In 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.
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.
- Full overlay slab walnut cabinets stained natural.
- Caesarstone quartz countertops in “Blizzard”
- 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!