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Ideas for kitchen?

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by Flicka, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    I hope it's OK to put this question in here - otherwise, would someone help me move the thread to an appropriate place?

    I'm redoing my kitchen. I have a decorator coming next Friday to discuss what I want to do and I really need ideas. I'd like a 40s/50s vibe and I figured you would be just the people to ask for advice.

    The room is small and square with a large window and cupboards along two walls. I'm going to keep the cupboards (60's) but probably have new doors fitted on them. The walls are sort of baby blue and I'd really like to keep that colour. I definitely want to do something about the floor. I was thinking black and white linoleum tiles but I'm open to ideas. I have plain white tiles by the sink that I'm going to keep but I don't know what other colours I'd like. I'm so boring I tend to go back to white because it's 'safe'. So I need to settle on floor and doors by next Friday, but after that, I also need to start looking for furniture and stuff.

    I'm going to keep my boring modern stove because it's tiny and the size fits really well. I also have an ugly fridge/freezer that I would love to replace with something better-looking (like a SMEG), but I'll likely put that off for now because they're almost new and it'd feel wasteful to replace them so soon. I have a lovely tiny 50's table that I got from a friend's grandmother (with a faux-wood formica top that can be folded out to go from seating 2 to seating 6-8) the fits perfectly by the window, but I want to get some new chairs. I also have metal wire shelves (IKEA!) by one wall where I keep the toaster and coffee maker etc. I'd like some ideas for what I could replace them with. I'd also love general tips and ideas on colours, decoration, appliances etc.

    My flat was built in the sixties so it's modern, but not glaringly so. I think I could make it work - or what do you think? I'd be happy for any help!
  2. For the floor tiles, linoleum comes in a lot of colors- I've seen green and pink and white floors, for instance. While I think black and white is stunning, if you really love a color, I'd use that on the floor with another combination color.

    As far as the shelves- could you get something like a small hutch or pie safe? We actually use a dining room piece with open shelving in our kitchen (probably from the 50s or 60s). It is one of those more causal dining pieces rather than a fancy china cabinet.
  3. Black and white linoleum is really cool but it's become SO overdone. I mean, it's a classic for a good reason, but there are MANY other equally authentic styles to choose from. Check out www.retrorenovation.com . It's one of the greatest blogs on the planet. She has LOADS of great ideas. Also this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanvintagehome/collections/72157606545868245/
    Vintage appliances can be loads of fun, but they are a world unto themselves, and require a little knowledge. Modern appliances are nothing to be embarrassed about. Post some pics of the present place.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  4. Green and cream, red and cream, or red and yellow checkerboard tile floor patterns were very common in the Era as well -- perhaps more so than the iconic black and white -- without being as stark as black and white can be. White tile may look good when you install it, but nothing gets more marked up on a kitchen floor than white, and it can be a bear to keep clean. Every single scuff and spill will show.

    If you don't want to go the whole hog with vintage appliances -- which are pretty much trouble-free if you choose them wisely -- there are plenty of vintage kitchen gadgets and things you can use, everything from enamel pots and pans to tin-plated flour sifters to wooden-handled egg beaters.
  5. Forgotten Man is the go to guy for vintage appliances. I really wonder what there is in the way of vintage appliances in Europe? I suppose there were fewer of them across the board in the pre war era, compared to the States.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  6. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    I think it's my fear of colour showing. However, red and light blue are really pretty together so that night be an idea. I had white/black tiles in a former flat, and you're right, everything shows. Right now my cupboards are all white - you think cream would work with that? Then again, changing my cupboards to another colour would mean that every single fingerprint wouldn't show up...

    The thing with appliances is that I have extremely limited space and since older appliances are really hard to find here, the odds of finding some that fits the space I have is just unlikely. So I think I'm stuck with what I have.

    Now I'm going to check out the links you kindly posted!
  7. I should think that it also depends on what '40s/'50s look you're after. American or European '40s/'50s. In the case of the latter another go-to guy might be Giftmacher. He seems to be very knowledgeable about vintage European appliances.
  8. A house I once lived in had a kitchen floor of Yellow, Grey, & Black tiles "Linoleum Tiles" , some of the tiles had been cut in half and it was laid in a very interesting Art deco Style, Vinyl tiles are very economical and easy to lay yourself.
  9. ThePowderKeg

    ThePowderKeg One of the Regulars

    Light blue and cream floor tiles could be pretty. If you don't want to replace your major appliances at this time, I second what LizzieMaine said about gadgets. Get yourself a vintage toaster or a great coffee percolator. You could also show off your dishes or mixing bowls with one glass-fronted cupboard door. White cupboards really do show every last fingerprint and fleck of dirt...I'd definitely go with a different color....neutrals can be nice if you're afraid of something too bright.

    What about your countertops? What do those look like? Are you replacing them?
  10. AdrianLvsRocky

    AdrianLvsRocky One of the Regulars

  11. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    I see Retro Renovation already got a well-deserved mention. I do want to link a particular kitchen though: Because of the floor

    I really like black/white checkerboard floors too but the basketweave here really looked good to me.

    If I am reading correctly, the only colour you're devoted to is blue for fondness and maybe white cabinets just because you have them? Well, blue can work with so many great vintage colours - red, pink, jadite green, yellow...? Do you have vintage-style dishes or curtains to pull colours from?

    I do think black, white, and light blue could look great. Especially with some vintage blue and white china, or some classic canisters?
  12. AdrianLvsRocky

    AdrianLvsRocky One of the Regulars

    ^ That kitchen is absolutely stunning!!
  13. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    After thinking about it, I decided to go with a wooden (oak) floor and white doors. I suppose it's not as '50, but still not modern. My sister has a house from 1909 and she fixed her kitchen up in a '20s style (her husband is a retro-maniac) last year and I just love how that turned out. I also googled some pictures of Bertie Wooster's apartment in the series with Hugh Grant, and the pictures of the kitchen just made up my mind for me. Now I know exactly where I'm heading. I'll post pictures when it's all done!

    If only I had my old vintage gas top, but alas, my current stove is entirely modern...
  14. epr25

    epr25 Practically Family

    Here's our very small kitchen. New floor and repainted.

  15. SheBear74

    SheBear74 Practically Family

    I am redoing my kitchen too. :D I am a freak for color. I am going to paint my cabinets a light blue and I do have red on the walls. I don't know how true to vintage I am being but I love those colors together.
  16. SheBear74

    SheBear74 Practically Family

    Oh my! Now that is a beautiful kitchen!!!
  17. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Edited to say: wow, that is a dream kitchen! Just gorgeous. I love the colors!

    I've been facing this conundrum for some time. I would love to put in a 1930s gas stove and a monitor fridge. I know little about how to recondition vintage appliances so that would be a consideration. But the core question that troubles me: wouldn't the house be much harder to sell with antique kitchen appliances? I'd have to rip out a lot of the countertop & some of the cupboards, too, b/c the antique stove would certainly be bigger than my current ugly hideous modern one. At some point in my life I hope to move back to the east coast (although I love St. Louis to pieces!)

    We even have a wonderful antique kitchen shop in St. Louis, which sells affordable reconditioned stoves.

    Until I get up the nerve and the savings together to do this, though, I'll resign myself to making small affordable changes. I bought a Belle Foret faucet like this one (though half that price!) and put ceramic handles on it. A local plumber was able to install it without any problems.

    I definitely second the suggestion to use vintage appliances. I have and use, e.g., a flap toaster, fan, clock, kitchen scale, wooden coffee mill, percolator etc. With those the kitchen really doesn't look out of line with the rest of my house, even though I haven't been able to retrofit it.

    The one thing I would strongly recommend is to use only appliances that actually work and that have been brought up to safe condition. I can't do this myself, but I have friends who can. I think a non-workable appliance would become a nuisance. I'm an evangelist for using (safely) older items that can be made to work again.
  18. There's been talk in the so-called "lifestyle press" of vintage kitchens as the next big thing. But when you're making a home for yourself, whatever your tastes, make it for *yourself,* not some hypothetical future buyer. Otherwise, you'll end up unhappy no matter what you do. There isn't enough of a real-estate profit in the world to get me to willingly live with a stainless-steel kitchen.

    If you've got a small kitchen, look into "apartment size" or "kltchenette" stoves. My stove, a late-fifties Hotpoint, is such a model, and it fits my microscopic kitchen just fine.

  19. I used to live in a 300 sq.ft. studio apartment built in 1920. It was tiny, but very functional. My favorite room was the kitchen. Honeycomb ceramic tile counter, gas stove the size of Lizzie's, but the best thing was they had converted the original ice box into a pantry cupboard. It was fantastic for storing my dry goods. The worst part of the kitchen was the black and white tile floor. As mentioned above, it got dirty VERY quickly.
  20. I had an icebox like that in the studio apartment I lived in in California in the early '80s -- those were very popular around the early twenties, and if you've got one, treasure it. Most of them got remuddled out of existance by the sixties, when the horror of Presdwood fake-maple Early American cabinetry became popular.

    Black and white checkered tile is kind of a cliche for "retro" kitchens, but it was a lot less common in real life. Most unmolested 20s-40s kitchens I've seen in person had abstract-patterned linoleum, but if they did use two-tone asphalt tile for the floors it was more common to have a solid color central portion bordered by a contrasting color instead of checkerboarding two colors.

    A light-colored kitchen floor will keep you busy with the mop, whatever design you choose. If I could choose a new floor color right now it'd be the color of tea drips and spilled cat food.

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