by David Berens December 22, 2016
I am not an expert on the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. I wouldn't even qualify as an aficionado. The fact that on November 17th I was hauling away a complete, 20-piece set of 1957 Youngstown steel cabinetry was little more than luck. After a bit of sleuthing, I had found out that these weren't any ordinary old cabinets. Oh no, they are the chevron-adorned crown jewels of the post-WWII housing boom. When factories no longer needed to churn out tanks and bombs, they returned to a more constructive enterprise: Construction.
The Mullins Manufacturing Corporation brought us Youngstown cabinetry. Along with Geneva and St. Charles, Youngstown was one of the "Big Three" names in the post-war cabinetry boom. Vermin-proof and loaded with storage space, modular steel cabinetry marked a time of economic growth and prosperity for many American households. It was also the genesis of the modern kitchen.
We were fortunate enough to have Jackson Design & Remodeling send us the opportunity to save this 200 sq. ft. of history from the landfill. As a result, I have had the pleasure of studying homebuilding in the 1950s and discovering the efficiencies and idiosyncrasies of the period. Three lazy susans and an in-cabinet towel drying rack? Very functional. A built-in flour sifter, in the age of gluten-free? Practically heretical.
The current homeowner is the daughter of the couple who built the house and installed this kitchen back in 1957. When we came to see the kitchen, she still had the original plans that her father, an aerospace engineer, drew up and was kind enough to make copies for me.
Thanks to everyone involved, the cabinets live on, suffused with the fond memories of years past; and now we have the pleasure of finding them a new home with someone who will adore them. To help the new owners make the cabinets their own, we plan to refinish the them to the buyer's preference. To help a prospective buyer imagine what their kitchen might look like as a "retro update," we rendered a couple of options in authentic buttercream and aquamarine. For more information about purchasing the set please visit the product page.
Please let us know what you think and ask any questions in the comments section below.
P.S. Here are a couple of pictures of one of the cabinets in its current state! See more on the product page.
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by David Berens February 25, 2021