No matter how close we’ve come to matching (and surpassing) Jetsons-level technology, many of us still pine for a vintage kitchen. That said, while you might harbor a deep appreciation for vintage bronze faucets, you’re not immune to space-age comforts, either: You love a homemade, piping-hot cappuccino straight from that fancy machine of yours, and if you’re gripped with overwhelming thirst in the middle of a hot and steamy summer night, you prefer to get a cool drink from the dispenser in your fridge, not a hand-drawn bucket of well water.
Weep not! There is a happy medium: If you love a kitchen with vintage flair but you don’t want to give up any of your modern conveniences, you can still put together a kitchen that shows your reverence for the past while you’ve got your shoes planted firmly in the present and the future. Here are three approaches to use in your NYC home:
1. Use Vintage Design Materials
Materials like copper, brass, iron, and wood are hallmarks of 19th- and 20th-century kitchens. Incorporating some of these materials in your kitchen is easier than you think, and the transformation will be immediate.
- Wooden or butcher block countertops can give a kitchen a homey, old-fashioned look and feel.
- Copper or brass pot holders suspended from the ceiling can provide you with valuable extra storage while giving off a yesteryear vibe.
2. Redo the Flooring
You may have noticed that kitchen flooring is one of the easiest ways to give a kitchen a retro look. Linoleum flooring? 1940s and ’50s. Tile? Mid-’80s. The following flooring styles can take your kitchen back to the past.
- Installing gorgeous black-and-white checkerboard floors is one of the best ways to bring instant vintage and retro charm to your kitchen. You can get the look from all sorts of materials. If money’s no object, open up that wallet and spring for marble. If you’re watching your pennies or if you live in a rental, consider a green material like Forbo’s Marmoleum. It’s beautiful, relatively easy to install, and incredibly comfortable underfoot. Architect Maia Kumari Gilman of NYC-based Gilman Architects lauds the material and has used it in her own homes with great success. Environmentally conscious retailer Green Depot is one of the NYC-based businesses that sell Marmoleum.
- Laying down vintage wooden floorboards is another way that you can bring a bit of chic vintage styling into your home. Many people scope out reclaimed wood retailers on the hunt for antique wooden planks that will help give their kitchen a cozy feel. Have a modern kitchen but love reclaimed wood? You’d be amazed at how well those two looks go together.
3. Change Your Kitchen’s Jewelry
And by “jewelry,” we mean all its accent pieces and accessories that give the finishing touches to your kitchen’s decor. Those accessories can make a kitchen look modern or vintage, so choose accessories that remind you of (the good parts of) your grandmother’s kitchen.