Before and After: This $700 Vintage-Style Kitchen Redo Brings All the Drama

published Nov 1, 2020
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About this before & after
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Rental Friendly
Before: Kitchen with checkerboard floors and orb pendant light
Credit: Timothy Maxwell

You should always feel empowered to make your home reflect your personal style and taste—even if your home’s a rental. Need inspiration? Take this kitchen redo from Timothy Maxwell, who recently moved into a classic 1950s apartment building. “While the apartment was packed with original details like crown molding, metal casement windows, the original retro stove, and miles of colorful tile, it was lacking glamour and drama,” Timothy says. “I just moved in and could not stand the generic choices made by building management. I always like to put my own stamp on design.”

Credit: Timothy Maxwell

Timothy started with fresh white paint in the kitchen to cover up the old green color. The new wall color helps call even more attention to the cool black-and-white checkered tile throughout the kitchen. Timothy chose to keep the two-tone color scheme throughout, adding a gallery wall of black-and-white artwork around the window. He also had an electrician install a bold black statement light above the island, to replace the nickel one that was there before.

Credit: Timothy Maxwell

Timothy also bought a new fridge to replace the “scary” 1990s one that was in place. To complement the cool vintage range and the throwback style of the room as a whole, he chose a black one with chrome handles and lots of old-school vibes.

The full project cost between $600 and $700, Timothy says, and took about two weeks in total.

Credit: Timothy Maxwell

“I love how fresh and glamorous it feels, but still approachable,” says Timothy. “The only thing I would do differently is hire a painter. I don’t have the patience, and it took forever.”

That said, the payoff was big: “I would suggest if you want to update your rental apartment to buy a can of paint and hang a ton of art,” he says. “I love putting my own stamp on my space.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.