English Rose metal kitchen cabinets: One of three brands we’ve identified as made and sold in England — and, still made today! But being a U.S.-based blog, we have mostly U.S. readers (84%), so it’s only now and then that we get to read about Retro Renovations from across the pond. And what a delightful story this is: Ondrea and James paired up, and soon enough, were feathering their Bristol, UK, nest with a “new” kitchen. In this case: combining two sets of vintage aluminium — (in U.S. talk, aluminum) — English Rose kitchens into one… and there’s lots to the story, of course!
I’m not sure where to start! I moved into my two bedroom bungalow, as I was downsizing after three of my four children had flown the nest. My 26-year-old still lives with us. I grew up in this area, and the bungalow is in a great location — very near the Bristol harbour, Ashton Court and the suspension bridge.
The bungalow from the outside looks very unassuming (like a wooden shed)! and lacked in character, being a 15-year-old newish build. I knew that one day I would have to add something to make it unique and not just a granny bungalow – yes, I also have grandchildren.
I’ve always had a love of anything vintage, I enjoy flea markets and charity shops. 1950s is my favourite.
I was lucky enough to meet James three years ago, and we have many shared interests. At the beginning of this year. we decided to sort out the bungalow kitchen. We looked around all the shops that sell modern units. I thought they were all similar to each other and not built to last and that they cost a fortune. At first we discussed James’ making wooden units to look 1950-60s.
Then I spotted a set of English Rose on eBay. It was February, and I had teased James for not being very impulsive (he’s a deep thinker — likes to plan properly!) So there and then — sitting on a bus — he bought the first set of units online. I cried with emotion (sounds silly, I know) — best Valentine’s gift I ever received.
English Rose is made from aluminium! It’s lighter than steel and doesn’t rust, also it’s the metal that was left from Spitfire aircraft.
(Pam here:) As often is necessary in projects using vintage metal kitchen cabinets, the couple needed to buy two sets of cabinets — or cupboards, in UK-lingo — to get the number and configuration they were aiming for. I’ve heard from some Retro Renovators who have purchased three kitchens — and from those who have “finished” but are still looking for one last piece to fit just righ.
- See all of our stories on vintage steel kitchen cabinets — 81 brands identified — in our Kitchen Help / Steel Kitchens subcategory here.
- Sometimes stories of other readers remodeling using vintage steel cabinets may be found in our Kitchen Help / Readers & their Kitchens subcategory here.
We bought two batches of cupboards from eBay and sprayed them all to match. One kitchen came from Cornwall (cream & red), and the other, from London (blue & green).
The next few months were very hard work. We took them all apart like a giant meccano set and sprayed everything!
We didn’t use any outside contractors in at all. James did all of the work himself, the spray paint, flooring, tiles, shelves, even sewing the curtain hems. He’s such a star!!
The finished kitchen, the cooker is 1960’s — a “Creda Carefree” — a bit modern! Curtains and clock are original 1950’s.
I also found this lovely 1960s larder.
When James moved in with me, his most treasured possession for sentimental reasons was a 1950s radio that belonged to his friend Keith. Keith has passed away now — he was unable to use the radio so new-in-box as he had cerebral palsy. Now we have a whole kitchen to match!
Wow. Just wow. Ondrea and James, I adore your story, your kitchen, and your touching tribute to Keith. You are our dose of love and joy to start the week! Congratulations on feathering your nest so creatively — and beautifully. And thank you for sharing your story and photos with us!
- My first story on English Rose cabinets in 2008.
- You can still buy English Rose-style cabinets made today.
- A place in the UK that sells them refurbished.
- A 1956 English Rose kitchen complete with Revo oven
- In the UK, there were Anemone and Paul cabinets, too, it seems; I count four U.K. brands if you include the reproductions as a new brand.
And don’t forget, all’s being built and tracked in the: