Probably no room in the home did more to define the 1950's decade than the kitchen. Remember the Kitchen of Tomorrow? Why wasn't there a den, a bedroom, or even a livingroom of Tomorrow?
And all the gadgetery dreampt up! Go to any fleamarket or antique store and you'll find 10 times more kitchen related items than any other.
Our house lost it's essential 50's-ishness in the kitchen only ten years ago (sigh). After 40 years Mom wanted an update, so out went the original maple wood cabinetry, the built-in yellow-enamel stove and built-in yellow-enamel oven. The photos below show the identical pink units still in place next door at (formerly) Grandma's house. The formica countertop is vintage too.
The first thing to go was the old kitchen table from the 70's. The search was tedious, but my efforts paid off - as seen below. Swanky and very hip-happening! Charcoal formica top with chrome strip edging, black tapered legs and pink vinyl upholstery all perfectly packaged into a stylish yet comfortable feel. This set by Daystrom was listed by the seller as being of 60's vintage, though I've seen the same group offered as far back as 1953 in one publication. Daystrom was among the most productive manufacturers of mid century metal dinette sets such as this.
Meet my very modest, yet happening Plywood chair. Manufacturer, unknown. Very basic and plain in construction, except for the set of very stylish cast aluminum legs. This chair was a cast-off saved from the garbage bin (thank goodness!)
Sometimes your best finds are free for the taking.
Time to bring out some Eames-era furnishings from storage. I began collecting (okay, hording) Mid-Century-Modern-Atomic-Retro items back before they came into such demand again, and never quite got over it. The good side is much of it that I got cheap requires a good sized price tag now. The down side is a couple of pieces suffered from a leaky roof. Regardless, it was like getting re-aquainted with old friends again.
Here we are. A lot has happened since our own little piece of ticky-tacky was built back in 1958. Mom and dad moved in to a still-unfinished, built-to-order single story, 3-bedroom ranch house, along with my brother and sis. At the time the neighborhood was so new the roads weren't even paved... not to mention some other utilities.
But, my parents were young and filled with the enthusiasm of the age. Dad was a commercial artist working 9-5, of limited means but modern-design concious and Mom was the homemaker 24/7. In many ways, our family was much like what you'd see idealized on television at the time.
At this same time, our grandparents moved in to an almost identical house just next door. I remember both homes filled with products from the Fifties when I was very young. Dad appreciated the fine lines of modern design (after all, he was an artist!). We had shelving on one wall of the livingroom for the hi-fi and television, tiled walls in the bath and pastel colors on the walls. The house was decorated modern-with-that-colonial touch. Walnut finishes. Oval twill rugs. Wood & metal geese scupture flew across our wall. Paintings everywhere done by Dad. Sling chairs outdoors.
My Grandparent's house on the otherhand was Very Early 50's modern, with a few modest splashes of kitsch here and there. Grandma collected Japanese-influence housewares. The livingroom indulged a sculpted beige wall-to-wall carpet, an aqua-color leather lounge chair accompanied by a pole lamp with built-in table, and a large counsel tv. The kitchen showcased a Scandinavian table & 3-legged chair set and a stylish pink built-in oven and stove. And the bath was always in pink. I'll associate that color with bathrooms to this day!
Today, both homes have seen a lot of changes (dad was an avid remodellor), they hold innumeral memories, and they are still in the family. After my parents' passing I wanted to bring back the entire house somewhat back to the age it was born in. I have some work to do!