6 ideas from Karen’s retro kitchen remodel — including pink terrazzo countertops!

karens-retro-kitchen-remodelThere are at least six different things I like about Karen’s kitchen Retro Renovation. #1: …

retro kitchen remodelLife is a big canvas — throw on a lot of paint! Karen had a big (kitchen) canvas to play with, so she very happily married four pastel colors — aquamarine, pistachio, pink and yellow. 

retro kitchen looking toward dining area

The floors are more neutral — hardwood and black-and-white floor tile. The big mash up works beautifully — what a happy space! Karen explains:

This was our first house. We lived there 15 years.  We have since moved from this house, although we still own it.  It was a 1300 sq ft. ranch built in 1961.  Small house, but fantastic open kitchen.  Every other house we saw in that price range had galley kitchens. 

clock from vintage stove installed in new kitchen#2 — FABULOUS idea: The craftsman who made Karen’s wood kitchen cabinets recommended removing the clock panel from a built-in oven that had been original to the kitchen — and making it a built-in work of art. Karen said they never got the clock to work. But I am sure that’s do-able and when complete, would make the piece functional as well. Obviously, if you can re-sell vintage ovens to another person who can use them, that’s a great thing to do for both the environment and for Retro Renovation colleagues in arms. But if you can’t save ’em, “this is a great way to preserve a part of them,” Karen points out.

pink terrazzo kitchen countertops#3 — The countertops are pink terrazzo. Wow!  Karen lives in Florida — terrazzo-land, if there ever was one. The counters look to have aluminum edging like the kind available from RetroTrims.com. She says:

 …Our guy had never worked with terrazzo before but they came out great.  We picked the color and even the aggregate that was mixed in.

 pink terrazzo kitchen countertop detailHere is a close-up. Tee hee, a photo that Karen kept of a cute note written by her daughter. 
 mint green kitchen cabinets#4 — The fluted or reeded glass (I never know which is which, I think they are very similar) is great and serves the purpose to adds visual interest and light to a kitchen that has A LOT of cabinetry. (In fact, my kitchen could use some glass-front doors to break of the never-ending facade of aquamarine, scrumptious as it may be. Time to start looking methinks. Geneva did make glass front doors.)

Another design point about Karen’s long green wall of cabinets: It’s all long drawers on the bottom, which creates a long low horizonal buffet feel. And, the unit transitions from the cooking area of the kitchen into the eating area of the kitchen, with a sit-down desk at the end. This kitchen was designed very very well.

ideas from karens kitchen remodel

#5 – Karen had these cabinets custom-made. As a result, it was easy to add fabulous touches like modern metal legs or feet. The legs further “lighten up” the space — but mind you, the trade off is knowing there are, and always will be, dust bunnies lurking below. And #6, Karen points out that her backsplashes were made of marker board — endless fun for the kids. What a great idea!

In fact, it sounds like Karen is a creative dynamo. I asked her about her new house. She responded:

painting of a vintage neon signPam,

Thanks! We are now in a custom brick  ranch that was built in the ’80s.  It’s 3,000 sq. feet of “blank canvas”.  It’s in great shape, and we got if for @ $67 a sq. ft.  All the paint is fresh but completely “oatmeal”.  I’m trying to figure our my color schemes now.  I definitely want to stay in the mid mod way of living. 

Also, we have a nice screened-in pool and lanai.  My dream would be to find a way to make the pool area  mid century roadside pool “MOTELesque” out there.

I plan on making one of our guest rooms look like a motel room complete with chenille bedspread and a magic fingers coinbox decorative piece.

oil painting of a vintage neon signI also love to make paintings of the old neon signs.  I’ve attached a couple for you to see.

I will be visiting your site and blog a lot for inspiration for this new house!

Thanks again!


Thank you, Karen. You got it goin’ on, girl!

  1. daniel says:

    about the pool— i’m not exactly sure what it’s called, but it’s when you lay bricks in a certain way where it creates a pattern of holes in the wall— i know that sounds stupid but if you saw it you would know what i was talking about.

    in fact i think it would be really cool if you uploaded a couple of pictures and we could shoot off some ideas, maybe draw some stuff on them to give you suggestions.

    i love the fluted glass by the way, it’s great.

  2. Oh my goodness, I just love that kitchen SO much. The photo above #4 leaves me shrieking with glee! I love Karen’s design sense – so very inspirational. And that guest room idea – perfection.

  3. BungalowBILL says:

    Great kitchen. I love terrazzo, it’s a shame it’s a lost art in so many places. Wonder how hard it is to learn? You did a wonderful job at designing and decorating, Karen.

    Super paintings too. Almost makes me want to change my name to Sheppy!

  4. Melanie says:

    Wow! Love that kitchen. The terrazzo counter tops are great. At first glance I thought perhaps they were old linoleum. I also really like the way the old oven clock was incorporated.

    The other day when we were cleaning my daughter’s basement I found an old International Harvestor frig handle and I was trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my kitchen. She thought I was nuts. I’ll have to show her this clock. 🙂

  5. Jeanne says:

    I love how colorful, yet not over-powering the kitchen is. My brother lives in Florida and they bought a remodeled 50s ranch that still had all it’s terrazzo floors. That was my first up close contact with terrazzo and they are to die for!

    And I LOVE the idea for making the pool area into a mid-century Motel style! I have fond memories from my childhood staying at many of those type of motels on our annual drive to Florida for our summer vacation. My dad always took three days to drive (from Michigan to Florida), so we could have time to enjoy the motel pools every evening. Such a cool idea!

  6. karen says:

    This post will be an inspiration for my own kitchen, which currently features these very same colors but in a more hesitant, subdued manner. This gives me the push to go a little bolder and use MORE of these pastels. Love it!

  7. Peggy says:

    Oh, Karen, I too, am a Floridian with a 1957 concrete block/stucco/terazzo floor ranch. Am in the midst (since 1996) of gently renovating (LOL.) I WANT THOSE TERRAZZO COUNTERTOPS! How? Where? I am in Melbourne (east central FL.) Please let me know your source???? Thanks! Peggy

  8. kristen says:

    I love the stencils she has at the top around the room! And what a great idea to use dry-erase boards as a backsplash – We are thinking of “starting” a kitchen redo this summer and I may have to incorporate that idea somewhere!

  9. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    Retrolicious is right! Wow, wow, and wow. I’m in awe. And now I want to tear out my own retro kitchen and have this one instead.

    Karen, do you sell prints of your paintings on Etsy or anyplace? Me want!

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