Recreating 50s 60s birch cabinets for your retro kitchen

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<–The birch kitchen in a recent post was so very typical of the 50s and 60s.

Today, you can still get birch doors – although they will be a little thicker. Order them with a ‘radius,’ or slightly rounded edge profile. Traditional (3/4) overlay would be typical, but you can go with full overlay as well, you certainly did see that especially moving into the 60s. The photo above is 1963.

The dark tone door featured on the left is from Omega, I also think Cabico makes a good product. As you can see from the photos above, there are a number of ways to approach the color/finish – “classic” as in the thumbnail, and for a more modern look, darker and/or colored stains.

In this latter approach, once you are mixing and matching 3 or more door colors you are creating a “Mondrian” style kitchen – certainly a trend you saw in the 1955-1965 period.

Isn’t the floor great, too?… The whole kitchen provides a lot of ideas… it’s one of the greatest, one of my husband’s very favorites.


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  1. Amy says

    All of the steel cabinets you are able to find are great! I wonder, do you have any suggestions for finding vintage wood cabinets? I’ve been pouring over the local craigslists for months with no luck. We are lucky enough that some of the original cabinets remain with our house – the kind that were built right onto the wall, but there is definitely a difference with about 1/2 of the others – they are cheap mdf, probably from the 80’s stuff. I’d love some feedback from anyone who has been successful doing this before. Thanks!!

    • Jenna says

      We have beech cabinets. We hired somebody to install a dishwasher and adjacent cabinet. He bought a super cheap based cabinet, some beech veneer, found a stain to match our existing cabinets (he tried out a few), same hardware and put it all together. The new cabinet blends right in. Biggest difference is that it lacks the scratches and grime around the handles that the original ones have.

  2. Femme1 says

    I would kill for that flooring. Just having painted my kitchen orange (a really bright orange), I’m having a tough time deciding on a floor. (Well, it’s been 2.5 years and counting on deciding this—and now I want something that will coordinate with the orange!)

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