Kitchen FAQs – Retro Style

OLIO Interiors is in conversation with Nathan Wundersitz, Design Director of SpaceCraft Joinery

Q Newly designed and constructed Retro style kitchens are really popular today in many homes. Nathan, what are Retro style kitchens all about?

A Retro is a word derived from the Latin prefix for ‘backward’. And Google tells me that “Retro style is a conscious derivative of a trend, mode or fashion from the past”.

Q So what time in the past are we talking about?

A Retro actually covers quite a broad range of time. Specifically, ‘Old  Retro’ draws from 1900-1960 and then ‘Modern Retro’ up to the 1990s. It can mean very different things to different people, depending on the year they were born!! From a joinery perspective, we think of Retro style as Art Deco, 50’s Diner and Mid Century Modern. Let me show you some examples.

Q Great – how about we start with the oldest?

A Art Deco hails from the 1920s to 1930s. Design from this era features geometric shapes and opulent finishes such as metallics.

The 1950s Diner-style features pops of bold or pastel colours, curved details, chrome handles and trim.

Mid Century Modern (1960s and 1970s) features clean lines, timber as the hero and streamlined handle detail.

Q Are there ways to introduce some Retro style without going overboard?

A Absolutely! Here’s my top tips on how to do it.

  1. Select appliances that work in with the design style. We can’t go past SMEG Victoria Line which fits seamlessly into Retro spaces.
  2. Unless you’re opting for an integrated fridge (which will blend in regardless), then a SMEG 50s Retro style fridge creates a definite focal point (and brings back memories of pinching treats out of Nanna’s old Kelvinator!).
  3. Incorporate open shelving details, in keeping with whichever era you wish to emulate, to house cookbooks, potted plants and much loved knick-knacks.
  4. Give careful consideration to handle detail. For Mid Century Modern we recommend inset handle detail or custom made timber handles. For Art Deco and 1950s Diner-style, we can help you source replica retro chrome pulls and handles. It’s the finishing touches that make all the difference.
  5. Consider incorporating a banquette or booth seat in your space. This solution is perfect for small rooms. They’re also a super cozy and inviting place to hang out.
  6. Invest in some groovy bar stools and pendant lights.
  7. Overhead doors featuring fluted or reeded glass serve the dual purpose of boosting the retro vibe, while also providing general design texture and interest.

Nathan is the Design Director of SpaceCraft Joinery, and one of the expert special guests at OLIO’s Kitchen Confidential workshop. All the photos in this blog are of Retro-style kitchens designed and built by SpaceCraft Joinery.

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