Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Mid-Century Modern House - the Kitchen

I love a blue and white kitchen - there is something fresh and cool about cooking with restful blue around you. This is the kitchen I have known for most of my life. It was fitted out in 1960 and the only major things that have been replaced are:

  • the wall oven - replaced in 1985, and the current one is still working
  • the fridge - replaced in the 80s and then in 2002
  • the dishwasher - replaced twenty years ago
  • the floor covering - replaced in about 1970 with a repulsive golden vinyl with specks of gold glitter in it (which was a bugger to wash and polish), then thankfully thanks to a water leak and a subsequent insurance payout, replaced eight years ago with something much fresher and more classic
  • the original extractor fan was replaced with a range hood in the 1980s
  • the original in sink disposal unit (which could gobble up pieces of glass, a favourite party trick of my Dad's apparently) died a death and an Insinkerator was installed in the 80s. I have never tried to put pieces of glass through it!

So… I still have the original stovetop:
Here's the stove in situ. I need to repaint all the cupboards and drawers. The cats have scratched the bottom ones here and there, and the colour I chose - Dulux White Birch, because it wasn't stark white - has turned too creamy. I'll repaint in… a stark white!

And look at this! It's the panel for the original dishwasher. We left it there as the middle knob controls the Insinkerator.

Over this side are the posh glasses and dishes in a display cabinet. More posh stuff in the cupboards and drawers below.

The walls had their original paint until 2002 when I repainted them in much the same colours. I used a darker blue on the centre servery. The original paint on the centre column and bar was two-tone, where you paint a dark colour first, then a light colour, and rub off the light colour on the textured bits. I tried that and failed miserably! Here's the centre servery area - the drawer which is pulled out is the everyday cutlery drawer, and it's a two way drawer, so you can load clean cutlery in from the sink side and pull it out on the kitchen table side. Clever thinking from my parents!

  Here are some kitchen vignettes - the original plant stand  - love it!

Here's a wider view of our kitchen dining area. Nice floor vinyl, eh?

My Mixmaster, a perfect retro fit.

This little donkey has been around for longer than I have and has always lived on top of the fridge. You can put a little pot plant in his wagon but we never have. I think he was a gift from my paternal grandmother.

These oil bottles are well cool! Aren't they cute? The cork is a bit buggered on the French one but I can still get it to work. I don't remember Mum ever using them but I intend to for parties etc. They are too good to leave on the shelf.

More funky late 50s kitchenalia, a lovely big salt cellar and more oil bottles. They are made here in Australia. I don't know if they may have been wedding presents in 1950. They are glazed and unglazed ceramic.

We have a number of feature tiles studding the walls, all of Australian native plants. 

More smart design - a pullout chopping board, proudly showing the signs of age. A huge (for the time) utensil drawer is underneath.

I have friends who keep pestering me to get a new kitchen, but honestly we can't afford it and this one still works. True, I have to replace a handle on one of the big drawers as it's broken off, and there is one big corner cupboard we call the TARDIS as it's amazing how much you can fit into it, which needs slamming very hard to close. But hey, I'm used to it. 

All the cupboards and drawers are solid wood. The drawers are dovetailed. The quality that went into building this kitchen, which is built, frankly, like a brick shithouse, is amazing. I couldn't afford to replace it with the same level of quality, even though new kitchens have some fab pantry features. It's lasted 54 years and fingers crossed will last many more. New kitchens are designed to last 25 years at the most, and who needs the expense of replacing a kitchen every 20 years or so?

Like much of this house, the kitchen is original. As I don't intend to sell in the foreseeable future, I can live quite happily with my 1960 world.

1 comment:

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