Home > Uncategorized > 1959 Was a Very Good Year - For Kitchens!

1959 Was a Very Good Year - For Kitchens!

My friend Bill Inge knows that I am trying to finish a book on Penniman, Virginia and yet today, he threw a real monkey wrench into the works. He lent me a 54-year-old book titled, “Better Homes and Gardens; Kitchen Ideas.”

Turquoise refrigerators, canary yellow cabinets, stainless steel countertops, pink built-in ranges - who could possibly gaze upon these gorgeous mid-century miracles and then look away!

Not I!

So this afternoon, instead of reading dusty old newspaper articles or scholarly tomes on WW1 munitions plants, I sat down and read this 1959 publication cover to cover.

And my oh my, these were gorgeous kitchens.

Take a look for yourself!

And many thanks to Bill Inge for sharing this treasure with me (I think)!  :D

To read about my very own “Atomic Kitchen” click here!

*

The publication Mr. Inge brought over is titled - innocuously enough - Kitchens

The publication Mr. Inge shared is titled - innocuously enough - "Kitchen Ideas." It should be titled, "How to spend 4.5 hours grinning from ear to ear whilst looking at pretty, pretty pictures of old kitchens."

*

Wow

This is artwork in architecture. I have one word: Wow

*

Wow

Dad eats potato chips while the children play with arsenic-laden Lincoln Logs on an asbestos floor. Their next stop was to go sample some of the lead paint on the home's exterior. And the coup de grace would be drinking water right out of the garden hose. The best part is, little Jimmy there probably washed his hands less than once a month, and played with sticks and dirt most of the time. And he'll probably live to be 117.

*

WYlloe

In the 1950s, we gave ourselves permission to enjoy bold colors. I love the yellow and red. And notice the wallpaper - it's gold and black. Just stunning. I'm not sure what that appliance next to the sink is, but I really want one.

*

Se

Yes, the original caption says all this magic was created with spray paint.

*

Www

Check out the lighting over Betty Crocker's head. And again - look at these colors. Pink and deep green.

*

Wow

Yellow and Robin's Egg Blue with pink accents (see the phone and curtains). So pretty. When did we decide that it was a good idea to have "industrial-looking kitchens" in our home? This kitchen exudes warmth, beauty and comfort.

*

E

I'm not even a fan of green, but this kitchen is stunning. Stainless steel counters, and yet it has a copper pendant light fixture. And the wicker furniture is a nice touch too.

*

Wow

A pink kitchen. And with red accents. Visual poetry. If I were a gazillionaire, I'd throw money at some smart contractor and have this kitchen re-created in my own home. And it has a built-in dishwasher, too.

*

My favorite:

My #1 favorite: A purple kitchen. Words fail me.

*

To read about my own “Atomic Kitchen,” click here.

To learn more about the book that I should be writing, click here.

*       *       *

  1. May 9th, 2014 at 17:36 | #1

    OMG! A PURPLE kitchen :) My FAVORITE color in my least favorite room!

    I might actually take up cooking if I had a purple kitchen like that. And for the right man I would even wear a pencil skirt and high heels while doing so. LOL

  2. bfish
    May 9th, 2014 at 22:49 | #2

    Love it, especially the green and purple kitchens and your comments about the “deadly hazards”.

    My family moved to a 1929 Mediterranean Revival house in 1961 — the kitchen was pretty recent so probably predated your book by a few years.

    The cabinets were pine and there was a built-in desk with, to the right, a cabinet that held a wastebasket. There was a hole in the countertop so you could deposit trash readily while keeping it hidden from view.

    We also had a separate cook top and built-in griddle — Thermador, which impressed my parents.

    It was a very cool and functional kitchen, but unfortunately us kids were the dishwashers!

    Actually, I’m very drawn to industrial style kitchens (this was “in” in the mid 70s) — in feel they aren’t that much different than plain and simple 50s metal cabinets.

  3. Dale Wolicki
    May 9th, 2014 at 23:41 | #3

    So when the folks at Lincoln Logs call and say “you’ll be hearing from our attorney…”

  4. May 9th, 2014 at 23:56 | #4

    Is it a common thing to have the kitchen sink in front of a window?

  5. May 10th, 2014 at 05:52 | #5

    Ah, it was just the OLD Lincoln Logs that had traces of arsenic. :D

  6. Dale Haynes
    May 10th, 2014 at 17:27 | #6

    @ Sue - where else would you put the sink.

    Ours is not under a window and I hate it. We will have it under when we restore our kitchen.

  7. Laura (So Ca)
    May 12th, 2014 at 01:06 | #7

    OMG, I LOVE these kitchens. They could not be more cheery. If our home had a kitchen like this, I would have left it alone. We went chocolate cabinets (glass inserts on top) , granite and LG SS appliances. I actually like these kitchens better.

    As far as the pencil skirt and stilettos comment, Rachel, it’s bad enough trying to maintain a figure (after 50), and always dealing with the 10 lb issue.

    I wish I was in the shape to wear lingerie. Cooking in lingerie would exclude the kitchen. LOL

    BFish, we had our trash receptable built-into a cabinet (that pulled out) and it was located between the stove and fridge. We had it in our former residence and hidden trash is so much better.

    The countertop hole sounds interesting, but doesn’t seal odors.

  8. Laura (So Ca)
    May 12th, 2014 at 18:09 | #8

    We tossed all our globe fixtures out with our remodel. I didn’t know pendant lights were ‘in” back then.

    Our globe fixtures were on never cleaned (filthy) brass chains.

    The worm wood on the walls, we tore down in their original strips, fetched $200 on CraigsList.

    I just love these kitchens. We lived in a rental with metal cabinets between homes (housing bubble nightmare) and they weren’t very practical.

    They held up poorly from their circa 1961 origin. Just goes to show, pictures and reality sometimes have a degree of separation.

  9. bfish
    May 16th, 2014 at 10:14 | #9

    @Laura (So Ca)
    Ha, Laura, but the uncovered hole served a real purpose — it made it easier to toss things in the garbage with no moving parts in the way.

    Next to the trash can hole on the top of the built-in desk was the Kleenex dispenser.

    I made frequent use of this — when we had toast (ugh, white bread) for breakfast I’d eat as much as I could stand, then palm the rest, excuse myself from the breakfast room table saying I needed to blow my nose, grab a Kleenex, fake nose blow, wrap up the toast securely to avoid detection, and drop it into that hole.

    This was one of the few “bad” things I did that my parents didn’t catch onto.

    Years later my brother, sister and I shared our disliked food disposal tricks/secrets with one another — each of ours had been unknown to the others — and literally laughed until we cried and couldn’t laugh any longer.

  10. Laura (So Ca)
    May 22nd, 2014 at 13:18 | #10

    bfish

    LOL Great story! I now “get it”.

    I don’t know your age, but I had my 18th anniversary of my 39th B-day recently, and I’m frequently visiting my way back machine.

    We don’t normally eat gluten, but I was caving Fish Sticks the other day, and OMG, did I enjoy them.

    I ate some Mango for some quick Enzymes, and I survived it.

  11. Dana
    June 7th, 2014 at 20:52 | #11

    Just today I bought an American Home mag from July 1960 that features purple in some of the décor articles and they considered it to be quite “on trend” at that time.

    The purple kitchen is really to die for and also apparently signaled a trend as well. So fascinating, and beautiful!

  12. Kerry
    June 10th, 2014 at 22:39 | #12

    @Sue - No one wants to work at the sink and stare at a wall two feet in front of them.

    I have never bought a home that didn’t have a window over the kitchen sink. A deal-breaker for me :)

  13. June 11th, 2014 at 09:36 | #13

    My thoughts, too, Kerry!!! When I stood at the sink of my brick ranch (where I live now) I gazed out the double windows and saw the prettiest little piece of Lake Whitehurst, alive with ducks and geese and cormorants.

    That’s a big part of what sold me on the house - the view from the kitchen window!

  14. Shari D.
    June 11th, 2014 at 14:28 | #14

    @Sue ~ putting the kitchen sink under a window as a normal part of kitchen design goes back probably to the 20’s.

    It was about then that finding the sink there began to be the regular part of placement according to the numerous vintage home designs I have seen.

    In the 50s “post war new suburb” days, the kitchen sink was always placed under the window in order to allow Mother to have an almost constant view of the children playing outside, whether it was in a front-yard-facing or back-yard-facing kitchen, because that’s where Mother was assumed to spend about 2/3 of her day - in the kitchen!

    In the newest suburban designs, a la Levittown, the kitchens and their requisite window over the sink were front-facing to accommodate the common custom of children playing out in front from their previous urban roots of playing in the streets and on the sidewalks.

    Also, the newest homes were situated on brand new “yards” which were mostly muddy out back, with very tender seedlings of newly seeded yards and tiny shrubbery which would not stand up well to the rough play of children, the side yards were very small also, so “front of the house” play was more the norm.

    Later on, backyard play took over, and the kitchens and their windows over the sink went to the back of the house.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Additional comments powered by BackType