Monday, August 3, 2009

Where have all the colourful kitchens gone?

The other day my kitchen had a moment of looking particularly spick and span, in its own slightly personality free white and stainless steel way.

Look familiar? I thought so. Looks a bit like these kitchens below, the type of kitchen which is today ubiquitous.

And I found myself fondly remembering the kitchen in which I spent my childhood during the 1970s.

Naturally I have no photos, and it is hard to even find kitchen products out there which remotely approximate it, but these were the key elements:

Shiny green ceramic tiles for the splashback. (I recently learned that in the US a splashback is called a backsplash! I laughed for a good five minutes at that. The same but different).

Bright orange painted walls. The technique used was I think called double glazing and involved painting layers and layers of colour so there was a textured, patchy effect.

Grey slate floor tiles.

And most striking of all, browny black laminate cupboards and countertop. There was also a high island bench opening through to the eating area, which you never see any more.

Let me be clear, this was a not a kitchen where people on entering smiled politely. This was the kitchen my mother chose, an amazing kitchen, quite the height of design. People loved it and commented on it. It was in magazines.

I have many fond memories of my mother cooking us spaghetti bolognese for dinner, and whipping up a cold cherry soup dessert for one of her many dinner parties. And us helping to mix the raspberries into the creme anglaise before it went into the freezer. And eating by the spoonful that malted milk powder which I don't think you can buy anymore (it makes your mouth glue up).

How I wonder have we gone from multi-coloured kitchens to the neutrals and stainless steel which now engulf us. And when will we return to the kitchens of my childhood?

There are examples of the use of colour out there. It is usually pretty selective and edited.

And don't get me wrong, I love love love our kitchen. But sometimes I miss orange and lime.


Kiki said...

Good morning, I can't remember exactly how I found you but that happens in blogland doesn't it.

Coming to you from Queensland, I really enjoyed this post and had to laugh at the backsplash too. I have an American friend living close by and I tease her about it non-stop. Did you also know the Americans don't use the word 'fortnight' to explain what will happen in two week's time? That one is funny as well.

Well, I just wanted to say hi and that I enjoy your posts and to note that yes, you can still buy malted milk powder (Nestle). I have to have it in my milkshakes, another throwback from the 70s childhood, no doubt? ;)

Mise said...

Ah, I enjoyed that look back, and it brought to find my mother's kitchen cupboards (orange flowers on a brownish background, around the same era as the one you describe) I think there's something to be said for being unaware of fashion and trend and just doing one's own thing. Otherwise, like you say, we all have the same house.

Anonymous said...

A splashback? Now I'm going to be laughing for a good five minutes! I thought I knew all the English terms but I didn't know that one! I had to laugh at Kiki's comment too about fortnight. If you used that in the US, you would definitely get a few looks and/or laughs! Anyway, I sometimes want to go crazy with color in my very neutral kitchen too and I think you're right, it all goes back to our childhood. I love your kitchen by the way!

Laura said...

I couldn't agree more...I'm all for colorful kitchens! All of them are so timid and restoration hardware-esque these days. Time for a little daring!

राज यादव said...

Good post indeed! Thanks for sharing such nice information.

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