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Never used! A 1960s harvest gold kitchen for sale in Worcester, Mass.

harvest-gold-kitchen--2harvest gold kitchenWhen I announced that Harvest Gold was Retro Renovation’s 2014 Color of the Year, I asked readers to be on the lookout for harvest gold kitchens for our archive. I’ve received many emails — thanks, all! — but this one is particularly notable: Robin spotted a virtually unused harvest gold kitchen — complete with cabinets and all appliances — including a harvest gold refrigerator and dishwasher — for sale at the ReStore in Worcester, Mass.
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I do not believe this kitchen is from 1963, as advertised. We did not see gold colors like this on kitchen appliances until 1968. And this one — with the shadowing around the edges: I’ll guess a few years later. In any case — what a fun find! 

Robin wrote:

Hi Pam,

You said you were looking for some harvest gold appliances? I live in Worcester, MA, and I’ve taken some awesome photos of a complete and UNUSED harvest gold kitchen from 1963 that our Restore in Worcester has for sale. It’s a full suite of harvest gold wooden kitchen cabinets, harvest gold GE fridge and Kitchen Aid dishwasher. A chrome Westinghouse wall oven and cook top with NuTone range hood, stainless steel sink, and a brown/pink Wilsonart boomerang countertop and back splash with metal trim for the whole thing. They even have the original fluorescent ceiling fixture/light. The kitchen came out of a house in Worcester, and the Restore folks said it was a second kitchen in a finished basement that the owners had never used. They even have the manuals for the appliances! It photographs beautifully because it’s not in pieces… they have it all staged as a room (IKEA style, if you’ve ever been). They even have a little 70’s era kitchen table and fondue set in front of it, and a teapot on the stove! Super cute.

Thanks for your blog!

-Robin

harvest-gold-kitchen--12Thank you, Robin! It is so great to see the Worcester ReStore celebrating this kitchen for what it is — having fun and playing it up, rather than apologizing for it.

harvest-gold-kitchen--7Above: Interesting that the boomerang laminate countertop does not seem to have any gold or even avocado in it. I wonder — if this was for a basement kitchen — if the homeowners just chose “what they liked” rather than trying to be matchy matchy decorator-like.

harvest-gold-kitchen--3From what I *think* I now about old refrigerators, the one above likely is an energy hog. The key to high energy usage on old fridges: Does the freezer have automatic defrosting? If so, that’s what uses so much energy — the freezer compressor is turning off and on all the time to repeatedly defrost. Old refrigerator-freezers that DO NOT have automatic defrost may not use excessive energy. The only true test: Put it on a meter; don’t assume.

harvest-gold-kitchen--4Stainless steel wall oven. Yes: We do see stainless steel used on vintage appliances including all the way back to the 1950s.

harvest-gold-kitchen--5These old dishwashers were absolute WORK HORSES!

harvest-gold-kitchen--6harvest-gold-kitchen--8

Above: Sexy controls, even.

harvest-gold-kitchen--9Above: A classic “Circline” ceiling fixture. Throws a lotta light, I bet!

harvest-gold-kitchen--11

harvest-gold-kitchen--13

Thank you, Robin. I live only an hour and a half from Worcester. If I were a decorator with a warehouse, I’d drive on over and snap these up for sure for a future project. However, I’d probably try to deal re: price. It’s hard to fit someone else’s kitchen into yours… the refrigerator likely uses a lot of energy… and despite my adoration of vintage colors, it’s going to take a special buyer to understand and embrace this kitchen.

Slide show of harvest gold kitchen

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  1. Diane says:

    Thanks for your reply Louis. My current dishwasher is the kind that accepts a ‘panel’ so our carpenter made one to blend into our cabinetry (1929 kitchens had no dishwashers.) Since there are other appliances that accept ‘panels’ (like a new fridge) I thought maybe – somehow- the lovely harvest gold front (or any similarly sized retro front) could be used to achieve the ‘look’ whilst gaining efficiency. (My current home is Craftsman but my next may be Mid-Century!)

  2. Valerie says:

    The 1978 house my parents purchased in the mid 1980’s has a trash compacter (harvest gold, no less). The key is to be careful what you put in it in order to avoid smell. Anything potentially smelly should go in the garbage disposal or compost.

    As Depression babies, my parents never threw away anything food except egg shells and peels. No plate scrapings. Those went into your mouth before leaving the table or were stored as leftovers for the next meal if off a serving dish! Shells and peels were put in a jar or plastic container with a tight lid until it was full to avoid attracting fruit flies, etc. Then they can go in the trash (on its way out the door) or compost heap.

    If all you have in the trash compacter is really paper waste and plastic wrappers and such, smell isn’t really a problem. As others have noted, cans and bottles go in the recycling bin anyway. It does take more thought than a regular trash can, and I don’t know that I personally would want one.

  3. Joe Felice says:

    I have never felt the inordinate desire to have a trash compactor, either. You are right about people who grew up during the depression–they wasted nothing. As a child, I had to clear my plate, or finish it the next day. We often had “left-overs,” or they went into the lunch box. (Remember those?) They and we didn’t have recycling, except for the Boy Scouts, who collected newspapers. Do you remember incinerators? We had those at the back of the yard by the alley. Every so often, someone would come by and empty them. (I assume it was the city. I recall that there was a company that would come and pick up what I called “slop,” for the hog farms. I know that we never had that-much trash, and it only needed to be picked up every-other week. What a difference from today! The amount of trash generated by most Americans is astounding! And kids’ eating left-overs or taking lunches–are you kidding? If people recycle religiously, as I do, there is actually little trash to be picked up. But sadly, most people do not recycle, and I often hear the remark “Oh, so I suppose you think you’re saving the planet.” As if I should feel guilty, whereas, in fact, I think they are the ones who feel guilty. (And they should!) We only have one planet, but we sure are doing a great job of ruining it by being so wasteful. But there is nothing that would ever change our mindset–not even another depression. Whenever I look back at what those people had to live through, it blows me away! I mean a dust bowl, followed by a depression, followed by a World War! Any of this would be imponderable to anyone born since those days. I am thrilled that we on this site recycle, repurpose and reuse so-many things. Keep up the good work!

  4. Mads says:

    We have one of those exact Kitchen Aid Imperial dishwashers. It’s not great, but it works just fine. And it’s 2014, meaning the dishwasher is 50 years old!! The comment about WORK HORSES is dead on.

  5. Ruth says:

    Wow, these photos bring back memories! My folks built a house in the mid-1960s when I was very young, and I remember that exact harvest gold fridge, as well as the stainless steel stove. I think the dishwasher was harvest gold too. That fridge had an automatic ice maker and, man, we thought we were uptown. LOL I think the wall oven was stainless steel and I know the big double sink was stainless steel. That was a fine kitchen for that day and time.

  6. Ruth says:

    P.S. Those appliances were not energy star rated (unheard of back then), but 1) energy was cheap, and 2) they were workhorses that typically lasted at least 30 years, often longer. Our washer and dryer were in a separate laundry room and I think they were just plain white. Hotpoint brand. I spent more time in there ironing than I care to remember. These days I don’t buy clothes which have to be ironed.

  7. Joe Felice says:

    You are correct on all points, Ruth. Those GE/Hotpoint appliances seemed to last forever. We got rid of them more because they went out of style or didn’t look modern any more, not because they didn’t work. And I remember spending lots of time ironing when getting ready to go out boogying on Friday & Saturday nights! Like you, I do not buy anything that isn’t perma-press these day, although I don’t think they still use that term. I do still have my steam iron which I bought in 1976, and I have a small, foldable ironing board, but they hardly ever get used.

  8. Karen says:

    Hi! I have been searching for months to find a Harvest Gold refrigerator in good working condition with ice maker. I am not having any luck finding anything that doesn’t look like it’s been through WW 3! I could drive about 100 miles if need be. I’m in the LA/OC Ca area. I would love it if anyone has seen one that looks great and works great. No used appliance stores carry the colored fridges. One even said if they come in they junk them! Eeee Gadddds! Oh, the humanity! No wonder I can’t find them. Help a girl out please? 🙂 Thank you! Karen

  9. Ralph Bender says:

    I am interested in the kitchen. Is it still available? The 2,500 harvest gold kitchen. If it still available please let me know and is the price negotiable?
    Thank You
    Ralph Bender

  10. pam kueber says:

    Ralph, we do not sell anything here. You need to refer to the story and look for the links (generally in blue, usually bolded) to the seller there.

  11. Louis Garcia says:

    The kitchen and all of its appliances are long gone to a collector in Canada. The Fridge, apparently, was the sole reason he wanted the kitchen and would have gladly paid the entire kitchen amount just for the fridge…The unit was very rare and not many of its vintage (c. 1968) are left in working order anywhere.
    This Kitchen is featured in a newly released indie film “Aimy in a Cage”. Check it out and thanks for the query!

  12. Kelly says:

    My house is currently all harvest gold & in working condition. I use my appliances daily as a matter of fact my oven is in near mint condition. If you would still like pictures let me know as I would love to share. My kitchen still has the original appliances that were used when the house was first built.

  13. ron ingram says:

    I just ran across your web site after I ordered a new clothes dryer to replace an almond, all-American work horse. It was at least 5 years old and maybe 10 when we bought it. I think we replaced a drive belt and possibly a timer once in our years of ownership. I use a magnet to latch the door, and my killed the lint screen by misuse a couple of years ago–the redesigned replacement screen is a poor fit and it contributes to a clogging exhaust duct on the roof. Between the screen and the door latch, we’re gonna retire it.

    Speaking of sturdy old appliances, there’s mention here of refrigerators that are expensive to run. Yeah, insulation and door seals improved years ago, and likely compressors are probably more efficient in the past few years. But their likely higher cost of operation is NOT caused by the on and off cycling of compressors. It was and is caused by the self defrost cycle itself. Refrigerators and freezers are NOT frost free. They’re self-defrosting. They actually heat up several times a day to melt ice before you notice it. frost-free freezers eliminate frost by raising the temperature inside the freezer a few times a day, from about 0 degrees to 32 degrees. Not only do they shut down cooling, but they use heating elements to warm the up several times a day. Like clothes dryers, the old ones last forever. Until very recently, i used to see several old fridges with cooling coils on top from the 30s or mid 40s. –They were that durable. They were over engineered.

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