Rebecca and Keith’s Mad Men kitchen remodel — and Mad Men ad designed for us!

retro_renovationWoah. This may be the bestest thing ever on the blog yet: Readers Rebecca and Keith not only did an amazing job remodeling their 1960s kitchen in appropriate mid century style — but this creative pair has marked the event by designing a back to the future advertisement — worthy of Mad Men — as if we all were back in ’61. Woah. Keith and Rebecca are co-owners of a design company, Woodhouse Creative, and they sure are! Of course — their new kitchen is just as delightful as the surprise ad — Rebecca sent lots of photos of their kitchen, which was transformed from a spare white room into a warm, inviting retro-tastic space.

1960s-modern-kitchen-remodelrebecca and keithWe’ve featured Rebecca and Keith several times before. Here’s the first story we did about their 1961 split level house.

That first story was in 2009 — demonstrating that, yes, it takes time to gear up a kitchen remodel. In fact, pretty much our number-rule in planning a kitchen remodel is to wait at least one full year so that you can get to know your space and your taste (unless, of course, there are environmental and/or safety issues that need to be dealt with stat.)

Rebecca writes:

Hi Pam,

Here are my kitchen photos, finally! This seems very long, but there are so many important details and stories. I can’t decide how to trim it anymore. At the end is a very fun surprise. Luckily for me, my husband is a graphic designer and totally into this kind of thing. Months ago, you said something about a couple knowing how to do it. They had dressed up to take their photo in their living room. It took me ages to do it, but I got my hair and make-up done for it. Now I can forever be alive, in my dreams, in the 60’s. 🙂

before-after-mid-century-modern-kitchen-remodelMy dream of a new retro-style kitchen has been realized. The contractors missed the deadline by seven months and I was literally three days away from having a baby, but still didn’t have a working kitchen!

before-after-mid-century-kitchenbefore-after-entry-hall-mid-centuryOur 1961 tri-level had an all-white kitchen with original cupboards that had been covered with white laminate. There was a wall with old pegboard that looked awful. They made some changes to sell the house which just left it void of character. The drawers left sawdust in my pans. It was also poorly-designed in that if someone was at the refrigerator you couldn’t walk around the counter to the rest of the kitchen.

But the worst part was the ceramic tile on top of concrete slab. It was so hard to stand on that it gave us leg and back aches. It was also really cold. We were expecting a baby in late July, and I had to have it redone. I knew if I didn’t do it before the baby, it could be years. So, I spent my very pregnant months making food in a three-season porch and doing dishes in a laundry room. And now that I have a child, we spend so much time sitting ON the kitchen floor playing, plus it seems like we spend all of our time in our kitchen. I am so happy we were able to swing it.

mid-century-modern-kitchenI wanted a Brady Bunch kitchen with orange counters, but my husband was very much against it. We both love 1960s Scandinavian design and we have a lot of Danish Modern furniture throughout the rest of the house, so this is perfect. And, I got my orange in on the wall and cushions!

mid-century-modern-kitchen-with-dishmasterI chose laminate counters for the look and the price. It’s Arborite Tatami. We really like the pattern and think the blue matches everything nicely. [Editor’s note: Yes, that is a Dishmaster kitchen faucet shown above. Yes, you can still get them. Click here to see all our stories about Dishmasters.]

mid-century-kitchen-remodelThe cabinets are Walnut and custom-built. I love the grain, it took my breath away the first time I saw it! And, I really liked using a local man, not a big company.

mid-century-modern-kitchen-with-walnut-cabinetsThe ovens, refrigerator, and hood are Whirlpool for Ikea. I like the simple design of them and the price was nice especially with a great sale. The refrigerator is the counter depth Nutid, thanks to Pam. I love the hood and it works very well, actually. It’s called the Lutftig Hoo, which sounds so funny to me. 😉 I really like having the stovetop apart from the oven like all the ads I spent hours studying on Retro Renovation and on Flickr. Besides the hood, I would not recommend the Ikea appliances unless you absolutely can’t afford better. They have redesigned the refrigerator since and maybe the water leaking issue on stainless steel isn’t a problem anymore. But it’s slowly killing me and I will have to replace it one day.

mid-century-kitchen-display-cabinetI asked our designer to put legs on the wall cabinet-piece after seeing a photo from a 1960’s kitchen where the cabinet was raised with metal legs.

mid-century-curtain-fabricMy Mom made us the curtains. It was a hard choice because we love a very clean look. But everyone had curtains in the 60’s and they are warm and useful. I found the fabric at the same store that I found the orange vinyl. I love the linen look. It looks period-appropriate to me.

cork-flooringWe love the new cork floor. I think it’s the best material for a kitchen floor for standing, and because things don’t break when dropped (or thrown.) It’s beautiful and warm, even in the middle of the night, in the winter with bare feet. And I think it looks really nice in the entryway, too.

vintage-light-from-RejuvenationFrom Rejuvenation, is the light I longed for. Thanks again to Pam, and this blog, I have what I think is the coolest light ever. Pam had a feature after visiting the Rejuvenation warehouse. Pam had a photo of a woman holding this light. I saw it and called them immediately and asked if I could have it! They had ten of them in their warehouse. After I saved up for it, they refurbished it and cut it to my specified length.

modern-knobs-from-RejuvenationThe pulls are the Peg Cabinet Knob from Rejuvenation.

modern-cooktop-in-mid-century-kitchenAfter having the Ikea stovetop for a while, we sold it and bought an induction cooktop. Cleaning those gas stovetops is just too much of a pain for us and it wasn’t holding up well either. The GE cooktop is amazing, incredibly efficient, modern-looking, and cleaning it is a breeze. We highly recommend it.

Saarinen-tulip-chair-redoneEero Saarinen is amazing to me because of his tulip table and chairs, and the St. Louis Arch. I am so happy to have those works of art in my kitchen every day. And sitting on them is a joy. To me, there was no other table I could have. I found four Knoll Saarinen tulip chairs from 1973 on craigslist. They were structurally in good shape, there were no cracks, but the finish on them had worn through. And of course they looked their age. The cushions were ripped and scratched and looked awful. I had the idea to take them to an autobody shop since they are fiberglass. The shop in town did an excellent job repainting them. (I can’t believe I forgot to take before photos!!) Apparently, I ruined their resale value having them painted, but I won’t be selling them anyway. I had the cushions reupholstered in an orange vinyl as close, as we could see, to the “carrot” that Knoll still makes them in. I didn’t have the time or will to find a used table, and it was too hard to find the right size. Therefore, I bought the table new from Design Within Reach.

Ann-Sacks-Tile-backsplashThe backsplash tile is from Ann Sacks. Keith and I saw it in Miami’s Design District, two years before we bought it, and took a photo just because we loved it. I didn’t think the day would actually come when I could USE it. I love that it’s designed by, and supports, an artist.

mid-century-kitchen-and-dining-roomI love my toaster. We vacillated about it for an entire year, I think. I just couldn’t stand how awful a lot of new toasters look. They just didn’t match. And, I didn’t want to buy anything made in China. My husband finally gave me the go-ahead to get one from Toaster Central after he read many bad reviews of new toasters. So, it’s American made, 1974, and groovy. My beautiful blender is 1961, the same year as our house, and works like a dream. It’s from ebay, along with the rotary dial wall phone. Certain colors go for much less than others. Luckily I love brown!

Rebecca — you and your husband did an amazing job with this kitchen. I’m loving your bright orange accent wall. From the gorgeous cabinets to the special light fixture — you really nailed the 1960s Scandinavian look you were trying to achieve. Of course this kitchen will be everyone’s favorite spot in the house. Mega thanks for sharing your story and photos here — and for creating the awesome “retro” ad for Retro Renovation.

Because Rebecca’s kitchen was so fabulous — we’ve included the slide show below to show the photos twice as large as in this post.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:?

  1. Merry says:

    As I read about you and your stunning kitch, I just kept shaking my head back and forth while smiling, and envy seething from my very hair follicles! FANTASTIC!

  2. Carolyn says:

    Just saw this in the weekly update–completely *fabulous* kitchen in so many ways. The smartest of the old and the new. Side note: we have that *exact* light fixture–we had it over our kitchen table until I replaced it recently (moved a vintage sputnik to take its place) — its only difference is that we have a supposedly height-adjustable cord with the cord-holder unit in the middle, rather than a downrod.

    I’m very curious: is it kosher to ask how much you paid for your fixture? We also live in the Portland area, so it was a nice coincidence to see Rejuvenation’s stash of the downrodded version of our humble but powerful (we had compact fluorescents in all of them so the light was incredibly bright, with the up *and* down lighting that baby has!) that we got at the ReBuilding Center, and had rewired at Hippo Hardware : ) We’d never seen another like it the whole time we had it up! (It’s in storage now; can’t bear to part with it yet)

      1. Carolyn says:

        Thanks, Rebecca! That’s a great price for an *authentic* fixture with all that rewiring. Isn’t it great, with the up *and* down lights? Reproductions are nice, but real period pieces are the best, IMO.

        And thanks for the info on the grasscloth — I didn’t think it would be that since it was brown, but I guess it was painted…*love* grasscloth because it looks just like yours does, soft, matte, dimensional..as long as your next generation doesn’t do what you did to it : ) We also have cats and they like to scratch on verticals every so often…I’m thinking of putting the vintage grasscloth paper I got at GW in the back of some display cabinets, so I can look at it at least LOL.

        Also wanted to say that that local cabinetmaker really outdid himself and I hope he’s as proud of his work as you are happy with it. Catalogue/advertisement photos for sure. Thanks again for sharing your fabulous space!

  3. Carolyn says:

    One more question: what is the wallcovering in your entry? I like how it looks at least in these photos — it looks matte but like a linen or something? Very beautiful and calm.

    1. Carolyn,
      It’s grasscloth!!! I have always loved grasscloth. Ever since I used to PULL the grass out of my Mom’s when I was sick on the couch as a kid! I can look at the company if you’d like. But, I did get it at Lowe’s. They had some nice colors.

  4. RetroSandie says:

    Absolutely beyond gorgeous redo!! Those cabinets are so fabulous> I would be ooh-ing and ahh-ing at them every day!!!! I’m not fond of orange, but I really like how you have used it! Looks like a whole new color!! It also looks like you might be the new move-ins that live next door to Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke Show)!!!!! Congrats on an ahhhh-some redo!!!! 🙂

  5. A Arp says:

    This makes me super happy! I love that backsplash (and pretty much everything else) and I couldn’t imagine a better use for that tile.

  6. Chad says:

    Hey, any more feedback on the wall ovens? I really want to like these because they’re one of the few inexpensive options available with knobs. I don’t have nearly enough patience for the up/down arrow touch screens on most new ovens today, the funds for anything high end, or the space for anything more than 30 inches wide. Would probably go with a better cooktop, just like you eventually did.

    And for what it’s worth, I’m considering very similar cabinets in my house!

    1. Rebecca Prichard says:

      Well, they’re working still! We do not use the self-cleaning feature, which is a PAIN but they do work and they look good. And, the convection is nice-I had never had convection before. They also have a nice low setting which is nice for plate-warming.

      I wouldn’t waste your money on the cooktop. Put it towards a better one. My GE Profile Induction is AMAZING. They are uber uber efficient. Everyone should use induction. It’s an amazing technology and looks nice, modern, and clean.

      1. Chad says:

        Thanks! I’ll definitely consider that – heard good things about induction before. In any case I wasn’t going to get an IKEA cooktop. There’s some chance that I’ll just leave the severely battered gas range that came with the house in place for a little while.

  7. Johnny 5 Fachy says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I admire your perseverance and dedication, obviously it paid off very well! Enjoy and congratulations on your new addition!!

  8. Jerry says:

    This looks absolutely exquisite.

    The thing I find most interesting is that it looks as if the kitchen literally came to life. It looks like it went directly from a graveyard to a bright and sunny meadow of flowers.

  9. Lynn R. says:

    I think it is a natural walnut veneer, not a stain. Ben Rollins of Rollins Selective Woodcrafting did this cabinet I believe.

    1. Rebecca prichard says:

      Yes! Ben Rollins did them. I told him about this and to see all the compliments! he is great at his craft. We couldn’t be happier, and I mean that, with the work he did. I would hire him again in a SECOND!

      Yes, it is a veneer. Beyond that, I don’t know what he did. I just showed Erik Franz of RZ Designs the look I wanted, and the guys did the rest.

      1. MikeD says:

        Hmmm…. thanks! But wether it is a veneer should not have anything to do with it being stained or not. Are you saying it is just a “natural” stain?

        Also, any chance you know what type of Walnut it specifically is?


        1. Rebecca Prichard says:

          I would say it that yes, it is a natural stain, although I don’t know what I am talking about. I think I remember that it’s Black Walnut, and I just looked at images on google about types of walnut wood and I feel confident telling you it is.

          1. mikeD says:

            Thank you Rebecca.

            The wood in your kitchen is spectacular and I have kept it in mind since Pam did your story. It might have just inspired something special that we are working on 🙂

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