Mid century designer Beatrice West — and NOS Caloric pink kitchen appliances saved from a trash heap — 16 photos

New Old Stock pink Caloric kitchen appliances found in trash pilebeatrice westReader Nancy recently made an exciting and valuable discovery in a neighbor’s pile set out for the trash man: A set of vintage Caloric kitchen appliances and sink — New Old Stock, still in the original boxes. Including: Built-in oven with warming drawer (?), gas cooktop, splash back, range hood, double-bowl sink, and brochures. Oh: In luminous pink pink pink. Five years into the blog, and I don’t see this too often. Moreover, I became very intrigued when Nancy asked me if I knew anything about Beatrice West, who was credited on one of the boxes for the color styling. I LOVE learning about — and helping to rediscover — once-famous, now forgotten (?) design personalities from the mid-century years. Read on for what I’ve found out about Beatrice West — oh, and see 15 more photos of Nancy’s NOS pink kitchen loveliness — which she is looking to sell. 

New Old Stock pink Caloric kitchen appliancesNancy writes:

Hi Pam! This is such a great find! I found them in the garbage!!

NOS pink Caloric stove 1959

Yes in the garbage!

pink ovenMy elderly neighbor died, and her grandson bought the house and basically threw everything in the house out!

inside vintage pink caloric built-in ovenWhen I saw the pile of boxes I had to investigate!

NOS vintage Caloric gas stove top

When I saw what it all was I almost fell over!

vintage Caloric gas cooktop gutsI got my husband and I loaded our truck! None of it has been used, the oven still has the tag on it! The only thing missing is the part that goes under the knobs of the gas stove top. I have half of the box for the stove (the other half was just crumbling).

NOS vintage Caloric pink kitchen sinkIts all made by Caloric!

vintage pink kitchen sinkI can only find the original ad for the stove on the web.

Beatrice West color coordinate kitchens 1959 CaloricHave you ever heard of Beatrice West?

Caloric Color Coordinated Kitchens by Beatrice WestOn the boxes it says her name. I cannot find anything like this (never used appliances from the sixties).

pink stove back plate NOS Caloric

I do want to sell it all, not sure if I should sell it separately or as a package and what to charge… these type of things usually don’t exist!!!:)

vintage pink Caloric range top hoodIf you have an info on it let me know!

I do have other pics that I could send you, close ups etc. if you want to put it on your web site (which by the way I loooooove!!!) feel free!

vintage Caloric kitchen appliances original brochuresI had actually thought of changing my kitchen and putting in these items but my husband wasn’t thrilled!

– Nancy

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story and these photos. I am sure you will find a buyer, these are so delicious.

Meanwhile — back to Beatrice West. When Nancy wrote I began to search on google and was able very quickly to find numerous references to Beatrice West from the 1950s, into the 1960s, and as late as 1981. I have to admit, though, that it was frustrating, because while Google books now archives many many publications, it only gives “snippets” — not the full text, for copyright reasons. I totally understand and respect this. Just sayin’ that my research on Beatrice West is mostly parsing snippets until I can get to the original source documents.

Ad for National Homes October 1952From what I could piece: In the early part of her career, Beatrice West worked as an architect in Texas. Ultimately, she became an expert consultant on the use of color in midcentury America, operating a number of eponymous companies such as Beatrice West Color, Inc. at 333 E. 46th St. in New York City, authoring or co-authoring a number of books, and working with big-name housing developers like Levitt, with manufacturers like Caloric and with retail clients alike. She was a charter member of the Color Marketing Group and its president in 1969, and received the group’s highest honor in 1981.

Update: See Comments below, for additional info that readers quickly dug up, which I need to incorporate up here when I get additional time.

A 1955 Popular Mechanics story on exterior colors for the home says:

An incident that happened early in Miss West’s career best illustrates the power of color. It was right after World War II and despite the housing shortage a development of prefabricated houses did not sell. Miss West, who was then working as an architect in her native Texas, was asked by the prefab manufacture to visit the project and tell him what was wrong. There she found row after row of white houses with blue shutters and mottled roofs of red, blue and green. She worked out a color plan for the entire project of 300 houses and fixed up a model for demonstration fixed up a model for demonstration purposes. All the house were sold in a single weekend and Beatrice West had found herself a new career. Soon she was planning the color for Levitt projects and National Homes.

Looks like she did color consulting for American Kitchens (steel kitchen cabinets):

books.google.com1955 – Snippet view – American Lumberman and Building Products Merchandiser

American Kitchens Div. of Avco Mfg. Co., Connersville, Ind., has retained Beatrice West, well-known color stylist and decorator as color consultant and decorator-designer._ Miss West, who heads her own organization in New York, 

 

She was involved with Charles Goodman:

books.google.com1955 – Snippet view – Tide – Volume 29, Issues 14-27

The 50 homes in Price’s 1955 line were designed by Washington (DC) architect Charles M. Goodman, got their color specifications from specialist Beatrice West. With such an assortment of houses, Price has introduced the full-line theory 

Relative to the Caloric relationship, I found this snippet.. there were others for subsequent years:

books.google.com 1959 – Snippet view – Gas Age: Volume 124

Caloric Appliance Corp. has retained Beatrice West Color, Inc. as color consultant for its products. Miss Beatrice West, president of the consulting firm, has gained national recognition for her design and color work in styling various 

Somewhere there is a film!:

books.google.com H.W. Wilson Company – 1960 – Snippet view – Educational Film Guide

Bestwall 1968 13min sd color free-loan sh-c-ad Produced by Photo-Arts Productions ‘ The development and use of color styling by Beatrice West, color consultant, in Cer- tainteed asphalt roofing and siding. Shows how color is used to

She was a who in the Who’s Who of Women in 1961:

books.google.com 1961 – Snippet view – Who’s Who of American Women, Volume 2

WEST, Beatrice (Beatrice Adele Wlttrup), color and design cons.; b. Dallas, Oct. 7. 1910; d.  Beatrice West Interiors, Inc., NYC, 1950 — . Recipient House and Home mag. award, 1956; LI Home Builder’s award, 1957; N. Shore Hosp. award 

 

Note, this book about Levittown, Pennsylvania, calls West an interior designer, not an architect. It also says she was involved in the very first Levittown:

books.google.com Dianne Harris – 2010 – 429 pages – Second suburb: Levittown, PA

Beatrice West, a New York interior designer commissioned to furnish the first model houses in Pennsylvania, gave the Levitts high marks for gracefully integrating the kitchen with the rest of the house: “Levitt & Sons have planned your

 

 

I would love to get my hands on this one and to hear her presentation!:
books.google.com American Gas Association – 1960 – American Gas Assoc. Monthly Volume 41

Speakers at Home Service Roundtable were, from left: Marjorie A. Bettesworth, Shirley Pemberton, Beatrice West The subject of color coordination in the kitchen was thoroughly explored by Beatrice West, color coordinator for Caloric

By 1969, she may have become a design snowbird down in Florida:

No cover image
books.google.com1969 – Snippet view – AIA Journal

Completing the jury are George T. Rockrise, FAIA, of San Francisco, AIA vice president, and Jules Gregory, FAIA, of Lambertville, NJ Beatrice West, who heads an interior design firm in Deerfield Beach, Fla., has been elected president

It looks like she was doing some work with Eljer circa 1977:

books.google.com Making of America Project – 1977 – House Beautiful, Volume 119

Selected by color consultant Beatrice West to be in tune with the latest color trends. Eljer’s Fashion Colors let you have a change of heart without a change of bathroom fixtures. Repaint, wallpaper, hang towels and you have a whole new 

The last reference I can find to her online is 1981, when she received the Color Marketing Group’s Dimmick Award. They called her “Bea”:

books.google.com Color, Inter-Society Color Council, Colour Group (Great Britain) – 1982 – Color Research and Application, Volume 7

Beatrice West Receives CMG Dimmick Award In October 1981 , the Color Marketing Group presented its highest award in  Beatrice West, entrepreneur, color consultant, color stylist, and architectural designer, has been a true pioneer

beatrice west designerBut… This information is so scattershot. What happened to Beatrice West after 1981? Why isn’t there more information available about this COLORFUL woman’s life?! Anything mystery for us to unravel!

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Joy says

    The appliances are beautiful and so sturdy. One of the explanations for the appliances never being installed could be the owner won a complete kitchen on one of the radio shows. There were many daytime radio programs with audience participation, such as Queen For A Day, which awarded fantastic prizes, namely from their sponsors. It also could have been a grand prize when building companies held open house, and got leads from the guests signing in. Touring model homes was a lovely and free Sunday afternoon past time. If the winner had planned to install these appliances in a dream home, or a future renonovation, they would have remained in the cartons. One wonders why the grandson didn’t check them out before hauling such heavy items to the curb.

    • Nancy Clark says

      HI Joy! Wow, I never thought of that! It really could be! I just hope I can find a home for it all and not have to break it up!

  2. Cynthia says

    Wittrup was her married name. Beatrice Kantz West Wittrup. She and husband Jack Wittrup (noted illustrator/artist of 40s, 50s, 60s, posters, pinups – you can see his work online) lived in Boca Raton, Florida from at least the 1960s in an oceanfront condo. Her company, Beatrice West Color, Inc., was registered in Florida in 1956 and the name was later changed to Beatrice West Studios, Inc. It closed down in 1981, having operated for many years in Boca. Jack died in 1987 and she followed him in 1996.
    The pink shade of those appliances is gorgeous. I can see them with many different cabinet colors (slab doors would be best) and terrazzo counters.
    I agree with a commenter above, who said that the retro appliance colors should be modified a bit and then reissued. I am not opposed to stainless but there is something HAPPY about the colored appliances, which baby boomers will EAT UP!!

      • cynthia says

        When I saw in your article that there was a possible connection to South Florida (Deerfield Beach), I looked up the company name on State of Florida corporate records, and took it from there. I’m an attorney and so I’m used to tracing things like this. The commercial building where her studio was located is still there, although it was substantially remodeled many years ago. I could even give you the addresses of her former studio and residence, and a few details on their deaths, but I prefer to think of the good old days they must have enjoyed for 30 years as (probably) snowbirds who lived down here in the winter and summered up north where her main business was located. In those years, this area was starting to attract many monied people from up north who bought luxurious winter homes and wanted to decorate with the latest trends. No doubt she had clients up north who wanted her services here, so she wisely opened up shop. By the time she closed up (1981) the type of clientele she enjoyed was starting fade away. to She was 85 when she died in February 1996.

  3. bonnie schwartz says

    yes great find! would love the cook top and sink and even everything if the price was rite, Big Chill makes diswahers and refrigerators in assorted colors.

  4. Nancy Clark says

    I just wanted to tell everyone who is interestd in the pink kitchen set that I just received the missing part from the stove top from a wonderful person, Russell!! He mailed me the part, it is not new but I’m sure can be cleaned up!! He also sent me the metal ring for around the stove and extra stove grates! Thank you so much Russell!! And of course to Pan for posting!

  5. Laurel962 says

    I’ve never seen anything as fabulous as this “find” — honestly, gave me goosebumps! — but about 2 years ago, I went to an estate sale in my area (suburban Cleveland) and spoke to the daughter of the late owner of the home. The whole split level house was very “50s” and in mint condition, but the highlight was the ALL PINK kitchen, and it was spotless and mint; almost unused. The daughter said that her mom adored her new pink kitchen — so she barely ever cooked in it. When she put it in, she kept her old white appliances in the basement, and used the stove down there for the grunt work of actually cooking, keeping her pink set absolutely pristine. It was similar to what is shown here, with a separate cooktop and stove, range hood and back-splash, plus a rimmed pink sink on a pink original “boomerang” formica countertop.

    I’ve seen plenty of other pink kitchens in my time (hey! this is Cleveland!) but never one this jewel perfect and in its original installation.

    But finding this in the trash…holy cow. That’s like a sign from god or something. I’d work very hard to overrule the DH on this — I think you could have a fabulous pink kitchen that was not overly “girly”, with the right contrasting color accents.

    BTW: unlike many pink bathrooms, pink KITCHENS were often subtle, pale pink and incorporated other colors (like maroon) in the trim, paint, backsplash and detail. They most definitely do not come across like “Barbie’s dream kitchen” but very sophisticated.

  6. says

    So interesting! I love your blog and all the information that I’ve gotten from it already. We still have a Caloric wall over in our kitchen with warming drawer – it’s stainless surprisingly and not a color.

  7. Itbitkitty says

    How very cool is that?! I just recently moved into a house that still had the original metal cabinets, stove top, and oven from the 50’s/60’s! When I went to see the apt for the first time I fell in love with it! It originally was pink and had the pint and gold boomarang formica counters. The property manager said that they were going to tear out the counters and cabinets and replace everything. I gave her a deposite on the spot, with the condition that they leave the kitchen as is! We compramised and they replaced the counter tops but left the cabinets. I was told that they could not find a replacement range and oven that would fit into the spaces there (a BIG fat fib!) and at first I was disappointed. I soon fell in love with the old tiny oven and the wide range! I also talked the contractor into giving me all the old counters when they took them out! They did repaint the cabinets brown (ugg). I am now getting ready to purchase my first home and I will have nothing but metal/ceramic cabinets and am hoping to find an old stove and range like the one I have! I plan on incorperating the old counters into my new kitchen and am considering making an offer to the owner for the cabinets and appliances! I will NEVER go back to wood and have become a true, die hard NOS convert! I grew up in a victorian style so I got an early education and appreciation for antiques though I think I prefer the turn of the century homes from the 1900-1920’s or older pre 1880’s style houses. I had been waffling about what era style I wanted to go with for the kitchen and bathrooms…I just cannot warm up to the modern look…and now I have found the perfect fit! NOS all the way!

    BTW – imagine my surprise when I discovered that my HUGE turkey roaster fits just fine in my “little” oven! Though I cannot put anything else in there with it 🙂

    Thanks for having such a great site with so many ideas and hints on ways to incorporate this look in a functional modern kitchen!

    NOS to the end!
    ItBitKitty

    • Melita says

      Hi itBitKitty. ~ What is ‘small’ for the oven? I would not have and would not cook in any oven bigger than 20 inches wide. (even a 24 inch is a waste to me) Any bigger ovens waste too much energy for the same results. If a recipe says ‘bake for 1 hr’, I only need to bake for 35 to 40 min – max. I even had a smaller electric range, a european apartment stove, two burners and half an oven – a 20 inch wide but half the height – and – my inherent dislike for cooking on electric aside, I was baking the same loaf in even less time, about 25 to 30 minutes. I understand you can ‘layer’ the oven and bake more than one thing at the same time, but how often do we do that these days? It’s like the sparkling new granite island kitchens, island’s really useful – to hold the takeout pizza…

  8. says

    I just got back from an estate sale and pick up a caloric coppertone sink with the sticker on, never used It was sitting next to the garage ready to be scraped! Why oh why do people scrap these beauties?

      • says

        Oh thanks Pam! We got there the second day of the sale and it was still there. No one asked about it because it was in a scrap pile. Well we asked and brought it home along with an Elgin starburst clock and sconce set. I love the last day of sales. Everything 50% off!!!

  9. Janet M says

    Just bought a house in Marblehead, MA with this exact oven and cooktop but in brown. My mom helped clean them up so they look like new! Love them!

  10. Jacki Carroll says

    How I’d love to see that pink kitchen when it’s done!!! We just bought an all original 1963 house (well all original except for appliances) in Phoenix and I NEED at least one, but hopefully 2 PINK GE ovens in good condition. Late 50’s to early 60’s in age, but they need to pink, ge, and in good condition. Hopefully on the east coast or nearby as we are currently living in the DC area and will be moving to PHX in June. zogette@earthlink.net Thanks for any help :^)

  11. Lisa says

    Hi,
    I am looking for a pink gas cooktop stove and pink gas builtin oven.I just have not been able to find the perfect set.I am remodeling my 1960s mobliehomes Kitchen soon.Pink is so cool and I love the vintage colors.

  12. Maxine Saville says

    Nancy
    This is many months since your last post but will try to send along to you. Do not know why I thought of Bea West this afternoon but googled it and this is the info that came up. My first job out of college in 1972 was with Beatrice West in Deerfield Beach. I had just graduated from University of Georgia and she found me a beautiful beach front apartment. She was extraordinary and her husband, Jack, was so nice and so, so talented as an artist. Their home was full of items they had collected from around the world. She always wore jewelry that were “bees”. Hope you did well with the sale of the appliances. Such a treasure.
    Maxine Saville

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you, Maxine, it is great to hear from you! I actually did some more research… need to dive in again!

  13. Richard Jones says

    My family lived in a ‘color-coordinated’ community of 490 National Homes, constructed in 1955 by H.B. Layne Contractors in Mad River Twp., Ohio (near Dayton), the first such communiy from this developer. The elevations, all updated versions of sleek Mid-Century design, were done by Charles Goodman and included floor-to-ceiling ‘window walls’, low wide overhang roofs, an array of siding (including Masonite, cement shingle, and vertically-grooved Douglas fir) – some had window shutters, others had accent panels between windows, some included planter boxes and extended porches; one model (used on corner lots only) had a single-panel 3-foot wide ‘window wall’ beside the front door with a 3-section ‘window wall’ on the side of the hoiuse. Almost every color combination one can imagine was present and each combnation ‘flowed’ into those around them, giving the community a coordinated appearance. This series was dubbed National’s ‘Ranger’ designs and included 2 floorplans, a 3 BR 1 bath model (approx. 900 sq. ft.) and a 4 BR 1 1/2 bath model (approx. 1,050 sq. ft.); the 3 BR model sold at just under $11,000 and the 4 BR model at $12,500; monthly payments (after no down payment, $100 closing cost). A 4% VA/FHA loan was $94/month maximum. ‘Step-saver’ kitchens included Youngstown white steel cabinets with ‘mother-of-pearl’ Formica counters, flooring throughout was asbestos vinly tile. Drywalls was prime-coated in a light gray color throughout (baths were not tiled, included American Standard fixtures. Heating/water heating was natural gas, windows were aluminum ‘sliders’. All assessments were in (streets, sidewalks, concrete single-car driveway, front landscaping and sodding from the street to 5 ft. behind each house sewerage, water, gas, electric); there were no other ‘extras’ available and the homes occupied lots ranging from about 6,500 to 8,500 sq. ft. The developer set aside approximately 3 acres in the center of the subdivision for a county park, thus the subdivision’s name, ‘Park Layne’. The tract opened for sales in September, 1955, and the last homes were sold in early November, 1955, with the tract being completed in April, 1956 (these were ‘prefabricated’ homes and one could be raised and under roof in 8 hours. Ahhh, for ‘the good-old days’…but then, a new Chevrolet Bel Air V8 2-door ‘hardtop’ could be had for less than $2,000 and gasoline was a mere $0.29/gallon – Ohio minimum wage was $1.25 and my father made a good wage of $125/week!

  14. Phil says

    Our kitchen has pink counterrops with caloric drop in sink, range, oven and exhaust fan like you found. I am looking to upgrade certain small elements and I am wondering if you sold everything yet. If not, would you be willing to sell some items?

      • Phil says

        Pam,

        Well I figured it was worth a shot! I can’t find replacement parts anywhere for my pink caloric appliances. I was amazed that a full set was found!

        Thank you for letting me know.

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