5 of our Favorite Retro Kitchens

See five of our most-favored retro kitchens.

Retro kitchens, aren’t they incredible? But outfitting a period kitchen can be tricky; it entails the delicate mingling of modern amenities and period-appropriate trimmings. Too much of one way and you’ve muddled the whole room. But with some careful thought and planning, it’s possible to achieve historical style without forgoing modern-day conveniences.

If you’re wondering what to do for your next renovation, these retro kitchens will provide an abundance of inspiration.

Roosters became a theme: They show up in the paper border, in drinking glasses and tea towels.

1. A Mid-Century Kitchen in Red
The rest of the house had survived largely intact, but not so for the kitchen, in this 1926 Colonial Revival. Homeowners expected to see the 1970s version they’d inherited (think acoustical-tile ceiling, sparkly Marlite, and gold vinyl wallcovering) when they peeled back the layers. Much to their surprise, they discovered something unexpected—a 1950s remodeling underneath, featuring worn blue linoleum and white metal cabinets. 

A restored period toaster and telephone lend authenticity to the breakfast nook.

2. Retro Kitchen on a Budget
A Cincinnati couple gives their tired Tudor kitchen a retro makeover—at a rock-bottom price. Homeowners kicked off the rehabilitation by creating what has quickly become one of their favorite spaces—this sunny breakfast nook. Luckily for them, previous owners had left behind an early 20th-century Sellers table, so they went about designing a pair of benches to match.

A red table and chairs, painted by Chroma Design, brighten the breakfast nook.

Greg Premru

3. Black & White Bungalow 1930s Kitchen Makeover
Misguided remodeling has unfortunately ruined many a modest prewar house, and this one was no exception. The biggest project on deck proved to be the kitchen, bereft of all original elements and was practically a poster child for bad space planning. The homeowner wanted an efficient kitchen but “with all the charm of grandma’s era.” She referenced Jane Powell’s book Bungalow Kitchens, which advocates using simple white cabinets, linoleum, and tile.

Colors of the era are echoed throughout the kitchen. 

Donna Pizzi

4. Designing a Retro 1940s Kitchen
This story shows us how to conjure up the 1940s in a kitchen that functions for today. Homeowners fashioned new cabinet units to match vintage ones and fill out the run of cabinetry. 1940s Bakelite hardware was found, along with a 1940s Chambers gas stove, which was rebuilt locally. The couple was, however, talked out of buying a vintage refrigerator, because tiny freezers require frequent defrosting. The countertops: leftover red Marmoleum flooring! 

Kate Pierson’s turquoise kitchen is all vintage, from the metal cabinets to the Pyrex.

Steve Gross & Susan Daley

5. Fifties Rock ‘n’ Roll Retro Kitchen
A rock star’s personal collection of retro furnishings jump-started the decoration of some 1950s vacation cabins creating The Lazy Meadow Motel. Each cabin is decorated with vintage furnishings, including colorful mid-century kitchens, fit for baking a cake or roasting a turkey. All even come stocked with cocktail shakers. 

Tags: 30s Kitchens 40s Kitchens Depression Kitchens kitchens renovation retro kitchen vintage

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