Hotpoint kitchens from 1961

We continue our 1961 Hotpoint kitchen mini-series starting with the calendar couple for May. I think it is rare to see an older couple in a kitchen ad. No one seems to want to market to oldies, and I now am having to get used to putting myself in that category. Gramma and Gramps have one bitchin’ kitchen, though. I really love the acrylic panels above the wall cabinets. I also find the wall cabinets themselves interestingly done: They are not 30″ high like most kitchens, they appear to be only 15″ high. If you can afford to give up the space, this arrangement certainly opens up the kitchen more. Finally, if you go over to the 1960s gallery and look at this image enlarged, notice the 4″ tiles. They are all kind of “marbelized”, like with a Roman feel, which we’ve talked about before. I am not sure how I feel about this particular look, but the designers get credit for pushing the envelope.

Here are Gramma and Gramps’ son and daughter-in-law. This seems to be a tiki kitchen. Those are seashell cabinet pulls, and there is an aquarium built into the kitchen island. Yowza.  Today, with the prevalance of bamboo cabinets, you could go even further down this tiki path, haha. These vintage images provide great ideas that we might not otherwise be exposed to today via mainstream design media. Like: Yellow + lime + light wood cabinetry. I like it. Precautionary Pam warns, however, that in addition to ensuring you learn about all the safety and environmental issues related to your vintage house: Don’t waterski while smoking a pipe.

This is a Retro Renovation classique image. Is there a party going on elsewhere in the house, or just here? Lovely lovely color combo: Pink and orange against ivory with black. This kitchen has a two-color Mondrian feel… I love the repetition of the orange above the sink… Again, very high wall cabinet placement. A key consideration in the use of color in any room is to use it to keep your eye “dancing around” in an entertained yet not overwhelmed way. Kind of: lively but balanced. This room has it, although that couple, I’m not so sure of.


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  1. says

    One thing I find interesting in these kitchens is that, even in 1961, Hotpoint had bottom-freezer units. I had thought that was a relatively new “innovation.”

  2. Elizabeth Mary says

    And, I notice that most of these have a washer and dryer sort of tucked away someplace in the kitchen. Was this a time they were being moved up from the basement? Or, was it just a way to show all the line from Hotpoint. Some of the placements make sense, but some seem “off” to me — most especially the black washer and dryer in Gram and Gramps kitchen.

  3. gavin hastings says

    Bottom freezers appeared in the early fifties and died off twenty years later. They re-appeared about 20 years ago…and I love them. As part of an aging society I really can no longer imagine bending down almost to the floor for a head of lettuce or a carrot-let alone emptying a dishwasher rack 3″ from the flloor!

    The only sad thing is that most of these earlier bottom-mount freezers had a foot pedal to open the door. That part has yet to come back….You could carry ice trays in both hands!

    I have had the drawer and the door models. I prefer the door, better access without reaching over a panel.

    At 50, I am planning my twilight years….so bye-bye to the Eldred Wheeler bed which stands 33 inches from the floor as well! That is destined to be a hip-breaker and should come with a “Life Alert”!

  4. Rebecca Prichard says

    I keep coming back to the orange and pink kitchen. But, I can’t see affording a Big Chill fridge, stove, and dishwasher. ever.

    This is so funny to me – “Is there a party going on elsewhere in the house, or just here?”

  5. gavin hastings says

    Mary Elizabeth- The 1950’s was the age of millions of concrete slab-built homes. And the age of the Laudromat…so maybe those washers and dryers are shown for all those folks without basements…..which relates nicely with my tirade on aging:

    Travelling to the basement with an armload of clothing is an adventure in my future!

    • pam kueber says

      In my vintage marketing materials, I see multitudes of examples of the laundry in or closely adjacent to the kitchen. I think that in the immediate wake of the war, when houses were still small, the idea was that the kitchen would/could/must house all these housekeeping tools. Also, designers were pushing/experimenting with the concept that the kitchen was one-stop-shopping, so to speak. however, as homes grew in size, laundry got its own space — my thinking is that this is what homemakers preferred. too noisy to have the laundry in the kitchen? or, just took up too much space? in my house, our laundry is in the basement and what with all the piles and then drying things on racks, it takes up a lot of space. some day i will do a longer definitive post. but this is how i think this design issue evolved.

  6. Annie B. says

    Love the orange and pink combo! And the tulip chairs.
    My mid-1960’s GE Spacesaver ‘fridge has the huge bottom freezer unit and I love it.

  7. Frank says

    #3 pink and orange kitchen–classic. Interesting use of lighting to highlight Hotpoint’s latest washer and dryer set.

    Here’s my take on the couple:

    Everyone knows that the Niedermiers throw a great party. Unfortunately, Reid Niedermier is unaware that his business partner, Bob, is making the moves on his wife Carol.

  8. says

    Re: Smoking a pipe while water skiing.

    There was a retired couple named Pat & Chuck that my family met every year at a resort in the Lake of the Ozarks back in the late ’70s. Pat slalom skied like a pro and Chuck drove their boat. Pat would tuck her pack of smokes (Kools or Salems I think) and a lighter into her swim cap. Once in the water and up on her ski, she’d put the rope between her knees and light up a smoke. She was a true mid-century modern.

  9. says

    A tiki kitchen – how great!! Of course, I wouldn’t be able to resist putting lots more tiki “stuff” in there, and I’d probably ruin the design….but the aquarium in the island is to die for! Can’t you imagine all the kids and cats just sitting there mesmerized on the kitchen floor?

    I grew up in the 70s with bottom-freezer fridges, and didn’t know they came other ways. When I went to buy my own first fridge, in the 90s, you couldn’t find them at all. I’m irritated by top freezers, because as Gavin pointed out, you are constantly bending and stooping to get to all the stuff you use much more frequently in the fridge. Now I’ve got an inherited side-by-side, which are no better for frozen pizza lovers. 🙁

  10. says

    Two thoughts on having the laundry near the kitchen- our 1958 Ranch has a “nook” just inside the back door where we have our washer and dryer and I find it so much more convenient than our last house/ a Cape, with the laundry all the way in the farthest corner of the basement. We were lucky enough to get the original blueprints to the house so I’ll have to see if that was the original plan.
    The other thing that just occurred to me, besides that this might have been a plumbing based decision, is that it could possible be an arrangement totally made up by the companies who designed both kitchen and washer appliances- only one photo needed to highlight both products.
    I like the fact that the W&D in our nook also doubles as counter space when needed!

  11. Pencils says

    I had no idea that bottom-freezer fridges were around back then either. They seem so much more sensible! Just bought a high efficiency one as part of the cash for clunkers program. The interesting thing is that it’s replacing an 80s model bottom-freezer, something I’d never seen before. It’s almond or beige. I would have loved to get a set of Big Chill appliances in the buttercup yellow, but their prices are just too far out of our budget.

  12. magnarama says

    My first fridge, in the ’70s, was a hand-me-down from an aunt and uncle, and it was the exact ’60s Hotpoint model shown in these photos. It was fabulous, and I’ve wished a thousand times I still had it today.

  13. Alice says

    Pam you know that yellow and lime kitchen is an inspiration to me! We are pretty sure that we are going to go with chartreuse walls in our yellow geneva kitchen. I had thought about white sparkly terrazzo for the floor, but perhaps bamboo flooring would look nice…what do you think?

    I just love your eye for detail…I had to get out the reading glasses to see the pipe on the “surfer dude”!

    • pam kueber says

      Alice, I think that re: bamboo it’s really important to check into durability issues. Also, I am not convinced that bamboo products are really any “greener” because they can take more processing… I think this is a complicated issue…

  14. Pencils says

    Pam–not only does bamboo often take more processing, it’s also almost always shipped from China and other parts of Asia. More locally produced materials are therefore more green in that respect. I’m planning on installing linoleum (specifically, Marmoleum) in my kitchen, but unfortunately it’s manufactured in Europe as all the North American linoleum factories closed when the demand dropped. Still, it’s an all-natural product and I’ll be proud to have it in m house.

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