When it comes to the color teal, I’m all in. Teal, aqua, turquoise, cyan, aquamarine, robins egg blue, Tiffany blue, Pantone 319C–whatever you want to call it, if it appears midway between blue and green on the visible spectrum, I’m helpless against its power.
This particular shade has been my favorite color ever since I discovered it hiding amongst the other 63 hues in my first big box of Crayolas. This is why I knew the Retro Ranch had to be ours when I saw the listing photos and laid my eyes upon its incredible suite of original teal midcentury kitchen appliances. I knew that no one could possibly love those gleaming beauties more than I would.
And not only were they a gorgeous finish, they were also in perfect condition. Not a scratch, not a dent, not a ding. Not even any caked on grime from 50+ years of use. It appeared as if they were just installed prior to our arrival. Which was almost plausible, as they also came with the original owners manuals.
What? Where am I?
I Love It When They Call Me Big Shopper
As soon as we closed on the house, I began my quest to discover every teal accessory available to compliment my new Retro Dream Kitchen. I scored a matching teal crock-pot, convection oven, KitchenAid mixer (that one was actually a gift from my husband– he knows my addiction so well), baking pans, stovetop cookware, set of vintage tea cups, tea pot, cookie jar (from 1968–thanks eBay!), dish towels, Pyrex, timer, spice canisters, and every possible matching cooking utensil on the market, many of which I bought in duplicates on eBay, fearing the color would be discontinued.
The only thing missing from my Retro Dream Kitchen was the matching refrigerator. But finding a suitable replacement for this missing link was not going to be as easy as I thought. Vintage (pre-1980’s) kitchens have a counter-depth of only 28″ and modern ones are now a minimum of 33″. And after measuring every refrigerator on display in the Portland metro area, we discovered that they were all much too large for our retro space.
The clock was ticking on our upcoming move date. We were one appliance store browse away from buying a giant, rolling Coleman cooler for food storage, when I spotted a tiny, apartment size fridge at Lowes for only $399. And it was exactly 28″ deep. Sold! This should be a good interim solution for a month or two while we research the vintage reproductions.
More Smalls Than Biggie
Fast forward 15 long months. This “interim” fridge situation became fairly permanent and felt like we were living in a 1,500 sq. ft. dorm room. Almost nothing fit in that stupid, teeny, dollhouse fridge.
Want to save your leftovers? Sorry, no room for big plates or large storage containers. In the trash it goes.
Bought a medium-sized watermelon? Sorry, shelves won’t hold that weight. Just cut it up and eat it all now.
Got a 6-pack of delicious local ginger beer? Too tall. Better place them all individually on their sides, so they roll out and smash your toes when you open the door later.
I got so fed up that I decided to try the eBay route. But the only 1960’s teal fridge I found was a dented one sitting in some hoarder garage in Kentucky. The guy didn’t even have the decency to wipe all the filthy food splatters out of it before he listed it–for $2200!
Oh hell naw, Cletus.
We did also briefly consider the SMEG, which is an adorably European-retro reproduction with fun color options, but it’s also the same size as what we currently had. And my toes were already bloody enough.
Sometimes Your Ads Just Hypnotize Me
One Saturday morning, after checking into every possible vintage dealer site on the west coast, I decided to type the magical words “vintage refrigerator” into Portland Craigslist just for the hell of it. And there it was at the very top of the page:
Vintage Turquoise GE refrigerator – 1960’s era, mint cond.
The 90 seconds that followed this miraculous discovery consisted of me texting my husband, making plans to go buy it, and jumping up and down while shrieking and squealing and scaring the shit out of the dogs.
It was located in NE Portland at Appliance City, which specializes in refurbishing vintage appliances (and has a seriously kickass collection of midcentury ones, I might add!) in addition to selling pre-owned modern appliances. All of their vintage appliances also come with a 100-day parts + labor guarantee, and they even delivered my amazing technicolor dream fridge the same day. It slid right into our kitchen space with only an inch to spare on each side– it fit like a glove! A beautiful, glossy, retro-styled glove with a frost-free freezer drawer and “crisp-o-matic” vegetable storage.
By 5pm, we were wheeling the tiny apartment fridge out to its new home in the garage and filling our beautiful new 1965 GE refrigerator with all the food and beverages we could ever possibly want. And to our surprise this refrigerator was even quieter than the modern one we had. They really don’t make ’em like they used to.
At long last, my 1960’s Retro Dream Kitchen appliance suite was now officially reunited.
And it felt SO GOOD.