Checkerboard Floors

Vintage checkerboard floors in the Ringgold-Carroll House, Washington D.C. National Park Service/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).
Lovely checkerboard floors adorned classic cooking areas in houses ranging from modest to grand. A black-and-white checkerboard flooring was the most common, however occasionally you’ll see old checkerboard floorings featuring gray, red, or cobalt blue.

If your vintage kitchen area still has a checkerboard floor, don’t change it. If you don’t have one, get this vintage look with a recreation tile that looks like old.

Tiled Walls.

Long before paint makers created washable kitchen paint, homeowners installed tile to safeguard kitchen walls from splashes and spills. The protection varied; setup ranged from simply the lower third to the whole wall surface area. The contrasting borders often used were a decorative perk.

Ceramic tile hardly ever survives being ripped out, so a stash of brand-new old stock is your best bet for a genuine look if your walls aren’t already tiled. If you can’t discover that, select new wall tile that’s designed to look old. Research study old kitchen images so you can replicate the tile color, shape, and size.

Built-In China Cabinets.

Built-in china cabinets were fairly typical in classic kitchen areas– and not simply in high-end homes. We have actually lived in three relatively modest 1920’s homes that still had them. And, when the kitchen area didn’t have them, sometimes the dining-room or butler’s pantry did.

The integrated cabinetry in the photo is marvelously intact, however it’s a pity the door pulls were changed. Though they’re covered in paint, at least the hinges are initial.

Some integrated china cabinets undoubtedly went to the garbage dump when the homeowners remodeled. Fortunately, lots were salvaged as well. We have actually seen them at flea markets, reuse stores, and thrift stores. If you do not discover what you need at any of those, your best bet is an architectural salvage shop.

Drainboard Sinks.

Installing an old drainboard sink– one that includes integrated drainboards on one or both sides– in the kitchen is a terrific method to offer a new house a little vintage appeal.

Drainboard sinks are larger than the majority of today’s recreation farmhouse sinks, but they do have actually the exact same exposed front aprons. They’re generally wall mounted, with or without decorative front legs. But, periodically, you’ll see them installed on a cabinet base that shares the sink’s width.

Look for vintage drainboard sinks at the same places you search for old cabinets: thrift shops, flea markets, and reuse shops. Also, check Craigslist and your regional paper classifieds for drainboard sinks for sale, or for a salvage lawn that handles old fixtures.


If you’ve ever checked out Harriet the Spy or The Spiderwick Chronicles, you understand dumbwaiters are little elevators for your stuff. You’ll sometimes discover them in large, older houses with numerous stories; the basement counts as a floor.

We’re always astonished when somebody removes an old manual dumbwaiter to modernize the kitchen– or to get a couple of more inches of cabinet area. If the latter is the factor, you have too much things. Leave the dumbwaiter undamaged.

If you can’t discover an old dumbwaiter, and it is hard, try to find a manually run reproduction with vintage styling. And, ensure you caution the kids not to take it for a flight.

Integrated Ironing Boards.

Built-in ironing boards that fold below their own slim, recessed cabinets prevailed functions in classic kitchens. Unless they were grand, many old houses weren’t built with separate spaces for tending linens and clothing.

If you have an integrated ironing board, don’t rip it out when you add an utility room. Remove the ironing board– don’t toss it; wait for the next local– and set up shelves in the shallow recess. An ironing board cabinet works wonderfully as a space for storing spices. They don’t get lost as they do in deeper cabinets.

Integrated Banquettes.

For casual dining, vintage cooking areas often sported space-saving, built-in banquettes. You often find them on the prepare for kit houses used during the first few decades of the 20th century.

If you’re developing a vintage-inspired kitchen area or attempting to return your old house to its initial state, ask your cabinet maker to build something comparable based on illustrations from old strategies– even if they aren’t the plans for your house. If you can’t find among the original tables prowling at a flea market or antique shopping mall, ask him to build the table too.

Butler’s Pantries.

The first time we checked out somebody removing a butler’s pantry to expand a kitchen area, we believed we need to have misconstrued. It’s bad enough that previous generations frequently took control of the butler’s kitchen when they wanted a second bath.

We may be consumed with open layout now, however at some point quickly we anticipate homeowners will when again crave personal privacy and separation. Then, the most current thing will be a butler’s pantry; they’ll simply give it a fashionable new name.

Butler’s kitchens are splendid spaces. Regularly sandwiched in between the kitchen and official dining-room, they supply a buffer between guests and the inevitable kitchen area mess. Who wishes to clean while they’re attempting to entertain?

Butler’s kitchens usually have banks of built-in kitchen cabinetry to house dinnerware used in the dining-room. In grand houses, the butler’s pantry might also have a dumbwaiter, a small sink, a desk, and a silver safe.