“We eventually realized that we should do a kitchen that would make us happy, and that silly Brady kitchen always made us happy.”
In what’s certain to become a classic here on the blog: Duane and Wendy have recreated much of the Brady Bunch kitchen in their home, right down to Mike and Carol’s coffee cups. When I asked if they’d like to send a photo of themselves as well, they even got out their plaid double knit bell bottoms! Such a happy, creative story! Let’s take a look at their delightful kitchen project. >>
Hello Pam! My wife and I have been following your blog/website for years now and have always found it a wonderful source for everything. It’s nice to see all of the projects, too! So we thought we’d send you ours.
My wife and both grew up on The Brady Bunch; I saw the shows during the early 70s, ready every Friday night at 8 p.m. (ET) to watch the shows as they aired. My wife (Wendy) saw them in syndication. I was born in 1963 so I could identify with the characters (mostly Peter), and had a crush on Marcia (what young boy didn’t!) Susan Dey was a close second.
We purchased this house near Milwaukee last year. The house suited our needs well, but the kitchen left a lot to be desired. U-shaped layout, original (but lousy) cabinets with useless corner cabs (lots of wasted space) and drawers with mechanical nylon roller glides. They long ago lost their ‘glide’ and were no mostly just squeaky and difficult. We felt we needed to eventually redo the kitchen, but what to do?
We eventually realized that we should do a kitchen that would make US happy, and that silly Brady kitchen always made us happy. We knew it wouldn’t be for everyone, and would pretty much kill any idea of recouping any value at resale, but we plan on being in the house a long time, so why worry about resale value?
We really didn’t know where to start our search for a kitchen remodeling company, so simply found someone local with good reviews. On their website were links to the cabinet company they used for all of their kitchens, so we checked out that website and found that they had colors and wood finishes that would work for what we were looking to do. Visited the kitchen remodeler’s showroom and met our contractor.
We all got to talking about our kitchen, and he asked what kind of a look we were going for. Wendy had already found the laminate color from the large sample chart on the wall. She set that down on the table, and said, “That’s the countertop we want”, then we placed down two cabinet finish samples next to it. “These are the uppers, these are the lowers” we said as we set down a Sage Green sample and a Walnut stained Oak sample.
He didn’t say anything at first, but I just said to him, “Do you see what we’re going for?” No answer, and then I said, “Think Brady Bunch”. That’s when he got it. He knew the countertop color (I mean, who doesn’t), and vaguely remembered the wood tone, but didn’t remember the green at all. We said that we looked at tons of photos of the set (and watched our full series DVD set), and they did indeed have green lowers. he got on board and thought it would be a fun and unique opportunity.
He laid out a useful arrangement of cabinets, swapping appliance from one side to the other, working in an 18” dishwasher (it’s all that would fit), and putting in a lazy susan that Wendy was dying to have. Now all we had to do was wait for the delivery! About two weeks later, the old kitchen cabinets were removed (and saved for later use by our cabinet guy, he does a lot of repairs and said the trim and hardware are hard to come by) and new cabinets installed.
Brown and avocado green kitchen cabinets + Bittersweet orange countertops
This is what we wound up using:
- Cabinetry is from Seville Cabinets, made in Wisconsin — Upper cabinets in oak, stained with a warm walnut stain to mimic the weird wood-tone Brady uppers. Lower cabinets in Sage green finish, mimicking the lowers on the Brady set.
- Countertop is Pionite “Bittersweet”, a color that our countertop guy said he’d only used once before in his 31 years doing countertops. And that was for a day care center!
- The Brady laminate backsplash wasn’t a possibility [Editor Pam notes: Duane said this was a code issue; readers, check with your own professional.] So we wound up doing standard 4.25″ x 4.25″ white tile, as it brought in some much-needed lightness to the design. We then added in a few splashes of color by placing some decorated tile every 16 inches or so. The tiles are all tiles that had once been used as trivets, most of them arriving still glued into the cast iron trivet surround. We tried to get as 70s a vibe as we could with the tiles.
- We considered an avocado fridge, but finding one proved futile. Our white fridge will have to suffice. (I’m a painter by trade, so I may eventually get the bug and drag it to the shop and repaint it.)
- The photos also show our matching Regal PolyPerk percolator and Hot Water kettle, our “Kitchen Gadgets” harvest gold canister (with the wood spoons in it), and our groovy new-in-the-package floral oven mitts (hanging over the oven). We’ll eventually change out the kitchen curtains, and I’m considering painting the oven hood from white to an avocado green.The smaller details that we added in are:
NOS Oster ‘Osterizer’ blender in Harvest Gold, a beauty! The Bradys had an avocado green Osterizer, but we felt this one wasn’t so matchy-matchy, and it’s also very pretty.
Carol and Mike Brady’s hard-to-find Otagiri coffee mugs
Coffee mugs that are exactly the same as the two used by Carol and Mike on the show. These were an almost impossible find, as I spent over four months trying every search term I could think of to find them. Finally, about two weeks before the project started, I got ‘em! They are made by Otagiri, but have long lost the paper stickers that were placed on the bottom of the mugs.
These are the decorative tiles we added into the backsplash to add some color to it. (There are two of the rooster tiles on either side of the window, facing each other).
Some of the things we decided against were the basket weave cookie jar, the avocado bread box (both of which would take up precious counter space), the spice rack, and the countertop appliances. But we are looking out for the brass fish trivets (that oddly are hanging on the wall!) and a small blackboard so we can write things like “Eggs Bananas Milk” or “Peter, Call Owen” (my favorite).
Thanks for choosing to do a story about our kitchen, how awesome!
Duane and Wendy
How many readers were original fans of the Brady Bunch? Or, watched it in syndication? My brothers and sisters and I watched every episode in real time, and that house — surely had an indelible effect on my decorating psyche.
This kitchen: Absolutely wonderful! Thank you, Duane and Wendy, for sharing your Very Brady story!