Atomic cabinet pulls modernize a 60s birch kitchen


These kitchen cabinets are SO TYPICAL of the postwar era. Birch with three-quarter (or traditional) overlay doors. The three-quarter or traditional means that the doors do not entirely cover (“full overlay”) the cabinet box, which is what you see with most vintage steel kitchen cabinets.

What I really like about this 1961 kitchen is how they’ve used atomic style cabinet pulls to modernize the look. You can still get these – in a nice heavy chrome on brass, with the backplate — from Rejuvenation Lighting.

Also very cool: the countertop, the yellow sink, the floor, the wallpaper and the chairs and dinette – which you can also replicate today with Modernica’s Case Study series.


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  1. moddog70 says

    Wow great kitchen, Just simple plywood cabinets and linoleum floors, but its so modern and beautiful.

    Just discovered your blog a few weeks ago. I love it

  2. Lane_in_PA says

    Wow, those are my kitchen cabinets. I must disagree with moddog70 that the cabinets are plywood in this photo; I believe they are not. They are most likely solid, custom cabinets like mine, and I believe the wood is birch. The cabinet pulls are the major clue here.

    My house was built in 1960, but Pennsylvania being behind in time in everything, except for Andy Warhol, the kitchen is very 50’s. I still have the original countertops with its red and grey boomerangs on a white background, with the chrome trim. The floor is an awful gold-sparkled yellow linoleum, which I can only live with for a while until I replace the vinyl tiles when they wear out. I will say this though, linoleum is an incredible material, and I would be so happy with it if only my flooring wasn’t such an ugly yellow. Sigh.

    My major angst is about those cabinet pulls. I want to replace mine as the 3″ chrome backplates are scratched from all these years of use, and I would like to replace them all with new pulls. But much to my frustration, it has proven to be impossible to find any type of pull with a 3″ backplate. The problem is that the wood behind the backplate is the original color of the cabinet (very much lighter) and the exposed wood has darkened from years of cooking and just plain age. I don’t want to paint my cabinets. I just want to find 18 pulls, like the ones in the photo above, that have another 15 years of luster in them.

    Can anyone advise how I should go about finding them?

    BTW, love this website. Dinner is gonna be late tonight because I just can’t stop looking at all the incredible photos, reading the articles and comments and clicking on the links. I am bedazzled by the pink kitchens. 🙂

  3. Lane_in_PA says

    Mid Mod Pam, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I’m looking for round backplates. I’ll go check out SatelliteModern, and it occurred to me that maybe Craigslist might have something.

    Again, thank you for your help!

  4. Lane_in_PA says

    Mid Mod Pam, I hear you and respect your passion for speckled linoleum; I myself am a big fan of everything sparkly and glittery. However, what the previous homeowner did not know (and this may or may not be common knowledge here) but rubber-backed throw rugs wreak havoc with the color of linoleum flooring. Where Previous Owner did not place a rug, the tile is a lovely ivory bejeweled with layers of gold flecks. These areas of loveliness were discovered only when we moved the refrigerator and stove — Ms. PO hadn’t placed any rugs under there! LOL! The rest of the kitchen floor is a montage of stained yellow rectangles and it is not a pretty color yellow. I leave it to your imagination what color yellow I am hinting at.

    What we have learned is that every time we replace the vinyl stick-down tiles, we remove another layer of stain. It’s just about time that we pull up this last installment of vinyl squares, and if Lady Luck is on our side, we will find that the discolorations will have been absorbed by the adhesives, and our flooring will have returned to a very close original color.

    BTW, I found a company that does chrome replating, and it seems that no job is too small. I think I will have my kitchen knobs replated and that way, the kitchen will remain true to its origins. The company is 21st American Finishes at (I hope this information will be useful to other fans here.)

    I’m going to ask them for a quote, and if my head explodes from the estimate, I am thinking about using this type pull on my cabinets instead:
    I think these pulls have possibilities.

    You know what’s really cool: gold speckled boomerang countertops! There’s a diner in Columbus, OH decked out in that. Black background, red and white boomerangs amid a field of gold specks. i don’t remember what I ate, but I remember how beautiful the table surface was. 🙂

  5. JuliAnne says

    I’m dying to know how to get this wallpaper from the kitchen photo above. I’m completely in love with it!

  6. says

    I just discovered this post. I’m floored and excited. these are so my cabinets! Our ranch was built in 1966, one of many of the same built by the builder in the greater Scranton, Pa area. The pulls are an antiqued copper with a startburst on them. The flooring and countertops were replaced I think in the early 80’s. the cooktop is a sunshine yellow as was teh oven (which I wish now I still had). We decided to embrace the vintage of the kitchen and try to restore it yet cross to a little more updated. We have just contracted a guy to refinish the cabinets, someone to build us a custom cabinet just like it to house our dishwasher, and are now looking for flooring and countertops.

  7. Kim D. says

    Ok, so I have these same cabinets too. I would like to add a few more, but I have no idea where to find doors that come even close to matching. I can build the cabinet structure myself. Does anyone know where to find doors like these?

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