Jon & Trixi create a 1970s avocado kitchen with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations

Avocado kitchenjon and trixiJon and Trixi — we’ve seen portions of their project under way — have finished remodeling their kitchen, and are mostly done with the bathrooms. And in a twist that I am sure the folks at Rust-Oleum were not anticipating, the epicenter of their “Retro Renovation story” is that they freshened up their kitchen cabinets by painting them warm brown on the top — and avocado on the bottom — using Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformations kit. No, avocado ain’t a stock color in the Rust-O kit — Jon is intrepid, and had it custom-tinted avocado at his local store. Jon wants me to emphasize that all of the work they did throughout the house cost less than $2,000 — because they (1) used their existing, functionally sound cabinets (2) uncovered the vintage countertop and floor (3) hunted down salvage and vintage fixtures and furniture and (4) did the work themselves. I luv it! Click on through for their compete story along with 21 photos live from the scene. Photos by Glenn Suckow and Trixi Hunt — many thanks!

The “before” kitchen — original countertops were covered with stone tiles… original floor was covered with another layer of vinyl… cabinets were brown

Jon writes:

Dear Pam:

This here is a folder full o’ photos of our house — kitchen (before and after), living room (before and after), bathroom (before and after) as well as our office, bedroom and exterior — including our next project, the rec room in the basement!

The one thing I’d love to stress if you write about us is that we did this ENTIRE THING — I’m taking furniture, paint, accessories, etc –for UNDER TWO GRAND. Almost every single item is from a thrift store or a salvage yard or a Reuse Center. The hard work, of course, came from me and Trixi!

Some notes, room by room:

avocado kitchen

[Pam adds: Jon says this 1966 St. Charles kitchen featured on the blog in 2008 was their inspiration. Great job!]

chromcraft dinette 1960s

avocado kitchen floor

Trixi says it *only* took 15 hours to install the vintage sink with hudee. Not kidding.

KITCHEN: In these photos, you can finally see the finished cabinets, using the Cabinet Transformation Kits from Rustoleum. You can also finally get a good look at the dining area, with our 1967 Chromcraft dining set which we LOVE. There’s also a great shot of the “corner o’ chrome” — our cool Lincoln Beautyware canisters and paper towel dispenser, plus the NuTone food center and cutting board.

pink bathroom

Trixi says: Greige walls get a bit of a retro-redo. I could only get 5 yards of the paper (vintage from Etsy), so we had to be creative with how we used it. I looked through a TON of 60’s interior pictures, and got the ‘framing’ idea from there. Also- we have NEVER wallpapered before, so please be forgiving on closer inspection. Because the paper is vintage, we had to make paste. Add that to Jon’s list of talents!

BATHROOM: The countertop is a reclaimed counter from the Reuse Center with gold fleck formica which we cut to fit. The sink is from a salvage yard. The American Standard peach toilet (which matches the tub exactly!!) is from Reuse Center, we got it free to take it off their hands. The floor I put in myself, just some cool hex tile from Menards. [Pam corrects: That’s call octagon-and-dot — super affordable and available at most of the big boxes.] The wall has groovy stencils done by Trixi which match the atomic design on our light bar. The curtains are vintage, from Etsy. The wallpaper is also vintage, from Etsy. Still to be done: tiles in the tub area.

preway fireplaceadrian pearsall LIVING ROOM: Our pride and joy is the vintage Preway cone fireplace, which we haven’t yet hooked up but which we HOPE will eventually work. You can see, in the general shot, our cool surfboard-shaped coffee table. The chair in the one shot is a Jens Risom from 1968, we got it for FOUR DOLLARS from a thrift store. The end table is Adrian Pearsall, and IT TOO was under ten bucks. The only non-vintage stuff in there are the armoire (which is Baker — Trixi used to work for ’em) and the couch, which is a Daffa.

yellow chairOFFICE, BEDROOM: The office is just the one shot of the main office area, with our vintage stuff, and another of a weird 70s vinyl chair that sits on the other side of it. There’s also a shot of our bedroom, which has the curtains Trixi made with vintage fabric from Etsy.

barrel furnitureBASEMENT: This is our next project! We’ve got a full set of JC Penney whiskey barrel furniture from the late 60s and that cool vintage fake fireplace, plus the Shag prints on the wall. We still have to wallpaper and paint down there — it’s a-coming.

pink houserock gardenOUTSIDE: A couple good shots of our house (PINK AND BLUE!) plus our DIY rock and flower garden. All the materials in the garden were salvaged from various sites in the Twin Cities — we have bricks and such from demolition sites that used to be cobblestones. Even the rocks are vintage — Trixi’s folks got them from the Mississippi
riverbank in the 1960s.

So there you have it! THANK YOU — of course we couldn’t have done it without you!

Jon & Trixi — yay on you! Just yay! I wish I were closer, I’d for sure be over the mix you up some Margarita celebration. And, Jon, thank you so so much for all the sharing you’ve done as you’ve worked on your house. A bundle of stories from last year were all due to you:

Finally, a Precautionary Pam reminder: Be sure to consult with licensed professionals before you start ripping old stuff out; there can be vintage nastiness like lead and asbestos in materials and layers of old houses.

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  1. Guy H. says

    I love your house! It really captures the time period perfectly. I know many of the commenters here hate the 70s style. I see some of them even begrudgingly gave some praise on this beautiful house.
    I am glad you show us some retro from many different eras, Pam!

    Wonderful house! Congrats on your hard work.

  2. MissTrixi says

    We just popped by our favorite supplier of so many of the fine, porcelain pink fixtures & bits/bobbles that we bought over the last year, only to realize the I have been referring to it incorrectly as The ReUse Center. We, in fact, got most of our ‘Think Pink’ bath items from Habitat For Humanitie’s ‘ReStore Center’ near St. Anthony Mn. Sorry guys!

  3. Steve in Tulsa says

    Jon & Trixi,

    … (wide-eyed stare … drool a little) …

    It’s really been a pleasure following your progress, and let me add congrats on passing some significant milestones – your project is indeed and inspiration to the rest of us. Your kitchen cab redo has made me seriously rethink my plan – :)

    For those interested in Jon & Trixi’s kitchen flooring … its
    Armstrong Embossed Inlaid Linoleum style 5351 tan & green brick effect (and “no you can’t find it” – I’m restoring a 1958 Ranch home in MidTown Tulsa with the exact same floor, but in really rough shape. I’ve searched high and low for anyone hanging on to a couple rolls of this stuff – no luck)…

  4. Trip H says

    I love your house and everything you have done. I know just how hard it is to get everything back to the original condition. My house, built in 1948, I just got finished with the kitchen – took me 3 years to do it. My hat goes off to you for a job well done.

  5. Patti Cannan says

    Hey Jon and Trixi, I have an avocodo Sunbeam coffee maker that I would happily mail to you if you’d like!

    • Jon Hunt says

      I think we might already have one!! We have some kind of avocado percolator — I’m not sure the brand! What’s it look like, we’re definitely interested.

      • Patti Cannan says

        Yes I saw the avocado percolator on your countertop. This one is a Sunbeam CoffeeMaster drip. I just went and pulled it out of storage and it turns out it’s Harvest Gold, phooey! But I also have a 32 cup Party Coffeemaker in avocado, in the original pink and white box, it appears to have never been used! The graphics claim “Lively and refreshing color enhances the enjoyment of coffee drinking – at party time or any occasion, formal or informal.” Hahaha! I can email you pics if you’d like.

  6. Dino says

    You guys did a great job! I have a 1960 ranch in Cols OH, with a built in Nutone food center, pink sink, stove top and oven, and the original birch cabinets. I have some ugly 80’s linoleum, but see I have the original color spattered linoleum under the new subfloor. It should be an easy job since it was not glued, except there may be noticeable nail holes. We shall see. I also have the original pink and blue bathroom with built in Nutone scales.

    • Jon Hunt says

      We are jealous of your blue bathroom fixtures and pink appliances!! Beautiful — post pictures somewhere sometime!

  7. Julie says

    Hey John and Trixi — You didn’t happen to buy that teak Lazy Susan from a yard sale in suburban Detroit, did you? I moved from Detroit to LA about three years ago, and I (sadly, regretfully) parted with that exact Lazy Susan in a moving sale. Although mine had the pineapple bits on top…. I just wonder how many of those are really in existence nowadays.
    My dad had it shipped home from VietNam during the war. I did still hold onto a giant fork/spoon combo, which matched that piece in a lovely way. Anyways, cheers to your stellar home!!

  8. Tish Kelley says

    Love what you did!! I was wondering how you got someone to custom tint the rustoleum cabinet transformations. I asked at HD but was told it is a special formula that they couldn’t custom tint. That avocado color is just about what I wanted. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • pam kueber says

      Tish, in the first paragraph, I explain that Jon had it custom-tinted at the big box store where he bought it. As I recall, he brought in a chip or big sample of the color he wanted… something like that. Yes, it can be custom-tinted, the key is to find a helpful, patient and experienced tinter to help get it right… Sounds like it might be a little nerve-wracking to me, cuz you only have one or two cans to work with, but it’s do-able….

  9. Bob Miller says

    I know the whereabouts of several avacado colored *NEW* appliances that were installed, but never if only rarely used. They look brand new! Double oven (like one in pics), side-by-side fridge, cooktop and washer and dryer. All top-of-the-line Kenmore, I’m guessing late 60’s, early 70’s. Not sure the owner wants to part with them, but might with appropriate interest. Really, like NEW, I was amazed! I would love to see them used by someone who appreciates this type of stuff. If interested, I could get good pics!

  10. Steve says


    I posted a few months back the fact that I have the EXACT same floor as Jon & Trixi’s kitchen – “Embossed Inlaid Linoleum style 5351 tan & green brick effect” … but in horrible condition. In my wildest dreams, I hold out hope that I will someday find the same flooring in someone’s garage or in a warehouse somewhere … anywhere … (sniff, sniff) … if anyone has ever come across the Armstrong Embossed Inlaid Linoleum style 5351 tan & green brick effect I’m willing to pay handsomely for the chance to restore my floor. !!

    Thank you!!!

    Steve in Tulsa

    • Trixi says

      Jessica – we actually got the bathroom flooring from Menard’s, the kitchen flooring was ‘buried’ beneath a ‘flip this house quick’ remodel of greige vinyl flooring (circa 2004). It’s original to the house :-)

      (and Steve, I hope you find that flooring!)

  11. Mary Elizabeth says

    Jon and Trixi,

    Forgot to say when I commented on your lovely new-to-you avacado sink, if it is cast iron enamel, I found the perfect cleaner–Kohler’s cast iron sink cleaner. Look it up on line. I talked about it when the discussion on this site was cleaning old cast iron tubs. You don’t need to use it very often, just when there is some build-up on the sink from mineral deposits and/or household use.

    Mary Elizabeth

  12. John K says

    I love the avocado sink, refrigerator and Bell System rotary wall telephone. Question: was the avocado Bell System rotary wall phone already hooked up from the previous owner or did you have it installed? I am a long time Bell System collector and the only thing I cannot figure out is if you a backplate to install a rotary wall phone how does the backplate get installed and where are the wires running? The connection wires must be hidden in the wall? I cannot figure out how to hook mine up.

  13. Gerry Boucher says

    I have that same green floor in my bathroom. Installed in 1984. Wears like rhinocerous hide. I bought a roll of the yellow to install in a tennent bathroom. It was brittle and cracked, so beware.

  14. says
    This house if for sale! Help find a buyer for Jon and Trixi’s super-cool Mid-Century Modern retro rehab who will appreciate it. This 4BR, 2BA, 2car home is features a retro renovation from top to bottom, including vintage (50’s and 60’s) wallpaper and fixtures throughout the home to satisfy all your Mad Men cravings. Located in a great area of Robbinsdale, close to the parkway and restaurants. Come check it out! OPEN HOUSE this SUNDAY from 12PM-2PM and/or contact me if you’d like to set up a showing: 612-788-1284 ‪#‎retrorenovation‬

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