Vote for our 2013 “The Hard Way” Awards winner: Kitchen Remodel

kitchen remodel ideasEvery year we choose a winner of our annual “The Hard Way Award” — given to a reader(s) for their project remodel that often, went above and beyond in terms of overcoming obstacles and/or showing tenacity and inventiveness and/or Bang for the Buck. Sometimes the projects are spendy, sometimes, thrifty — everyone’s situation is unique, we like to showcase the diversity. This year, I’m expanding the awards to encompass a “Bathroom” winner and a “Kitchen” winner. AND, we’re making it reader’s choice! Update: Voting now closed. I will announce the winners momentarily. .

#1 — Ann’s World of Tile Wonderful:


kitchen-beforeAbove — #1, Ann’s World of Tile Wonderful — Click here to see the complete story about Ann’s kitchen remodel. Inspired by vintage steel kitchen cabinets seen on the blog, Ann recreated the look — but using wood instead. For her 1965 condo kitchen, she also purchased tile for the backsplash and floor from World of Tile, and did the installation herself. I love her daring use of color and pattern — and think this space came out fabulous!

#2 — Chris’ GE Wonder Kitchen:

mies-van-der-rohe-kitchenAbove — #2, Chris’ GE Wonder Kitchen — Click here to see the complete story of Chris’ kitchen remodel. (No before photo available.) Chris lives in an apartment complex designed by the famous Mies van der Rohe, so he wanted to do something really special when he installed a “new” kitchen. So, he found a vintage GE Wonder Kitchen, refurbished it, and installed it in his apartment. Fabulous!

#3 — Rebecca and Keith’s Mad Men kitchen remodel:

mid-century-modern-kitchenkitchen beforeAbove — #3, Rebecca and Keith’s Mad Men kitchen remodel — Click here to see all the details from this mid century mod kitchen remodel. Rebecca and Keith had lived in their 1961 ranch house a few years before they decided to tackle renovating the kind of blah white kitchen. They carefully planned a lovely mid century modern style kitchen with custom cabinets, laminate counter tops, and pops of Rebecca’s favorite color, orange.

#4 — Catherine and Jonathan’s Vintage Geneva Kitchen:

Vintage-kitchen-steel-cabinetskitchen-remodel-beforeAbove — #4, Catherine and Jonathan’s Vintage Geneva Kitchen — See the complete story of Catherine and Jonathan’s kitchen remodel here. Catherine and Jonathan get major snaps for their DIY kitchen refresh in their 1950 Cape Cod. To help keep the kitchen going for another 60 years, they spray painted the existing vintage steel cabinets repainted, added a few carefully chosen new elements like Azrock flooring and butcher block counter tops.

#5 — Doug’s retro modern kitchen:

retro-modern-kitchenkitchen-beforeAbove — #5, Doug’s retro modern kitchen — Click here to see the complete story about Doug’s retro modern kitchen remodel. And Doug is our last but not least finalist — he made my cut for sure because of his wonderful creativity in renovating his vintage concrete block Florida house. The kitchen is a retro-modern remodel that channels Julia Child’s pot rack — sans pegboard in favor of mosaic tiles… He, too, recreated the look of vintage steel cabinets — and has a paint recommendation… and more.

Seriously — with all these kitchen remodels in one spot, it’s clear to see that there are So Many Ways to Do Retro! And we love them all! But, you can only:

Vote now for ONE winner:

Criteria I suggest to consider in making your selection:

  • Tenacity
  • Ingenuity
  • Bang for the Buck

[voting now closed]

  1. Amanda says:

    I was looking through Craigslist Chicago today and noticed these vintage kitchen cabinets for sale –


    It says they are from Montgomery-Ward. I wish I had something fabulous to do with them, but I don’t. Or I would totally buy them. Someone else who reads this blog should buy them and use them and post pictures, please. 🙂

    (I swear I’m not the one selling them…)

  2. Mimi says:

    This decision was so hard! Each kitchen is fabulous in its own way. I love how they are all on the small side. I have a tiny kitchen from 1937, myself. I’m taking mental notes for when I have the cash to upgrade. I voted for Ann’s because the turquoise and yellow combination make me happy.

  3. Ann says:

    I’m so honored to be a finalist amongst this retrorad crowd!! Thank you Pam and all you wonderful retro renovators, you!!

  4. Hautie says:

    I love both of the kitchens with those incredible custom blue cabinets.

    I love that they both found a way to get the vintage steel cabinet look… but done with custom wood cabinets and gorgeous paints. So pretty!

  5. Josie says:

    I voted for Rebecca and Keith. It’s not the kitchen I’d want most for myself, but I found the walnut cabinetry eye-popping and the Saarinen and orange perfectly cohesive and complimentary. Also, I love seeing wood cabinets get love on here sometimes (I don’t dislike steel but gosh it gets a lot of attention and I don’t have any!)

    The tiling in Catherine and Jonathan’s Geneva kitchen was great though. I loved how timeless their scheme was – that grey-and-white would be more my thing, but in a way it’s sooo timeless it read as less immediately ZAP POW BAM vintage?

  6. Judy H. says:

    All of the remodels are great, but I have to go with Rebecca and Keith. Their kitchen is absolutely fantastic! I love the design and the color scheme, but mostly I love how they stayed very true to the mid-century modern design of their home. Their kitchen “fits” their home perfectly and doesn’t look like it’s trying to be something it’s not. I was recently at a friends MCM home, (circa 1962) . They had just had a kitchen/dining room remodel. It was lovely, but it looked like a kitchen/dining room from a newly built home. It didn’t “fit”. Walking from the kitchen into their wonderful perfectly restored MCM living room with all of its great 1960s furniture and fixtures felt like I was stepping from one era into another. Keith and Rebecca did a beautifully appointed, no stone unturned, true MCM kitchen.

  7. MCM Kate says:

    I too went with Chris because he saved an awsome piece of history. Otherwise it was a tough decision. All of the kitchen showed tenacity,
    Ingenuity, and bang for the buck. Loved all of the pictures. The Brady Bunch feel of Rebecca and Keith’s was appealing to me because I have that vibe in my own home, Turquiose is my house theme so loved both of those kitchens. Great job all!

  8. Cynthia says:

    Another super tough choice! Each of these owners did a fantastic job and I love every one of these kitchens for its own special style. I went with Chris’ GE wonder kitchen because of its rarity, unique look and the way he conserved and restored, or repurposed when restoration wasn’t possible or the original function was not longer needed. I’d love to buy a unit in his historic building!

  9. Robin, NV says:

    Oh man, another tough vote. So many great projects this year!

    I’m gearing up to start a kitchen remodel next week but I’m doing it the easy way – just changing out stuff that is worn out. Floors, counters, and backsplash. But I’m still really excited!

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