Modernising the Retro Kitchen


Thom Vernon, co-founder of The Big Chill line of retro-inspired kitchen appliances was inspired by what modern, stainless steel appliances don’t do (you can’t use magnets on them), as much as his desire for a cool kitchen:

The story goes that Thom and his wife were dreaming up a design-conscious retro kitchen that had modern functionality and vintage personality. “With our kid’s artwork and school photos always proudly displayed, we didn’t want the refrigerator to look out of place. The ubiquitous stainless steel appliances weren’t the right fit and we wanted to steer clear of the dreaded ‘white box’.” While they liked the look of the mid-century models, most were too small, inefficient, and required painstaking hours of chiseling to defrost. (source)

The results, though pricey (the cheapest fridge starts at over $2,600 USD), are beautiful with a candy shop of beautiful powder coated painted colour exteriors. Although they look like they are straight out of a 1950s kitchen, they have all the convenience of the modern appliance: built-in ice makers, they are Energy Star rated and, if you aren’t satisfied with their colour range, they will do a custom paint job.

The Big Chill appliances also have a metal exterior so, yes, they are also very magnet friendly.

Image from The Big Chill Kitchen Gallery.

Amy Thibodeau

View posts by Amy Thibodeau
Amy Thibodeau is originally from the Canadian Prairies, spent the last few years in one of the world's greatest cities, London, UK and is spending the next year traveling around the world. She is interested in everything, but lately is mostly fixated on art, politics, creative writing, cuddly animals and experimenting with different kinds of photography. You can find her on her personal blog Making Strange, posting to her photography project Lost and Looking, on Twitter @amythibodeau, or working as a freelance content strategist via Contentini.


  1. I absolutely adore those 1950s style kitchen appliances. Would need a new house to fit one of those fridges though!

  2. I’m originally from Canada and everyone over there has gigantic refrigerators. Mostly we fill it with stuff and forget it’s there until things start to smell funny… I can honestly say that over the last ten years I’ve had a fridge about this size and it’s been full of stuff that I never get to eating. Not good! I’ve had to learn to edit the contents of my fridge since moving to the UK. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. If only they made the smaller ones in the retro style …

  3. That’s a good point actually! But I do so love the look of them. I think there’s something rather comforting about their rounded, large style! The fridge is one of the focal points of the family home isn’t it, like the TV. My parents have a tiny fridge and when we were all living at home it never seemed big enough, and yet still seemed full of food that never got eaten. (I would love a small retro fridge. Perhaps a gap in the market?)

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