Back in the day, the salesman selling steel kitchen cabinets would actually come to your house. He would carry with him a briefcase. Inside: An entire kit full of little kitchen cabinets that could be assembled to create the kitchen of Mrs. America’s dreams. In the very early days of my research to recreate my vintage kitchen, I scored a Republic Steel Kitchen salesman’s kit on ebay — and it’s extra special, because it includes the large, full-color, spiral bound ‘easel brochure’ — 34 pages! — too. I can’t believe I never showed this wonderful steel kitchen cabinet salesman’s kit on the blog before — it’s fantastic!Heck yeah there is more →
Note: Click on photos to enlarge for better color scrutiny!
From all the advertising material that I own, it appears that kitchen cabinetry was mostly white into the early 50s. Until then, ‘white’ still communicated “sanitary” – which was very important. But… we made it through that phase of kitchen concerns, and in the mid-50s, “exuberance” kicked in big time — giving us flamboyantly colored cars — and kitchen cabinets, too. The trend continued well into the 60s, when wood including natural finishes conquered. But that’s another story for another day. I promise.
I’m posting several photos of beautifully colored 50s to early 60s kitchens. A couple of things to note:
- Notice how it’s not the just the colors that are unique — but also the way they are combined. For example, in the blue kitchen above, we get a green-yellow (chartreuse even) sink.
- In addition to the colors I show here, also pick up the print version of the Sherwin-Williams Suburban Modern palette for interiors (also shown thumbnail above). For cabinets I love the: Pinky Beige, Appleblossom, Sunbeam Yellow, Holiday Turquoise and Chartreuse. If you want to repaint your white cabinets — and for trim — use the Porcelain. This is a palette that never stops pleasing and must be a key part of your mid century renovation arsenal! I recommend getting it in print, because my scanner and all our computers can only do so much re: actual color resolution.
- Finally, remember that there are plenty of examples of mix-and-match color schemes. That is, one color on the base cabinets, another usually but not always ‘lighter’ color on the wall cabinets. This was particularly true the later you go, and really, you can see the idea in many kitchens of the period if you count the countertop as a major color element …. lots of contrast … and embrace of color!
Today’s addition to my Retro Renovation Encyclopedia of Vintage Steel Kitchen Cabinets is a pretty rare brand — Berloy Steel Kitchen Cabinets. My catalog is dated 1940, which makes these Berloy cabinets early birds — and stay tuned — these Berloys are just the first of three names for cabinets made by the same company. The Berloy design — with its inset drawers and doors — clearly peg it as a precursor to the big (overlay door style) post-WWII boom in steel kitchen cabinets. Heck yeah there is more →
One of my goals for 2019 is to work diligently at filling out The Retro Renovation® Encyclopedia of Vintage Steel Kitchen Cabinets. I have about 85 brands identified, and now the question is, do I have catalogs for all of them? I may well, and here’s a first set of uploads to share, for: Berger Steel Cabinets, made by the Berger Manufacturing Division of Republic Steel Corporation, Canton 5, Ohio. There’s a price list with a notation suggesting this catalog is from 1949.Heck yeah there is more →