Buckle up, readers. Here is one of the most beautiful, glowy, dreamy vintage kitchens yet, and the story is still unfolding. This 1956 kitchen — with top-of-the-line St. Charles steel cabinets, in a soft gray with aquamarine countertops — first appeared on our metal kitchen cabinet buy/sell Forum (now defunct). Bonnie listed the cabinets for sale. She recently bought this house — a gorgeous c. 1900 Southern Victorian near Nashville — and she is going to create a 1900s-era kitchen for it. Within days of the listing, reader Pam snapped them up, with plans to put them into a house she recently purchased. Stunned by these beautiful photographs, I got permission to feature them from real estate agent Starling Davis and from Showcase Photographers. I also was connected to the original owner — Mrs. Starling Davis, mother of the real estate agent — who lived in this home for 50 years, from 1956 until a few years ago — and who, with her husband, had the kitchen designed and installed.
Mrs. Davis told me that when her family bought the house, it was a shambles. They renovated the entire home, including putting these grey St. Charles cabinets, aqua countertops, and turquoise stove into the kitchen. She said that her husband is the one who knew about St. Charles. He asked to put these in. The wallpaper and flooring as shown, is original. Mrs. Davis says the gray has a “touch of pink” in it. The cabinets are in perfect shape, except for a small gash in one place.
The side-by-side refrigerator, Mrs. Davis says, came later. She believes it was the first modern side-by-side available. Her husband bought it as a surprise — and he had it painted soft gray to match the cabinets before installing it.
Please, readers: No woe-is-me’s that Bonnie is not keeping the kitchen (I will expeditiously edit/delete such comments). I totally understand her desire to create a period-authentic 1900s kitchen. We are so happy she chose to list the cabinets on our Forum — and that an RR reader, Pam, snapped them up! Good retro karma! Thank you, Bonnie!
All the photos above are of the kitchen and the adjacent breakfast room. What else can I say? Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Now, the four stunning bathrooms also installed in 1956:
This ivory-yellow bathroom, with its ivory colored fixtures, was Mrs. Davis’ bathroom. I marveled with her about how “glowy” this room was — she credits the wallpaper. Exquisite taste. This takes my breath away. I’ll even take it over Mamie pink. Gasp! Yes!
Beige tile, Mrs. Davis says. Notice how they did the shower entry — they tiled up three tiles before mounting the shower door. Louver doors again on the vanity. Hexes on the floors, as in the ladie’s bath and the blue bath coming up. Mrs. Davis says the fixtures are Crane. In her bathroom, though, they are American-Standard.
Blue bathroom. There Is Nothing Wrong About Tiling Your Bathroom Countertop. Wallpaper = yes. Peek into the hall to see the louver closet doors. I am going to do a follow-up story on this room alone, there are numerous design secrets within that Mrs. Davis told me about.
Even though the foreground of this photo reads blue, this is a very soft green tile, Mrs. Davis says. With a pink sink (remember Nora’s time capsule pink and blue bathroom?) Metallic wallpaper…. towel rings with bows on top… a little tile-in nook shelf above the vanity… a door with applied trim…. and teensy mosaic tiles — on the floor. This is the most amazing house ever.
Thanks again to Mrs. Starling Davis for talking to me about this house… to realtor Starling Davis, to Dan Raper of Showcase Photographers for permission to feature the photos, and to reader Bonnie and Pam, for helping with this story. Guess what? More to come.