San Diego Amy writes:
Hi Pam,
Our kitchen is a galley kitchen about 9×9 in a small Southern CA bungalow. We just moved into our first home in November of 2007 and have been doing our best to bring as much charm back to this beauty as we can. We’re living in our construction zone – as I’m sure most folks do.
I’ve wanted to change the window treatments since we moved in, but we’ve always had bigger fish to fry. We’ve replaced the sink and faucet. We replaced the hardware on the cabinets we intend to keep. The cabinet that had been under the sink was a cheap mdf replacement, so we just removed it with the intention of replacing it when we find or build something ourselves.
We tossed some of the floor tiles down to get the effect for the photos, but we haven’t gotten to the flooring yet. We actually just taped the edging to the counter as well.But, now that we’ve received the stainless steel edging and have an idea what it will look like, we’re excited to move forward with a backsplash. Should we go with a Subway tile like Kathy, or perhaps another idea?
I know that you’ve had fantastic ideas for other people and it would be great to read about any thoughts you or other readers might have for us. Thank you so much!!
Amy in SD
Readers, that’s “San Diego”, I think! Amy, first of all, congratulations on your new home — and it looks like you have fabulous taste and are doing a fine job without any help at all. Here are some thoughts:
  1. Of course — I love the edging from NewYorkMetal. com
  2. And the floor is awesome, too! Looks like this Congoleum that Portland Laura found and which we featured last month:
  3. Re backplash: I think that subway tiles would be just great in this kitchen with its bungalow styling. As I mentioned in an email, how about putting subway tiles 5/8 of the way up the wall (even with the height of the backsplash) wrapping around where your stove it, too? I think that would look really nice, be very functional in terms of inevitable mess around the stove, and also tie both sides of the kitchen together. Here’s a photo from, (you can also get subway tile from mass makers like Daltile.) I would stick with a 3×6 edge, though:
  4. Did you say you were going to change the curtains? Goodness, I love them. Like, really really love them. The way the sun filters through… How about just putting in really nice cafe rods. I like the ones featured at Rejuvenation lighting:
  5. Finally – and you know that I would say this – whether you add subway tile wrapping the stove, or not — how about a wallpaper that includes the blue from your and floor and at least one other accent color for fun — like the red of your cute potholder. Bradbury & Bradbury makes some fabulous reproduction 1940s paper. Many styles would look so great in your kitchen — of these 4, the three with blue in them would look great, I think:

I think of small homes — like yours, and mine — as little jewel boxes. Open the door — and oh, the sparkle inside. That’s why I like wallpaper…it’s sort of like the velvet lining of the jewel box.
Readers – weigh in! And many thanks, Amy aka Vespagirl — keep sending us photos as your project progresses!

  1. Amy says:

    Hello All ~ I thought that I’d let you know about a new cl find… If you liked my Western Holly, take a look at this one, double the size (and the price, but it is cl, so hey try negotiating)

    I have a late 1940’s Western Holly Stove that has been kept in GREAT condition!

    It has:
    4 Burners
    A Center Griddle w/Cover
    An Oven w/Porthole and Broiler underneath
    A Large Broiler with w/Porthole on the left side with a Sliding Drawer underneath

    Please only serious callers: 760-519-6500
    Thank you

  2. tiel roman says:

    Hi Amy,

    This weekend was the last push for painting the kitchen cabinets and walls. I have the same problem with having several projects open at once. I found myself planning when I could start ripping the flooring out of the first floor bathroom. I played it safe with a lot of white in the kitchen. I still have accent colors…yellow, black and red. When the time came, I couldn’t convince myself to paint the paneling grey, as I had originally planned to do. it’s white. I do look forward to making curtains to change the look of the room with the seasons. I have lots of bark cloth. And I plan on still using the previous owners curtain rods.
    Thanks for the counter top tips. Our home is old (1920’s) and our counter space measures unevenly too. How did you attach the laminate to the plywood? I’m assuming with glue…what kind of glue?

    Bye for now.

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Tiel,
    Yes, we did put the countertop in ourselves. It wasn’t too terribly difficult a job – even for first timers. If you have an older home, just remember that your walls are most likely not square. We have a bit of a gap on one side because the wall has somewhat of a bow to it. It’s not bad for a house built in 1937, but we weren’t expecting the gap.

    We’re definitely going to add a backsplash. I really like the picture with the tile that Pam posted that is a bathroom. We have a lot of work ahead of us with all the tile work, but I think it’ll look great once it’s completed. And, I think we’ll work on that part before the wallpaper – then, I’ll have plenty of time to choose one I love. That, and I need to finish a project before starting another – I’m bad with that.

    Have a great weekend!!

  4. Amy says:

    Pam! Thanks for including pics of reader homes! I believe that I will try to mimick Arian’s door color and feel much better about the blah brown of our bungalow. My boyfriend thinks that a house shouldn’t be painted unless it needs it – but, he just hates to paint (I’m not a huge fan of it either). I think this would be a good way to get to that happy medium.

    I wonder if Arian knows the actual brand and name of that color?

  5. tiel roman says:

    Hi Amy,

    Did you and your boyfriend put the countertop in yourselves?
    Looks like we are headed in that same direction with our countertops.

    We are definitely in the earlier stages of retro renovation as compared to your kitchen. I imagine our kitchen resemble yours by the time we are done. We have a lot of white. I’m still working on a final decision on the accent color. Perhaps a yellow wall….opposite the wall that has the counters and window….hmmm.
    We are going with white cabinets, a “Galactic Black” countertop, pale grey for the walls, white trim around the paneling and windows, and a green floor. Alot like the 1945 photo Pam posted some time ago.

    I ordered wallpaper samples from Bradbury and Bradbury. GeeGee and Googie. They just came in the mail today. They were gorgeous, but very different from the image on the website. I’m thinking I’ll stick with paint for now. Unless I see something I really love in wallpapering.

    I have not wallpapered in many years, so I do not know what the going rates are for one roll. Judging from the swatches I have here, Bradbury and Bradbury makes excellent quality wallpaper.

    Are you going to add a backsplash?

  6. 50sPam says:

    Hi Amy. Wallpaper prices can vary widely – depending on the quality. Bradbury & Bradbury is a cut above. Owner Stephen Bauer did a great interview for the blog when the papers were launched — read it here, it explains their process.

    Even so – if your budget can’t handle this right now and you still want to try wallpaper – find a local stores that has lots and lots of books and cozy up with them one rainy Saturday afternoon. It’s a lot of fun – ’til your head starts spinning. Also use the Search feature and search “Wallpaper” for other posts that talk about wallpaper.

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