Ideas for Dana and her 1953 Crosley kitchen

dana’s vintage 1953 crosley metal kitchen cabinets

We found the provenance of Dana’s kitchen cabinets yesterday — 1953 Crosley’s just like the ad! Yummy! Now, she’d like some ideas for appliance, flooring.

Readers, feel free to join in this new ‘intervention’ 🙂 , and to get us started, and in the spirit of the vintage Crosley advertisement — here goes:


marmoleum linoleum

  • A black and white checked ‘diner’ floor? Dana asks. Well, I have to admit that while I put one into the first house I ever owned, I am actually no longer a fan of the look. I think because I have been so exposed to vintage designs and honestly, can’t ever recall seeing the black-and-white check in a real kitchen. For that reason, Dana, I would suggest you consider Armstrong Imperial Excelon or…as your kitchen definitely has the ‘sweet and streamlined’ look going on, what with all those round edges, I think I actually like lineoleum for you – from Armstrong or Marmoleum. And how about a nice strong green – inspired by our advertisement? Really, any color would be fine, your choice. But note, with those black countertops, I think that you want and need nice strong complementary colors, rather than, say, faded pastels.
  • For appliances — I also never recommend this, but because your cabinets have an aged ivory color, I would in fact think stainless steel appliances would work best in this kitchen. The whites of today, are offensive when put next to those cabinets, to my eye. How about the Sears Kenmore dual-fuel (or all-electric or all-gas) 40″ range in stainless steel? It’s a nice one. And a Jenn-Aire cabinet depth french door fridge, also in stainless? The stainless steel would pick up the chrome on your cabinets….and also bring the kitchen forward to the modern day a bit. Hey, your girlfriends would approve, too, I bet! As an alternative, you could also try and hunt down a vintage stove and fridge – but again, be very very careful regarding the whites.
  • Also, honey, you may not want to hear this, but you need a new sink cabinet (and other, additional cabinets, perhaps?) to match your existing cabinets! Start the hunt, Dana — and know that once you put your retro renovator vibe out there, your extra cabinets will find you!
  • I do want to note, regarding the sink cabinet, that you could also go with a restaurant-style freestanding stainless steel setup. Hmmmm….. I think that this will tip your kitchen even further into the ‘industrial’ feel not just retro. It would work, though; it’s really your style choice.
  • Finally — if you think you can get away without my recommending wallpaper, then you haven’t been reading this blog for very long, or religiously like you should! How about this very classic look, a pattern from Hannah’s Treasures? Of course – there are many many choices, just remember the advice of putting some “strength” in your accents. Good luck, Dana, we are so proud of your retro reno courage to bring this kitchen back to life! Keep us up to date — we want to see! You know, this kitchen has the potential to be so great — we’ll get it in a magazine just like mine was!!!
    Wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasures


  1. Natschultz says:

    So, what did Dana end up doing to her kitchen? Just curious.

    BTW: I agree that white apliances would clash against old white cabinets, but I think the stainless would make the room too cold. I would go with black appliances to match the black and chrome countertops. Then any color – red, aqua, yellow, pink, can be painted on the walls with other colors as accents.

  2. Ellen Matheson says:

    My parents had a 1955 Crosley kitchen. It was the state of the art kitchen -actually the set from the 1955 Crosley Bendix dealers’ movie which my father made.
    It won a design award and was in McCall’s magazine.

    I have been trying to recreate this kitchen for years.

    HELP. If anyone knows where I can find the cabinets, please let me know! I have found the frig. Others like it at antiqueappliances.com

    If you want to see a photo, I have one.
    Cabinets were copper in cooking area, laundry area was white. Floor was speckled tan, cream and beige tile- like marmoleum. Countertops beige speckle formica, stainless steel sink. Appliances were ss electric cooktop (this was midcentury modern sleek, not Happy Days) and separate frig and freezer. Freezer had an ice cream maker, frig had thru door water. Both had circular chrome center handle. @ ss wall ovens. Accent color was a soft aqua/turquoise.

    1. Bev Cook says:

      I have 2 of the kitchen cabinets as shown in the picture. Was going to toss them, but maybe someone would want them? Do you know how I might go about finding people who are interested in this stuff? Thx. Bev Cook, Portland OR

  3. RBOBs says:

    Update from the 1953 kitchen: The cabinets are enjoying a rebirth with a local powder coating shop, dcpowdercoating.com, which will bring them back to there shiny greatness. I’ve ordered black laminate counter with a aluminum edge from Ikea. I’ve also picked-up some aluminum shelving to add some more utility. The walls will be painted semi-gloss Benjamin Moore Pale Vista. I’m stuck with the refrigerator though. I want to find a stainless one that fits into my space…. the cabinets allow for a refrigerator 66″ H x 36″ W. That is nearly impossible! Next step, picking the laminate floor!

  4. Ronn says:

    Hi again,

    Ronn here. Hey, if you want to stick with black and white, I just had an idea about the cabinets: what if you had two or three of them on the left wall professionally repainted gloss black? This balances the dark/light shapes, and sticks with the current theme.

  5. Ronn says:

    I agree that the black and white linoleum tile squares floor has never been seen to my knowledge (yes, earlier homes in tiny b/w ceramic mosaic tiles, but not large rubber based squares). My childhood home had yellow and green. I remember seeing gray and red. I think I remember yellow and black, and an all gray with the grain running in checkboard format. When I got ahold of a crate of original linoleum squares, I recovered the floor of my 1949 kitchen in aqua and ivory, and it was great!
    Ronn Ives of FUTURES Antiques
    PS: If you’ve ever HAD an original old refrigerator, you wouldn’t want one. One word: DEFROST.

  6. maddy123 says:

    I think SS appliances would work ok in your kitchen. BUT I do think you have to be careful with white metal cabinets and SS. Because it can look too “hospital-y”. I would definitely put some color on the walls so it won’t look so white. And also try to warm it up with some vintage accessories.

    Good luck!

  7. Femme1 says:

    I love Pam’s linoleum idea for the floor. And some of the greens that I’ve seen from Marmoleum are very 40s/50s-looking.

    My big suggestion would be to add some color to the walls and to the bulkheads above the cabinets. (Don’t worry, Pam, I won’t get into a fight about the terminology!). I think one of the reasons your galpals don’t like the metal cabinets is that there’s just too much white there. And the cabinets probably look dingy next to the white walls.

    Wallpaper would look really cool, if the colors are strong. Or use a combination of paint on some walls and perhaps wallpaper just in the backspash area. Or use the wallpaper on the bulkheads (look at Pam’s kitchen photos).

    Kudos for saving your kitchen! It’s going to look great…then invite your friends over for tea and cookies in your beautiful kitchen.

  8. 50sPam says:

    My fridge is a Sub-Zero, Maggie. The big splurge of my kitchen, and it’s great. I chose it because (1) my husband put his foot down at a vintage fridge, (2) it was counter-depth but also 84″ high to fill the space all the way to the soffit and continue that ‘fitted kitchen’ look I was going for, and (3) in reality, it is very authentic/retro – Sub-Zero has been making these things all the way back to the 50s at least – and with the very same condenser design at the top (this design is now the ‘optional’/old one.) However, I don’t think this would work/is necessary for Dana, as she has wall cabinets available above the fridge. And, I will tell you, the Jenn-Aire at $2,000+ is still $2,000-$3,000 cheaper than the Sub-Zero as I recall. I have to admit I can’t remember exactly how much the SZ cost – I wrote the check and tried to erase the actual cost forever from my memory!

  9. maggie says:

    I have to disagree about the SS appliances, Pam. If Dana doesn’t hate her current stove, I think its black trim is working pretty well with her black countertops.

    Also, I’ve never a modern refrigerator that fits better into a retroreno kitchen than the one that you have, Pam. It looks great. What model is it? And are you happy with it?

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