Deco Vintage Yellow Kitchen

depression era yellow and green kitchenVintage kitchens top of my list of difficult-to-do-over.

The reason is one of degree. With one of these kitchens the question is always how much to modernize versus how much vintage-ness to keep. Do you restore, replicate or simply evoke? These are not easy decisions and, because houses are living structures that are changed by the owner’s viewpoint and needs, there is never a “right” solution.

For this saffron and green Deco beauty in a Depression-era Tudor home, the owner wisely chose restoration. Some would have hated the period color scheme and simply ripped it all out. I feel that when you choose a home with a kitchen as distinctive as this, there’s definitely a responsibility attached. So to my mind, whether restored or refurbished in vintage style, the updating done here was carefully and lovingly.

I would wager that the house dates between 1938 and 1944. I make that guess largely based on the unusual saffron and pine color scheme which hasn’t really been revived since the late 30s and early 40s when tropical motifs were popular.  The green brackets in the tile work on the window wall are distinctly Art Deco. The lower border looks later, as do the cabinets. There’s also an extraordinary linoleum floor though it’s difficult to tell whether it’s original or replaced — you see linoleum checkerboard but the black notched border that matches the sink-wall motif is unusual. What’s clear is that the drawer stack on the right hand side of the sink was repurposed into a dishwasher panel.  All the slab-front cabinets appear to be 40s (my Grandmother’s house had the same type) and trim work have been deftly painted to play into the theme. Green Depression-glass pulls add another helping of vintage style. I’m not so much for tile counters. I prefer surfaces that are easier to clean but I suppose they come with the dinner. The tin ceiling might well have been a later addition and Deco ceiling lights like this one are widely available.

Royal Palace, Phnom PenhI love strong yellow and strong green together – the New Hampshire Farmhouse Kitchen has these two colors as well. I vividly remember the first time I saw it not all that long ago at the Royal Palace complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Perhaps that’s why I have a variation upstairs in my house, too.

(Source: oldhouseonline, globaltravelmate)

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5 Responses to Deco Vintage Yellow Kitchen

  1. Beth March 21, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    The color combination would probably drive some people nuts but I agree it would have been a shame to update it and I love the strong color contrast. It was interesting to read how you dated the kitchen :)

  2. mbwife March 21, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I can clearly remember making a pact with my teenage self to never use harvest gold and avocado together (child of the seventies). But then I see something like this (and the other kitchen you referenced) and it proves that nothing is out of the question if it is done thoughtfully. I would have eliminated the tin ceiling though. To me it was one retro element too much.

  3. Marsha March 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    The key is, as you stated…a strong yellow and green…sometimes the yellow is too light. That also goes with yellow and green used as exterior paint colors; the body of the house is a lighter yellow and the shutters are a hunter green. It’s a miss in my book.
    Keep up the good work.


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