Meghan and Will’s midcentury modern ‘Jetsons’ kitchen remodel

50s-modern-kitchen-remodelTake a look back at all of the reader home remodeling stories we’ve covered and you’ll notice one common theme often surfaces: Unless the renovation is DIY, most homeowners need to convince their contractors they aren’t nuts for wanting to build 1950s pink bathroom or a ’60s kitchen. However, in the case of Meghan and her husband Will’s 1954 Florida ranch home kitchen remodel, the surprising opposite is true. The couple were all set to remodel their kitchen using relatively contemporary finishes until Jason, their wood worker, decided he just couldn’t build a modern kitchen around the showpiece of the space — the couple’s professionally restored 1950s vintage Universal stove.


Meghan’s kitchen before

restored-vintage-stoveAll the lovely “after” photos are by  Philip Marcel Photography, used with permission :)

mid-century-retro-kitchenJason’s ultimatum was great news to Meghan, who had tried to convince her husband to go retro from the very beginning. How to get Will on board? Once again it was Jason who suggested that Meghan tell Will the kitchen would be more Jetsons and James Bond than retro kitsch. His idea worked — once Will envisioned a cool, space age kitchen where cocktails would be shaken — not stirred — he warmed to the idea of creating a retro modern kitchen.

boomerang-laminate-countertopsThe result is a kitchen that is modern with a retro twist. A light and airy white, pastel blue and grey color scheme makes the space feel larger, more open and clean while also allowing the refurbished vintage stove to take center stage. Many 50s inspired details such as the Marmoleum flooring, boomerang laminate countertops with aluminum edging, boomerang chrome cabinet pulls and mid century styled pendant lights help support the vintage vibe of the space while details like the glass subway tile backsplash and custom zig zag valance edged in aluminum add a modern touch. As an added bonus, making a few changes to the kitchen’s layout also allowed Meghan and Will do nearly double their kitchen cabinet storage space.

zig-zag-kitchen-soffitmid-century-pendant-lightsThe wood cabinets were custom made and painted a light blue to mimic the style of vintage steel cabinets, but just behind their retro facade, modern amenities like under cabinet lighting, plenty of storage space for large pots and pans, hidden garbage and recycling bins, lazy susans and quiet close drawer and door mechanisms ensure that Meghan and Will’s 1950s kitchen has all the conveniences of a 2014 kitchen.

boomerang-laminate-countertops-retroThe couple also decided to use new technology to install an undermount sink in their laminate countertops — making it easy for them to wipe crumbs and spills into the sink.

retro-kitchen-cabinetsMeghan hopes to replace their side by side stainless refrigerator with a new retro style GE Artistry refrigerator in the near future, but other than that the couple could not be more pleased with their retro modern Jetsons kitchen remodel.

Read more

Meghan — a self described “recovering journalist” has written extensively about her retro modern kitchen remodel over on her blog Metaphors Mixed.

Resources to create this colorful retro modern kitchen remodel

It is fantastic to hear about carpenters like Jason, who believe in restoring homes with period appropriate details. Even better though is that Meghan and Will ultimately decided to go with this colorful — yet sublime — retro flow.

Mega thanks to Meghan for sharing her kitchen remodeling story with us — again, to read her full account, head on over to her personal blog, Metaphors Mixed. Another huge thanks goes out to Philip Marcel Photography for granting permission to feature all of the “after” photos of Meghan’s kitchen here on Retro Renovation.

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.



  1. MikeD says

    Very cool! Great attention to detail.

    Really like how you carried the backsplash above the window and that aluminum trim is perfect

    Nice work

  2. Nancy says

    What a great job! So glad they listened to their very smart carpenter and changed gears – this is a much more fun kitchen and a fab layout!

    I love my laminate counters, but dearly want an undermount sink – so have been excited to read about this new technology lately. I checked their blog, and didn’t see any details about how they went about getting theirs done. If they check back in here, I’d love to know more about how they went about getting this fabricated.

    Pam – you are on the Wilsonart Pin Board as the cover for the “Blogs we Love” board!

    • says

      Thank you for your comments everyone! This job was certainly a collaboration. Meghan and Will had a lot of respect and enthusiasm for my ideas and the retro esthetic. For those who are about to undertake a renovation please do yourself a favor and find the artisans in your area, whether they be builders, tile setters, or cabinet makers. Their excitement for their craft will show through their work and into your living space.
      -jason straw

  3. lynda davis says

    I love this kitchen. I think Jason can certainly call himself a designer/carpenter. That is a rare combination. Such a fresh happy look that does look perfect with the stove. The GE Fridge will finish off the look. I am sure the owners are so happy how their hard work really turned out to be something special.

  4. Jeanne says

    Love it!! Kudos to Jason! When we put a dormer addition on our house in 2002 (two bedrooms/one bathroom), I asked our contractor about tiling the bathroom walls (instead of just drywall) and he said “people don’t do that anymore.” Phffft!!

  5. Andi says

    Love this kitchen! Just read Meghan’s stories on her blog about the fabulous stove’s journey to perfection, as well as the rest of the remodel. Wonderful! I think the kitchen manages to be modern, hip, retro and timeless in its setting, all at once. All of the finish choices are perfect, and Jason is brilliant!

  6. Robin, NV says

    Finding the right contractor is SO important. I’m impressed that Jason took a stand for vintage/classic/retro and that the owners listened (are we in opposite world today??). 😀

    LOVE that tile backsplash. Love the stove, the counters, the cabinets, those awesome pendants – gah!! What a beauty.

  7. Janice says

    Wow! I can only echo the other comments about the fabulous attention to detail in this kitchen. The tile valance is killer and having done my share of tiling projects, that would have been one heckuva challenge! That was the first thing that caught my eye; the second was the stove. What a stunner! Perfect kitchen and how lucky they were to find a carpenter with an eye for what’s appropriate for their house. Well done!

  8. wendy says

    i have that laminate in my bathroom! also, i’m intriqued by the undermounting with laminate… that is something i will definitely research for my kitchen remodel.

  9. tammyCA says

    Very cool…crisp & clean. Love that unique zigzag valance that echoes the cabinet pulls and tile design. Those pretty pendant lights are nifty, too. Good for the contractor! There needs to be more like him.

  10. says

    Love love love this kitchen remodel. The colors are beautiful and really open up the space. That stove is gorgeous and definitely worth being the focal feature in the room.

  11. says

    Thanks for the retro love, everyone! We were so inspired by Pam and Kate and their fabulous website, and are thrilled to be featured here.

  12. Catherine says

    I love it! The whole effect is so harmonious–there are so many great details, but none of them is allowed to take over.

  13. Melissa L. says

    I love this remodel. It is clean and fresh but still feels retro. I think it is one of the most unique kitchens I’ve seen, as it doesn’t just recreate a vintage kitchen, but manages to meld modern and retro in a new way. I love the colors too. Well done!

  14. Mary Elizabeth says

    I am totally with Melissa on this. It is a unique kitchen with a retro feel rather than a reproduction ’50s kitchen.

    Congratulations to Jason for his vision and to his clients for listening to him.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      And I forgot to say, the light fixtures are dynamic and the stove a real beauty. Worth the hassle and the wait!

  15. Amy in Sacramento says

    That is SO encouraging to hear that a contractor is recognizing (and pushing) the value of keeping the retro style, rather than ripping out all of the character of a home and putting in granite. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE granite (in the right application) but this contractor recognized the right situation for a retro redo and spoke up. Kudos to him!!! I hope the word gets around that he is the go-to guy for retro redo’s in that area.

    • pam kueber says

      It’s a newish thing… google it, I am pretty sure Wilsonart has lots of information out about it…

  16. Pat says

    I totally relate to her stove story! We have a Detroit Jewel that no longer would go above 350 degrees. My husband tried several things, thermostat, coupler, nothing worked. So he called a friend that used to work for the gas company and he told us to check for blockage in the gas line. Well, that wasn’t the problem, but in checking that he found a place that adjusts the flame, there is a low flame adjustment and a high flame adjustment and the high flame was turned way down. I can now bake perfect pizza once again at 450 degrees. I am so glad we didn’t give up. I just cringe at the thought of buying a new stove, they are just so plain and my sister (who has a new one) says the burners just don’t cook the same as the old ones.

  17. Peggy says

    Not only is this a nifty Jetsonian kitchen; it works! I’ve seen, firsthand, that numerous people can congregate, cook and clean up in the space – very kitcheny! I love it!

  18. Scott says

    Kudos for the oodles of creativity used here! The lead in photo looks like a brochure shot where the appliances were highlighted and everything else was subtly grayed out so you knew what you were supposed to notice first. Love the restored stove, love the zig-zag detailing, and love the Astron light fixtures.

  19. Crystal says

    How do you keep that white stove so spotless. We’ve considered having our vintage stove overhauled but I’m worried that after spending 3,000 we won’t be able to keep it looking good.

    • says

      Ha, thanks Crystal! We haven’t had too much of a chance to mess up the stove yet …but after going through the restoration we are really motivated to stay on top of spills as soon as they happen. For general cleaning we use window cleaner. When we moved the stove before restoration the grossest part was all the stuff that had fallen between the side and cabinet over 50 years. With that in mind, we have it on furniture sliders for easy access and will periodically clean out that area. At least that’s the plan :)

  20. Debbie says

    What a fun kitchen! I absolutely adore that stove, and who wouldn’t love all that counter space and so much storage. All they need now is their very own Rosie the Robot Maid!

  21. Ellen says

    How creative! I wonder how many tile layers would have the patience to plan that design on the walls?
    We have a 1949 stucco house in FL and I was voted down in going retro. Had to give up my double drainboard ,double sink and was just about forced to go with granite. I mean, it’s a great kitchen and I was able to do some creative stuff but I just couldn’t find the people to support my retro vision.
    Good work!

  22. Joe Felice says

    Very nice! I’m glad Jason was able to get the homeowners to see the light, or lights, in this case. They are the Astrons from Rejuvenation, and I have one in my kitchen. I also have the same integral sink from Wilsonart. I liked it so well, I had the bathroom model installed when I replaced the counter in my bathroom. This kitchen will be complete when the stainless refer goes away.

  23. kristine says

    I have always read, stoves and refrigerators shouldn’t go next to one another because a hot stove effects the fridge temp, or at the very least, make you energy bills higher. The kitchen is very nice.
    Im looking for ideas to redo my small square 1964 kitchen.. not even enough room for a dinette. However much I’d love a wall tear-down, my budget wont allow. My cabinetry is a nightmare with modern appliances. I have to open the dishwasher to get into the utensil drawer, and drawer pulls had to be removed to open the oven. And the whole house was decorated 1980’s.. BAD 1980’s. And… gasp…most of the the original light fixtures are gone. My kitchen ceiling has what I call….BOOB lights. 2 of them…eh ghads!!! I have lived here for 16 years and always planned to redo, (kids,time and money got in the way) now I’ll be an empty nester this year with 3 kids in college and finally, I DESERVE a pretty home. Don’t you agree?? 😉 Kristine, Griffin, Ga

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *