Amazing transformation: Suzann’s bungalow kitchen remodel using Ikea kitchen cabinets

1940s bungalow kitchen before:

1940s kitchen before remodel1940s bungalow kitchen after:

kitchen with subway tiles
Wow, Suzann’s 1940s bungalow style kitchen remodel is — fantastic. So bright and cheery, I know this transformation is going to excite a lot of readers. And, after five years of doing no stories at all about Ikea kitchen cabinets, here’s a second one in a row — using different cabinets than the Akurums that Jerry used. Read on for Suzann’s story and the list of resources she used to design and construct this happy space.
bungalow kitchenSuzann writes:
This is a kitchen in our detached 540 sq ft in-law suite, where my mother is moving in. We’ve revamped the whole place. We wanted to make a cutesy, cheery kitchen that would align with the era of the home- 40’s bungalow style.

apple green and gray vct floor tile

silestone countertopThe cabinets are Ikea. The floor is Armstrong VCT, special order from Home Depot (same price as the ones on the shelf, but takes 2 weeks) to match our apple green Caesarstone countertop (ordered at Ikea, subbed out to a local installer). I made all the curtains from gauzy linen with lace trim to soften up all the subway tile (American Olean 2×4″ in “biscuit”).
We drove 4 hours to pick up that GE fridge in the next state. It is late 30’s-early 40’s.
vintage refrigeratorThe previous single owner bought it during WW2 with cash rations and used it all her life. She kept in tip top condition for 80 years.
enamel deskNext to that is a little vintage metal enamel table that we found on the roadside while out walking one evening, same story on the Eames chair. Together, they make a little desk area. Any other questions, just let me know! Thanks again!
Suzann, this remodel is so sweet — thank you! Your mother surely will love it, but stop calling her surely. haha. Little joke there. Things I luv in particular:
  • 54o s.f. Yowza. I am telling you, there are many days now, that all I want to have to clean, heat and pay taxes on for is: 540 s.f.
  • Bisquit-colored subway tile. I think this is a great way to do it… Back in the day, the whites were not so white. I adore the aged look of the bisquit.
  • The door style you chose for a bungalow kitchen is the “right” one.
  • Love the basketweave floor. Lofe the apple green. Love the fridge.
  • But most of all, love the dumpster diving enamel table, and that you gave it a happy new home. :)

Resource list for Suzann’s bungalow kitchen remodel:

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  1. Kathy says

    Suzann-you rock! this kitchen rocks! A question: how did you finish the VCT…floor wax or commercial acrylic finish? I just installed Mannington Colorpoint VCT and can’t decide. Thanks for any advice…

    • says

      I use that tile all the time for my offices. We have the floors professionally waxed about once a year. I like a mat finish too but the wax really makes the colors pop and its easier to keep clean.

  2. susan says

    Why, thank you! I didn’t put a finish on it. I followed the manufacturer directions on the box and didn’t see anything about a finish. Maybe I need to look again!

  3. Gail says

    I’m so glad I have “permission” to use IKEA in my retro kitchen renovation plans. My original thought was strictly IKEA but since finding retrorenovation now believe a combination is possible!

  4. suzann says

    Hi Amanda, Yes, a pic of yours was one of the many in my inspiration file, even though I already knew which pattern I wanted! Yours was one of the few that I ran across when looking for examples of the basketweave. I always like to see how others use color and I thought you did a great job with it. There is a nod to the 20’s with the crisp black/white contrast, but still has a contemporary look in the accent color, repeated in the wall. I wanted a bright and soft color combo, and I really like the directional texture in the tiles, whereas you used solid. It is lovely. Kudos!

    • says

      Thanks, Suzann I really like the colors you used. That yellowish green is my favorite color right now. My tiles have a little texture to them, but you’re right, yours have a lot more. Awesome redo!!

  5. says

    Hello, I have a fridge just like the one in your remodel. We are trying to figure out a value on it. Do you have any idea what your client paid for it? Our is is great shape with all the parts but was painted. Thank you. Alice

    • suzann says

      My client? ha, that’s me! :-) I think we paid about $375, but would have paid more. I thought we got a STEAL. First, this one is all original and in very good to excellent condition. Second, shopping around on Craigslist, I would find nice ones going for $100, but have had to pass them up because they weren’t the right size, or they were just too far away. (We drove 4 hours each way, but no way will I make an overnight trip out of it.) If yours has been painted, that is a turn-off to a buyer, unless it has been done professionally, in which case, it’s a turn on!

      In my shopping experience, asking $100-200 for a fixer upper (needs to be repainted professionally, needs a new door seal, etc) or up to $500 for one in very good condition (looks great inside and out, original paint, but it’s not fully restored- like mine), or $1000-2000 for professionally restored, right off the showroom floor.

  6. Suzanne says

    What a stunning transformation, with such a nightmare to begin with! Love your fridge, & your flooring pattern. I did my 1941 kitchen in red, white & black in a diagonal pattern. (See it under “flooring”). Congrats from one Suzz to another on a job well done!

  7. Selena says

    I ADORE this! I may have just talked my hubby into it when we get back on our feet and continue with the remodeling. :)

    • says

      Hi there! Thanks for your comment. The sink went to the guy who did the windows. He is using it as a utility sink. It is concrete, not soapstone. We would have used it elsewhere if he didn’t give us credit toward our bill.

  8. says


    I would love to know the exact specifications on the Ikea cabinets. Especially the wall mounted units with the glass doors. How incredible! I want these exact cabinets but do not live near an Ikea so I must order them. Please let me know when you have the time. I love this kitchen!!

  9. Shannon says

    Oh my gosh, this is fantastic! I LOVE the countertops and agree with Pam- great find and save on the table :) I was wondering what you did with the tank that was in the “before” pic. I am guessing it was the water tank?

  10. John Fachy says

    Smashing! You’ve got a great eye combined with creative flair and no doubt focus and determination! I love your space from top to bottom, every detail, but especially appreciate your curtains, fantastic refrigerator score (tip top shape by one owner for eighty years, LOVE that!) and flooring! ENJOY and thanks for sharing retro fashionista!

  11. says

    Wonderful balanced using the accent color on the counter and in the floor design. I’ve done the basket weave pattern in one of my offices using Mannington Solid Point tile. It has the look of a linoleum after its installed.

  12. Jillian says

    Swoon! I would love to live here! This is the most adorable kitchen I have seen. I’d love to see what else you have done with the other rooms in this space.

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