Monday, March 26, 2012

Hotpoint Appliance ads (1955)

It's the candiest eye candy I think I've ever laid eyes on. Lemme at 'em!

GUYS. I WANT PINK APPLIANCES. And this kitchen. Wholesale, lock stock, I'll take everything. Look at the wealth of convenience and style taking place in this 1955 Hotpoint ad. It's the actual living end! See how the fabric on the stool's seat matches the bright red kitchen curtains and countertop! How the yellow inlaid linoleum eagle harmonizes its circlet of matching stars with similar points along the very top edge of the wall! How you could park a city bus in the sheer square footage of the place! This kitchen.... I could make a lot of hedgehog-shaped-cheese balls for company in this kitchen. I could bake a lot of meatloaves.

Do you, like me, suffer from hardcore well-appointed kitchen envy?

Sunburst clock and mint green/pale yellow/ red color scheme? I got my eye on you.

It's not that there's anything particularly wrong with my kitchen. I have one of those totally straightforward, medium sized 50's houses' kitchens that runs along the back of the house in a straight shot to the dining area. On days when Bab and I have managed to keep the no dishwasher dishload under control and refrain from leaving large plastic sacks of Goodwill acquisitions on the counter, it actually seems kind of airy. But when I see kitchens like these, the size of a middle school gym, I can't lie and say I wouldn't appreciate the room to break into a musical number (or at least serve hors d'oeurves right off the counter) if I so saw fit.

While the mauve isn't my first color choice, see how there's a cherry blossom panel broken up by the stove's range hood? I am SO into that...

I really envy the 60's homesteader couples who would pick out a plot of land in suburbia, after having spent their early marriage in a reasonably small 1920's house in town, and just build the whole kit and caboodle house from the ground up. Can you imagine a housewife, exulting in her husband's recent promotion and the family's checkbook's concomitant growth, looking over blueprints and saying "Oh, make it twice as big as that! I want to have the BIGGEST KITCHEN ON THE BLOCK." I remember a pop up video factoid from the Shawn Colvin video for "Sunny Came Home" saying something about women spending x amount of waking hours , in their lives, in the kitchen, more so than any other room in the house, so why shouldn't it be a room to put all other rooms to shame?

I can't quite make out the pattern on that black day dress, but that doesn't keep me from wanting it.

Many times, in the course of estate sale shopping, I manage to casing the built-in features of fifties' houses. What I weirdly covet the most? Number one: built in stoves/built in appliances of any kind predating the year 1970. Gosh, they're fancy! Sometimes I just look at Retro Renovation and drool. I know they'd be a pain in the neck to have serviced or replaced, but this is dream shopping, and in my dream world, everything is brand new and never malfunctions. Number two: a curved counter end-cap, with little shelves to keep mixing bowls and other kitchen knickknacks and necessaries. Guess what? The above kitchen has BOTH. It's almost unfair!

Going back to the appliances point, however, I've found vintage replica stoves and refrigerators that seem to cost as much as a good used car (unacceptable) and real vintage stoves which are reasonably priced, but would put me in mortal fear of leaving the house to go to work, just in case the house burns down while I'm away (I have that fear enough with freaking new appliances... think of how nervous I would be with style superior but safety inferior vintage ones!). I wasn't always as worried about this as I am now. I was working as a substitute at a high school where a 1950's refrigerator someone had put in the break room started to breathe black, billowy smoke in the middle of a work day and had to be taken out. Vintage lover's trauma! That thing was the size and spectacle of a early 50's Cadillac (to whom it was probably a contemporary), but what good is an appliance if you can't turn your back on it for five seconds without it causing a catastrophe? What's a MCM lovin' girl to do?

This is a laundry room, but I just had to show you guys three things: the indoor sun-room type thing at stage right, the red Eames-y chair, and that long clear plastic sliding door shelf that looks like something from the Holodeck. I love them!

An extremely low-fi pic below will show you what I'm talking about in terms of my woefully "real-life" kitchen. Donna Reed would not cook in this place! But I do. We're thinking about putting in black and white tile linoleum to match the painted cabinets. What do you think? Retro hit or miss? Would a green or yellow to match the table set work better, given the removal of the (cheery, but clashing) red and white curtains? I'm reviewing the situation...


Being the retrophiles that I know you are, how do you feel about serving 1950's kitchen realness? Is your place up to snuff in terms of period accuracy, or do you leave the main 50's decorating to the items that won't catch fire in the night? What mid century kitchen item would you love to find a new old stock still in the box version at some daydream of an estate sale? I'd love to know!

Til next time.


  1. I think your kitchen is probably pretty similar to our will-be-ours-later-this-week kitchen! Original kitchen cabinets (which, according to the current owner, were once painted white too) with the lovely scallop between the cabinets over the sink ), then going into the eat-in area where yours is. The appliances and a strange fluorescent light soffit are probably circa the 80s, ceramic floor probably 90s.

    I've been pouring over Retro Renovation lately and one thing I feel like is most "real" 50s kitchens probably didn't look (size-wise, at least) any more similar to the amazing spacious ads above than most current kitchens look like ads in Martha Stewart Living. At least, that's how I console myself. ;)

    I think you look perfectly lovely in your very functionally-sized kitchen! And I think checkerboard linoleum would be awesome in there. Love the yellow table, perhaps you could paint the walls under the chair rail a buttery yellow, and the upper half white? You could still accent with the red curtains, or go with a fabric that pulls in red and yellow together (like maybe a retro floral).

    What I'd love to have? Amazing original floor, complete with some kind of border pattern, and original appliances that weren't dangerous (or required manual defrosting). But I'll be glad just to have a somewhat 50s kitchen to start with, period! :)

  2. oh i absolutely love retro interior, especially the pink kitchen of the very first pic is a dream, even i would love to cook in a kitchen like that;) and gosh you look amazing in this dress darling!
    love and kiss,mary

  3. I love all the examples you spoke about. Do you a have a pinterest? I collect pictures and ideas of rooms that I like on there? Also I think your Kitchen is the cutest and so is that picture of you. We're still house hunting, so we're stuck in the plain apartment kitchen, I'd love if you would have any ideas for how to make a little apartment kitchen retro? Thanks doll! Hope your monday is full of sunshine :)

  4. I just adore old appliance adds and the first picture. im not really a pink kind of gal but i love that!!

  5. @Tasha: That makes me feel better! I'm really liking the yellow suggestion for under the chair rail, I've got to do SOMETHING different in there, just not sure what yet. We'll have to swap kitchen ideas after you get moved into yours, for sure! :)

    @Mary Lou: That first kitchen! I want it so badly!

    @The Little Flapper: I sure do! I'm shewasabird on pinterest. You can click the red "follow me on pinterest" gadget to the right of this post and we can swap inspirations as I start thinking about how to up the 50's ante on that kitchen!

    @Beth: I'm getting more and more into Mamie look at all the accent colors they tied in to ONE ROOM. Yellow, grey, red... it sets my imagination spinning, for sure.

  6. I love how you finished this post with a shot of yourself in your kitchen! So cute! I have such kitchen and laundry room envy, living in an apartment. ONE DAY. Just having some real counter space would be divine.

  7. our house is from the early 40s and the one thing i dont' like about it is our teeny tiny gally kitchen. i have lots of retro kitchen stuff, but, like the rest of my house, i can't stick to one style/period.



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