Another patriotic 40s kitchen. These tones are ones that would match up with your existing features. I think these are even the same cabinets as yours!

I think your vintage steel tile is wonderful. The color and design scream 40s deco. But honestly, if you want to ditch it so that you can bring your kitchen into the Atomic era, do it. On Thursday we looked at Catherine’s 1948 Ohio kitchen and bathroom. She wants decorating ideas that will bring these firmly into the modern era and to complement her growing collection of Drexel and Heywood Wakefield furniture — along with her young family’s needs. With this post, I will start with the kitchen. Ad image:  American Standard 1948.

This house was built in 1948, which you can clearly see in details like the tile. Anytime I see the punches of black or darker colors like maroon, I think ‘deco / streamline’ – which clearly preceded 50s atomic.

A sweet 40s palette.

I thought this floor was actually pretty cool and might look incredible with your burgundy trim. A red-violet Marmoleum. I like it the more that I see it. 40s look: If you want to be true to the 40s basics already in your kitchen, I’d recommend you go with colors from that palette – as seen in the wheel above. And in fact, I really like the red/violet floor from Marmoleum that picks up these tones. You’d have to go get some samples and see — but it could be fabulous in terms of picking up your burgundy.

I also see in your kitchen a red-white -blue theme possible, which was very popular in these patriotic time – when dads were welcomed home from the war, and all was right with America (as in the lead photo). Starting with your burgundy trim – how about adding a blue linoleum floor, blue laminate countertops, a sweet colonial-modern retractable lighting fixture, porcelain white painted walls, a set of 2-3 framed prints, and curtains trimmed in burgundy.

If you want to make the kitchen more atomic - I think this would work for your countertops, while still making it possible to keep your burgundy-trimmed tile.The burgundy is a strong accent color and the cabinets have a lot of definition to them as well. That means you want accessories that can \This \'concrete\' Marmoleum has some pink in it.

Early 50s atomic: All that said – you seem to really want to pull this kitchen decisively into the modern era. If so, I think you can do it while still keeping your steel tile walls with that burgundy punch. How about: Charcoal boomerang laminate (set into the existing frame), a neutral ivory VCT sheet or tile floor, a retractable ceiling fixture, all tied together with a patterned barkcloth valance for the window that includes grey, black, maroon and porcelain white.

In both cases, if there is room, how about a smallish 50s laminate table and chairs. Something with a crackly finish, lots of personality. The retractable light goes centered over it.

Regarding the stove, fridge and possibility of more cabinets: Yes, if you can find a corner pieces and extend the kitchen into an L — that would be great. You are going to have to be patient, though, as well as tenacious to watch for the pieces meant for you. A lazy susan that connects to a vintage stove (yes!) then a small cabinet on the other end, would be great.

Without seeing the layout of your kitchen – it’s hard to say regarding where to put the fridge. Do you have any space to recess or otherwise ‘build it in’ somewhere? That would be ideal. As far as brand – I think that reader sentiment right now favors Fisher-Paykel, in white. The size is right, and it’s counter depth.

Catherine, this is already a long one, so I’ll come back with bathroom ideas on Tuesday. Hope this helps. You know, the thing to do is to …. go get samples, put them down and see what “clicks”… Pay attention to decorating that you see and like and analyze why it works … You are so young, you already seem to have a great eye and the enthusiasm … Don’t stress, have fun.

  1. 50sPam says:

    Catherine, you can first see the Marmoleum samples at a flooring store that carries the brand – they generally have boards that show all the colors. After that, if you like it, they can get you a larger sample. I believe you can also get samples online (google Forbo Marmoleum – go to Reds). Now that I know this appeals to you, I might pull together some other items to go with this floor.

  2. Pencils says:

    I love Marmoleum–always did, and I was really happy to find out it’s a “green” product. We’re in the market for a house, and if I have to redo a kitchen, I’ll be putting down Marmoleum. (And maybe other places too, like in a finished basement.)

    I have a question. I like some of the darker colors they have, including the fabulous dark blue. Do they show all the dirt, though? I don’t want to be cleaning the floor every single day, yet I have no desire to go with the tan sort of colors that my mom suggests for hiding dirt. I want color!

  3. Femme1 says:

    Catherine, I love Pam’s ideas for your kitchen, especially the dark blue or burgundy linoleum. I wrote a long post the other day about your kitchen and bathroom photos, but lost it while trying to post the comment, so I’ll try to remember some of it.

    I love the deco look of that tile in your kitchen!
    May I suggest that you take a look at a Chambers gas range? I bought one that I’m restoring, and although it isn’t the atomic 50s look (it’s more rounded and 40s-looking to me), it could really contribute to the period look of your kitchen. Mine is a pale yellow, but white is the most common color. If you do a Web search, you’ll find some great sites that have parts and other services to make them safer (and up to code), as well as fully restored stoves. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole bunch of Chamber range fans out there who post and talk about how they love their stoves! You can easily find the ranges on Craigslist and eBay, but I found mine through a local “penny-shopper” type of newsletter. They are becoming more popular now because Rachel Ray has one (it’s pale green) on her cooking show.

    Good luck and have fun!

  4. Femme1 says:

    Ah, one more thing. While I was typing, I forgot where Catherine was located. But Ohio is Chambers range central. They were built in Indiana, and I notice that they are more prevalent in the Midwest, although they were sold everywhere.

  5. Pingback:Retro Renovation » And one more for thought for Catherine’s kitchen…

  6. 50sPam says:

    Before I die, I need to see those books of color swatches from every car ever made. Also, Tappan Dough Boys are the berries. I almost bought one for my kitchen. This model would like fabulous in Catherine’s 40s-transitioning-into-50s kitchen. It is SO HOMEY, oh my god, you just want to start bakin’ pies and never ever stop.

  7. karmi_woolfe says:

    Catherine, I have the same Youngstown uppers and rounded corner shelves! I have been searching for a corner base lazy susan cabinet for years, so if you come across a good source or an extra, please let me know! I am also in Northeast Ohio (Ravenna), so it might be fairly easy to exchange treasures. I currently have a 1940’s electric Monarch stove that also burns coal or wood when chimneyed. If you need a gas stove, I have one of those too. It’s a 1952 Tappan “dough boy” that used to be my parts stove. Both need some TLC but are fabulous. I ended up using a late 40’s Frigidaire in my kitchen, so I’ll have to part with both of them. I am going for more of a 50’s look and have stripped my uppers to bare metal in preparation for having them sprayed pink. I have a friend who does high-end body work and has offered to do them in his spray booth. Also in Ravenna is a company called API that custom matches colors. They have books of swatches from every car ever made and also have an appliance section that includes Youngstown, Hot Point and others!

  8. karmi_woolfe says:

    When I get my pink mixed up, I’ll see if the guys at API will let me take pics. I’ll also let you know when we have a giant yard sale or when I have some items on ebay. 🙂

  9. karmi_woolfe says:

    Catherine — there are tons of 4″ pink tiles and some strips of maroon tiles too at the Ravenna Restore, in case you need more for your kitchen. I stayed home from work today (shhh…) to do a painting cabinet myself experiment. I’ll let you know how it goes. NORTHEAST OHIO ROCKS!

  10. Pingback:Retro Renovation » Catherine’s vintage Drexel stereo - and an update on her other projects

  11. Tina says:

    I have three of the retractable saucer lights that I am having a devil of time finding the retractable replacement cord for. One is missing it altogether and two are so bad damaged that it needs replacing. Do you sell just the retractable cord kit? From ceiling thru to the light…Can you direct me where I might find some? Is there an online place? Half the people in the stores have no idea what I am even talking about! Thank you for any information

  12. pam kueber says:

    Hi Tina, I have been told that pulldown lights are no longer to code. I am not the expert — contact a lighting professional to get their advice.

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