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Reversing the remuddle: Megan & Nick bring their 1947 kitchen back its retro roots

retro kitchen remodelMegan and Nick have been retro enthusiasts for years. So, when they purchased their 1947 house, they knew what they had to do — take it back to its simpler-time roots. The remuddled kitchen was the first thing they attacked. What you don’t see: All the important utilities replaced or restored, like plumbing and electric — thank goodness Megan’s dad is a contractor and insisted on helping! What you do see: To start, get ready to (1) say buh-bye to the granite countertops and then (2) to welcome Megan and Nick’s amazing transformation. 

green tile kitchen countertopMegan writes:

Hi!

My husband Nick and I just bought our first home in Los Angeles. We’ve been big fans of the site for years and were happy to put the inspiration to work. 

We are still settling in and decorating the rest of the house, but the kitchen that is camera ready…. I took extensive before and after photos which I’d love to share with you. 

Nick and I are totally lucky that my father is a general contractor in Nashville and insisted on helping us retro renovation of our house! He used to do historic high rise restoration and loves bring old buildings back to life. 

The previous owners kept the original kitchen cabinets but replaced the previous yellow and blue tile countertops with granite. We knew we wanted to make the kitchen feel original to the house. However, the house was still on fuses and we needed to add circuits to the kitchen and plumbing so we stripped it down to the studs. 

pretty kitchen valance

My father is a contractor in Tennessee and we were very lucky that he basically demanded to help us remodel our home. We recovered the original hardwood floors, removed a wall, moved another wall, stripped the kitchen and laundry to studs, added an electrical panel, re-ran some gas lines and plumbing plus changed every light fixture and fan in the place. All of this was done over the course of 10 weeks by me, my husband and my father. 

Megan based the design of her “new” kitchen on the vintage kitchen in her previous rental.

We lived in a small 600 sqft triplex for five years, and it was my dream kitchen, so when we bought our home I used my old tiny apartment kitchen for inspiration. 

We’re lucky that we live 15 minutes from B&W Tile in Gardena. They had the exact colors we wanted, jade and light green, and were extremely helpful.

Pam adds:

green and white kitchen ideasgreen and white tile kitchen floor

Our VCT tile floors came from Linoleum City. I had an idea of what I wanted but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find it. Luckily, we walked in and I spotted the Azrock Pistachio tile first thing and knew that was our accent tile and Armstrong White Out was our main floor tile. 

We removed the soffit so that the cabinets would go up to the ceiling. We moved the stove to the center of the wall, added a dishwasher and garbage disposal. We created cabinets around the fridge including my baking bookshelf. The two ceiling mount light shades are original, but we replaced the bases because the wiring was fried.

 

I found the light over the sink on Etsy and loved it immediately.

Our enormous window was impossible to find curtains for so I bought a vintage sheet and made them myself. 

Modern cabinets are not constructed to use with bull-nose tile, and my loving father had to do some custom work to make it happen. The tiles took four days to lay and set, but it is the most beautiful and expensive thing in our house. We managed to save the original laundry board from the wall and relocate it to another part of the house. 

Megan says the cabinets are Heritage Cabinets of Andersonville, Tenn. (available via dealers)

The kitchen faucet is American Standard Heritage Wall-Mount 12 in Swivel Spout Kitchen Faucet with Metal Lever Handles, Chrome (Amazon affiliate link).

Many people assume that our kitchen is original and it is the best compliment we could get.

Megan, this kitchen is gorgeous. Pairing the precious green tile with simple white cabinets ensured that the tile, your biggest expense, would be the star of the show. Still, the counters don’t “scream” — and the space, so light, bright and happy now! From our emails, it sounds like you are a visual artist: You know what you’re doing — thanks so much for showing us all how it’s done including sharing all these wonderful photos!

 

  1. Megan says:

    I love that you noticed that! It was such a pain to do. The wall isn’t straight and the opening for the door narrows from the corner to the frame. It took some elbow grease but we still have the original hardware working it as well! We thought about swapping it all out because it was getting so hung up but we fought the good fight. I love having the option to shut it when doing laundry or running the dishwasher.

  2. Lyndasewsalot says:

    Your kitchen is perfect! You did a fantastic job. Very creative use of your space. You should be very proud. And give your father a great Christmas present , you lucky girl, he must really love you.

  3. Colleen says:

    Yay! What a beauty! I’m completely THRILLED to see others loving the wall mount faucet! I want a comeback of that! I really love the sensibility and aesthetics they brought from old to new. I am curious about what the original floors looked like (the wood ones mentioned).

  4. megan says:

    The hardwood recovered was through out the rest of the house. The kitchen floor was several layers deep. the original sheet vinyl was yellowish (the original counter tiles were blue and yellow, the seller showed us a picture from when they first moved in so we knew what it looked like). The vinyl floor was in terrible shape because the last owners put another vinyl then later ceramic tile on top! We took off an inch and a half of flooring to get to the sub floor. It took forever. haha.

  5. Megan says:

    We defiantly had that discussion! Due to buying the home and renovation all at once the budget was tight it didn’t happen. However, it doesn’t mean it won’t ever! Because that would be swoon worthy.

  6. RuthAnn says:

    I love the refrigerator and bookshelf locations; it looks like that may have been the area for an eat-in kitchen. Where do you eat now?

  7. Maile Lakely says:

    Congratulations on a a beautiful job! I love what you’ve done! I also took a dark 70s kitchen into a 40s and know the satisfaction. Your colors are beautiful and it all makes for a great place to gather, cook and be the heart of the home! Love the flooring! Enjoy!

  8. Megan says:

    In the 3rd set of photos you can see our dining room through the door. We have a small Formica table in there.

    The space where is fridge is now is very small. 34” deep. It would have been very hard to put a table that at more than 2.

  9. RuthAnn Henderson says:

    (Follow-up reply). Thank you for your answer; I thought the eating space was pretty small. Good decision!!

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