Good-bye Green



When we moved here, I thought I was in love with the cute vintage kitchen. It was the quintessential 1950s color scheme and vintage cabinets. If there is one room in the house that I spend the most time in it is definitely the kitchen. I absolutely love cooking. I find it truly relaxing and I enjoy eating just as much, if not more. Just mastering how to cook on the big electric stove was a feat in itself. It took me the good part of three months just to not scorch everything. As Steven predicted, within a few months here I grew tired of the kitchen. It turned out to be a complete eyesore. Most of the first floor was now finished, everything had been painted, the floors had been refinished, and it just intensified how old and dingy the kitchen really was. The florescent light did not to it any favors either.

Original Kitchen


Such beautiful floors


We decided to give the kitchen a bit of a facelift- just enough of an upgrade that I didn’t loath being in there; something that was clean, tidy and user friendly. Eventually we want to really go to town and do a full gut kitchen renovation but for now I just wanted somewhere that I enjoyed being.


As with most of our projects, it began with ripping out the floor. I have grown into the habit of ripping up flooring. There have been so many outrageous floor coverings in this house and the kitchen was no different. It was textured linoleum that made it impossible to clean. So one night the kids went to bed and Steven and I went at it. Up came linoleum along with its plywood backing. Underneath was tar-paper which was an absolute nightmare so we decided to just leave that there for now.


The plan was to:

  • Take up the old flooring and install something new
  • Replace the “petri-dish” counter tops- that literally look like a sixth grade science experiment where you are growing bread mold
  • Paint all the cabinets, ceiling and walls
  • Install new cabinet hardware
  • Install a new backsplash
  • Install a new sink, faucet, and garbage disposal
  • Install new electrical outlets


We wanted to do this kitchen on the cheap, and I am proud to say we have. Out came the floors and counter tops. We had a long debate about whether or now to modify the cabinets and remove the (unusable) portion that met with the ceiling. I won-they were taken out. We ordered maple countertops from and they lead time was 10 days. That gave us 10 days to get everything else in order before they arrived. After taking out the bulkhead, Steven installed crown molding to the tops of the cabinets. I think this made them look complete, but also gave the sense that the room was bigger. Visually there was nothing blocking your vision to the 4 corners of the room.

After removing the tops of the cabinets and installing crown molding
Crown molding detail

As with many projects, I am always wondering in the back of my head when something was done. How old were the cabinets, or the countertops, or the backsplash. Lucky for us, this question was answered when we were removing the backsplash- 1949. There was a ton of old new paper in the wall behind the backsplash. This seemed about right. The cabinets had been many different colors we found while sanding them- there was green, pink, and white. All the cabinets were sanded, primed and painted. We painted all of the cabinets the same white that we had been using on the rest of the trim (Sherwin Williams Dover white). I really liked the look of open shelving so we used the cabinets and just removed the doors off the two cabinets flaking the sink where our dishes our kept.

We installed new GFI outlets and ran new electric for the Garbage disposal. Took down the hideous florescent light and installed a new light fixture that we found at One of my favorite, most useful things in the kitchen is the garbage disposal. We use an air activated switch that is installed directly onto the counter-top. It doesn’t use electricity so you don’t need to worry about getting any water on it, and it is hidden and doesn’t take up space on the backsplash.

The handy garbage disposal button

By the time the countertops arrived most of the kitchen was finished. We got a fiberglass sink from Home Depot that we were able to under mount. This makes the sink feel much deeper. Steve made a template, cut and routed out for the sink before he treated the countertop. He made his own stain using aniline dye then sealed them with multiple coats of Waterlox. I really liked the matte finish of natural butcher-block so he used a satin finish and sanded. The backsplash is wide beadboard. It is easy to clean, and we can always repaint it. Plus, I think it matched with the kitchen nicely. I am always striving to make things look timeless. I don’t particularly like trendy materials- and I think coming into this house with so many dated things just intensified this thought. We installed a laminate floor. It is easy to clean, and doesn’t scratch, and it was easy on our wallet.

Fitting and installing the sink
During the staining process

All in all, the kitchen is done for now. I still have to upgrade the appliances. I have replaced the dishwasher- simply because the old one hardly worked and I was washing dishes before I put them in, and washing them when they came out. I do need a new stove and refrigerator but I would rather get the ones I REALLY want, and be able to reuse them when we renovate the kitchen again in the future.

DSC_0623 DSC_0659 DSC_0624 DSC_0634  DSC_0668    DSC_0673     Doing the kitchen, in my opinion, has really increased my quality of living. Its now my favorite room of the house and I am cooking up a storm. I couldn’t be happier with the transformation and that we were able to do this under budget- just under $1,500.00.




47 thoughts on “Good-bye Green

    1. Thank you, I must admit it is not the easiest to cook on. I scoured craiglists for awhile looking for a real 1950s vintage stove but they are SO hard to come by in working order. The day will come when we will switch it out for a new gas one.

  1. Beautiful kitchen and amazing budget transformation : ) . I like how you kept the soul of the kitchen but made it more workable (and cleaner!).

    We also live in an older house and did a major kitchen renovation about 15 years ago. Around the time we bought the house we found an old O’Keefe & Merritt gas range for sale by a neighbor for $25, and it’s one of my favorite things about the kitchen. Be patient and it will come!

    1. Lucky you, what a gem, its hard to stumble upon old things that someone has really valued and taken care of. The fact that appliances used to be made that well is a testament to why I love old homes!

  2. Hi! I am happy to have come across your posts via “Hooked on Houses”. I wanted ask, what color grey did you paint the kitchen? I am having a devil of a time picking a grey that is light enough and not too green or blue. Thanks!

    1. The kitchen color is “Gray Screen” by Sherwin Williams. I do love the color. A big thing that you have to take into consideration if you are trying to avoid a color that looks too blue is the lighting that you use. The pictures here are taken under natural light and we have chosen to use traditional bulbs. This color does not look blue at all but under the right light(i.e. CFLs or LEDs) I think that it might appear more blue. We also generally choose flat paint for all walls. I know that traditionally people suggest using eggshell paint but it really does a nice job hiding imperfections in old plaster work. We use Sherwin Williams Emerald paint, which is high quality and still is good for clean ups.

  3. Hi! Just found your website today through “Hooked on Houses”. What a fabulous job on your kitchen! I like your style, both in decorating/remodeling and the way you have done your blog! Can’t wait to see what’s up next!

    1. Thanks Sue! We have so much more to do. As much as I love the results, I love the project more! Check in with us often, or subscribe!!

  4. Another one from HOH. I can’t wait to read more. I’m in several mid century mod or vintage facebook pages and those people are crazy for keeping everything original. While I do like kitsch and original I think we can all remember houses we’ve been in (my grandmas) where the kitchen just seemed so old and run-down, stinky (even though she was a meticulous housekeeper). So, I love that you kept what will work for you and updated.

    1. Thank you, my sentiments exactly. There is a reason why styles change and why things advance. Old is good but there is something to be said for taking care of things and updating when needed.

  5. This is darling – I have been so tempted to get the Ikea wood countertops but we are in our seventy’s and although our white “Formica” counters are old-they are clean and functional and the wooden countertops might not appeal to the next owner. We did replace all the appliances and we put down an allure floor which we are pleased with. Painted the cabinets with a matte black and added the long tubular steel handles. Looks better than it did. Yours looks great!

  6. What a beautiful difference….timeless. I was wondering when you removed the bulkhead above your cabinets did you have to do a lot of work to repair the ceiling? I agree it really opened up your kitchen by doing that to your cabinets. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, yes we did have to do a lot of work to repair the ceiling; a few coats of spackle and a lot of sanding but it was totally worth it!

  7. Hello. I love what you did . Great choices. My kitchen is also gray. It’s the whites that I have trouble with. There’s so many. What did you use?

    1. Thank you so much! We had a very difficult time picking the white that we would use for the trim and the cabinets. You can read more about the decision about white on our fireplace post ( The white that we chose is Sherwin Williams Dover White. We also liked Sherwin Williams Alabaster which has less yellow in it. One thing I do when I have narrowed down paint colors is a type them into google and houzz to see other people that have used the same color in a whole room or as the trim. I couldn’t be happier with Dover white, and it also looks nice in the living room where we have installed LED high hats.

  8. Wow! You all should be very proud of yourselves. Fantastic job. The pride in tackling big projects like this is questionable on the days when your hands hurt and you still have to come up with something for dinner! The more you do though and have this kind of success, gives you the confidence to tackle the next project! At least that’s how we feel. Your countertops are really, really nice. We have a Lumber Liquidators here in Lexington that I’ve considered getting a bid from for our own kitchen. Curious, did they come to your home and do the measuring? That’s my biggest fear ~ getting one cut wrong and we blow the budget! Looking forward to following along at House on the Fritz!

    1. I know, the kitchen was very difficult to do. I am used to cooking every meal and struggled not having it functional for awhile. We did to the kitchen during the summer so we did a lot of grilling :). I am not sure if lumber liquidators does the fitting. We ordered it from them and it was delivered to the curb. Steven cut it and did all the fitting for the sink. We only have one long stretch so we bought one 12ft piece and cut it.

  9. Hi! What a gorgeous job!! We just closed today on a 1950s ranch with a remarkably similar kitchen, right down to the (40″?) wide stove (replaced with a 90s version, but still wide!) We will be doing a renovation on the cheap as well and I’m so encouraged by what I see you were able to do with $1500! Question for you: My husband and I have a disagreement about what to do with the wide oven. I think it will be handy and we should try to replace it (when we can) with something gas of a similar width. He says we should build in another cabinet and replace it with the standard 30″ width gas model. What do you guys plan to do? Do you like the extra warming area? Again, wonderful job!

    1. Thanks! I love getting feedback. We were able to do everything for $1500.00 excluding the appliances. When we moved in we replaced the dishwasher because it simply did not clean the dishes so I did not include that in our budget. I have been dropping the blog ball over here and being the dead of winter it is hard to get house projects done. I do want to post soon about the kitchen appliances because we have since upgraded them. The stove that we had was 40″ and I really gotten use to all of the cooking space. I do a lot of cooking and baking and I will say that it was defiantly useful. I did not use the warming oven in ours very often. It was simply too small to fit much in there besides a loaf of bread. The stove that we had was also electric and even after a year of living here I was still struggling with it. Luckily we already had natural gas in the house so we were easily able to convert to gas. The range that was there was 40″ and I decide to replace it with a 36″. The 36″ are much easier to come by and they are not overly expensive. The cabinet to the left of the stove is there for four inches too narrow for the space so we are going to add on to the side of is a little cubbie going vertically for baking sheets and cutting boards. After that is complete I plan on just installing a new, wider, countertop. I am so happy that we upgraded the range. Once you move in I would advise you feel it out. If you aren’t planning on making the appliances purchases for awhile take the time and see if you are really using the extra space or if it would be better suited for more cabinetry.


      1. Hi Gretchen! Thanks for your reply. I only found you last night during some late night googling, so I have no expectations on your posting frequency! 🙂 Also, I have small kids too, so I know all about the abundance of free time you have on your hands. 😉 That being said, I’d love to see more! Thanks for the insight on the oven. That is exactly the same scenario we were discussing, the options for the 36″ are just so much more varied than the odd wider width. I did tell my husband I wanted to try it out for a while, though. Like y’all, we will be trading out appliances here and there as there are more pressing renovations to be done than replacing perfectly working appliances at this time. I’ve never heard of a push-button garbage disposal either. Genius! Thanks for posting your work so I could benefit from your knowledge! Cheers to you and your family 🙂

  10. Kitchen looks great! My husband and I are in the process of remodeling an entire house and we’re about to tackle the kitchen. I love that pendant light, where did you get that?
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi! We have old cabinets too, from 1961. Have you been happy with the decision to paint them? New cabinets are so expensive! Thanks.

  12. Love your remodel! I have a 1940’s streamline moderne kitchen we’re going to update and I’m nervous! when you took down the bulkhead, I noticed that there were electrical components hanging. How did you deal with the wiring over the cabinets? Thanks!

    1. Hi MK,
      Sorry I am just getting back to you. We ended up removing this electrical and running all new electric to the kitchen. With small and large appliances + the garbage disposal it was definitely a must.


  13. Your kitchen looks beautiful! Now that it’s been a couple years how have your cabinets held up? I’m thinking about painting mine but I’m worried about chipping and wear.

    1. HI Lindsay,
      So sorry I am just seeing this. I must say that I love having the cabinets painted but I do feel that we are a bit harsh with everyone running around. We did use satin finish and I would recommend good prep work, and a semi-gloss finish. Also- I think that having a darker color on the bottoms may have done us better with dirty little fingerprints everywhere.
      Thanks for your interest,

    1. Hi Tisha,
      So sorry I am just getting back to you. We used maple butcher block that we stained and protected with waterlox finish. After two years we are actually needing to sand but I think I am going to keep them natural color this time around. It is a plus with wood that they can easily be sanded down and changed. I have had no issues other than normal wear which does not bother me at all.

      Thanks for you interest,

  14. I have looked for this rug everywhere, including the site you mentioned. Any idea what the name, style, brand, etc?
    I have a very similar kitchen and this rug would be perfect!

    1. Nicole, I have no idea. I bought it off one kings lane about two years ago but didn’t take note of the tag when purchasing. So sorry.

    2. I checked my order history. Is it called “3’x5′ Babaji Pompom Dhurrie, Blue/Multi”. I hope this is helpful.

  15. Hi Gretchen –

    I just found your blog and Hooked on Houses. We have a 1957 home and have been trying to decide whether to pull the cabinets out or put in an Ikea kitchen. Budget wise redoing the kitchen works much better. Your kitchen design is the same as ours, except we do not have a dishwasher. I really love your kitchen remodel Any advice on remodeling a 1957 kitchen? Thank you.

    1. Hey Donna,

      I think a lot depends on budget and the condition of the current cabinets. Eventually we want to gut and replace but due to limited funds this was our compromise.

      I have heard nothing but great reviews about IKEA cabinets. In our case our cabinets had been kept in really good shape so it was easy to sand/paint/replace hardware.

      I think the best improvements have been garbage disposal/new electrical/ under cabinet lighting. These are small things that have made the kitchen much more functional.

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