Brady Bunch “bittersweet” orange kitchen counter tops — from Pionite

bittersweet colorWhen reader Ann told me she had used Pionite laminate in Primary Yellow for her 1965 kitchen Retro Renovation, I jumped on over to Pionite to look at the chip. And golly, Ms. Molly, wouldn’t you know it, but sitting right there in the same row of color chips was: Bittersweet. I didn’t know that any laminate maker still produced Bittersweet.


stangl bittersweet

photo courtesy dixie-too on ebay

I think that Bittersweet is a super classic 1960s and 1970s color. I first learned about it, because we collect Stangl pottery, and one of their patterns is “Bittersweet”. It’s a color that endured many years — more than I guess I knew, as here it is again (or still?) today.

I tend to believe that the kitchen counter tops in the Brady Bunch kitchen were exactly this shade of orange. Here’s short clip from CBS that shows Mike Brady struggling to do women’s work, ugh, in the Brady kitchen:

bittersweet colorReaders, what do you think? Are Bittersweet and Brady Bunch orange one in the same?

Anyway, this Pionite palette of solid colors is pretty darn nice. There are two pages of color options — with lots of off-whites, which are always classic, and with many true retro colors — French blue, Boxwood, Surfin’ USA, Burgundy, Royal Burgundy — and a nice Primary Red.

Orange is my favorite color. It was the first Retro Renovation Color of the Year, in 2011.

I also loved the Brady Bunch, of course. Looks like you can see lots of, or maybe all of, the episodes here.

Oh. Yes. This blog is about decorating. Want your own Brady Bunch orange countertops? Get them, along with other retro solid colors, here: Pionite solid laminate colors — 2 pages


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  1. Dawn says

    I have been obsessed with the Brady Bunch house my entire life. I would sooooo love to see an article dedicated to the home and architecture.

    There are a few articles out there on it of course…That speak about the original house vs the stage house. But nothing in depth that I could find recently. Did find the blue prints on line though. In case I ever win the lottery and can build my own Brady abode!

    But to me, that house was just the epitome of mid 60’s coolness.

    • Robin, NV says

      The blog, Hooked on Houses, doesn’t seem to have much for the Brady Bunch, which totally surprises me. Check out the site here:
      Warning! You could get sucked into this blog for hours. The photos of Mary Richard’s apartment – sigh.

      I too loved the Brady house. I thought the living room was so sophisticated with the cool staircase, the colored panels, and that Chinese horse.

      Yep Kate, I think you may be right, Bittersweet could be the color from the Brady’s kitchen. Also – Pionite and Nevamar are the two best companies I’ve found for basic solids. I’m putting Nevamar California in my kitchen. The scans they have on their website don’t show the true color, it’s more of a buttery yellow. I’d suggest ordering Bittersweet to see exactly what it looks like. Love those dishes too. I have Fiestaware in Paprika, which is very close to Bittersweet.

        • Janice says

          Funny that you should mention Bewitched…I had major surgery last year and while recovering I spent more hours than I care to admit watching old reruns of Bewitched just to see Samantha’s clothes and the house decor. I was constantly scanning the set for cool features. Samantha had an awesome kitchen!

      • Jay says

        Robin, you got that right. Fun way to while away the hours on a rainy day. There is a cable TV channel out of Allentown, PA that shows all old shows. You can catch a slew of historical 50s – 70s clothing, decorating, appliances and architecture ala I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Thank goodness for color TV or no one would never know the Brady Bunch orange counters.

  2. Kate says

    I love the Brady Bunch! I watched it growing up.

    This past weekend, I went to my nephew’s 7th birthday party and made a reference to the Marsha Brady football/nose incident during a game of catch and to my delight and surprise, my nephew knew what I was talking about because watches the Brady Bunch too!

    It is a timeless show! (and I too love orange!)

  3. Karen S says

    I painted my hall bathroom an orange that looks just like that paint chip. I think the color was called ‘orange crush’ or ‘orange cream’. I love it-it makes the bathroom very cheerful.

  4. Karen S says

    PS Last year I saw a real estate listing for a house in my old neighborhood (cookie cutter ranches built in the 60’s) and the kitchen had the same Brady Bunch orange countertops. Lovely!

  5. says

    It pains me when, upon entering my house, the first thing most people (read, ‘boring people’) do is look at my ‘Brady kitschen’ and say, “Bet those counters are the first thing you’ll be tearing out.” Uhhh, NO! It’s the LAST thing I’d ever think of tearing out!! They’re original to my house and I adore them as much as I’m sure my grandmother did when she first picked them out! It’s such a happy ‘good morning’ when I walk in rubbing my eyes and open them to a plethora of sunny bunny orange!! I have the happiest kitchen on my block!

  6. Steve H says

    I’m so glad that the subject of the Brady Bunch kitchen has come up because maybe it will finally provide an answer to a question that has bugged me for years. When the show started the kitchen featured a stainless steel or brushed chrome wall oven and electric cooktop. At some point during the run of the show these were replaced with a gas cooktop and oven with black glass doors. It seems like a rather odd change considering that I can’t recall anything else ever changing in the house’s decor. Have any other Brady fans noticed this, or am I just a complete oddball for noticing stuff like this?

    • Robin, NV says

      I’m pretty sure Mike and Carol’s bedroom changed at some point. I think they went from separate beds to one.

  7. miya says

    I used to have the Navy Blue Pionite in my kitchen. Beware, the colors are beautiful but they show scratches terrible! I should have done the “scratch test” before ordering them but loved the color and got them anyway. The “scratch test” is just taking your sample from the store and taking the end of a paperclip and scratching the surface and see how much the scratch shows. The solid colors are so saturated and have no variations so the scratch shows through as a white line. Very unattractive. If you must have the color, I would suggest using a clear cutting board over the area that will get the most use.

  8. says

    Dawn, Check this site out.

    This guy, Scott does awesome 3-d renderings of the Brady Bunch House that he made into video tours. He has a youtube channel too. They are really great.

    I too, am a huge fan of the house. The home I just bought in Palm Springs reminds me of it a bit and I want to capture more of the Brady House feel with future improvements.

  9. Scott says

    Thanks Pam, revisiting the Brady kitchen solved a long-standing personal mystery. I have always wondered why I thought a proper countertop needed to extend all the way up to the counter to the bottom of the cabinets, now I know where that idea came from! 🙂

  10. tammyCA says

    I used to faithfully watch The Brady Bunch every Friday night when it first aired. To me the only thing that seemed Modern in their house was the staircase, everything else looked typical for the ’60s/’70s. I think the Mondrian type wall behind was only added for still photos since there are only paintings there.
    “Bewitched” was great because the decor constantly changed…Samantha was very crafty. 🙂
    But, the orange counters will always be Very Brady…except, in the future specials when Carol went all beige…eww!

  11. Diane in CO says

    Believe it or not, I have never seen The Brady Bunch. I think my tv-watching years predated that show! However, I adore Stangl Pottery and I think your collection is outstanding, Pam. When I was a young teen, I was taken to the Stangl Pottery while visiting my jr. high friend who had moved to Flemington NJ. Her Mom took us. The charm of that pottery has always stayed with me.

    I too am partial to orange, perhaps because my mom re-did our kitchen in the ’60’s with this exact shade of laminate countertops. I remember it had a backsplash of copper metal tiles in a harlequin pattern. It was beautiful! In pottery, I have mostly Pacific Pottery and Calif. Pottery in orange and a lot of orange Fraunfelter.

  12. Kelly Wittenauer says

    Almost year ago, we were living next door while our current home was being built. The HVAC contractor came to the door one morning to get a key. He saw the kitchen in the old house and said “Wow, you have Brady Bunch counters”. I’d watched the show as a child, but couldn’t remember the counters. Utube quickly confirmed he was correct – although ours don’t go up the backsplash, that’s covered with orange & brown 1970s mod wallpaper.

  13. says

    I would encourage everyone to watch the episode of The X Files that was titled “Sunshine Days”…. It takes place inside the brady bunch house and revolves around a man who is obsessed with the show. Very cool episode:)

  14. YNONA says

    I adore the brady bunch house and am wanting to have the stage house built when I win the lottery or make alot of money. I have a program called “House Beautiful” and am working on trying to make the stage house but the upstairs doesnt co-inside with the downstairs. The boys room is I believe is suppose to be above the family room but it just doesnt work out that way. the upstairs bath room and girls room from what I can tell is suppose to be above the kitchen but from the hallway at the top of the stairs it just isnt working out that way. I dont know if I am just not seeing something or it just doesnt work.

  15. Cassiola says

    You want Brady Bunch counter tops? you can have mine! house was built in the 80s, dark cabinets, dark linoleum on floor and as backsplash, house is small, the dark colors and orange is too much. I have tried painting the cabinets but can’t find the right hue to counter the countertops. Just what color goes with this? And, I grew up with the bittersweet plants which I always used to love. . . but I hate these countertops. Don’t say use green–that was my ex’s favorite color and I am boycotting it for a few years. . . .

  16. Karen Evanskey says

    I love love love this, I am all over it! Love the orange, love the Brady’s! I will save for the day we finally do something with out kitchen. We have some retro tile and although I don’t love it, I think I might miss it. It’s something I’ve never seen here. It has a white background with splotches of yellowy green. We painted the kitchen walls a light-ish avocado green (left cabinets white) to give it a little Brady-esque feel. This Bittersweet would look, well, fab to us, hideous to most of our friends! Maybe darker avo cabinets would be groovy with it? And of course a new floor.

  17. TappanTrailerTami says

    Well…..I do know this color well. My parent’s first house was built in 1953, and they bought it complete with original birch cabinets and gray linen style laminate counters. The whole house was in 1950s gray and pink. My mother had the gray laminate redone in this exact color in 1972. Not sure what she was thinking, really!

  18. Lilypad says

    The kitchen in the 1969 house I grew up had those orange counter tops. “The Brady Bunch” was one of my favorite shows—this was in th emid 1970’s a few years after it originally aired and we used to watch it every day after school. The bathroom my sister and I shared had an avocado toilet, bath tub, and sink. So groovy!

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