together if you have room for it!

  • Ryan at 2:47 pm

    I miss my old plates 🙁

  • Rebecca at 6:14 pm

    I am totally cracking up. Because we ALL have friends who are dy-ing for something new for their home, buy it with no discussion with the other half-owner of the family budget, and then bring it home and stash it until they work up the courage to tell The Hubs (or the wife, in the case of fishing rods and electronic gadgets). I’ve seen friends do this with towels, plates, bedding, throw pillows. I can just picture the 1950’s/1960’s housewife charging this on her store account “way back when” and storing it, unused, never getting the courage to tell what she’d done.

    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 6:37 pm

      Rebecca – now I’m totally cracking up too! You’re so right, and it’s
      hilarious to imagine this happening back in the 50’s!! 🙂

  • LifeinRehab at 9:52 pm

    Do NOT split those up! They’re fantastic, and it would be a sin for someone 10 years from now to get a partial set when she could have had it complete. Besides, tea cups are great for small supply storage.

    I have a little problem with tableware…I own 10 sets of dishes. Yeah, I think that’s all. Pretty sure.

  • LifeinRehab at 9:52 pm

    Do NOT split those up! They’re fantastic, and it would be a sin for someone 10 years from now to get a partial set when she could have had it complete. Besides, tea cups are great for small supply storage.

    I have a little problem with tableware…I own 10 sets of dishes. Yeah, I think that’s all. Pretty sure.

  • Max Matthies at 12:55 pm

    These are great dishes – we have the North Star set (for 20!) that we purchased on – they are so amazing. I like that the plates allow for a more reasonable portion size. Our other dish set is also a Denby collection, with huge plates where the salad plate is almost the same size as the dinner plate in the North Star set. We use the North Star as our daily plates.

    I did research on the North Star plates, re: microwave safety. They are definitely not safe for either microwave or oven use (the set we have comes with platters and large serving bowls). I also stopped using a dish brush on them because it began to wear off the gold paint and faded the blue.

    Great finds. I would also keep the set together. You just never know who will get the set later on, and a full set is such a find.

    Jealous of the white German dishes.

  • Max at 1:01 pm

    We bought a set for 20 (!) of the North Star dishes on for less than a set for 4 Denby dishes (which we also have). They are amazing dishes. I especially appreciate the way the control portion sizes as well, as the dinner plates are almost the same size as the salad dishes of the Denby set.

    I did some research on the North Stars when I purchased the set – included in the set were some platters and large serving bowls and I wondered about oven use. The North Stars are definitely NOT dishwasher, microwave or oven safe. I also had to stop using a dish brush or hard sponge to clean the dishes, as the gold and blue paint was wearing off. I soak the dishes before I wash them now and use a soft sponge/rag to clean.

    Completely jealous of the white dishes.

    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 2:35 am

      Max –

      Thanks so much for all the great info!! We’ve been running the dishes
      through the dishwasher so thanks for the heads’ up on that.


    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 2:35 am

      Max –

      Thanks so much for all the great info!! We’ve been running the dishes
      through the dishwasher so thanks for the heads’ up on that.


  • Ashley @ at 9:22 pm

    OH MY GOSH! How cool is that, seriously!!! I LOVE both sets, but I am particularly in love with the timelessness of the circular patterned one! I hope you decided to keep them for sure! So gorgeous and unique and people will absolutely ask about them because they’ve never seen anything like them. 🙂 Have you tried ebay to find similar sets or more information?

    • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 3:11 pm

      Hi Ashley – yep, we decided to keep them all. I will definitely check ebay
      for info – thanks for the idea 🙂

  • Bansidhe910 at 4:46 am

    OMG! Those dishes you found in your crawlspace are exactly like my grandmother’s dishes! I got a set for Christmas two years ago from my dear darling hubby, but I would have KILLED to just FIND them. That’s crazy cool.


  • Mommyscigar at 6:11 pm

    They are microwave and oven safe I believe. I have the same set. I love love love the second set. I would just die if I can across that!

  • Cynthia Filiberto at 11:04 pm

    OOOH I have the North Star dishes too and I love them, I have the casserole dish and a gravy boat….. something else too, but I don’t have those oval shaped plates… now I need to hunt too 🙂 

  • Sara Thompson at 1:57 am

    My mother also has the Ceramano dishes from West Germany. They are not antique. They were bought at a specialty kitchen type store. They were expensive dishes. My mom has 12 dinner plates, 11 salad plates, 9 pasta bowls, 3 cups, 3 dark blue saucers, sugar with dark blue lid and creamer and a platter. If you want more or know someone that wants to buy them, we are selling them. They live in AZ.

    • Z R Daugharty at 11:20 pm

      How much did you want for them?

      • Jane at 8:43 pm

        Hi – So sorry, but I no longer have the dishes. This was several years ago. I didn’t find more information, and I ended up selling them.

  • Karey at 8:04 pm

    I use the northstar china for my everyday china . It is so much fun glad someone else is enjoying as well.I found mine in a thrift store in Rhode Island.

  • Z R Daugharty at 11:19 pm

    I was curious if you still had the CERAMANO OMEGA. I am trying to collect it myself but there is so little information (and so few pieces) out there. I was curious if yours was for sale or if you had more information about this set. Thank you for ANY help you can afford me.

  • home builders katy at 3:37 am

    You’re lucky to have them all. I just hope you can keep all of them. They all look stunning!

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