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help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Posted by roulie (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 2, 12 at 23:07

Three years ago I renovated the kitchen in my current house and discovered GW. It was so helpful, both for inspiration and for practical advice! Now we are moving and I have to leave behind my beloved kitchen. We are buying a 1920s house with a kitchen that was redone in the 1970s. The quality is excellent and I'd like to preserve as much of it as possible, but I think there is a lot that I can do without making major (structural or layout) changes.

I need your help envisioning what I can do with this kitchen!! I think it's a great space, but want some ideas for updating it.

These pictures were taken with the current owners' stuff, so try to picture it with less clutter. I love the long island, lots of cabinets and the sitting area at the end. I don't love the color combination of the stained cabinets, wood counters and terracotta tile. The layout might have challenges (the refrigerator is on the other side of the long island from the range...) but I want to work within the current layout.

Here's what is staying:
layout
cabinets
terracotta floors
1970s Garland gas range (apparently Garland became BlueStar, and I know how much GW-ers love their BlueStars! I'm hoping that a 30+-year-old one is still awesome!)
dishwasher

What I'm definitely doing:
removing wallpaper and painting along refrigerator wall and in sitting area
replacing the 1970s subzero fridge/freezer combo
replacing the wall oven/microwave combo

What I'd consider doing:
painting the cabinets (probably white, but I'd consider doing the island a different color)
OR keeping the stained cabinets and replacing the perimeter countertops (I could go either black or light)
removing the trash compactor (ideas for what to put in? recycling bins?)
replacing the backsplash (one of us likes it, the other doesn't!) but this would mean losing the built-in can opener
removing the griddle to the left of the range
replacing the sink

I would appreciate any and all suggestions, particularly what colors to paint the walls and/or cabinets, so that they look good with the terracotta tiles. I like soothing and serene -- not bold and spicy.

Here are some pictures. Thanks in advance for any visions you can share!!

Long view from the sitting room across the island to the far end of the kitchen:

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close-up of the island

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far left of the kitchen, with best color representation of the cabs, floor, counters (window above sink)

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trash compactor, dishwasher

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Garland range with griddle to the left

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wall oven/microwave (to right of range) -- there is a window between the range and the wall oven

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fireplace in area between kitchen and sitting room

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old, massive subzeros -- probably need to replace for energy efficiency

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laundry room and door to outside, at far end of sitting room
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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I can see what you mean about nice quality, Roulie. You mean to keep the tile, so do you like the cabinet/wall finish with it? Is it a really classy combo? (My screen makes it looks as if they're clashing a bit, although I can see yellowish streaks in the wood here and there.) If it looked good and I liked it, because it's a special, unique look I'd be inclined to conserve it. I love white kitchens and have one myself, but they're a dime a dozen comparatively.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

A new wall oven/microwave, some granite, and 5 gallons of white paint. (I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist)


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

It's hard to get a serene look/feel with terra cotta flooring because that in itself is pretty bold. White cabinets with the bold floors are a pretty big contrast and I'm not feeling the serene although it would be nice and light and cheerful. I really like these Farrow & Ball colors for a serene look. The main color is Farrow & Ball Elephant Tusk, that alone is nice but when paired with the others is really really nice. These colors in any combo of cabinet paint or countertop shade or living area wall color would give you an updated but serene look. I would be inclined to swap out a few upper doors with glass as well plus change the knobs.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I think those cabinets are cool and would leave them as is but change the hardware - maybe ORB. If the floor is also staying then - get rid of the counter top because the yellow in it is clashing with the cabinets and get rid of the backsplash because it's fighting with the floor. I would get rid of all of the cabinet-like walls (around the fireplace etc) and either tear them out or gyp-rock over them (too much of a good thing).


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Running out the door to take boys to their sports activities, but the terra cotta floor reminds me of a house my builder built at the beach in an area of old Mediterranean houses. It was featured in Coastal Living recently. I am linking a picture of the kitchen - there may be others. I think you can click through the slide show and see the rest of the house (much has reclaimed spanish tile).

I think the color of the cabinets is particularly pretty with this tile. I wouldn't do a stark white I don't think. . .

Here is a link that might be useful: Spanish tile kitchen


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

It's hard to get a serene look/feel with terra cotta flooring because that in itself is pretty bold.

Take a look at Petra's serene and airy kitchen in Spain with terracotta tiles...

PS Julia Child had a Garland, which is now in the Smithsonian. And I cook every day on a c1952 O'Keefe & Merritt which is still going strong!

Becky

Here is a link that might be useful: Petra's kitchen in Spain


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

It's hard to get a serene look/feel with terra cotta flooring because that in itself is pretty bold.

It is hard, but I never said impossible. I have had roulie's exact floor type and color.
However, some people do not realize that they all do not look exactly the same...like the floor in Petra's beautiful kitchen in a beautiful setting in Spain. Petra's kitchen floor is not even close to roulie's with bold variations of terra cotta and Golden tones.


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me again

Roulie, do you have better pictures of your backsplash tile? It looks so cool in the pictures but its hard to see all the colors. Personally I love eggplant colors mixed with your floor color but I'm not sure you would find that serene. I'm also not sure if what you are looking for is more of a fresh and cheerful look that white would give and maybe thats your idea of serene.

Here is Petras floor with white.

Here is your floor with white.

Here is your floor using other light colors with a gray.
See how a light warm color instead of white white would look great as well.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Thanks for the comments, suggestions, and links!

This is difficult because we're not living in the house yet so I'm going on pictures that my husband took during the home inspection and my impression of the house on my one brief visit.

Here are a few pictures of the backsplash, but I have to admit that I'm not sure if these pictures represent the colors well. (I might actually love the backsplash, but only if the other elements were plainer.)

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What is clear to me (and to you all!) is that there is too much competing/clashing going on. Although I can appreciate that the homeowners LOVED this kitchen, it's too much for me. Actually, in thinking of the 4 main features -- counter, floor, cabinets, and backsplash -- I like each one well enough on its own, just not all together.

I don't know why I'm stuck on keeping the floor tile, but it seems that it would be easier/more economical to change the other elements instead. In the interest of "reduce, reuse, recycle", it seems more wasteful to tear out the floor in the entire kitchen/sitting area/laundry than to paint the cabinets. Also, we have 2 boys and a dog and I'm inclined to keep this tile that has been walked on for 40 years -- we can't do it any harm! When I redid my current kitchen there was a lot of "don't scratch the new hardwood floors!" and I'm tired of living that way :)

Anyway, it seems that there are two different approaches:

(a) keep the cabinets (maybe adding some glass uppers) and floor, and change the counters and backsplash or
(b) paint the cabinets and keep the counters and the floor (I'm not sure what this means for the backsplash...)
or I guess there's a third:
(c) paint the island and keep the wood countertop just on the island, then keep the perimeter cabinets wood and change the perimeter counters and backsplash.

Jterrilynn: I LOVE the grey and cream combination! That, to me, is soothing. I saw a kitchen on GW that had beautiful blueish gray cabinets with terracotta floors... I'll have to find it again. I also think that having some glass uppers would really lighten this up.

becky: if it was good enough for Julia, it will be good enough for me :)

now I have to study the links that the others sent...

Thanks again for your input! It's much appreciated.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I love the floors and counters, as well as the style of the cabinets...but not the finish.

What if you painted the cabinets a creamy yellow or light gray/green? Something a little muddy, maybe from BM Historic Palette.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Call me crazy but I really like that backsplash. Your idea of a blue gray on the island would look nice as well. The mexican terra cotta flooring will hide a lot of kid and dog dirt. I had that floor in my last house and liked the dirt hide so much that I got something close in the house I'm in now. My color now is in between Petra's color and your color and is a patterened grotto from Spain. Countertops can be a bit tricky with the bolder colored floor you have though. I'm not sure if you are thinking stone or what. If you are thinking a man made surface check out some of the cement-concrete looking picks.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I think if you paint the cabs and stain the counters much darker, that may be most of the battle.
I am not a huge fan of the bs, but I do see its charm. If you keep the bs, a very pale blueish gray could work because of the blue in the bs. I also think a simple white would work because there is white in the bs and that ties it in with the orange/yellow floor. You would not want a full on bright white, but I would not do a cream either because I see white in the bs tiles. If you want bold, you could do the lowers in a real blue from the tile and paint the uppers a white.
I'd also paint the walls surrounding the fpl to match the cabs and stain the surround to tie in the new darker counters. If you did do blue lower cabs, I'd keep the surround in the white color from the uppers instead.

What bothers me about the current look is you have bold yellow tones in the floor and counters and yet the wood cabs and bs are not in the same tone family nor very neutral. They have a more peach/orange tone to them. Toning down the yellow counters should help as will taking the peach wood tone out from the cabs.

Of course, I'd get new hardware, probably in black, to complete the look, and DECLUTTER. I can't imagine how their agent has not gotten them to pare down. Half of my job at times is convincing sellers to trust me about staging. They are always amazed at how little touches like putting a few things away in each room can make such a difference. I have a listing now where the daughter is selling for the elderly mother. In a few short weeks with only the most minor work but a lot of paring, the house looks a thousand times better.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I received this kitchen article via email from Cultivate, and I immediately thought of YOUR kitchen, at least the floors. Maybe it will provide you with more ideas and inspiration?

It's quite pretty, and unique in style, but it all works!

Here is a link that might be useful: Santa Fe Country French Kitchen


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

dianalo: You're exactly right -- the floors and counters have yellow tones, the cabinets are peachy and the b/s is orange-y. I'm wondering if the wood tones changed over 40 years and perhaps went together better at some point? You've given me a great idea -- it hadn't occurred to me to stain the counters darker! I was thinking that I'd have to change them out completely, but I can see a darker stain working well with painted cabinets... I really do like the natural wood, and I am *really* trying to conserve as much as possible. Would that be easy enough to do? Can you just strip them and stain them in place? Re: the clutter -- to be fair to the prev. owners (and their agent!), we bought the house under non-traditional circumstances, so there wasn't opportunity or need for them to de-clutter. I keep my counters pretty bare, so after we get settled in it's going to look totally different!

Jterrilynne: I don't think you're crazy -- I kind of love the b/s tile too, though it's not something I would have chosen. My current kitchen has a soft greenish-gray crackle subway tile b/s, with black leathered granite countertops and cherry shaker cabinets -- this style is totally different for me! Do you know the colors in the 4 paint buckets that you pictured? I'm not so great with color and was going back and forth between your post and the Farrow & Ball website, but couldn't figure out which colors you posted. thanks!!


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I didn't pay much attention to the backsplash last night, but if you want to make it work I think the blue/gray suggestions are right on!

It reminds me of this French kitchen:
cress_kitchen4
cress_kitchen1

Gah! I didn't note where I found these pictures. I recall it was a woman blogging about her stay in France, and the kitchen struck me as both serene and warm (something I don't often associate with gray, but the wood and backsplash make it happen).

Here is a link that might be useful: FOUND IT! La Cressonniere Kitchen on www.designmom.com


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

home4all6 and jessica: those are two beautiful kitchens!! (and I got sucked into designmom.com and spent many minutes drooling over her house! thanks for sharing that excellent link!)

I was wondering what color the cabinets that home4all6 posted are, but found it in the photo caption -- it's BM revere pewter. I really like the soapstone counters, and it's nice to see what the terracotta floors would look like with light cabinets and dark counters.

It's sort of a fun challenge to design around these terracotta floor tiles -- and you guys are giving me so many great ideas!!


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

You're welcome, roulie! I had fun checking out that home, too.

FWIW, since you mentioned dark counters, I think it's kind of nice that your counters relate to your floor right now (or appear to in the pictures). The important thing is to make it yours so you can love it as much as the previous owners did, though; I'm sure there are many exciting directions you could take your kitchen and I hope you'll keep us in the loop on your progress!


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revisiting: help me transform my 1970s kitchen in my 1920s house

UPDATE:

I'm bringing back a thread I started last April... with a few specific questions, and hoping for more great ideas! We moved into the house in August and have done a LOT of work elsewhere and are now ready to tackle the kitchen. The only things we have done so far in the kitchen are:
-- remove the trash compactor
-- remove the jenn-aire cooktop (so now we have a huge hole in the counter)
-- sand and oil the countertops

What a difference it made to have the counters refinished! When we moved in, the island was sort of pale and dry with lots of dents and marks. The perimeter counters had been coated with some sort of poly which was shiny but worn off in places, yellowed, had lots of black areas around the sink, and many many knife marks. The counters now look pretty and "alive" again.

This is how the kitchen looks now, decluttered (but before the counters were refinished):

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So the decision we have to make now is what to do with the cabinets. We are definitely keeping the terra cotta floor, the wood counters and the backsplash. We have decided to change the color of the cabinets and were going to paint them, using some of the colors suggested above (blue/gray or green/gray on the island; creamy white on the rest) but my contractor mentioned that we should consider staining them (a *color* -- not a natural wood color), with the same color scheme but with stain instead of paint. I think he likes the idea of seeing some of the wood grain instead of having a uniform painted finish. With the terra cotta floors and the tile backsplash, the kitchen has a rustic feel, so I get that seeing the wood grain might be pretty.

Are there things I should consider when deciding between paint and stain, regarding durability but also design? What if I decide to change color down the road -- does it matter whether I have painted or stained? I think I can get stains in different transparencies... any advice or comments about that? I assume I have to use an indoor stain (i.e., not a deck stain?)

(Also, as a reminder, the wood from the cabinets continues through the whole kitchen/sitting room/laundry room, and up the back stairs. Whether I stain or paint, I'll need to make some decisions about transitions -- transitioning between the cabinet color and the wall color in the sitting room, how to deal with the built-in bookcases, the wood ceiling beam, wood trim around the doors, the fireplace surround, etc.) (This area has obviously NOT been de-cluttered :))

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My second question is what should I do in the area where I removed the jenn-aire? My husband wants to "stick in a piece of granite" to fill the hole and act as a landing spot for the stove. The complicating issue is that there is already a marble pastry surface in the end of the island, and I don't think we'd be able to match it, so do I replace the marble in the island too so that the two match? My contractor suggested something that could work well, or could be a disaster: to fill the hole with a stainless steel liner, which would be recessed and have holes cut out for garbage drops. (The cabinet underneath is big and we could put 2 trash pullouts, for trash, compost, recycling, etc.). Over this, we could have 2 removable cutting boards that would be flush with the counters (I guess they'd have handles of some sort) and act as covers for the trash holes, but also could be picked up and moved from the island to the stove to the sink for washing. I can't picture this exactly, but does anyone have any examples of this?

So long and so many questions... maybe I should have started two separate threads, one for the cabinet stain v. paint, and one for the solution to the gaping hole in the counter!

As alway, I value and appreciate the ideas of this community!


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

First off let me say that I'm so glad to see another "refresh" rather than a gut remodel. It takes a lot of creativity to work with something already installed!
You have some great bones here.

I love the idea of the gray stain, but it seems to me like white stain ends up looking "pickled." It's a pretty distinctive look, and might not be great long-term. Do some sample boards to make sure it's a look you could live with.

In terms of the cooktop removal - that's not a great place for the trash. It's a downright weird place for the trash. But putting it all the way over next to the DW seems odd too...that's a better place for drawers for dishtowels and stuff. So even though it's a weird place, I guess I'd say it's better than the initial place, and that's a really interesting idea for it.

OTOH, we had the "hole in the counter down to the trash" thing in a kitchen once, and it was insanely gross all the time. And that was pre-kids. I wouldn't do it again myself, but it's a good idea.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

You could do a granite piece, but how about just a simple piece of stainless steel for hot pots/pans, etc? I know that if I had wood counters, I might want a place where something could drip or crumble without having to worry about cleaning it up right away.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

You've got a lot of wood grain (cabinets, countertop, the entire attached room) already, plus a lot of textures (tile floor, ribbed cabinets, tile backsplash, smooth countertop. A cream color that would complement the backsplash, countertop and floor would be great for the kitchen cabinets around the perimeter, perhaps staining the island a color? You'd still have plenty of wood grain (and what IS it with men and wood grain, anyway?).

The attached room could be done in a number of ways; I think the header between the two rooms is enough of a divider that they don't need to necessarily match each other.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

I like the wood cabinets. Why not just refresh them with a coat of topcoat. Then change the island with paint and a granite/marble counter. That would bring in some color and variety.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

youngdeb, thanks for the ideas! I definitely don't want it to look pickled. I have some extra cabinet doors to play with so I'll be able to see what it actually will look like. I'm concerned about the gross factor with the trash holes too... I think I'd rather open a door and pull out trash bins than dump stuff down the holes. It also just seems complicated with so many removable parts. In a perfect world, where would you put the trash? Now it is in a can way past the dishwasher, almost in the dining room, and it's driving me crazy, so I'm thinking anything would be better than that!

Julie: I think a simple piece of stainless might be the best way to go, then I don't have to worry about matching the marble that's in the island. I haven't been able to find a picture of stainless set into wood counters though, and I work better when I can picture it! I'll have to keep searching.

Iroll: yes, the men involved are definitely more interested in keeping the wood grain :) I agree with you that there are MANY textures going on (and actually I'm wondering if painting the cabinets a lighter color will make them look *more* ribbed rather than less? Or will the paint sort of fill in the crevices and lessen the texture? Again, good thing I have a sample door to play with.

sixtyohno: I do like the wood cabinets in theory, but they just don't look right with the wood counters, and we are not going to change the counters (after much debate and discussion, this is the decision we my husband and I have come to).

I appreciate the comments!


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Hi Roulie, I was looking at the beautiful blue kitchens in your thread about painting your cabs, and went looking for this thread for more pictures and info about your kitchen. (I would try the SW Naval from Deb's island on one of your trial boards, it just rocks!)

I have an opinion about the hole in your counter. I love the idea of using stainless, and if the Jenn-aire that was removed is the griddle next to the big Garland, I would suggest that you have someone come and fabricate a stainless steel cover that simply butts up to the range and covers the whole counter top surface, front overhang and all, for the length of counter top hole in the wood. That will give you a bulletproof landing spot for messy cooking. YOU may not need it, but you have at least one young person, and a messy spill on your butcher block with a stainless steel insert in the hole in the wood will be a lot harder to clean up than on a seamless sheet of steel. Have the fabricator match the finish as much as possible to that of the Garland, and it may not seem so much like another added texture in the room.

It also occurred to me, looking at the photo, that there does not seem to be a range hood. Is that a problem for you, or do you not put a lot of grease into the air when you cook? A metal fabricator could fashion one to fit below that cabinet, and you could put the guts in the cab. Just something to think about if you have someone out to see about the hole in the counter.

I went looking for your thread about your butcher block counter refinishing. The problem with wood near your sink area made me think of old porcelain 1920s to 1930s sinks as a solution. In my first search result I saw the one linked below, and it fit the one in my mind's eye perfectly. Something like this will better protect that beautiful refinished counter of yours. It prevents any more deterioration where the wood meets the back splash, as well, and does not go very far up the wall. Check out the link below.

I think I am interested in your project because it reminds me of my own. I refinished a used bead board kitchen almost three years ago.I have an island top that is 25 years old sitting in my garage that is very similar to your butcher block. I did not use it when I bought it with my Green Demolition kitchen. I refinished my beaded-board oak cabinets from GD by hand sanding and re-staining them with a creamy oil-based stain that my local Sherwin Williams mixed up for me. I could not get a "pickled" stain in water-base. My routed-out lines were far closer together than yours, but you have a LOT of cabs to do, too. If I had to do it again, I think I might paint. I do not have tons of wood grain around like you do, and really like the grain peeking through, so staining was a good choice for me at the time. My problem was in getting the stain to stick to end grain. All my rounded edges exposed me to end grain, but I did not realize that this was my problem at the time. Stain did not stick well on the perimeter of all of my 34 doors and 20 drawers, and I have a rubbed-through look in places.

I also have a few pieces that are a different color. Don't know if it was a stirring problem, a real color difference in the first stain can, or what. By the time I was done, I just did not want to know! Part of my problem is that I have asthma and had to wear terrible face masks to keep the VOCs out of my lungs. I had to work outside because of the fumes, too. In the steamy heat of the summer of 2010, I had little patience for problems and just let the color differences get by me. I just wanted it DONE.

If you can paint with latex, it is a lot less bother and mess than what I went through! Oil-based stains are still the most common with wood.

Here is a picture of my doors before I refinished them. If you want to see my kitchen (minus the missing cab door that we found in the carpenter's shop 6 months after I finished staining everything else), you can go to my website and see it at
www.pbase.com/nancyb/image/127230055

Here is
my island in its original home with butcher block top

Here is a link that might be useful: Sink that would solve water problems on wood


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Off the cuff ideas:

Please add knobs (I'm all for the wood knobs already in use) to the upper cabinets missing them. They provide contrast to all the lines.

I think it's such a great kitchen and painting the cabinets will spruce it up. Though I'd be inclined to leave all that wood as is on the perimeter and spend the money (waiting and saving if necessary) on soapstone counters to provide a contrast to all the wood & tile. Paint the island and leave the wood counter there.

In the meantime, replace the counter section where the cooktop was. The drop in piece will look like an afterthought and wouldn't it be easier to butt two straight edges together?

Paint the windows a bright blue, like the blue in the tile.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

the terra cotta has an orange tinge. the first question here is are they glazed tile, or unglazed tile that were sealed. if they are glazed, there is not much you can do about the color. if they were sealed, you can etch and strip the tiles, stain them, and reseal. this can change the look of the floor.

the same goes with the wood block counters - strip, stain, seal for a very different look. i've seen someone here stain butcher block with india ink - it looked great, don't know how it held up though.

i really like the cabinets, if they can be scrubbed down, i wouldn't want to do anything to them. they would not be my first choice for cabinets, but it would be hard to trash them, they just look good to me.


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RE: help me transform my 1970s-era (but new to me!) kitchen

Hmm... I've been following this along in lurk mode and you pose some interesting questions.

The contractor has an interesting idea about turning that area into a recycling/garbage zone. If you search, you can find images of some kitchens with a compost or garbage cut-out in the counter. I was thinking that if it was me, I'd probably want symmetry on both sides of the stove, but he has an idea worth exploring - and often considered pretty high end. Onedogie makes a great point about being able to add a new piece of butcherblock, though. Is that an option?

I'm in the navy paint camp for the cabinets, personally. I do think you have a lot of wood tones going on and I think the paint would go beautifully with your refreshed counters. I want to echo the idea to sample SW Naval, it looks like a great color.

It also seems like there a lot of different tones in those cabinets and I'm not sure if you would get consistency with stain. I gotta say, though, I could definitely see the island being a different color (navy) than the perimeter (white or taupe) in your space. That's a great look and adds a ton of personality to a kitchen.

Have fun with it. I did a refresh/mini-remodel 12 years ago and it breathed new life into the kitchen/house for a decade. It's so rewarding to make big change on a dime (relatively speaking).


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