Posted in Blue Kitchens, Historical Influence, Kitchen Sociology, Modern Kitchens, Retro Kitchens, Who Knew

Looking back to look forward in kitchen remodeling.

(photos found at Retro Renovation)

I am a history buff. I love kernels of information so I can go off on a self discovery reading journey. Here is one that got me thinking about times of economic turmoil and how it affects everything we do, everything we buy and even what we eat. Did you know that during the Depression the U.S. Commerce Department proclaimed six standard colors in response to the chaos of various colors that previously existed regarding kitchen equipment? Is this not a wild factoid?

Hold on to that green frying pan. Yes, the US Commerce Dept formed the National Kitchen Modernization Bureau in 1935. White, delphinium blue, royal blue, kitchen green, ivory and red were designated as standard colors. Was the multitude of various colors in kitchen equipment really a problem? Could it be that the drive was to modernize kitchens? Out with the coal and in with gas ranges and electric refrigerators available in six matching colors for a lovely new modern kitchen.

For more information please take a detour to Retro-style suits older home for a very informative and quick read about the reactionary history of appliance colors based on economic hardships.

I found a reference to the National Kitchen Modernization Bureau, pulled from the archives of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.
Refer to the article: Newspaper’s institute raised bar on homemaking by Nancy Stohs.

Here is a snippet from the article:

In 1930, members could get free advice on kitchen remodeling through the institute’s Home Modernizing Bureau. A program announced in The Journal instructed women to mail in sketches of their woefully old-fashioned kitchens. Some of the old kitchens, along with suggested new designs, would be published in the Real Estate section. Owners of kitchens whose designs were not published would get a personal reply.

An article announcing the opportunity informed readers: “Pantries are out of date, be they large or small, and we must be rid of them to be modern.” Perhaps the pantry could be turned into a breakfast nook, or “a niche for the electric refrigerator.”

As for all those objects displaced from the pantry, “Closed cupboards are the modern, sanitary answer.” But don’t panic: “Building them is no longer a week’s long process.”

A thorough kitchen modernizing should run from $300 to $500, readers were told. “It is not necessary to have all of it done this spring.”

For more reading on Vintage Kitchens, reference the article:
Vintage Kitchens of the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s.

If you are loving all things vintage, then take another detour to Retro Renovations.



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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