Mike and Lindsey gut remodel the kitchen in their 1965 midcentury modern house

L&D-ConstructionHOGT-graphicIn this sixth edition of the series, Mike and Lindsey have called on the help of their friends at L&D Construction — the same guys that custom built the midcentury modern master bathroom vanity in their first home — to help them gut remodel the kitchen, including making custom walnut kitchen cabinets. Drawing inspiration from fellow Retro Renovators and a photo of an original Edward Durell Stone House of Good Taste kitchen, Mike and Lindsey are well on their way to creating the midcentury modern kitchen of their dreams.

Mike & Lindsey’s House of Good Taste kitchen before.
Mike & Lindsey’s House of Good Taste kitchen before.

Mike writes:

So here we are, roughly 2/3 of the way through renovations and although we have accomplished a ton so far, we are desperately ready to start seeing the kind of progress that makes it feel like a home. Our beautiful newly refinished floors are completely covered and we are ready to start the kitchen build out.

At this point we are bringing in the heavy hitters, our master carpenters from L&D construction, Joe and Kenny. We have worked with Joe and Kenny on several projects and wouldn’t trust anyone else with this job. Retro Renovation readers should be familiar with Joe’s handy work as he is the one who built the custom vanity for our pink master bath renovation.

We have several inspirations that we are pulling together in order to achieve the specific look and feel we want in our new kitchen. One of our inspirations is actually from a Retro Renovation story that ran long before the House of Good Taste was even a twinkle in our eye, Rebecca and Keith’s Mad Men kitchen remodel. When we saw their amazing walnut cabinets we made a mental bookmark in the hopes that someday we could incorporate something similar in our own kitchen remodel. Our second source of inspiration comes from a photo of the original House of Good Taste kitchen that ran in the September 1964 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (which we were able to find our own original copy of).


Here (above) is sample board of the basic finishes we have selected.

  1. Full overlay slab walnut cabinets stained natural.
  2. Caesarstone quartz countertops in “Blizzard”
  3. Dal Tile 3×9 oval from the Natural Hues collection for the backsplash, to be laid in a stacked format. A far more budget friendly option than the similar style from Heath Ceramics we first came across


The walnut cabinets will be the star of the show in the kitchen. We feel that having them against a back drop of the polished concrete floors, white ceilings and walls, and white counter tops and backsplash, will make them a show stopper. But don’t worry, we will have some pops of color mixed in there with Lindsey’s Cathrineholm collection.


We are not making any radical changes to the layout of the modest sized 13×13 kitchen, but simply spacing things out a little bit to be more ergonomic and visually appealing.

  • The double wall ovens will be replaced by a single oven built into the lower cabinetry under a induction cook top. This will free up space for a larger pantry and fridge.
  • The pantry will house the microwave to keep it out of sight, which goes along with our decision to not have any wall outlets cut into the backsplash, but instead the outlets are housed under the upper cabinets to keep a clean seamless look along the backsplash.
  • We will not reinstall a door in the entryway to the kitchen. There was originally one there, but we feel not having one will make things feel more open and not be interfere with the pantry doors


  • Lower cabinets will mostly be large drawer units.


  • A new 8′ long sliding glass door will replace the current french doors that we assume replaced the original sliding door long ago.


  • A very strategically sized and placed island will serve as our kitchen table and seat 4 people on three sides comfortably.  The fourth side (near the sink) will have pull out drawers for trash and recycling. Pulling off the island that could do all this as well as allow 40+ inches of walkway on all sides took a bit of configuring.

While the guys from L&D construction execute our kitchen plans we are busy working on some of details items:


We scored 4 matching vintage perforated cylinder wall sconces by EJS, the company that is famous for their 1959 Stockholm series, which is now commonly reproduced. Sadly these were given a faux “wood grain” paint finish by their previous owner, but with a little bit of elbow grease and gold paint, they should be a stunning addition to the entryway hall.


We were also inspired by a recent Retro Renovation post about doorbell chimes and decided to reach out to Robert at ElectraChime for more information. We were trilled to discover he also is a collector/seller of original vintage chimes and was able to sell us just the perfect chime. Unfortunately we could not fit a long tube chime, but went with the short tube type commonly referred to as a resonator. We got a Rittenhouse model 8271 in near perfect condition.


We have several other significant projects getting under way in the rest of the house, which should make our next installment the best yet!

Mike and Lindsey — so far your kitchen is looking great! Thank you so very much, Mile, for continuing to chronicle and share your Retro Renovation journey.

Readers, we know you want to see the finished rooms — sorry for tantalizing you! Mike & Lindsey tell us the renovation is in its last phase — the big reveal of all their finished spaces should be coming soon!

Read all of Mike and Lindsey’s stories about their Edward Durell Stone House of Good Taste

  1. I agree that those cabinets are stunning, and I really like what the wood does to contrast with and warm up the space. Also, I really, really relate to how huge it can be to shift doors around for better runs of cabinets in a not-so-big kitchen.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Yay for the induction cooktop! Not retro, of course, but you aren’t building a museum, you are creating a kitchen that meets your lifestyle, and you will love induction cooking!

    1. Laurie Louise says:

      Actually, I think induction is a 60s technology. I read somewhere (Here? In the dark recesses of the archive?) that induction was invented in the 1960s by Company A, but before it could bring it to market, Company B bought Company A and tabled the whole thing. I considered induction but went another direction, as my 96 year old aunt was planning on moving in with us and she’s an analog girl. I believe that induction is definitely in the retro spirit, if not technically there.

  3. Mark says:

    Looking good — I will be fabricating my own kitchen cabinets out of mahogany (they will be stained in a period blonde finish) for our kitchen. It had previously had a late-80’s-early-90’s re-do, & looked even worse than their before pics (similar fugly white pre-fab cabinets). I already have a vintage double Flair Custom Imperial stove as well as a vintage working KitchenAid Superba dishwasher (as well as a vintage Dishmaster faucet). Only thing to get still is a matching refrigerator… 😉

  4. Jay says:

    The walnut is beautiful and a great true to the time period choice. I especially like the vertical run of the wood grain. Nice doorchimes! I didn’t know Mr. Electrachimes sold vintage as well. Looking forward to the final installment with the grand reveal. Not to mention you get to move into your brand new old house.

  5. Diane in CO says:

    In the midst of a huge kitchen (plus powder room and hall) remodel myself so I read this story with great interest…

    Our countertops will be quartz in “Blizzard” as well! Just love it! We’re building up the edge to 2 1/4 inches.

    My cabinets were delivered last Friday and although all this is stressful at times, it’s quite exciting! I won’t miss the remuddled 1970’s kitchen we inherited in our 1935 house; we’ve lived with it for 24 years. Goodbye 1970’s, *hello* Ann Sacks and Sub-Zero!

    You gotta love the process! Good luck with your project. I look forward to seeing the results!

    1. pam kueber says:

      I am just out of surgery and catching up on comments for the morning. Ha ha never rest. I also really like the Cesar Stone blizzard. If you are going solid surface, that is one nice countertop.

      1. Laurie Louise says:

        Nice to see your smiling face, Pam. Hope you’re resting, recuperating, and enjoying quality time with Mr. RR and Astro.

      2. Mary Elizabeth says:

        Hello, Pam! Glad you are feeling well enough to check in, but don’t overdo hunt and peck with the left hand.

        Mike and Lindsey, this remodel is “going apace”! Can’t wait to see the kitchen all done, and with the Catherineholm collection! Sold my original 1969 set in a tag sale when moving to a smaller place. I regretted it almost instantly, and replacing them now would be more expensive than they were back then. Sometimes I console myself with the thought of the happy people who have the pots and bowls now!

    2. Mike and Lindsey says:

      You should really like the blizzard. Has just enough of the fleck in it to not be solid white but at the same time gives that feel of solid white.. hard to describe but works really well

      1. pam kueber says:

        i have always loved that caesarstone blizzard — if i were doing a house where it fit, i would use it in a heartbeat. great choice!

      2. Diane in CO says:

        Sounds like your counters are now in place….mine won’t be installed for a couple more weeks. Can’t wait to see more photos of your gorgeous kitchen.

  6. Mark E. says:

    The deep drawers in the drawerbase at the far left need to switch places. They are out of sequence—-interrupting the flow of continuous grain from top to bottom. 🙂

  7. Susan D says:

    Great minds think alike! Just finishing up choices for our remodel – we’re going for a very similar look in our early ’70s nothing-special tract home: walnut cabs, then we went with Caesarstone “nougat”, which has a bit of a terrazzo look (since terrazzo floors were out of our budget), white 4×4 tile backsplash with some accent tiles to pull out the colors in our house (red, yellow, green). Also considered the Heath ceramics – glad you found a reasonably priced substitute. Thanks for sharing your renovation story – I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment.

    1. Mike and Lindsey says:

      Nougat was actually one of our initial choices when looking at samples until I realized it might complete against or clash with the terrazzo that is just a few feet away. But it is a great choice to bring a feel of terrazzo into a home where there is not.

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