Tuesday, January 6, 2015

my kitchen inspiration

As I have said before, my home was built in 1930 and although many people would try to modernize it, that's not my style. In fact, the previous owners were set to gut the entire house, from what I can tell with all the pamphlets in the cupboards. Luckily, they never got around to it and decided to sell the house.

One of the main things they were going to do was put in dark wood cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. You know... like every. single. house. you see on HGTV, especially House Hunters. They had already started with the stove, the sink, the fridge and most of the knobs. It looked ridiculous, because the original 1930s cabinetry was still in place, but it was topped with 1970s white, stained, laminate counter tops and the floor was a horrid dark reddish brown linoleum. On top of that the whole room was painted puke brown, including the cabinets and the hinges. I don't know if they were trying to make it monochromatic or what, but the whole thing was a mess.

Below are some before pictures to give you an example. It was right after I moved in, so please excuse the mess.

 Here you can see all the 'lovely' brown, the counter tops and the sink...

 This is a close up of a cabinet that was added later in the house's history (it's gone now) and you can see the  horrible knobs....

 The painted over hinges... ugh!

More brown cabinets on the bottom and the gross flooring.

And finally the breakfast nook where they had tried to minimize the cute details.

See what I mean? Awful.
Can you imagine that little room with dark wood? It was already dark enough!

Anyway, at first I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, except to get that brown out of there and although I knew I didn't want it to look like my last kitchen (that you can see in this post), because it wasn't right for the house, I had to do something right away. So, I sanded down all cabinets and doors, soaked all the hinges to get the paint off, and then painted everything white to get a blank canvas. I knew then that I wanted color and lots of it, but I waited about 6 months to get a feel for what the kitchen needed and spent a great deal of time looking at pictures of 1920s, 1930s and 1940s kitchens that I found on the internet. 

Here are some of my favorites:

A couple of breakfast nook examples.

That generation certainly wasn't afraid of color and patterns!

  Here's some real life kitchens from the era, just for fun:

And finally, here are recent pictures from magazines, museums, and movies that I saved for inspiration via pinterest:

Pretty neat, huh?

After looking at all these pictures and more (a lot more!), I came to the conclusion that it should look like a kitchen built in 1930 (which it was), that had progressed over time, but had stopped somewhere around 1960. I thought it would seem more natural that way and I wouldn't have to stick to one era, since that's not the way the rest of the house is decorated. After all, I wanted it to look old, like grandma's kitchen, not a 1930s museum!

Well, that's all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed it.

I promise I'll show you what I did soon ;)



  1. Love all those kitchens! And I especially love green. :) So charming. The alcoves send me over the moon.

    Found your blog from Kimberly....so nice to meet you. :)

    1. Aren't they darling?!

      Nice to meet you too, Jennifer :)

  2. I had to smile about House Hunters. "But honey," the husband or wife will say, "how can you like this kitchen? The appliances aren't stainless!"
    Love the retro and vintage pictures. Looking forward to the reveal!

  3. If I see one more couple bemoaning the lack of stainless on House Hunters will scream! I know you will do the house justice!

    1. Precisely why I refuse to watch any of those shows. All they want to do is "modernize" older homes loaded with vintage charm, and "remuddle" everything until it's basically unrecognizable. If you've got the resources to buy a home, then buy one that's already done the way you want! Not destroy vintage homes you can't possibly appreciate from the start! And all these homes that have the walls torn out to achieve some bizarre "open concept" where everything is one huge room that exposes the kitchen from the second you step inside the front door just is so ridiculous. There's a reason kitchens had walls from the get-go - what are you going to hang your cabinets on, and how do you keep toddlers safely away from all the usual kitchen dangers? And pets out from under foot?

      Suppose you are not the kind of cook who enjoys constant noises and destractions from the rest of the house, or enjoys having to keep a busy, working kitchen totally spotless at a moment's notice in order to accomodate drop-in company, or dinner guests who can sit down to the table with a clear view of where their meal is coming from? At the very least, a kitchen doorway gives you a place to hang a toddler/pet gate, at least for a few years!

      I'm a purist, as if you couldn't already tell, and I believe certain features of older houses had very logical and pleasant reasons for existing. I suppose growing up with 40s to 70s housing colored my view somewhat, but I also find that MANY features of homes from the 20s through the mid 40s are logical, pleasant and comfortable to live in and with. Modern appliances have their pluses too, but even they can be worked in without destroying the ambiance created by the vintage feel of an older home. For instance, find the dishwasher that is installed in that green and yellow kitchen photo, shown as a kitchen inspiration? I bet it doesn't stand out until you actually put a bit of effort into locating it!

      Whoever decided that every home must be an open concept floor plan should be tied to a chair and forced to read the research done by several expert research facilities, that has not received nearly enough attention exposing the FIRE HAZARDS that such plans create! Walls are fire breaks, and keep the massive open bubble of fire-feeding oxygen created by such open designs from feeding a house fire, drastically reducing the safety provided by the smaller, more traditional plans with actual walls. Fire departments have discovered and tried to advertise the fact that even their safety response times have been drastically reduced because of it. Not to mention the more burnable materials used to build them to begin with. It used to give people 15-20 minutes to get safely out of more traditional construction but now, they get more like 3 to 4 minutes evacuation time. Fire departments just dont get the needed time to get to fires to be able to save structures and rescue people like they used to. Something to consider when chosing the home that will house your family?

  4. Great set of pics - love that kitchen website, visit it often. Also, like Susie Q above, if I see one more couple whining on Living Alaska show, that the counters aren't granite, I will slap the TV screen. I love that show, a chance to see inside cabins on great land, but the expectations of so many house hunters are just unreal. Your kitchen has a ton of personality - lucky you!

    Big hug

    1. "I will slap the TV screen."..... HAHAHAHA! That's funny! I spend a great deal of time yelling at the tv.

  5. I actually think modernized homes aren't very cozy-looking. A home should look friendly, and with all the sharp corners modernized homes have, it gets pretty hard to achieve the look. I like how you stuck with the antique style. And green is definitely the best color to have a kitchen in, if you're looking to make it cozy. Have fun with the makeover, Rue. All the best to you!

    Grady Schwartz @ iDesign

  6. I have that sink with the molded in drainboard.
    I wish I had the oven. Didn't realize that my kitchen conveniences kept me "youthful".
    I so love the old advertisements!

  7. Good morning. I just found your blog . Love your kitchen, the fact that you cook mostly from scratch, and even the title of your blog! And House Hunters? Can't watch it anymore. If I saw one more prissy little wife tell her husband that a perfectly fine kitchen was a "gut job", I knew I was going to throw something at the tv. Time to change channels. I look forward to reading all previous and future post.


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