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  1. #1
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    Default Spinoff from Kitchen Counter Remodel -- Sprucing up a Very Old Kitchen

    I didn't want to barge in on the other thread, so I thought I'd start a new one.

    I live in a very old house. My kitchen hasn't been remodeled since the 1950's. I like it. I like the built in cabinets and the old-fashioned flavor that it has. When I buy new appliances, I try to get the ones that are as retro as possible. But, I think it could use some changes, just to spruce up things a bit.

    Trouble is, I'm about as creative as an aardvark. I just can't figure out the best way to go about things. So, I'll throw it out to all of you. Here's a couple of pictures that show the way it is now.

    This first one will have some changes made this winter. I'm having a sunroom added outside of that door and window. Both will be removed and the window area will be left open and widened as much as possible so that I can see through and so that there will be more light in the kitchen.
    http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../404479464.jpg

    The second shows the sink area, and gives a glance into the pantry. Again, it's an old, outdated sink, but I have to admit that I love it. I love the drainboards on each side and would want to keep an arrangement like that. It's wearing out, though. The enamel is very thin and I'm bracing myself to put in a new sink. I'm just wondering about the best kind to get. I don't have a dishwasher and am ok with that, but that means that I like to have the area to drain and dry dishes.
    http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../404479480.jpg

    So, I want to change, but I don't want too much. Or, should I change more than I want to? Would you like a kitchen like this, or is it hopelessly outdated?
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    I didn't want to barge in on the other thread, so I thought I'd start a new one.

    I live in a very old house. My kitchen hasn't been remodeled since the 1950's. I like it. I like the built in cabinets and the old-fashioned flavor that it has. When I buy new appliances, I try to get the ones that are as retro as possible. But, I think it could use some changes, just to spruce up things a bit.

    Trouble is, I'm about as creative as an aardvark. I just can't figure out the best way to go about things. So, I'll throw it out to all of you. Here's a couple of pictures that show the way it is now.

    This first one will have some changes made this winter. I'm having a sunroom added outside of that door and window. Both will be removed and the window area will be left open and widened as much as possible so that I can see through and so that there will be more light in the kitchen.
    http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../404479464.jpg

    The second shows the sink area, and gives a glance into the pantry. Again, it's an old, outdated sink, but I have to admit that I love it. I love the drainboards on each side and would want to keep an arrangement like that. It's wearing out, though. The enamel is very thin and I'm bracing myself to put in a new sink. I'm just wondering about the best kind to get. I don't have a dishwasher and am ok with that, but that means that I like to have the area to drain and dry dishes.
    http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../404479480.jpg

    So, I want to change, but I don't want too much. Or, should I change more than I want to? Would you like a kitchen like this, or is it hopelessly outdated?
    How much do you want to spend? I'm in the same situation and have found a stainless double sink with drain boards on either side that is probably 7' long, but it's very, very pricey.

    BTW, I like your kitchen. If I had it, I would probably paint the cabinet doors, but that's because I like all white and the lightness that you get with it.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  3. #3
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    New cabinet hardware is a cheap fix.

    I went with pulls for the drawers and handles for the cabinets in matching metal for my 70s kitchen and it really changed the look of the old cabinets.
    Check out your local hardware store for options - cheap enough to buy samples and see how you like them first.

    My cabinets were dark wood and I had them repainted sage green.
    To save money, just the outside of the doors and any trim you can see - the insides are still the original finish.

    A new countertop does a lot too - either laminate or if your budget can handle it: stone.
    I've had 2 granite tops now (in different houses) & love the look and durability.

    I like your sink!
    Look into having it re-enameled by a company that does bathtubs.
    And do not listen to people who tell you to get rid of it for something more modern!
    If you love it, it gets to stay!

    My stove is a vintage 1926 gas Roper on legs.
    When I remodeled, the architect friend who did the plans had a fit.
    He was concerned that people would see my old stove from the open floor plan to the LR.
    I told him "too bad!" & everyone who sees the stove compliments it.
    (so there, Alan!)

    There are companies the refurbish vintage appliances or build new to resemble old:

    http://www.elmirastoveworks.com/
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  4. #4
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    You can get sinks that have built in drainboards today, but they aren't part of the countertop like your pictures show.

    The silgranit sinks are pretty spectacular and they have one that has one built in drainboard:

    http://www.blancoamerica.com/c3/blan...=1269500751121

    Or a stainless single hole with double drainboards on them: http://www.blancoamerica.com/c3/blan...=1268128013036

    Another option would be an apron sink. But it would be more "farm house" and not as much retro looking, but it can be neat. I would suggest a free standing one, but you'd have to give up your lowers, and I don't think that's a good idea in a smaller kitchen unless you think you have enough pantry space.

    Here's a free standing: http://r1.cygnuspub.com/files/cygnus...t_10210075.jpg

    In terms of re-finishing, if you want to keep your cabinets the same, I would paint them. Solid white on the top and something very retro like yellow on the bottom. Or put yellow on both. Or go crazy and do turquoise. Woohoo!

    http://nibsblog.files.wordpress.com/...n-big-apro.jpg
    http://images.meredith.com/bhg/image..._100239912.jpg

    If you can, without messing up the flow into your entrance (where does that linoleum go to?) I would lay new vinyl flooring. The newer vinyl is an awesome product, is commercial grade, cleans well and lays down super easy. Go something bold like white/black checker or another pattern that appeals to you.

    If you wanted stainless appliances, you could make them work. Otherwise, Elmira stove works makes retro appliances, but they are very expensive.

    Get funky with your backsplash. Glass mosaic, or a glass brick pattern or metal would look awesome.

    Keep the hardware. The round nickel is awesome.

    If your counter is white, you could leave it (I don't know what condition it's in) but if not, I'd do something light with a metal trim (think diner style). Make sure if you do laminate (which I would recommend in this kitchen. It'll be inexpensive and look right with the look) that you just have it end at the wall. Don't do the 3" backplash they usually do. You don't need it if you are going to tile and it's one of the ways to make laminate look more current.

    If you like the style of it currently, there are ways to make it awesome without spending huge bucks. And then if you want to completely rip it out later, you won't feel so bad.

    I do think it's one of the most promising "old" kitchens I have ever seen. It's right to the ceiling, the doors are flat and it looks like it can be lots of fun to play with inexpensively.



  5. #5
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Thanks everyone. Some wonderful ideas here. I need to keep the cupboard space under the sink. I had tried some of these bathroom places, but none of them make a molded overlay for sinks like they do for bathtubs. I can only find one place that does actual re-porcelaining and that's in Illinois. I'd have to ship the sink there. I have a feeling that would be too expensive. The other stuff that is used to refinish sinks is pretty fragile, from what I understand, and easily chips and scratches.

    I like the idea of painting the cupboards and I had to laugh, Jazzy Lady, because the original color of the kitchen cupboards themselves was turquoise. The doors were varnished, like they are now. There was turquoise linoleum tiling on the floor and the rest of the kitchen was white. I also like the idea of new formica. What I have looks pretty good, but I have found that, in the last couple of years, it has worn to the point where it stains. And, I like the idea of new hardware. You can't see in that picture, but the finish on the existing knobs has worn and peeled. That would be a fairly inexpensive fix, I think.

    I'm going to have some kind of tile (haven't picked it out yet, but have been advised not to go with white or too dark) in the sunroom. Would it be a good idea to use that same tile to redo the kitchen and pantry floor?
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  6. #6
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    www.oldhouseweb.com Lots of ideas and lots of people who know and love old houses. Ask this same question there and you'll get tons of information and suggestions.

    Lorree
    Quote Originally Posted by King's Ransom
    "Now, did you really mean that I should half-pass to the right whilst turning on the haunches to the left? Or was that just you farting?"



  7. #7
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Well, pish! I thought that oldhouseweb sounded great so I attempted to register, only to be told that they are not accepting any new registrations at this time.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  8. #8
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    You had more ideas already presented than I would know, but I have to say that adding a sun room is an absolutely great way to go.

    I added one to the bedroom to the yard and loved it so much, added another from the yard to the mud room, that is really a side entrance that works as the main entrance, the front door is never used by anyone.

    Sun rooms, I call mine airlocks, are great to keep the house clean and neat and a neat place to spend much of the time.

    I bet you will love your sun room.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    Well, pish! I thought that oldhouseweb sounded great so I attempted to register, only to be told that they are not accepting any new registrations at this time.
    Really???!! I just signed in (to the forums -- did you click on the "Old House Forums" tab?) and the most recent user registered two days ago. Maybe there's something going on with the site...

    If nothing else, you should be able to view the forums and get some ideas.

    Lorree



  10. #10
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    Mid century modern is NOT a bad thing! I toted around a vintage '50's Magic Chef gas range for years until I finally had to give up finding the house for it.

    I am thinking that there are places out there that are making repro sinks with the integral drainboards - and if not you used to could find them at the junk man - although I realize that's a dying breed. I like your kitchen and might just freshen it up without trying to "modernize".
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Louise-when I was looking for replacement knobs for my kitchen (it's new but they managed to scratch the daylights out of a couple of knobs) I found that the big box stores had several prices of the same knobs, handles and hinges, and they all looked identical to me. I have the oiled bronze (ok, it's really brown) knobs, and found they have contractor packs of nice ones, individually packed in plastic, and they were 1/3 the price of the identical individual ones in a drawer. I replaced my original ones that were scratched, and have 8 spares that a ready if I ever need them. Contractor packs are the way to go for electric outlet, switch and plate covers too-great prices, and identical new ones dress a place up a lot. And unless you dislike the wood cabinets then I would just restain if you like a different one better, or paint if you have a color you truly love. If you paint the cabinets send the drawer fronts and doors to a pro, because spraying with a pro doing the job is great. And remember some of the kitchens on here that used a great chocolate brown color and new hardware made a wonderful difference. However, if you like the cabinet shade the way it is, just find a nice countertop, and have a kitchen you love. WHat's important is what you want to see everyday when you walk into that kitchen, and what makes you feel happy.

    Before you pick a countertop color or finish get a sample of a few materials and colors and put them in the kitchen and see how they look in different light, and in different locations, like under the cabinets by the wall, as well as on the island. It would suck to get the wrong shade.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #12
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Yes, I want to be careful not to change just for the sake of change. That's old-style varnish on those cabinet doors. I know a good handyman who could probably do a fine job of staining and finishing off with some kind of a protective coating. He can put new knobs on at the same time.

    In my searches to see about having the sink re-enameled, I saw some examples of sinks that were in a lot worse condition than mine is. Maybe that same handyman would have an idea or two about filling in some of the scratches. It looks better in this picture than it actually is, but, it's mainly dings and scratches, with a few places where the porcelain has worn pretty thin. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../404485144.jpg

    The formica would be a job for a pro, I think. And, I think I'll see what tiles are out there before I decide if I can find one that would look good in both the sunroom and the kitchen/pantry.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  13. #13
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    For the counter tops - there is a product that I've been very interested in: http://www.gianigranite.com/ -- they have a FB page: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/...783182?fref=ts that lots of people post their results to and they all seem to have a great result. I've gone as far as buying the stuff but I haven't had time or have been brave enough yet to use it.



  14. #14
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    A new countertop might just be enough to lighten up and change the kitchen, but if you want a different stain then go for it. If you want to see with others have done, then try something like a google image search on log home kitchens or just look at a bunch of pictures of kitchens and see what appeals to you.

    For sink refinishing you have to get a real pro. The cheap and quick jobs of reporcelaining (or whatever you call it) don't last. And see if they do a stainless version of sink and counter the way you want. Actually they do:
    http://www.nationalbuildersupply.com...tm_term=D60294

    And I know they make solid surface sink and countertop combinations, but I hate how they look. I know Corian does this.

    http://retrorenovation.com/2011/08/2...ainboard-sink/ This forum posting explains that the refinishing of the porcelain sink and drainboard lasted about 2 years, so the homeowner went with stainless.

    I wonder if there is a source out there for the porcelain sink and drainboard/counter combinations? I don't think anyone still makes the porcelain ones, but just the stainless ones.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  15. #15
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    How about butcher block counters? Inexpensive, timeless, useful and can be matched to your cabinet doors. Keep cabinet boxes white for contrast and to match appliances. Add tiled backsplash in colors you want to accent with. Or for easy and very affordable, buy the faux tin or copper backsplash...Home depotn they come in different patterns too. Glue right up with construction adhesive, waterproof and cute. You'll save enough to spring for a retro sink. Or google reclaimed places near you. They stock vintage stuff from tear-downs and sell them for less. Then choose a wall color to go with the time period. Yellow was the "in" color for kitchens in the 50s and it sure beats avocado green and burnt orange, lol!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  16. #16
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    Your kitchen is very cute and I LOVE your sink! Don't get rid of it, or send it to me. I have a rolling dishwasher that came with the house and hate it. I use it as a table. I would love to have a drain side like that. I always hadwash my dishes.

    I have a 1938 house, and when I bought it it had a stainless steel sink. Hated it. I found a great old porcelain sink and put it back in.

    I love natural wood and hate painting over it, but it does look odd with the white behind it and the pale green walls. Maybe keep the wood and paint the white with kind of a faux color similar to the wood, just washing it over so it stays a lot lighter, though. Then paint the walls a ligt version of the wood color. That way you can keep that natural wood and not have the odd color contrast.

    I can't see your floor, but look around and see what you can get in the way of good tile. I ended up getting a great deal on porcelain tile, and it's really nice. Again, do it in the same color scheme as the wood. And do NOT use white between the tile! Make it dirt colored! Get something with some color variation in the color or dirt will show like crazy and on the lighter color scheme.

    I can't see your countertop. If it's old tile, I would keep it. If it's something nasty, you can get some great deal on tops. I was going to go with some premade marble top for my vanity, but found a super great deal on granite and love it. I like having variation in color in things, not solid--it looks better and it doesn't show stains so much.



  17. #17
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    My kitchen was kind of similar - even had the same valances!

    I'm not sure what look and what budget you are talking about. I made do with my cabinets for many years. My house was circa 1958 with much of the kitchen original. Didnt have a neat sink tho! The cabinets had all been painted white. I painted the doors red and put on pulls that I liked. Replaced the countertop with metal edging with inexpensive formica. Pulled the vinyl floor tile that had been stuck halfway up the walls.
    That held me for 10 years. My house didnt have a lot of architectual character - simple ranch. I finally had the kitchen remodeled last Spring. Nice thing about that is picking out all the details and having the room complete at once. And everything clean and logical! And these days there are many choices that let you have whatever character you want - without dropping the ridiculous $$$ seen on the TV shows.

    My vote is to fix up the kitchen in whatever way makes you happy and makes the kitchen work for you. Dont worry about what others think about keeping or replacing or painting etc. Unless you are looking to sell in the near future, or do something truely bizarre that you will regret, do what you like with the help of some of the good suggestions here. Me? If I couldnt replace the cabinets, I would likely paint the doors - but that is just my taste.



  18. #18
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    If you can afford to partially give up the little cabinet above the sink, you could do a European-style drip drying cabinet, like in this picture. You could keep your current cabinet, knock the bottom out and install the rack for not very much money. They're awesome for small kitchens without a dishwasher, keeps the sink clear.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CobJockey View Post
    If you can afford to partially give up the little cabinet above the sink, you could do a European-style drip drying cabinet, like in this picture. You could keep your current cabinet, knock the bottom out and install the rack for not very much money. They're awesome for small kitchens without a dishwasher, keeps the sink clear.
    Neat, I had not seen that before.

    I do think, if you are very short, as I am, you would not want to do anything that you have to do regularly so far overhead.
    I bet I would not even reach to put the dishes up there.

    For interesting drawer pulls, I had the local bit and spur maker design some silver ones with our ranch brand and they look awesome.
    Ok if you only have to put in a dozen or so, a bit too expensive if you need fifty, but it is an option that really dresses cabinets.



  20. #20
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    The sink stays. I just love it too much, especially after cruising the internet sites looking for alternatives. I'll put up with the chips and scratches and having to bleach the main part of the sink on a regular basis. I have very, very hard water, which I love because it tastes so good. But, that eliminates any kind of stainless steel because it leaves water marks on that kind of surface like crazy. Even the stainless steel water dishes for the cats are all marked with mineral spots, in spite of the fact that they get washed daily.

    I love the drip cupboard. I'm not that short, but the cupboard over the sink is too high for me to reach the top shelf without getting on a chair, so that probably eliminates that. I like the spring arrangement on those doors, also. Right now, all accessible cabinet doors are held closed with baby latches, because a couple of my cats are very talented door openers and I want to make sure that they don't get into anything dangerous. I think those spring hinges would be a little classier.

    beentheredonethat, I had never thought about painting the cabinets themselves a light wood color, and staining the doors to coordinate with them. I like that idea. If, as I think it will, opening up that South wall, where the door and window are, to the sunroom beyond gives me more light, that would be a distinct possibility. I hate a dark kitchen, which is part of the reason that everything is kept a light color. Right now, that little window is the only one in the entire kitchen. With more natural light, I might be able to go to a light wood color, at least.

    And, Bluey, what an interesting idea, to have customized door pulls made. I haven't seen anything in the stores that really floated my boat. I wonder if my farrier is talented to makes something individualized?

    As to my purpose, it's dual. I figure I probably have about ten more years here, before I need to move into a senior living community because this house and huge yard has become too much for me. So, I both want to find something that pleases me for that ten years, and, at the same time is attractive to buyers. To me, that means that I want to change and freshen, without doing a complete remodel that prospective buyers wouldn't like anyways. The new owners will want to put their mark on this house, and there's nothing that does that better than changing the kitchen to meet their particular requirements.

    And, that European drip cupboard is definitely going to be kept in the back of my mind for when I do move into a more senior friendly environment.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



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