Before and After: New Cabinets and Counters Give This ’60s Kitchen Its Groove Back
It’s possible to update your home to meet today’s standards while still honoring its historic roots. For evidence, check out this 1970s-meets-2021 bathroom, this mid-century-inspired dining room, and this $18 retro chair redo. Unfortunately, sometimes, historic homes have had updates along the way that totally don’t match the style of the home or the era it was built in. This gray kitchen in Rhythm Mohan (@rancho.del.groucho) and her husband’s 1963 Eichler home is one such example; it was dark with minimal lighting and gray paint. Plus, some of that paint was bubbling in places, there was leaking and water damage next to the dishwasher, the island wasn’t attached to the floor, there were no pulls to open drawers or cabinets, the Formica countertops were feeling a bit dated, and “it had nightmare left over electrical from the 1960s,” Rhythm says.
Rhythm’s kitchen redo is inspired by the ’60s, but fit and functional for the 2020s. “We spend so much time in the kitchen; it’s the center of our home, and most of the time spent in the home is in the kitchen and the dining room, so we decided it was very important to not only remake the kitchen but to add color and use new, updated materials to make it truly ours,” Rhythm says. “We wanted to make a space that was fun, colorful, has art, and we wanted gold tones with something that complemented plants!”
Rhythm’s 2022 redo seamlessly blends Scandi and MCM styles, and she says the biggest difference-maker in the kitchen was replacing the Shaker-style cloudy gray cabinets with peppy teal cabinets that have sleek Scandi-style flat fronts instead. She and her husband bought the cabinets from Semihandmade and sanded, primed, and painted them themselves.
“Everything we did from A to Z for the kitchen was … taking on something we both never have done before,” Rhythm says. “It was a lot of googling, multiple trips to the store, and making sure to have contractor numbers on hand if we ever got to an ‘uh oh’ moment.”
They used a blue-green (Benjamin Moore’s Lush) to paint the cabinets, and while upgrading the cabinets, they also relocated where the fridge would go to allow for more cabinet space on the back wall. “We DIYed the drywall (hanging and finishing), then all the cabinets backing were hung, and then the fronts went on,” Rhythm explains — and although it takes one sentence to describe here, the cabinet project took Rhythm and her husband four months.
“The hardest part would definitely have to be the patience involved with building the kitchen cabinets and also hanging and finishing the drywall ourselves,” she says. “It was an immense amount of drywall and dust we had to constantly clean up.”
Rhythm and her husband also replaced the very 2000s backsplash with vertically stacked white subway tile and white grout. The globe-shaped white light fixtures and the light-colored, confetti-like terrazzo countertops also help to brighten the space; the latter are from Concrete Collaborative and were installed by a contractor. “It’s loud but fun,” she says of the slab.
Rhythm’s favorite part of the kitchen redo is the new vibrancy the space has. “It works so well for us because it’s reflective of our personalities,” she says. Plus, Rhythm points out that in the “after,” there’s much more countertop space than before, as the island is larger. Moving the fridge to the right corner of the room also allowed for more prep space on the back wall in addition to cabinet storage.The Buster & Punch brass hardware, plants, artwork, and MCM furniture help to make the space feel more ‘60s-meets-contemporary, too.
Rhythm’s best kitchen reno advice is to have patience and prepare. “Think ahead two steps before taking on kitchen renos,” she says. For more mid-century-meets-modern kitchen redos, check out this 1950s kitchen redo and this 1967 kitchen redo.
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