A ramble through domestic history in the 20th Century
Now, in the 1950s, interior design starts to really go in new directions. As the country rebuilt after the war, homes and living conditions became a political issue. There was government advice as to the conditions people ought to be living in and this included getting more modern facilities into kitchens, indeed getting many people into homes with decent modern facilities. Tiling became a hygenic and easily cleaned recommended wall covering. The great push for new housing meant that large numbers of new houses were being built to modern designs that meant more and more people were getting homes with larger kitchen areas, or even more open-plan layouts. The dining kitchen starts to become an increasingly popular idea. With the new ideas in healthy, hygenic kitchens which minimise the work of the housewife, fitted kitchens become a great new idea. The English Rose kitchen is, even now, a design classic. One starts to see runs of worktop over the top of units and, of course, this is encouraged with the world of new materials that arrive post-war – such as formica – that 50s classic.
From an advertising brochure of the 50s, this kitchen illustrates one of those ideas that was to come back 60 years later – the sleek glass splashback.
There was more to fitted kitchens in 1955 than just a trip to the DIY store. From a homemaking book, this is a kitchen you can just make for yourself at home.
One of the big design stories of the 50s is colour. This kitchen has those fabulous 50s pastels. Also note the bespoke quality of this fitted kitchen – units going right up to the ceiling show that this has been made to measure, not just prefabbed units from the store. Fitted kitchens are still a bespoke product, not the mass produced style of today.