15 unique and wonderful time capsule kitchens

Time capsule kitchens — especially the carefully designed and coordinated kitchens like the pink beauty above — are the stuff retro dreams are made of. Finding a kitchen that is all original, from the wallpaper to the appliances, is getting more and more difficult. Luckily, we can live vicariously through these photos of 15 fabulous kitchens from our archive of time capsule homes. What we also love about these kitchens: They illustrate the amazing diversity of mid century modern, mid century modest and post modern kitchen design — yes, there is More Than One Way to Retro! Above: This 1962 GE kitchen was NEVER USED — a time capsule in the truest sense of the term. It was for sale when our story first aired — we hope it found a loving new home.


Photo courtesy of photographer David Ward of The Creative Ward and realtor Eric Glassoff.


Photo courtesy of photographer David Ward of The Creative Ward and realtor Eric Glassoff.

2. Pink is everywhere in the kitchen of this 1956 split level time capsule home — the wall ovens, the dishwasher, wallpaper and furniture.


Photo courtesy of realtor and photographer Iris Kalt.

3. A vibrant yellow GE Wonder Kitchen in this 1960 midcentury meets French Provincial time capsule house.


Photo courtesy of Showcase Photographers and realtor Starling Davis.

4. A gorgeous gray and turquoise 1956 St. Charles dream kitchen in this Southern Victorian home in Nashville.

1965-wallpapered-kitchen5. Check out the wallpapered ceiling in this 1965 time capsule kitchen — amazing.

mid century kitchen

Photo courtesy of TK Images Real Estate Photography and realtor Robert Searcy.

6. This 1957 mid century kitchen has gorgeous wood cabinets, aqua laminate counter tops, natural stone around the oven and oh-so-adorable wallpaper and scallops on the soffit.


Photo courtesy of Seth at 360PDX.com and realtor Thomas Cale.

7. The kitchen in this 1938 time capsule Tudor in Portland got a fabulous harvest gold decor upgrade in 1970.


Photo courtesy of photographer Michelle from RealtyImaging.com and realtor Eleonore Reiter.

8. The kitchen in this 1951 Portland time capsule home has a minimal Mondrian feel — mostly black and white with a few pops of red — and lots of geometric shapes.


Photo courtesy of photographer Jillian Doughty from 22pages photography and realtor Lance Marrs.

9. If mid century modern minimal is more your speed — check out this glowing galley style kitchen from a 1960 time capsule in Portland.

10. The red tile backsplash in this 1974 groovy time capsule home in Norfolk, Virgina really pops out from the surrounding rustic decor.


Photo courtesy of photographer Evan Godwin from Chateau Shooters and realtor Malyn Powers.

11. The kitchen in this 1970s Mediterranean decor-filled time capsule is chock full of pattern — we especially like the decorative tile counter tops.


Photos courtesy of photographer and realtor Karla Spiegelberg.

12. This pink, brown and beige kitchen in this 1960 time capsule in Laramie, Wyoming has pink laminate counter tops and a wood paneled sub-zero refrigerator.


Photos courtesy of photographer and realtor Kathryn Madison.

13. The kitchen in this 1948 Streamline Moderne house shows the beauty of this design style.

14. Nora’s time capsule pink kitchen is the stuff dreams are made of — if you dream in pink.

vintage-1964-wood-kitchen15. This time capsule kitchen — spotted during Pam’s trip to an estate sale held there — looks very modern in this 1964 split level house.

Readers — which time capsule kitchen makes you want cook up something tasty?

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.



  1. Chris says

    #13 — Streamlined Moderne!!!!! I can’t believe I love it so much, since my own style tendencies lean to kitschy, cluttered, grandma — but it is really lovely! Second favorite is the soothing kitchen in the first photo!

    • Paula says

      Thank you for reposting my favorite kitchen of all time (1). I always wonder what happened to it and if it found a new home. I also adore the streamline modern and have had the opportunity to go through the house and I can attest that every inch is as amazing as the kitchen.

  2. gsciencechick says

    I love anything with pink or blue counters! I really like #6, but the first one is truly amazing and functional.

  3. Robin, NV says

    #1 and #7 are my favorites. #1 is just so homey and obviously cared for and loved. I can practically smell chocolate chip cookies wafting from the photo. #7 has that earthy, 1970s vibe that I’m growing to love. I could totally see my mom in that kitchen making us a Crock Pot dinner.

  4. says

    #11 makes me sad–because I know those are the cabinets that used to be in the kitchen of our Mediterranean-style 70s split. (I know because they are in the garage.) So much better than the white plastic cabinets we’re currently living with! But if we’re going for 70s dream kitchens, it would be #10, all the way!

  5. Teri says

    When it comes to cabinets, #15 is my favorite. I adore Nora’s pink countertop in #14. #13 is wonderful– so sunny and happy.

  6. tammyCA says

    I love Nora’s pink cozy kitchen…love a lot of them above…the aqua counters, love warm, buttery solid wood cabinets, love scallop trim (A LOT), love ’40s/’50s tile and white painted cabinets…that’s my dilemma, I can never decide.

  7. says

    Given that I love minimalism, I have to go with number 8. For 1951, that kitchen had to be a the bleeding edge of mass-market minimalism style. What a great find.

    I like #13 as well – very few examples of Streamline Moderne out there, and that’s definitely an excellent one.

  8. Lynn-O-Matic says

    Number 13, the streamline moderne. Hands down. That is a kitchen–and a house–I’ve never forgotten. But I’d die of happiness living with nearly any of these kitchens. Sa-weet!

  9. JKaye says

    Overall, I think my favorite is #4 because someone did a great job of linking the modern kitchen to the Victorian house with the color scheme.

    What I really like are the big, uncovered horizontal windows over the sinks in numbers 2, 6, 8, 9, and 13.

  10. Nanette says

    Gah, too much good here to pick just one!! My top picks would be: 12 (which is stunningly identical to a friends Kitchen in Portland Oregon, even the coved marmoleum on the floor and the glossy panels on the ceiling, what’s that stuff called?)… AND then 1,4, 6, 15. SO GOOD!!! Honorable mention: the wallpaper and chairs in #2, zowie!

  11. rachel says

    love ’em all, but #15 is so similar to my grandmother’s mid-60’s house i have to go with that one! so many fond memories there, i miss it :)

  12. Mary Elizabeth says

    I love all of the time capsule kitchens, as each has its own character. Yet my favorites are the #1 pink, with the lovely pink sink and matching stepped counters on the peninsula and the #4 St. Charles gray with turquoise counters. When I look at a kitchen, I always think, “Would I enjoy cooking here?” The answer is no for many of the ones I’ve seen. I know what the reader meant when she said she could smell the chocolate chip cookies in that kitchen.

    • Jackie says

      I would buy that book! On vacation we pick cities and drive around and look at retro houses!! Minneapolis is great!!! And we went to Queens even!!

  13. Nancy says

    Can you please do a photobook of all the time capsule homes, so we can sit and dream at leisure? I would like to really take time to savor all the details. Sign me up for the first copy!

  14. Lisa Compo says

    #6 is my favorite. I think because it has ample cabinet space, counter top room and plenty of floor space to move about. I also love the big window above the sink–I tend to stare outside while I wash my hands. I can’t believe my favorite is a wooden cabinet kitchen seeing how I am obsessed with the white metal cabinets in kitchens. Wood has a certain homey warmth to it, but the metal has a clean “laboratory” look to me…like there is serious concoction of ingredients going on here. 😉

    #13 is my next favorite for the white cabinets and those lovely glass shelves. I’d have those cluttered up with “treasures” and shiny things in no time.

    • Sara of WA says

      I totally agree! And that wallpaper is so cheerful too. Well laid out and happy. And 13 would be fun to work with.

  15. Technicolor says

    How do they open the cupboard door (lower right corner) in #12? No clue why this stuck out to me with all the great pics to peruse.

    • Jackie says

      Yes the far right cabinet in # 12 is strange. But check out the flooring underneath it, maybe there is a pullout or something?

  16. FlatRoofFan says

    Gotta’ be #8 with its repetition of geometric shapes on multiple surfaces coupled with the free form of the tree seen through the oversize kitchen windows!

  17. Karen Marie says

    Hi Pam. Thanks so much for this posting! I think you did a terrific job going through all of your kitchens to pick out different and interesting ones. I live in a 1959 split level near Phila. Everyone and I mean Everyone around here rips out the mcm kitchens and baths (boo!)
    If it isn’t granite and stainless steel, it’s outdated. I too see all of the kitchen cabs and appliances on CL around Philly. My kitchen looks like #14 and hubby is ready to rip it out. I am going with white cabs and appliances and a linoleum floor. Loved the blue one you featured last week. I’ll have to settle for touches of mcm. I am saving the pink bathroom though!! I love #4 and #13, I think I am attracted to the white and the aqua stove is to die for!!

  18. Anne says

    Several of these kitchens have a carved wood ornamental strip (soffit?) above the sink window. My house has one too, and although I’m ripping out the rest of the kitchen because the drawers don’t open or close anymore and it’s of zero funky value, I love that carved bit over the window. I keep asking the contractors, can they save it, or if not save, copy? And they look at me like I’m a crazy lady. But I think you guys understand :-).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *