Amber’s 1961 knotty pine kitchen before and after Retro Renovation

Wilsonart-boomerang-laminateknotty pine kitchenRemember Amber’s pink toilet trafficking antics during her quest to retain the vintage charm in her retro pink bathroom while also meeting current day water usage requirements?  Well, she’s been at it again — this time in her knotty pine kitchen, which had received a sad 1980s partial “update” from the previous owners. Thankfully, the knotty pine cabinets were intact, so Amber turned her attention to finding flooring, countertops, lighting, decor and even a vintage yellow sink to complement the wood and return the retro feel to her kitchen. No interstate fixture trafficking this time — but the story — and results — are just as happy.

before-and-after-knotty-pine-kitchenAmber writes:

We bought our house about a year ago. This is our forever home. We knew we wanted a well-maintained midcentury home, as “time capsuley” as possible. After a lot of looking and some disappointments, we finally found it — a single-owner home built in 1961, in great condition, with many original features. We’ve had quite a few projects over the past year (like my pink toilet adventure!) and have been taking things slowly, making changes as time and money allow.

knotty-pine-kitchen-beforeIn the kitchen, the original knotty pine cabinetry and paneling was a big selling feature for us! There had been some unfortunate “updates” done in the 80s or 90s, though, including really cheap, unremarkable laminate countertops and a really gross vinyl floor.

knotty-pine-kitchen5352-armstrong linoleumWith a new baby on the way we wanted to get the kitchen done, and we could not be happier with the results. There were some surprises along the way – such as a full four layers of flooring, the original of which appears to be the coveted Armstrong 5352 embossed inlaid linoleum. I work in historic preservation, and if there had been any way I could have saved that floor, I would have! But unfortunately, at some point there had been water damage in the area of the dishwasher and a large portion was cut out down to the subfloor. We love the look of the VCT, though.

We love our home and have some more projects planned for down the road, but the kitchen was the biggest hurdle and we are so happy it is done. Baby #2 will be arriving in about a month, and my husband and I are thrilled to raise our two boys in a beautiful home that one family loved for 50 years. Our 3-year-old can already school people on ranch houses, VCT, and laminate, so we must be doing something right!

Resource list to renovate a knotty pine kitchen:






vintage-knotty-pine-cabinetsknotty-pine-kitchen-cabinets-retroEventually we would like to replace the range hood, fridge, and dishwasher, but since all are working well, that’s not a priority right now.

Amber, you’ve done a fantastic job with your kitchen. I love the way the yellow in the sink, countertops and wall complement the warm glow of the Knotty Pine cabinets. What a cheery space you have created. As always, Pam and I are huge fans of your spunk, energy and willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done. While we are bummed that your Armstrong 5352 linoleum floor couldn’t be saved, the VCT you chose is an excellent option and adds a lightness to the kitchen. Kudos to you on a job well done — and thanks again, so much, for chronicling your renovation journey for all to share.

  1. Melissa P says:

    I know this post is a few years old, but any chance the paint color is known? The yellow I tried doesn’t quite work with my knotty pine.

  2. Helene Grossman says:

    Wow, thanks for the inspiration. I just this morning put in an offer on my dream “time capsule” 1965 split level. Most of the kitchen is intact, save the awful faux granite countertops and laminate flooring.
    It also has one completely intact pink bathroom!

    I haven’t read through all the comments yet, but I am curious to know how did you find someone to do the metal banding on the counters?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Helen, we have lots of research on metal edging and where to get it. Use the Search box and/or go through Kitchen Help/Countertops category.

      1. Mary Elizabeth says:

        I think Helen was asking how to get a current carpenter who is able and willing to install it. I’ll bet she can do the research and then ask some carpenters who are part of an old family business whether they could do it.

        And revisiting this story reminds me–Amber, that new baby must be just over a year now, and the three-year-old is now four and probably in pre-K!

  3. Mary Elizabeth says:

    A range hood is only one option for getting cooking smells and smoke out of the kitchen. Pam, what about a kitchen exhaust fan that mounts on the wall or the ceiling for Eleanor? You had a story about those a while back–you said can buy new ones and old covers.

    1. Eleanor says:

      We have a beautiful chrome fan in the wall now that works but freezing air comes in so we have it sealed up… and it’s not in a convenient spot so we can’t seal it and unseal it each time we need to use it. In the cold months, we just don’t vent….

  4. Eleanor says:

    Do you know where a range hood can be purchased that will not stick out beyond the cabinets? Mine have a wooden scallop that I would prefer not to remove.

  5. Lisa says:

    Amber (and I love the fact that your mom had the foresight to give you the perfect name to go with your glowy kitchen 🙂 ) I love all of your kitchen but I was really drawn to your countertops and metal banding. We are about to embark on our own retro renovation in our 40’s kitchen and I neeeeeeeed to have the metal banding. But reading other stories of the difficulty of going around curves has caused me to despair. Can you tell us how you did such a beautiful job (tools, materials, techniques) or did you have it done professionally.

    Again, awesome job! Now can you come over to my house? 🙂

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