REVEAL on Holy 70s, Batman! condo kitchen

spanky_mdAugust 4, 2014

Last February my daughter started a thread asking for suggestions on redoing my vintage 70s condo kitchen. I got lots of wonderful help there for which I am very grateful! So many nice people here! And many thanks to my daughter especially, for all the layout planning and a bazillion other things!

Now it's 99% done, just a few odds and ends to finish up, but I know if I wait much longer to post pics I will have moved on to the next project.

So here goes. I've arranged these in an order that makes sense to me---hope it isn't too confusing!

Real estate listing photo---this is walking into the kitchen. Brick veneer on the wall, original 1978 cabs, counter, sink, DW (non-functioning), and vinyl composite tile floor.

Done! IKEA Applad cabs, IKEA beech butcherblock counter and shelf, Vigo SS sink, IKEA faucet, slide-in range by I forget, IKEA Luftig hood, Bosch DW, 16" slate floor tiles from HD ($3/sf!).

Looking from the other end of the room you can see that bulky framed wall that encloses the dishwasher. The bit of white wall showing on the left was one of two dividing walls on the opposite side, but more about that in a bit.

Same view. That's my 32" kitchen table in the left foreground. Oh, and the backsplash is 2x4 subway tiles from Home Depot ripped off the mesh backing and set in the stacked pattern rather than running bond. (SO much more work to set little tiles individually than by the sheet. SO glad I'm done with it.)

The next one is NOT of my kitchen, just the same one in another unit. I think I lost some of my before photos when my phone was stolen.

This little divider wall and another just out of frame on the left were meant to define the space, I guess, but the fridge I wanted was narrower than the existing niche, plus that's 8 running inches of potential storage taken up by walls that serve no actual function. So out they went.

Halfway through the demolition of that side of the room.

Looking back the other way, there was only 31" or so between the end of the peninsula and the divider wall that defined the open space in the right foreground. (Other units had cabinets here, some had just a counter, mine had some awful, sagging DIY shelves of redwood-stained 2x8 pine boards.)

Turning around again---sorry, don't mean to make you dizzy--the divider walls are gone. I have 4' of lowers and uppers, a 24" wide 67" high LG fridge (discontinued but they may have a new model now, not sure) with side panel, then a 24" wide pullout pantry.

Still have to hack a couple of Applad doors for those two uppers. My teeny microwave fits perfectly into a 24" wide upper. I painted the inside of that cab teal blue, which I love.

And yes, that is an outlet hanging half off the backsplash. I debated for quite awhile on what to do with it (it was supposed to be within the backsplash area) but you have to pick your battles and i had a lot of battles. And what is a kitchen without a quirk or two, right?

Bonus pics:

This was the backsplash in the work area. I think the brick veneer started falling off and someone had the brilliant idea of slathering on more mortar, including over the edges of the outlet cover plate. And then no one ever cleaned it because it was impossible to clean, of course.


Oh, and the counters---i wanted to keep them as light as possible so i did a white stain. And then I Waterlox'd them which turned them yellow but at least they're still fairly light. (Not crazy about the color of beech as it ages but these were the only non-laminate counters that fit my budget.)

The original VCT flooring was a grayish greenish color. Under it was this old adhesive which had to come off before tile could be laid. I ground off about 60 sq ft with a concrete grinder before giving up (imminent nerve damage from the vibrations!) and did the rest with chemical stripper, using a respirator. That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

Slate floor, unfinished counter, and Applad door (main surfaces).

I wanted to keep the original globe light fixtures but not in their yellowed, grubby state.

Et voila! Rustoleum 2X spray paint in an orange-red color. The cord is new, a retro style cloth-covered number in a black & white herringbone weave from

And last but not least, I used the same paint on my vintage Hobart/KA lift bowl mixer that was a dingy yellowed white. Kind of a pain in the neck to do but it was worth it.

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Forgot--here's the link to the original thread:

Here is a link that might be useful: Holy 70s, Batman! condo kitchen

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:19PM
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KAPOW!!!! BAM!!!! That's AWESOME! So much spacier, lighter and modern.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:19PM
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WOW!!!! That is one of the most dramatic changes I've seen on this forum.

It turned out so well!! I LOVE your orange red accents.

Enjoy your lovely, and very functional space.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Wow! So much more functional. I love it!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:39PM
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So good! I think my favorite part is the spray-painted light fixtures. It's the little things that can make a big impact! Second favorite would be your lovely backsplash.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Lovely transformation :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:46PM
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> slide-in range by I forget

General Electric. Unfortunately, it appears to be all but touching the side wall, which is a building code violation. It must be at least 4" away, so that large pans can't touch the side wall paint or wallpaper and start a fire.

I like the '70s lights and what you did with them. That was the one thing I liked in the "before" pictures.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Love the changes. A one-of-a-kind kitchen that so suits your space.

"And, what is a kitchen without a quirk or two?" Amen, to that. As well as your comment about picking your battles.

Congrats on your hard work and good choices. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:32PM
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Looks great and every KA needs to shine! ;)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:54PM
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lee676, not to worry - there's a 4 inch filler piece on the left of the range. The wall next to it is also tiled up higher than any of spanky's extensive collection of cookware reaches.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Wow! What a dramatic transformation! Your space looked like a functional nightmare before and now looks like a dream!

I once had the same DW setup from your old kitchen. Who does that?? Makes the DW pretty much worthless!

Congrats and enjoy your beautiful new space!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:26PM
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I love it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:28PM
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It doesn't even remotely look like a 70's kitchen anymore!
Great job on everything-am so impressed with DIY jobs. I can't even cut a straight line!! Btw, what did you do with the brick veneer? Cover it up with new wallboard? Or take it down? I have a fireplace brick wall to tackle next.
Enjoy your new space!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:40PM
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That's really pretty! Love the countertops and the red accents.

HOW did you paint the mixer? (My mom has the same dingy white mixer that still runs like a champ so I'm really really interested in how you did this? Lots of tape over the metal parts?)

Great job on your kitchen! Enjoy :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Thank you all!

Vinudev, first I was going to pry all the brick veneer off but then we decided to do one long wall on that side with no stepbacks anywhere. The original wall was built out on the kitchen side. The contractor said they would build out the dining side wall to bring it out to the same plane as the other half, so I just ended up ripping out all of the drywall with the fake brick on it. That was WAY easier than trying to pry it off. They had to stud out half the wall anyway so it was just better to get it down to the original studs.

Sippimom, there are a bunch of blogs posts about painting KA mixers. I looked at a few and plunged in. You have to clean it really, really well, then take it all apart, then clean it some more, then mask off all the parts that you can't remove. One or two people recommend using Rustoleum Farm Implement paint but i had awful results with it---the gloss was uneven and it was drippy and the overspray was extensive, way beyond the dropcloths I used that are ok for any other spray paint. I think their Protective Gloss would be fine if you want high gloss, or the 2X for semi-gloss. I think 2X has some gloss colors, too.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:14PM
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Beautiful! I'm so impressed with all your DIY work. Love the floating shelf - how did you hang it?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:23PM
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Ugh...the floating shelf. What a pain in the ass that was.

First i was going to use floating shelf post hardware which you screw into studs, but they arrived and just looked too flimsy for the 11" x 1.5" thick hardwood. I also considered getting some IKEA Lack shelves for the mounting plates (same kind of thing) but they seemed too flimsy too.

I ended up getting 10" L brackets from Home Depot for around $6 apiece. There are 8 of them. I would have liked for the contractor to have drilled out cavities the shelf so that the brackets could be inserted and then attached to the wall studs. But they didn't have a drill press.

Instead, they routed out channels on the underside of the shelf and screwed the brackets in. The plan was for me to fill the channels, covering the brackets, with something or other. I thought I could cut thin pieces of the butcherblock to fit in there but that wasn't possible, at least not if i wanted to match the grain direction. So I got some beech veneer and am going to fill with something else, like Bondo or whatever (I have no idea, really) and then slap the veneer on top. Maybe. I dunno.

It really isn't a big deal until you sit at the table and then you can see it. Or if you're short. My grandson doesn't seem to mind that he can see the brackets under the shelf.

(I patched over them on the drywall and then tiled. It would have been easier if we'd figured out to do it this way when they were hanging the drywall but we didn't.)

Oh, and after all that---the shelf still can't have much heavy stuff on it! You'd think it would be very sturdy but it actually started to sag when I had my enameled cast iron cookware up there to get it out of the way for awhile. Yikes.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:40PM
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It's the perfect mix of clean/calm/pop! Already have open in another tab. Thanks! I've been looking forward to seeing this complete. But I know not half as much as you've been looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:04PM
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I echo what lazygardens wrote: "KAPOW!!!! BAM!!!!" What a transformation! From dark and dank Bat Cave to hip Gothan loft! (I have mental images of Batman and Robin kaPOWINg the heck out of the old kitchen).

Love the pops of red you've added, especially in the way you remade the hanging light fixture. Well done!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:32AM
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Love the backsplash, counters, lack of upper cabinets and wonderful dark floor. Great job!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:53AM
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Excellent! It's gorgeous. Your hard work paid off.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:49PM
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I remember your daughter's thread. What a wonderful daughter.
Great transformation! Enjoy!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:46PM
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Oh, how lovely. Very clean lines. You did a great job!

I have a question for you as I'm going to embark on an IKEA kitchen soon too. I had thought, and was told by my local NJ IKEA, that the solid butcherblock counters were unavailable because the supplier couldn't keep up. However, here you have them. I do see them on-line, so did you order online/by phone. If in store, which store? Was there a long wait time after you ordered? Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Great, great reveal. Love the mixer.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:40PM
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Thanks, musicgal!

Tracie, my daughter was told or maybe she read somewhere (here? that the Numerar butcherblock counters sell out very quickly so I should check the website regularly for stock and then go immediately to get them when they had them. So that's what I did. Later I realized I should have ordered another 6' one; i was still within the kitchen sale period so I got a rain check and was able to get the 6' counter at the sale price as soon as they were in stock again. (They don't call it a rain check though---maybe "shopping list"? Something like that.)

I don't believe that they're not ever going to get them again, at least not if they're still listed on the website. I've heard so many differing things about this and that at IKEA---FROM Ikea employees! It seems like it's really hard to get consistent answers about stuff. (Just in the past two days I've gotten four very different answers to a question I had about their faucet warranty. Sheesh!)

edited to add: it wasn't more than 2-3 weeks that I had to wait for a new delivery of counters. And when I said I went immediately, I did--like within an hour of checking the stock.

This post was edited by spanky_md on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 17:59

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:07PM
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Tracie.erin, there's a way to sign up on Ikea's website for text or email alerts to notify you when an out-of-stock item gets in stock again. If you look up the item, then check the store availability, it gives an option to be notified when the item is restocked.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:06PM
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Thank you, spanky_md and yillimuh. Apparently I can order the kitchen over the phone, but not online. As the Numerar shows as available for ordering online right now, hopefully I can get it that way.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Even without seeing the "before", your kitchen turned out fabulously. Love the combination of everything, with the backsplash & the floors really standing out as perfect choices. Also, the countertops! And your Kitchenaid. And the pendant.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:50PM
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Don't know how I missed your original post. This is wonderful. I must make your heart sing (I know that's trite, but it exactly says what I am thinking) when you flip on the light and walk in there at night.

Love the pop of the mixer and the lights. And love far too many other details to mention.

Absolutely wonderful kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Wow, you both did an amazing job. I love the expansive work surfaces and the open shelf. And your accessories are so perfect with the style! This should be featured on ApartmentTherapy!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Thanks, all. WMA, I was a little worried that I should used more of that far end for a bigger dining table but as it turns out I have already filled almost all the drawers all the way (mostly kitchen stuff but also tools, desk items, stuff like that). And that end of the counter is great for doing small fix-it projects that I'd normally do on the dining table and then not have room to eat. So that's good. And it'll be great for buffet dinners. And maybe the annual Christmas cookie making party.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:20PM
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