Help Kitchen Ideas for St. Charles Cabinets

jesmelricJune 25, 2013

Hi, I am new to this forum, but have read many posts in trying to make decisions for my kitchen.

We recently purchased some St. Charles cabinets from I believe 1964 (the picture is from the Craigslist posting, the cabinets are currently in storage. My kitchen is smaller and has a different configuration). They are yellow steel with maple doors on the upper cabinets.

I am trying desperately to decide on countertops and flooring. was going to feature my cabinets as a design dilemma but the date has passed and they have not done so. The reset date was today but it looks like it's not happening, and I will be purchasing countertops fairly soon.

I can't make up my mind at all, other than the countertops will be laminate. Can't decide on colors, and edges. Maybe a flat edge then do the aluminum edging? Maybe not? The countertops place told me the "classic edge" would double the cost of the countertops, and that's the only way to do the aluminum edging). I originally thought black countertops and a black and white checkerboard floor. But I got some great flooring samples from Azrock, and not I can't decide at all.

I would appreciate any opinions. I have more pictures from the Craigslist ad, and I do have pictures of my current kitchen configuration, although it is under construction at this time.

Thanks so much!

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Since you like retro,how about Formica with a boomerang or atomic 50's/60's vibe...I know they still make those retro designs.....then pick your floor.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 6:31PM
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Also...a linoleum type floor would also be a cool retro touch...

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 6:35PM
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I have been looking at the Formica and Wilsonart retro designs, I was thinking maybe Aqua fizz and a streaky vinyl composite tile floor from Congoleum, but I don't know if the blue looks good with the yellow?

I also can't decide on the countertop edges. They have different edges to choose from; a beveled edge, and a no drip edge, and quite a few more. They told me to do the aluminum edging I'd have to get the classic edge, and it costs 2X the price. Then we'd have to purchase the trim and install ourselves. So it would add a lot to the cost. It would really have to be worth it, I think that's adding to my indecision.

I really appreciate the input :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I actually like the aqua and yellow but you might get tired of it...the cabinets look like a soft yellow....maybe something a little more neutral. Have you considered painting the top cabs yellow as well..that might help everything look more cohesive.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:34PM
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I actually told my husband when we first looked at them that I might like to paint the maple doors to match the steel, but he seemed very dismayed by that idea.

So we agreed we'd install them as is, and then if I still really wanted to paint them, I'd do it then. So right now I'm trying to see what would work with them as is.

Another idea I had was Arcade countertop by Wilsonart, then maybe a black and white checkerboard floor, or the black streaky tile?

I also though about maybe a grayish countertop that would give the look (sort of) of stainless steel.

My kitchen is pretty small, but I have a large laundry room adjacent to the kitchen and we are going to use any leftover cabinets in there, and carry the same countertops and flooring, too.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The maple is really jarring with the other design elements, stylewise and colorwise. I'd either paint the maple, or use different materials that would emphasize it and tie it in better. Like butcherblock counters.

Are the uppers also steel? Or wood? If they are steel, the time to have them painted is now. And for the best job, that should be powder coating, not paint. If they are wood, I think I'd skip installing them at all. Maybe use some open shelving until some of the slab front cabinets come on the market.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:36PM
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The uppers are steel, only the doors are maple. All of the steel is in nice condition, and not in need of painting.

Didn't want to do butcherblock, I'd much rather do a laminate.
I saw this picture on the retro renovation website, and although it stated the upper cabinets are steel, it made me think maybe I could paint the upper cabinets a yellow, and a contrast trim of whatever color countertops we end up with. But I'm not sure how that would look?

My husband is totally against painting the maple. He said once it's painted, that's it, you can never go back to the original maple. So we agreed we'd install them as is, and if I wanted to change them then, he'd take the doors off so I could do it.

I considered maybe trying to get custom doors with glass, but the cost would just be too prohibitive for our budget.

Thanks again for the opinions!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Congratulations on your St. Charles cabinets!

I remodeled a kitchen in an MCM split-level about 20 years ago with stainless St. Charles cabinets. The uppers were a mixture of cabinetry & shelves. The counters were black laminate. The floor was poured concrete and was painted with gray outdoor paint. It was serene and very easy maintenance.
I agree with previous posters that the wooden uppers are not a good match (color, material, or style) for the lower cabinets. Although painting the upper doors to match the lowers would help somewhat, there would still be the style mis-match to deal with. (It would bug me every time I looked at them, but YMMV).

Since the upper cabinet frames are also steel, could you just remove the doors? If the shelving inside the cabinets is other than steel, or is not in good shape, you could substitute glass shelving for it. Either the steel or glass open shelving would be more appropriate than those doors. (Although the glass shelving would give you a lighter look).

Good Luck with your remodel!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 1:21AM
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I've been thinking about your cabinet quandary.
If the inside of the doors are plain slab, you could reverse the doors so that the moldings are on the inside. That would be a closer match to the style of the lowers.
Hope any of the above helps.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:32PM
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In case anyone's interested, the OP's kitchen was featured on Retro Renovation today. Of the ideas they suggested, Homespun Vintage is my fave, but honestly I rather like all of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: yellow kitchen on Retro Renovation

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:19AM
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Thanks everyone for posting your opinions and ideas, I really appreciate it :)

Pam did feature my kitchen and I'm very excited by the ideas. My favorite is the Sophistikat 60s.

Right now I have ordered some more samples based on suggestions that were given. Hopefully soon we can pull at least one base and one upper cabinet, to at least set in the kitchen so I can try out the samples with the actual cabinets.

I was honestly surprised at how many people suggested changing out/painting/removing the doors on the upper cabinets. I think we will hang them as is, as the doors are removable and can be changed later by painting, replacing, etc.

I will send Pam after pics when we are done, and would be happy to do so here as well, if anyone is interested. It is going to be a while, though. Fall at least, maybe later.

Again thanks to everyone for taking the time to help, it is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 9:46AM
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