Retro is a word derived from the Latin prefix, retro, meaning backward. Retro as a style is a conscious derivative of a trend, mode or fashion of the recent past.
When googling the term retro, I discovered that the term actually covers quite a broad range of time. Specifically, ‘old retro’ draws from the early 1900s-1960s whereas ‘modern retro’ takes reference from more recent decades such as the 1970s-1990s.
Thus the term retro can mean different things to different people, depending on the year in which you were born!!!
However from a joinery perspective, when we [at SpaceCraft] think of retro, we are generally channeling one of the following eras:
Art Deco—design from this era features geometric shapes and opulent finishes such as metallics [and hails from the 1920s to 1930s]. Check out Deborah and Bob’s Art Deco Diner-style infusion for inspiration.
50’s Diner-style—which features pops of bold or pastel colour, curved details, chrome handles and trim [this style is generally thought of being informed by the 1940s to 1950s]. Check out Olivia & Nathan’s kitchen for inspiration.
Mid Century Modern—which features clean lines, timber as the hero and streamlined handle detail [this style is often associated with furniture designed or manufactured in the 1960s to 1970s]. Check out Daniel & Jacquie’s kitchen to see some MCM style joinery detailing.
How to ramp up the retro style without going overboard?
1. Select appliances that will work in with the design style—we can’t go past the SMEG Victoria Line which fits seamlessly in a retro space.
2. Unless you are opting for an integrated fridge (which will blend in regardless) then a SMEG 50’s retro-style fridge would create a definite focal point, whilst bringing memories back of pinching treats from 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 MCM we recommend inset handle detail or custom made timber handles. For Art Deco and 50’s 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 when the preference is to house dining adjacent to the kitchen, without taking up inordinate amounts of floor space. Booths are also a super cozy and inviting place to hang.
6. Invest in some groovy bar stools and a pendant light that offsets your chosen design style. If in doubt, scour Pinterest for inspiration.
7. Overhead doors featuring fluted or reeded glass serve the dual purpose of boosting the retro vibe, whilst also providing some additional texture and interest in a practical way.
If retro is your vibe, but you need some help pulling the style together in a way that is subtle and cohesive, then get in touch to find out how we can create your one-of-a-kind retro-inspired kitchen.