A reader recently wrote to ask, “Would these cabinets be considered retro for my 1965 mid-century modern style kitchen?” Drats, I cannot find the email with his name, but my answer was: “Yes, I think they could work just fine.” These Merillat Essential Northport cabinets  are laminate-on-melamine and actually, quite similar in feel to the circa-1975 cabinets that I took out of my 1951 kitchen. I’d say that they have a 70s look – but remember, the 70s really started in the mid-60s… well, the periods, they all mush together. I quite like the look of these cabinets — the full overlay door, with its tone-on-tone trim, and the fact that it needs no pulls, all convey a late mid mod feel.

Here’s my mood board for a late 1960s early 1970s groove kitchen. It includes the MerillatM Northport cabinets, Armstrong’s Saguaro vinyl sheet flooring, Bradbury’s Mod Generation Daisy wallpaper in Sunshine, and currently on ebay: rust-colored Club Aluminum, a Burke dinette and mod globe pendant lights. What do you think? Are we ready to bring back all the best of the 70s?

  1. anthony thompson says:

    i was a lttle guy then lol, my gf has a set of kitchen cabnets that she painted why, i have no idea. but what would be the best way to restore them? the house was built in tha late sixties or 71, i belive

  2. Carolyn says:

    As someone who lives in a 1968 deckhouse w/ the original cabinets still in place, yes, they definitely have the right look, but real wood was actually used for cabinets in the 60s & 70s as well. The label of our kitchen cabinets was still there when we moved in 2 yrs ago and revealed that our cabinets were made by Wood-Hu. A company that is still in business. Just thought I would share.

  3. Ang says:

    I’m ready! My dining room set (posted here somewhere) is solidly in this camp and I love love LOVE it!! Its a nice change (for me) from busier 40s styles I’ve done in the past for my dining room.

  4. Dave says:

    I would like to add that since the construction of the cabinets is or was particle board that they were susceptible to water damage (the boards spreading like a sponge) and drawer and cabinet fronts weakened and sometimes broke off due to heavy use. These were usually a cheap solution to solid wood for landlords. So be weary.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks for your comment, Dave. I don’t get into quality issues one way or another on this site unless I have personal experience with an issue. It could be that laminate-on-melamine is just dandy given certain usages. I had these in my previous kitchen, and they seemed to hold up for at least 30 years in most spots. The one area that I remember having fallen apart were the drawers under the electric range top. I know there were several rounds of renters with lots of kids, so that might have meant extra wear and tear — it certainly did the plastic-tiled bathrooms in.

      One of things I might recommend to anyone considering buying new kitchen cabinets is a year’s subscription to the online version of Consumer Reports. For a relatively paltry sum — it was $18 the last time I checked — you can tap their methodical testing and recommendations for kitchen cabinet materials, construction and even brands, and then weigh the factors as they make sense for you.

  5. Dave says:

    I lived in an apartment that was remodeled in the late 80’s back in the early ’90s that had those type of cabinets. The formica was white with wood trim. It seemed like a very popular cabinet to put up in apartments since I saw it everywhere at the time. I think that the cabinets were meant to give the apartment a clean modern european feel at the time.

  6. denise says:

    Yes! Bring back the 70’s! I remember it well, and the dresses and pants I used to wear when I was about 8 years old. I’ve always been fond of the period. Must have been a good time in my life, but I really think it was the clothes! LOL

    Gavin! good score…Kevin might bring more than the table set! 😉

  7. gavin hastings says:

    On Saturday I bought that 42″ Burke table for 25 bucks! The woman tossed in a “Foot Loose” Kevin Bacon poster… Both in mint-y condition!
    I will $ell the table to finance my new draperie$.

    Folks-keep scouting around. Stuff is out there, just be patient.

  8. sumac sue says:

    Sure, I say if you like it, go for it. I was a teen in the 70s, and I have great memories of that time period and the colors — boy did we have a lot of avocado green and harvest gold in the house, along with a shade of blue-green that I don’t know what to call. My box of Crayolas has a shade called Pacific Blue that is sort of like that 70s blue.

Comments are closed.