Posted in Blue Kitchens, Giving Back, Humor in the Kitchen, Kitchen Trends, Noteworthy Links, Quirky Design Details, Retro Kitchens, Stainless Steel

A Blast From the Past

Color Me Retro!
Studying kitchens from previous eras is fascinating to me. You are going to love this! To know where we are going, we need to look back from where we came.
Thank you KBB for bringing out photos from your archives documenting trends from past eras. I have been saving my comments on the latest trends I spotted at the Kitchen and Bath Show 2007. And what a better way to comment on trends for 2007, juxtaposed with trends of the 1950’s. Have we come that far? When does a trend stop being trendy and become a classic? How can we embrace trends without dating a kitchen?

What is trendy today really has it’s roots linked to our past. Take a look.

Pink and Blue, Oh Boy! After WWII, many bright colors were popular, as shown by this all-pink kitchen on the June 1956 cover.

Circa 2007: Pink has a new connotation. Pink is no longer a feminine color. It’s in men’s ties and shirts. Pink has graduated to a color for a cause. A sign of solidarity. A color that shows you are “in the pink” to support a cause. “Cook for a Cure”. Caring cooks can show their support for the breast cancer movement in style. This pink mixer is called “Komen Pink”.
When you purchase this pink Artisan mixer, KitchenAid will donate $50 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation as part of their Cook for the Cure® initiative.

For the color committed: A Pink Modern Day Kitchen featured in Martha Stewart Magazine. Trendy? Most decidedly so.
For those who are a little color shy: keep the color in a drawer: pink spatulas. Trends that are allowed to wear out, allowing us not to feel bad at replacing them.

Consumers have a need for color in their kitchen. We respond to colors. Why else would Kitchen Aid produce 6 different shades of Mixers? Target (Or as it has been nicknamed “Tar-jay”) allows internet shoppers to shop by color.
We are color obsessed.
But can we take our love of color to large ticket appliances and cabinets?
Target internet ad: “Shop By Color”.

Are you ready for blue?

Dacor introduces Blue in its line up for 2007.
Also available from Dacor: I wonder why Blue is the color appliance manufacturers are moving towards? Blue is a calming color and generally not a color to get your appetite charged. But it’s everywhere in appliances. It’s in the Blue Knob of Thermador ovens, inside ovens, appliances in all shades of blue. Blue is our country’s favorite color. Blue is timeless.

Modern Day equivalent: Mix and match gives a nod to the 50’s. This is a happy lunch room, isn’t it? Makes me wanna be-bop around the kitchen, dancin’ in my socks while blending a banana shake. Cool surfboard shape table. Popsicle shades of lime and cherry on the barstools. Surf Green Walls. Horizon Blue Appliances. The mix and match colors are the epitome of Pop Art. Appliances from Big Chill. Check out Fresh Produce Sportswear’s headquarters! Bigchillfridge

1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air in Horizon Blue. Did the appliance industry get their cue form the auto industry? Hmm.

This RCA Whirlpool ad demonstrates mixing and matching cabinetry has long been a design element in kitchens.

Modern Day Equivalent: Mix and Match: ah-hem. Not for the faint of heart! Thank God the counters are white. I would need to hold on them to get my equilibrium back after staring at that psychedelic wall.
This Designer Showhouse Kitchen, 2005, designed by Alison Spear is a mix and match of vivid lemon and lime colors shown for cabinets matching tile. Where else but in Miami. Mix and Match still a trend.

Hats off to Valcucine for mix and match with an eco-friendly twist.
Valcucine exhibits red, white and blue in fashion and forward thinking design with respect to using environmentally friendly design. The 100% aluminum frame can be completely recycled.
Hey! Where did the appliances go? Who wants to see them if you can hide them!

On the other hand, emphasizing just one color was also very common.

Modern Day Equivalent: Blue Kitchen by Snaidero.
Even if you are not ready for a blue kitchen, blue is ready for you, or aubergine, or heather…

Lapis Blue Range by Bertazzoni

For every Action there is a Reaction.

Some people think color only means BRIGHT color. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be bright. One of my eight palettes for 2007 is going to have very soft colors, which are coming back into play. Consumers say, ’All right, I have my red toaster, now I have to do something quieter.’ Lee Eiseman, internationally renowned color and design expert, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training. Full article at 2007 Color Trends for the Home

La Cornue CornuFé range in Lavender Blue.

An AGA Cooker in Wedgewood Blue.
If you would rather color your cooker Aubergine or Pistachio or Jade or Heatherand so on. AGA provides a rainbow of color options.

Also not to be outdone with new softer colors: Caesarstone has introduced new rich colors that have been muted down a bit. I love the new color: Mulberry Mist.
And Espresso and Pebble.
Only four percent of households had a dishwasher, at the time the ultimate luxury item, in 1956.

Modern day equivalent: It is not uncommon for kitchens to have two dishwashers.

Also not such a new idea: the higher dishwasher placement reduces bending and lifting and is a key feature in a universal design kitchen.

Also the retro style ovens of the 50’s are making their way back to our kitchens today, but they are supercharged with 21st century technology. Turbo Chef has a retro style oven with all the technology a modern oven can offer.
Is the influx of color in appliances a reaction of the public tiring of stainless steel? Maybe so. But even so, stainless steel is still the de rigueur in kitchens and will not be making a departure any time soon. Even if Stainless Steel doesn’t appeal to everybody, I am glad to see so many options in color. Rich Blue, Antique Red, and more daring colors can be quite exciting in kitchen design.

The Big Chill refrigerator in Classic White. The absence of color in appliances and cabinets, lets the room become a neutral backdrop for colorful collections and artwork to become the prime focus. Color comes to life in bowls, plates, kitchen accessories, small appliances, flooring, counters. A good argument for white is that it is neutral and looks absolutely fabulous with any color scheme.
While a bright cherry red refrigerator becomes the rock star of this blend of wood and stainless. Eclectic Pop!

The kitchen is the destination place. After work, after school, after a night on the town. What ever your take on color for your kitchen, make color in your kitchen work for you.



Laurie Burke, connected to the design and construction industry since 1996. A seasoned residential kitchen and bath design specialist , Laurie has designed thousands of kitchens & baths as well as other cabinetry projects requiring technical precision in design drafting utilizing state of the art 2020 software for creating accurate plans and elevations. Through on- going product knowledge training and a desire to always stay current with an evolving marketplace, Laurie Burke maintains a strong command of knowing the appropriate Fit & Finish materials required for a residential remodel to meet the budget, the timeline of a project and a client's need for a finished product that meets their satisfaction. Kitchen Designer by trade, foodie, techie, weekend traveler for fun. For more information contact me at

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