Book Extract: Kitchenalia By Vinny Lee

Kitchenalia kitchens are more than just rooms in which to prepare and cook food; they are the heart of a home and a place where character and style is important.

The simple but striking black-and-white chequerboard floor, laid on the diagonal, picks up on geometric designs popular in the 1950’s. This type of vinyl or lino tiled floor is hard-wearing and practical.

The simple but striking black-and-white chequerboard floor, laid on the diagonal, picks up on geometric designs popular in the 1950’s. This type of vinyl or lino tiled floor is hard-wearing and practical.

The Retro Kitchen

A Vintage or retro-style kitchen has the appearance of coming from another time or era. Although some items might actually be old, others may be new but made in the style of an earlier design. The period of focus for the Kitchenalia retro kitchen is the 19.50s, although a little of the decade before and the decade after might just sneak in.

Colour is an important part of this style of kitchen. Paint has been in short supply during World War II and the period immediately after, so household colour had been dictated by manufactures, left-over stock rather than fashionable trends. But by the end of the era bright new colours, such as pink, chartreuse and turquoise joined red, yellow and black as favourites, and graphic design and cartoon-style drawings were widely used in wallpapers and fabrics. New materials such as plastic also had an impact on the style and availability of homeware.

Sky-blue walls and sunny yellow furniture capture the enthusiasm for colour popular in the post-war period. After years of decorating with a restricted palette the opportunity to brighten up was eagerly embraced.

Sky-blue walls and sunny yellow furniture capture the enthusiasm for colour popular in the post-war period. After years of decorating with a restricted palette the opportunity to brighten up was eagerly embraced.

A vintage unit, such as the double-height one shown here, can be stripped, refurbished and painted to match other furniture, such as the melamine-topped table, giving a cohesive and coordinated look.

A vintage unit, such as the double-height one shown here, can be stripped, refurbished and painted to match other furniture, such as the melamine-topped table, giving a cohesive and coordinated look.

Randomly positioned shades of floor tiles pick up on the colours of the units and furniture and break up the plainness of other white surfaces.

Randomly positioned shades of floor tiles pick up on the colours of the units and furniture and break up the plainness of other white surfaces.

The original ribbed glass door panels and worn paintwork testify to this storage unit’s date and authenticity, while the top is used to display a collection of humorous and vintage ceramics.

The original ribbed glass door panels and worn paintwork testify to this storage unit’s date and authenticity, while the top is used to display a collection of humorous and vintage ceramics.

In the post-war spirit of ‘Make do and mend’ an old tool cabinet has been recycled as a store cupboard and a vintage caged industrial light hangs from the ceiling nearby.

In the post-war spirit of ‘Make do and mend’ an old tool cabinet has been recycled as a store cupboard and a vintage caged industrial light hangs from the ceiling nearby.