Who has (or is planning) a vintage kitchen?

lavender_lassFebruary 13, 2012

I know there are some of us, who are planning a vintage kitchen. I'm not sure what era is considered vintage, retro, etc. but I was thinking more 1920s to 1950s...but earlier/later are fine, too.

Do you have any pictures of your finished kitchen? Ideas for the kitchen you're planning? Favorite accessories and any places to find them? Did you hunt around flea markets and antique stores or buy online?

I thought this might be a fun thread. Thanks in advance :)

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I'm not sure if mine would be considered vintage from a design standpoint...I was really trying to stay true to the simplicity of our 1870s house, situated in a village outside a small city in NY State. The kitchen was an addition, but probably long ago. We raised the ceiling to about 8' and the joists were covered in black soot from a coal fire long ago, so probably a much older addition. The existing cabs were from the 1950s with cherry veneer that had been recently painted blue.

We're doing only lower cabs, inset, that we painted yellow. A shelf above one cab wall, painted green. Limestone laminate countertops, white appliances, white stained wood floor, and then some modern elements...stainless single bowl sink and faucet, stainless range hood, stainless restaurant prep table as an island. Weathered brass cup pulls, handle pulls, and knobs for the cabs. I bought a brass and porcelain chandelier from Etsy that the seller had painted brown..I repainted some parts with colors from the kitchen.

I have some vintage colorful pyrex bowls from my mother-in-law, as well as a few other vintage cooking tools from my grandmother that will be on display (as well as used!). And looking at the weathervane rug from Garnet Hill for somewhere in the kitchen or adjoining breakfast room.

I also fell in love with some tiles I happened to see at a local tile shop, but I hadn't planned to tile so don't know if/where they will be used (linked below).

We should be moved back in over next weekend, but won't be decorated to the extent I'd like for a while. I can post more finished pics then.

Here's a sneak peek that I posted in 2LittleFishies "yellow" thread today:

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable/Fruit Tiles

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 4:10PM
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I know you don't want me in this thread.... :)

But funny you should ask, I AM planning a vintage kitchen!

This thread will be monitored for ideas. Can't wait.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Deedles- Your kitchen is one of the reasons I posted this thread! LOL

Hlove- I really like your yellow and green! That weathervane rug is cool, too. Think about the tiles...I love a tile backsplash. It gives you so many choices and they look so good, in a vintage kitchen :)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Our house is vintage- c. 1680. The current kitchen has site built cabinets from about 1951 that have been painted many colors over time - currently BM Nantucket Gray, hand painted blue and white tiles in the back splash and white laminated counters with wood trim and also antique pine countertops and wide pine floors. The issue is that we need to redo the floor plan. There is no vent for cooking and with increased power outages would love to have gas cooking. The current range is pushed up to a window that does not open- so will need to move it to another location or move the window (much more expensive and effects the symmetry of the windows from the exterior view). Hopefully someday (sooner - rather than later) - we will do a semi-unfitted kitchen that looks like it evolved over time - with soapstone and wood countertops. It is a tiny kitchen- probably the old buttery - and storage is a huge issue. In a perfect world I would have made the keeping room/den into the kitchen as it has a walk-in fireplace and wonderful raised field paneling but in the real world the location does not work. Long answer to your question - yes, we are planning a vintage kitchen...when life does not get in the way. (Houses of this age need constant attention - we just did a new roof last fall and the septic will be replaced in the Spring and the beat goes on)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Wow, beachpea3....1680!! How exciting to live in a home with sooooo much history!

lavenderlass...I do love the tiles and am definitely thinking about adding them somewhere. I'm not opposed to a backsplash, we just didn't plan for it in this remodel because we knew we could always add it ourselves later. And because all the details of renovating a kitchen, porch, a bathroom, and putting in a new bath have been overwhelming!

Anyway, because they're $25 a pop, I'd need to scatter them within other tiles, which is probably better design-wise, anyway. Once I post the finished kitchen, I'd love ideas about where/how I could incorporate them.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Lavender Lass - have you started your kitchen? I remember your first inspiration pictures...and how it has evolved- but I have been off for a bit and could not remember if you had started your demo, etc.

blove meant to tell you that I love your choices...can't wait to see the kitchen all finished! I agree.,wait until you are all set before you pick your tiles. BTW- Great looking weathervane rug!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 6:35PM
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How about modern vintage? :) We are just getting underway with a David T. Smith kitchen.

My cabinets will be newly made but reflect american country style. All appliances will be brand new and modern in function and look but the DW will be integrated. My range and CD fridge will show all of their stainless steel glory however. Soapstone sink and drainboard with the toaster/mixer etc. hidden from view.

While my home is only 20 years old, it's full of antiques and wall hangings from the mid to late 1800's so I believe the kitchen will be a good match for the decoration and furniture in the rest of the house.

I grew up in a farmhouse that first had running water when I was a young child and Gramma cooked on a wood stove until the early sixties.

My new kitchen is our attempt to somewhat recreate the same look and feel as the farmhouse of my childhood without the inconveniences and endless hard labors.

I miss that old farm.

But you can have the outhouse.

Here is a link that might be useful: Workshops of David T. Smith

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:02PM
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I don't know if you consider this vintage (but I don't consider it modern).

I have white appliances. blue transferware, schoolhouse lights & wood-look laminate floors.

I am thinking of adding white lidingo cabinets, dark gray countertops, marble-look subway tile, and yellow walls.

As much as I like apron-front sinks, I think we'll end up with a plain regular SS sink (with a sheer cafe curtain on the lower half of the window).

I'm not sure if my collection of idea pics will turn out well enough for you to see, but here goes....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I consider mine an unfitted vintage style kitchen--a 1930's Chambers stove, no upper cabinets only shelves, schoolhouse light fixtures, beaboard walls and ceilings, and several antique pieces scattered throughout for storage (baker's cabints, pie safes, workbenches). I have a barrel-style modernaire hood, shaw's farmhouse sink, and a fridge w/ a vintage look. I also re-purposed the base of an entertainment center as an island w/ a prep sink. I've posted pics before so don't want to bore folks, but I am in the FKB for anyone who is interested.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:45PM
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I had to think about this about this question. It is bit of a jekyl and hyde problem with form that is vintage and function at is all modern. I consider the look of my kitchen to be vintage or old fashioned.. With all the classic elements., schoolhouse lights (albeit with low voltage fitting to meet CA regulations), painted cabs with paneled appliances. The kitchen itself is in a 1940s Spanish ranch and we are trying to preserve the authenticity in our remodel by using similar finishes and retaining all the lovely adobe bricks. The kitchen has the typical low wood paneled ceiling with rough cut rustic beams and French casement windows. We are preserving all of this. However when it comes to the function part, the geek in me rejoices over the wok top, the induction and the steam ovens. I just hope the form function marriage is a good one :)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:07PM
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I'm getting started on a kitchen reno in an old house. I'm still trying to work through layout -- and will be looking for advice when I get closer. It's not an easy space. The house was originally built as a funeral home (empty embalming fluid bottles that we found in digging up when replacing a falling down shed). I guess there wasn't much need for a kitchen. It's small, in contrast to all of the farmhouse kitchens around us. And has lots of challenges.

It's an 1880s house, so we'll want it to fit. We're making it bigger, or at least longer. We're trying to work in furniture pieces with what has to be functional, and what, given stuff that I have, industrial. We'll see. Hoping not to make a botch of it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:27PM
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We have a vintage kitchen - the house is a 1934 Spanish Colonial Revival and when we redid the kitchen we wanted teh new to be as indistinguishable from the original as possible. That is, we wanted it to look as though it could have been done when the house was built.

There are pictures of the kitchen on the website linked below, as well as a description of more or less what we did. (The re-do was published - !! - but the article isn't completely accurate in all its details.)

We rearranged some walls, salvaged some of the tile, then managed to match the tiles (actually found a company that had been supplying the tiles in 1934 and they still made the same colors!), and had a great contractor who made it look seamless. Half of the kitchen is original tile and half is new, but you can't tell unless you really know where to look and look hard. I found some of the hardware at an architectural salvage yard, and some with a retired owner of a hardware store who still had "leftovers" from that time period. The glass knobs came from a hardware store that specializes in carrying lots of renovation materials.

We also re-did the adjoining laundry room at the same time, creating a pantry with freezer drawers in addition to the washer and dryer.

Have to say that doing that re-do was more fun than planning the kitchen I'm doing now. The difference between a re-do and ground-up is huge! and I'm continually feeling overwhelmed this time around.... All I had to do last time was think about how I wanted it to look and not about wiring and valves .

And FWIW, I keep thinking of how I arranged and organized things in the current kitchen while I'm thinking about this new one, and trying to get many of the same work station relationships, because the old one just works really well. It doesn't follow all the accepted conventions (for example, the fridge door opens so that it blocks the door to the laundry, and "into" the end of the butcher block counter, but it is very convenient that way - out of the fridge and onto the counter without having to move an inch!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Our 1934 kitchen....

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 1:25AM
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I have a large collection of milk glass, jadite, vintage aprons and tablecloths and some metal canisters. I used all this to give my 1970's kitchen some character, along with painting the cabinets cream and putting in a green laminate counter, until we could redo the kitchen. That's happening now, and all the tchotchkes are going. Too hard to keep everything clean. But I still love the retro look.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 8:36AM
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We're building out new space for our kitchen. I don't have access to all my photos because we're out of the house right now while we have it re-wired. Goodbye knob and tube...goodbye flickering lights...

First - the "new"...We're going with the Marion cabinet from Omega Dynasty in Pesto, because we can get away with it in a vintage home (and because green has been my favorite color since I was five). I have one full wall of glass cabinets which I will fill with our white dishes as well as pottery from my various travels. We're using a modern stainless range and hood, but putting panels on the dw and fridge. And we're doing the Home Depot lantern tile in white with Rain Cloud counters. Finally we're most likely going with 8" saltillo hex tile on the floor, but that is not final. Oh, and I have a Newport Brass 943 faucet in brushed stainless (ebay find).

Now on to the old....I'm using vintage glass pulls, trying to use a vintage exterior door, a vintage light fixture over the sink and...hmmm...I'm sure there's more. I've used vintage doors, lighting and hardware in all the spaces in the house with the exception of the bathrooms where I'm concerned about all the steam. We also built in a 36" arch from the dining room to the kitchen because the previous space has a similar sized.

I'm also not one to really buy decor just for the house. Mine is a collection of stuff from grandparents and travel. We have this wonderful wooden pig (not a towel pig because it's wood) from a florist shop in Paris.....serving dishes from Portugal - you get the picture.

My personal feeling about vintage homes is that, unless you are in a historic landmark, significant architect or an untouched home - it's okay to make changes that respect the history of the home without changing the soul of the home. Anything with a soul does not stay static. Homes evolve as the people that own them. Do what your home is telling you, not what modern popular design is telling you.

At least that's my humble opinion.

Oh, and where do I get this stuff? Hardware and lighting mostly on Ebay (one chandelier on Craigslist). Doors and more hardware at architectural salvage. The kitchen door I'm trying to use came out of my neighbor's trash. Also, I'm fortunate to be close to the Pasadena Flea Market and have found lighting, hardware and furniture (for other rooms) there.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 10:57PM
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I'm going for a retro look, a sort of 30s kind of thing. It's not done: no backsplash, undercabinet lights aren't in, and the old range is still in the kitchen (on a dolly) until it sells. As far as authenticity, I did splurge on a linoleum floor, and schoolhouse lights from Rejuvenation which are too big (the shades have to be replaced with smaller ones when they go on sale).

Here is a link that might be useful: http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2827473950067676325NIAdwV?vhost=home-and-garden

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 6:07PM
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We're redoing our kitchen in vintage fashion. It's a 1940 farmhouse with some Craftsman bungalow influences. We have, in storage, a cream and green Magic Chef 1000 stove, a double door GE monitor top refrigerator, and an Elwell kitchen cabinet, which is similar to a Hoosier. We'll use the original narrow oak floor planks, use bead board on the walls, and add a tin ceiling. Not sure yet on cabinet material, either qs oak or painted. I SO wanted a real old sink on legs, but DH, who had torn one out in a previous remodel, said they splash and vetoed that. So we purchased a Kohler porcelain over cast iron farm sink. Also bought a Rohl country bridge faucet. We collect antique telephones and plan to have a few displayed(which actually work). Using antique leaded glass windows in a transom, and will display some stained glass that I make. Also have some vintage small appliances to display, some green handled kitchen tools, old bowls, and old colorful tablecloths. We plan to make a wall hanging pot rack out of copper pipe which was shown in This Old House magazine. If I have inset cabinets in oak, we'll have a subway tile backsplash. If painted, I would love to use 3D handmade tiles in fruits & vegetables, or farm animals, by SoMi Tileworks in Minneapolis. And paint in an old fashioned yellow or green.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 7:29PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

lavender_lass, thank you for this thread--I always look at anything with vintage in the title. I've enjoyed reading everyone's plans and descriptions. The kitchens that have been linked are beautiful!

You've seen mine a dozen times (or more), so I'll skip the pictures. If anyone hasn't seen pics of my budget, somewhat vintage kitchen, you can click on my username for links to albums and threads.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:10PM
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We did a 1940's inspired kitchen as done by someone with modern decor back then. We designed around our Chambers stove, vintage Kohler sink and new in package chrome actual hardware from the 40s that we got on ebay when someone was closing down a hardware store and found it buried in the back. We got chrome canister set on ebay as well as an old chrome paper towel, wax paper and foil holder for the wall.
We have Marmoleum floors, but that was a fiasco so are not sure what we'll use when they get taken out.
Our bs will be gray subways trimmed with black tiles and will feature salvage and new tiles behind the sink (once it finally gets installed!). We have a vintage look chrome Chicago faucet with an elbow in the spout.
We have had major problems with our reno, so are not ready to post finished pix yet. I think some people think it is modern from a distance, but realize it is vintage when they get closer. It had clean lines and no frills. The form is about the function. While I love the materials we used, it does not have any decorative embellishments such as fancy edges on the counters or crown molding unless they provide a function. We do have modern amenities like a micro, dw, island hood, etc... but we wanted the vintage vibe to work with the modern functionality.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:28PM
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Dianalo: NO WAY! New old stock. Nice..

BeachPea: That's 1 6 8 0 not 1860? If so.... *blink*. There can't be that many private residences of that age still in existence in the US. Impressive.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:10AM
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I hope Sayde doesn't mind me piping up for her kitchen. That floor! Those cabinets! That hood!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sayde's Kitchen

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Great topic! I have loved reading everyone's posts. I am putting together a vintage kitchen too. I started with a 5-foot long old cast iron enamel farm sink with two drainboards, and a Chambers stove. The rest is up in the air, but I've sort of finalized a layout. We are getting mostly Conestoga cabinets, inset in a shaker style. We have 3 paint colors. We are going for a kind of unfitted look, although there will be a lot of fitted cabinetry. I am not wrapping it, to avoid the fitted look, and there will be some variation in the depth of cabinets and counters from run to run.

We have an old armoire from mid 1800s that will become our pantry cabinet.

I am currently struggling with the refrigerator question. We have a way to completely build it into a wall, but we lose 1 of 3 exterior doors in the room and the only set of stairs to an attic space (old hired farm hand bedroom). I am on a pretty tight budget, but I am considering splurging on a Smeg refrigerator that I will leave on a wall near my baking table.

I think the walls will be a light creamy yellow, the sink cabinet run will be light grey green, the stove cabinet run will be dark grey green, and the larder will be either a burgundyish red or steely navy blue.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 12:41PM
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I guess I cannot properly claim my plan to be "vintage," but trying to make it look "period appropriate." My house is a 1929/1930 Mediterranean revival. I suppose my guiding philosophy is to make the kitchen today they way they would have made it then, if they had the stuff that we have now (if you follow me!). For example, the house originally had multiple doors between it and the living room, and one between it and the dining room. You know, in those days, the kitchen was not something you wanted guests to see. I removed the doors in favor of arches that match those in the rest of the house, and made the arch between kitchen and DR 47" wide.

I chose my floor as a nod to red and white checkerboards of yore (but mine is tan and coral travertine):

I am hoping the soapstone counters, shaker cabs, Bluestar range, stained glass insert, and patinaed copper surfaces will look, if not vintage, like they could be vintage. Still, there will be plenty that looks modern in the kitchen. I don't think anyone will be fooled!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 2:32PM
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I'm mostly a lurker, a sometimes poster, but an avid reader and follower. Like other posters above, I too live in a vintage house -- in my case, a worker's cottage from the 1850's in a village in rural CT. It's tiny -- the main footprint is 20 ft by 22, with an added mudroom. But the location and gardens are beautiful. It wasn't in very good shape when I bought it, so I've redone the downstairs bathroom, replaced doors, put on half a new roof , upgraded electrical and built lots of shelves for our books. The kitchen is awful. As I begin work on my budget vintage kitchen remodel, I'll post "before" pics. I have a vintage stove --and all the design choices stem from this beauty. I'm keeping the old fridge, and repurposing and painting cabinets as much as possible. This is both out of ideology and practicality. I'm getting the American Standard farmhouse sink (thanks LavLass for posting about that, as well as starting this thread); schoolhouse overhead lights, in addition to vintage sconces, scrounged and purchased from Ebay; and on and on. I think it was Shelayne who promoted the stockpile method -- it lessens the hit to the pocketbook, for sure. Also, I really don't like new things -- most of what is made now is cr*p, so my choices always hearken back, not forward anyway. Most everything in my house is antique -- by design. I'm bound by preexisting conditions and dollars in what I can do, but there is a satisfaction when you see what you can accomplish within constraints, kind of like writing a poem. It's fun -- and I'm sure we'll all get to know one another well.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Silvergirl- Oh, your house sounds nice! Do you have any pictures? I'd like to see the gardens, too :)

Thank you all for the wonderful resposes! So many great ideas and projects. Glad to see there's so much interest in vintage kitchens.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I'm planning a vintage renovation using a local contractor who works only with old homes. I'm very excited but nervous and terrified at the same time. I'm trying to keep breathing through the process and have been successful so far but haven't started the demo yet so I expect breathing to get harder as we go along.

I have an 1810 cape in central Maine and the kitchen hasn't been touched in decades. We are tearing the room out to the 2x4s and mimicking the beadboard cabinets from the original pantry in the kitchen, using a mix of maple and leather finished black granite for the countertops (I couldn't fit soapstone into the budget), and installing an old farm sink that I found on CL.

I'm most excited for the increase in counterspace, windows that don't leak, grounded electricity, and insulation!

Here are some depictions of the cabinets across our southern facing front wall with the double sink and the right wall with our door out into our ell (called the back house in northern New England).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Bumping this old thread... Those working on vintage-y kitchens, please share your progress.. What materials are you using.. What special finds and treasures are you trying to use?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:59AM
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We are pursueing an unusual route. We have what was a somewhat grandish 1882 home that is a mixture of Second Empire and Eastlake. Typical for the time, the back rooms (including the kitchen) were not finished to anywhere near the standard of the front (public) rooms. All the trim, moldings, floorings, hardware etc are/were several grades lower.

Trying to recreate such a kitchen would seem fun for a museum, but not practical for the 21st century. And trying to create a muddle left us uninspired.

Then we asked ourselves this question: What if, in 1882, they valued and utilized their kitchens as we do today? What if the kitchen was meant to be public and just as grand as the rest of the house? What would it have looked like? That question now forms our basis for design.

We found the drawing below for a great ceiling and were able to order a replica, which we finally got installed about a month ago (lots of work!). We will do the floor in the Victorian style tiles from the Tile-Source. This week my wife is applying Venetian Plaster to the walls from Vasariplaster in BM August Morning, so that covers the large surfaces.

The cabinets I am building and designing myself (thank God for Sketchup!), and they will be highly ornamental in the original Aesthetic Movement style, with no toe kicks and inset doors, ect. Crown Point has been an inspiration, but we are taking the design a lot further than they do in really trying to recreate period furniture/cabinet design. The idea is that upon viewing a person might reasonably think the cabinets are original to the house, with the exception that such cabinets were not built in kitchens at the time.

It's all a bit risky, but it is exciting and we have our fingers crossed!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tile Source

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:38AM
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Here's some ideas. There are some currently installed versions of these on Flickr and Youtube.

1940s kitchens
1950s kitchens
1960s kitchens

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:31AM
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Clarion, stunning project! Can't wait to see it. Love the ceiling and the encaustics. It's great to see someone come up with a coherent point of view and then carry it out cohesively.

You're lucky to be able to DIY. I'm finding there's a huge upcharge on vintage looks, regardless of whether they're actually any more work. Contractors feel entitled to charge more even when things simply look different from everyone else's kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:53AM
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My house is a twenties house but there is very little left of the original kitchen when we bought it (the trim on the doorways and the door to the basement are all that remained). There wasn't even any trim on most of the door and window openings. We had knives cut to match the rather unusual pediments in the existing doorways that were trimmed and DH installed trim in the spots that had none.

I love what I think of as the twenties look. I don't think that what is in my head is truly accurate. I don't think that I would like to work/cook in a 1920's kitchen but I sure would like to hang out in one. They are so inviting to me. Since my kitchen is a work room (we both cook), I try to put some of the feel of what I love about old kitchens in mine.

If you like vintage kitchens, as I do, then there are lots of trade offs in function, money, and aesthetics. There is a part of me that wanted to put it back the way it was. But it would be very expensive and my kitchen wouldn't be as large or as functional.

It was really hard for me to accept an island with a cooktop and big old Vent-A-Hood over it, front and center. I don't think hoods are an attractive part of any kitchen (my taste, not yours). I decided to go with a simple stainless steel hood because I didn't think anything fancier would look any better to me.

For me the important factors are painted cabinets, avoiding walls and walls of cabinets, having some old furniture in the kitchen, period lights, some cabinets with doors (not all drawers). And for you it probably is different.

And here is a link to my friends' kitchen, which is still pretty intact. It feels lovely to be in. It's not so much fun to work in.

Here is a link that might be useful: my friends' kitchen

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Did you see circuspeanut's kitchen thread?


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:13PM
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My kitchen will be vintage of a sorts. Having decided to build them ourselves, we're going with my favorite cabinet style which is partial inset. I suppose the anchor and inspiration of the cabinetry will be a simple 18"x12"x72" pantry cabinet that belonged to my husband's grandfather and the stove, which will be an O'Keefe & Merritt. When it is complete it should look like a 1940's-1960's era kitchen, but for the more functional drawer base cabinets. I'm not shooting for any historical accuracy. My 1912 house's kitchen really never made it past the unfitted woodstove era kitchen so anything goes.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:39PM
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this is what i did.

Here is a link that might be useful: Phorbin's kitchen

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:06PM
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What a great thread. I loved reading every word and seeing the photos. Even though I have a 1903 house, I'm not doing it vintage. Time, cost, and space are all factors. It's a commercial to residential rehab and there was no kitchen. Sure love seeing what others have done with their vintage looks though.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:19AM
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