Meara’s “before” kitchen was actually just fine, with that can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it O’Keefe and Merritt range and neutral cabinets, countertops and flooring. That said, it wasn’t the stunner she wanted for her 1955 midcentury modern house built by the prolific Ernest Pierson. The solution? A cost-conscious refresh using Youngstown steel kitchen cabinets headed to the dump, boomerang laminate countertops and a remnant piece of real linoleum flooring. The “after”: Much more than just fine — Meara’s kitchen is adorable. Heck yeah there is more →
“…Ironically, it would be loaded on to a rail car and shipped back by rail to Ohio. Probably the same way it was shipped from Ohio to California 70 years ago.” — Ben Casado
When we broke the story last fall that a complete set of New Old Stock 1948 Youngstown Kitchens cabinets — plus Cusheen countertops — plus GE Airliner range — had been found in storage in California, many of us agreed it should end up in a museum. And guess what: It did! A reader of the blog started a campaign to buy it… the local TV news picked up the story… and overnight, donors came forward. Now: These cabinets are back home in their native land, Youngstown, Ohio, on display at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center. Heck yeah there is more →
What was inside all the boxes?
We now get to see!
Close your eyes. Imagine it’s 1948. You recently ordered a big set of Youngstown Steel Kitchen cabinets. The delivery truck has just arrived. The delivery men tote the big boxes into your garage. They begin to open them up. You are so excited!Heck yeah there is more →
Poking around my vintage marketing materials last week, I bumped into yet another counter top material used in post-World-War II kitchens. I have a complete Youngstown Kitchen salesman set, and in the presentation binder, Mrs. America got a look at “Cusheen” vinyl counter tops, available in 10 colors. Heck yeah there is more →
Six+ years of blogging the retro, and this is the first time we’ve ever seen one of these: A Youngstown Kitchens hutch. Spotted for sale on our Forum. Yes, apparently this was a purpose-built design — not something cobbled together. Reason we think so: The decorative back splash of the hutch is steel — yes, the part that is painted out to look like tile and which sports the Youngstown label. This is a great little piece of steel kitchen cabinet history.
Finishing up my Youngstown Kitchens 1957 mini-series, here is their Monterey line. The unique selling proposition of this line: Sandalwood-colored steel base cabinets and doors…. with wall cabinets with Sandalwood-stained wooden doors on steel bases. Reading through this marketing material I see: Industry concern about color fatigue, oh no! “Give us a color we can live with for years” and “that goes with everything,” consumers asked, Youngstown explained. Again…as we’ve discussed before…the move away from enamel-painted steel, which was difficult to repaint (and likely getting more expensive), to wood cabinetry (which was easier to re-paint and also had the “furniture look” of adjoining spaces”, was under way. Heck yeah there is more →
Following up on our recent look at Erika’s St. Charles kitchen that combined wood doors with steel kitchen cabinet frames — here is my vintage marketing material introducing Youngstown Kitchen’s Woodcharm line. Looks like the year of introduction was 1957. And there were four wood species to choose from, for the door: “Mrs. Homemaker will love the warm, blending, tones of these lovely wood finished species of Autumn Birch, Fruitwood, Sandalwood, and Honeywood.”Heck yeah there is more →
Several readers have asked about color combo’s for their yellow kitchens, including what I thought of a turquoise/aquamarine floor. Hey – this works fine, don’t you think? Aquamarine actually has more yellow than blue in it. And how about the pink walls – including the butterfly wallpaper.
This 1957 Youngstown kitchen has such a California look to me…the sky blue, the wall of windows. To be sure, the California design aesthetic took on new importance in postwar America. It was not until then — when incredible growth occurred on the west coast due to ramping up for the Pacific theater conflict — that California really came on the map as a U.S. economic center. Here are some tips from this sunny naval nautical kitchen:
- The wall of windows looks out to a patio. In reference to this fact and to play up the view, the designer painted this wall all white. Kind of “blanked it out” so what you see and feel is ‘window.’
- The accent color in this kitchen is kind of a warm coral-tinged brown. Warms up the cool blue of the cabinets.
- The vertical Venetian blinds mirror the stripes of the wallpaper and also play up the view. Over the last few decades we have been so focused on horizontal blinds in our U.S. decorating. Maybe it’s time to go back to giving well executed verticals consideration.
- The windows above the cabinets make a huge difference. Again, though, I acknowledge this is a very modern, west coast look — and not so good for cold climes where we need to stay warm.
- The countertop appears to be pretty neutral. Moreover — notice how the backsplash extension of the countertop appears to be a shiny chrome. This was done.
- Clearly the vertically striped wallpaper is a huge statement. Appears to be a dark navy rather than black – part of a progression from the light blue of the cabinets… to the medium dark blue of the floor.
- Putting wood on the top of the soffit here was a Great Touch that, along with the accessories, keeps your eye dancing around the room.
- They used stainless steel appliances and a white sink, looks great. Note, though, that the dishwasher is blue – maintaining an unbroken line of blue along the base cabinets, and ensuring a ‘grounded’ feel; I really prefer this to introducing white or SS and did it this way in my kitchen.
- The lighting fixture above the table has vertical black line detailing in the globe – mimicking the wallpaper and blinds. It’s little touches like these that truly take a kitchen over the top in terms of design success.
- Wood table. Great. Warms up the kitchen.
- Floor – a medium dark blue, again grounding the kitchen and providing the right level of counterpoint/balance to the strong wallpaper.
I realize – these are ‘advertising’ kitchens. But I find them chock-full of great tips anyway, as designers thought so carefully through each and every detail. Redone your kitchen lately? I certainly found that when I did, weighing the details quickly became an obsession — so much so, that it led to this blog! Great to have designers help us through potential landmines.
If you have the time, take a look at other flashback kitchen designs: