This picture was originally on the cover of a magazine called Kitchen Business in 1956 (it’s still in publication under the name Kitchen & Bath Business).
I love this pink kitchen with the breakfast bar. Who wouldn’t want to be a kid eating a sandwich there? It looks pretty convenient for Mom, too.
In the same issue of that magazine, they ran this ad for a dishwasher:
Thanks to that newfangled dish-washing machine, this stylish couple was able to flee the kitchen and go out on the town. Hey, I’ve had a dishwasher for years. I should be out on the town every night!
According to K+BB magazine, only 4% of American households had the luxury of a dishwasher at the time that the ad appeared in ’56.
And finally, check out this RCA Whirlpool ad, which showed some fun and contemporary mix-and-match cabinetry:
Change the flooring to something a little more modern, and this would still be a stylish kitchen today, don’t you think?
I lived in an apartment with a pink refrigerator in the mid 70s. Sorry to say that we felt the need to paint it white ( but all the pink tile and sink were left, never fear).
Don’t really care for the mix and match kitchen – but I love the pink!!
Love the floating cabinets.
Linda B says
That’s what I want…a dishwasher off the ground….weren’t THEY ahead of their time!!
Have you visited Retrorenovation.com? She is in love with pink kitchens too.
It’s so cute!
Hi Julia 🙂
I love that pink kitchen! Things looked so cheerful then, didn’t they? 🙂
Thanks for the support 😉
courtney @ nesting instincts says
yep…that last kitchen actually looks a lot like modern kitchens of today…I like the style of the cabinets but am not loving the mix & match look. Otherwise it’s swanky. 🙂
Nope. Sorry. Can’t love the pink kitchen.
🙂 I’m feelin’ a little better by the way…thanks for always stopping by!!
Some friends of mine bought a house with that 50s kitchen in blue instead of pink and it was pretty hideous. Interestingly she wanted to rip it out and he wanted to keep it for its “historical value”. I think its pretty obvious which one of them did the actual cooking.
And the dishwasher location is genius.
On a completely unrelated note, (but one related to your fantastic Design Star play-by-plays) what do you think of the first two winners of DS’s shows (David Bromstad’s “Color Splash” and Kim Myles’ “Myles of Style”)?
I remember growing up we had a lime green oven. Hope that style comes back. NOT.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always excited to check out your blog each day.
Amateur Tightwad says
Wow. That pink kitchen reminds me so much of the house I bought before I got married. The house was built in 1880, but apparently someone had renovation money in the 50s or 60s, because it was all done up in a double torquoise oven and stovetop, torquoise sink, dropped ceiling, cabinets just like the pink kitchen here — the works. I loved it!
The 50s kitchen/entertaining mentality is so great. Our current house was built in the 1950s, and even though the kitchen and living room adjoined, there was no doorway between the two — I think so that your guests couldn’t see the work behind the magic appetizers and cocktails that just appeared by an aproned hostess. So if the lady of the house forgot the olives, she had to walk past a bedroom and bathroom, through the dining room, and into the kitchen, and then return the same way to the living room. Crazy.
Our TV room table is a Heywood Wakefield coffee table from the 1950s, and it’s round-topped and spins like a big lazy Susan. “I’d like some of those nuts to go with my martini, but I’d have to stretch *all the way* over there.” “Here, you just sit back and relax, and I’ll spin the nuts to you.” It was such a kooky time.
Like you, Julie, I am completely intrigued by the 1950s — especially the space-age kitchen advances.
My parents had a little pink refridgerator that we moved from NY to FL. I loved that little thing. We used to chip the ice out of the freezer once in awhile. lol
That RCA Whirlpool kitchen looks tiny, doesn’t it ? Tiny fridge, tiny sink. It DOES look modern though!
Okay, Julia, I’m in love. How can I resist your retro posts? Have I already told you that I used to spend hours at the art and architecture library in art school pouring over all the 50s home magazines in the archives? That was me on the floor in the middle of the rows of shelves dreaming myself away in one of those canary yellow or turquoise kitchens.
Thank you for a fun post…and your advice/thoughts on smarty pants children on my blog!
Oh Julia, how do I love your blog – let me count the ways? Some day I’ll do a post with my 1940’s bamboo “Florida” trays and we’ll swap retro post comments. Love that kitchen!
One of my kids asked me today why nobody on HGTV likes bright colors for kitchens. He said he thinks it looks better when they leave the kitchens colorful. I guess he was born in the wrong era. Or maybe he’s just ahead of his time. He could be a future “design star!”
I’ve only caught a couple of episodes of “Myles of Styles,” and I wasn’t really impressed with the results in either one. Her color choices have also confused me a bit. But I should probably watch more than two episodes before judging too harshly.
However, I have to say I’ve received at least three e-mails now from readers who have said they were disappointed in her show. That can’t be a good sign for HGTV if that’s any indication of viewer sentiment in general!
I liked David Bromstad when he was a contestant (I voted for both him and Kim, actually), but he’s not the best host in the world, is he? I do think he does a pretty good job with the makeovers, though. (At least the 2-3 episodes I’ve seen.)
What do you guys think? Have you been watching them? If a show isn’t on my DVR schedule, I don’t see much of it. I hardly ever watch live TV any more. Maybe I should tape a few of their episodes to see if they’re doing any better now that they’ve had a little more practice at it. -Julia
When Friends of the Library have the annual book fair, decorating books from this era are always available. I might pick a couple up next year. You would love these books!
I’ve watched 4 episodes of each (that’s about all I can take). I find his show to be better than hers. I like his style better and I think he is a better (although not great) host. I find that Kim is too camera-concious, overly fake chipper and “won’t this be fun”, and the whole “its in the bag” thing is too gimmicky. In one episode she recently did the home office of a work at home couple and the wall color was a shade of yellow that guaranteed I would get o work done. She did improve the furniture layout and tuck a mini-kitchen into an otherwise useless corner, but hello, they work from HOME, why make two areas to make coffee/clean up.
I think my big disappointment stems from the whole selection process. The winners are chosen more for their reality TV histrionics and likeability than for their design skills or host-ability. Just because everyone votes for one contestant is no guarantee of a successful show (or album or whatever – look how many American Idol winners have NOT made it. Paging Taylor Hicks).
Bonnie Morscher says
I’ve watched both shows (I’m an HGTV junkie) and don’t care much for either. David did one or two makeovers that I liked (one of them an arts and crafts living room where he did a 3-D mural). Kim’s carpenter, Anthony, is more fun to watch than anyone else on either show (he tells everyone that they are the best helper he’s ever had). These two designers just don’t reach the heights of my favorite TV designers, Candice Olson and Debbie Travis. I actually prefer each of the Designed to Sell designers to either of the Design Star winners. Also, I don’t care for the Design on a Dime designers, either. I would say David and Kim are on a par with them.
At Home Redesigns says
How fun! This would still work today…with a few adjustments…
Ah, the fifties. I just don’t think it is a time I would care to go back to, nor are those kitchens for me. It would be fun to build a kitchen like that, I think, but it’s just not something I would want for myself. I actually find myself becoming increasingly interested in modern European design, although again, it is not something I want for myself. My tastes actually run to Shaker and the Greene and Greene brothers. My partner and I are cabinetmakers, and we have set up a website in which we look at ideas for homes–mostly kitchens and baths, although we’re talking about entertainment centers and home theaters this week. We really just try to call them like we see them. If anyone’s interested, you can find us at http://www.cft411.com.
I live in the house I grew up in with Mom’s 1959 GE Pink kitchen in it still!
The clock on my pink oven just died as of yesterday (RIP) and a couple of years ago I finally let the pink fridge go when it died. Thinking back I really wish I’d tried to have it fixed. They used the same one on Mama’s House with Carol Burnett. It was a Coldspot which is now Kenmore and it had a foot petal to open the door when your hands were full and a butter warmer in the door. I loved that butter warmer – it had a dial to adjust just how soft you wanted the butter. Plus it had a freezer on the bottom. Now most do but for the longest time I couldn’t find one that did so lived with that fridge till it died about 3 yrs ago.
Mom also had a pink dinette table and chairs that matched everthing else. Sure wish I still had *that*. Sadly looks like I’m finally going to need to replace the pink cooktop and oven soon.
I just found your blog today and boy, is it fun! These kitchens are so reminiscent of my childhood growing up in Levittown, Pa. We moved there in 1956. Our house had yellow metal kitchen cabinets with stainless steel counters, a washing machine in the kitchen, picture windows (which were a new thing back then). Other models had pink kitchens and aqua kitchens. It was the height of 50’s home fashion. No one had garbage disposals, air conditioning, or dryers….all the things you take for granted now. Dishwashers were an extravagant luxury. We finally got all of that stuff in 1966. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. My parents re-decorated the kitchen in 1966 and it all changed…we got cherry wood cabinets, a built in dishwasher, all new appliances (bronze colored, it was officially called coppertone) and flooring. It was beautiful and so modern. We loved it. We felt like the luckiest family on the block. Thanks for taking me back to a wonderful time of my life.