Before & After Kitchen Remodel: Keeping the Best of the Past

Kitchen remodels are a daunting prospect for many reasons; the expense, time spent and food prep stress. One concern that people tend to put on the back burner is how the updated style will fit with the era and flow of the rest of the home, but it is absolutely worth considering. While a complete gut is often the only realistic option, preserving at least one detail, the best bit of the past, as part of the remodel is a nice way to maintain the stylistic heart of the home, while saving some money and keeping things a bit more earth-friendly. That is exactly what Chris and Damon did...
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...and an "After" shot, showing off the colorful green wall ovens and range hood, the fun features preserved from the previous remodel.

Here is their story, full of smart ideas and solutions:

It's worth mentioning that the kitchen was last remodeled in the late 60s or early 70s, that the tile countertops were not in good shape (and besides that, it wasn't cute 1920s tile, it was gross 1970s tile), and that the floor pictured was the least expensive vinyl flooring we could find to cover what was in the house when we bought it four years ago. We didn't tear out anything worth keeping, and we did keep the double ovens and vent hood that added charm and character to the kitchen (though we did get them reporcelained).

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We ended up replacing everything except for the windows and those ovens and the vent hood, though, and we did it for around 10k (including labor-we contracted some of the work out to Victor Gastelum in the San Diego area).

Some of the things we did that saved us money:

Ikea cabinets - we put them together and hung them ourselves, which saved a lot
Had the original ovens reporcelained and the vent hood powder coated to match (cost significantly less than new ones, and they look cuter)
The cooktop is from a company called Caldera. We'd never heard of it, but it had really good reviews, so we took a chance. Best cooktop I've ever cooked on, and it was less than $500.
The Corian is Glacier White, which, coincidentally, is the least expensive color option they make. It's also exactly the look we wanted.
The floor is commercial vinyl composition tile from Home Depot. I think it was something like $50 for the whole floor.
The tile on the backsplash came from Overstock.com, and was $7/square foot.

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Where we splurged:

Counter-depth refrigerators are more expensive than their deeper counterparts, but in a narrow kitchen, it looks like we have twice the space now.
The Orla Kiely wallpaper. Too expensive to do elsewhere in the house, but on the narrow soffit, we only needed a roll and a half, and it made such an impact in the room.

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Creative problem solving:

The only real problem we've had with our kitchen is that there's no counter space next to the cooktop. The only ways to remedy that would be to either wall off that door, ditch the double ovens, pay for an expensive custom piece of woodwork involving some sort of gateleg affair that flips up across the door opening, or to do what we did, and opt for a cart that can easily be moved over next to the stove if I'm making a sauce or a candy or something that requires I have all of the ingredients in easy reach. It may not be the most attractive thing that could go on that wall, but we've really appreciated the functionality of it.

We also have a pull-out trash can and recycling bin in the cabinet next to the sink. Aside from the cooktop, having the trash hidden might be my favorite part of the new kitchen.

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I love how Chris and Damon found a way to have a fresh, clean, updated, fully functioning modern kitchen while preserve the original feel. I think it is thanks in large part for their willingness to embrae the quirky and wonderful green wall ovens as well as highlighting the vintage vibe through the decorative touches, such as the bread bin and colorful mixer.

Wonderful job - thanks for sharing the story!

Check out more of Chris' style at her blog: The Bee and the Bobbin

(Images: Chris and Damon)

Re-edited from a post originally published 6.22.11 - JL