“Let’s Do the Time Warp” – The Artful Blending of Kitchen Styles

Interior design and kitchen styles have come a long way from what they used to be – from the Renaissance style of the 15th and 16th centuries to the Victorian style of the 1800’s, and then to more modern styles such as Traditional, Transitional and Contemporary. But, new isn’t always necessarily better. Sometimes, styles from bygone eras can complement modern day personalities, providing the perfect opportunity to bring back the past. These nostalgic styles can be ‘mixed and matched’ so that the next time that you step into your kitchen, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a Time Warp.

When designing your kitchen to achieve a Time Warp, follow the 80/20 rule. The first thing to consider is that one style period should be more prominent than the other. Second, try to group similar items, which will help everything in the space look cohesive, even when your pieces are really different. And lastly, understand balance. The two different style periods shouldn’t be separated, but should instead be integrated in a seamless way. To demonstrate how this concept works, we’ll use an example showing two popular style periods – Rustic and Art Noveau.

Style #1 – Rustic. The Rustic Style came to life during the 1800’s and is exemplified by the idea that pieces should be purposeful, functional and effective. Primary components include handcrafted elements and open rooms. This style can still be found in many kitchens today. Appliances such as antique fridges, ranges and wood-burning cookstoves combine desired functionality with a traditional, yet stylish and polished appearance. Pieces that could be mixed into your kitchen to represent this style include copper cookware, kerosene lamps, a stone wall, exposed ceiling beams, barnlike doors and wood finishes.

Style #2 – Art Nouveau. A style that lends itself to being paired with Rustic is Art Nouveau, which originated in the 1890’s. The main tenet of this style is that everyday objects should be beautiful. Inspiration comes from natural outdoor elements, such as flowers and greenery. To incorporate aspects of Art Nouveau into your kitchen, consider adding items such as antique trays with floral designs and floral paintings, along with live plants and flowers. Furniture and cabinetry with lots of details also complements this style.

To use both The Rustic and Art Nouveau styles together – and create the quintessential Time Warp – apply the 80/20 rule and, in this case, choose Rustic as the central theme of the kitchen. Grouping like items, you could incorporate rustic elements such as wooden cabinetry, a wooden island and a ceiling featuring wooden beams. To balance the styles throughout the room, you could bring in pieces from the Art Nouveau style, such as cabinetry with floral details. You could also add a colored floral painting with a wooden frame to harmonize with other rustic elements.

Also, consider using copper cookware and placing various pieces throughout the space. Finally, since the Rustic theme is central to the kitchen, you might add a rustic kitchen appliances, such as an Elmira Stove Works wood-burning stove or antique refrigerator to complete the look.

Ready to create a Time Warp in your kitchen? Learn more about Elmira’s retro and antique appliances for inspiration!

 

 

 

A Brief History of Diners

Vintage

For many people, diners have become a home away from home. Since they are open late hours – many 24 hours a day – they are a popular place to socialize or eat after a late night out on the town. In fact, the diner has been cemented in place as a cultural icon — it is a setting in acclaimed films like Pulp Fiction and When Harry Met Sally, TV shows such as Seinfeld, some of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and even a painting by Norman Rockwell.

Let’s throw it back to a time before shows like Happy Days and Riverdale to see how the diner originated, and to offer tips on how you can upgrade your kitchen or recreational bar area with this classic style.

Originally conceived by Walter Scott, the first diners didn’t look much like the buildings with chrome interiors and neon signs that we know today. In 1872, Scott repurposed a horse-pulled wagon into a car that served sandwiches, coffee, pies and eggs to townspeople late at night. These early ‘mobile’ diners (precursors to today’s food trucks) had large wheels, overhangs, murals and frosted glass, while later iterations had smaller wheels and larger counters. In 1913, Jerry Mahoney established the first stationary diner, ushering in what would eventually become “diner culture.”

By the 1950s, Mahoney owned 6,000 diners across the nation. As these fun restaurants gained popularity after World War II, their aesthetic took on more of the retro look most of us are familiar with, including elements such as colorful leather booths, wood paneling and porcelain tiles. Once diners spread to the suburbs, the look changed again as stainless steel exteriors, large windows and wall decor were incorporated.

As styles and trends circle back around, more consumers are opting for retro styling, including the diner aesthetic, for their kitchens or recreational spaces. To bring some of this nostalgic inspiration into your kitchen, consider adding a table and chairs with chrome accents and bright, vibrant colors, or opt for leather (or vinyl) booth-style seating. Other elements could include checkered tile and floors, retro artwork and neon signs. Flea markets and antique stores are great places for picking up many of these items. Last, but certainly not least, bring the look together with retro appliances like those in our colorful Northstar collection!

Diners have become an American icon. They have become so popular, in fact, that some have been certified as historic sites. If you happen to venture out on the open road – perhaps even Route 66 – this summer, drop into one of these classic diners. Or if you prefer a fun experience at home, there are plenty of subtle or overt ways to give your kitchen the perfect dose of diner flare.

 

Mid-Century Modern – Back to the Present

Style trends come full circle, and mid-century modern design is currently doing exactly that. The use of sleek lines, interesting colors and a mix of both traditional and non-traditional materials is the essence of mid-century modern style that harkens back to the mid-1930’s to mid-1960’s. So, what has sparked the current resurgence of this design trend?

Shows such as Mad Men have no doubt helped this style gain new popularity. In addition, today’s homeowners – busier than ever – appreciate the timeless look and minimal effort required to maintain mid-century modern style. And, then there is the added bonus of infusing our dwellings with a little nostalgia from a bygone era.

Breath of Fresh Air

Mid-century modern style is understated and uncluttered – providing a sense of stability in a chaotic world. This versatile aesthetic blends clean lines and gentle, organic curves with geometric forms and fun shapes to provide a minimalist look that’s both functional and stylish. There’s no unnecessary ornamentation collecting dust and dirt here. A simple wipe down will keep things looking crisp and new.

Bridging the Generation Gap

Millennials are the largest demographic purchasing new items for the home, and many are opting to furnish their homes with mid-century inspired items, including kitchen appliances. Mid-century modern is fresh to them and a welcome departure from the dusty pastels and beige overstuffed sofas that they likely grew up with.

Their parents, Gen Xer’s and retiring Baby Boomers – a growing number of whom are looking to downsize – are embracing mid-century modern as well. They too are looking for the perfect mix of “stylish, easy to clean (a.k.a. time-saving) and doesn’t take up too much space.”

But, there’s more to it than that. Age tends to make us more reflective, and memories are powerful. We all long for tangible bits of our past, and movies, music, and even furniture – in this case, brass tipped feet on an end table, an Eames-esque chair, or a barrel lampshade – can (re)connect us with the magic of another time.

Get the Look

So, how can you incorporate a touch of the mid-century modern design trend into your home?

Start by finding pieces that reflect the distinguishing features of the style. If there is a specific era you’d like to emulate, you can buy vintage furniture or an iconic piece that has been made new to suit your needs and budget. Try visiting antique markets or an online site that sells vintage and refurbished furniture.

Another way to get the look without breaking the bank is to build around current pieces. Just make sure to avoid using too many patterns, and stay within a designated color range.

Whichever direction you choose, don’t feel overwhelmed – the goal is to have fun and incorporate small elements that ultimately tie the look together and give the perfect mid-century vibes!

Bring On the Drama – 4 All-Star Kitchens in Film

The biggest night in film is always full of fun and fanfare! The 2018 Oscar nominees and winners featured a diverse selection of movies. In honor of the occasion, we thought we’d take a look back at previous nominees to count down a few of the best kitchens in film. From period dramas to adaptations of literary classics, here are some kitchen designs worthy of any home.

Ratatouille (2007)

There’s nothing like fine dining in France. Ratatouille follows young rat Remy, who has a gifted sense of taste and smell, on the pursuit of his lifelong dream – becoming a chef in Paris. Through a series of events, Remy ends up in the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant. A lot of work and detail went into bringing this restaurant kitchen to life for the big screen. The use of black with brass accents, tiled floor and copper pots created the perfect French kitchen, making it easy to see why this Pixar standout went on to win Best Animated Feature.

Julie & Julia (2009)

From a fictional chef to a real-life professional chef: in the film Julie & Julia, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) decides to add some joy to her life by cooking over the course of one year every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child (Meryl Streep). The film is interwoven with flashbacks to Julia Child’s time in Paris in the 1950s, and the set was meticulously recreated based on pictures of her original kitchen. Meryl Streep garnered a Best Actress nod that year, but was edged out by Sandra Bullock for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side.

The Help (2011)

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Help takes moviegoers on a journey through Mississippi in the 1960s. The retro style and pale hues of Skeeter Phelan’s (Emma Stone) childhood home would be perfectly complemented by mint green Northstar appliances. All of the elements – from the checkered vinyl floor to the Formica-and-chrome table complete with cherry red seating – provide the quintessential mid-century southern style needed to make this film pop. The critically-acclaimed movie was nominated for Best Picture, but lost out to The Artist.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

This film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic gave us a taste of the glitz and glam of the 1920s. The film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, included all of the elements of the roaring 20s yet still felt very modern. The movie used 42 individual sets, created both on location and on soundstages. It took the production team 14 weeks just to build, paint and decorate Gatsby’s mansion, which called for a grand ballroom, library, master bedroom, entrance hall, and terrace, as well as a garden. The meticulous attention to detail paid off, as the film earned an Oscar for Best Production Design.

Did your Oscar picks win this year? What was your favorite film from this list, or is there another film that you think had a great kitchen set?

A Memorable Thanksgiving With Vintage Flair

Thanksgiving is a time-honored American tradition. The holiday is often celebrated eating a great home-cooked meal, surrounded by family and friends. It includes gathering in the kitchen in the morning to make that pumpkin pie or prepare the turkey while creating memorable moments.

When you’re congregated in the kitchen making all the side dishes and trimmings, have you ever stopped to think about how Thanksgiving dinner was made in your grandma’s kitchen? While some things never go out of style, kitchen appliances have come a long way… which is something we should all be thankful for.

In grandma’s kitchen, you had the feeling of being home. There was love and warmth around every corner. You also knew you were going to get a hearty home-cooked meal; not taking seconds was a serious offense. During after-dinner clean up, dishes had to be washed and dried by hand, which was no fun at all.

The day after the big feast probably involved some Black Friday shopping and then maybe cleaning the oven; after all, the oven just had its biggest day of the year. Back then, ovens were cleaned manually (or “womanually”). This involved spraying the oven with toxic cleaners, letting it soak, putting on rubber gloves, then mopping dirty toxic sludge out with rags. (Don’t forget to open the windows to let the toxic fumes out.)

Speaking of the cleaning your Grandma had to do, we would be remiss not to mention the nasty task of defrosting the refrigerator. This task included emptying the fridge and freezer, storing everything in coolers, letting the fridge warm up, and then chipping the ice out of the freezer with a steel spatula. Once the cleaning was completed, you could finally put the food back.

Today’s kitchen is not your Grandma’s – now, you can fit your unique personality into Thanksgiving without giving up the modern conveniences. Much like their original 1950s counterparts, retro fridges today offer customized shades and a range of styles to choose from. The outside may look foreign to those of the millennial generation, but its features are not.

Here are just a few bells and whistles to expect:

  • Self-cleaning ovens
  • Convection ovens for faster, even, precise baking and broiling
  • Programmable ovens for baking and self-clean
  • Warmer drawers
  • Frost-free fridges
  • Ice makers
  • Large functional freezers
  • Filtered cold water dispensers

It’s fun to look back to the days of June Cleaver, when evenings only consisted of the family dinner and  the fellowship around the table was the most important part of the day; and Thanksgiving dinner perhaps the most important meal of the year. The innovation of modern technology in kitchen appliances has helped preparing Thanksgiving dinner come into the 21st century, but some things like the warmth and love of family and friends while eating great food will never go out of style.

Famous TV Kitchens Reloaded: Hi-Tech Upgrades to Retro Designs for a Blast from the Not-So-Distant Past

If you love television, chances are that you grew up right alongside some pretty famous families. The Bradys. The Waltons. The Seinfeld gang. And at the very center of all the laughs, the confusion, the sadness, and the touching moments you’ll likely never to forget, are the memorable kitchens in the homes of the families we loved.

Many people still consider the kitchen to be the very heart of the home — for a variety of unique reasons. So let’s take a walk back down memory lane — revisiting the famous TV sitcom kitchens of the past — and highlight what it was about these environments that made them so special.  Plus, consider how their designs have influenced the kitchens of today.

The Brady Bunch: Alice ran a tight ship, feeding and raising a special group of kids

The Brady Bunch was the dominant family-focused sitcom of the 1970s. And in the Brady family kitchen, housekeeper and matriarch Alice Nelson was the master of her domain. The kitchen environment itself was a nod to everything that was great about the 70s. With an open floor plan in the middle class suburban home, the walls were adorned with perfectly fake wood paneling broken up by that memorable kitchen island.

Add to the atmosphere the stainless double oven, and Alice had everything she needed to keep the family eating heartily and running smoothly. The only thing missing? A retro microwave oven from Northstar. Imagine what Alice could have done with 1200 watts of power and capacity of 1.6 cubic feet. We’re talking sensor reheat, genius sensor cook setting, inverter turbo defrost, and a popcorn key.

The Waltons: An All-American tale of just how hard — and sweet — life could be

There’s little denying that the Waltons owned 1960s drama. This All-American family from Walton’s Mountain in Jefferson County, Virginia gave us a glimpse into growing up during one of the nation’s toughest times. And as you might expect, hearts soared and challenges were bested in one of the more memorable kitchen settings in American television history.

The Walton kitchen garnered specific acclaim for its period-appropriate detail — from the matching woodgrain furniture to the woodburning cookstove that anchored this special room. However, swap that out with the Fireview woodburning cookstove and you have a model that still perfectly matches the time period, but adds the convenience of high-efficiency and optional side burners.

Seinfeld: The show about nothing from the smallest kitchen in history

Kitchen space in a New York City apartment is at a premium. And no TV show demonstrated this phenomenon more clearly than the sitcom that dominated the 90s — Seinfeld. The motley crew of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer spent years getting in and out of trouble — shoulder to shoulder in the confines of Jerry’s cramped apartment kitchen. Literally two steps would take you from the fridge to the stove and back. And you could access the microwave halfway through that trip.

One addition to the Seinfeld kitchen that they would have loved might be the Northstar fridge. With six models and eight dynamic colors to choose from, this retro appliance would have done wonders for Jerry’s cool factor — particularly on the few occasions when he entertained a female visitor. And with the addition of a BrewMaster factory-installed draft kit, the boys could have enjoyed cold brews to fuel their insane conversations.

Elmira Stove Works carries several complete lines of antique kitchen appliances to help you capture the look of your favorite TV kitchen. Plus, our brands are equipped with the very latest in cooking technology — which means you’ll never sacrifice the performance you demand for the aesthetics you prefer.