Retro refrigerators — 7 places to get them in pink (and other colors, too)

Don’t we all want a diminutive pink refrigerator (in one of our fantasy retro kitchens, at least)? I think the idea is particularly appealing, today, because most refrigerators are just so honkin’ big: Silver, black or white elephants drawing too much attention from our beautiful kitchen designs. This is why built in refrigerators are so popular — they make the darn fridge disappear. Cabinet-depth, too, eliminates the protrusion, at least. A curvy pink lollipop refrigerator puts the perfume on the pig, sad metaphor, I know. (This reminds me: My grandma Agnes had this toy pig thing inside her refrigerator. Every time you opened the fridge door, it oinked at you. This, from a woman who never met a full-fat dairy product she didn’t try to wedge into every recipe possible.) So, where can you get a pink refrigerator? I did some research and came up with seven places or ways to get one. Read on…

Following along with my photo spread, above, starting at the top and moving left to right:

  • #1 — Big Chill’s classic retro refrigerator comes in two sizes, a 20.9 cu.ft. unit and a 14.4 cu.ft. unit. They also have an undercounter fridge that you can get in their complete color palette, including pink. Link: Big Chill refrigerators.
  • #2 — Big Chill’s Retropolitan refrigerator has more of a Jetson’s look and the freezer on the bottom. It is 18.5 cu.ft in size– and it is 2″ less deep so sticks out less. Link: Big Chill refrigerators.
  • #3 — The Northstar refrigerator by Elmira Stove Works comes in three sizes and variations: The 19 cu.ft. model has the freezer on the bottom, while the freezer is on the top in 18.2 cu.ft. and 11 cu.ft. models. You can also get the 11 cu.ft. model with a built-in kegger. Link: Northstar refrigerators.
  • #4 — The Smeg ’tis a baby doll, coming in at just 9.2 cu.ft., but she is oh so cute. Remember Laura’s? Link: Smeg refrigerators.
  • #5 — Take your plain-Jane refrigerator to an auto body shop or industrial painting place — Professional painting joints can consult online paint color guides to match or help get you the color you want. The advantages of professional painting include (1) they have access to very durable automotive paints, (2) they use dust-free booths to avoid itsy bitsies ruining your smooth glossy finish, and (3) someone else does it. However, you will have to get your fridge there and back, and this will cost you, of course.
  • #6 — Spray paint your existing fridge yourself. The only spray paint I could find close to a retro Mamie pink is Rustoleum’s Candy Pink spray paint. Rustoleum has an epoxy spray paint specifically for appliances — but it does not come in pink. So, I asked Rustoleum if they could advise on how to use this less fancy pink spray paint to do a fridge, either metal or vinyl/plastic. Here is what they said: “Painter’s Touch would work fine on the fridge.  We also have a spray paint called Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X that also comes in Candy Pink. The real advantage of using Ultra Cover 2X is that it offers twice the coverage of general purpose spray paints.  It also has distribution at The Home Depot and many hardware and paint stores, so it’s easy to buy anywhere in the US. According to our brand management team, before painting the vinyl/plastic parts of the fridge, prime them with Specialty Plastic Primer.  For metal, you can prime with a Stops Rust Clean Metal primer for added durability. You could use Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X Clear over the Candy Pink, but priming would be the most important step. If you topcoat with the Clear, apply it within 1 hour after painting or after 48 hours.”
  • #7 — Stalk craigslist and Re-Stores for a vintage pink refrigerator. This will take time. But once you send your vibes out into the universe, the Retro Decorating Gods may reward you sooner than you think. I am not an expert on what to look for in a vintage fridge. See this post for some links and such if you are serious about pursuing this option.


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  1. philq says

    I LOVE my GE Combination Wall Mount refrigerator/freezer. It’s still working – only had to have the termostat replaced (by a GE tech, no less!). A novel idea that has gone it’s way. I guess those drawer or under-counter custom refrigeration units are the “modern” version.

  2. says

    i completely agree with you, pam! i sent my retro fridge vibes into the universe about three months ago. before i knew it i had myself an amazing GE fridge from the 50s. just make sure you are prepared for some heavy lifting if youre buying vintage. and hopefully you dont live on the 3rd floor like i do!

  3. Stephanie Tate says

    I had the Big Chill refrigerator in my last house and it was fantastic. The guys at Big Chill provide an excellent product and customer service. I highly recommend them. Personally regret not shipping it when I moved across the country.

  4. Victoria says

    If I had not been on the cusp of having to replace my old fridge when we redid the kitchen, I would have entertained the autobody shop idea. We have original pink stovetop, oven and sink, but couldn’t afford the Big Chill option and missed getting a working pink fridge from another house in our neighbor hood when they sold it (doh.)

    A resource that I DID tap into was an auto chroming shop. We had diamond shaped backplates on the cabinet handles, but they were gold and didn’t go with the chrome we were introducing. We had them chromed perfectly and inexpensively. They said they could chrome almost anything — so keep that in mind!

  5. Woody says

    I love the new retro fridges, but they are just too expensive for me. I have been considering getting one in a “stainless look” metal and refinishing it myself. It would take some experimentation, but I would think a matte finish stainless or stainless look would be easier to paint than one that is already a gloss enamel finish

  6. Woody says

    Also remember, if you go the vintage fridge route you are going to spend more on electricity due to modern advance in compressor and motor technology.

    • pam kueber says

      Not necessarily, Woody. I would like to see someone put a meter on an old fridge – one with no defrost cycle – and then provide electric cost data.

        • ChrisH says

          I wasn’t thinking clearly. The new ‘fridge wouldn’t pay for itself in 5-5 years -it depends on purchase price. But you’d save about $200 a year in electric costs.

        • pam kueber says

          I still challenge this. I need to do a story – chase the data. I have always heard that if that it’s the defrost cycle that is the energy hog…

          • ChrisH says

            I know you’ll do a very thorough job of researching this topic. I’ll be happy to accept your findings.

            I’m going to hazard a guess that you’ll find the energy star models are actually way way more efficient, due to better insulation, more efficient compressors, and micro-chip controlled defrost -as opposed to timer controlled defrost.

            But I could be wrong.

            From what little I’ve read, an old monitor top made in the ’30s is reasonably efficient -but tiny in size. ’60s-’70s units are about the most inefficient available, and post 2001 energy star models most efficient.

            Of course pains must be taken to compare apples to apples. It will be hard to find a modern ‘fridge w/o auto defrost. But things like ice makers use a lot of energy and don’t have to be included in comparisons because vintage ‘fridges didn’t have ice makers.

            OTOH, the old ones last, and don’t have to be replaced as often. Though this says nothing about energy efficiency it does affect total cost of ownership.

            We’ll look forward to your findings.

            • Jason says

              They used to make a device that you plugged in between the fridge and the wall that “modernized” the electrical pull. Don’t know how it worked but remember my mom and I considering it for a 50’s era commercial fridge we used to have. Unfortunately it died beyond realistic repair before we had a chance to try it. This was like, 10 years ago so I don’t know if it’s still made but a little googling may turn up something.

      • Flowergal says

        Actually we have an old GE from the 50”s..That nice rounded style with the itty bitty two shelf little freezer box in the right upper corner. I ended up with this little beauty when we merged households. We use it for our second fridge on the back patio. It’s plugged in all the time. Believe it or not it only costs just under $4.00 extra per month:-)

        • Patrick Coffey says

          Flowergal if it cost you ANYTHING EXTRA to be to be running that vintage fridge it probably indicates the need of a new door seal. If you do not mind myself asking how often do you have to defrost the freezer unit in that fridge?

          • Patrick Coffey says

            OOPS disregard my post above……I thought Flowergirl meant it was costing $4 more a onto to run the vintage fridge than a modern one. I did not realize that she meant it only added $4 to the electric bill as a second fridge…my bad

          • Flowergal says

            Hi Patrick:-) Your right on the needing a new seal. Its a bit funky for sure. I have to defrost about every 3 to 3 1/2 months.

            • Patrick Coffey says

              Flowergal here is how you can test your GE’s door seal to see if it truly needs replacing……open the fridge door and stick a business card or piece of paper that thick in between the body of the fridge and the door seal and shut the door. If you can slide the business card around with very little or no resistance at all then you do need a new door seal. Do this in different places around the door to see if there are cold air leaks. If you do truly need a new door seal Modern Parts in Parma Ohio can most likely have one made for you like they had one made for my 1957 GE fridge if you are interested in contacting Modern Parts let me know and I can give you their phone #

              • Nicole says

                Hi, Patrick.
                I bought an an aqua blue GE fridge on craigs list and it worked great until about three months ago. It still works, but I am constantly having to defrost the thing. I think it just needs new seals, but our local appliance men won’t even look at it because “there aren’t parts for that anymore”. One person told me that they’d charge me $400 just to come to my house, let alone any repair they might need to do. But every vintage fridge website I visit says the parts are out there, inexpensive, and repairs are simple. What’s the deal?
                Anyway, I live not too far from Parma, so was hoping to get that Modern Parts info from you. How long ago did they make yours? Was it very expensive?

              • Chad L. says

                Hi Patrick,

                Wondering if I could get the number for the spot where you got new seal for a 50s frig? I am desperately trying to keep my frig but the seal has gone awry and I can’t find anyone who can offer a solution for replacing this!
                Thank you so much,

    • Patrick Coffey says

      The only time vintage fridges are less efficient than modern ones is when you have a vintage fridge that has a fan to push the cold air around the food (Westinghouse introduced that in 1958 as the Cold Injector) or frost free models that use electric heaters to keep themselves frost free. The fan and defrost heaters in the early units are what make them less energy efficient and the fan also makes the fridges noisier and make the condenser coils get dusty quicker as well. Basically if you stick to a model with condenser coils on the back of the fridge the and that have the cooling coils in the ceiling of the fresh food compartment model prior to 1958) you will have a very quiet and economical fridge. Oh and btw I speak from the experience of having had a pink 1957 GE Fridge in my kitchen for over a year now

      • pam kueber says

        Thank you, Patrick. Now, can you see the post about the time capsule kitchen today? What year did we start to get Harvest Gold appliances?

      • ChrisH says

        What we need is hard data, not opinion and anecdotes.

        It will be difficult to compare apples to apples. Vintage ‘fridges are usually much smaller than modern models. So even if the old ‘fridge uses slightly less energy (which I suspect is not the case) it will still be less efficient in terms of energy used relative to amount of space being cooled.

        Then there is the no-defrost vs. timer defrost vs microchip controlled defrost.

        Then there is the fact that if you don’t defrost the old models in a timely manner, their efficiency goes down.

        Then there is the problem of location. Your kitchen may be 3 degrees cooler (or warmer) than mine. We can’t test a new ‘fridge in my kitchen vs a vintage model in your kitchen, or vice versa. Even at the same temp, your kitchen may provide better circulation around the ‘fridge than in my kitchen. Basically tests need to be conducted in the same spot – or conditions need to be uniform, as much as possible.

        We can’t really even use standard electrical calculations,such as Watts = amps x volts, because the ‘fridge has on/off cycles. How many times per hour does your vintage ‘fridge run, and for how long? How about a new ‘fridge.

        We can use a Kill-A-Watt meter, but we still have to have the same environmental conditions to test all ‘fridges.

        Then there are definitions – what’s vintage? what’s new? Does vintage include the ’70s? Does new include the ’90s?

        Then there is energy star vs “standard”. Why anyone would buy a new (manufactured this year) ‘fridge that was not energy star rated, I can’t imagine.

        I await Pam’s in depth study on the subject. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that any energy star rated ‘fridge built in 2008 or later is WAY more efficient -when tested under controlled conditions with verifiable numbers, comparing apples to apples – than anything made prior to 1992. But I could be wrong. Let’s see what Pam comes up with.

        One final thought – If you put a 1955 Chrome-O-Rama ‘fridge in your vintage kitchen, and it has a capacity of 9 cu. ft. then do you also have to count the energy consumption of the “extra” ‘fridge in the basement? Or do you get to pretend that you aren’t really running two (or even three) refrigerators because the vintage one doesn’t really hold enough to keep up with modern lifestyles?

          • ChrisH says

            It was my understanding that you were going to “chase the data”. But here is something to get you started –


            The 1950 ‘fridge is 9 cu ft and uses 360 kWh. That’s 40kWh for each cubic foot of refrigerated space.

            The 2000s ‘fridge is 20 cubic feet, and uses 420 kWh. That’s 21 kWh for each cu ft of refrigerated space. Plus the new one probably has automatic defrost. It’s twice as efficient as the 1950 model.

            • pam kueber says

              Thanks, I’ll take a look. Yes, I have this on my list, but my list is long, lord knows when I will get to is! Thanks!

            • pam kueber says

              Yikes! The bigger story from that link is refrigerator improvements notwithstanding, the average household today consumes 6 times more electricity than in the 50s! Fridges are the LEAST of our worries!

              • Jacquie Y says

                Amen Pam, I totally agree. If you really want the older model, you can find ways to cut back in other places on energy. I have a lovely 1962 aqua GE fridge with the freezer on the bottom. It has a fan and it defrosts…I don’t see any difference in my costs, in fact, it seems to be a little less, maybe because the other “newer” one I removed to put my GE in was a big double door model and consumed a lot even though it was supposed to be an energy conserve model. I also find my older appliances seem to have more insulation and the new ones, not so much. Hmmm….

  7. ChrisH says

    IMO the problem with modern ‘fridges isn’t their color (or lack of color) after all the overwhelming majority of vintage appliances were white (that’s why they got the name white goods). The problem is the angularity. A few bends and curves in standard production ‘fridges would be of more use to most of us doing a “retro” kitchen than high priced ‘fridges with color options.

    • Ann-Marie Meyers says

      No, the real problem with modern fridges is they don’t last! my 1962 GE is still humming away after 50 years. Can anyone with a unit less than 25 years old claim that?

        • Lisa says

          Um, no. No one with a 25yo or younger fridge can claim it has been working for 50 years!

          However, my very basic Kenmore fridge from1992 was still working just fine when we moved out of the house this fall. Never had an issue at all, though perhaps changing out the door seal would be a good idea. I don’t have such high hopes for my new Samsung. It has an electronic panel inside where you can set the temperature and such. I doubt that will last over 10-12 years. Automatic ice makers and water dispensers are also prone to failure.

  8. Laura E. says

    You could also get a Sub-Zero with a panel insert and paint the panel pink. I painted mine (in my main house–not the summer cottage with pink! Smeg!) green and then freehand painted an Arts and Crafts design on top.

    • pam kueber says

      Good one. Make that eight places, Laura. In addition, I *think* that you could insert a panel made of pink laminate. I need to check with Sub-Zero on that one — but I think their panels are basically similar to sheet laminate…

      • Laura E. says

        We bought our house with a Sub-Zero with a paneled door that matched the cabinet doors. Way too matchy for me, so I just removed it and slid a piece of luan (you know, that cheap, thin plywood) in instead. And then painted that. I thought about wallpapering it but I was worried that it wouldn’t hold up with fingerprints. I suppose I could have wallpapered the back of a piece of Plexiglass–hm. Maybe if/when I get sick of the design I painted on it!

        No reason you couldn’t put a piece of laminate in there either. Good idea!

  9. Zann G. says

    LOVE these; I am going to get either the Big Chill or the Elmira Northstar in Buttercup Yellow to match my stove…;-))) I can’t wait! Have to save a little more money first…

  10. TappanTrailerTami says

    Long post….Part 1

    Great list of refrigerators Pam! Even though I wanted white, I still lusted after a vintage look and adore both of the Big Chill refrigerators for their style. I have some tips for those who want to pursue # 6 (custom painting) on an existing fridge, and/or #6 on a new fridge.

    What stopped me on the Big Chill (or Northstar) was price and cubic feet. I wanted something a bit bigger and a whole lot less expensive. There are ways to “retro” a new refrigerator – painting a retro color is one way, suggestion # 6 from your post, and I think ultimately that option is quite a bit less expensive than buying a Big Chill or Northstar. I have a few more tips as well once you take your fridge in and have it painted the color of choice, or had the fortitude to paint it yourself.

    Ultimately, I opted for this white fridge from GE (25.9 cubic feet) with no external dispenser (has an icemaker inside though), and my favorite part, is the slightly rounded doors. These are perfect for putting a wood valance right above it (attached to the bottom edge of the over-the-fridge cabinet) that echoes the curvature of the doors. Valances were commonly used 40’s and 50’s kitchens – usually over the sink, but I will be putting one over the fridge. Best part again: a big whopping fridge (sorry Pam!) for 1/2 the cost of a Big Chill – about $1400 plus shipping.

    Here is the fridge I purchased:

    Here is sample of the valance to go over it:

    To further “retro” my fridge, I am replacing the black and brushed nickel GE logo badge with the red and chrome GE logo from their Cafe line of appliances, which only come in stainless steel (you can order the badges through parts)….if you click on the link below you can zoom on the badge to see it better.

  11. Rosemary says

    Newer fridges are way better for the environment but the retro new ones cost a fortune. So I have a white whirlpool and may be a pink bif Chill will fall in my lap one day.

      • Patrick Coffey says

        I am sorry but I can not understand how a modern all plastic fridge can be more environmentally friendly then a 50’s fridge of which 90% of its content is made up bio degradable metal especially because a vintage fridge will last the lifetime of anywhere from 3 to 4 of these so called better modern models we get today.

  12. says

    I have a Northstar vintage style fridge which I love – it actually makes me smile when i open it up. How many people can say that about a fridge? I got white (altho entertained getting a color) which totally compliments my vintage O’Keefe and Merritt vintage stove that has been reconditioned. Nothing better than some vintage love in the kitchen!

  13. Ann-Marie Meyers says

    I am thinking my poor beat-up Kenmore side-by-side in my Texas house wouldn’t look too bad done in RustOleum Warm Yellow Painter’s Touch. The white has got some scratches on it from too many moves and rough treatment by the kids when they were little.
    I’ll see if my sister wants to help me add a bit of early ’60’s fun to a 1990’s refrigerator.

  14. MrsPItcher says

    My house came with a 1949 Philco. Amazing luck! She works like a dream and really could use a new coat of paint. 😉

  15. hannah says

    When we bought the house we used the money refunded by the escrow process for a new fridge, and got a small apt sized second hand stove. The fridge is Frigidaire, (18.2 cf) and does have somewhat rounded edges on the door. The process to paint (read a blog a few months back by a gal that did it herself) is nothing I’m interested in doing, and Mr. Wonderful would probably pick apart the process to death…so not even going there with him! lol

    A little piece of me died inside when I was at the Catholic Charities and spied a vintage harvest gold fridge, with wood handles (forget the make) going for $50, with a ‘sold’ sign on it. Dated 7 weeks out (like they had to put off picking it up). There again Mr. Wonderful would have issues with the debate of cost to run. I’d REALLY like to get some data on what the difference really is, especially when you consider how well things were made back then and how they last.

    Side note: When Mom and Dad split in 1977, Mom got her own place and bought a Sears Kenmore apartment dryer (harvest gold!), which I got from her when she purchased a set. That thing just gave up the ghost about a year ago and ONLY due to a worn out belt which couldn’t be replaced due to the fact Kenmore no longer made that specific part. Believe me, I searched for something that would work.

    Great topic Pam, and lovely fridges!

    • Justin says

      Hannah: I have a 1963 Lady Kenmore dryer that I can still find the belts for. I’m sure you could find the belts for you 1977. If you still have the machine and want to still replace the belt I know of a couple places that probably would have it. One place is a local appliance parts place that I have gotten parts for my dryer and the matching washer. Also the other is a friend of mine who owns an applaince repair shop in the D.C. area. He works on the vintage machines as well and has a surplus of parts. He would definately have it.

  16. Daizy says

    In our experience painting works quite well. Hubby painted the dishwasher and a breadbox pink for me and it really made the kitchen. Dishwasher is easy – just remove the front panel, clean, spray, cure, etc until it’s ready to reinstall. Beautiful.
    Sadly the dishwasher broke and went away along with the rest of the kitchen. Still…the new dishwasher will probably be pink soon. If I get my way the fridge will be classic robin’s egg blue :)

  17. Cheryl Michael says

    Love the info. I am drooling over these pink fridges! Terribly poor so I appreciate the painting idea. I bought my last two fridges at a used appliance store. I think I might just get a “new” old one and paint it! Pam, your ideas always inspire and make me a little more happy with my 1949 house. :-)

  18. Justin says

    When remodeling our kitchen to a vintage kitchen we found a 1949 Hotpoint refrigerator. It has the dual doors so the freezer is a decent sized one. It was originally white, but we had a friend paint it for us. He paints single engine planes and cars for a living. When he does a job he is a perfectionist as well. He took out every little dent out of the fridge. It is now a beautiful pink. In addition to having it painted all we had to do was replace the seal and rewire it. This friend also painted the original Youngstown Kitchen hood pinkk. This hood was in the hosue when we bought it. It was dirty as can be, but we cleaned it up and had him paint it for us. I just wish the youngstown kitchen cabinets were in the house as well.

  19. Stacy says

    I posted a pretty sweet fridge the the forum earlier today, before I saw today’s post. It’s in the St. Louis forum, if anyone in the area is looking. Wish I could buy it, but I’m not ready to start my kitchen reno just yet.

  20. wendy says

    My post is long, but I think worthy info:

    I would have preferred turquoise appliances, but then fell in love with a pink fridge on ebay just because the design was so fabulous. Not too long after, a pink range fell into my lap, also from ebay. The prices were great, although shipping was….. *ouch*. Still worth it!

    NOTE for those wanting to buy a vintage fridge: Think long and hard about getting one that is not frost free. You will have to manually defrost it. I would prefer a frost free, but I just LOVE the look of my fridge, so defrosting is just an occasional inconvenience. Beauty can be painful :) I have a modern fridge in the basement that houses my “real” freezer, and only keep ice and a few other minor things in the vintage one.

    While some may lament the difficulty of fixing a vintage fridge when things go bad, it doesn’t have to be a problem. I found a fridge just like mine on Craigslist. It had been reposted 3 or 4 times, and I wrote the seller telling her that if she didn’t sell it, I would buy all of the parts before she sent it to get recycled. (yes…no landfill…they recycle as much of old fridges as they can…yay for Oregon!) She didn’t sell it, and I bought all of the “stuff” that she was willing to remove for $50 plus shipping! Shelves, little interior doors, ice cube trays, etc. My fridge was missing a rolling shelf, so it was great to get a replacement. The other parts I got are stashed for the future.

    Just this past weekend, I saw a fridge like mine advertised as part of an estate sale. I really want to get a backup compressor, so thought I would see what they were asking for the fridge and pay that price just to pull the compressor and any other useful parts. My mistake was thinking nobody would buy the fridge…argh….it was already sold when I got to the sale. ( FOR $65.00!!!!!)

    I mention this to point out that you can buy a vintage fridge and then keep your eye out for similar fridges with parts that may be needed in the future. It’s helpful if you can get an original (or copy of an original) repair manual too. Scour the internet and ebay. I found a service manual on ebay for my fridge, but it had already been sold. I’m contacting the buyer to beg them to copy it for me. Another unlikely place is Amazon. There are sellers that have old service manuals too.

    Regarding energy consumption: I consider the cost in energy, the environmental cost of sending yet another perfectly working appliance to the landfill, the cost to replace the appliance, and the esthetic joy I get from the appliance. So far, vintage wins handily. For those interested, here is an energy calculator:

    Keep in mind the calculator is on a government website, and there may be some “purchased results” as far as I’m concerned.

    Without further ado, here are links to my fabulous pink appliances. The photos are from the original ebay ads.

    Fridge exterior:
    Fridge interior:

    • pam kueber says

      I am going to REPEAT: If there is NO DEFROST cycle on a vintage fridge, I have been told that it may use even less electricity than fancy fridges today. We need someone to volunteer to put their old time no-defrost model on a meter!

      • Heidi Swank says

        We picked up a MIB Electra Frostaway on ebay. It’s a little unit that heats up a bit and quickens the pace of the defrosting. I usually do the defrosting when I’m going to be in the kitchen anyway, because I don’t want to leave the Frostaway unsupervised. It makes the defrosting quick and easy!

      • Jamie Farone says

        My 1947 GE is a manual defrost.. this refrigerator is about 11 cubic feet and weigh about a ton.. took 4 guys to get it off a truck and in the house.. It has never been refurbished and runs like a dream.. we actually tested ourselves to see if our electric bill would sky rocket or not. my husband was so affraid that our bill would double from this fridge and actually it ended up lowering our bill by 9.00! amazing!! ive spoken with appliance repairmen about the fridge and every single person had said that old refrigerators are more energy efficient than the ones that claim to be today. Ive had alot of these men tell me that the governement has somehow drummed it in peoples heads that newer appliances are energy savers when infact they really arent.. its like a gimmick or a schtick to get people to get out there and spend more money. And Actually from having 4 vintage appliances, I believe them, our gas and electric bills have significantly lowered. And they were built to last, now adays you have to replace your appliance every 5-10 years if youre lucky and they dont make parts anymore for anything older than 10 years old (this is big box name appliances) If kitchenaid would have continued to make parts for all their models, I would have still had my kick butt 1962 dishwasher that only needed a stinkin’ fill valve…If it didnt flood my kitchen twice a week.. I would have saved that baby.. because the frigidaire we had to replace it with isnt nearly as great as what we had… I actually cried when it was hauled away, it was by far the best dishwasher we ever had.

      • RetroCo says

        First, I wanted to relay that the electrician who works on my 1963 Frigidaire Flair range (and worked on them when they first came out) told me that a vintage refrigerator should use less electricity than a new one, for what it’s worth.

        Second, I wondered if anybody has found a good paint color to match actual vintage turquoise. I have long wanted to get a Big Chill or Northstar refrigerator, but their green and blue colors do not match anything I have that is actually vintage. I am not anxious to shell out $400 for a custom color to get a real vintage turquoise to match my Flair. Thanks!

  21. Heidi Swank says

    We love our 1950s GE combo refrigerator with lazy susan shelves. We took it to a hot rod shop and had it painted baby blue to match our kitchen chairs! It has a new compressor, so it is even rather energy efficient.

  22. Jamie Farone says

    this is all exciting.. I have an original 1947 general electric refrigerator that I painted the rustoleum 2x candy pink myself about a year ago.. works great!! alot of people thought I bought the fridge that way..and others couldnt believe a fridge from 1947 came in such a color. LOL. It worked out beautifully and If anyone would like to see pictures please let me kno. my complete candy/bubblegum pink, black and white kitchen is such a dream..

  23. Jeff says

    Just had to mention, I saw at an estate sale this past weekend here in Southfield, Michigan, in a basement there was a 1955 or 56 Hotpoint gigantic chest freezer that had the most amazing locking chrome handle with ‘Hotpoint’ script, chevron shaped “hood ornament” and when you opened it up, a built in light under the lid, and the entire inside was aqua!

    With white wire sliders exposing three levels of freezer storage- Oh, and the entire exterior was white with rounded ends like car fenders of the period.

    I loved this thing, and it was working, AND It was ONLY 25 bucks! But moving it would have been trauma- basement stairs, and lots of lugging. So the new owners will inherit a chest freezer, sadly.

    And did I mention it had an AQUA interior? LOL

  24. says

    I had a 1950s pink GE as well…. nicknamed “the pink beast”. I loved it but it was starting to need defrosting every few weeks, so I parted ways with it – found another loving owner who was going to put it in his retro themed basement. I hope it is happy wherever it is! Loved that thing.

    • Jackie says

      Abigail, did you try replacing the door seal when it started needing constant defrosting? We did that on our ’47 GE , it solved the problem and it only cost us around $50.

  25. says

    I love the retro-styled fridges but hate the over-the-top price. Yes, I know … I want the best of both worlds! And if my kitchen weren’t red, black, and white, I’d want a pink fridge to adorn it! As it is, however, methinks it might clash just a tad. :-)

  26. JKM says

    I’ve never painted an entire refrigerator – the thought’s a little daunting considering seals, gaskets, etc. – but I painted a Vent-a-Hood ages ago and the front of my old dishwasher once and they looked great. The hardest part with the dishwasher was figuring out which screws to remove that would allow the front panels to come off (it didn’t have panel inserts and the color wrapped the sides). I cleaned both really well (Vent-a-Hood was the hardest since it had been exposed to years of greasy exhaust) then sprayed each with appliance paint one thin layer at a time, allowing each to dry in-between. Everyone had told me that patience was a virtue when painting an appliance – one thin layer at a time – and they were right!

  27. says

    Wow .. this is uncanny. I was just looking on Craigslist and ran across a listing for a pink GE fridge in Des Moines, Iowa. Any Iowa readers want to go snatch it up?

  28. RosemaryMartin says

    I would love a pink fridge! Alas, I am but a mere renter at the present time, although I am renting a mid-century brick rancher. :)

    I’ve bookmarked this page in the hopes that one day I may own a house again and do with it what I please.

  29. gsciencechick says

    I lived in several rentals with non-frost free fridges, and never again! That is just one of the worst messy jobs along with manual clean ovens.

    Love, love, love, our Big Chill in Beach Blue. It makes me smile every day. The size works for just the two of us. Our former fridge was only 18 cu. ft, so 21 in the Big Chill does make a difference. We also got the icemaker for DH.

  30. Kathryn says

    I picked up my ’51 Frigidaire on CraigsList here in San Diego from an original owner last year for $65. My electricity bill went *down* about twenty bucks a month and I can only link it to my new-to-me appliance.

    I love the look, as I recently renovated my ’38 kitchen. I have found that I don’t miss the larger freezer like I thought I would (this one has the pull down freezer inside the fridge door).

    Here’s a hilarious You-Tube 50’s commercial of my fridge and “Billy Boy and Pops” buying it for his Mom:

    Of course, I had to build a wood ramp to get it up 2 steps into my kitchen–the mover said it weighed at least 500 lbs…

  31. Jackie says

    About 12 year ago I bought a 1947 GE refrigerator from the elderly original owner. She said it was one of the first ones off the assembly line after the war and that it had never had to be repaired since she had owned it. I have moved it all over the U.S and have never, ever had to have it repaired outside of a new door gasket. When we settle in Phoenix in July it will get it’s professional pink paint job and will have a place of honor in my 1963 ranch. I know it isn’t appropriate to the age of the house, but this fridge keeps things fresher and colder longer than any new fridge that I have EVER had.

  32. Kate says

    We’ve had a 1952 GE for the last 12 years. Runs fine, the only trouble now is that it needs a new door gasket, which we’ll be ordering from The seal is not tight around the freezer and we are getting condensation, which is causing rust.
    We spray painted it white, and later I used an enamel paint and super-smooth roller to touch up. I love the idea of taking it to a body shop, but my husband is not too keen on moving it again!
    I would also conjecture that the thickness of the door and walls make it quite efficient.

  33. Wendy says

    I saw a 1950s time capsule house where they used shelf liner to make a pink fridge. It was cute they used a pink gingham and they had the same liner on the middle part of the cabinets.

  34. Renee B says

    OH do I WISH my husband would haul our fridge outside for me so I could spray paint it pink! I have wanted a pink fridge for years!!!! LOVE IT!

  35. says

    My mom’s friend had her brand-new fridge delivered to an auto body shop to be painted to match her vintage kitchen. It was cheaper than the fancy retro-style fridges, and looked amazing!

      • Pinky says

        You are correct–they are awesome! I noticed just a few dollars difference in my electric bill from when I bought it and plugged it in. I only have to defrost it once or twice a year. I never used the defrost function on the frig…just unplugged it, moved the items into my other frig and left the door open with a cake pan positioned under the freezer rack. The ice took about 45 minutes to fall off. Sometimes I hastened the process with a hair dryer (I can be a bit impatient at times!).

  36. Jovon says

    I am looking for a mint green or fire engine red for my 1930’s Coldspot refrigerator and just cannot find it in Rustoleum….and I really use that brand because I hear nothing but greatness from people using it…does anyone suggest a different brand that would have those colors?

    Also, Rustoleum had a Sweet Pea pink which to me looks close to Mamie….here is the link….

  37. Mike says

    We have a great 50’s pink wall fridge that has finally stopped running. My wife and would love to have it repaired, but no one in the Boston area will touch it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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