A 1955 Capitol kitchen with Asian flair – today’s flashback design

This is a beautiful kitchen, cheery yet serene. The designer seemed to be aiming for these qualities – given the Asian touches suggested beyond. The unusual “goldenrod” finish of these Capitol steel cabinets is “the newest thing in kitchens” — one of six new “color-flecked finishes” developed in collaboration with House & Garden magazine. I can only surmise, that the color flecks were developed to hide fingerprints…to give an all around more organic feel….and maybe, just to try another marketing idea. We’ve seen nubbly finishes in other makes, too, as the steel kitchen cabinet trend progressed.

vintage 1955 Capitol steel kitchen cabinets

vintage 1955 Capitol cabinets “goldenrod color flecked” finishStarting at midnight, tips from this kitchen:

  1. Porcelain colored paint – not brite white. This certainly makes all the sunshine yellow easier to take. See the Sherwin Williams Suburban Modern paint palette for this white.
  2. Sunbeam yellow was very popular during this period. It’s a wonderful color for a kitchen. And as you can see here, it can be dressed up, or down, to create a mood. In this case, organic simplicity, so no frou frou such as wallpaper and chickens!
  3. The sink is not under a window, so the cabinetry allows for plenty of headroom. Note the symmetry in the nearby treatment above the stovetop (#5)
  4. This is the first kitchen I’ve shown in a while that uses a stainless steel sink, rather than porcelain. vintage 1955 Capitol steel kitchen cabinetsI think it works well, especially given the avoidance of brite white. To be honest, stainless steel sinks are also much much easier to care for.
  5. See #3. Also note simple exhaust fan…and wonderful coffee carafe below.
  6. These Capitol cabinet pulls are simply the best! That little swoosh really gives them a sense of motion.
  7. Countertops match the cabinets, again, creating relatively restful space, considering it’s yellow to begin with.
  8. I love the simple dinnerware.
  9. See the Asian touches back here? Shoji screen wall (or at least one that feels that way), Asian-Danish (?) teak table.
  10. Squint – the #1- is on the floor below the sink. I love this vinyl tile – a brownish red, or reddish brown. Again, very organic.
  11. Finally, notice the doors on these cabinets. They are not drawer cabinets — the horizontal line that runs along all the base cabinets (below the drawer at the top) is decorative. You can also see this in the cabinets recently listed on ebay in Waterbury, CT. This is a real giveaway for the 50s Capitol brand – although I have some marketing material from the late 50s that shows a more pedestrian style.

A very interesting kitchen indeed.

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. linoleummy says:

    #6 YES! And #11 all pulls horizontal. Here’s hoping an enormous NOS of those shows up at a reasonable price .

  2. Fred says:

    I moved into a 1955 ranch 8 years ago that still has the original metal kitchen cabinets – Capitol Cabinets similar to those show in the photo above. Ours have the same doors and hardware – but the color was a flat fern green – not the nubby yellow shown. They have since been repainted in an Almond-Beige, but still have the original swoopy C-shaped cabinet pulls shown in the photo. One of the pulls is broken, and I would love to find an original replacement. If anyone comes across pulls or any other Capital cabinets or hardware from the same era, please let me know the details by submitting a post in reply.

  3. Chrissie C-Q says:

    The more I see of these retro kitchens the more I love them ! I grew up in a mid-century modern house on L.I till my mother had the bright idea of buying a colonial house in upstate N.Y . I inherited that house and now we’re redoing one of the kitchens ( yes it has two kitchens – the upstairs one has metal Harmony House cabinets that I love ) . Every time I see one of these kitchens posted my ideas for the redo change much to my husbands chagrin – so far the only thing agreed upon is wainscotting on the ceiling lol

  4. cynthia says:

    the more i see of colorful retro kitchens like this, the better i like them. dark wooden cabinets seem depressing and (may i say) grimy-looking in comparison.

  5. Pingback:Retro Renovation » Flashback kitchen design: This 50s Youngstown kitchen earns its stripes

Comments are closed.