10 July 2013

The Mid-Century Remodel - Before + After (part III)

Happy Wednesday! Today we're back at the mid-century home for part III of the project before + afters. Today I take you to the kitchen, laundry/pantry, and powder rooms. Remember my budget of nil dollars for renovating? Yes, that's how we're doing it. Very little was done in these areas other than a major decluttering of the spaces and a fresh coat of paint, but look at what a difference these small changes have made to the feel of the rooms. (Lesson #2 - don't discount the immense visual impact of decluttering a space!)

And if you missed the last two befores + afters, you can look back on them here:  the living + dining rooms, and here: the master bath.

Are you ready? Let's go!

Kitchen (Before):

Whew! There's no denying the heaviness of this oak table and chairs in this space, along with the dark custom drapes over the kitchen window. Added to that was a main lighting source provided by the globe of a single ceiling fan. The set up definitely was not ideal for the task of daily cooking (rumor has has it that the original owner requested the home be built "sans" kitchen since she never cooked). But for those of us who cook on a daily basis, changes were definitely in order for this room to function.

outdated kitchen

As I formulated a plan, my first instinct was to paint the cabinets; but I was out-voted by the family, thus had to leave them as is. My second thought was to paint the panelled soffit the same color as the walls; but, again, I got a "nay" on that. So, left with my only option, I painted the walls, edited the space, + added in a little personality.

First off the list was to add flush mount lighting. At first it was as if a bolt of lightening struck - so bright!!! But once we adjusted to "normal" lighting, we were able to deal with the other factors.  Too many similar wood tones in the room, dark fabrics covering the only window, + mismatched paint from the other open areas of the home. (The black appliances definitely don't help, but are another factor we can't change.) Overall, the combination added to the room's oppressive feel. The room was gloomy and dark.

With those changes made, here we are today:

Kitchen (After):

work station
Removing the large dining set from the center of the kitchen was a no brainer. I replaced it with a small work station I found elsewhere in the home and painted in a bright shade of yellow. The pop of color helps balance the sea of brown cabinets + black appliances.

Next, I removed the drapery from the only window, and painted the walls the same color as the adjoining dining room for consistency.

After reducing the footprint of furniture, I heavily edited the contents of the room and re-styled the kitchen for a little personality. By simply using found objects from the estate + a few thrift store finds, the room turned into an adorable kitchen filled with 1950's vintage kitsch. You can look back at Vintage Finds for the Mid-Century Remodel for a recap on what I found. And the little Painted Table was a quick paint project that added a much needed punch of color to the space. Adding a little blue rag rug which I found in the basement helped to ground the little table and tied in all the colors in the room.

retro 50's kitchen
Another post you might enjoy looking back on is the Mid-Century Remodel - Staging the Kitchen in Vintage 50's. By simply creating vignettes from everyday items, some 1950's kitsch became a budget-friendly design for the kitchen that was very appropriate for the age of the home.

painted 50's hutch
Here is the other wall of the kitchen in its before stage. This 1950's hutch was potential for an easy upcycle.

vintage kitchen design
Changing out the gold hardware and removing the floral motif put it back to it's original state of simplicity.

Definitely a brighter, more functional work space now. The kitchen is the heart of any home, whether you're a cook or not. This kitchen went from dark + oppressive to bright + functional just by adding proper lighting, editing it's contents, and adding a little personality. What a difference!

Want to see what's behind the kitchen as we begin to finish up the tour? Behind the kitchen is a knotty pine panelled room that I believe would originally have been the den. At some point it became the designated laundry room.

Not an ideal placement, but apparently the only one that made sense. Considering there's no place to relocate the laundry units without major re-plumbing, we chose to leave the room as is and designate it as a laundry/pantry. The idea works perfectly since this small room is just off the kitchen. (Lesson #3, giving a room a designated "title" helps buyers see the potential of a space.)

Some recommendations were to paint this panelling, but I could never do it. How about you? Would you have the courage to paint over knotty pine panelling?

Here is where we began with the room - with an entire lifetime of acquisitions packed within.

mid-century pine panelling

pine panelling
I didn't get an after shot. But all we did was remove the contents (other than the washer + dryer).

And this, well this is the attached powder room.
floral wallpaper

If you were as lucky as I to have lived through the 1980's, you will recall that this pink marble, mauve carpet, and exuberant floral wallpaper were to die for. Victoriana in its highest form, and we all wanted it.

But not so much now. (So much busy in a tiny space.)

Again, I would have loved to have painted the orange-stained oak cabinet, but was out-voted. So it stays as is. With that, I did what I could, and that was to paint and edit.
1980's mauve bath
wallpaper painted
You have to admit, simply painting out the heavy floral wallpaper has gone a long way in making the space feel a little less claustrophobic. Considering this bath needs a complete re-do, merely brightening up the space for the new owners helps them visualize its potential. 

There was also a lot of gold hardware within the space that had to stay, so I embraced the gold by adding more of it by way of a large gold mirror on the other side (hung vertically).  This mirror did two things - it balanced out all the gold accents from the other side of the room, and hanging it vertically created visual balance from the long horizontal wall it's a part of.

As a recap, these three rooms were simply painted and given a major declutter. In the kitchen, personality was added with the addition of some 1950's vintage. And by using the hutch as a display piece, I was able to create vignettes from many of the vintage finds from the original owners - all in a way that kept things neat and tidy.

Still more fun time to come with this mid-century remodel. Next Wednesday we'll continue our before and afters where you get to see a lovely brick wall I uncovered under, you guessed it, more wallpaper. It is now a lovely part of the home's interior!



  1. When you said you couldn't repainted the kitchen cabinets, I didn't know how you could make it look much better but you did! Wow! Love it.
    That laundry room....I don't know. I mean carpet in a laundry room? Boy, that's hard to understand! LOL!
    The tiny bath looks so much better painted.
    I'm amazed at what de-cluttering and painting can do to a place.....
    I'm going to sign-off and do some of that HERE!
    Thanks for this post.
    I LOVE seeing your work.

    1. awww, thanks girl! just goes to show how much can be done with some blood + sweat instead of cash.


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