Redoing the kitchen - colors, materials?
eldarwenAugust 4, 2014
I'm doing a kitchen refresh - stripping and repainting the cabinets, changing the hinges and possibly the handles, replacing the stove, removing the wallpaper, and possibly redoing the counter tops and backsplash.

I'm looking for a modern feel.

I would love thoughts on color, input on stainless vs white, and suggestions on cheapest way to do a small and completely non-standard shaped countertop. (one of the cabinet doors is already down for "test stripping")

All suggestions welcome! I've got two weeks and a tiny budget!
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Sophie Wheeler
It's already authentic MCM vintage. No real reason to change anything if that is your goal. Just clean it thouroughly
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 4, 2014 at 4:59PM
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#3rd try to post a response
    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Okay... As I was saying -

Thank you for the feedback! Yes, I know it is perfect vintage - it was my grandparents' and almost nothing has been changed.

However, the stove has become a safety hazard, the hinges are rusting and the counter top edging eats clothes! Oh, and the wallpaper has damage from other work that was done, and I'm not counting on be able to match the 1970's pattern!

So those things need to be changed - as long as I am doing lots of work, I'd like to bring the kitchen gently towards modern.
    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:31PM
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Hi, eldarwen.
Here is a fantastic kitchen, I think, that pretty much incorporated what was already there.

I think the wallpaper should be stripped off the walls-chances are that is sheetrock under it, so it can be painted. You can get the cabinets painted, and some new formica on the counter. I believe a modern color scheme would be to paint the cabinets white, do black formica counters, and then paint the wall a color you like. You also could either replace or maybe paint the hardware.
Another idea is to buy a counter from Ikea.
I also love this kitchen I saw in Better Homes and Gardens this month, where one of their editors-who certainly could afford to have a fancy kitchen-opted to update his current one. He kept many of the original things-and I especially like the idea of using beadboard as a backsplash(these are reallly inexpensive panels that cost, like $17 at Lowe's)
Here's a link to the Better Homes and Garden kitchen.
Stainless steel is all the rage right now, of course, but then black appliances were the rage a few years back, and now everyone thinks they are dated. That's one thing about white, it has been around for years. We had to buy a new stove a few years ago, and they have these kind that they refer to as "white ice" because the surface is so white and pristine that it looks like ice. However, you should get whatever kind that you like, and if you feel the stainless stove would make the kitchen feel more modern, then you should get one.

I hope these ideas are helpful.
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 6, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Use Formica Anniversary Collection for striking countertop, white cabinets, the nicest stove you can afford, and stay with chrome for hardware, faucet, and light fixture.
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 6, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Agree with remove the wallpaper :o) Just saw a post on pinterest about covering formica with cement - as an inexpensive fix. Invest in a pretty backsplash tile with color possibly. Add crown molding to cabinets and maybe edge band, under cabinet lights [ikea], paint the window trim white add color valance and rug to tie in backsplash color, pretty art above shelf to the right of the window. Stainless appliances and sink.
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 6, 2014 at 11:54PM
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Jennifer Mendenhall
These are my ideas on super quick fixes. If the wall paper is not falling off, I would paint the ceiling white and the frame around the window. I would leave the wall paper around the window for now and frame it in the same lattice trim as the rest of the room. I would paint the bottom cabinets white. Where the shelf is with the bottle on it, I would put open shelves all the way up the wall.
Where the stove comes down to the L shape. I would turn the kitchen into a u shape instead of having the peninsula to get around, because your refrigerator must be on the side not pictured. I would, if possible turn the cabinet on the end sideways and make the other cabinet deeper. I would keep the cabinets if possible because the style matches and just add/trim a little to make them look uniform.

It looks like you are missing a cabinet door. What about taking off the door next to it and opening the back up so that you can see through and create open shelving to put glasses so guests or family members can access them without having to climb around the cook. This is also a cheap and quick way to not feel like you are isolated from guests.

That is my 2 cents for what it is worth. Good Luck!
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 7, 2014 at 8:22AM
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Denise Marchand
Seems like there must have been some serious cooking in this kitchen! Definitely time for an upgrade.

To get a modern look, all appliances should be stainless steel, hardware to be nickel or chrome (polished or satin). Buy all the same cabinet bar pulls and install horizontally. With that being said, here are some inspiration pics for the paint of the cabinets.

1) Paint Color: I am very gutsy when it comes to paint, but if you want to keep it classic contemporary, paint the cabinets grey with an eggshell finish and white formica countertops (formica has come a long way and inexpensive from HomeDepot) with a tile backsplash.

2) Tile the column on the left of the oven to the ceiling, the backsplash on the oven wall and the entire sink wall. This should be done if the tile design is simple, like subway tile. If that's too much for you, on the sink wall, tile the same height as the oven backsplash and paint a vibrant color on the entire wall. For a contemporary look, do not change the tile over the oven. Stick with one design.

3) Lighting: Install inexpensive under counter lights. They are perfect task lights and you can buy them anywhere. Change the ceiling fixture. As much as I love the versatility of track lighting, I hate the way it looks. See center fixture attached.

4) Install a simple window treatment, either a woven shade or fabric. Take a look at the pics, you will notice how a simple shade can finish off all your hard work.

4) Floor: The floor doesn't look too bad. Wash it with straight white vinegar and it will take up all the old wax and grime and then put a light coat of wax. Get a vibrant flat large rug to offset the color of the cabinets.

5) There is a perfect spot for shelving or an odd cabinet hutch on the wall on the right of the sink. Lately I've been using old china hutch tops only (craigslist for free), painting them and using a bright color on the inside back panel. It looks custom and is super practical. The other idea is the large "shadowbox", note that the back panel is white carrara marble (dirt cheap from a local marble yard, they always have pieces left over from larger jobs).

6) For the "mini" end cabinet on the left entering, take a look at the pic of the bookcase/message center.To add a "Billy" bookcase (from Ikea) on the top of the cabinet, extend the counter top. Once you paint out the cabinets and the bookcase to match, it will all blend.

You really have to roll over the pics one at a time to get the fulI concept of each design. What color cabinets where you thinking and what did you mean about "non standard shape countertops? I hope this all helps!
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 7, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Denise Marchand
More cabinet colors
1 Like    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Denise Marchand
It really helps to see all options! The ceiling light is from Hinkley Hadley 14" Wide Nickel Ceiling Light #W9213. More pics:
    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Denise Marchand
Here is a pic of a free craigs list cabinet and a kitchen using an odd wall hanging cabinet.
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:52PM
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Some good ideas above. I am seeing a double oven unit, and so will bring up the possibility that your vent is not centered behind, and you will need either a new cutout, or a non vented hood. Be prepared for new gas valve installation,too, as codes have changed.
If product quality matters here, I suggest stainless steel mid -range Frigidaire, which will retail in the 650 - 900 range, depending on sales - and there is always a sale. If you do go w a non vented hood option, Whirlpool makes a 9" stainless steel that is the real deal for around $400 ( Lowes) - I have not personally come across a model up to that price point that does as well. If cost takes precedence over quality, I suggest a Sears warehouse trip, and going with whatever colour gets you the best deal. A cheap hood runs $50, in either black or white, at the big box stores.
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 7, 2014 at 11:17PM
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Wow! Thank you everyone for the thought and ideas! I am going to respond in order as I can pop on to the computer - I type slowly!
    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:37AM
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I think you should remove the top cabinet doors all together that share the wall with the stove area . Put in a new stove us wood block counter tops and paint the cabinets a poppy red or yellow with a glaze finish. Chang the light fixture to maybe track lighting and put some under cabinet lighting for the cabinets that hang over your open counter space..
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 10, 2014 at 8:55AM
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and use a nice subway tile up the wall with the window and if you can remove the window trim.
    Bookmark   Thanked by eldarwen    August 10, 2014 at 8:57AM
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lucindalane - yes, the wallpaper is off! The walls are actually plaster and have some defects - which I think I am going to name charming features! :-)

The link you posted was great, and definitely had some good ideas that I am going to "borrow"

The White Ice series was one of the things that made me consider white appliances, they are lovely! Have you found they work well for you?
    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:00AM
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cage, thank you for the suggestion on the Formica anniversary collection. Some of the patterns are interesting - I love the Ellipse. Not sure if it is too retro for what I want...
1 Like    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:17AM
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Retro is the new black. :)
Are you still on a two week timeline?
    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:18AM
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Thank you for your responses, and I am a bit confused! Are you responding to my image?

There's no missing cabinet doors in the original photo, nor any lattice trim. The current baseboard moulding is 1/4" round. The fridge is to the right, completely out of the picture. As you probably can't see, these are built in place cabinets, not stand alone units that were installed. To "turn the cabinet sideways" I'd have to completely rip up the cabinet and build a new one!
    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Denise, I'm going to give all your suggestions the attention they deserve - working through them now.

In response to your question, the counter tops are narrower than standard, and variable (not the same depth on each side, and one area has a 4x4 going through it - pretty sure that is structural.

By "mini" cabinet, do you mean the area to the left of the stove or the area in foreground? The cabinet in the foreground is good sized, since it use the width of the cabinet and the additional L. I am not understanding where you are suggesting adding the Billy cabinet?

studio10001 - thank you! I can break up the project a bit - but I can't have the whole kitchen out of service for too much longer than that.
    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Jennifer Mendenhall
Ok, we are not looking at the same image because what Denise is describing can't be the same kitchen. Sorry for the confusion.
    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Denise Marchand
Sorry if I wasn't clear. In my head, your kitchen is done!

Message center/Billy bookcase: Sit a bookcase on top of the cabinet that's in the forefront and retrofit it to your needs. (Of course, you can build it yourself) The pic I sent above gives you an idea (it's white with the message board on the side). Paint it the same as all the other cabinets. If you do not have the depth (12") when you redo the counters add what you need. The counter may overhang the existing cabinet.

You seem to be very handy, and your kitchen seems as though it needs organizational help. We can all use help in the kitchen! Try to make all of the counters the same depth. Can the countertop on the left overhang into the other room?
    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Jennifer Mendenhall
Maybe it's me. If I answer a question before I have enough cups of coffee there is no telling what you will get. Ha-ha.

I like your ideas so far and I love that cabinet in the kitchen next to the Craigslist cabinet. I really like the reuse of antiques and furniture with character.

My next suggestion is to stand in the kitchen and think about how you and your family use it. Where do you like your spices, pots and pans, dishes... This may help make some of the pieces of the remodel come together as well.

The other day I was in the kitchen on my hands and knees looking for a lid and thought "This is ridiculous!" I pulled out an extra dish rack and gathered up every pot and pan lid in my kitchen and put them in the pantry on a waist high shelf. That didn't even cost me anything.
    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:58AM
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Jennifer Mendenhall
Actually I meant to say the lady doing the remodeling. Not enough coffee:-)
    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:00AM
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for some ideas check out these videos::

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:10AM
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Would love to see after photos - sure it will be beautiful.
    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Countertops: You can cover them with concrete yourself. Google Ardex Feather Finish Concrete - I haven't done it myself but am planning to in a few weeks. Also check out Giani Granite treatment and the Encore countertop refinish stuff. Both are available though Amazon for not much $.

Cabinets: ADD MOULDINGS. It's in sanely easy. I've used half round and base cap all over my house to beef up existing mouldings and to refinish doors and cabinets. You'll be shocked at the difference it makes. Buy a $15 miter box and saw and cut rectangles the same shape as the door but smaller. You can even attach it with the same caulk gun you use to fill the edges around the moulding.

I'll clog your houzz advice stream with more later if I can. Biggest piece of advice on DIY like this: PINTEREST. Just search DIY kitchen. You'll be overwhelmed by the choices and the amount of information there.
    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:38AM
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