Glamorlux Nancy in Fairfax, Virginia, is updating her 50s kitchen and has her inspiration photo all ready to go. The kitchen is already quite nice looking – the overall feel of the space is terrific, and the cabinets are well-made. Nancy’s chosen her countertop and has her hardware… but she still is pondering what color… or colors… to paint her original 50s cabinets…and the accent – or not – for her new Azrock Cortina floor tiles.
I’ve seen on your site where you and your readers provide ideas for “remodeling” vintage kitchens and baths… Well, here is our kitchen, pre-restoration.
As far as I can tell, a lot is original – cabinets, GE Textolite countertops (golden beige twilight), and plastic “copper” tile backsplash. However, it is very late 50’s, and we prefer a “prettier” early 50’s look. I want our new color scheme to include: aqua (turquoise), pale yellow, red and white.
The original Textolite counters are sort of beat up and lack the metal banding, so we are planning on replacing them. We’ve already purchased the aqua boomerang Formica laminate and stainless steel banding to make the new countertops. Since the copper tiles are only over the range, we are planning on removing them, and then making a taller backsplash on the countertops.
The flooring is obviously not original. I ordered some samples off of the Azrock website, and they came within a few days! My favorite is called Cirrus V-785… (and I want to use this) for the majority of the floor, with a diagonal or random pattern of Azrock’s “Spearmint”, “Honey” and “Coral Reef”…. But, my husband said that might be too much with the boomerang countertops. Our kitchen will have a Mexican theme, so we’re going for a festive look. …
As I mentioned in another email, we’ve been going back and forth on whether to paint our 1959 wood cabinets. I’m really not into the wood look, although I know it was very desirable in the 50’s. Do you think we’d regret painting them? They are worn and slightly water-damaged in areas, so if I kept the natural wood, I’d have to refinish them anyway (which I don’t particularly relish doing). We are now thinking about painting the cabinet “structure” white, but then having the doors and drawer fronts yellow and/or coral. I’ve seen this done in vintage magazines… Do you like that look? The original Amerock cabinet hardware is gold, so I found the same style in chrome on eBay. Oh well, one thing I’ve learned from pouring over vintage “Better Homes and Gardens” magazines is that really “anything goes” when it comes to decorating a 50’s kitchen!
And, thanks for the compliment about the kitchen. It is definitely not a “chef’s kitchen” and the counter space is practically nil. We’ll be adding some shelving on the wall where the Cosco cart and microwave are now. Ha, ha – I wonder how many potential buyers took one look at the kitchen (and the pink bathroom) and decided the house wasn’t for them! I’m including some “inspiration” pictures I’ve collected, to give you an idea of what feel we’re going for. Any ideas are welcome!
Thanks so much,
First of all, Nancy, I am so impressed with all your hard, focused work. You are someone who Gets Things Done. You go, girl! My thoughts on your questions:
- Remember how Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that when you have a bad headache, you want to take just enough aspirin to kill you – but then back off a tad so that you don’t? That’s the way I tend to feel about decoration and color…. Lay it on, but then edit it back some and you will be happier. In that vein (if that makes sense): I vote with your husband. That Cirrus floor will look beautiful and has enough going on in its own right that you don’t need to add diagonals or other color punches. I also believe your eye needs somewhere to rest as it dances happily around your happy kitchen.
- Regarding the cabinets: Go ahead and paint ’em and never look back! Another idea: Base cabinets one (darker) color, wall cabinets another (lighter) color.
- And Retro Renovation Peanut Gallery: Be sure to chime in with your ideas, too!
All that said — Nancy, you seem to have great instincts and have really thought a lot about this. So don’t get too stressed out and ultimately – trust your own heart. We can’t wait to see the finished job – thanks for sharing!