18 colors for 1960s St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets

1960s kitchen cabinet colorsToday, from my archive of vintage marketing materials: A tri-fold brochure showing the 18 paint colors available for St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets in the 1960s. I will estimate that these kitchen cabinet paint colors are mid-1960s because of the Harvest Gold — which I have seen before in St. Charles cabinets, dated 1966. But, hey, there is still Carnation pink — so Mamie’s sway had not completely diminished. 

1960s kitchen cabinet colorsavocado green harvest gold

We’ve seen quite a few of these colors in the wild… A few are “close” to some of the colors in my 1957 St. Charles Kitchens catalog… but now we have more to look for. Apricot? Antique Gold? Black Pearl? Capri Blue? I would sure love to see these before I head to that big retro party in the sky.

st. charles kitchens catalogst charles kitchen catalogsst charles kitchen cabinet brochureThe graphics are just too fun.

See all our stories about vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinets by clicking here. 

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Comments

  1. Steve says

    Wow, some of those colors are pretty wild. I wonder if anyone ever did a kitchen in multi colors – different hues from the same family – sort of like the Raymond Loewy casework from the 1960’s.

      • Robin, NV says

        How about a mix of the apricot and the melon green? With white appliances that would be totally swanky!

        Gosh wouldn’t it be great to find these in the wild? I wonder how many people ordered Plum cabinets? That’s a bold choice!

        • Mary says

          Robin,
          I was wondering the same thing. I’m happy to see that plum in the brochure, because I’d love to do something retro in that color, but I don’t recall seeing that color much on items from that era. Love it!

        • Meggan says

          Our new home, a midcentury modern masterpiece, once had apricot St Charles cabinetry. The top cabinets have since been refaced and all cabinets painted white, but the interior is still the lovely apricot. 🙂

  2. Mary Elizabeth says

    Great timing! I was recently corresponding with the woman who now owns my old 1939 house with the St. Charles kitchen that was installed in the late 1950s or early 1960s. (As it happens, she also got my ex-husband along with the house.) 🙂 Anyway, I asked her if the kitchen with the white cabinets and natural wood upper doors is still there, and it is! She was just thinking about what to do to update the kitchen without too much expense, and I told her about the autobody shop approach to painting the cabinets and how beautiful some of the restored kitchens are on this site.

    So I am sending a link to this post to my friend Kathy so she can think about whether she wants to paint her cabinets or pull them out and put them on Craigslist. If she decides to paint them, she can choose a retro color or whatever she likes. My favorites from the color chips are the Suede and Chiffon Yellow, but don’t let me influence you.

  3. Cynthia says

    Beautiful colors! What happy kitchens they must have produced! I’m especially partial to the entire top row.

  4. Jonny says

    My cabinets are not St Charles, but they are very close to that Raspberry red color. Nice to see a bit of documentation that the red was a period correct color.

    I’d love to see a kitchen done with “black pearl” steel cabinets. I would guess that was meant to go on the lowers, with a colorful countertop and lighter colored upper cabinets, but imagine a whole black steel cabineted kitchen.

    • JKM says

      Our friends have a black St. Charles kitchen in their 1957 contemporary home and it’s stunning. The floors are original white terrazzo and walls are painted a soft blue similar to the blue band running across the bottom of this page. They replaced the countertops with white Caesarstone, added undercabinet lighting, and added backsplashes of 1″x1″ white ceramic tile. Very simple but gorgeous. Lighting reflects off the white surfaces and it doesn’t feel dark at all.

      • Alisha H says

        I would love to see photos of this. We just bought a 1950 home that has the original cabinets. My husband wants to rip everything out! I would love the have the cabinets finished black!

  5. Josie says

    I love that Melon Green. With swiss dot yellow curtains for sweet or Lilly Pulitzer super-brights for sassy.

    The Plum is striking, I wonder what colour scheme I could do with that. Either lots of white or maybe a random slate floor with purple-grey tones?

    Carnation is banned via Husband Veto, so obviously Plum is the subtle choice for tasteful people like moi. 😉

    Can see either with wicker dinettes. And perhaps a custom matched bullet planter. Do I get kicked out of the cool kids club for that?

  6. mary says

    Was just thinking I’m going to refinish my GE kitchen from Barbie Pink to some other color…perfect timing. Rustoleum held up beautifully for 13 years…I’m just ready for a change. Originally wanted a coral shade but it was not available in spray…still isn’t.

  7. tammyCA says

    Such delicious colors…love that melon green and chiffon yellow and apricot – a lot…like a fresh fruit salad.

  8. Scott says

    Sigh. I think the world was a better place when color palettes included vibrant shades like Raspberry, Carnation, Capri Blue, Apricot, and Plum. 🙂

    • Scott says

      Some of the ads where they mix and match colors in the dream kitchens are enough to make your brain fail from pleasure overload. Can you imagine ordering up your kitchen from scratch in some amazing color, then building your accents right in? One accent? Two? Three? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  9. Michele DeGroat says

    my kitchen in Oyster Bay Long Island is original metal St. Charles cabinets in Starlite Blue. They need much work to refurbish them but love that they are metal. House custom built in 1962

  10. Kirsten says

    Does anyone know where I could find an upper 1960 St. Charles Black Pearl cabinet to complete our set. My husband has these in the house that he bought before we met and there is space for a single door upper cabinet 23″ or less in width. What would be the best resource to track one of these down?

    Thanks.

    Kirsten

    • Kate says

      Search on Ebay, your local Craigslist and if you have one — Salvage yard or Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Good luck!

  11. says

    I have a client that installed the St Charles Harvest Gold and Melon Green cabinets 50 years ago. Half of the doors are walnut with a fabric insert, the other half are painted embossed steel.
    I need to purchase several pairs of hinges for the walnut doors. If someone has a source I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Matt

    • pam kueber says

      hi matt. this is tough. i don’t know if readers have found any new parts solutions. you can hunt for vintage – for parts. keep an eagle eye on craigslist and your Re-Store. Also you can try here but I’m not optimistic — http://retrorenovation.com/2013/08/14/replacement-kitchen-drawer-rollers/

      I’m guessing you’re looking for something called a “knife hinge”???

      The cabinets sound FAB! Fabric inserts!!!!! I’d LIVE to see photos of the project!!! email us at retrorenovation [at] gmail [dot] com. Good luck!

    • kelly says

      I finally pulled my drawers out to remove 3 layers of contact paper. The bottoms are stamped m.green. now i know it’s melon green. Upper and lower boxes are metal, L.doors m.green and U.doors maple? Maybe? With a raised molding air brushed m.green.

    • pam kueber says

      Nancy, there are a variety of ways to get this done — see our category Kitchen Help / Steel Kitchens for our stories. You are going to need to find your own vendor….

  12. Cyndi says

    St Charles leather finish (Duralon?) cabinets were specified by the architect in the home we live in. They were installed in 1969 or
    1970. The original kitchen had at least 4 colors: one wall was a light blue, one wall was Yellow Chiffon, another wall I believe was Yellow Chiffon with Plum, and the forth wall was Mellon Green. The laundry room was Avocado and Harvest Gold. Yikes!!! We had them all repainted white when we purchased the house in 1998.

    The painter used a BM satin alkyd and they looked great but now need painted again. I’m a little concerned about loosing the leather finish if another coat of paint goes on. Does anyone know if the leather finish was applied to the steel or was it a paint treatment?

    Also, Retro Renovation, could you please post the 1970’s ad from your twitter feed on your website so it may be easier to read? Thanks for a great site!

    • pam kueber says

      Cyndi, I don’t know what image you are talking about. All our images are loaded into the stories.

      Regarding your question, I am not an expert. That said, most brochures from the period suggest the paint was applied at the factory. Also be aware of the environmental and safety issues — such as lead paint — and consult with your own properly licensed professional to assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions.

      Finally, do you have any photos of the original kitchen and laundry room? Sounds AMAZING! I’d love to see color photos !

  13. Scott Peters says

    I need a St Charles white drawer face 29 3/4 x 11 3/4 vintage preferred but if someone is making these that would work. Thanks, Scott

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