Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vintage and Nostalgia Play Important Role in Today’s “Industrial Sleek” Kitchens and Restaurants

Chocolate Egg Cream

With so many people updating their kitchens and adding sleek cabinets, stainless steel appliances, industrial touches, is there still interest in vintage accessories, textiles and collectibles. You bet there is.” While the styles for home and restaurants have most certainly leaned in the direction of “commercial looks” , don’t kid yourself, retro, vintage and nostalgia still play an important part. Perhaps not necessarily in the “purest” form but certainly from a design influence. Over the weekend I had a chance to try a new upscale trendy “build your own burger” eatery, called, “The Counter” an upcoming franchise started in 2003 by Jeff Weinstein. I sat at a streamlined bar (“the Counter”) which glistened with stainless cabinets , overhead lighting and counter tops and was a contemporary version of the old fashioned drugstore counter of the colorful eras of the 30s, 40s, 50s. The “bar tender” was not only serving beer and wine, he was making a milkshakes Later I watched him make root beer floats and wondered if he could pull off an old fashioned egg cream.

The Counter Restaurant

Let me remind you that the surrounding of this restaurant looked nothing like an old drugstore of the 1940’s nor did the fellow look like my grandfather, a soda jerk who owned a luncheonette in Brooklyn, New York. The guy behind the bar was a twenty something young fellow who probably has never heard of egg creams or Lime Rickey’s for that matter.

While this restaurant was clearly designed with an urban chic, “industrial sleek” motif, care was also taken to bring in some subtle memories of older looks, wainscoting, chair rails, cement floors, mosaic tiles . While there was an absence of textiles, the soft blue walls evoked earlier times.
Marrying different looks is extremely popular today, both at home and in restaurant designs Home kitchens , like restaurants are also being featured with elements of earlier times blended with cleaner, “contemporized” surfaces, appliances and accessories. In fact, small appliances and kitchen-wares are being made in nostalgic colors with a kicked up design flare that seems to suggest “vintage” but is nothing like grandma. Mixing bowls, linens, dishes etc are following similar trends.

So what do today’s collectors consider “ kitchen collectibles”? Factory finds are replacing the usual vintage items and furnishings. Yes, stainless steel shelving, interesting industrial racks, metal containers and baskets as well as all kinds of urban nostalgia is popping up either in original forma or replicated as manufactured pieces which mimic factory designs.

Or course there are still plenty of folks who will have nothing to do with the industrialization of the kitchen and who still prefer warmer traditional looks. Even in these kitchens and home however there is both the influence of older looks kicked up a notch with modern interpretations. For example, not to long ago I was poking through a home magazine and drawn to a fabric by Lee Jofa, a stylish high end fabric company popular among decorators.

There was something about this fabric that reminded me of my atomic era home in the late 50’s. Yet the fabric was beautifully designed for today’s styles. The colors however and images were reminiscent of many of the patterns used on barkcloth draperies of the 1950s.
The question remains, are people still after buying antiques and collectibles? This is an important question for me to consider as I am the author of a popular book, “Hot Kitchen and Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s. There are plenty of baby boomers and others e still interested in collecting and selling retro and vintage wares.

But what is also true is that the cyber generation may be less interested in family heirlooms than previous generations. You will also notice a rise in interest in Art Deco, Arts and Crafts style and certainly Mid-Century and Modern Vintage styles. You will also find that many baby boomers are cleaning out their houses and wanting to live with less “stuff” and that the newer “industrial sleeK’ look is compatible with the “less is better” trend”.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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Dianne is a member of:
The American Society of Journalists and Authors
The Authors Guild, Inc.

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