From Karmi’s kitchen

A break today from our Lexington-Louisville series for a regular-reader feature: Karmi gets the award as the reader most likely to make me LOL daily – because she’s a bona fide crazed retro renovator AND she calls me her Mid Mod Queen.

My loyal servant is hard at work (understatement) on her kitchen. She’s sent lots of photos – with tile, flooring, countertops and more – along with questions about her plan.

My initial reaction: Karmi, What is not to love?! But, I do have a few thoughts to add to your agony over final decisions…

And here’s what Karmi writes:
Hello Dearest Mid Mod Queen,
I think I am ready to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone… oops… I mean Retro Renovation! (even better!)
As you know, we gutted our kitchen the weekend of July 4th, while most “normals” were out enjoying themselves. Since hubby and I both work fulltime, we have been progressing slowly on our kitchen creation. Now that the drywall is going up and goodies are collected, I really would appreciate some input from you and your followers. I’m including pictures and scans so you can see what I already have as well as choices I am considering.
We put some of the upper cabinets in place just for Thanksgiving. I still have to sand, final coat, sand again, then reattach the doors. I also have corner cubbies that will come almost right up to the sides of the window, and they will also be pink.
I have been planning to paint my base cabinets aqua (SW Holiday Turquoise), while leaving my appliances white. Now, I am considering alternating the pink and aqua just to carry the pink through all the way to the floor (my dishwasher really does need to be painted).
For the floor, I am looking at Azrock VCT tiles in Cirrus, Spearmint, and Midnight (no good pinks available!). I want a black border all the way around, beginning at each wall and extending inward just a few inches beyond the edge of my cabinets/appliances. Then, a small strip of the Spearmint (aqua) for a “strip” then the middle will be the Cirrus, which is a nice white with streaks of aqua and just pale, soft hints of pink.
My counters…argh…this is tough… I was think something between charcoal grey and black, but it’s tough to find something that looks authentic. I really don’t want to go boomerang. I think it may be too atomic or too forced for my kitchen. I scanned a couple of samples that I picked up at Home Depot. They are all Wilsonart Laminate and are (left to right): Mesa Midnight, Canyon Black, Ebony Star, and Galactic Black.
As for what I have to work with already, well you’ll remember that remarkable pink tile that was probably for a bathroom, but I plan to use it for backsplash or perhaps just to cover my west wall with it (the wall with the main window above super sink). I also have authentic vintage wallpaper for my soffit, marble windowsills (yes, made them myself, thank you), hand-painted fabric for pinch pleats, great pink fabric to reupholster my chairs, and that awesome retractable light (thanks for not outbidding me!). I guess I should point out that there is a dining room that mirrors the kitchen.
Basically, I have a 9’4″ x 23′ strip in which to play. But for now, I’d like input on the kitchen part…it’s my main focus.
Since I will be painting soon, that is really where I would like suggestions. Once I taped up the wallpaper on the soffit, my hubby mused, “Well now I think the ceiling should be pink” (don’t you love him?!!). I *have* seen many of the ads that feature a ceiling painted the same as the walls, but I didn’t know if anyone really did that. I also see walls painted the same as the cabinets. So if my walls are pink, do I use the same high gloss I used for the cabinets? Surely I wouldn’t use that same thing on a ceiling?! (My drywalling is just NOT that good!). I originally thought that the ceiling AND the bottom of the soffet would be white, the walls would be pink just like the uppers, and the front of the soffet is wallpapered (a must). It worries me a bit that there is not a lot of aqua in the upper area and not a lot of pink in the lower areas. Please say everything will turn out okay when I add all my pink and aqua decorative trinkets!
I’m also thinking I might have to go with different fabric for the curtains. I have been hoarding that stuff for a decade, and now I notice that the background is off-white. Hmm…maybe I’ll wash it and then decide. 🙂 It might be white after all!
Of course I’d like to know about counters and floors too, but as you can tell by the pace here, I have a while before I need to decide for sure on those. It’s exciting to see this all come together. what a wonderful feeling to think that my dream kitchen is coming true. Again… so grateful for your blog and wisdom. I found you just in time!
Your loyal servant

Hey, Karmi. What fun to read all your well-thought-out ideas. I love it all – the cabinets, the wallpaper (for sure!), the floor plans, the upholstery fabric, the pulldown light (of course!), even the pinch pleat valance will likely look fine.

I have one serious suggested change for consideration, though: I am not too thrilled about the black countertop. I think it will “cut” your pretty pastel kitchen in half, horizontally, in a jarring way. How about a nice porcelain white instead. Like this Wilsonart laminate, Frosty White – I think a goal could be to pick up on the white mosaic tile in your backsplash as well as the floor tile:

I think that the whitish countertop will also play up on the lovely “lightness” that seems like it will define your kitchen. Kind of like this two-toner (sorry for the numbers, it came from a Flashback and I can’t find the unadulterated version):

Regarding your other questions:

  • You are fine, I think, to do pink cabinets above, and aqua below – this will be better than sprinkling pink with aqua cabinets below. Paint your dishwasher aqua to match the line of base cabinets – like I did in my kitchen. For some reason – experience and taste, I guess – I like the straight color line with the key breaks of appliance white being the stove, the fridge and the sink.
  • Just paint the ceiling, the walls and the bottom of the soffit white (also a porcelain white. I really do not like white-white for walls.) This will help provide restful spot for your eyes to rest while dancing around the other pretty parts of the kitchen.
  • And yes, dear one, once your trinkets are in — it will look fabulous!

  1. NorthsideCJ says:

    Karmi I love the direction you are going with your kitchen!
    The dark colored/black countertop would look fine, as well as period if done correctly in my opinon. If you start scrutinizing the vintage adverts in flickr you’ll see what I am talking about. I went with a black counter over my white cabinets and I think it turned out well.
    I agree the gold-flecked would be amazing if you can find it! It was what I sadly had to rip out of my kitchen, but was beyond saving (the house was a former rental and the tenants apparently never heard of the concept of a cutting board.)

  2. Karmi Woolfe says:

    Thanks Pam!!! The Bianco Marble is still up on their site, so I suppose it is still available. I also like MW550 “White Fiesta”. It has speckles and reminds me of those gold glitter speckles of days gone by. You’re a rare gem!

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