Erica’s thrifty jadeite kitchen remodel – 18 photos

vintage jadeite porcelain drainboard sink and metal sink cabineterica, mastermind of the jadeite kitchen renovationErica credits her parents for her love of old things — and for her thrifty ingenuity. They were “restorers and keepers of many … beautiful Victorian buildings,” she says. “Memories of late night trash picking … learning to wallpaper a room at the age of 7, and rescuing tin ceilings from abandoned buildings are all things that have made me the salvager I am today.” So, it’s not surprising (to us) when she also declares, “When looking for a home I was praying not to fall in love with one that had a newly marbleized, stainless steel kitchen that I would have had a hard time tearing out.”

In fact, an 1888 house found its way to Erica… and one of her first major projects was replacing a failing and nondescript particle-board kitchen. Taking a vintage jadeite color drainboard sink and cabinet as her cue, she created a happy kitchen that seems right at home in its 123-year-old skin. Read on for her story, resources, a bathroom renovation too, barkcloth dresses and 17 more photos –>

Erica writes:

jadeite kitchenCome On Into My Kitchen!

vintage chic living room in 1888 rhode island houseWell, I finally did it! I purchased an 1888 home in historic Peace Dale, Rhode Island, after a year of looking and a lifetime of being a bit of a nomad.

dining room in 1888 rhode island houseAfter of renting and doing work on other people’s buildings, I could finally feel like all of my efforts would be towards something I didn’t have to walk away from.

vintage red utensils in jadeite color kitchenMy parents were restorers and keepers of many of the beautiful Victorian buildings in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. Ingenuity, the love of old things and hard work are something I was brought up with. Memories of late night trash picking in our old stake bed pickup truck, learning to wallpaper a room at the age of 7, and rescuing tin ceilings from abandoned buildings are all things that have made me the salvager I am today.

vintage linen dish towelWhen looking for a home I was praying not to fall in love with one that had a newly marbleized, stainless steal kitchen that I would have had a hard time tearing out. As luck would have it the house that turned out to be just the right one had no kitchen to speak of. When I moved it it consisted of a broken stove, a leaking sink and a few of the most horrible partial board cabinets barely attached to the wall. Perfect! It took less than a day to empty the room with no more than a hammer and a good friend.

wood kitchen cabinets painted jadeiteI had been collecting pieces of this dream kitchen for over 3 years prior to owning the house and I am proud to say everything but the toaster, the blender and the Formica used for the counters has been salvaged or was second hand.

vintage jadeite sink cabinet with porcelain drainboard sinkThe metal cabinet with the enameled Jadite sink, which is my absolute favorite part of the kitchen, was inspired by love of the one that I washed the dishes of up to 30 guests in a week-end in our summer home on Hog Island in Rhode Island. Needless to say I spent a lot of time at that sink. The joy that I felt, and I’m sure most will think this is odd, at finding a Jadite colored sink for sale by a lovely girl in Maine (only 200 miles away!) was over the top! The jadeite sink came that way! It’s original. Lucky girl I am! I really love my sink!

vintage ge stove in robins egg blueThe appliances started with an old aqua GE that I fell in love with and bought on ebay. It was the real deal and was kept in the home of an older gent who hardly cooked so it was like new.

vintage ge stove in robins egg blueWhat a beauty! The wonderful push button controls, lights and bells and whistles all worked.

northstar stove in blueAs it sat in my basement waiting for a home I began to search craigslist for a refrigerator and then there they were…a Northstar stove and refrigerator.

northstar refrigeratorIn robin’s egg blue, like new. Wow! Now this was getting exciting. I called and sent the money off (they were an amazingly good deal!) to complete strangers with no guarantee or idea how I was going to get them to me. It all worked out great, and there is now a very happy lady in Florida cooking on the aqua GE.

solid wood vintage kitchen cabinets painted greenThe solid wood keystone cabinets with their fabulous original hardware came from a kitchen that was being torn out in Pennsylvania, the state in which they were made…and they are dreamy. They work like a charm and fit perfectly into the layout, having to only have one built using a left over door and a custom one made to fit to go over the stove.

whatnot shelf detail in vintage wood kitchenThe cabinet color, like a lot of the colors I have in my house is something I made up myself and had the awesome and very patient guy at Sherwin Williams make up for me. I believe it’s a darkened version of actual jadite dishware. I actually took the hood of the stove to the store so they could color match it to do some of the trim in the kitchen. I’m really crazy persnickety about color!

vintage glass spice canisters with jadeite lidsThe cabinets and boom-a-rang counter top were made and installed by a musician friend of mine with a lovely voice who sang beautifully while he worked making the experience a delight. I am still amazed at the ease in which all of the components fit into the space and how wonderfully workable the kitchen is. I love to cook and I couldn’t be happier cooking in it! 🙂

vintage style black and white bathroomI put in the black and white bathroom as well …

vintage style medicine cabinet black porcelain sconce

… from a section of one of the bedrooms.

dress made from barkcloth by rabbit rabbitI noticed the post on barkcloth you put up (my favorite). I’m a seamstress and thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of the dresses I’ve been making. No, the girl in the dress isn’t me. That’s  just a little side business I have.

Enjoying the reader stories as always. There are so many of us out there! And it’s always great to see what people are doing!

Thanks, Erica

Thank you for sharing, Erica. Your kitchen is adorable and by my count, at least four shades of green: (1) Jadeite in color, (2) Salvaged and recycled = Better for the environment than manufacturing something anew, (3) Salvaged and recycled = Thrifty — I’ve heard the new “American Dream Home” is one that’s paid for — sounds about right to me, and (3) Well, making us green with envy, of course!


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  1. says

    I was given the gift of a metal kitchen sink base unit WITH the double bowl, double drainboard sink sitting on top of it. Both cabinet and sink are white, and the cabinet is rusted, so I am refinishing it. However, I would like to know if it would be okay if I paint the base the Jadeite green (or close to it) and still use the white sink? The green would be so lovely in the room where I’m putting this piece. Oh, it’s an outdoor kitchen.
    I’m ordering period pulls since the ones on it are just flimsy plastic. I want to restore it as close to the 1950’s as possible. Thanks!

  2. Susan H. says

    Erica, what a wonderful kitchen! It’s so happy! A JADEITE SINK?! That’s spectacular! That cabinet! That oven/stove! The fridge! You’ve inspired me, too, in that all of your aquas and Jadeite don’t match exactly, but they work. Great job! Enjoy and congrats!

  3. Gracie Rugile says

    What a beautiful kitchen you’ve built. I’m considering buying a Northstar refrig (in robins egg blue) Are you happy with yours? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? I would love your opinion Erica…Thanks Gracie

  4. Patti says

    I’m thinking of painting my sink base the same color. We have one very similar wears refinishing. What’s the best way to refinished them? Any special paint we should use?

  5. Leslie says

    I’m addicted to Jadite. Soon after we moved into a 1914 craftsman in South Carolina I painted some stock cabinets Jadite with black boxes. It’s my favorite part of my home. I’m so jealous of your sink. Definitely my favorite part of your kitchen.

  6. Salli says

    I have pulled out of a old house the same sink and cabinet that you have in your kitchen but it is white. I have been trying to find out the brand and info on it. Do you happen to know? Any information would be appreciated.

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