1958 Sears kitchen cabinets and more — 32 page catalog

Sears-1958-Kitchen-Book-coverOne of our resolutions for 2013 here on Retro Renovation is to start featuring more fabulous vintage home improvement catalogs — featuring kitchens, bathrooms, decorating, light fixtures, house plans — the list goes on. What better place to start this new series than with a fantastic 1958 kitchen catalog from Sears — with 32 pages of great information and style — oh if only we could still order from this catalog. The optimistic color combinations and fun designs will have you wishing that one of these kitchens could magically appear in your own home.

So many of the kitchen plans featured in this catalog have such a cheery feeling to them. The cover image shown above illustrates how happy the inhabitants of the house are with their Sears kitchen — and why wouldn’t they be? A lovely yellow cast iron sink surrounded by a charming dotted laminate counter — greenery sprinkled around the kitchen — and of course that comfortable custom yellow booth seating that they are so enjoying.

sears-1958-mint-and-yellow-kitchen-before-and-after

Check out this lovely yellow and mint green duo. The before and after illustrations are fun to see. The storage space that was added alone — what a life saver. The counter top and flooring are a great pair — and I like how they matched the refrigerator to the cabinets and the stove and oven with the tile backsplash. My only question — what happened to the cat?
retro birch kitchen 1950s

The natural birch kitchen above is warm and inviting. It even has a dish washer. My favorite part — that linoleum floor — I bet that wouldn’t show any fur balls and the inlaid border makes it feel special.

retro picture frame kitchen 1950s

Here’s another vibrant kitchen — with a fun floor pattern that coordinates with the wallpapered soffits — yum. I’m not sure where they stashed the fridge in this kitchen, but the rounded knick knack shelving around the windows and at the end of the cabinets makes me cease to care. This would be such a great kitchen for entertaining — with the open plan and the cook top in the middle of the room, it would be so easy to simultaneously cook and socialize with party guests.

Sears1958-attractive-fir-kitchenAnother great layout for entertaining is this “attractive fir kitchen” with breakfast bar. Can you just imagine having your morning coffee and cereal at the breakfast bar, while gazing out the strategically placed window as the morning light filters in? Pure bliss.

Sears1958-Finished-birch-kitchen-retro

Or how about this sunny space — with its warm wood and lemon yellow color scheme. The argyle-esque wallpaper on the soffit coordinates so well with the window treatments and the upholstery on the stool. The interior designers and graphic designers sure were able to have a lot of fun in 1950s kitchens — so many of the kitchens in this catalog give us a primer on how to combine real pattern and real color beautifully.

white-steel-kitchen-sears

Here’s a classic white and red kitchen to consider — with the addition of several other colors — blue, green, and yellow. There is a lot of color in this space, but it all works together so well — which just goes to show you how versatile white kitchen cabinets can be. I for one, would have never thought to put a deep blue floor in my kitchen — but in this case it really does make the room.

sears-1958-pink-steel-kitchen

Of course the colorful steel kitchen above is my favorite of the bunch — hey, it’s pink –what did you expect? But for those who prefer mint or yellow, Sears has you covered. What I wouldn’t give for pink cabinets with matching pink appliances. The dark, monochromatic patterned linoleum floor and the cracked ice laminate counter top edged with metal really set off the light rosy pink. Just heavenly.

vintage-green-banquette

Here’s a yummy kelley green booth with matching cracked ice, steel rimmed laminate table top — perfectly nestled under the windowsill full of lush, green plants. The fern printed curtains add to the greenery theme.

retro laminate counter top options

This Sears kitchen catalog even has illustrations to help you choose the perfect laminate counter top for you kitchen — if only we had these bright and colorful options today instead of the sea of greige “Graveyard of the Atlantic” colors that currently fill the market. One can dream, right?

retro-pastel-sinks-with-hudee-ringsHeck, you could even get a matching cast iron sink (I’ll take pink, please) complete with hudee ring.

If you’d like to ogle all 32 pages of this vintage Sears kitchen catalog, check out the gallery below — it contains a wealth of information on cabinet sizes and kitchen layouts and is chock-a-block with great vintage illustrations — which we’ve inserted at even larger sizes. Which kitchen would you choose?

Thanks to the MBJ Collection / archive.org for featuring this catalog via Creative Commons license.

SeeAllOurVintageCatalogsSMALLTips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

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Comments

  1. Chris says

    What fun! Thank you Pam and Kate for your resolution to show more catalog stuff! I think the primary resource material is not only fantastically fun, but is also incredibly helpful. There’s just something about immersing yourself in a photo or illustration of a complete room. I LOVE it!

  2. says

    Oh, Kate, what a treat! This is a great catalog. It is funny; the “Picture Frame” kitchen has a layout very similar to my grandparents’ kitchen, though their cabinets are (very nice solid) wood, not steel; that aside, it’s very much alike, down to the shelves at the end of the countertop, the perfect place to hid glass jars full of treats for the grandkids. ;)

    What a fun post—thank you!

  3. Kelly Wittenauer says

    Love these classic catalogs! Thanks for posting this & hope that resolution for more keeps these coming.

  4. Robin, NV says

    This is very timely considering I’m mulling over my own kitchen design. I have the birch cabinets and have been trying to figure out what color scheme and decorative elements I want. I was leaning toward blue for the countertops and flooring but I’m thinking of maybe going with yellow. I have a galley style kitchen and I think the yellow would really brighten it up. I’d love to go with an argyle or plaid wallpaper on the soffits and subway tile for the backsplash. Looking at the pictures in the catalog, I guess I was right on track!

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. says

    That is really cool! It’s hard to pick a favorite but I really love the white cabinets with deep blue floor. I also love that green booth. How awesome would that be?

  6. says

    Great stuff. My Dad worked for Sears as a Department and Assistant Store manager in the late 50’s thru the end of the 60’s. Still have so much Sears stuff from that era around my folks house.

  7. Mark says

    I have a deep blue floor with gold and white accents for my kitchen floor. Armstrong VCT.
    Everyone thought I was crazy, and I am, but it works.
    White cabinets, butter yellow and black tile counter tops.
    It works, somehow.

  8. TappanTrailerTami says

    These are all great, but my special observation is:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. The second image with the “before” and “after” really cracks me up…..they were encouraging updating your outdated 1920’s/30’s kitchen with a new 1958 kitchen. Not a lot different than the before/after of today’s times showing a 1958 kitchen “needing” updating to 2012 styles, granite, stainless etc.

    Great fun to look through these!

    • pam kueber says

      I agree EXCEPT that the old old “before” kitchens really did not have “modern convenience.” The 1958 kitchens did! But, yes, the mass marketer’s goal in 1958 — as today — was to dissatisfy the Mrs. (usually) with “the old” and entice her to desire “the new”.

        • Ben says

          I have an 1840s Greek Revival which was badly gutted by the previous owner. I agonized over it for a long time as the kitchen was gutted to bare “studs” (it’s post and beam so “studs” are irregularly spaced boards to hold the walls together, along with the posts themselves). Should I build a modern kitchen in the space like the previous owner intended? Should I go with a “proper” Victorian replica kitchen?
          I like to cook so I wanted modern convenience, and I like the MCM aesthetics, so I built the kitchen to look like it was done in the late 40s “on a budget” so older items could remain (like a hoosier cabinet). I will probably do the same when I remodel the (badly modernized) bathroom and create an upstairs bath; I’ll make one MCM and the other more Art Deco.
          I’d rather make it look like the house was lovingly modernized when the original fixtures were used up than try to turn it into the modern house it never was or wanted to be. But I still agonize over it a lot.

          • pam kueber says

            I think your kitchen — and your approach — sounds terrific. The thing about kitchens from the 40s on is that they are “modern” in the sense that the function they deliver is a serious step up over the past, but still consistent with the function delivered by new kitchens today. We are going to email you to see if we can feature your kitchen in a story. Thanks!

    • trish f. says

      My design concept for our 1958 side-split is to keep the fixtures and flooring 1950’s, but “update” the furnishings to 1970’s Sears-catalogue colonial, with the bedrooms just hinting at Memphis modern, 90’s grunge, and vintage 80’s Laura Ashley for my daughter’s room. I don’t have the self-discipline to stick to one era only, but I have strong preferences on furniture / art placement, lighting, and colours that tie everything together more or less.

  9. says

    These are so cool to look at. We found a pair of Sunset kitchen books from the 60’s and 70’s recently, which have been similarly great. What’s tickled us most is seeing design features that are current today but that we didn’t previously associate with the time periods (mismatched cabinets, open shelving, sleek cabinet faces).

  10. Lauryn says

    Pam & Kate, our public library has a HUGE hardcover 1951 “Sherwin Williams Paint & Color Style Guide” that I would love to somehow share with you. I had it for a few weeks this past summer and took photos of each and every page (100+) with a small point-and-shoot camera, but I was only able to get mediocre shots. If you can give me some tips on how to reproduce these for RR, I can try and take it out again (it’s not in active circulation … a friend of mine was able to get it for me). Or I can try photographing them again, as I recently got a much better camera. Or I can send you samples of the photos I DO have and you can tell me if they would be of any use to you. It’s FABULOUS … so many of examples of each and every room in the house, plus exterior shots as well. Let me know!

    • Kate says

      That sounds awesome Lauryn — is it huge because of the page count or the size? Scanning on a flatbed scanner is the best way to make digital files of old documents, but if it is oversize it may be hard to do — plus 100 pages is a lot!

      • Lauryn says

        Is a flatbed scanner different from a flatbed Ford? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

        Anyway, the book is quite large, not just in pages … think a super-sized coffee table book. Would you like me to email you one or two of the photos I already took so you see if they might work? I’m happy to do so!

  11. Lauryn says

    Oh, and of course, thank you for sharing THIS particularly wonderful catalogue!! The more that’s out there, the better … when we did our kitchen, I spent countless hours pouring over online versions of the old ads for ideas and it was immensely helpful.

  12. hannah says

    Can you imagine going from an aging 30’s kitchen to the new style of 1958? Can you imagine how stoked all the housewives were not only at the conveniences, but the STORAGE! I can almost hear someone’s Mom saying, “Buy honey, you’ll never fill all that space up…” Ummm, watch me! lol

    Really great blog update. Love looking at this sort of stuff.

  13. says

    I believe the ones in my house were originally that buttery yellow color. They’ve been painted and repainted so many times in the past 50 years that stripping them down to refinish them has been more of an archaeological project than a home improvement one. Still, after getting a few of them stripped down to their steel bases it’s nice to know that the yellow was in fact the original color… Makes sense given the matching yellow cracked ice counters and the yellow sink.

  14. Alice Jacobs says

    We just purchased crosley cabinets (still need refinished) and a crosley fridge. This is just what I’m looking for when choosing the colors.
    I’m thinking the mint green and red combination… or slate blue and red.. or green and okay, I’m still undecided.

  15. Peggy says

    Sigh. Wonderful. Glad you will be featuring more catalogs. They make me smile!! I have been acquiring lots of old sewing and crochet magazines and patterns from the 40’s and 50’s. They are so fantastic!!

  16. says

    such inspiration to be had from these catalog features. thanks so much for searching out & sharing them with us. i love seeing how the designers coordinated all those fantastic colors & patterns {not an easy feat}!

  17. tammyCA says

    I think I like the “picture frame” kitchen the most…the layout, big window, scallops, and rounded end cap…but, I sure wish we had these choices so easily…when did “cheerful” go out of style? I swore off watching HGTV because of all the dull, flat colors, industrial style (blech) but was sick yesterday & so watched some of the shows. Wouldn’t you know some hipster couple looked down their noses at a vintage pink/black tiled bathroom & other vintage things! Naturally, same old, same old -they all say they want granite, ss appliances, mile high vertical ceilings…the only way I like high ceilings is if they are angled/sloped, with wood posts/beams or paneled…I could never live in the narrow vertical plain high ceilings of newer homes. Why do people nowadays want to live in something that looks like a clinical, harsh laboratory?

  18. RangerSmith says

    These are so cool! A few years ago I had Marmoleum sheet linoleum installed and now I really wich I’d had an inlaid boarder included like the Natural Birch Kitchen. Oh well, these are really great. Thanks for sharing. This is a great resource.

  19. Heidi Swank says

    We are just finishing up kitchen plans and were unsure if we could pair a square tile backsplash with laminate counter that goes up the wall a bit. But there it is in the first picture! And it looks great!

    Thanks Pam! One problem solved!

  20. Joe Felice says

    Was this the first era of home kitchen renovations? Lots of beautiful colors! And I think this was the first appearance for peninsulas and breakfast bars.

  21. Janice says

    I’m about to retro renovate our master bath so am looking forward to a post like this for bathrooms. I think I have a color inspiration, but maybe I’ll see something I like better. When I first bought our 1954 ranch five years ago, I purchased a 1950’s’ Better Homes and Garden Home Decorating book and it’s been immensely helpful in selectign colors and looking for the right home furnishings. Of course, my own kitchen renovation was all Pam Kitchen inspired!

  22. Cyndi says

    I just found your website today and I am besides myself laughing at how ironic all you are showing in the pictures is exactly what we are still living with having acquired when purchasing our home completed in 1963! We LOVE this house and all of it’s retro, mint condition features; have all the original sinks, tubs, cabinets, etc. Bathrooms are baby blue/pink and yellow in “mint condition”; with the exception of the yellow bathroom shower floor. Custom made laminate cabinet in bathroom is similiar to the one shown of blush pink with light grey on a white background.Our built in bar in the Basement has the yellow laminate type shown above with the metal rim along with the black vinyl chairs and front! Sadly, we are in the process of renovating part of the Kitchen as the countertop needs replacing and we were lucky to find, after much research, a local guy who is making the additional birch cabinets to match the existing ones we have which are “still in mint condition” (mind you, with 2 1/2 inch round silver knobs-found them too!!!). I would love to post pix of the rooms if you are interested. Just tore down the gold velour chandeliar wallpaper in the Diningroom the other day~it was very heavy vinyl and came off like “butter in sheets”! Our renovation is to keep the retro feel and character of this 50 year old ranch; but update mildly. SO HAPPY I found this site~my husband’s gonna flip when he sees in the pix you posted all that we have. Thanks for this great site!!!

    • Cyndi says

      Forgot to mention the laminated white and gold walls in the downstairs bathroom!!! Look like they were hung yesterday~my friends LOVE this house for his character…it goes to show you, they don’t make things the way they used…they last forever from back them~PRICELESS!!!! :0)

    • Michele DeGroat says

      Welcome Cindi – I found this website awhile ago and also flipped when I found out that our 1962 frozen in place (one previous owner) custom built house, stuck in the era, had appeal to more people than just me! I live on Long Island, NY and know of no one who is into the retro look around here. I have some beautiful pictures but need to figure out how to upload or post them. When I saw Pam’s illustration of the American Standard console sink circa 1962 I could not believe my eyes. Mine is “Ming” Green. I have a beautiful Sherwin Williams paint catalog showing prospective interiors with their paints circa 1959 (?). Would send it along to Pam – somebody please tell me how. I love this site. Seems only the mid-westerners get this trend.

  23. Scott says

    Wow, how clever how they notched out a section of the cabinets for the stools in the “Attractive Fir” and “White Steel” designs!

    Love that!

  24. Elizabeth Miller says

    Wow thanks for posting this, missed it the first time somehow. Was great seeing an actual catalog of actual kitchens from the same year my house was built. Seems like my kitchen may have originally been very similar to the natural birch style. Still have the cabinets, but while undoing some re-dos we have found evidence of a similar green paint. Great inspiration!

  25. Susan Benedict Obeng says

    Pam and Kate,

    I am absolutely enchanted with this catalog. I was born in 1958, which makes it that much more special to me. So many wonderful ideas and color, color, color! Thanks for everything you do on this coolest of websites!!

  26. Scott says

    LOL, two friends of mine and I were just watching a season 1 episode of Hazel this past Friday night and trying to figure out what that was called. The one in the Baxter’s kitchen was yellow rubber.

    Thanks Pam, there’s one more thing to list for the dream kitchen! :-)

  27. dann S. says

    hi my kitchen is from apx. 1958 or 9 it has lite green hot point oven and cooktop, electric well having the electrical in the home updated the handle on the oven got broken, any pointeers on replacement handle? we love this kitchenon we are keeping it!
    Thank You,
    Dann S.

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