Decorating our Retro Kitchen

Chris often tells me I have many collections. Collections of collections even. One of my favorite parts of this kitchen renovation has been decorating it.  I've been collecting vintage kitchen items for years and with all my new storage and display space, I am finally able to display it properly.


Many kitchens have a soffit above their cabinets or taller cabinets that go straight to the ceiling. We decided to keep this space open, so I could display my many vintage collections. Most of the vintage kitchen items I already collected had shades of red, yellow, green and some blue.  This had a lot to do with my decision for the wall and countertop colors so these items really look right at home.  I have no doubt that if I had collected more pink and aqua items, we'd have a very different looking kitchen on our hands. 

1950s Westinghouse Clock and other vintage decorations. The yellow bottle is an old Galaxy syrup bottle in the shape of a spaceman, from 1953.

Some vintage Pyrex and other mixing bowls.

In my old kitchen I had cookbooks stashed in multiple places but none displayed particularly well.  My new kitchen has a lovely shelf I use for my vintage and retro cookbooks.  It's wonderful to have these on display and easily accessible and was the inspiration for my Cookbook Challenge.   That shelf also holds various items, including a small collection of kitschy anthropomorphic items, some old tin recipe boxes and mid-century baking tools.  On the bottom shelf is my mint green, 1960s Ericofon telephone, found at the Hollis Flea Market and the late 1960s Sears solid state radio that belonged to my grandmother.  I have fond memories of that radio playing in her kitchen so I feel very lucky that she gave it to me, so I can play it in ours.  The top of the bookcase and broom closet displays my aqua and white Pyrex.


The rest of my cookbooks are displayed on the tall appliance shelves, next to the fridge.  On the top shelf, I folded and stacked my collection of 1940s and 1950s tablecloths.  I often use these on my kitchen table, so it's nice to have quick access to them.  They also help hide the appliances stored in the back of the shelf and adds a bit of color to that corner.

With the metal trim, sink and backsplash our kitchen is already pretty blingy but it didn't stop us from adding a bit more.  Chris found a fantastic chrome breadbox at Goodwill a few months ago and then just last month, we happened to find the matching flour, sugar, coffee and tea bins at a local antique shop.  My wonderful chrome, 1960s/1950s Sunbeam Mixmaster, displayed on the countertop, came from one of my favorite shops, The Melamine Cup.  This mixer works like a dream and I absolutely love the design of it.  I mean, look at that thing!  It looks like it came off of a rocket ship.  It even made it onto the design of my curtain fabric.

On of our favorite features of our kitchen is the corner shelf.  On this, I display our collections of ice-crushers and diner mugs and other various vintage items, including the Juice-O-Mat, chrome cake stand and my collection of state glasses, featuring states I've lived in.  The diner mugs we've purchased at some of our favorite diners in New Hampshire and Vermont


This Dazey ice crusher is exactly like the one we had when I was a kid.  I love the rocket-shaped design of these


Most of the walls in the kitchen are covered with cabinets, so wall decor is concentrated in the porch/eating area. They are all vintage advertisements for various things, mostly kitchen or food related. The Levi's advertisement is one my brother found for me in a 1960s men's clothing store in North Carolina, that had been closed up.  Most of the wall art is new to this kitchen, but the Baby Ruth ad and Kingswood Ice Cream sign were in our old kitchen as well.  The calendar is from 1953.

The Rubbermaid Sign was refurbished by me and is one of my favorite items in the porch area.  It does light up, but we typically only turn it on when guests come by. The ice cream die-cuts were most likely used as decoration in a diner or soda shop.


The hutch that I refinished holds my collection of cherry-related things and vintage packaging. Chris had an uncle who used to drive trucks for the Choc-Ola company, so a few years ago we found and purchased a crate online which sits on top of the hutch along with a 1960s 7up crate.


The 1940s/1950s Dybala's Spring sign hangs in the main part of the kitchen, on the end of the cabinets.  The company was from North Smithfield, Rhode Island. 


For the finishing touches, I dressed the windows with the curtains I made from fabric printed with my own design. I stuck metal mint green starbursts, with magnets, on the corner cabinets and oven hood.  I found them in a shop on called "RetroAZ" who makes fantastic metal house numbers and other decoration.

I'm sure that over time I will move things around and swap out the decorations, but for now my kitchen looks exactly as I had hoped.