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. puddletown says:

    Pam, Does Bradbury and Bradbury make matching patterned fabric for those cute wallpapers? That could be made up into darling cafe curtains and a valance. Or get a solid matching accent color (red?) and add green and white rick rack on the curtains (and valance if you choose to add one) bottom. A simple punch of color.

  2. Jason says:

    Cute, cute kitchen! Love the color, the floor, the cabinets, the faucet! I think one of those wallpapers would look great.

  3. Kathy says:

    I love your stove!! I love the porthole oven window!! Did it come with the house or did you find it somewhere?

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks Everyone!

    Kathy – I found the stove, a 1953 Western Holly, on Craigslist. I believe that it was original to the seller’s home, but they were remodeling and including all new applicances. I was very lucky to have found it! I love it too – Thanks!!

  5. tiel roman says:


    Your kitchen looks great!
    I do like the wallpaper idea.
    Where did you find the light fixture?
    Or did it come with the house?


  6. 50sPam says:

    Puddletown – In response to your question about Bradbury & Bradbury, they do not make fabric. I agree very much with your idea to consider using color around the window for “punch.” I think Amy was already thinking that way — I might have confused her with my expression of love for her current curtains. I also have a thing for translucency/sheers, I have to admit. But I do very fundamentally agree – window treatments (1) are a very low-risk way to introduce color and (2) can really help pull all the colors of the room together. I think that they are super super important. Like lipstick.

  7. 50sPam says:

    Tiel, my countertops were made up by a local company. I do believe that the edges are unfinished and then they just snapped on the edging. But talk to New York Metals – I bet you could order the countertop WITH the laminate in place and still pop all on….

  8. Amy says:

    Hi Tiel,
    I found the light fixture on ebay – sadly, it arrived somewhat damaged, but when we started cleaning it up, we found that we could scrub the coppery scratched up finish right off of it to a super lovely brushed aluminum. My boyfriend fixed the dents and we had a very nice fixture.

    We ordered the formica in a roll from the local Home Depot – they get it from Formica directly (Boomerang in Skylark). We used plywood instead of particle board for the countertop. We do have unfinished edges, and the ss edging will snap on. Like Pam mentioned, you probably could have laminate in place and still have the ss edging as long as the edge did not exceed a certain size – 1 1/2″ I believe.

    I love the wallpaper idea! I was startled to see that those rolls were at least $95 a piece. Is that the usual going rate for paper these days?


  9. tiel roman says:

    Hi Amy,

    Did you order your countertop with unfinished edges….so that you could add the stainless steel trim later?


  10. 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.

  11. 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?

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