Monday, February 18, 2013

Kitchen Revamp: Part I

I can't honestly call this kitchen project a renovation. That would assume some major amounts of drywall dust and construction that really just didn't happen. It is really a kitchen spiff-up, which took mostly paint, stain, and elbow grease. It also took a lot of time, but mostly because my life is a little insane right now. 

I've decided I'm going to do this kitchen reveal in a series of smaller posts, because I don't have the attention span or stamina right now for a monster post. Also, I'm still trying to figure out a curtain for a window that's just to the left of the photo above. I'm going to work my way around the room until I've cussed that into submission. Right now it just looks stupid, and I'm trying to find a way to un-stupid it. There's no reason why we can't start the tour while I do that.

For those who are just tuning in:

My house dates from 1939, but the kitchen was redone somewhere between 1968 to mid-1970s. The owners at that time changed the layout by taking down a wall, expanding into a mudroom entry area and turning it into an eat-in, and moving the stove to the other side of the room, creating what I call a "wide galley" layout. Since the cabinets are good quality and budget was a concern, I decided to work with what I had. That involved making choices that would fit in with the 1960s-70s style of cabinets. 

What I have done since purchasing the house in June 2011: 
  • Purchased new appliances (except for dishwasher)
  • Refinished cabinets and cleaned hardware (All credit goes to my mother, who put HOURS into this, one door at a time)
  • Replaced a yellow and hacked-to-pieces laminate counter top with a new one
  • Painted
  • Replaced a huge and hugely ugly ceiling fan with a vintage fixture
  • Added wall art and decorative items
  • Made curtains to replace tired beige tab-top panels. 
Here's a slight before below: 

Here the countertop had been replaced and the cabinets were mid-refinishing, though it's impossible to tell in this photo. The previous color of the kitchen was a medium dark blue, which was painted over switch plates, spattered onto the baseboard trim, and was finger-printed, gashed, and greasy. Ew. 

The container set on the countertop is one that I still like because of the kitschy chickens, but took up too much counter space. Ditto the stand mixer. The container set is still in use but stashed in the pantry cupboard on the left. The stand mixer went into the cabinet underneath, and just gets hauled out for the big baking marathons. 

Now, back to 1968:

The corner you see with the oven above in 1968 is where the tall pantry cabinet is in 2011 in the most recent photo, below. The stovetop is now counter space: 

(I also need to interrupt this entire post to note the tulips, which are an After-Valentine's Day gift from Mr. Man. He is a man of great discernment, takes into consideration the fact that his lady truly hates the V-Day, and follows up with flowers the day after. The fact they are a great prop for the photo shoot is just bonus.)

This particular spread of counter space is where the baking happens: 

I love this corner because three items hold great personal meaning for me: 

The lazy-susan container set is exactly like one my grandmother had. I love the Pennsylvania Dutch design, and the fact that I remember Grandma's kitchen and her fried chicken dinners every time I cook for my own boys: 

I purchased the recipe box on a whim about two years ago, feeling drawn to it but not realizing why. My Aunt Karen has the same one in brown in her own kitchen, where I spent a large portion of my childhood. 

The rooster bookend was a bargain at a junk shop many years ago, because his mate was long lost. He's holding up two cookbooks that are in heavy use in my house: A 1950s community cookbook from Shenandoah, Iowa, called "Kitchen Klatter,"and a Hershey's Cocoa cookbook from mail order. Neither are very pretty and the Kitchen Klatter cookbook is downright ragged, but it's real life around here. 

The frame on the backsplash, which doesn't show up well in the photos because of reflected light, is holding a paper bag from a grocery store that my Grandad worked at when he was a young man. I have no idea how this paper bag survived 60-plus years, but there it is. I sometimes marvel at its existence. Greenley's Market, sadly, is like many small town main street grocers-- long gone. 

By next week, I should be parading you down to the other side of the sink, and some territories over by the stove. By that time I hope to have the last curtain looking significantly less stupid, and more fun stuff to share. Stay tuned! 


  1. I love the small details in your kitchen. And the fact that you worked with what you've got. And that you're blogging in the same way you do renovations--small pieces at a time. Because that's the way most of us have to do it. Really looking forward to seeing what else you've done.

  2. Your cabinets look gorgeous. And reusing them is very eco-friendly! Kudos to you.

  3. Love the cabinets... Would you be willing to share the type and color stain used on the cabinets?? Thanks in advance!

    1. I'm sorry this took so long to get back to you, Anon, I had to hunt it down because we had used up the product and I couldn't just go look on my shelf. We used Minwax Dark Walut no. 2716. Keep in mind this was used to rehabilitate and touch up already existing stain, so the result may not be exactly what you're seeing in the picture. The tones were very similar, though. We also used Minwax wipe on poly satin finish. Hope that helps!.