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. 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

    1. 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.

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

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