Thursday, June 5, 2014

Old Kitchen/New Kitchen

Our home was build in 1956.  One of the reasons that we fell in love with it was that, despite having gallons and gallons of greige "landlord paint" thrown at it and years of benign neglect, it was a still a basic, solid, relatively untouched 1950s ticky-tacky box house.

Most of the restoration work we've done has been simple: repainting, swapping cracked 90s fake marble tile and modern plastic berber carpeted floors for hardwood, replacing contemporary light fixtures with vintage ones, choosing vintage paint colors and wall coverings.  Easy.
But then there was the kitchen.

The kitchen had been redone some time in the late 80s early 90s.  
The beautiful old pine cabinets had been ripped out and replaced with heavy dark oak. The vintage appliances were gone.  The breakfast nook had been turned into extra counter space.

We actually liked the layout, but the ugly brown cabinets and horrid poorly installed 6x6 "country pink" tiles with permanently filthy and  un-cleanable half-inch grout lines had to go.  

We did a lot of online research.  Retro Renovation was a big help.  We also watched a LOT of 50s & 60s technicolor movies, read old magazine articles, and poured over old 
BH&G Decorating books. For extra inspiration our 2013 calendar was 40s-60s kitchen advertisements.

We were extremely fortunate to have our friend Janel, from Janel Holiday Interior Design, at helping us to source materials and make our vision a reality.  She usually does much more posh jobs than ours so we were honored to have her assistance.  There's no way we would have found our backsplash tile without her!   It's from a company called Fireclay and is hand made locally using all recycled materials.  The candy colors are wonderful! 

Here's a close up of our materials and tile layout. 


While we wanted a kitchen that would honor the home's past, I was pretty set on having "all mod cons."  My favorite new non-retro thing?  The hood over the stove!  Because our house had been a rental for years it had only a crappy microwave over the stove instead of a proper vent. (Why do landlords all seem to think that is a good idea?)  The ceiling and tops of the cupboards were grimy filthy and disgusting from accumulated "cooking fog." Blerg!  That will never happen again now that we have a fancy new hood to suck out all the ick!


My favorite new retro thing?
My Dishmaster Imperial Four faucet set over an enormous Kholer farmhouse sink.
I love it so much and it's brand spankin' new.
The Dishmaster  company is still making them in USA.  


My favorite actual retro thing is a solid tie between the incredible art deco wallpaper from Second Hand Rose and the vintage wall clock that we picked up at the flea market.



When we first moved in, we were a bit puzzled by the strange recessed outlet between the top of the door and the ceiling.




Then we found this clock with an extremely short cord at the flea market…
...and it all made sense.



How 'bout some before and after shots of the whole kitcheny-kitchen?

Here's a before shot of the breakfast bar area.


We had the bar cut back about 6 inches to make it easier to access the cabinets underneath.    Deciding to get rid of the thick brown window trim was easy.  We finished the inside of the window casings with 1/4 round edging painted white and had the wallpaper installed right to the edge. 
It's a zillion times better!


The pantry wall and pass-through into the dining room looked like this before.


After: Two hideous pantry doors replaced with one sleek new one!
We even redid the inside of the pantry making it much more usable.


My vintage appliances and retro microwave are much happier in this kitchen!


Overall, we really tried to keep things simple.  The cabinets were merely re-faced with painted MDF.  The countertops are inexpensive Caesarstone in a formica-ish color and pattern with squared fronts.   The under-counter lighting?  Battery operated tap lights from the hardware store.


Here's what the cooking area looked like before.


And here's the after shot.  


We haven't done the floors yet as we're negotiating which Armstrong linoleum tiles to use.  It may be one of these.  I like the red/blue/yellow speckle and the lemon yellow.


So that's it!  The kitchen is finally mostly done.  We couldn't have done any of it without Joe from California Happy Homes.  His team was great and totally got our weird retro vision.  
Hooray for retro kitchen remodels!

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Your kitchen is amazing. I love the two choices for the floor.

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  2. I let out a little squeal when I saw this - your kitchen is gorgeous! Interiors are my second favourite thing after clothes and I just love seeing pictures of retro homes. If I'm ever able to buy a place of my own (London is crazy expensive right now!) I'd love a kitchen like this.

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  3. thats so amazing! 50s to 70s kitchens are always so amazing and practical! i love the candy tiles and that view from your window! gosh that must make washing dishes more intersting!

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