6 Steps to a Vintage Kitchen

Love the look of historic kitchens, but struggling with how to achieve that ambiance in your own home? Take a cue or two from this 1913 kitchen in Venice, California, restored to its Craftsman glory by homeowner Sue Abbe Kaplan and featured in our upcoming issue of Kitchens & Baths magazine.

historic kitchen

This 1913 bungalow kitchen was remodeled by homeowner Sue Kaplan and interior designer Dayle Zukor. (Photo: Mark Tanner)

1. Appliances: How do you incorporate modern appliances into an historic kitchen? Here’s the key: juxtapose a contemporary appliance with a period-style piece made of the same material. For example, this dark matte Wolf stove is coupled with a curved range hood that references Art Deco style. Together with the vintage-inspired teapot—which has that same finish—the contemporary stove slips right into the vintage scheme unnoticed. For more ideas about how to incorporate contemporary appliances into an historic kitchen, be sure to pick up our upcoming summer issue of Victorian Homes magazine.


2. A Centerpiece: In bygone days, the kitchen was a forgotten place design-wise, a functional room used to slop out meals and not to savor them with family and friends. As such, turn-of-the-century kitchens were often out-of-the-way, dark rooms. Lighten up your period kitchen’s dark tones with an island centerpiece that catches the eye, like this marble-topped island. A timeless material, marble offers creamy white hue that will brighten an historic kitchen without disrupting its vintage ambiance.


3. Cabinetry: Cover up your pots and pans in authentic vintage style with dark wood cabinets and period pulls. Here, slag glass doors add more color and texture than wood would and grant the kitchen the unmistakable character of a turn-of-the-century space. Hunt for deals on vintage hardware on eBay and Etsy or find period reproductions at vintagehardware.com or houseofantiquehardware.com. To learn more about slag glass, visit kovels.com.


4. Backsplash: Surrounded by ceramic counterparts, two lines of embossed tin tiles make the small space appear wider while adding more vintage charm. The semi-reflective tiles coordinate well with the appliances and grey ceramic countertop, creating a sense of unity.


5. Wallpaper: Wallpaper in a kitchen? Your skepticism is understandable. But for a period look, there isn’t a better—or cheaper—way to go. Certainly use it sparingly and keep it away from spills and splatters; here, the paper that gives period pep to the adjacent dining room extends across the gap above the kitchen window, providing a maximum amount of impact in a small stretch of space.


6. Accessories: Both pretty and practical, these forest green vintage tin and ceramic canisters add a needed cool hue to the warm space. But note that this green doesn’t just come out of nowhere: look closely, and you’ll see it in the slag glass cabinet doors and the wallpaper.


For more great kitchen décor ideas, check out our upcoming issue of Kitchens & Baths magazine or our online vintage kitchen gallery.


By Elaine K. Phillips

Photography by Mark Tanner

Styled by Hillary Black

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *