At this time of year, we enjoy looking ahead and trying to predict which design trends will be on the rise in the coming year. Although it’s impossible to really predict the future, we’re proud to say we’ve often guessed correctly. With the rise of vintage chic, we thought it would be fun to cover a few really old design ideas that are still in fashion or making a comeback.
#1. Butler’s sinks
Those deep square sinks were a staple in British kitchens before the Second World War when they were used for everything from cleaning veg to bathing the baby. While they’re finding a new life as stylish kitchenware, in the 1920s they were deep so that women could fill the endless buckets of water needed to keep a home and family clean in an era where a tap in the kitchen was all many houses had.
#2. Marble work surfaces
Stone dropped out of fashion with the wave of man-made materials that arrived in the 1960s. Before the era of vinyl and refrigeration, marble was used in both kitchens and pantries. Stone helped keep perishables like butter and eggs cool, while marble blocks were used by cooks to help create the perfect pastry dish. As the material was expensive, marble worktops weren’t common with chefs using slabs instead.
#3. Kitchen worktops
Fitted kitchens were first invented in the 1920s, but didn’t become common in the UK until much later. Before then, chefs worked on tables or counters with little storage. The rise of the standard kitchen unit made fitting kitchens much cheaper. The extra storage space was essential for the increasing types of food and kitchen appliances which appeared in the 1970s and ’80s. Today, fitted kitchens come in dozens of styles and materials, from plain wood to bespoke marble worktops.
#4. Huge, American-inspired fridges
Another trend that might seem brand new, but Britain has been looking to the USA for its ideal fridges since the 1950s. As post-war austerity gave way to a new era of luxury, British kitchens flourished. Fitted kitchens started to become popular, particularly in the smaller new-build homes, and large fridges were all the rage. Of course, they were much smaller than today! With fitted kitchens came modern counter tops. Marble worktops were available but wood and vinyl were more common.
#5. Large stoves, copper pans and wooden cabinets
Victorian kitchens in the late 19th century are the original source for these retro-chic design ideas. At the time, large ranges were often wood or gas fired, much like the sought-after modern Aga. They were used to feed the large households (family and servants) of the period. Copper pans and wooden cabinets were the materials available. As cooking was done by servants in midddle and upper class households, cheaper materials were used. Today, these materials are often more expensive than their plastic equivalents, making status icons out of household basics!