Laura writes in to ask a perennial question: Is it all right to mix and match mid century eras? Readers — What do you think?
Pam – I’m at my wits end re: what to do in my kitchen. Over the last 18 months, I’ve collected all the fabulous Morton cabinets I need.
I LOVE the curves on both the uppers and lowers – to me, they really evoke the cozy 50’s look that resonates with me. I also acquired a great ’54 GE combination two-door refrigerator/freezer in beautiful condition, but unfortunately it does not cool and I can’t find a repair service inside 1,000 miles. These cabinets and this fridge are a perfect combination, but with the fridge not working I had to keep looking for something comparable.
Just last weekend I snapped up a great 1957 GE brown fridge with the revolving shelves I love, but it is a much sleeker design with very straight edges. After a little more research I realized that it is one of those that blends right in with the cabinets – it’s only 24 inches deep. It works great and the features are amazing – pull out bottom freezer drawer, rotating fruit & veggie bins, butter keeper, etc…..but the style doesn’t fit with my cabinets!!! I’m really torn, because I love them both, but combining them just feels very awkward.
I’m using the brown fridge now and sold the (non-functioning) white 1954-55 GE Combination to a fellow vintage-lover with a good friend in the refrigeration business. I love the features of the mid–mod brown fridge (1957) but feel it just doesn’t fit the early- to mid-50’s era look that I long to recreate. And mostly, both the cabinets and the fridge make great individual “statements”, but combining them sort of diminishes both, if you get my drift. To really do justice to that fridge, though, I would need to trade in my Mortons and get a set with flat fronts and go for the built-in look with soffits and everything. If the Retro Gods would bring me a left-hinged early-50’s fridge with lazy-susan shelves, I’d snap it up and sell the brown fridge, but it seems those left-hinged ones are about one in a hundred, or thousands of miles away….no luck so far.
I suppose I’ll have to choose between them, but which to give up (and find more appropriate versions of), and which to keep?!?! So, the question is….is it possible to live in two different eras in the same kitchen??? If you have time to consider my conundrum, I’d really appreciate your advice…. and I’d LOVE for you to post it and draw on all that creative energy from your readers. I drool over the photos of the gorgeous vintage COORDINATED kitchens on this site. I don’t want my own kitchen to fall short if I can help it.
“I’m at my wit’s end…” Yup. That’s where Retro Renovating gets us all, at one point or another, Laura. So happy you wrote in. I love your question, because it underscores that there were numerous waves of “mid century” and “mid century modern.” Not one look, but a variety of looks that evolved over the “mid century era,” which most historians bookend from 1946-1963. In fact, your Mortons, I’d say, are quintessentially late-1940s… while your fridge is quintessential early 60s (the GE experts on this site — Patrick? — will know right away.) So, your question neatly juxtaposes “the beginning” and “the end”. Oh and Laura: 18 months to collect your cabinets? A vintage stove (Chambers?) in the pickup truck? YOU GO, GIRL!
Readers: What do you think?
Matchy matchy mid mod? Or mix and match mid mod mad? I’ll pipe in tomorrow after reading your comments — which always give me new things to think about!