'traditionalizing' modern kitchen?

hil357March 17, 2013

Hi, am looking for any ideas you may have to make my fairly modern kitchen more traditional. The builder oak cabinets were stained a while ago and the backsplash more recently. We are now in the process of painting the island an off-white to lighten it up, as well as adding baseboards/molding and most importantly, island legs. I was thinking of converting a recessed light over the island into a hanging light - any suggestions/would that make it too busy? Other ideas? A kitchen re-do isn't in our budget right now so just making do with what we have. Thank you!

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More substantial crown molding, and a more traditional backsplash like a 6" square tile would go a long way to making the look more traditional. You may love the backsplash, but with the dark modern color of the cabinets, it's the #1 suspect in making the kitchen look modern and not traditional.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:59PM
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The island improvements will make it a pretty accent and lighten the look.
The window treatments look harsh, perhaps something softer that would combine with the light fixture.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:14PM
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What a lovely kitchen!!

I think you could do what you want with accessories.

Hang a few traditional plates on the wall space above the refrigerator.

If you don't want to add a lot of contrasting color, then ironstone would look very nice.

Add a fabric valance over your kitchen window. Consider adding a fabric treatment with a band to cinch it in the center on the french door to the mudroom entrance area.

If you like things shiny, but want more traditional, consider some silverplated trays, pitchers, and containers for utensils. They are very inexpensive at estate sales and antique mall/flea markets. They play nice with stainless, but can take the edge off.

Even the towel on the dishwasher. If you added something more traditional and less geometric/modern there, it give a place for another "necessary" item in a different tone.

I would absolutely not add in a bunch of visual clutter. Your backsplash is neutral in color, but has a lot of movement in it. But I think you would like some interesting places for the eye to rest as it travels around the room.

Consider moving the mixer and bread box to another space. In the corner where the mixer is, you might use a wrought iron plate holder to hold a small piece of art framed in a traditional way. This lets you change out things and move them around, without adding a lot of nail holes to the wall.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Fori is not pleased

You could put beadboard to match the island over some of the backsplash. The 'splash is the modern thing in there and it's quite nice but fighting against your goal.

I think a big ol' schoolhouse style fixture over the island (especially if it's in the middle of the room) would be really nice.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Thanks guys! These are exactly the suggestions I was looking for. I don't love the backsplash busy-ness (I do love the glass/stone mix), but it is what it is now so am going to work with it all! Great suggestions - I will start with the fabric valance and go from there. Still not sure about the island chandelier but maybe instead, I could do a pendant over the sink area...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Oh, and barstools! Currently we have dark wood ones (!)... am thinking a white wood or fabric would lighten that area up as well.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The backsplash is super modern, and if that's not the direction that you want to take the kitchen, then something more traditional like a subway or 4x4 etc. would have been a better choice. The color scheme of blacks greys and whites is also very modern and if you want to downplay that, then pick another color than white for the island. Not gray. You need to work some color into the mix. Maybe barn red? That's a traditional color, but it works with the darker cabinets and white woodwork. Changing the floor out to a wood or a wood look vinyl tile could also help to warm up the feel of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:46PM
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hollysprings... good idea! I like the different color island-will have to see what hubby thinks. Currently we have an off-white picked out which was really at the bottom of the 'pale yellow' card to give it less of that harsh black/white contrast. The floor is a great idea as well. We have hardwoods in the rest of the main floor, but haven't yet decided what to do w/ kitchen/laundry/mudroom area since we have a large dog who likes to drool/drip/track water.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Nice kitchen to work with and it looks pretty traditional to me, especially the cabinet profile. Only thing that stands out as contemporary is the backsplash. Changing the splash to something more traditional and or lightening the cabs. However I wonder if lightening the stain would just make the cabs look old?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:18PM
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island... yes, it's a balancing act when working with what you're given ;) Am hoping that changing the island color and balancing it out with legs, starts working it in the right direction! I am still leaning toward some type of classic nickel chandelier to break up your focus on the backsplash :\

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:26PM
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I think there is lots to work with; it really is a nice spacious and functional looking kitchen! What is the countertop? Can we see a closer look of the backsplash and counters? How much overhang do you have at the island? Can't tell from the pictures. If there is enough space, agree that legs and more traditional seating would change the vibe.
Not sure how I feel about pendants or lighting since from this angle with the majority of backsplash and appliances behind, it could look cluttered. No pendants in the pic Holly added and it looks nice and very traditional.
Your instinct to start with making small or inexpensive changes to the island with paint seems like a good place to start. Maybe that and some different accessories, window treatment will strike the right balance. Please keep us posted. I love seeing how small changes can transform spaces.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Yeah I hear ya on the clutter! I'll definitely wait and see what happens when the island and window treatments are changed. So below is a pic of the backsplash and granite - I don't know what type of granite it is, as it was there when we moved in.

Just FYI, this is what we were working with originally... it was too country for our taste (we went from one end to the other!)

I'll definitely keep you updated on the changes!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Oh maybe I missed something, but I assumed the first pictures were the kitchen that was there when you purchased and I was thinking that looks really good to me so why change it! But those are changes you made and it turned out a little too contemporary for your taste??

If that's the case it's too bad you don't like it cuz WOW that's a HUGE improvement over the country kitchen and like I said originally, it's a very nice kitchen.

Close up that tile coordinates well with the counters, the individual pieces are pretty and it looks expensive. I can see why you wouldn't want to tear out what paid for to put in. I wish you could embrace it. Maybe so when you make some other small changes. You should also congratulate yourself for really updating the space.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Haha, well thank you! It has come a long way, that's for sure! I don't hate the backsplash, just wish we'd chosen something less 'trendy' maybe. Of course, I always have an itch to change things so that doesn't help! I do like the mix of glass and stone though... and I am proud of what we've done to it without ripping it all out - so for now, I will just keep on tweaking ;) Thanks!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Pot rack. Maybe put some tin tiles (non-permanent) over the backsplash, softer window treatment, some textiles, different rug. Use a strong color, like the barn red or maybe a green from the glass tiles, for the island and some accessories.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:18PM
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