All Hail the Colourful Kitchen

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The Complete Book of Decorating, 1976, by Corinne Benicka
The Complete Book of Decorating, 1976, by Corinne Benicka

Drydockshop favours the brave who get creative with their kitchen design

The modern kitchen, as we know it today, has only been around for about a hundred years, as it was the arrival of the twentieth century that heralded the cultural and industrial changes that would dramatically alter our relationship with the kitchen and with food in general. It was around this time that indoor plumbing started to become standard and not just a luxury for the well-off. Similarly, with electricity becoming available, so too did advances in refrigeration and cooking. Refrigerators started to replace larders. Electric and gas ranges did away with the kitchen hearth. Step by step, the kitchen was downsized, streamlined, and brought out of the basement and into the home. 

But it wasn't until after the second world war that today's kitchen really started to take shape. Energy shortages and rationing meant the kitchen was generally the warmest room in the house, creating the urge to gather, eat meals, and basically hang out in the same room, and resulting in the eat-in kitchen. The post-war building boom allowed for substantial advancements in technology and design, and by the end of the 1950s we see kitchens that are more or less, aside from certain convenience appliances, the same as they are today. However, the one area that has changed, and continues to change, is design. 

Going through the drydockshop archive, I noticed a trend when it comes to kitchens from the past. They may be attractive and true to the fashions of their decade, but they're boring. Like, really boring. To the point where I wasn't sure I could do a post about kitchens. So many of them looked the same, the same colours, the same materials, the same appliances – even the same photographic angles. Ironically, this made them look dated. And I know what you may be thinking. Of course they looked dated, they're vintage kitchens from a catalogue of vintage interiors – they're all going to look dated. But not true. One of the things I love about this archive is being constantly inspired by the interiors. Usually, there's no shortage of innovative ideas that are still relevant. These concepts may need a shift in context, or updated materials, but there's some meat there. But I was having trouble with kitchens. 

Interestingly enough, a quick search of kitchens from today yields the same result. One picture runs into the other, subway tile merges with granite which flows into stainless steel which is nestled into European cabinets. It's all the same. The only ones that stick out are the true outliers. Bright colors, innovative materials, bold shapes. Because it's all design at this point. If you're not improving upon it then you might as well take an idea and run with it. In forty years, nobody is going to pause at some recessed lighting and tiled backsplash. When it comes to your kitchen get creative, use your imagination, and really test the boundaries of design, function, and innovation. Design against the current. Take inspiration from these ten kitchens and let your kitchen freak flag fly.