Wood-Mode kitchens from 1961 — Slide show of 15 photos

vintage-wood-mode-kitchen-cabinets-1961Let’s hear it for well-made, wood kitchens in mid-century homes. There’s virtually no name bigger in wood cabinetry than Wood-Mode. Their website says they have been in business about 60 years — that puts their start right in the heart of the postwar boom. This catalog from 1961 shows cabinetry made in three woods — oak, maple, and knotty pine. There were four door styles — Colonial, Contemporary, Provincial, and Classic. (Compare that to the dozens of door styles available today. Another example of how, “Life was simpler back in the day.” And, there were 22 natural finishes and 12 enamel finishes. (Okay: Complexity here.)

If you have original wood kitchen cabinets… and they are in good shape… please think twice about repainting them. Over time, and as we continue to get our heads around this mid-century look, I predict that “original patina” cabinetry like this will become even more desirable.

Enjoy the slide show — these are also great fun to scrutinize for design ideas and accessories.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Comments

  1. Kae says

    Thank you for posting the brochure! Our cabinets are Coppes-Napanee but have many of the same specialty features as the Woodmode ones. Our home was built in 1969 and these cabinets are still in great shape.

    • Rachel says

      My house has coppes contessa cabinets as well! We have the pull out shelves in a few of the cabinets, a bread drawer, and a vegetable drawer. All of the cabinets are still in really great shape.

  2. arica says

    Yippee on your advice on wood cabinets! In 2009 I finally got my Charles Goodman-designed 1952 home. Well, it had the original wood kitchen cabinets –the hardware was icky, and the cabinets needed refreshing, but they are solid as can be. The shelving had been replaced at some point. So hubby got some refinishing solution and tung oil. Restored the original wood and gave them a gorgeous shine. Replaced all the hardware. Man, they are soooo beautiful (and much cheaper than new cabinets) I get a lot of ideas here on your site, so a big thank you!

  3. dave says

    I really like the provincial cabinets. Too bad that style wasn’t still around when I re-did my kitchen.

  4. Ann-Marie Meyers (Skylark) says

    I am going to have a modified version of the eating counter/bar built under my kitchen window.

  5. Patrick Coffey says

    OMG Kirsten I live 5 minutes from the end of the Orange Line at Vienna in Oakton Va. LOL…….To get a real good answer to your combo questions you need to go to automaticwasher.org and ask that question there. Believe me they are guys there who can answer any question you might have about combos. That said from what I have heard I think the main reason combos fell out of favor was the fact that they take longer to wash and dry a single load then two seperate units do (and that goes for modern ones too). The reason for this is because the combo units wash and dry in the same sized tub. If you look at any conventional washer and the matching dryer you will find that the cubic footage of the dryer drum is roughly twice that of the washer tub. The reason for that is simple….. the more room the clothes have to tumble in the dryer the quicker they dry and the more wrinkle free they are when the drying cycle is over. Add to this the fact that most of the original combos were technological monsters and could be very fussy to repair (I am told that the Whirlpool/Kenmore Combos made after the 1961 redesign were the most notorious for this) it is no wonder that the concept only lasted from 1953 (when Bendix introduced the Duo Matic) to 1970 (when Whirlpool stopped making the Kenmore Combo for Sears)

  6. Charlotte Jefferson says

    what type of wood cabinets in picture 13. Those are the same desigh I have and plaining to restain them.

  7. Rebecca Bohn says

    I have original kitchen cabinets in the green finish. They still look like new. I love them! Can anyone recommend the best cleaning solution to use on them? Thank you.

  8. Michelle says

    We have the first picture cabinets in our house installed in 1965. We just redid our kitchen, we have had the house 10 years and we kept the cabinets because they are still so beautiful and well made. We just swapped the hardware for something more rustic modern. Too bad this site didn’t have a way to share pictures.

  9. Daryl Harmon says

    Hi,

    Recently purchased a 1961 apartment and refurbished it, attempting to keep as much original as possible, including the I-XL kitchen cabinets. Problem is, we’re missing a few hinges (they fell apart when we took the doors down to clean), and they are the oddest hinges I’ve ever seen. Any ideas on resources for odd-ball or out-of-manufacture kitchen cabinet hardware, specifically I-XL if possible? Thanks.

  10. Pat Miller says

    Hi,
    The #11 is just like our kitchen cabinet style. We have been wanting to add matching cabinets in our breakfast nook which is adjacent to our kitchen to give us more counter and cabinet space. Anyone know of any site that might still be selling these vintage Wood-mode cabinets? I noticed recently that this same style was used in other houses in our neighborhood.

    Thanks,

    • pam kueber says

      Your best bet: Get the word out to your neighbors. At some point, someone will renovate — and give you cabinets for nothing. Or, maybe someone already has remodeled, and has extras in their basement or garage. Many of our readers have had tremendous results using this approach.

      Other that than, watch craigslist and your local Re-Store Habitat for Humanity(s). That’s going to be a needle-in-a-haystack endeavor, though — I think your best bet is canvassing the neighborhood.

  11. Angela says

    oooh neat, if you look closely, #4 and #10 are of the same room, just moved over and one is in color!

  12. Laurie says

    Can you tell me the name of #7. I have those exact cabinets and I have painted them and updated hardware. Now I would like to update them further, looking for suggestions. They are still in great shape, I really don’t want to replace them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *