I'd like to have my 1950s era blonde wood kitchen cabinets restored.
August 21, 2013 6:29 AM   Subscribe

My 1950s era split level house is still in remarkably original condition despite its years, with most of the original fixtures and walls. Perhaps it's coolest feature is the original blonde wood kitchen cabinets, with panels that slide along grooves instead of hinged doors. They're in poor condition and long overdue for replacement but before I do so I'm considering having them restored as part of a planned general restoration of the house to its original specs. I'd like to know the following: 1) how can I determine if they're unique design and period age makes them even worth maintaining; 2) who should I consult to get an estimate for the job; and 3) if I decide to tear them out, is there a 1950s collector's market where I could put them for sale as-is? Even if I don't want them, I'd bet that someone else might.
posted by Jamesonian to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: An excellent resource for some of your questions is:

Retro Renovation

Frequenly she'll point out things like cabinetry for sale on her site.

Call a cabinetmaker and get an expert opinion. A cabinetmaker can make your existing cabinets like new and even with a master craftsman, it will be cheaper than buying some modern replacement crap.

Good luck and where are your pictures?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:46 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, Retro Renovation is a great place to start. There is a market for this. Get several experts out there for estimates. Judge them each on whether they see the potential in yours, or whether they just want to rip everything out.

I live in the rural Midwest, and generally people here are still conditioned here to see mid-century fixtures and furniture as dated rather than desirable. That's not the case in more urban areas, and I'm slowly meeting more mid-century lovers in my area. But it's slow to catch on because it requires understanding modernism as a style and not just seeing it as a blank slate.

Your experts may all agree that yours should be ripped out, but I would hope that's because of a quality issue rather than an issue of style. I've lived with several vintage kitchens and I have loved them all, so I hope you keep yours or find it a good home!
posted by aabbbiee at 11:00 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wanted to add that we tarted up our stock MCM cabinets with paint and trim molding because they were such high quality cabinets, especially compared to some of the dreck that's out there today.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:52 PM on August 21, 2013

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