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February 21, 2015 7:56 PM   Subscribe

"​These vintage GE appliances are original to my house circa 1956. The house was never occupied and appliances were never used. ​ The manuals were still taped to the appliances.​.." (Flickr) Welcome to the New Frontier - as defined by mid-century American suburbs.​ via
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (56 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
The graphic design of those appliance manuals hit an incredible twang of nostalgia for me: I can almost smell the pages from all those similar books and pamphlets that were scattered around the house growing up—and I was born in 1978!
posted by traveler_ at 8:04 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's . . . **sniff** . . . it's perfect.

I've never even seen a dishwasher in the round before. Did you have to take up the top rack to load the bottom one? Did they work well?
posted by Countess Elena at 8:05 PM on February 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I want to dry hump this kitchen.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:09 PM on February 21, 2015 [39 favorites]


The Donald Fagen reference in the title is Fully Awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 PM on February 21, 2015 [21 favorites]


Something is not right with the backstory here. The fiberglass sink looks pristine, despite being under a window, the dishwasher seals look way too good for fifty year old rubber, and that oven looks like a 2010 Bosch. I'm probably wrong about most of that, but I'm sure a lot of restoration work went into this at minimum (wish there were details).
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:22 PM on February 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


You turn around, and for a brief instant think you spot the form of June Cleaver out of the corner of your eye. From somewhere you can't identify, you hear the faint echoing laughter of the Beav. The world continues to age without them, heedless.
posted by JHarris at 8:22 PM on February 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


First link doesn't work for me.

I moved into a house of this vintage a few years back where there was a strange indentation in the beautiful avocado-tiled kitchen counter. Took me and the roommates about a month to realize - IT WAS THE PLACE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SET THE BLENDER. There was a button amongst the stove buttons that you pushed and the little inset would twirl around and if you had the exact right blender you could set it down in that hole like a domestic holy grail and make yourself a damn smoothie. We never could find the right blender. If we had, I don't think I ever could have moved.
posted by theweasel at 8:23 PM on February 21, 2015 [27 favorites]


I just want the cabinet hardware.
posted by maryr at 8:38 PM on February 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


The range in my condo kitchen is a GE that is more or less identical to the one in the photo set, except the enamel is white, not pink, and the control panel is on top, in the lower left of the drop-in unit.

Same Calrod burners, same trim, same horrible push-button controls.

It's a terrible, terrible stove.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:46 PM on February 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I'm a little skeptical of the story here, too. Appliances sitting unused for nigh unto sixty years, but no rust? No discolored or cracking plastic? Have they been sending a maid over to dust all these years?
posted by Andrhia at 8:50 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm probably wrong about most of that, but I'm sure a lot of restoration work went into this at minimum (wish there were details).

Also:
  • No fading of the paint or plastics.
  • No cracking or splitting of the vinyl seat covers.
  • No yellowing or curling of paper with age.
  • The pink of the clock perfectly matches the Formica, which should have discolored at different rates.
  • No dust anywhere, not even in the tiniest corners of the tile grout. I have never seen a listed house cleaned with this attention to detail.
Have they been sending a maid over to dust all these years?

Regular cleaning would have at least left some brush marks on the chrome finishes.

This is beyond restoration. Any replacements would also show telltales of aging. This is some kind of beautiful, fantastically labor-intensive fake. I can't come up with a motive for the deception, other than the owner trying to conceal his possession of an airplane-hangar-sized time machine.
posted by clarknova at 8:53 PM on February 21, 2015 [26 favorites]


Yeah, a lot of this stuff degrades whether you use it or not. In particular these kind of consumer grade chrome fittings used to pit like mad and those refrigerator racks in particular would look like crap by now. This is in large part a marvel of restoration and maintenance, not a time capsule.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:54 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not a Bosch oven, it is a Bosch dishwasher (not the one they highlight, the silver one on the left in the picture). It might not be Bosch, it might be LG, but it is definitely post 2010.

Still, even if I had nicely refurbished retro kitchen, I'd want a modern dishwasher to go with it.
posted by eye of newt at 8:56 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want to know the backstory for that ktichen.
posted by wuwei at 9:05 PM on February 21, 2015


The refrigerator door seal seems to have adhered to the cabinet; the ends of the wire shelves show signs of rust; the rubber seal on the dishwasher may have perished; the chrome on the handle is bubbling.

But you can see signs that things have been well cleaned, and there seems to be a modern dishwasher in this photo.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:07 PM on February 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, Flickr says for some reason that these were taken in April 1997, nearly 18 years ago. I'm not sure I trust that caption due to the style of the modern appliance on the left. Perhaps that style was available in the late 90s but it does seem a little mid-aughts to me.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:13 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Digital cameras were pretty hard to come by in 1997, weren't they?
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 9:28 PM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


These appliances were all absolutely top of the range (no pun) when new. Like, movie star rich. When I was younger I ripped out a few kitchens of this vintage for remodelling, but none ever had any appliances close to these in quality.
The door knobs and things that got tossed would bring a tear to the eye of the retro enthusiast.
posted by bystander at 9:41 PM on February 21, 2015


There was a Reddit post about a family shoe store that had been abandoned in the 60s and just opened recently, so I suppose there's precedence for these kind of time capsule buildings. If the house was never occupied, it's conceivable that the windows were covered which would explain the lack of UV damage.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 9:44 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
posted by Omission at 9:45 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


No yellowing or curling of paper with age.

They don't make paper like they used to.

This is old old news. But not as old as claimed, possibly.

1962 GE time capsule kitchen – for sale Feb 24, 2010.

I wonder why this is coming up again now.

UPDATE: As of Feb 2015 — this kitchen HAS BEEN REMOVED AND SOLD.

Oh well, there are plenty of other time capsule homes on the market.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:53 PM on February 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


We have that ceiling fan left over from the extension to the original house.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:25 PM on February 21, 2015


*Regardless of its origin, a small steady voice begins to sing in the back of my head*


/a maaaatchbox of our own/ a fence ...of real chain-link/ a grill out on ...the patio / Disposal in the siiink!/ A washer and a dryer and an ironing machine / In a tract house that we share/Somnnnnewhere that's greeeeeen./

posted by The Whelk at 10:43 PM on February 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Really? I get this one.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:46 PM on February 21, 2015


split the difference
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 PM on February 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love this, these awesome set-ups. I used to live in this cool old building with a murphy bed and a murphy kitchen. That's right, a murphy kitchen. It was the coolest thing ever. A tiny fridge, oven and three burner range, sink and a couple of cupboards all in a little alcove that you could close off with a tri-fold door. The building was put up in the sixties and was furnished with old school Norwegian furniture. It was amazing. The man who owned it had no idea what he had. My rent was $335.25 a month. Seriously, the .25 was the most crazy thing about it.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 11:16 PM on February 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


there was a strange indentation in the beautiful avocado-tiled kitchen counter. Took me and the roommates about a month to realize - IT WAS THE PLACE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SET THE BLENDER

heh - a while back a friend of my parents' had an apartment in this amazing googie building in Ft Lauderdale, and it had one of those - they did have a blender pitcher that fit into it, and my dad tinkered with it and got it working - so cool! Damn that was a fine place to sip daiquiris.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:29 AM on February 22, 2015


I'm also calling faked. The leaf ceiling light might be era-appropriate, but the chrome one in the pictures of the refridgerator? Nope: not that style in that era. And I've gotta agree with the fading or lack thereof; although yeah, pink was popular.

Also 1956, like every era before or since, had normal, upright refrigerators, not this weird 'wall cabinet' setup. Maybe this is supposed to be some sort of designer home of the future?
posted by easily confused at 2:08 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




My house was built in 1873 and has had various "updates" since then. The kitchen is from about 1964 and looks surprisingly like this one, only in "brushed copper." For years we discussed replacing it until one visitor cried "wow, what a FANTASTIC job you guys have done creating a mid-century kitchen!" Now we've decided to leave it exactly as is.
posted by kinnakeet at 3:02 AM on February 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is exactly what my grandfather's range looked like, even down to the drawer handles. He and his family lived in borderline poverty for most of the 1950s - they had an outdoor toilet for much of my mother's childhood - but managed to completely remake the home after the mining company my grandfather worked for settled out of court for his work-related injuries before my mom entered high school, which would have been in the early 1960s. So the link from charlie don't surf putting the age of the kitchen at 1962 makes sense to me. On the other hand, he might have bought older, marked-down appliances to save money. He was a frugal man, after all; he used to buy Tab soda by the case.

I'm not sure how "fake" this is to be honest. Joe points out some pretty reasonable wear and tear, and digital cameras were clunky but available in 1997. I don't fault him for doing some dusting or whatever before taking the photos; I think it's implied that showcasing a kitchen for sale is going to entail some pre-showcase cleaning.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:23 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


and digital cameras were clunky but available in 1997

Digital cameras, yes, but the EXIF on these is for the Nikon D70, which came out in 2004. And the EXIF date itself (at least on the one picture I'm looking at is 2010:02:12 13:55:33, so decidedly not from 1997 in any case.
posted by thegears at 5:22 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fake or not, still a beauty of a retro kitchen.
posted by Kitteh at 5:33 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


This has made my day. And it's only 8:30-ish.
It's like a flashback to my childhood. All that's missing is a jar of Tang in the cupboard.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:38 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is truly the Zapruder Film of kitchen photos.
posted by dr_dank at 5:59 AM on February 22, 2015 [21 favorites]


I used to have a mid-century house with original appliances. They were beautiful to look at (and impressively were still functioning 40 years later) but the controls were not up to the level of the typography. I couldn't bear to tear them out because of how beautiful they were, so I just lived with the oddities.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:37 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fridge looks odd as well. Tiny bits of residual rust under the serial number plate and rusted staples + creases on the spine of the fridge's instruction book.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:54 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This kitchen looks almost exactly like mine in terms of tile and cabinets. All our appliances were replaced, though.

I know from going to estate sales that there are tons of homes in Skokie, Illinois that still have appliances like that.
posted by hyperizer at 6:57 AM on February 22, 2015


My parents had one of those GE cabinet refrigerator/freezer combos. It took me forever to get used to a standing refrigerator because as a hungry teenager I LOVED having everything at eye level. The only electrician in our small town sold GE appliances. There's still one of these cabinet fridges in the basement of the house that electrician used to live in. The family that lives there now refuse to part with it.
posted by Ber at 7:35 AM on February 22, 2015


I moved into a house of this vintage a few years back where there was a strange indentation in the beautiful avocado-tiled kitchen counter. Took me and the roommates about a month to realize - IT WAS THE PLACE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SET THE BLENDER.

My grandparents' kitchen had a blender port! It worked with the super common Osterizer blender cups. Their house was built in 1948, and I they didn't replace any appliances in the kitchen until I was a kid in the 80s, so I'm sure it was original. And awesome. My grandmother would make me smoothies with it.

I remember reading about this house a few years ago, but I can't find the site now. I think it had more info.
posted by apricot at 7:57 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I grew up in an apartment with a kitchen that had that exact cook top, oven, and wall fridge, only in harvest gold or similar. Sadly the wall fridge no longer worked. It seemed like such a good idea, I'm surprised none have been made more recently. The apartment wasn't remotely high end, even when it was built.
posted by sepviva at 8:10 AM on February 22, 2015


A few years back my parents bought a classic circa-1900 New England Victorian house that had gotten a totally incongruous mid-20th century makeover by the previous owners; living room and dining room windows had been replaced by giant plate glass picture windows, and the entire kitchen was floor-to-ceiling pale yellow enameled steel Geneva cabinets. They were absolutely pristine; not a scratch, dent, or spot of rust anywhere. While my folks appreciated them on their own merits, the cabinets (and the hideous kitchen wall to wall carpet) were one of the first things to go. They really did not belong in that house at all. (They were carefully dismantled and sold as salvage, so I'm sure they live on in some much better-suited mid-century home.)
posted by usonian at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2015


We moved into a new house in 1956. We had the same range and oven (although not pink).
I had forgotten the push-buttons on the range, and those two knobs on the side of the oven clock- the time-bake settings. Also the timer (the white clock hand).
I believe we had a Nu-Tone exhaust fan as well, but I'm not positive. They were in the neighborhood.
The dishwasher was different, but we had that same round basket in the bottom, and the same soap dispenser.

I remember heating marbles on the Calrod burners, and then dropping them in ice water to make them crackle up. But I don't remember why that was desirable.
I thought it was a great stove- I learned to cook on that. But after using gas, I'd never want electric again.

This is fun to look at, but I don't understand the concept of 'The house was never occupied and appliances were never used. '
posted by MtDewd at 10:43 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


My house was built in 1959 and when we bought it in '91, it had that same pink stove top, which we had to replace after it died in a rather scary and spectacular way. We still have that Nu-Tone fan cover (ours is horribly corroded though) and those V-shaped drawer pulls. My dad's home was built in '61 and he had that stove in brushed copper, I used to get into trouble as a toddler for pushing the burner buttons which are stupidly right at toddler height.

It's neat to see what mid-century appliances looked like when they were showroom new or at least very well-restored rather than after decades of daily use where they are more a marker of homeowner who hasn't done any remodels.
posted by jamaro at 12:24 PM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, while I love the shape of my drawer/cabinet pulls, their design is such that everyone in my family has repeatedly gotten a knuckle trapped behind them and been jabbed in a finger by the pointy part while the door pivots shut. They are pretty but aren't super friendly to use.
posted by jamaro at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


My uncle and aunt live in a 1950s-era house that has a kitchen almost exactly like this one. Over the years they had to replace the appliances, but the cabinetry and counters are identical to the one in the FPP link. They also have the original pink-and-black porcelain tiles in the main bathroom, complete with flamingo decorations!
posted by briank at 12:57 PM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to know the backstory for that kitchen.

Pam at Retro Renovation is more than miffed about the revival of this story considering that she put it in the blog five years ago.

This story -- which we were first to publish in 2010 -- five years ago! -- is making the rounds of other scraper type websites that repeated our story AGAIN. Read the original here!

But its a sweet little kitchen, for all of that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good catch, Ruthless Bunny. She also says:

Kitchen is long gone.
posted by thegears at 4:19 PM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good catch, Ruthless Bunny.

Ahem.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:55 PM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good catch, Ruthless Bunny.

Ahem.


Um....is it bad that I teach reading comprehension skills?
posted by thegears at 8:04 PM on February 22, 2015


Speed reading?

(just kidding)
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:45 PM on February 22, 2015


My house was build in 1964 - one thing that endeared it to me was the built-in tissue holders in the walls (mine are branded Kleenex) of the kitchen and both bathrooms and also the pink master half-bathroom. I still have the original oven and brushed copper rangehood, but both are starting to work not as well as they could.
posted by backwords at 7:48 AM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My grandmother still has the stove that Sissy Spacek uses in Blast From The Past, and uses it.

Heh. Walken. Classic.
posted by SlyBevel at 6:01 PM on February 23, 2015


Holy shit, this reminds me so much of the kitchen in the first house i lived in after i moved out. We had this exact stove, and pretty much everything looked just like these photos.

God, what a bunch of garbage. It had all been well maintained by the fix-everything dad who owned the place(a guy who was so mechanically/electronically adept that he made his own handheld battery powered NES in the early 90s). But even when it worked, it sucked. Using it now would be like using a 90s computer with windows 95. These aren't monitor top fridges where they're super efficient or something. The stove sucked, the oven sucked. Hell, even the sink sucked. Eventually one of the heating elements went out and no one in town, nor on the earlier internet could supply a replacement. The people old enough to remember what part it would take said they hadn't been available since the late 80s, and then only as a deadstock.

Damn did it look cool, though. Jetsons as fuck.

and wow, that cabinet fridge is so cool why aren't there modern versions of that? i know there's built in fridges, but why the hell are they all boring upright, or freezer under designs?

and digital cameras were clunky but available in 1997

I owned several early cameras, like the quicktake 100. They did NOT take pictures at this level of quality. The nikon D1 didn't even exist in 1997. The quality maxed out at about well, pre-iphone, non nokia phone camera. Or like, a laptop webcam. Hell, the midrange canon point and shoot i owned in 2004 or so didn't take pictures this good.
posted by emptythought at 9:19 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really like the idea of a wall-mounted fridge too; it might discourage me from leaving "science experiments" hidden at the back of the bottom shelf. They're probably a pain to service, though.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:07 PM on February 23, 2015


I imagine you would need a reasonably strong bracket to mount a fridge. Can't be any heavier than a data cabinet, I would have thought. If you could find someone throwing out an old wall mounted data cabinet you could put a fridge inside it for a bit of 90's network chic in the kitchen!
posted by asok at 3:52 AM on February 24, 2015


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