Before and After: $1,000 Later, a “Tired” Kitchen Is Now Colorful and Kitschy to the Max

published Jan 22, 2024
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Marina Porter and her husband, Alexander Arseneau, who own a vintage store called Rainbows & Retro, toured more than 50 homes in five months looking for their forever space. After touring several properties and striking out, the couple realized they might need to find a home where they could reimagine the interior — and that’s exactly what they did.

When they moved into their current home, (a now-colorful 1953 bungalow in Ontario, Canada), one of the first rooms to get its transformation was the kitchen. The existing space had dated oak cabinets, dark countertops, and an overall “tired” feeling. For people who love vintage finds and color, like the new owners, the original room simply wouldn’t work. 

“It was dated with old fixtures, counters, cabinets, tiles, and hardware … and the appliances were modern in contrast to the old cabinetry,” Marina says. So the couple got to work.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

A hand-painted backsplash adds a vintage-inspired, whimsical touch.

Marina and Alexander’s kitchen renovation quickly became their proudest DIY project to date. They started by ripping out the counters and tiles they didn’t like, and instead of using a traditional backsplash, they painted a checkerboard pattern using Behr’s Sugar Poppy and Taffy Twist. 

This was a clever, budget-friendly solution as retiling the backsplash didn’t exactly go as planned: “When we were taking tiles off of the wall, drywall was coming with it,” Marina recalls. “We ended up having to totally demolish the backsplash — drywall included — and having to drywall the entire kitchen again.”

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Yellow cabinets and white appliances brighten the space.

Of course, the faulty cabinets had to go, too. The couple “properly enclosed” the bottom of the cupboards and painted them yellow (Behr’s Yellow Jubilee). Marina says painting the cabinets “really brightens up the space” as do the new (to them) white appliances.

Being pro vintage hunters, Marina and Alexander replaced the hardware and appliances with secondhand finds; their stainless steel refrigerator was replaced with a retro-inspired iio Kitchen refrigerator from Habitat for Humanity, and their General Electric stove came from Facebook Marketplace, meaning this massive transformation only cost the couple around $1,000.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Secondhand and vintage finds complete the quirky kitchen.

Other retro additions, like oversized sculptures of ice cream cones, vintage-looking Mountain Dew cans, Tootsie Rolls, and orange juice cartons, dot the room (some on the wall and others on the countertops) and blend seamlessly with the bright, updated space.

The kitchen is just one of the rooms in their colorful home chock-full of vintage finds and vibrant colors. To see more of their gorgeous space, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy