Vintage GE kitchen cabinets installed with a modern twist — I love it!

Vintage GE steel kitchen cabinetsDo you love vintage steel kitchen cabinets, but want to use them in a more contemporary way? Well, consider this brilliant idea from my brother and sister-in-law, who recently completed a major gut-remodel renovation and restoration of a gorgeous mid-century modern house. The home has an attached guest room with its own entrance. For the kitchenette area, they used vintage GE steel kitchen cabinets original to the main house — and wrapped them in a “waterfall” of solid surface of countertop to bring them in line with the retro-contemporary design of the entire project. They even were able to tuck in a little refrigerator-freezer. I love it!

dbi_zodiaq_color-chip_coarse-carrara-690x345Above: The countertop is Zodiaq Course Carrara.

My brother asked me for an aqua color to repaint the cabinets. I pointed him the Sherwin-Williams Suburban Modern collection Holiday Turquoise. But, I see they lightened it up a bit. I didn’t get the full story on how they repainted the cabinets — I was there one day when I saw some of the painting going on — I think they went a cheap and cheerful route and just had their contractors prime and paint the selected cabinets one day when there was downtime between throwing boatloads of money at all the other gazillion issues. They had to gut remodel, because of so many structural issues that needed to be dealt with. The house is absolutely gorgeous. Professional photos to come, and my brother says I can show them on the blog!

Meanwhile, this little happy-happy from other family members who’ve been bit by the mid mod mad bug. 🙂

  1. Janet in ME says:

    Looking good! And I just love the floor! I have an original 54″ fluorescent lighted GE cabinet that would hang below the upper cabinets, with sliding glass doors. Alas, no matter what we did, it would not fit over our 40″ 1957 GE stove. I do so love metal cabinets. Can’t wait to see the rest of the house.

  2. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Lovely, lovely use of the old cabinets! The little kitchenette looks so welcoming with the little tea kettle and all. Congratulate your brother and sister-in-law and tell them to expect me next weekend. 🙂

  3. Carolyn says:

    My hobby is to peruse house ads. I often see that the steel cabinets came out of the kitchen and installed as the laundry area of the basement or the “shop” in the garage. Then the new owner doesn’t want to junk them but can’t “see” what to do with them, or some are still in pretty good shape but some…not so much. Even if you don’t have a guest area, these would be handy out in that garden shed that ultimately turns into a “she-shed”.
    Great idea to condense and make “retro” “contemporary” – again!

  4. pam kueber says:

    … Alas, I just might have to start hoarding more vintage cabinets so I can find places to do this.

    Ummm,,,, need a warehouse first though!

  5. Jay says:

    Very nice! Can’t wait to see the rest of the house. Like others, curious to know about the floor. I am planning on having VCT tile laid in my kitchen. Nice to see the MCM love spreading in the family.

  6. Kelly Montano says:

    I absolutely love how clean and cheerful the light turquoise cabinets look with the white solid surface! We have the same color scheme in our kitchen, but our walls are painted Aqua Pura by Behr and the cabinets are white. I would be curious to know what Sherwin Williams color they chose. We have also decided to go with white solid surface as well for a more contemporary look that my husband is more comfortable with (marriage is about compromise) :). I really like the Zodiaq Coarse Carrara and may have to get a chip to show him. Thanks for sharing Pam!

  7. Ann says:

    I’d like to see the turquoise cabinets. My house was built in 1955. The metal, turquoise cabinets have been painted white. I can see the turquoise in places where the white has worn off. I love the turquoise and would like to restore it. Any suggestions on how to remove the white without damaging the turquoise?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Ann, on issues like this I advice consulting with a professional, as there can be hazards in old materials such as and including paint. And yes, first-time comments go into moderation.

  8. Lisa Compo says:

    Very nice looking re-do, so clean and fresh. You’d never know how old those cabinets are, the mark of good quality we say. Congrats on a lovely job and design. Great reuse and restore.
    I have always had a hard time loving the GE cabinets because the uppers look funny to me. The OCD of me thinks they should have handles of some sort. LOL They look like something is missing. ..but this is MY oddity. The clean lines are nice in their own way. But, I don’t like fingerprints on things. 🙂
    My knick name for DH is Prints Charming, so I require handles. Hee hee
    Congrats to them, can’t wait for more photos. 🙂

  9. Helen Rubeo says:

    I bought my house in 1978. The kitchen had metal cabinets in a bronze tone (a GE kitchen.)
    I just loved the cabinets for all their characteristics. After a few years I had them sprayed white.
    After all these years, I still love them. I’m convinced that no new cabinets can hold a candle to these. The paperwork left by the original owners was 1964!!!!
    Oh, did I mention, the dishwasher that is still working, and does a fantastic job.!!!!!!
    It’s a true mid century kitchen (including the mint green counter tops) and it’s a shame that someone will tear the whole thing out someday.

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