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What is this cubby inside kitchen of 1950’s home? Any idea?

A questioner said:
What is this cubby inside kitchen of 1950’s home? Any idea?

r/whatisthisthing - cubby inside kitchen of 1950’s home

More info:
This was inside a home that my girlfriend and i are looking to rent. it does not go all the way through the wall, and is pretty small. We thought maybe it would be used for mail, but neither of us are certain

Some of the comments:

  1. Telephone nook/niche
  2. LOL. I was dropping off one of my kids at college and they had a cubby for a pay phone in the hallway and I asked all my kids who were there what it was. No idea. They couldn’t even comprehend why a phone would need to be there. 
  3. We had this thing wired into the wall that had a dial on it. We used it to magically talk to people who weren’t in the same room, hell, maybe even down the street. Underneath, we had a doxx book.
  4. It’s a phone nook. Your landline phone would be in there (on the shelf or mounted on the wall) and paper/pens/phonebooks in the slot underneath.
  5. Phone goes on top.Phone book below.
  6. Okay this is cracking me up, because I IMMEDIATELY knew what this was for (I’m 35) but only JUST realized that the nook I have in my new apartment in a VERY old building (built as a hotel in 1896) is exactly this lol! It’s a lot bigger on top and below but I realize now that a phone at the time would have been much bigger!Wild! This is so cool 🙂 Mine is still kind of filled with random junk but I plan on turning it into an altar to the stuff I’m into spiritually eventually 🙂
  7. It’s a phone nook. The bottom shelf is for the phone book or paper for messages.
  8. Note: these were before wall phones were invented. All phones were desk phones in that era.
  9. It just tickles me that youngsters don’t know what that is.But then I’m 65 and don’t know what a “loot” box is either.
  10. Phone cubby. Used to have an old rotary phone in there.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment!

Read Also: What are these glass things attached to the cieling? They’re all over the house by the windows. House was built between 2010-2015.



In the midst of modern kitchen renovations and sleek, minimalist designs, there’s a nostalgic charm to be found in the quaint and cozy features of 1950s homes. Among these charming relics is the humble kitchen cubby, a quintessential element that evokes memories of simpler times and hearty home-cooked meals.

Time Capsule of Tradition

Step into a 1950s kitchen and you might find yourself greeted by a built-in cubby nestled snugly against the wall. These nooks served as practical storage spaces, designed to house everyday essentials within arm’s reach of the cook. From flour and sugar canisters to mixing bowls and recipe books, the cubby was a treasure trove of culinary necessities.

Efficiency in Every Detail

In an era before walk-in pantries and expansive kitchen islands, space-saving solutions were key. The kitchen cubby epitomized this ethos, offering a compact yet efficient storage solution. Its strategic placement ensured that commonly used items were easily accessible, streamlining the cooking process and saving precious time in bustling 1950s households.

Aesthetic Appeal

Beyond its functional purpose, the kitchen cubby added a touch of character to the home. Often adorned with quaint curtains or decorative trim, it blended seamlessly into the cozy ambiance of 1950s domestic life. Its modest size and unassuming presence spoke to a time when simplicity reigned supreme, and homes were designed for comfort and practicality above all else.

Preserving a Piece of History

While many 1950s homes have undergone extensive renovations in the decades since, some lucky homeowners have chosen to preserve the vintage charm of their kitchen cubbies. These relics from a bygone era serve as reminders of a simpler time, sparking nostalgia and conversation among visitors who marvel at their quaint appeal.

Modern Interpretations

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in mid-century design, with homeowners and interior designers alike embracing the retro aesthetic of the 1950s. As a result, modern interpretations of the kitchen cubby have begun to appear in contemporary homes, paying homage to the past while incorporating modern conveniences and design sensibilities.


The kitchen cubby of a 1950s home may seem like a small and unassuming feature, but its significance goes far beyond its practical function. It embodies an era defined by simplicity, tradition, and a sense of community—a time when the heart of the home was the bustling kitchen, and family meals were a cherished ritual. As we look to the past for inspiration in our modern lives, the kitchen cubby stands as a reminder of the enduring appeal of nostalgia and the timeless charm of vintage design.

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