Kitchen redo, flying a little blind

mtnrdredux_gwAugust 30, 2013

We are under contract on a beachhouse, and it needs a new kitchen!

Good news is, it is a quite large rectangle, with a separate butler's pantry.

Bad news is I have no measurements and only 2 photos of the main kitchen. Not sure when i can access the property, as it is rented for much of the time until Columbus Day, when we close on it. I am in a hurry though because I want all the work done before next spring.

First I will describe the kitchen and then what my current thinking is. The kitchen is in a 1906 Dutch Colonial, and is currently very humble. This will be a summer home and I want to keep it humble, but make it, shall we just say, a bit prettier?

View 1:

The doorway on the left leads to a butler's pantry and then the DR. The butler's pantry has a sink and d/w on the left as you enter, under a window. To the right is shelf space, counterspace (with a m/w) and a cabinet similar to the one you see in the main kitchen.

In the main kitchen, there is a motley line up of appliances starting with the white fridge you see in the top left. I can't recall too well but there is a range, a dry sink (?), a washer and dryer (?) and a few other things! If i had to guess I'd say the room is maybe 14x 18?

The stove you see head on is nonfunctioning and "decorative". It will go!

The doorway to the right is to the hall. The dish cabinet is built in and will stay.

In this second photo, you see two doors on the left. The first is a pantry, the second is a PR and maid's room. To the right of the window is a door to a screened porch mudroom entry.

All of the furniture is included in the purchase. I would remove the dresser thing you see in the second photo. As for the "picnic" table, I am not sure. Maybe I will try it.

My goal for the room is: Unfitted 1906-y kitchen. No countertops per se, no built in cabs or upper cabs. No tile backsplashes and no countertops and no pot lights. In short, almost none of what we typically use today! The house currently rents by the week in the summer, and I want to renovate with an eye toward possibly renting it when we travel or are otherwise not using it. So, for example, a true vintage stove might not be a good idea if people dont know how to use it. Generally, Id like to try to keep the renovation under 50k.

My current thoughts:
B/W checkboard floor
Big chill fridge and stove, in white
Double drainboard sink, skirted
Oversized Boos butcher block
a small buffet where the stove is now; for a coffeemaker and toaster
F/P tall drawers, one in kitchen and one in BP; some sort of facing?
leave the woodwork and paint the walls and soft grayish turquoise

I will post a floorplan when I can ... any preliminary thoughts, ideas?

Here is a link that might be useful: Similar to this, putting aside color and leg style

This post was edited by mtnrdredux on Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 9:39

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You have such wonderful taste- I am positive it will turn out beautiful. One thought what about leaving that hutch peice, it is inset and that painted in a turquoise would look great! I am a sucker for turquoise painted furniture. Think I would losethe picnic table though, it's a little big. Obviously if you painted the furniture peice turquoise, I wouldn't do the walls turquoise,lol! good luck, can't wait to see it!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:16AM
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I am refering to keeping the piece with glass doors, just realized there is a nother small piece, that might of been what you were getting rid of!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Oh yes, I love the piece with the glass doors, it matches whats in the Butler's pantry, and, besides that, I will need it!

It's the dresser like piece near the window that doesn't really make sense to me.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:09AM
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I think if you painted over the yellow, it would make a vast improvement. Without measurements though, it's heard to say what else can be done to make it function better.

It might make more sense to paint and renovate it Next Fall after using it for a season.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:41AM
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I just wanted to say that I love the table. So big, and perfect for an unfitted kitchen.

Do you think you'll leave the appliances in their current locations?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Okay, I'll ask the obvious: If you have no counters, where do you prep? At the table, any table?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Thanks, control. I'm not really positive about the table, but I think it might work. Or maybe I would paint it? The DR has a very large table that is not too formal, I think we will eat mostly in there.

I am thinking I will lineup the appliance along the same wall where the fridge is. The only logical alternative would be to put the range where the "decorative" stove is. Not crazy about that.

Thanks for indulging me before I really have much to go on!

I confess I am just too impatient for that. Especially since we already had beachhouse interruptus; we were supposed to be in a new build by now, having gone under contract for that other property last Thxgiving!

I do agree that the wall color is the most egregious element. I like a lot of continuity throughout a house .., do you think I could continue with the same colors I want to use in the LR and DR (FnB Borrowed Light or SW Rainwashed or a similar faded green-grey-blue), in the kitchen?

Especially if I want to go with this flooring:

Or does it start to look doo-wop?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Re: checkerboard floors. I have wanted these for ever so long, but could not find tile I liked in a smaller size. Plus, I wanted to avoid any hint of the doo-woop effect:)

I decided to put down a wood floor and then paint a black checkerboard design. It's not done yet, so no pic to post. But, I was inspired by the pretty kitchen floor in the parents house from the movie "Meet the Parents" with Ben Stiller.

And, I love, love,love, love, love your new beachhouse. Swoon......

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Thank you, Rosylady! The floor shown is actually (shudder) a vinyl sheet. I thought about painting the floor, but I am trying to keep the cost down and got for durability. I have not seen the flooring in person, though, so we will see. The only thing is, the kitchen has five doors, and it will have no coherent lineup of cabinetry. So it may look too busy. If so I will prob just paint the floors grey. Id love to see you photos, though --- i may do it in a bathroom.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:36PM
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First of all, everyone should go over to the Building a Home forum and see the's beautiful!

As for the kitchen, I think all your choices sound wonderful! The black and white floor, skirted sink, Big Chill appliances, butcher block, the small buffet...but I have to ask, what is a F/P tall drawers with facing? :)

Do you have any pictures with the grayish turquoise color you're describing for the walls? I just can't picture that with the woodwork, but I'm sure you have a picture in your head that is lovely. All I can visualize is soft green, but the turquoise seems like it would be more fun! Do you have any idea what type of fabric you'd like to use for the skirting? Do you plan to have curtains or valances, at all?

The only thing I'm just not sure about is the picnic table. It seems like there are so many great vintage table and chairs that would work better...and be easier to sit down and get up, again. Maybe the picnic table could go outside? I think it would be fun outside, maybe as an alternative to your patio table...for the kids or down by the water?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Thanks, Lav!

For context, here is the house, below. I think its probably useful because this is a New England house along a rocky oceanfront; it is not a Miami beachhouse, for example.

F/P are Fisher Paykel d/w drawers!

Yeah, the picnic table is odd. It is finished, so it can't go outside. I think we will just wait and see on that...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Big chill? Aren't they more a 50's style, or do they make earlier pieces now? I was thinking more like the Elmira Stove Works pieces, if going with new "retro". I agree RE the true vintage stove and a rental possibility. I HAVE a true vintage stove and I can't imagine a random person dealing with match lighting the oven!

Maybe a pastry table where that "dresser" is, depending on the space? It would allow for a little more prep space.

Instead of a buffet to replace the stove, a Hoosier (style) cabinet. The appliances could be "hidden" in the doors on the front below the upper cabinet.

I'm not so sure it would work in a rental, I'd say look into sealing (we're doing this in our laundry room, but haven't done it yet so I have no personal experiance). How about brick floors? They have some that are sliced to tile size now (we are using full bricks, but we have the space for them) so it would only require a tile setter. That lino that's there now looks a lot like what we had and I wanted to replicate it with the real thing in the kitchen-only to find that the sleepers below the subfloor weren't as thick as previously thought so we'd be cutting each brick down in about half. We stuck with sanding and oiling the subfloor!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Black and white tile floors can look a bit 'doo wop' ... From 1920s kitchen project

...but now always! :) From 1920s kitchen project From 1920s kitchen project From 1920s kitchen project

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Yeah, we have them in our old house (now a rental) in our 1920's kitchen and they really don't scream 1950's at all. Depends on what's around them, I think they are (catch phrase) pretty timeless. I think the smaller squares lean a little more 50's, but it depends on the space (our old house is small, so 1x1 tiles fit the space).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:24PM
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No input except you had me at butler's pantry, PR (pantry room?), and maid's room. Can't wait to see what you do with this kitchen. sigh.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Does that maid's room come with an actual maid? If not, you might want to reconsider some of your choices. Magnaverde's Rule #?: Decorate for the way you live instead of the way you wish you lived.

To me, summer means the sound of screen doors slamming. It's kids (and adults) going in and out. It's popsicles dripping. It's filling the fridge with fresh finds from the farmer's market. It's the time of year when families really have time to eat dinner together - in the dining room - but it's also when they have time for lunch in the kitchen. It's sharing pitchers of wine, beer or booze-filled punch with friends on the patio.

My first apartment had real vintage appliances. Thank goodness you've already nixed the authentic range with its tricky oven lighting that burned the hair off my arms at least one time out of ten. Those vintage fridges look fabulous but once you stock them with libations, there's no room for corn and beans, squash and peaches. (Ohmigod, have you eaten fresh peaches this year? They're incredible!) And if you want to have room for popsicles you'll need to give up the icemaker option. Do you really want to spend a summer without an icemaker?

My first house had a mostly unfitted kitchen. It worked fine for every day meals but prepping to entertain without clear counter space was maddening. The double drainboard sink will help, but make sure you have space to keep modern (dishwasher safe, antimicrobial) cutting boards handy. And keep the table! It looks perfect for laying out sandwich fixins.

The house we're in now had a black and white checkerboard floor until a couple of years ago. It looked great ... for the first five minutes after I swept it ... which was 20 times a day. (OK, I exaggerate. Some.) Seriously, whatever miniscule dirt/crumb/grass clipping/sand particle/popsicle drip wasn't highlighted by the white tiles was surely accentuated by the black ones. If you're still in love with the idea of checkerboard, I'd go with one in gray and cream (like lavender posted above).

You've found a beautiful home in a beautiful setting. What a treasure! Just make sure your choices leave you time to enjoy it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Beautiful house! They only advice I have is keep the beautiful table and find some funky mismatched chairs. I love that look!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 11:10AM
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What a fantastic room. It sounds as if you're still trying to decide how it might be used. At least somewhat a modern living kitchen or very utilitarian, as when it would have been the housekeeper's domain. If the view isn't wonderful, or if it is but other, better rooms share it, would it work to turn this room inward, to make it all about itself and being in a kitchen, as a contrast to others?

One nice thing about an unfitted look is that it can be given a try, rearranged, lived with again, a new piece or two brought in, and so on. Sounds great to me.

For the old look you're going for, I agree that the off colors for the floor might not only be far more practical, but also more authentic. You might also consider linoleum. It was the preferred floor for kitchens from coast to coast from the middle of the 19th to to the middle of the 20th century, which certainly covers the era you're considering. It was great for stopping cold drafts from working their way up through floor boards and easy to clean in days when that was much more difficult than now.

For an old, unfitted kitchen, a really good work table in the middle would be highly functional, especially since the cooks could sit and chat while they shelled peas, stand to knead dough, and so on.

Julia's kitchen might actually offer an idea or two, or just a shift back in time part way. It was fitted, but her mom would have felt perfectly comfortable there a generation earlier. It was a real working kitchen, and a great deal of prep used to take place on that table, where she and her husband also usually dined.

Skipping back farther still,

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 2:11PM
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"Thank goodness you've already nixed the authentic range with its tricky oven lighting that burned the hair off my arms at least one time out of ten. Those vintage fridges look fabulous but once you stock them with libations, there's no room for corn and beans, squash and peaches. And if you want to have room for popsicles you'll need to give up the icemaker option. Do you really want to spend a summer without an icemaker?"

I disagree with this assessment of vintage appliances. We've had a 1950's Floyd Wells Bengal as our only stove for almost a year a half now, and NEVER had any issues with match lighting the oven. No hair burning here! I also have a 1950's era Norge Customatic which has nearly as much room as my old Kenmore. HOWEVER, I would NEVER put either in a rental for liability (in case someone does manage to goof up lighting the stove) and upkeep (defrosting the freezer a few times a year).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Whether or not you paint the woodwork, the flatwall cabinet and the table will provide sufficient wood to preclude black-and-white checked floors looking doo-wop. Indeed, if you find the original flooring in decent shape under the vinyl, you might consider painting it in diagonal black and white checks, matte.

Smashing house. I can't imagine that the one that got away was any more evocative. Cheers.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Sorry ecottage, didn't mean to dis your appliances. That evil apartment stove and its stingy minion refrigerator are the only vintage appliances I've had experience with. Glad to know that people aren't willingly sacrificing their arm hair for kitchen decor.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Thank you for your thoughtful input, everyone. We were away for the weekend w/o connectivity so I haven't replied before...

Honorbiltkit, Thank you, we are very excited. Personally I would rather have painted floors but I worry about the durability and also whether than will look too country...

Hi rosie, Thank you, I love the room too. I imagine other buyers would be out off, but I was so glad they had not done the kitchen! I love the kitchens you posted! I had forgotten about Julia's kitchen with the kitchen table. Personally, especially for casual entertaining, I like to sit around a table with family and guests and prep. I know that ergonomics favor islands, but im not a sous chef on an 8-hour chef.

Heidi, i love the mismatched chair look, too! That's something to keep an eye out for.

Edeevee, Thank you! We fell in love with it.
No, the maid's room will not have a live-in-maid. But we will have a cleaning person. When is it rented the cleaning person comes 1x a week, but with three kids, four ourselves we may have someone 2x a week. I have heard that caveat about b/w floors before, and it makes sense. I have to think about how much that might or might not bug me. Even with a cleaning person, it might look dirty any day they don't mop! I love your description of a summer at the beach! So apt.
As for Marmoleum, still need to research but I think folks say the tiles are not good in a wet area and the sheet is difficult to have installed properly.

School house, LOL, PR is powder room. There is a pantry but I think its just a closet. I was only in the house once for maybe 20-30 minutes and I didnt happen to look!

Thanks for the pics, Lavender! That last one has been a favorite of mine for quite a while.

Eclectic, We are look at both Big Chill and Elmira/Northstar. I would do a subzero with a tiger oak front and icebox hardware, but we have that in our primary home! Unfortunately there are not infinite choices. A Hoosier cabinet is a great idea. I would love a brick floor but I find them too uncomfy.

So we'll think on that some more.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:25AM
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What a great find - I think you can do lots to enjoy this kitchen (or even nothing and still enjoy it).
Can't wait to see more pictures (wow - Columbus day is only a month or so away...) and watching the decisions unfold.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:52PM
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No opinion on the kitchen. Enjoy. I love New England shingle style beach houses. The house is just fabulous. I love it!

Living out here on the West Coast, we don't see houses like that.... When I am traveling in Maine or New Hampshire, I am always having a wonderful feast of eyes to see such old gems.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Thank you A2Gemini and KaisMom, how sweet!

My realtor is going to take some msmts for me, and we are going to the house the weekend of the 9/13 for 2 nights. So I can post floorplans soon.

Meantime I am scoping out appliances and flooring and sinks.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Not necessarily a kitchen recommendation, but while you are in the area the weekend of the 13th, you might want to check out these resources-- (Kennebunk) (Cape Neddick)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Sorry, hope this works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hurlbutt

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:05PM
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...and the second link

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottage Home

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:12PM
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thx, Golden!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:30PM
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I love the house and the kitchen is gorgeous. We rented a vacation rental with an nfitted kitchen once and it was amazingly functional. We had a bunch of foodie friends and the highlight of the time there was many gourmet meals prepared with a different leaf cook each time but the rest helping out. Even marathon poker sessions happened right there in the kitchen. I actually like the bench. You can probably leave one side tucked under during cooking/ preepng for easy access and pull it out when everyone is ready to sit down and eat. Updated appliancs are great but I would suggest actually cooking and spending time in the kitchen for a few days before deciding about remodel options. Tile floors are amazingly easy to keep clean especially if you expect drips in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Painted wood floors are very cottage here. We looked at a few that were older than ours (more 1920's era) and several had painted wood flooring. We ended up painting our bedroom floor because I had to repair a few spots and there were water stains-hid it all nicely, lol.

Durability on it...I don't know. Obviously a bedroom has less traffic than a kitchen, and I imagine it depends on the paint type and prep. Of course, touch up is simply a brush and some paint!

I asked our tenants about the B&W checkboard floor, since we put it in after we moved out. They LOVE the look and HATE that it seems dirty all them time. Ours is simply vinyl tile squares, I don't know if sheet laminate would be different.

I never really thought there would be a difference in hard surface floor "feelings" (one would be more comfortable) but after you mentioned it I thought about it a bit, I imagine it's the uneveness of bricks that does it. Good thing we're just doing the laundry room then!

edeeve, my response came across a little more defensive than I had in my head, sorry about that! I just wanted people to know they aren't all hair burners, lol. I actually wonder if the one you experianced might not have had a valve problem or something. I bought ours to replace the one that came with the Cottage, a 1980's era hotpoint that made this rather scary whooshing/small explosion type sound when the gas cycled on and off on the oven. THAT went to the scrap yard just so no one grabbed it to use (well and we got about $20 for it that went towards the $60 purchase price of my Bengal, lol).

Regarding mismatched chairs-this is what we did, because our table came from a salvage place that was closing and had no chairs with it. It's an old enamel top job and I wasn't sure what to match to it. So, we've got two garage sale finds ($5 for one and .33 for the other), one from our old set and one I "curb shopped". I painted each one a different color (blues and greens). I love the look...not sure if it would flow with a mostly wood kitchen though. Maybe if the table was also painted? Or, if the chairs weren't...

Our dining room w/mismatched chairs:

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I'd go super simple and non retro with the stove. Just a plain jane $500 gas stove from anywhere. And make the splurge for the whole kitchen be a SubZero as a Hoosier cabinet or jelly cabinet. Something in wood, with a punched tin design? Or leaded glass? Or in white enamel over steel? Or even have a metalsmith create a faux antique looking refrigerator carcass around the SubZero so that it blends in better. There are so many choices that aren't "oak icebox" and that would still work.

Recess it into the wall and use a frosted door with "fridge" on it?

You could do a small undercounter fridge disguised like this in the main kitchen, and have the larger refrigerator still in the butler's pantry.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Don't know what you might find under the linoleum in the kitchen, but if it's wood, maybe you can do something like this. I found it on the Coastal Living site.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Hi Golden, It is wood. But my first choice would be linoleum/marmoleum. My second choice would be to paint the floor, we will have to see... Pretty shot.

LiveWireOak, I don't really want to do an "icebox era" kitchen, I think I want more of a 40s thing. I have bought two subzeros so far and I don't think its necessary, Northstar makes one I like at half the price of a SZ...

Eclectic, your table and chairs are great!

Thank you, GWLolo. Where do I get such cool friends to complement my house? : )

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Sooo....theme like "1906 beach home with a vintage 1940's/1950's era update"? Keep the original built ins but "update" the appliances and some features to 1950s?

Hm. I originally thought more 1906 with Elmira appliances. BUT mix the eras and you have an eclectic beach home!

This floor is beachy

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:05PM
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One comment on painted floors. I was not a big fan till I visited a cousin in London. Painted wood floors throughout. She used FnB floor paint and it was really lovely. I saw her clean with a mop in the kitchen and it was fine.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:03AM
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