Gorgeous gray and turquoise 1956 dream kitchen and four bathrooms — 10 photos

gray kitchen cabinetsBuckle up, readers. Here is one of the most beautiful, glowy, dreamy vintage kitchens yet, and the story is still unfolding. This 1956 kitchen — with top-of-the-line St. Charles steel cabinets, in a soft gray with aquamarine countertops — first appeared on our metal kitchen cabinet buy/sell Forum. Bonnie listed the cabinets for sale. She recently bought this house — a gorgeous c. 1900 Southern Victorian near Nashville — and she is going to create a 1900s-era kitchen for it. Within days of the listing, reader Pam snapped them up, with plans to put them into a house she recently purchased. Stunned by these beautiful photographs, I got permission to feature them from real estate agent Starling Davis and from Showcase Photographers. I also was connected to the original owner — Mrs. Starling Davis, mother of the real estate agent — who lived in this home for 50 years, from 1956 until a few years ago — and who, with her husband, had the kitchen designed and installed.

gray kitchen

Mrs. Davis told me that when her family bought the house, it was a shambles. They renovated the entire home, including putting these grey St. Charles cabinets, aqua countertops, and turquoise stove into the kitchen. She said that her husband is the one who knew about St. Charles. He asked to put these in. The wallpaper and flooring as shown, is original. Mrs. Davis says the gray has a “touch of pink” in it. The cabinets are in perfect shape, except for a small gash in one place.

gray and turquoise vintage kitchenThe side-by-side refrigerator, Mrs. Davis says, came later. She believes it was the first modern side-by-side available. Her husband bought it as a surprise — and he had it painted soft gray to match the cabinets before installing it.

vintage kitchenPlease, readers: No woe-is-me’s that Bonnie is not keeping the kitchen (I will expeditiously edit/delete such comments). I totally understand her desire to create a period-authentic 1900s kitchen. We are so happy she chose to list the cabinets on our Forum — and that an RR reader, Pam, snapped them up! Good retro karma! Thank you, Bonnie!

1956 breakfast roomAll the photos above are of the kitchen and the adjacent breakfast room. What else can I say? Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Now, the four stunning bathrooms also installed in 1956.

yellow and bone bathroomThis ivory-yellow bathroom, with its ivory colored fixtures, was Mrs. Davis’ bathroom. I marveled with her about how “glowy” this room was — she credits the wallpaper. Exquisite taste. This takes my breath away. I’ll even take it over Mamie pink. Gasp! Yes!

1956 bathroomAn angle on the vanity. Louver doors are good and righteous things. Mrs. Davis says, “We took good care of everything.” Well, yes, you did!

vintage bathroomBeige tile, Mrs. Davis says. Notice how they did the shower entry — they tiled up three tiles before mounting the shower door. A beautiful way to showcase beautiful tiel. Louver doors again on the vanity. Hexes on the floors, as in the ladie’s bath and the blue bath coming up. Mrs. Davis says the fixtures are Crane. In her bathroom, though, they are American-Standard.

blue bathroomBlue bathroom. There Is Nothing Wrong About Tiling Your Bathroom Countertop. Wallpaper = yes. Peek into the hall to see the louver closet doors. I am going to do a follow-up story on this room alone, there are numerous design secrets within that Mrs. Davis told me about.

blue bathroom Even though the foreground of this photo reads blue, this is a very soft green tile, Mrs. Davis says. With a pink sink (remember Nora’s time capsule pink and blue bathroom?) Metallic wallpaper…. towel rings with bows on top… a little tile-in nook shelf above the vanity… a door with applied trim…. and teensy mosaic tiles — on the floor. This is the most amazing house ever.

Thanks again to Mrs. Starling Davis for talking to me about this house… to realtor Starling Davis, to Dan Raper of Showcase Photographers for permission to feature the photos, and to reader Bonnie and Pam, for helping with this story. Guess what? More to come.

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Comments

  1. Zoe says

    I do struggle with these sorts of decisions — I’m sure the “final” house will be drop-dead gorgeous. In my own house, I couldn’t find anyone local who was willing to tile the counter to match the existing 4×4 wall tiles (very very pale beige; looks off-white until you put off-white next to it), and I couldn’t find tiles to match, either. So I went with marble — which would have been completely out of place in 1965 when the addition was added, but *not* completely out of place in 1940, when the original house was built. So I’m having to choose in my remodeling whether to go with the 1940s cottage-style roots of the original house, or the 1960s mid-century modest roots of the addition. It’s been a hard decision to make but I think I am going to go backwards in time on the kitchen and the “kids” bathroom, as well, rather than trying to shoe-horn in a 1960s kitchen and bathroom into the original 1940s footprint.

    Have to say, though, if my bathrooms were as perfect as the ones in this house, I would really struggle — just due to the environmental aspects of throwing away all of those pristine building materials. I try to save everything I can just so I don’t have to throw anything in a dump (paint is a wonderful thing!), so I guess if the majority of the fixtures etc. can be re-used, I might be able to do it with a clear conscience. But it would be darned hard!

  2. Retrosandie says

    The house is gorgeous and it will be interesting to see what Bonnie does with it. I hope we get to see all of the “after” photos!! :)

  3. Eileen says

    AMAZING kitchen!!! I love it top to bottom. What kind of linoleum floor is that?
    The bathrooms are just as exquisite! I will use as a guide for my new 1930’s cottage I just purchased.
    Keep up the good work Pam:)
    Thanks again!

    • pam kueber says

      The flooring is original to 1956. I did not ask about it specifically. Nothing today as strikingly similar, that I know of…

  4. A. W. Richards says

    It’s a shame modern linoleum doesn’t have that awesome atomic streakyness that the old asphalt-asbestos tile had. Armstrong VCT tile comes close, but it still doesn’t quite have the look. Glad to see the cabinetry is going to be saved though.

  5. Mara says

    I don’t blame her at all for wanting the right period style in her home. I’m glad that she saved the cabinets, though. It’s all beautiful–and so clean! Makes me feel guilty my house isn’t tidier. :)

  6. Brenda says

    As a designer, I applaud her for renovating her new house. As wonderful as all of these items are, they are probably as out of place in a 1900 house as brand new granite is in our beloved mid-century moderns. Thank you for recognizing their value to others and passing them along rather than sending to the landfill – they are wonderful items!

  7. Joe Felice says

    We did have appliances painted back in the ’50s & ’60s. In fact, Denver Buick had a big business doing that here in Colorado. They would pick up your appliance, take it apart, paint it just like a car (including the baking booth), put it back together and deliver it back to you. We knew lots of folks that had it done. And yes, you’re right, back then, we didn’t just throw things away simply because we didn’t like them any more. Since they were made in the god-ol’ U S of A to last, it was worth it to refinish & re-purpose them.

  8. Dennis says

    I love these pics, and the turquoise appliances! I have often thought
    how much I love some of the 50’s styles, and the colors – and the large ranges -

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