What’s old is new again and it was never more apparent than at the NYC Architectural Digest show Stephanie Davis and I attended in March. Whether it be on the runway with the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier or Diane von Furstenberg, or on the road with a Mini Cooper, it’s BACK!

Smeg & Big Chill are favorites of mine that bring the ever popular, nostalgic retro aesthetic to the appliance world without ever compromising on modern amenities. If you are purchasing one of their retro refrigerators, you would be spending between $2,00.00 to $3,500.00. If that breaks the bank, you can add a touch of vintage to your kitchen by simply adding retro style small appliances or decorative touches.

If changing out your appliances for the retro look isn’t an option for you, no worries, just focus on the décor details. Check out my video for eHow where I talk about one of my retro inspired apartment projects.


Make the Appliances the Focal Point

If you’re going retro in the kitchen, the appliances will most likely be the pop of color that draws the eye in, so make it about the fun appliances. Too much of any good thing looks like you are trying too hard; it is all about balance in design.

Big Chill retro yellow hood at architectural home design show nyc
Photography by Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC.
retro kitchen appliance big chill smeg vintage mdoern
Photography by Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC.
adhds2015 architectural digest home design show nyc big chill smeg retro vintage applaince
Retro appliances aren’t all bubbly pastels. Big Chill shows us their black & gold combo.
Photography by Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC.
Big City brings pops of retro hues to the kitchen
Big Chill brings pops of retro hues to the kitchen.
Photography by Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC.

Architectural Digest Show Featured Outside the Box Designs

Who says you can’t have a tailgate party in your kitchen? This quirky wine cooler from Smeg may be better suited for the summer kitchen but it would certainly be at home where the style theme is retro. So if you are adopting this style, keep in mind that you don’t have to be too serious with your design choices. I can see this wine cooler inciting plenty of conversation at your next party (retro themed or not!).

car shaped retro cooler by smeg at architectural home design show 2015 nyc
Smeg’s fun wine cooler.
Photography by Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC.

Mixing a modern décor with retro accents, such as bar stools, can be a marriage made in heaven. Soda parlor style bar stools, shown below, are just the ingredient needed to bring the right amount of character to this kitchen. Alternatively, going less obvious with a more updated look that still holds on to it’s retro inspired roots provides a good proportion of old and new.

Below is a great example of a modern kitchen with just the right amount of retro provided by the pendant, bar stools, and base cabinet color.

Don’t Overlook the Details

I like to refer to decorative hardware as the jewelry to the cabinets. The pulls or knobs you use can have a huge impact in what style direction they take the room in.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Living Room Design Style – How to Choose One

Innovations – 3 Innovative Designs from Recent Years

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, https://www.patriciadavisbrowndesigns.com/. She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and eHow.com talent offering design tips.