Custom green 1964 St. Charles kitchen

Look at this lovely St. Charles kitchen that appeared this week on our buy/sell Forum focused on vintage kitchen cabinets.  I love the color — the new owner of this vintage house says that he is told it was a custom color chosen for the cabinets, which were installed in 1964.

The green in actuality reads like Sherwin-Williams Ryegrass, the seller says. Interestingly, this color looks like it might be similar to the lovely Benjamin Moore Rosemary Sprig I showed earlier this week. As you can see, I’m into my greens these days.

St. Charles is the best vintage kitchen around — these guys are HEAVY. In this design, I also love the kitchen table and how it swoops out from the compact and super-efficient u-shaped kitchen… The hanging wall cabinets are terrific… I love the simple off-white laminate countertops with oak (?) trim… and the wallpaper is delicious.

Note how the washer and dryer are right there in the kitchen — this was something that kitchen designers in the 1950s and early 1960s really pushed as a labor-saving design for mom.

And, it’s nice to see hard-to-find cabinets — like the pantries. In emails, the seller provided this additional information:

The house was built in 1949. The kitchen was remodeled in 1964 according to the sellers.  There are two refrigerators and a laundry chute. Today the architect told me the stove hood and vent system are equally “vintage” and were custom designed to fit with the cabinets. He said the vent casing is great and would be a great part of any vintage kitchen design. He also said the color is a custom color and the pulls are not standard St. Charles pulls.

He noted the feet on the table legs are clear plastic – custom. The island upper cabinets have electrical built in for under counter lighting.  The wiring travels through the ceiling mount posts.

The home is in Chicago’s northern suburbs near the lakefront. The architect was a former president of the Illinois chapter of the American institute of architects.

green st charles kitchenThe kitchen is not “cheap”– it’s listed for $5,000. In recent discussions over on the Forum, we heard that a reader had been quoted about $800 for a NEW St. Charles base cabinet. Buying vintage can be a real hassle — you need to fit someone else’s kitchen into yours… you need to go pick it up, pack it up, store it… if the original finish is not in good shape, or the color not to your liking, it will likely be expensive to repaint and golly gee, those original finishes are hard to beat. But if you can find a set that works for you — I think they are a tremendous value.

Interested? The cabinets are for sale in Chicago — see the link to our Forum listing here.

Thanks to the seller for providing me with these additional photos to feature. Good luck finding a new home for this luscious kitchen.

All material as published on Retro Renovation is copyrighted.
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  1. John aka AtomicHipster says

    Gorgeous kitchen and cabinets, everything works so well together. Even the floor matches the color of the cabinets. The seller seems aware of how special these cabinets are!!i know this is a silly questions with no answer but…… Why is he having them removed!!!

    John aka AtomicHipster

  2. DanCF says

    Wow! What an awesome kitchen. Sadly, my house was built in 1820, so this really wouldnot “fit”. But it makes me want to buy a mid-century house just to have this kitchen!

  3. David Anderson says


    The entire home is being remodeled and we considered removing, refinishing, and reinstalling the cabinets but it is difficult to blend the vintage and the contemporary – it really is a contemporary designed house. When the house was built (1949) it was a “zen” design and many of the original furnishings were from Japan. The architect followed Frank Lloyd Wright closely and you can see that in the off-set table and other places in the house. For example, there is a sun room off the kitchen that is very similar to that table. While the entire house is based on very square, parallel lines, none of the sun room’s 4 walls are parallel to each other.


  4. Lynne says

    I agree, why would you ever want to remove them?? I am only 2.5 hours south of Chicago. If only I had a big enough kitchen to put them in.

  5. jay says

    I luv green! The only thing I would do is remove the floating cabinets to open the room and let all that light in. I would not mind seeing the washer/dryer. i look at mine everyday and my kitchen is a fraction of this size. Would love to see the rest of this house.

  6. amy pie says

    Love this kitchen! The idea of the washer & dryer in the kitchen makes sense, my grandmother had her washer in the kitchen (& so did my mom when we were growing up – there was no other space for it!) it made it very convenient since women used to spend a good deal of their day in the kitchen. You could probably install louvered doors painted to match the cabinets to camouflage them if you didn’t want to look at them when not in use. I saw an episode of House Hunters (sigh) recently where the house hunter’s mother was appalled that one of the houses had the washer/dryer in the kitchen and wondered if that was even sanitary; she seemed to be really grossed out by it and I was baffled by her reaction.

  7. says

    OMG! My dream kitchen cabinet in my favorite color (I have never met a shade of green I did not like). If only I lived anywhere near Chicago (I am in Southern California), I would snatch those babies up in a heartbeat and design my kitchen around them. They are beautiful. I can’t believe anyone is getting rid of them and $5K is not an obscene price given the quotes I have been getting for stock cabinets. Sigh!

  8. Lynn-O-Matic says

    Those floating cabinets look like they already let in tons of light while providing lots of storage. This is a well-designed kitchen in my book.

  9. Chris says

    Amy Pie — you made me laugh…

    The people on House Hunters consistently baffle me!

    Our neighbors were on an episode of For Rent — they said the filming and editing process is excruciating and long.

    I try to comfort myself by thinking that everyone must surely say hundreds of sensible comments…. but the t.v. folks edit them out and air only the comments that make me confused! 🙂

    This is a really neat kitchen!

  10. Yellowkat says

    I love this beautiful kitchen and I was ready to travel and pick them up but the color is all wrong for our house. I am so sad because I couldn’t wait to bring them home. On my screen they appear to be a yellow green but I went to Sherwin Williams and looked at the sample from Benjamin Moore as well and it’s nothing like it appears. So sad but it sure is a lesson to really look before you leap. Thank you so much Pam for featuring this lovely set.

  11. says

    I LOVE the color & the cabinets! The hanging/floating cabinets are AMAZING. These things are built like nothing else, I have the same set in a different color. They are so heavy & they have so many modern accessories. Although I favor the kitchen exactly how it is now, in the right setting these cabinets would look very modern & “designer magazine worthy”. Don’t get me wrong though, I think they are magazine worthy just like they are. The person who acquires these is going to be one LUCKY gal/dude. BEAUTIFUL!

  12. Lynn Valentino says

    I am considering purchasing an alcoa home. the original color of the cabnets are yellow. I actually love it. However over time the cabnets have faded in places. What type of paint do you use? Is the end result original looking? the kitchen has illuminated pannels above the cabnets. What options are available to update these? Other than the kitchen are there specific screen’s for the sliders? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Lynn

  13. says

    I love this kitchen! How amazing! We are in the process of putting a kitchen into our 1965 ranch that was kitchenless when we bought it. We are trying to be mindful of creating a kitchen that pays homage to the history of the house and the time period, but works with our needs. Posts like this help so much! Thank you!

  14. Elizabeth Lewis says

    I have a 1965 St. Charles yellow kitchen that has a couple of problems and I would like to know if anyone has new cabinet doors in that color — also if anyone know how to fix a drawer that lost one of the wheels it rolled on.

    Also — the pulls in this photo look exactly like mine, which have never been changed since 1965.

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