Design Around #12--1960s tract house.

palimpsestJanuary 10, 2012

For this design around, a 1960s tract or subdivision house was chosen. In 1960-1970 house size slowly increased, a kitchen open to the family room rather than just a small eating area became more common, but we weren't yet commonly seeing vaulted ceilings or very large kitchens.

This represents a fairly common house:

As does this:

With a plan something like this:

***Keep In Mind: Based upon regional differences, the Exterior Appearance of these houses will Vary Greatly. Some of these floor plans were offered in Each Subdivision with as many as Five Exteriors.***

This was the beginning of the disconnect between interior and exterior, as all the interiors were "soft contemporary" (although contemporary = soft modernism in this case).

All the actual kitchens would have been along these lines until toward 1970, I believe (when the "country kitchen" took over):

So, we are designing kitchens for a relatively modest house that is between 1700-2000 square feet, has room to expand the kitchen workspace within the existing footprint, and has 8 foot ceilings throughout. In many cases the kitchen faced the front. The exterior could be Modern, Colonial Revival, French, Mock Tudor, "Traditional", Spanish Revival or Ranch.

So, the exterior of the house can be selected for your design cues. I think the narratives are fun, but I think it would be informative to explain why you made the decisions you did as the Designer instead of just "Jack likes this and Jill likes that". People liking something is how some interiors end up a mess. I'd personally rather see an informed decision making process.

Refer to the link for further discussion and information on the development of the tract house.

Here is a link that might be useful: Other Tract House Examples.

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I was getting ready to solicit you all to re-design my tract home kitchen -- until I re-read the title and saw '1960' not 1942...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Simply blow out the wall between the "family" room (which is really just an eat-in kitchen) and the dining room. Expand the kitchen into that space. The "dining" room becomes the kitchen eating area (few houses this size have separate formal dining room areas, since kitchens are no longer expected to be hidden from guests or occupants whilst eating). We're lucky to have two full bathrooms on the main level, so you can leave as is, combine BR1 and BR2 to make a big owner's suite and build a third and maybe fourth bedroom in the basement or attic (the attics look tall, but the 1960s are when builders got cheap and started holding up the roof with trusses, which makes turning the attic into living space expensive).

Covered front porches made their last common appearance in the '60s, nice that both of these have them. On the 2nd house, paint and frame the area between the two bedroom windows to visually combine them into one large full-width window rather than have siding between them, and paint the garage doors a darker color so they don't stand out so much - you want to draw attention to the rest of the house which is more attractive than the garage doors.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Link to the sort-of FAQ.

Here is a link that might be useful: About the Design Around This Threads

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Anybody going to actually submit a scheme?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I'm working on one! Probably not ready until tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:31PM
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I think the problem with entering this challenge is that it's so open-ended. Start with a tiny space and make it great. Additionally, most of us are tossing out the 50s features or they're already tossed (things like dowel and board room dividers) and we're at blank slate time. Few of these houses had many distinctive features to salvage.

My entire kitchen project is my entry to this challenge. Photos of the excavation &c are no longer available to the public on Flickr (200 photo limit on unpaid usage) but the story picks up with the new kitchen framed in, ready for demo of old kitchen. We cooked in the old kitchen all the way up to demo day, with new kitchen being built in front of it. If you actually want to see the old kitchen, it's on p. 11 as we were beginning to unload cabs. We were feeding a work crew and the weather just got too cold. DH and one man kept the project going through winter and broke through the former front wall of house in spring. Addition is 12 feet forward and 26 feet across, which includes kitchen plus front entry hall. Very complicated. No need to look unless you're very motivated; these photos haven't been updated for a long long time. Final photos might be a year away. Action has turned to re-roofing, re-siding and re-windowing the balance of the house and to more infrastructure issues--air handling.

Here is a link that might be useful: Saga of the Florantha kitchen thread picks up with demolishment of the old kitchen

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 11:21AM
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While in the original LI Levittown, few of these houses remain unaltered (because property values are high), many towns that went through the 1950-1970 housing boom have hundreds of such houses with the original footprint. My town has a hundred of this: **Although they have different exteriors**

Dozens of these:

The inside is minimal contemporary as it comes to details, and the outside is wrapped in a variety of styles. Since the house is relatively blank, the challenge (as has been discussed on many threads) is to create something that acceptable to modern ideas of function and quality (function is a given) without:
1) creating a replica mid-century kitchen
2) overdoing current trends and creating something that has nothing to do with the rest of your house
3) making a silk purse out of a sow's ear and ending up with a palatial kitchen with a house to the side instead of a house with a kitchen in it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 12:22PM
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I think the biggest challenge, for most people, is opening up such a small kitchen to another room. Whether it's a dining room or family room, most people would like to 'borrow' some space or take down a wall, entirely. This seems to be a very common question on do I open up my space for a bigger/livable kitchen?

I'd like to see some realistic kitchens, maybe with smaller budgets, for a tract home. Remember, you don't want to overimprove your home, for resale.

I think this challenge will take a little more thought...but since I don't know how to do the mood boards, yet...I'll probably end up posting later, or maybe the next thread. Construction guys are back again...and maybe I'll have a porch again, by this weekend! :)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 12:47PM
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I live in a house like this, built in 1960. The neighborhood consists of houses this style (or turned 90 degrees) mixed in with sections of Eichlers. From Shenandoah

These are known as Brown & Kaufman houses. Brown & Kaufman were builders who built huge tracts of houses in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 50s and 60s. All the Brown and Kaufmans in my neighborhood have this kitchen feature - a built-in grill. We use ours to store wine in a rack on the grill and liquor underneath. Many people use it as a place for a microwave. From Shenandoah

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 2:55PM
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This kitchen is designed for the first house palimpsest posted above.

Ranch houses can be a little dark, since everything is on the first floor. This kitchen is designed to be cheerful and bright. Like the house, it is a mix of minimal traditional and soft contemporary. It is not trying to be very self-consciously retro. I set out to create the very kitchen that someone buying this modest house, perhaps a young couple, might actually like.

Cabinets: Crown Point Transitional. It echoes the arches on the front porch, but much more importantly, has that same sense of cleaned-up traditional.

Tile: Ann Sacks, in a cheaper but still fresh and crisp collection. These are square, which would be appropriate to the house. A traditional white kkhhreeemy subway would be a gaffe, I think, although something glass or otherwise reinvented would be fine.

Countertop: Silestone

Floors: Oak like the rest of the house

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 6:34PM
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I had never heard of tract homes before, so forgive me if I'm missing some cultural references. Based on the explanations I'm designing for a modest home built '60 to '70s, probably in 'inner' suburbs. My couple are in their 30s, expecting first child, this is their first house, although they did own a condo before. They both have good jobs, but are young, so the kitchen reflects both the need for cost savings and the ability to invest in a few higher quality elements for the kitchen.

I wanted fresh, modern and cheerful, ready for a new life with kids.

Pale green glossy slab doors, simple modern hardware. Very affordable reproduction orange/green/brown abstract painting. Funky smeg oven with Jennair fridge (assuming the whites work okay together). Fair trade wicker and orange placemats, Design Within Reach maple table, ikea chairs reupholstered (DIY) in oilcloth. Hacked Maskros IKEA light, blanco sink, IKEA faucet, Bosch induction cooktop, Silestone Gedatsu counters. They use the orange/green floral fabric as backsplash as done in the picture below by mood board, with glass or plexi-glass if needed behind the cooktop.

I think that all my kitchens end up looking the same. Probably because I just keep designing for myself.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Oops, I forgot - they saved by putting in laminate hardwood floors.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 6:45PM
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One more point, sorry: I had the first (blue?) house in Pal's 12:22 posting from today in mind for this kitchen. I think my colours and the backsplash fabric are the nod to the era the house was built.

I think we cross posted Marcolo. At least we didn't post kitchens with exactly the same colours - similar feel I think though. I'm so glad I ditched my orange and green shell chairs at the last minute! My kitchen may be a little edgier (and perhaps not as in keeping with the house? I'm not sure) with the glossy slab cabs. I would happily live in your kitchen though, very nice. Refreshing after the pink.

Annkathryn - I love the built-in grill, very cool.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 7:04PM
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I used the baby blue house for this one. A modest house gets a modest-looking kitchen but the materials are high quality.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 8:38PM
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I used lavender for this kitchen because the St Charles Cabinets were available in this color, and Levitt often used St Charles cabinets. I inverted it by using white for everything but the cabinets, drapery and chairs. The color would be period to the house and with a relatively small kitchen the countertops could be replaced by a future buyer without too much expense, if necessary.
Ann Sacks tile
Silestone Lavender You
Plain and Fancy thermofoil cabinets
Amtico vinyl
Shadestore ripplefold drapery
Tom Dixon Tube fixture
Wishbone chairs in lavender
Room and Board Walnut table

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 8:45PM
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OK, this has got to stop...I keep staying up way past my bedtime to play with this stuff. So here's what I've come up with for the tract house. I think it might work for the first house, or perhaps AnnKathryn's house, without the brickwork.

I picture this as a house for a small family...2 parents, 2 kids; parents in their 30's, in a smallish Midwest city. I wanted it to be bright and cheerful, but somewhat sophisticated, with touches that suggested age without going retro. I specifically chose a self-rimming sink rather than an undermount for that reason. And the faucet looks like the one in the kitchen I grew up in (without the pulldown, of course). The red big chill was just too much fun to resist.

Sage green and fire engine red kitchen

White shaker cabinets...full overlay for the extra space.
Smedbo Graceland chrome pull
Vertrazzo countertop in Hollywood sage
Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere Paint
Big Chill refrigerator

Kohler Bakersfield cast iron sink
Sake mini pendant in matador red.
John Boos kitchen island
Vermeere ceramic 4X4 tile backsplash in gray green gloss
Butterflies on sage cotton fabric for window treatment, perhaps cushion on a chair.

Red oak flooring

OK...I thought most of the choices were not cheap, but not outlandish. But I just discovered that little mini pendant is $600! I'm sure plenty of cheaper substitutes could be found. I suspect the Vermeere tile is pricey too...I couldn't find the right green elsewhere, but perhaps a longer search would turn it up.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Marcolo, those are the kitchen chairs I grew up with in a 1960's rancher. Oh but the color of the kitchen was so much more bold; contrasting turquoise and orange walls (my mother said it was tangerine!) We used to tell her she got her color scheme from Howard Johnson.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Since Pal said the Levittown came in Spanish Revial exteriors, can I use this plain and small Spanish Revival pic as the exterior inspiration? I'm having a hard time coming up with anything for the exteriors shown.

I could use one of the existing floorplans or here's another I found. Sorry it's so blurry.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 12:26PM
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You can use any kind of ranch or tract house you find. The only thing I would say is that the one you picked has a pretty strong character and that will easily drive the design. I think that the reason tract houses were suggested to begin with is that they tend to be kind half-hearted with their features and styles which leads to a lack of direction when renovating.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 12:58PM
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ah ok, the Spanish Revival I picked is sort of "leading the witness", so to speak. Here is a more nondescript tract house but it's still stucco. Sorry for the nonclear picture!

This house had had very few updates since it was built other than putting in carpet in all but the kitchen and bath. There were even still avocado green appliances. Jack and Jill, a couple of RNKs (retired no kids), liked their little Sunbelt house and wanted to update the interior to be as warm as the exterior. They could afford to gut the kitchen, remove the carpet (apparently the previous owner's pets weren't well trained...), and keep the bath remodel for later.

They were disappointed that the original floors u nder the carpet couldn't be saved and decided to put in saltillo tile but in a chocolate color (from mangenese) that will hopefully match their chocolate Labrador's fur since they had heard the newest kitchen trend was matching your pets. They decide to run with the Spanish style started by the saltillo by including Talavera backsplash tile, panelling the DW and fridge to match the cabs, and selecting Icestone Amber Pearl quartz, Silgranit Cafe Brown sink, and a rust-brown Blue Star range. Since the ceilings were pretty low, using shelves instead of uppers and almost-white paint helped keep the kitchen open-feeling.

The warm colors continued into the dining area.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 8:22PM
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For the Levittown Country Clubber, as pictured with an interior shot

Formica Copper Veil (this is metal HPL)
Straight cut Asian Cherry (Treefrog)
Amtico Vinyl Travertine Romano
First Dibs Lamp and lacquered Console
Clad fireplace to match existing exterior stone if not already so.
Shadestore drapery, Eurofase pendant
Cherner Chairs and Table
Belwith Metropolitan Hardware

This may seem colorless like a number of my entries, but my idea is that the kitchen gets color from the contents. I tried a well correlated neutral kitchen with this one.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Yes, mtnfever thats more "it", imo. That first house has enough character that it could survive even a bad kitchen, while the second needs a kitchen like you have designed to reinforce its identity.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Working on something else, but I have some comments already.

Pal, I like both of your designs here. Correlated neutrals are so different from the usual dreck we see. It's interesting that the first few designs on the thread were so chipper. These are houses that have a hard time being ostentatious, but they don't have any trouble being cheerful, comfortable or cute. Unlike you, I solved the "contents" problem by picking colors that any OCD homeowner could extend to serving pieces, appliances or even Tupperware because they have all been pretty popular for a while.

sochi, your spread does have an "edge" to it, but I like it and think it's appropriate.

melissastar and I both barely referenced vintage elements without making vintage kitchens. I think that's always a workable approach with these houses.

mtnfever, I was looking askance at your cabinet hardware for a second, then decided they were OK because in context, it doesn't look like you're really trying to create the illusion of a century-old Spanish Revival kitchen.

Your kitchen also reminded me of something I meant to bring up in the intro thread to this one: Fort Lauderdale. There are a few of parts of the country--FL is one, Palm Springs is another--where these houses regularly get fully decked-out and modernized. I saw little '60s ranch houses in Lauderdale with gigantic tropical aquaria in the wall and completely over-the-top resort-style pool patios with massive palms and jungles of greenery. They were hilarious, and I actually think the instant luxury worked with these tract homes. The homes were innocuous enough to support a lot of different styles, plus small enough to make this tricked-out space feel like your own private boutique hotel suite. Nothing was formal, and I think that was important.

Nobody has done a full-on restoration yet. I have to say, I love Pam's blog but the whole Retro Renovation aesthetic is not mine. I find some of that stuff cute, but seeing young couples ecstatic because they find "time capsule" houses with all the contents from 1966 totally mystifies me. Yet, I am happy to peruse recreated A&C or Deco or Victorian spaces. A generational thing, I think.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 10:43PM
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I was going back and forth about doing a time capsule restoration since these houses can take an update--they are so vernacular.

One thing that I thought might interest people is the evolution of the Levitt houses in various areas. The Pennsylvania Levittown has many houses that maintain the original exterior. However, the suburb has really fallen on the socioeconomic scale, and it is literally a moving up or out area for people who live in depressed or dangerous urban areas now. At least one of the Country Clubbers I show above is in default. Willingboro NJ seems to be in the same boat. I don't know about Belair, MD. Those houses seem pretty well kept.

The Levittown LI is completely different. The house values are so high in the greater metropolitan area that people stay in these houses and change them, or buy them and remodel them extensively. As so:

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Oh that last house/kitchen, I can't help but picture Doris Day, with a perky bow in her hair and a fancy apron on about to walk out of the kitchen with cocktails. And Bing Crosby's sitting in the living room, reading a newspaper and smoking a pipe.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Did some business on LI have a sale on gable-topped Palladian windows?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:39AM
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I live in an early 50's ranch tract home and I think that blue house is in my neighborhoood. Mine doesn't have a whole lot more character... As such, I am following this thread avidly.

Marcolo, I'm curious about your comment that subways would be out of place in one of these houses. Can you elaborate?

My house totally lacks inherent character, except for the french doors separating the LR area from the 'den' which used to be the garage. It's really feeling like you could go anywhere in here, as long as you did consistently throughout given the square footage is so minimum. It is such a blank slate.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:29AM
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Steph2000, if you were buying a 1920 house in 1960, and had the money, you were ripping out that ugly old white tile as fast as you could, and maybe putting in a nice lavender or some patterned wallpaper. "Classic" was the last thing on your mind.

Subways in glass or some other modern material are OK. White in a stained kitchen are getting a little sketch but the whole thing should look cohesively contemporary. White subways and white cabs and the whole OTK kit--instant Disneyland. It's like driving to an Olive Garden and trying to get yourself to believe there's a real Tuscan courtyard in a shopping mall in Paramus.

Some of these houses can possibly be "made into" something else, like a Cape or cottage, but you have to do it consistently throughout the entire interior and exterior, and that means spending money on architecture. Otherwise, you can just revel in the freedom to go in almost any direction, as long as you maintain the same level of modesty and very restrained ornament.

If I owned that blue house up top, I would do either one of two things. Spend bucks on the outside to make it completely something else (which could be odd in the neighborhood.) Or go warm modern, keying off from those Le Corbusier-styled window strips but maybe doing a boutique hotel-ish kind of spin.

When I was touring houses in Lauderdale, you could see what kinds of updates worked and what didn't. Some turned out cottagey and that was fine because they weren't overly fussy. A lot were low-key Spanish, and those worked with the stucco and tile roofs and weren't overdone. Many went mod with a bit of pretty, and those felt very comfortable. A few, however, were frosted with big plastic colonial-style crown molding, and those looked ludicrous.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 9:14AM
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I see that Marcolo already answered the question while I was thinking what I wanted to say, but I will elaborate from my own point of view.

In my opinion the postwar house, up until maybe until about 1980-- represents the last era of something "new" when it comes to residential architecture. After 1980 when sizes took off, even though the layout was an expansion on these modern houses, the detailing turned revival, taking on the form of various historical styles depending upon regional tastes.

From the 1920s when subway tile was supplanted by square tiles until the 1990s it was difficult to even find subway tile for the residential market. So, it has a hard time being "correct" in a house from this period that still looks like a house from this period. It wasn't available during the period, so it wouldn't have been used by someone who had old fashioned taste. It would clearly have been added much later. Why is this a problem, since "updating" is a natural progression? Mostly because subway was revived as a "historical" style, so it takes the house backward in time.

However, when subway started to appear again, mostly in This century, it started to be used more freely. So it may look better in a house that was built from sometimes in the 1990s on, simply because we know that it was available.

But Marcolo is right, it is not really a natural progression to put older style materials into a house that is clearly a newer style. Until recently at least, that was something that was vary rarely done. The exception is the occasional full house remodel that's done to turn the entire house into something else--but this is a commitment to the house...not just one room.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Re. the subways -- I completely understand what Pal and Marcolo are saying, but I have a little different take on it. We put white subways in our bathroom when we had to gut it two summers ago. (1940s house.) It looks nothing like a 1940s bathroom would look, but it doesn't look like a 1920s bathroom either. It looks like a 2010 bathroom. (That's even with the b&w tile floor in the same pattern as the original.) And the people down the road whose kitchen has a travertine backsplash and tan granite and raised panel cab doors -- that kitchen isn't 1940s either, it looks like early 2000s. That's what's so open-ended about this Design Around, I think. These houses in real life, at least the ones I know, aren't time capsules at all. They are timelines instead, and they show the effects of renovations through the decades, and you can watch how trends changed as you walk through them. So if you are OK with this idea and if you think of subway tile not as a 1920-throwback but as a legitimate 2000s design trend, then there would be no problem putting it in a midcentury kitchen. It would belong in that house just as much as glass tile or travertine would: it would reflect the design trend at the time the renovation was done, and that's exactly how these houses are in real life.

This is assuming one can think of white subways as a 2000s design element and not simply as a vintage-wannabe thing. I am not trying to defend my white subway bathroom (honestly I had not thought much about tile history when I chose it) -- but by the time something is so readily available at the home centers as to almost be the default option, I think it can rate as contemporary design. And yes, probably there is nothing new under the sun right now and everything is borrowed from older styles.

I have gone on too long but I will note that we did make a conscious decision not to use anything that we considered "fancy" in the bathroom, because the house is so modest in style. So while I agree that a truly vintage 1920s kitchen wouldn't look right, I agree even more that a reasonably simple style (of whichever decade) WOULD fit in these houses.

I am really enjoying these Design Around threads! Learning a lot, because what I see available is what's in the home stores as I said... if you want something different, you have to really know what it is you are after and be willing to spend more time (+/- money) searching.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:18AM
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If your house is fairly traditional, that's okay, especially since you did a 2000s bath. That is using them as a natural progression rather than trying to create something that is essentially a bath that predates the house. I think modesty is the key word, here, since that is the context of the house.

I think the disconnect comes when specific interior aspects start to get more elaborate than the rest of the house as a whole. Not, so much, a when a specific tile shape is used. But sometimes the "subway tile" connotes a whole "look".

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Alvin and Alice are in their mid-sixties. They've recently treated themselves to a long-overdue kitchen update in the house they've owned for thirty years. They're still adjusting to the idea of retirement (and not having steady paychecks) so tried to watch costs. Alice is a gardener, and enjoys the glimpse of her flower beds in the front yard through the window over the sink.

Alice chose the beaded detail in her new maple cabinets because she thought it looked traditional and modern at the same time. Dove White cabinets to the 8' ceiling helped the room feel taller, and glass fronts on the uppers helped the small room feel larger. The original oak floors were refinished with a natural finish to lighten up the color.

Alvin thought a backsplash of Home Depot embossed tin-look tiles would help bounce light around the dark room. Those were too country for Alice; she wanted something more subtle. The leaf-patterned Chemetal metal laminate backsplash she chose gave the kitchen a more modern feel, and tied in Alice's love of plants. Alice thought the softly reflective backsplash matched the satiny silver stripes in the upholstered dining chairs from Target. The Chemetal laminate wasn't inexpensive, but they didn't need much for the small kitchen, and they found the labor to install it cost less than the labor for a glass tile backsplash.

Alice found a New Hampshire artist on the internet who made tiles from the impressions of real leaves, and she purchased enough for a small focal point over the new LG electric stove. Her contractor separated the leaf mosaic from the laminate backsplash by framing it with 2" white square tiles, to match the cabinets.

Alice liked the contrast provided by the dark legs of her new chairs, and decided to use bronze pulls and bronze lighting to add a few more dashes of dark contrast.

A new Silgranit sink in Metallic Gray was a welcome change from her old white porcelain sink, undermounted in Olivite Corian countertops (in her favorite color, green.) The soft green braided rug brought back memories of the braided rugs she had helped her mother make when she was young.

Chemetal Champagne Leaf metallic laminate backsplash
Stoneware leaf tiles, $15-20 each, Jeanette Dubela,
Olivine Corian countertops
Kraftmaid Square Beaded Cabinets, Dove White
30" freestanding LG electric range from Home Depot $764
Avington Parsons Chairs, Target, two for $140
Leksvik dining table, Ikea, $300
Smithfield Green Indoor/Outdoor braided rug, $169
Soho Moments Green New Zealand wool rug,
Seagull Lighting 3-Light Windgate Heirloom bronze chandelier, Lowes, $63
BlancoDiamond Silgranite undermount single bowl sink, Metallic Gray, $372
Delta Savile pull-down faucet, Lowes, $198
Bronze bar pulls, eBay, $5 each
Benchmark woven fabric wallcovering (paint in a similar color would cost less)
Denby Pottery, Chevron pattern, Gill Pemberton, designed in 1962

I think these materials work OK together, but I'm now questioning my metal laminate backsplash choice. The backsplash drove the theme, but it's clearly not a nod to the date of the house. Does it seem too far a stretch to reach for a material that new, in a house of this age, if you're not taking the home in a clearly modern direction? Does the Chemetal backsplash seem a little incongruent with the other more traditional choices, in this kitchen/house? (The scale of the leaf pattern in the laminate would actually be smaller and more subtle than shown in my mockup.) I dunno.

The house photo I snagged is a 4/3 house for sale in Levittown, NY. It's described as a no-frills tract house built in 1958, not sure it's quite on target (?) but I needed something with a garden for Alice.

This thread has taken more thinking, and I appreciate all the helpful info posted.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Thanks so much for the education. I don't want to derail the thread, but do appreciate how much this pertains to my own upcoming decisions. Do know I am soaking everything from this thread and finding it very helpful as an antidote from being swayed by trends in a way that I will regret later (which is one of my fears in this process).

We did just wrap the exterior envelope in a new material and change out windows/doors last Summer. Without a lot of consideration to historical/neighborhood alignment, in retrospect. And we are going to be redoing the DR, LR and den when we do the kitchen, so now I am thinking that it might make sense to include a summary of that when seeking input from the board when I post for help. My taste is dangerously eclectic, which is another risk factor. Especially now that we are tearing down walls and opening the tiny house up. I really want the final outcome to flow and make sense, even though I doubt many who will ever see this house will know enough about design to care if a tile makes historical sense and I'm pretty sure this house never had tile at all as it would have been considered a major upgrade.

Sometimes I wish I could hire one of you as a private consultant.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:11PM
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I will come back with more systematic comments sometime (and my own designs, which I am plugging away on but struggling with time availability and the open-endedness of it). But I did want to jump in and say...

Mudhouse, I really like the muted greens in that kitchen, especially the chair upholstery and the rug. I really like the whole thing. I do think that, of all the elements, the backsplash works least well (not badly, but I think something else would be better). I had something similar happen to me in the last thread where I designed everything around a fabric, but in the end the mood board was improved whe I replaced it. Strange, that.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Thanks cawaps, I am tending to agree. Maybe that metallic leaf laminate would work better in a more spare, modern design with more blacks/neutrals.

Odd how these boards can sometimes come just go charging off in a direction I don't anticipate. The open-endedness of this challenge was a little hard for me.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Does it seem too far a stretch to reach for a material that new, in a house of this age, if you're not taking the home in a clearly modern direction? Does the Chemetal backsplash seem a little incongruent with the other more traditional choices, in this kitchen/house?

I think these houses work great with contemporary materials. I'd keep the BS and swap out a few of the frillier elements like the chandelier and that wreath.

Part of your problem is the house you picked. Maybe it is a '60s tract home, but doesn't look like one to me at all. It's a Cape, and if I had to guess I'd say it was built earlier than the '60s and is much more true to authentic historical Cape style. So in a Cape, some of your more country choices would work fine, but if that's a real '60s tract house, up close and in person it would be obvious that it's something else.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Thanks Marcolo. I have never been clear about many of the identifying factors of various home ages/types, and now I'm starting to get a better handle on the differences.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Here's another house in a Brown & Kaufman neighborhood, built in 1958 but I think it qualifies as a tract house. Note the signature grill in the kitchen. This listing says the kitchen is original, but to me it looks like an 80s update. What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Original kitchen offers opportunity for buyer to create dream kitchen

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 3:05PM
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This is actually very close to the project we're planning - our house is a ranch built in 1952.

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- lyptus cabinet doors and BM White Dove painted cabinet frames
- stainless steel counters with integrated sink at perimeter
- quartzite counters at the island and bar
- ceramic mosaic in natural greens - either small subway or better yet, mixed 4 x 4 in running bond
- marmoleum floors in striato in Withered Prairie
- reclaimed farmhouse table and Wegner wishbone chairs (which I know I can't have/afford, but it's what I wish I could have!)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Marcolo that is actually "the" tract home of the Northeast, or one of them, one of Levitt's original Long Island Levittown offerings. The exterior soon morphed into various offerings, but this was the original concept

Annkathryn, I like your house better than the second one you posted. I agree, those cabinets don't look original, particularly given the spare, paneled wall on the flipside. But I think the Footprint is original.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 5:52PM
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There are VERY few of these left in original condition because they are So small that they really don't have enough room for the modern family. The attic came unfinished.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Apparently there is exactly ONE entirely unchanged house like this in All of Levittown, LI.

Marcolo Is correct about the age however, the house you selected is 1948 and there were huge leaps in size and amenities in the intervening decade +.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Annkathryn's post reminds me of something I wanted to mention. While these houses are often quite modest, that's not the same as cheap. Due to the "location, location, location" mantra, some of these homes can be really expensive (annkathryn's, in the Silicon Valley. was priced at $888,888).

Just something to think about in terms of budgets.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Here's the gist for those wanting to skip the story: Phoenix tract house with kitchen redone for coolness and cheapness.

While Dorothy and Tom were enjoying their retirement mountain house with the animal print Saltillo floor tile, they were getting restless when it was below zero but not enough snow to ski either. Soon they were reminiscing about their college days in Phoenix and Tom thought maybe buying a tiny old house could be done even on their fixed income, given the horrendous nature of the housing market there. By the time all was said and done, it ws August and they were now the proud owners of one of the original 1960s Phase 1 houses in the Sun City AZ "retirement community".

They knew they wanted to update some of the rooms, particularly the kitchen, but the budget they spent on their mountain house was a far cry from what they could spend here. As they left their mountain in August on a cool 70 degree morning, they started discussing what to do and how to do it on the cheap. When they arrived at their low desert destination, they staggered through the 120 degree heat into the house, flopped onto the folding chairs they'd brought, and decided one thing: this house was going to look and feel cool; the antithesis of their mountain home.

They did almost all of the work themselves and hired Starving Students a few days to help with the heavy lifting. The cabs, pulls, shelves, and backsplash (several glass noticeboards) came from Ikea. The sink-side backsplash windows were definitely hired out but helped bring much needed light into the room and the sink was a splurge too. The full-depth apron sink and freestanding range meant they didn't need counter cutouts, just squares. The prefab granite they had cut to their measurements and the Students help with the install. The granite felt great when coming in from the heat outside.

Dorothy was glad they found an induction range at a scratch and dent sale since induction would help keep the heat down while cooking. She liked how the wall color showed through the backsplash--easy to change if she ever wanted to (sorry I couldn't make the "glass" transparent!).

The dining table was the last splurge and even came with the green apples (just seeing if you're still awake...).

*cabs Ikea Ramsjo $88 but they're not very wide. I thought I had seen wider Ikea drawers but I couldn't find them
*prefab granite $3sqft plus $10 per cut ~3 cuts
*Kohler sink and faucet $2k
*vinyl plank laminate floor $3sqft
*induction range $1800
*hood Ouch I'm sure this was spendy too
*lights $48 each
*chandalier $221
*table $1700?? can't remember it or chairs
*shelves Ikea Ekby Gruven $40
*pulls Ikea Tag $5/2pack (rounded to not catch on clothes or people)
*backsplash Ikea Kludd noticeboard $20 each
*and fridge DW etc

I thought I had done pretty well on keeping costs low but now looking at the list, I think not so much. Well, good thing this is all make believe and I have lots of time to plan for the real deal!

as usual the DAT thread is great!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Ok. Here's my first attempt at a DAT. I'm not sure if it is right and I don't think it's a kitchen I'd like to live in, but here goes...

The house was built in 1960:

The couple moves in and needs to gut the kitchen but decides they want to stay true to the style of the times. They get ahold of a Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book from 1960 and find these inspiration pics:

And they decide to try to modernize some elements but do a take-off on those ideas. This is what they come up with:

Copper sink and range hood
Pegboard backsplash
Acid washed concrete floor
Glass countertops
Green glass jar pendants

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 9:44PM
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How fun that you went with a backsplash window and IKEA cabinets in one of these houses, mtnfever, given we just put in that BS window and are considering IKEA! In fact, we went down to Seattle for an "IKEAN Christmas" to check it out. 4 times to IKEA in 3 days was a trip - and managed to wear my partner out like plane rides, casinos and late nights in the city are apparently incapable of doing! I'm sort of continually wondering what to do with the other wall of BS, so it's gratifying to see what someone else might do.

On the other side of the cost continum, I'm always intrigued by Marcolo's Crowne Point cabinets, but I can't work with that little arch along the bottom of the uppers. It is just too similar to what we have now - and doesn't play nice with the BS window. I like the little feet on the lowers.

There's a lot to like about all the kitchens here.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Steph2000, I don't think you should worry about your comments derailing the thread at all. I find it helpful to hear from folks who own houses of this period, as I try to get a better handle on the topic.

There are no 60's tract homes in my city (which isn't huge) but I did find one small area of 50's tract homes. I think some southwestern 60's tract homes may look very different from the 60's tract homes shown as examples here. That may have been throwing me a bit; I found info today on a wide range of 60's tract homes in Phoenix, constructed largely from concrete block, and that seemed more familiar to me. It has taken me a while to "get" this thread.

Marcolo, the Crown Point Traditional cabinets in your board seem to fit perfectly. That would be a very happy and pretty kitchen to work in, and it would be a lot of fun to accessorize with colorful dishes.

Sochi, yours also is very cheerful. I don't think your boards all look the same. They do all have a sense of fun color, drama and energy that I admire a lot.

Pal, your lavender kitchen uses one of my favorite colors (where is Lavender Lass?) I'm not sure why people don't use this color more often. I painted a closet dresser this color, and half of my family fainted in shock. I think it would be a pleasing surprise to go through the door of the modest blue house and find this level of simple elegance (I think that house needs your help on the outside too.)

Your Levittown Country Clubber seemed so appropriate to the house, I felt guilty about not trying harder to mesh my own board with the period. Once again you're able to assemble the feeling of a period while using modern materials (reminds me of your retro pink kitchen, accomplished by using all currently available materials.) I think I'd like the coppery metallic tones inside.

The remodeled Levittown houses with the gables and palladian windows seem sort of cartoony to me, I keep thinking the house fronts look startled (maybe it's the raised eyebrow effect.)

Melissastar, me too, I stay up way too late since these threads started. I like your sage green and red combo, I could totally live there. It does look very right for a young family, to me.

Mtnfever, your Spanish revival and southwest style is strong where I live, so these colors and materials are familiar. I think your materials acknowledge the style well, without clubbing people over the head with it. (I get kinda tired of seeing really obvious Spanish choices here.) It feels bright and modern and fitting to the house.

I can also relate to your thinking about the desert heat when designing the Sun City home. (My grandparents lived in Sun City briefly, left because they said there were too many old people.) I find myself wanting cool, light colored materials in our home too. Also can't help realizing that the smooth modern materials you chose would be practical for dealing with the tons of desert dust that are part of my reality, although that may not have been your intent!

Youngdeb, I really hope you'll post pics of your upcoming project for your 1952 ranch, when you tackle it. I think the stainless countertop coupled with wood doors and painted cabinet frames would be very striking, I'd love to see this board in real life. My mother has wonderful bedroom furniture from the sixties, painted white dresser drawer fronts against dark stained wood cases, and it's very distinctive.

Beaglesdoitbetter, so glad to see you do a board here! I like the strong modern tone the glass countertop brings, in contrast to the retro feel of the turquoise cabinets. As a fan of simple honest stuff I also like the pegboard wall. Lots of blues there, and I know they would have to be managed carefully in real life. But then again I know you would fine tune them perfectly (I've seen the photos of your real life kitchen with your fearless love of wonderful blue.)

As always I feel like I'm learning, so thanks to all for participating.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:56AM
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I like all of these.

If someone is sitting back and thinking that these are looking kind of plain, I'd like to address that. I've noticed that if you take the fabrics (and some accessories as shown) out of Marcolo's, Sochi's, Melissastar's, and Mudhouse's you end up with rather limited palettes which are similar to Mtnfever's second one and mine. Melissastar does include red, but change the fixture and fridge and that color could be anything.-- And I think this can be a good thing. Youngdeb is the only one who tried a full, multicolor, cemented in place element--and that works too, but it is a different, and in some ways, more committed (albeit to many colors) approach.

Mtnfever's first, and Beagle's are the two that stand out to me as committing to fuller more saturated color across the palette, even though still a limited palette. I think a limited palette that is interesting is harder to pull off than a wider palette. I think the boards are getting better because people are moving away from creating boards that were visually arresting because of everything that was happening and moving Toward making kitchens that would work better in real life. And, maybe, moving away from all-transitional-all-the-time to something more committed to a cohesive design style.

Beagle, I am particularly interested in yours (as I am your own really Baroque or high Rococo kitchen). You took a distinctive 60s palette and reworked it in a very modern way. I am not sure I could live with it, completely, but that's way beside the point. I think it's a good, strong concept.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:29AM
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What if you want the "One True Kitchen" or the "Something's Got to Give" kitchen, and the essence of your house is still slab doors and ranch or clamshell moldings, and that is something that will not be changed?

Do you go for it and have a kitchen that is a stand-alone design element? Do you abandon that idea and start looking at Pam's RetroRenovation website and seeing if you can embrace mid-century?

I tried to put together a kitchen that riffs on the OTK, SGTG design that could both give you a version of that modern classic and do your house a favor by fitting in.

Daltile Pepper White (the black speckles)
Cambria Sharpham quartz (reminds me of the 60s cultured marble)
St Charles Cabinets and Viking range (same company so can color-match)
Wood floors (not a mid-century thing in kitchens but a nod to 2012)
FB Parma Gray Wallcolor
The MCM version of the lantern or bell-jar fixture
Paul Mccobb table and chairs
An Italian still life (Natura Morta) and commode, just because I liked them.
The fixture and the commode in particular nod to the Hollywood Regency style of the period.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:58AM
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These are great! As someone who lives in a 60's tract home, I had to join in this one and show you what we've actually done. There are 1,400 homes built from late 50's to late 60's, varied styles from small single-floor plan ranch like ours, larger single-floor plan ranches, small ranches with walk-out basements, tons of split-levels (three levels: basement/FR, living/kitchen, then BR's), some two-story colonials, and a few that have more MCM influence.

As my "neighbor" Northcarolina said, overall it's a moderate neighborhood (lol, definitely not Long Island property values), so the materials generally reflect that. Yes, we have a Big Chill fridge, but we joke we are probably the most modest home they've ever delivered. Mtnfever, we even have a Samsung induction range floor model from the scratch-n-dent area. It was too great of a deal to pass up. Because we are one of the homes with no basement, we have to deal with laundry in the kitchen until we can maybe someday renovate and take care of that. The granite folks built up a cabinet around the washer to put extra counterspace. No plans to move. Total square footage is just under 1,200. The blue floor was existing by PO's. Who puts white grout in a kitchen? Oh well, Stanley Steemer does an excellent job to clean and seal it.

Despite the trees, we get excellent natural light in the kitchen and LR especially.

Cabinets: existing, previously painted, now BM Chantilly Lace
Paneling: previously painted, now BM White Heron
Hardware: Ikea Gravyr
Counters: Blue Pearl Granite
Backsplash: American Olean Ocean Blues (Lowe's)
DW: LG 6920ST
Range: Samsung Induction, floor model
Fridge: Big Chill in Beach Blue, were able to use EnergyStar rebate for appliances
Lighting: Lowe's
Pot rack: Enclume crown from Williams-Sonoma
Faucet: Delta Saxony
Dining: vintage Heywood-Wakefield from eBay
Kitchenaid Artisan mixer in Ice (2011 Christmas gift)

Exterior, on a rare Christmas Day snow from 2010:

Fabric to recover chairs

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:23AM
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I've seen some of these pictures before, but thanks for sharing your real-life version of an updated kitchen that fits in a mid-century house.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:03AM
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My parents' house is not exactly a tract house, but it was modified and built from a common plan from the mid-60s. The inside is much more finished and detailed than typical but the footprint is the same.

The kitchen had the same white cabinets as now, with black hardware, pale green "Irish Linen"Formica, a white brick Amtico floor, and white wallpaper with black outlines of flowers. The 1969 original would be much more current today than its 1987 updates are.

So, I decided to see if I could do an updated version with current materials and take it back to its roots, without replicating it with vintage pieces.

Back with details later, someone is here to look at the apartment.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Laminate: "Tropical Getaway" from Pionite or Nevamar to replace Irish Linen (which they should still make)
Quartz: Cambria Windermere
Plain and Fancy cabinets.
Bertazzoni Range: the originals are a Chambers SS cooktop and White GE wall ovens (still there) that are heavy on the chrome accents
Amtico "Sedimentary Stone" vinyl, laid parquet, like the original "brick"
Wallpaper from Interwall: very similar to the large-scale original
Visual comfort "Eugene" replacing the original tole-shaded fixture, which was black picked out in white.
Room and Board Soren chair and Prouve Gueridon table replacing the original tavern table and captain's chairs
There was a oil still life of vegetables like this
Modern black pull to replace the original Amerock "Iron" pull
Amerock basics black knob because sometimes you can't improve on the original.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 2:10PM
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I've been working on this one off and on for a few days and I'm not satisfied...not even sure if it works at all. So I thought I'd throw it out there and see if others with a better eye than eye can figure out what it needs, or what works about it and what doesn't.

I started on it because I really loved the alehouse vertrazzo countertop and when I showed it to my son, he thought having a countertop made of recycled beer bottles was too cool for words.

So my theoretical owner is a single young man, in his late 20s. Works in Silicon Valley (or Idaho or Seattle area) or anyplace else where at 28 or so, he earns a good enough living in technology to buy a home and remodel it. He's old enough and mature enough to no longer want to live frat-house-style, knows a home is a good long-term investment, and wants a place that he wouldn't be ashamed to show a girlfriend. But he's still young enough to be in the fruit-and-nut-gathering stage of life and prefers beer, pizza and sports to fine dining and the theater.

His modest ranch probably looks something like this:

Sorry, can't figure out how to get rid of this big white space.

His kitchen has cherry cabinets, no uppers...just two heavy shelves where what he uses frequently and looks decent resides. He eats most meals sitting at a countertop and the dining area, which is open to the kitchen, houses a table and chairs more suited to poker than dining.

Counter and backsplash are both Vertrazzo alehouse. Sink is silgranit, biscuit colored, with a Blanco faucet. Appliances would be GE, biscuit colored, to keep the room from getting too dark. The lighting pendant is from Barn Light Electric, the large Bond. Industrial-style stool is from Crate and Barrel. Floor is green rusty slate. Dining area is where I really couldn't get it to come together. Couldn't decide if the floor should be oak or continue the slate. Am not happy with the table or chairs, but gave up finding better. I do like the wine bottle chandelier.

I was aiming for a contemporary look, with a rustic/industrial spin that I thought would appeal to a young man, and a color palette that was sufficiently masculine, without going all black leathery or lumberjack.

And I could not find anything resembling the kind of rug I was looking for...rust/greens with a touch of purple like in the Leroy Neiman print, called the Hustler.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 8:04PM
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I wanted to do a low budget kitchen using some of the currently unpopular but then state-of-the-art material. I was also inspired by my mom's kitchen of my childhood, which was predominantly yellow and white, with yellow cabs, a white patterned Formica counter, and a whitish linoleum floor with speckles of other colors.

Because I didn't know of any source of stock yellow cabinets and I was trying to keep the budget down, I went with white cabinets from Ikea. The floor is a speckled predominantly white Marmoleum. Of course, my mom didn't have a full backsplash, just 4 inches of counter material and painted walls. This is where I picked up the yellow, with laminate. The counter is one of Wilsonart's special order laminates, with coffee beans. I picked up the coffee theme with the wall art, and the counter color in the dining table and chairs, both from Ikea.

My mother had coppertone appliances, which pretty much can't be had today (although I did find a range on EBay). The closest modern appliances were out of my hypothetical budget, so I went with low-cost white ones.

In terms of a home, I was thinking of a ranch.

Bjursta Dining Table in brown-black (Ikea)
Henrikdal Dining Chair in brown-black (Ikea)
Applad cabinets, white (Ikea)
Frigidaire refrigerator (AJ Madison)
GE range (AJ Madison)
Air King range hood (Sears)
Counter is Coffee Beans laminate from Wilsonart (special order)
Backsplash is Wilsonart laminate "Sweet Corn"
Floor is Marmoleum Scrabble
Pastel Augusta Counter Stool (Lamps Plus)
Hardware is Amerock Revitalize Collection
Poster is by Kate Ward Thacker from AllPosters.Com

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 9:19PM
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The Martha Stewart cabinets at Home Depot come in a Heavy Cream, which looks pale yellow to me. There is also a color called Fortune Cookie which looks Peach on my monitor so I could be way off.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 9:30PM
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pal, I like pretty much all of your designs in this thread, but the Italian pieces violates the OTK rules. Too much color and character. I think a real OTK devotee wants the virginal white princess bridal dress experience.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Marcolo Crown Point Transitional--This is a very fun, pleasant kitchen. I love the wall color.

Sochi green/orange--I love the fabric. It reminds me a lot of my mom's decorating choices from when I was a kid, which means it's pretty much spot on for the era.

Palimpsest lavender--I found this one to be very relaxing. I especially like the chairs and lighting fixture.

Melissastar butterfly--I love the muted greens with the bright reds. I love Vetrazzo and the Hollywood sage works beautifully here.

Mtnfever Spanish revival--I think the palette works very well together. I think that you did a good job of getting the right amount of Spanish revival feel without being too much for the house.

Palimpsest correlated neutrals--You did a great job of mixing neutrals here, and the design really evoked the 60s for me (especially the drapes and the backsplash, that somehow reminded me of a leisure suit). My problem with this one is that you did such a good a job evoking a genuine 60s feel that it brought brought up some of my personal baggage about 60s design.

Youngdeb--I love those wishbone chairs, too. I like the color combinations. I like the orange mixed into the green backsplash, but it sounded from you description like you were going for a straight green?

Mtnfever Sun City--Barring one or two items, you did a nice job of sticking to a budget. I think this kitchen would be very appealing to a lot of people right now. The flip side of that is that I didn't see you taking any risks with this design.

Beaglesdoitbetter--Congrats on your first DAT moodboard. You did a great job of putting together something that echoed you inspiration pics. I love the mix of materials--glass, copper, concrete.

Palimpsest OTK--White appliances? In the OTK? Gasp! It's funny, the first time I looked at this one, I didn't see the OTK at all, and I think the white range is one of the reasons. The commode is the other--way too flashy for the OTK. I like it, but as some people have commented about the OTK, I find it a bit cold.

Gsciencechick--I like the vibe of your kitchen with the Big Chill fridge. Your cabs remind me of my mom's.

Palimpsest Irish Linen--I love the greens and the large scale wallpaper. It's a happy kitchen.

Melissastar beer kitchen--I've already said I love Vetrazzo, and you did a great job of bringing out the alehouse in the Alehouse Amber. I like the kitchen and don't have any great recommendations for the dining area. The chair makes me think of something you'd find in an upscale bar. Suits your guy, but not really practical for a dining chair, I think.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 2:43AM
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I've started perusing GW again after not logging in for a few months, and I just wanted to say that I find all the DAT threads extremely interesting. I feel like I am getting a design class in every one! I especially like the examples of how to do combined neutrals well, and the discussion of design era when choosing materials. Anyway, one of these days I might get the nerve to do a board for a DAT, but in the meantime, I just wanted to thank all the contributors for the education and the eye candy!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I put in the Swedish chest because I thought it was cold without, so I understand. But that shows the power of one piece. The kitchen without it is pretty OTK--the reason I used a white range is because of the potential for exact color matching since they are both Viking companies.

Its funny because the Irish Linen kitchen is Very White. And the original Irish Linen laminate is at the light end of the countertop color. About the saturation of the floor tile, but green instead of gray. It's not cold as some near white kitchens because of the wallpaper. And some people look at all white as "crisp" rather than "cold".

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Cawaps, BTW, I did order that swatch of fabric from your DAT Animal prints creation, but DH feels it's too much floral. I'm happy with the fabric I found, though. Just need to find the time to do it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Pal, I really like the board styled after your parent's kitchen. I started out with the Pionite "Tropical Getaway" in a board I"m still working on. I think it would be beautiful with the Cambria Windermere. I also really like the updated chairs and table, with the large scale wallpaper. I like it all.

I thought the exercise you did for the OTK or SGTG kitchen worked, but that style is just too formal for me personally, no matter how hard I try. I can admire it but it makes me feel uncomfortable, if I try to imagine living in one. I do like the painting and the Swedish chest, even though they are also formal; they are visually interesting.

Melissastar, I thought your second board worked really well. Loved the slate floor with the cabinets and Vertrazzo alehouse counters, and I think you achieved your goal of arriving at a kitchen that would be very appealing to young men (and to me too!) I agree a less "barrel-y" chair might work better as a dining chair, but I'd keep the table myself (the heavy steel base is right up my alley.) I also think it works great with your hardware, stool, and faucet choices.

Cawaps I liked the coffee theme and your choices of materials. I think it works (unground beans on the counter, and ground beans on the floor!) I'm also noticing how much I like the kitchens in this thread that seem to have a sense of informal fun, like yours, Marcolo's, Melissastar's, Sochi's, and Gsciencechick's real kitchen. I am visualizing all of these kitchens as small spaces, so is that why fun, less formal themes seem so appropriate? Not sure.

Now I wish I hadn't made the owner of my soft green kitchen above such a stuffy old fussbudget.

Gsciencechick, thanks so much for posting your pics. Looks to me like a space that works well and would be really pleasing to live in. I keep noticing too how the inclusion of the Big Chill appliances seems to make the space...happy, with a sense of humor. I have some of the same materials in my own 60's house (painted cabinets, painted paneling) but the exterior of houses like yours is very different from what I see in my part of the country, so it's great to see the real deal and be able to peek inside. We haven't done a thing to ours yet, so it's encouraging to see what others have done. I bet the Blue Pearl granite is really beautiful with the light on it.

Sharonite, I feel the same way, each of these threads teaches me things I knew nothing about before. I hope you'll jump in one of these days, it's a lot of fun. All you need is a starting point, and you'll see how addicting it is.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 1:22PM
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This thread could use a couple of posts in a "This, not That" format to show how you can execute the OTK, or any style, really, in a way that fits the house better and will date more slowly.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 1:52PM
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Re: the Swedish Chest, I like to do this type of thing in real life if I can sell the idea. This client went for it. The rest of the furnishings are very simple modern pieces and the apartment is an envelope of off-white walls, floor to ceiling wall to wall off-white drapes and a near off-white floor. He does have some elaborate art and artifacts, though.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Mudhouse, I compliment you again. I like your choices.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Not trying to rush anyone, but just curious as to what's up for the next thread. I'm going to try to figure out this 'mood board' but it may take a while! LOL I thought it might be better to just start on the next project :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Thank you florantha.

Pal, thanks, now I better understand how you might use the items like the chest as focal points (in this thread and in previous ones as well.) I like the idea of keeping an easy-to-live-with palette that allows a few very special pieces to really shine.

I have one more I'll post shortly, just finishing up.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I'm also thinking about the next DAT (I have another mood board for this one, but haven't posted because I am ambivalent about it; I'll probably post it anyway).

I've been thinking about Lavender's French country, and also about the modern rustic proposal (it has come up in a couple of recent threads about people's real kitchens). There are others I want to do, but I don't see anyone on the board trying to figure out how to do Steampunk or Hollywood Regency in their own kitchens, so there's no rush to get to those.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I ended up working with a different kind of 60's tract home for this board. I know part of the challenge for this thread was the open-endedness of the design, and hopefully (?) these modern style tract homes aren't too design-specific to fit here. When I think of tract homes here in the southwest, I tend to think of squatty, one story stucco or concrete block structures, with flat or very low pitch rooflines. Kind of ugly, some of them, but the plain shapes do make a nice backdrop for the geometric shapes of the desert plants I like.

Paradise Gardens is a Phoenix subdivision, associated with the designer Al Beadle. The original tract was subdivided in 1958, and the first recorded sale was in 1960. The flat-roofed block construction homes were available in four basic plans: the Ocotillo, the Cholla, the Palo Verde, and the Saguaro. Phoenix was home to one of the largest manufacturers of concrete block in the country, and many of these homes feature exterior accent walls of decorative concrete block (which I really like.) Currently these homes are popular with rehabbers and designers. The original prices ranged around $17,000-$19,000. They seem to sell in the $350,000 to $500,000 range now (usually heavily remodeled.)

The home I used is a Saguaro model, and these photos are from 1961 (note the cool red car in the carport.) I circled the little U-shaped kitchen in red. The refrigerator is located on a wall directly across from the sink/window wall.

I thought the original kitchen shown in the photo above looked like a small brown cave. I wanted to keep it mostly intact, but make it light and bright. I thought the boxy shapes of these houses suggested blocks of color.

The lower cabinets are glossy pale blue laminate, and the uppers are aluminum framed with frosted glass. The counters began as Pionite "Tropical Getaway," but changed to the more vibrant Caesarstone Apple Martini. The speckled rubber tile floors were the only material I considered really retro. The lime green and pale blue glass accent tiles are 1" square, and the white wall tiles are 4" squares like those original to the kitchen.

Plumbing and window locations remained the same (a dishwasher could be added to the peninsula.) I removed the upper cabinets over the peninsula, but kept the uppers elsewhere. I sacrificed the small upper cabinets over the original cooktop, to gain the visual element of a range hood with tile backsplash. I gained cabinet space elsewhere by using a range with double ovens, eliminating any wall oven.

The vertical blocks of colored tiles are an attempt to offset the low kitchen ceiling (which I kept.) I hoped that making the blue and green color blocks asymmetrical would make it playful and interesting. A roman shade was more streamlined than drapes, and didn't obscure the window tile detail.

In the above board, the large blue and green squares (with the bar stools) is a bad attempt to show that the Apple Martini color wraps down the side of the peninsula, to make one more block of color on the end. The outside wall of the peninsula would be covered with a blue laminate to match the lower cabinets, and the Apple Green countertop would be extended far enough to provide enough leg room for two stools.

I added a deeper turquoise blue with accessories, the rug, and lighting. I wanted a third color to give the homeowners more to choose from as they furnished the adjacent living space. For example, a large gray carpet for flooring in the next room could provide a foundation for furnishings in turquoise/gray/white, or soft green/gray/white, or pale blue/gray/black, and so on. I thought the two-color bright lime green and pale blue scheme would be too restricting for the living area, so tried to provide an "escape route" to a wider range of complementary schemes.

Lower cabs: Holiday kitchens, Geneva door style, Honey Do Laminates
Upper cabs: Holiday kitchens, aluminum frame with frosted glass doors
Caesarstone Apple Martini countertop
Rubber speckled floor tiles by CityScape, Cool Wave
Wall tiles, any 4" white tile
Accent glass tiles, Susan Jablon, Pale Aqua Blue and Lime Green
Mini Echo Pendant,
Rug, Trans Ocean Seville Mosaic Stripes,
LG double oven range
Kitchenaid Architect Series French door refrigerator, white
Knoll Bertoia stool,
Blanco undermount white Super Single sink
Delta Saville Stainless faucet
Roman shade, Savannah lime green from eBay superdeals955
Hardware: Top Knobs brushed satin nickel, Asbury Collection
Paul Klee print, Friendly Game, 1933
Marimekko "Socks Rolled Down" dessert bowls

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 6:07PM
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That scheme works for me.

If the "budget" was high enough this may be one of the places to use the Walker Zanger or Ann Sacks tiles that are dimensional, or shaped (other than rectangular, there are cruciforms and such) to riff off the decorative concrete block.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Oh, I like that idea a lot, and never even considered it.

I like the decorative concrete blocks so much I even considered doing a veneer of them on the outside of the peninsula, painted (but the idea of bleeding kneecaps made me realize it was yet another wrong design turn.) :-)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 7:46PM
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I really like that too mudhouse. I personally don't care for little mosaic type tiles, but I like what you're proposing with the blue, green and white. I love the carports!

cawaps, your colours look pretty bang on for the era as well, although I would have preferred your original idea for yellow cabs. I wonder how much it costs to get IKEA cabs painted in a shop? I like the coffee beans, neat concept.

I've spent my spare time this last week considering lay outs for our one day reno of our master bathroom (see the bathroom forum if bathroom layout interests you. No comments on my lovely golden oak cabs please), so I didn't have time to do a second kitchen here. As for the next DAT, I'm all for rustic modern or French Country. I don't know much about French country, but I have a good source for inspiration pictures. And rustic modern is just fun.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 10:52PM
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The tract house I'm working with is pretty typical. Lots of windows. Little ornamentation. There are hardwoods throughout the home with narrow unpainted baseboards. There is no crown moulding in the house. The original wood slab doors and copper doorknobs are still in good shape. The living room has a classic 1960s asymmetrical pinkish brick fireplace.

Though most people would replace the slab doors, rip out the fireplace brick and slap some white crown moulding around all the rooms, the owners will leave these elements intact. They'd like a kitchen that "fits" the rest of the house, but they don't want it to look like the set of Mad Men.

Here's the mood of the house:

The remodelled kitchen will have frameless cabinets with oak slab doors. Counters will be silestone. The backsplash will be a warm grey 2x12 tile. The hardwood floors will continue from the rest of the house into the kitchen. The appliances will be white. (The higher-end glass front type that won't yellow.) Cabinet hardware will be copper.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 12:54AM
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mcmjilly, would you please tell me where you found the copper pull like that? I love that style but have not been able to find it in the bright copper that you found. thank you!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 10:27AM
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I like the horizontal oak, the copper, etc. I would be a bit afraid of the green wallcolor--that's not a color from my childhood that I embrace, much. But thats a matter of personal taste only.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Mudhouse- Love your color combination...very cheerful! :)

Sochi- You said something about the next DAT being Rustic Modern or French Country. What if we did both, or rather, a very open interpretation of rustic. I like the pink kitchen thread the best (so far) because it allowed everyone's imagination to really run wild. The only constraint was pink.

So, what if we did the same thing with Rustic? Any rustic kitchen, you just have to explain what type of rustic you're choosing. Rustic modern, rustic farmhouse, rustic lodge, rustic european country, etc. What do you all think? It might be fun to have a really broad topic, again :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Mudhouse: Love the colors and the color blocks in that last kitchen. It's the first contemporary kitchen I've seen that I could embrace. Others I have admired, but am not tempted to want to live in them.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 2:42PM
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So, what is next, do you think?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:57PM
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These are excellent, mudhouse and mcmjilly!

The Big Chill fridge makes me smile every day. :) We've had guests hug it. Even contractors like the Orkin man love it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Let's do French Country and put poor Lavender out of her misery. :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I'm okay with that. She has been very patient. I don't know anything about French Country, but I guess I'll be learning soon.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I appreciate you all offering to do French Country, which I love...but we could also do a rustic kitchen (as I suggested above) which could include French Country, as well as Rustic Modern, Rustic Lodge, Rustic Farmhouse, Rustic European Coutnry, etc. :)

What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 10:17PM
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I'm bumping this up, to get input from Pal and Marcolo (and others) on the next DAT :)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 2:16PM
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I'm okay with French Country, and am happy to see rustic interpretations of this, but I do want to keep rustic modern on its own if possible. Doesn't mean we can't do Euro Rustic Modern, etc., but I'd like to keep the modern in it if possible.

Another suggestions that we said we would consider soon-ish is the up-cycled kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Fine with French Country. I agree we shouldn't go too broad: we've already done Tuscan, which is another traditional rustic, and I agree that Modern Rustic gets into a whole 'nother genre.

Who wants to set it up? You can set a parameter or two if you want....

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Well, if you all want to do French Country, sounds good to me! LOL

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 3:39PM
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French country sounds good to me, too.

I think we should revive some of the rules, in shorter form maybe, and link to the sorta-FAQ for the benefit of new people who join in. In fact, there probably should be a sentence or two describing what the thread is for, i.e., not a finished kitchens or pure discussion post.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I can try to set it up over the next day or so, although I am pretty ignorant of French Country. Lavender, would you want to set it up?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Thanks, Sochi...but I haven't even figured out the mood board, yet. I have contractors out every day, working on my house. I've had time for a quick comment, here and there, but no time to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes.

Marcolo- Would you want to do it? That way you can clarify what the thread should be or not be. You did an excellent job, with the 1920s DAT :)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Marcolo has done a few I think. I will give it a try if no one objects (I'm a total novice with French country). I should have time to pull something together this weekend.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 8:37PM
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I don't think you have to know that much specifically about French Country. Just google some images. The parameters of the thread and any initial instructions would be similar regardless of the particular project.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 8:44PM
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After months away from GW I've been spending waaay too much time reading these old DAT threads. While I've enjoyed them all thus far, the ideas represented here were the ones I could most envision actually using in my own home (or a theoretical future home). Thanks to all the talented contributors for sharing!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 12:08PM
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