Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: 1950's kitchen cabinet designs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    1,394

    1950's kitchen cabinet designs

    Good evening,

    LOML and I are closing on a 1957 split level ranch this upcoming Tuesday. We have been transient for almost a year, so it is about time! We were discussing ideas on how to update the kitchen, yet maintain some of the 1950s charm. What were the common cabinet styles back then? If Wally and the Beav were living in this house, what would the kitchen look like?

    SWMBO wants to point out that avocado green will not be found anywhere in our kitchen.

    Thanks for all of the advice!!

    Dan
    A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    934
    AG was early 60's -- Harvest Gold was in the late 50's -- I would skip that too.

    After the war and into the 60's a lot of kitchens used metal - with St Charles being the very top end. Many wood kitchens were put in by cabinet makers and then painted - with the boom going on many were very simple. They were very clean looking with Formica counters.

    Lots of scalloped edges -- always hated them.

    I took out a metal St Charles kitchen in the early 90 that was installed in 1958 - it was still in really good shape -except HG! It had a lot of appliances that looked like mission control -- like the jettisons.

    I remember my great aunt had a big farm house kitchen -- it had a pantry wall with glass window pane doors -- very nice!

  3. #3
    Hit google images for "1950's kitchen" and you will see a lot of examples of the "state of the art" in the 50's. Be prepared... some of this stuff is pretty revolting but not nearly so much as if you searched for "1970's kitchen"....
    David DeCristoforo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    1,363
    Dan,
    FWIW, our circa 1954 kitchen is knotty pine with black strap hinges half lap doors and drawer faces. The finish is amber shellac. Maybe not what you're looking for - but authentic none the less. (Google "knotty pine kitchen".)

    Or, if you like the "moderne" look go for Joseph Eichler or mid century modern.
    Good luck!

    Wes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fallbrook, California
    Posts
    3,509
    If you want something truly different you could go with a '50s diner look.

    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fallbrook, California
    Posts
    3,509
    Or

    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fallbrook, California
    Posts
    3,509
    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
    Posts
    6,006
    My circa 1906 house has a circa 1950's kitchen. As a testament to the carpenters skill at that time it has endured the years better than some of the particle board crap that came latter. On the down side, its ugly, its ugly, its very truly ugly!

    Mine has a formica that simulates grey linen cloth, strips of chromed cove at the transition between wall and counter top (yes, formica as far as the eye can see), chrome counter top edging nailed on with chrome casement nails, BIG chrome door and drawer knobs, chrome door hinges...get the idea! The doors are 1/2" overlay with a 3/8" round over edge and a rabbit on the back that allows half the doors thickness to sit within the face frames opening. I've seen the nearly exact style on countless kitchens of the same vintage. I think the entire thing could be made with a few bits and a Stanley router and plenty of nails and glue!

    My guess is that once you have edified your self concerning the details of the 50's style you may find away to incorporate some of its more "Charming" elements but may not want to recreate it whole sale. I believe the most handsome kitchens in our countries history are actually being created today (with a few exceptions here and there).

    Good luck with your endeavor.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mid Michigan
    Posts
    3,540
    Old how to remodel books from the time period will have some good ideas and may give you a few laughs as well.
    David B

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    1,394
    I think we get the idea... kitchen styles back then sucked... I think we will just find something we like.

    Although I would not mind the diner look...

    Dan
    A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    1,363
    Gee thanks a lot Dan!

    Wes

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    2,318
    The thing about the 1950s is that most people didn't have 1950s cabinets. They had cabinets from the 40s, 30s and even 20s. Thus, when most people think about what kind of cabinets they saw back then, they were seeing 1950s cabinets.

    While Chevrolets were beautiful back then, not much else was. As others have pointed out, steel and plastics were coming on strong, but they died as suddenly as the hula hoop.

    White cabinets with solid wood or glass doors are timeless. They looked good back then and they look good now. Personally, I like knotty pine. According to the real estate shows my wife watches on HGTV, most people don't. The experts are always recommending by be painted and painted white.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Stephenville, TX
    Posts
    914
    Just in case you change your mind back to the fifties look it's simple. Just put chrome, vinyl and formica anywhere you can find a place for it....and then hunt more places. And then more chrome. And more chrome.
    And now for something completely different....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    1,394
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard M. Wolfe View Post
    Just in case you change your mind back to the fifties look it's simple. Just put chrome, vinyl and formica anywhere you can find a place for it....and then hunt more places. And then more chrome. And more chrome.
    A chrome plated stamped tin ceiling?

    Dan
    A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish.

  15. #15
    A word about Formica: If you are going that route, you may want to research some period colors and patterns from the 1950's. I went to the company's website http://www.formica.com/publish/site/...history.1.html, and got this excerpt -
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1951, Formica Corporation responded to a surging market by opening a 1,000,000 square foot plant in Evendale, Ohio, devoted entirely to the production of decorative sheet material. That same year, sales reached $24.5 million, nearly double the wartime peak. In 1956, the Company was purchased by American Cyanamid and became Formica Corporation, a subsidiary of American Cyanamid.

    The Company’s focus on decorative laminates inspired a myriad of new designs. In 1949, Formica Corporation introduced the Color Range, which included six patterns each in several colorways and ten solid colors all available in “both standard and cigarette-proof grades.” With the exception of Linen and Wood finish, the patterns were synthetic designs, often with a playful bent, reflecting America’s spirit of optimism following the end of the war.

    Peace and prosperity ushered in an era of exuberant consumerism and explosive residential construction that transformed the American landscape. New suburbs seemed to appear overnight, neatly laid out with split-level ranch houses that boasted kitchens equipped with gleaming appliances and colorful laminate countertops and dinettes. By the early 1950’s, one-third of the new homes built in the U.S. used laminate – much of it Formica brand.

    In 1953, The Formica Company commissioned Raymond Loewy Associates to update its color line. The popular Skylark, Pearl and Linen patterns were recolored and geometrics introduced for the new Sunrise line: Capri, an irregular mosaic and Nassau, a geometric of overlapping translucent tones. Loewy Associates also created Milano, a faux Italian marble in pink, yellow, black and gray. Soft pastels and neutrals proved to be the most successful colors in the line--Sky Blue and Calypso Red fell well behind Sea Mist, Honey Beige and Cameo in 1958 sales figures.

    Formica Corporation had also started making custom colors and patterns. Designer Brooks Stevens—creator of the iconic Skylark pattern—used Formica laminates throughout the Hiawatha trains designed for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. From sleeping cars surfaced with linen finish, walnut and gray-green laminate panels to men’s and women’s lounges paneled in different Formica patterns, Brooks used existing and custom laminates to create a stylish individual look for each room.

    By the end of the 1950’s, Formica brand laminates had become as much a symbol of Americana as roadside diners, drive-in movie theaters and soda fountains. Its glossy good looks complemented the glass, chrome and molded plastics that created the streamlined aesthetic of the day and its colorful, wipe-clean surface was attractive to the busy modern housewife. Few products were as well known – or ubiquitous -- as Formica brand laminates.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Understand that Formica has been a company since before World War I. While many styles and patterns of MODERN formica sheet laminate are available, it may be more difficult to obtain historic colors and patterns from the 1950's. Good luck in your quest, and if I run across a supplier, I'll let you know.
    Maurice

Similar Threads

  1. Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Question (Blum Tandem, Drawer Sides, etc)
    By Craig Mitchell in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-28-2008, 4:22 PM
  2. Kitchen Cabinet Construction
    By Lou Ferrarini in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-04-2007, 8:33 AM
  3. Proulx Kitchen Cabinet Book Question
    By Mark Hulette in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 01-13-2007, 2:31 PM
  4. Kitchen Cabinet Lighting
    By Mike Turner in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 04-29-2006, 8:18 PM
  5. My first kitchen cabinet
    By Scott Stephens in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-16-2004, 11:20 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •