You’ve seen the kitchen here and there on the blog, in the background of various posts and in my Cooking with Vincent series, but today we are finally giving it a proper post all its own because we recently did a (partial) kitchen redo!
Our kitchen is directly behind our fireplace, which sits in the center of the house, and accessible from the dining room, or from the hallway near the guest room and guest bathroom. A bar with a built-in china hutch juts out from the fireplace into the kitchen, which creates an interesting, almost Z shape to our kitchen.
Despite the odd shape, I really loved the kitchen, as it was pretty much all original. Seeing original elements was beginning to feel like a rare gem in sea of either awful 80s/90s redos or contemporary overhauls in 50s and 60s homes as we hunted. I especially loved the tile counter and trim along the bottom of the cabinets. When we moved in the walls were white with pale cream cabinets, featuring new, black handles, as you can see in these listing photos, as I am awful at taking “Before” images.
You can also see the faux marble flooring, which was one of the first things to go when we moved in. You can read about our flooring experience here. I knew I wanted to add more color to the kitchen, but just what color and where was the debate. We thought about painting just the cabinet doors, maybe doing one color on top, a different one on bottom, but ultimately decided to go with a shade of green from the flooring and paint just the walls. This really made the cabinets pop, as well as the valance I added to the window above the sink.
When it came to painting the walls, we actively chose to leave three walls white. These three walls have hardly any “wall” to them, as they are really just three doorways. One doorway is open, from the hall, the other two have doors, and are closet spaces, one housing the hot water heater, the other originally housed the heater for the home, however when we installed AC we had it moved into the crawlspace. This space we plan to renovate into a pantry in the future.
Our laundry room is located off of the kitchen, tucked behind this pink curtain seen below. You can check it out here.
You’ll notice we don’t have a dishwasher, we toyed with the idea of getting one, but ultimately decided we needed the variety of cabinet space, and did not want to give anything up. During a Charles Phoenix slide show we spied an amazing vintage faucet that featured a brush wand. He then said that the facets were still being made new! And we instantly knew that is what we wanted. Because if we had to do dishes by hand, why not make it extra stylish?
We opted for the Dishmaster M76 Imperial Four, in chrome with the Gold Sunburst faceplate. It was a bit pricey, and was the home’s “Christmas present” a couple years ago. Then last year I spied it as Rick Dalton’s faucet in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood! The only difference was that his is the “XL” option with the wand that sits to the side as oppose to atop the faucet. We just didn’t want to drill a hole in our sink.
One of the biggest, and smallest changes was the hardware in the kitchen. While hardware is small, the change we made I think was rather large. The hinges had been painted over, and new, vintage looking, black metal drawer handles of a similar spade style to the hinges had been put on the doors and drawers. After seeing so many 1950s and 60s homes during our house hunting, I was 100 percent certain that the hinges were copper under all of that paint, so we scrapped a little paint off and discovered warm copper underneath. We spent a good chunk of time stripping and polishing the hardware. Then it came time to tackle the handles. We chose to hunt down vintage copper handles, which we found on Etsy. We polished them to the same level as the hinges. Then, to prevent further tarnishing we gave them a clear coat of lacquer.
Since we painted the walls and then had copper hardware, we decided to change our light switches and plates as well. We opted for a look that is much older than the house, push button. We purchased these switches and plates new from Kyle Switch Plates. Push button switches were out of vogue by the time our home was built in 1954, but I really love their look.
I grew up with parents who were Coca-Cola collectors, and it made an impression on me, the “Fishtail” or, as it is technically called, the Arciform, style being my favorite time period in Coca-Cola design. Additionally, the fishtail design was often paired with green, making it perfect for the kitchen. The larger sign at the top was found by my dad, and the menu board was found at one of the antique malls in Orange. We thought it would make a great meal planning board. Originally, the menu board would have had offerings along with their prices that slid in and out, however with those missing, we chose to spray paint strips of wood with chalkboard paint, allowing us to change items easily. However we are giving serious thought to commissioning a sign painter to make some for us in the original style but with our most often made dishes.
Now, I called this a “partial” redo, and that is because you’ll notice we don’t have vintage or retro appliances. As I originally said in the flooring post, the biggest tip when it comes to buying a home is to pace yourself with projects and budget. We did not have enough money to do the flooring and buy the exact appliances we wanted at the time of move in. During that time we opted to purchase the exact washer and dryer I wanted (because seriously, a good washer and dryer is an investment in your clothing), a middle-of-the-road stove, and the cheapest fridge possible, both of which would be replaced with either refurbished appliances (probably from Vintage 55), or new, retro style ones. Additionally I want to change the ceiling lights. I just haven’t decided what exactly I want. I’m thinking something recessed, perhaps with a copper-tone frame around. Of course appliances and larger lighting projects are expensive, so these are down the road projects. But once done I’ll be sure to give the kitchen an updated blog post.