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Catherine & Jonathan revive their vintage Geneva cabinets in this retro fresh remodel

Vintage-kitchen-steel-cabinets

Jonathan and Catherine
Jonathan and Catherine

Reader Catherine and her husband Jonathan loved the original steel kitchen cabinets and tiled walls in their 1950 Cape Cod kitchen, but the room was feeling tired and needed some freshening up. After seeing Pam’s story recommending Azrock flooring as an authentic 1950s style floor choice, Catherine knew it was the right fit for her kitchen. After installing the new floor, painting their original Geneva cabinets, and adding new butcher block counter tops and a stainless steel sink — Catherine and Jonathan’s kitchen is ready for its close up.

kitchen-remodel-beforeCatherine writes:

Hi! A while back I saw a recommendation on your website for Azrock flooring for authentic 50s kitchen rehabs. You also stated that you’d like photos of completed renovations using this kind of flooring.

butcher-block-counter-topOur kitchen renovation, using Azrock Raw Silk, is complete– and it looks great! We also spray painted our original Geneva cabinets in the kitchen to coordinate, and added a butcher block counter top plus drainboard sink (both from IKEA), to complete that 50s feel.

The house was built in 1950 (a Cape Cod, probably what you might call “colonial-revival”), and I believe all the tile in the kitchen and the bathroom is original to the house.  The walls are all plaster, so it would be an incredible feat to even try and rip the tile out to recreate it.

azrock-floor-tilesThe tile in the kitchen is pure white, and the 4×4 backsplash extends throughout the room.  The man we hired to spray paint the cabinets said that the cabinets were originally white in color.

There were one or two broken tiles in the kitchen when we moved in. We weren’t able to find a 4×4 tile the exact same shade of white in the store, but when we moved the cabinets out to paint them, we just carefully removed one of the intact tiles behind the where the cabinetry had been and used that as our replacement.

vintage-kitchen vintage-retro-modern-kitchen vintage-modern-kitchenThanks for all the wonderful suggestions on rehabbing we’ve received from your site.  It’s been an incredible resource of ideas for us!

cabinet-pull-vintage(Also, we live in a St. Louis suburb, so finding missing hardware for our Geneva cabinets online locally here hasn’t been a problem either…)

Thanks,
Catherine

vintage-modern-kitchen-whiteCatherine and Jonathan — you did a great job breathing new life into your kitchen. Everything looks terrific — including vintage Geneva kitchen cabinets, the counter tops, the floors…. and it is very cool to see those original, ceramic tiled walls — we don’t showcase those often enough. Thanks for sharing  your results with all of us.

    1. Jonathan says:

      They are a light blue/light grey color. I’ll try to see if we still have the leftover paint can to give you the exact name. May have been sky blue or something similar

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      No source — anywhere — that I know of. You need to salvage vintage… Or, you now might be able to make them with 3D printers.

  1. John Dejac says:

    where did you get the hardware for your geneva cabinets? We have the same metal cabinets but some of the white plastic is broken and the metal handles look rough too.
    thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      We have the same hardware for our Geneva cabinets and are in desperate need of the white plastic part. Please let me know where you found your hardware.
      Thanks
      Stephanie

  2. carol says:

    Hi
    Love the article kitchen!
    I as well have the same geneva cabinets in my fifties kitchen and am looking to have them painted. I have the yellow tiles with black trim on 1/2 way walls of my kitchen. Am wondering what peoples’ opinion of painting the cabinets light grey and having the floor and the wall above the tile gray as well. The cabinets are almond now and have some scratches and chips on them especially under the sink as I think liquid dishwasher detergent desintegrates the paint. trouble finding a painter and I also need new plastic inserts and will look into the 3 d copying.

      1. Pam Kueber says:

        Hi Catherine, if you go through this comment thread, Catherine explains the process she and Jonathan chose. Note, I am not and expert on this subject, and this is not a DIY or fixit site per se. That said, I have a number of stories about readers and their steel kitchens, and some of them discuss the approach they took. So, see that category, Kitchen Help/Steel Kitchens, and also, Kitchen Help/Readers & Their Kitchens. Finally, no matter what, be aware that there can be hazards in vintage products and their layers — consult with your own properly licensed professionals so that you can assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions how to handle. Renovate Safe >> https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

  3. Christin says:

    Hi!

    My husband and I also live in St. louis and we just purchased a new property and inherited Geneva metal cabinets that are in fabulous condition, just needs a paint job, who do you recommend for the paint job? Your cabinets look amazing!

    Also we are in need of finding a few more cabinets to complete our look. Do you know of any companies that sell comparable cabinetry?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Cristin, if you go through this comment thread, Catherine names the company she hired to paint her cabinets. Note, I am not and expert on this subject, and this is not a DIY or fixit site per se. That said, I have a number of stories about readers and their steel kitchens, and some of them discuss the approach they took. So, see that category, Kitchen Help/Steel Kitchens, and also, Kitchen Help/Readers & Their Kitchens. Finally, no matter what, be aware that there can be hazards in vintage products and their layers — consult with your own properly licensed professionals so that you can assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions how to handle. Renovate Safe >> https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

      To answer your second question, about companies that make painted steel cabinets new, see this story >>> https://retrorenovation.com/2019/06/04/resources-buy-steel-kitchen-cabinets/

      Good luck.

      1. Christin Simpson says:

        Thank you Pam!
        The link for companies that sell cabinets was the original article my husband and I were working through. We have contacted just about every place in hopes to find what we need. Thanks again for the information

    2. Catherine Waldron says:

      Hi Christin!

      We painted our cabinets now approximately 7 years ago, and we can’t recall the name of the St. Louis painting company to do it. But they still look great and function beautifully in our kitchen! I’d just call around different painting companies and ask if they paint metal kitchen cabinets. There is a special technique to it that some companies locally here are familiar with. We got our spare cabinets off Craigslist; someone in University City was demoing their kitchen.

    3. Catherine Waldron says:

      We checked our records, and Paul at Mark’s Spray Painting Company in St. Louis that did the cabinets!

  4. Christin Simpson says:

    Thank you so much!!! This information is extremely helpful!! We are wanting to paint our kitchen white as well and the paint job looks amazing! Thank you for sharing your success reno pics and resources

  5. Jamie says:

    Hi. I have Geneva cabinets in my apt and I am looking to paint them. What I cannot figure out is what kind of hinge they have and how to take the doors off. They have been painted soooo many times that I cannot see the hinge at all but it is not a typical hinge. It’s built into the bottom of the cabinet door or something. Can anyone help?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Jamie, we typically don’t get into issues like this here on the blog, there were so many designs. Not sure where to point you. Meanwhile, be sure to Renovate Safe.

  6. William C Rackley says:

    I live in a 1926 home in Birmingham Alabama with the original Geneva cabinets and I need 10 of the ceramic inlays but do not know where to look. They are identical to the ones in your photo. Do you know what site I can order them from? Thank you so much

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