David creates a sunny red and white vintage kitchen for his 1930 Dutch colonial house

vintage-red-and-white-kitchenReader David’s 1930 Dutch colonial house — including his super cute vintage kitchen — have been a constant labor of love since he signed on the dotted line. It has taken him seven — yes, seven — years to get his picture perfect kitchen “just right”. All the details are perfect, indeed — from his vintage stove… to his red gingham curtains… to the black-and-white checkerboard floor… and more.


Hello, Pam and Kate:

I bought this house in 2004. The previous owner had lived here for only four years, but he told me that prior to that, there had been only one family who owned the house since it was built in 1930, through 2000. The house had been very neglected. There was water in the basement. There were old pitted aluminum storm windows. Many of the sash cords were cut or broken. Many window panes were cracked.

And there was this kitchen, but when I bought it there were newer appliances. I guess that the cabinets were installed sometime around 1955 or so (the metal cabinets in my kitchen are Geneva, and the name tag is still on them on the front of the sink cabinet), and the floor and countertops when I bought it were from 1955 also. There was a big hole in the cabinets where I eventually found a wall oven to fit. I am sure that in 1955, this kitchen was state-of-the-art. Slowly, over the next seven years, it became what you see in the photos.

1930 traditional style houseThe house is really mostly traditional, and when I bought the house I planned to redo the kitchen. But eventually I installed the floor, and then the countertops, and I saw that it was shaping up to be a retro kitchen. Later in 2004, I bought the 1952 O’Keefe & Merritt stove, and had it shipped from Burbank, California. At Sears, I bought the wall oven, which just by chance fit.  A few years later, I bought the retro style refrigerator (which looks old but has modern features). The refrigerator is Northstar; I bought it at an appliance store in Torrington, CT.  They told me that the actual workings inside are made by Maytag.  (I have no idea if that is true.) My only disappointment with the refrigerator is that the outside is plastic, rather than the metal the old time refrigerators were made from. I also added the black and white rubber tile floor and the white Formica countertops.

vintage-red-and-white-kitchen-curtainsI had the cafe curtains made, and bought the red rick-rack to be added along the leading edges and bottom.  The “topper” curtains, typical of the 1950s, I ordered online from Country Curtains – Gingham ruffled. And I picked up a few red accessories, but tried not to go overboard.

retro-pantryI built a pantry closet to the right of the refrigerator (the previous owner had a stackable washer and dryer there), so I will add a photo of the pantry also.

I know that almost everyone today wants granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, but I call my kitchen reverse snobbery, since the counter tops are Formica.  I like the fact that it does not look like every other kitchen across America.  Now that I know from your web site that the cabinets are “chic” again, I have no plans to change it.  I think it suits the house too.

Best regards,


retro-red-and-white-kitchenDavid, I love how you pulled this kitchen together — that you started just wanting something different and ended up with a vintage kitchen like this. That stove was definitely worth the trouble — what a gem. Your choice of curtains is spot on, and your controlled use of color is perfection. I’m envious of your swinging kitchen door — that oval window is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing your kitchen with us!


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  1. tammyCA says

    Just read TTT’s post…I’m always thinking about how very old kitchens were rooms off by themselves and now they are right there in your face with the open concept. I get the heebies-jeebies looking at magazines with redesigned homes that feel like one big warehouse and no walls and separation and the gawd-awful boxy high ceilings of hollow-ness…wasted space. Give me cozy and nooks and crannies and walls.

    • TappanTrailerTami says

      TammyCA (from TTT, Tami in CA also!) – totally agree with you. Gotta have my walls, and my mom is that way also, especially about kitchens being their own separate less open space. She is an excellent housekeeper, but there were days once in a great while, where dishes were in the sink, and she didn’t want anyone seeing it from the living room!

  2. Suzanne says

    Beautiful kitchen. Reminds me of my great-aunt’s. I always wanted a red & white kitchen. I love the curtains and the swinging door. You did a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing with us.

    I wonder if my hubby would flip if I asked him to put a round window in my kitchen pocket door?

  3. Susan says

    David, I love your pantry! It looks just like mine from my 1952 house, with shelves just like yours. The previous homeowners even installed a spice rack on the back of the door just like yours, and I keep my collection of tea in it. When I saw your photograph for a split second I thought I was looking at my own house 🙂

  4. Sherree says

    I absolutely love it 🙂
    I also have a black and white kitchen floor that never looks clean 🙁
    The white shows EVERYTHING and the black shows every bit of lint from the far corners of the universe.
    I dream of the day when I can have a new (old) kitchen in my 1951 ranch.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely home.

  5. Trip H says

    Love the kitchen and the house! I know what you mean taking so long I am going on 8 years dealing with my kitchen and by Jan. 1 I will have finally completed it!

  6. cindy says

    Thank you for sharing your kitchen and home with us.
    It’s so fresh and inviting. I’m a fan of your checkered floor. We had one like it, but my husband took it 2 steps further. On the outer perimeter, he outlined the floor in black, and in the middle, he placed little white tiles in the shape of diamonds. I loved that kichen.
    Thank you again for sharing.


    • says

      Mark E:
      Sorry for the lateness of reply; I haven’t been on here for a while. I have every catalog of Sears homes, and I cannot find this one, so I am saying that it is not a Sears home. There are some similar, but they are usually a bit smaller in size. In this town where I live there is a Sears house called the “Glen Falls” also built in 1930. I went to look at it when it was for sale, but it was in far worse condition than mine was when I bought it.

  7. Trista says

    Pictures came up in search results for red & white checkered kitchen curtains. Omg. This is my dream kitchen! I’m so jealous! But seriously you rock.

  8. Marilyn says

    I am just now seeing your kitchen remodel…it is beautiful…looks similar to a home I had in Tennessee, several years ago…similar kitchen lay out…to tried to preserve the beauty of the era…..thank you for sharing……

  9. margaret donohue says

    OK I am late joining on this thread but this kitchen totally rocks it. I have a red, white, cherries, knotty pine 60’s kitchen. When you painted the copper tiles red, did you prime first? You must be so proud of your work…as you should be.

  10. Penny says

    I know exactly what David is talking about–the only selection you have for today’s kitchens are: stainless steel appliances, granite or marble counter tops and cheap wood cabinets from Lowe’s or Home Depot, all of which I am not a fan of! Also, what’s up with maroon or sage green kitchen’s? I just don’t get it….

  11. carol says

    I agree with David about the trendy kitchens. They are now starting to look dated to my eye. I would be happy if I never saw “brownish/gold” granite again, anywhere. Formica is much nicer to work on. Warmer touch and no clanking when you set something down on the counter. The only stone I would consider is white marble, and only because it is tried and true and never goes out of style. My early 80’s kitchen will be renovated this summer. Marble look formica, white tile backsplash and tile on the dead end galley wall. Solid wood, ugly cabinets, painted with new hardware. Soffits at the top with crown moulding. Built in spice rack on galley wall with proper doors and trim. For continuity, I have to put hardwood in the kitchen. It will look like a 20’s-40’s kitchen when I’m done. I need small appliances, so I think I will get the GE retro stove and dishwasher and maybe fridge in classic white. This won’t be as spiffy as David’s kitchen, but it is viewed from 3 other rooms. I’m thinking of painting the stove fan/hood jadite green. It can’t be seen from the other rooms! Gotta have something colorful built in.

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