Recreate Don & Betty Draper’s 50s Mad Men kitchen

You can recreate this kitchen - easily!
Image copyright AMC

Yes – if you love Betty’s knotty pine, 50s kitchen – you can recreate one for your own home. And if you’re not into scouting for vintage items – don’t worry, you can do it with all-new products and materials available today.

The keys to this kitchen are the knotty pine cabinets, of course…the laminate countertop with metal edging…the cabinet hardware…and the wallpaper. Pull them together with new or vintage appliances – and a goodly number of knick knacks — and you’re in business. Supply your own lechery, heartache, intrigue and backstabbing. Here is the checklist:

Here are links to previous posts with more detailed information about a number of these resources:

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Comments

  1. magnarama says

    Could you explain further about the steel edging for the countertop? I’m failing to see what’s inauthentic about the one in the MM photo…

  2. says

    Hi Magnarama, the edging in the MM kitchen does not appear to me to have the heft of the New York Metal edging that I recommend and which, to me, seems to have been most common for the period. I could be wrong about this – I am squinting at the photos, admittedly. I addition – I can’t say as I’ve ever seen an example of the little “tacks” shown on the MM edge. That does not mean they weren’t used – and it does seem to impose a Western look. All that said – (1) I apologize for being dogmatic again, especially as this kitchen is beautifully done, and (2) I continue to recommend NY Metal as my #1 choice – I’ve seen it live…have it in my kitchen…and it’s exactly like the stuff I see in most all 50s kitchens.

  3. Randall Sluder says

    We have a 1953 vintage kitchen with a similar rounded peninsula counter and the same edge moulding. It’s not stainless steel, it’s aluminum, also from the New York Metal Co —

    http://www.newyorkmetal.com/c-19-face-nosings-aluminum.aspx

    The moulding is held onto the counter with screws. Those are the heads you see in the photo. Unlike the stainless product, this stuff can be easily fitted around curved counters. A good source of this “face nosing” is Outwater Plastics Industries Inc —

    http://www.outwatercatalogs.com/2008_master/lg_display.cfm?page_number=55

    If you can use lengths under 12 ft, they can cut it and ship it inexpensively by UPS.

    – Randall

  4. says

    Hi, I’d never visited your blog until today, but just wanted to say that it’s amazing! Also, in case anyone is interested in re-creating the dishes, I just wanted to chime in that the cup and saucer pattern the Drapers have is known as “Barkwood” and was made by Vernon Kilns, a well known Calif pottery. I believe they’re shown in a few episodes, and in fact, one of the episodes begins with a closeup of just the cup.

  5. Nina462 says

    First let me say, I am a true MadMan fanatic! I have a 65 Ranch, and my kitchen is still original (except appliances & flooring). It’s also missing the wallpaper, but from what little pieces left behind, I believe it was the plaid design. My kitchen sink is an Americast (by American Standard). My countertop is the original gold flecked laminate (with metal trim). My cabinets are original with the wrought iron hardware. When I first moved in I wanted to change & update–but I’m sure glad I didn’t. Now all I want to do is put it back to “normal”. I’m even anticipating buying dishes from that period (I already have a china set from 62). Now, where’s my cocktail? (I also have a blue tile bathroom and knotty pine basement w/bar). Some day I’ll take photo’s & submit.

  6. says

    Both of my grandmothers, an aunt and a great-grandmother all had the exact edging (at least from 1956 through the 1970s in north-central Indiana) on their kitchen countertops that is in that photo – looked like it just went around the edge with little or no lip on top and appeared to be (or really was) “tacked” on. Thanks, Randall, for the links – it’s just what I was trying to “recreate.”
    And on a funnier note – the Barkwood china is what my parents started out with, and I ate off of it both growing up and when I was at their home later, until they replaced most of it about 1995 or so. The stuff they replaced it with was more expensive and is all scratched up and rough looking now, while the Barkwood never looked anything but new (unless we broke it!).

  7. Heather Staas says

    Great! I don’t have plaid wallpaper but I did just put up some red plaid curtains in my knotty pine kitchen to go with the red linen laminate countertops! Next up: VCT floors and new trim for the counter top edge.

  8. hannah says

    Good morning from Maine –

    Someone mentioned above that they’re kitchen is still pretty much intact including the white laminate counter top with gold flecks – you have no idea how I covet that counter top! Alas, it’s not being made at the moment, but I can keep my fingers crossed.

    In the process of redoing the kitchen in our 1961 Ranch, we made a trek to the Re-Store and I found exactly 20 copper hammered hinges! Later that day found the door pulls for a song. Got home from work last night and they’re installed! What a difference it makes!

    Love Betty’s kitchen, but think I’d pass on the plaid. But the entire kitchen really has a presence and warmth to it. Love going back in time!

  9. CarolK says

    I dogsat for some neighbors a couple of year ago and walking into their kitchen was like walking into the Draper’s kitchen, right down to the knotty pine and plaid wallpaper.

  10. Karen says

    Thanks for sharing! I have to remodel my kitchen later on down the road, so I’m trying to become more familiar with the style of its era.

    I have a ranch style home built in 1961, but the kitchen is definitely a 50’s style. I have the original cabinets with amber shellack and black hinges, which is why I fell in love with the house. The setup is quite similar to this, cramped cooking area and a double sink. I’ve updated to a larger fridge, but the stove (Hotpoint) really needs to be replaced. After viewing this picture, I may add an American diner type seating with modern colors in the tiny dining area to transition between eras.

    You’ve gotten my gears turning. Thank you!

  11. Kelly says

    My husband and I have made an offer on a home with knotty pine walls in several rooms, including the kitchen. Most of the cabinets are not original in the kitchen (built in 1955), but we would have the original pink bathroom, and all the built-in cabinets in the house have hammered copper horseshoe latches. There are two hutch-style pine cabinets that I think are original in the kitchen which also have the hammered copper horseshoe latches. The second bathroom is not original.

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