1980s Provence style kitchen with apothecary drawers – 13 photos

apothecary drawerI think this is the first story on the blog truly celebrating something that is 1980s style — which is not always and oxymoron. At this weekend’s Berkshire’s estate sale of the year, it was love at first site for this 1980s kitchen that Dear Husband (DH) and I are guessing is what was part of the 80s megetrend of Provence style kitchens. In particular: adoration goes to the random incorporation of week-front base cabinet drawers decorated to mimic antique apothecary drawers. Okay, someone correct me if this is 1970s, or 1990s style, or if it’s not Provence, or if it’s not apothecary…  Timeline notwithstanding, Rose Pink et.al. by any other name would smell as sweet. Click on through for 12 more photos –>

1980s kitchen provence styleJust to get you situated, here is a longer angle on the kitchen. As you can see, the cabinets are basic white wood, slab door style. The backsplash are what I’d normally call a Delft style tile, but I think this also was considered French: Provence, Provencal, provincial — I thinks these terms are all considered one in the same and mean “from the region of Provence” but even more generically, “from the country-side. Of course, we see French Provincial style a lot throughout the 1960s. The Provence style kitchen were all the rage in the 80s and 90s. HELP! Am I right with this timeline?

apothecary drawers in a 1980s kitchenSame drawer (it’s one, not three) as in the first photo. In a followup visit to this estate, I discovered that the wood countertop above this drawer hinged upward from the back — so, if you wanted to get into the drawer directly from adjacent countertop, you could. I don’t know why you’d want to design it this way, but it was cool nonetheless.

apothecary drawer in a provence style kitchen

I think the simplicity of this kitchen is just wonderful. These drawers are an inspiration.

French apothecary drawers in a provence style kitchen
Who speaks French? What are the translations? Any wood experts out there? What is the wood – cherry?

The patina of the drawers is just lovely. Keep your patina, peoples!

apothecary drawersDetail shot so you can see the apothecary drawers are affixed to the base cabinet drawer/box. I kind of wonder if the drawer fronts are true antiques. This was the house of extremely wealthy people. They had beautiful, eclectic, well-traveled taste. They could easily have devised this.

hinges on 1980s kitchen cabinetsI tried to get a shot of the hinges on the base cabinet drawers. I think you call these “piano hinges.” It could well be there were custom made on site?

More construction detail. What do you think? Custom made?

apothecary drawersIf these drawer fronts were salvaged for an antique apothecary cabinet, then these narrower drawers would be have been on the upper part of the original cabinet…

stainless steel sink in a 1980s kitchenI don’t recall ever seeing this style of stainless steel sink – but then, I haven’t gone to look for it. It fills the space from the front apron all the way to the backsplash… and is integrated flat with the laminate countertops. Hmmm. I still think that if you’re going to go stainless — and to be sure, if you have this kind of room — get one with a drainboard, or two.

sub zero refrigerator in a 1980s kitchenSub Zero, doing its thing in the ’80s, same as today.  I have the side-by-side Sub Zero — pretty much the identical same styling cues, and the same appliance white color as this vintage model — in my kitchen. Today, these things cost as much as a used car. In fact, I chose to put off replacing my clunker for a few years so I could splurge on my fridge. See more vintage Sub Zero advertising here.

jenn-air range top

They had a Jenn-Air range top. The built-in double oven was Thermador. Sorry I did not take even more photos of this lovely space. I have to admit, my head was spinning with all the estate sale frenzy going on around me.

  1. Just another Pam says:

    My first choice would be laminate though after a multiple month unbelievable series of unfortunate events I went with concrete. I really like it as I live alone but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a family. Not to say a family couldn’t be happy with it but it would have driven me mad when I had one.

    I read an article once about how many people decorate their home for resale even when they do no intent to sell so I think everyone should do what makes them happy and if other people don’t care for it, c’est la vie. I forgot that in parts of my reno and regret it.

  2. Just another Pam says:

    Hi Bill,

    Invisible or European hinges were a product of the 50’s/60/s in Europe though I’d bet Ikea gets a lot of the credit for helping them spread through North America. My parents were amazed by them when we first moved to Germany in the early 60’s but I didn’t see them again ’til Ikea came into my life in the early ’80’s. Still find them hard to adjust but that could just be me…maybe?

  3. Patty says:

    I think some people justify spending big money on their kitchens by say ing they are dong it for resale value. It’s their money, they don’t have to answer or justify spending the money to anyone. Do what you like because it will all go out of style some day any way.

  4. BungalowBILL says:

    Yes, I should have said American technology. The European hinges were very expensive at the time. I had to settle for “knife hinges” which had little slits cut into the frame of the door so only a tiny bit of hinge was visible.

  5. Elaine says:

    I have the same Jenn Air cooktop. The glass part wore out on one side so I replaced it with the cast iron. Since I have electric anyway, the time between heat up and cool down isn’t that bad. I use a wire star on the burner for when I want to cool down quicker, it lifts the pot up a little. I believe the original Jenn Air is early 80s, the cast iron part was early 90s.

  6. Elaine says:

    The names on the drawers are botanical names of plants that have medicinal properties, so from an old time herbal pharmacy.

    E. Sapon = Euscaphis Saponica (aka Japonica). The Korean Sweetheart Tree from Japan

    Aloe Cap might refer to Aloe Vera Capsules

    Gelatine was used for making capsules

  7. JamieK says:

    Joe, thanks for sharing so much of that knowledge! The pastry area is so interesting to me….although it would be unused in my kitchen, LOL. Pam a quick google search for some of the words came back with a myriad of links that definitely should have been censored! haha, so not sure which language it is. I think the kitchen is interesting, even if my tastes fall into the 1940s era, it’s a very interesting mixture of functionality. I can imagine being lost wandering through an estate sale and then checking out all the items and spaces….sounds like a great way to spend a weekend!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jordanna says:

    The apothecary drawers would be interesting in a steampunk design, especially with the brass labels. Are we allowed to talk about steampunk on this site, Pam? 😉

    I know my sister daydreams about a serious apothecary cabinet with myriad tiny drawers for spices and teas. And really it seems like I’ve seen sillier organizational tricks in kitchens.

    I apply the wardrobe rule to my own colour schemes – I don’t wear blue so I don’t decorate with blue because I don’t look good in blue – but Delft has a wonderfully timeless classic look to it when used correctly. And certainly it goes with MANY vintage styles and collectibles.

  9. Sally J says:

    Olivia, you’re a girl after my own heart! I HATE all the fake stuff that people are so easily sold on! Too many people don’t bother to do their own, unbiased, research before plunking their hard earned cash for plastic windows, siding, fencing, etc. Nothing lasts “forever,” despite what all the salesmen tell you. This definitely includes plastic,

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