We are adding as many reference photographs of kitchens from the Deco period as we can find. Some are better than others, but all may give you some inspiration. It's harder to find photographs of original kitchens, basically because people didn't take them at the time, or they've been ripped out since.
The Sealex advert for a Deco period kitchen, from 1937, on the right looks quite modern. The curved shape of the units & worktop, as they follow the curved bay & window, give it the deco look. The finishes are quite subtle for the period. Sealex actually supplied linoleum, not kitchens; these lino floors often looked quite striking. The RH photograph shows a typical built in range from the same period, painted in a typical deco green.
Another 1930's kitchen, with Deco features, such as painted cream units, green Vitrolite & cream wall tiles, a tiled worktop with green edge tiles, lino floor. The panelled doors are not the flat style seen on full Deco kitchens. The units themselves are basic & functional. The area around the range looks best, with cream & greem tiled splashback & wall tiles. The 'Eat' sign is probably a new addition.
This beaut is one of the best original kitchens seen in the Streamline Moderne style, from the 1940's. It has been kept in great condition in the years since being installed.
The diner area is wonderful. The higher worktop height curved peninsular display unit allowed a gorgeous round dining diner nook to be built in. The table base, glass top, seat upholstery & the lino floor are new, but all are faithful to the look of the original style. Note the way the lino has a black keyline border following & emphasising the curved shape of the diner & display unit.
The cream painted units themselves are incredibly well done for relatively cheap plywood doors. They have that ocean liner aesthetic going for them. The unit doors are all flush faced, with surface mounted hinges & radiused corners. While radiusing the doors is straight forward to do, it meant the frames had to be radiused to match them, requiring more skill. The handles were simple enough.
There is a scalloped edge pelmet above the window - while not exactly streamline it does echo the curves of the display unit. The kitchen worktop is tiled with cream tiles & a chrome edging trim. This chrome trim is used again near the ceiling, on wall units.
While the rest of the kitchen is good, the display unit is what makes this kitchen so special. It has that Wow factor, streamline Ocean liner pizzazz. It shows how a one off piece can lift an otherwise relatively ordinary kitchen to something special. This was built with a higher worktop to visually separate the kitchen from the eating area. The glass shelves allow for display without blocking any light. This unit was given a wood finish worktop, to differentiate it from the kitchen proper. Just wonderful.
This is a photo of another original Deco Moderne kitchen. It has been refurbished a bit since the original, as the extractor & tiles do not fit to a Deco scheme. However, the main original layout remains giving an excellent Deco look.
In fact, this kitchen is very close in layout & look to the one above. The U shaped plan is finished off with a great Streamlined round peninsular unit, which makes a great divide between kitchen & dining. This shape is matched in the ceiling boxing, with downlights adding a bit of glam.
The new white base units have a nice streamlined look, with metallic handleless 'speed lines'. Some stepped wall units & hidden extractor, as shown in our design pages, would really have made this an excellent new Deco kitchen.
This is an original kitchen in a 1940's Deco house. This is an example where a very plain kitchen looks more than it is because of the great architectural shape of the room. The round bay metal window absolutely makes this a Deco room.
All the interest takes place from the worktop up - your eye is drawn to the window & view. The curved 'band' of window gives it that great ocean liner aesthetic. The kitchen cupboards are very simple & basic. The worktop has been scribed to the room radius very neatly, and is a simple tiled top. What lifts it is the chrome worktop edge trim. The glass bricks are another great touch. Architectural in nature, they let light flood in across the worktop, but inside they form a splashback which is easily cleaned. The last neat touch is the band of chrome above the glass bricks, it adds a touch of pizazz to the room, & matches with the worktop edge trim.
A common thing seen in many houses of this period is the inclusion of a diner booth / nook. You can see one came with this kitchen, and the kitchen above. They really add to the total look in recreating Deco kitchens & eating areas. Nice touches about this booth are the curves of the alcove, the fitted mirror at the back (to bounce light back & make the alcove look visually bigger)& the curved shelf unit with chrome trim edges. See a similar curved shelf unit below.
The LH photo is of a Streamline bar from the period. The banding on the front of the bar & the sweeping curve give it a definite streamline look. The bar shape is echoed on the back wall. This is included because this is the size & shape of breakfast bar many customers are looking to include in a new kitchen.
The B/W photo on the RH shows a typical restaurant diner booth, that were probably quite common at one time. Included purely for ideas.
The B/W photo on the LH shows a wonderful Deco interior. The stand out feature is the white painted shelf unit with curved ends - pure streamline. Something like this would make a great visual divider between an open plan kitchen - living space, or just as a display unit against a wall.
The RH photo shows a classic kitchen colour scheme from a Deco house. B/W floor tiles, & green Vitrolite wall tiles. Buff coloured wall & dark wood door with large single panel
Somehow 'stunning' just seem enough to describe these commercial chain diners. How much is original & how much is recreation doesn't really matter. They typify the Ocean Liner style of Streamline Moderne. The curved surfaces, sweeping breakfast bars, chrome trim, chrome speed lines, portholes in the doors, gloss white paint finishes, etc etc.
These built in shelving units are somewhere between Streamline Moderne & Modernist in style. The curved shapes & squarish shapes all draw from deco styling. These could be used as built in bookcases, room dividers, kitchen storage or even full kitchens. The green one is just a step away from being a full kitchen. The length of the shelves, & their curves, all lend them a Streamline feel.