Before and After: You’ll Love How This Kitchen Keeps Its Character

published Jul 23, 2018
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(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)

There’s often one element in old kitchens that we’re all rooting for, crossing our fingers that it survives the big renovation. For this kitchen makeover, I’m holding my breath that the amazing pink double oven makes the cut.

Reader Amanda Schaneman shares some insight into what this kitchen was really like, as photos never tell the whole story:

The kitchen before the remodel was dark, dirty, and dated. The countertops (and integrated cutting board) were dirty to the point that no amount of cleaning could make it look good. The sink and faucet were original, as was the cooktop (with push button controls no less!) and the double ovens. The double basin sink was less than functional with a short necked faucet. I chipped several dishes trying to wash them as the dishwasher didn’t work.

(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)

Hooray for the “After”! I have never fallen harder and faster than I’ve fallen for those ovens, and as an avid baker and vintage dress wearer, I’m having all sorts of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel/Michelle Polzine fantasies. All that aside, this looks absolutely fantastic. I love how the pink has been completely embraced; the new pink-painted cupboards make up for the loss of the sink and stove, and are super-cute without being overly sweet. The wood countertops add warmth and coziness, while the new backsplash tiles brighten the room and have an interesting shape that echoes the proportions of the drawers.

Here’s what it took for this kitchen to reach its full vintage potential:

I started gathering materials, equipment and ideas in early February and finally got the project finished at the end of June. The whole process took WAY longer than I naively expected (about a month and a half was my plan) partly due to my desire to do as much as I could myself during a busy work season. My parents came in and helped with part of the job—installing the new dishwasher, range hood, and backsplash. I hired someone to install the countertop, an electrician to update the electrical for the cooktop, connections for under cabinet lighting and add much needed outlets (from two to seven) and a plumber to reroute the sink pipes due to going from a two-basin to one basin sink. The entire project ended up costing about $6,700.

That’s a lot to have gotten done—well done!

(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)
(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)

Goode pink stovetop, electric coils, retro scribble countertop, and many, many buttons. Even though it looked retro and cute, I completely understand the need to replace it, after reading what Schaneman said:

After spending a few months in the house, the kitchen was less than functional. The final straw was the cooktop started to smell of burning wire when turned in high (the only level that did anything at all).

(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)

We’ve seen a ton of examples of cabinetry ripped out and replaced with open shelving, but this door-removal approach is an excellent best-of-both-worlds solution. You keep the same amount of storage, but you can now create some areas of easy access as well as charming vignettes.

I love how airy and inviting the space looks now. It’s got warmth and comfort while still keeping the original mid-century character and flair in things like the pink ovens (my friends had a bidding war in case I pulled them out!). It’s also so much easier to keep clean than before, due to less nooks and crannies. The butcher block counters are my favorite feature because it brings in some natural feel to the space and makes baking easier. The only thing I would do differently is not be so scared to do tile backsplash work and jump into it faster than I did.

(Image credit: Amanda Schaneman)

It looks like the new sink and dishwasher are both charcoal, which looks amazing with the floor and the pink. All-in-all, I think that Amanda has done a fabulous job keeping the unique vintage feel of this kitchen while making it a thousand times more user-friendly, functional, and clean.

If you’ve got a renovation on your hands, here’s some excellent advice:

If you love it, do it! Just because it might not be the best option for resale or not what someone else would use in their kitchen doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for yours.

Take your time and wait for sales. Things will go on sale if you are patient! I saved nearly 30% of my total cost because of sales. Also, do your research on materials. How to seal things (like wood and grout) how to clean things (like induction cooktops) is monumental in being real about what works for your lifestyle. YouTube is a lifesaver and a wealth of knowledge.

Thank you, Amanda!