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Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 | 0 comments

Reader Submission: 1940s DIY Kitchen Renovation

Reader Submission: 1940s DIY Kitchen Renovation

Although we like to share renovation projects just from the Del Ray area, this reader submission all the way from Oregon was just too good to pass up. In fact, this house looks just like so many Del Ray homes you probably couldn’t even tell it’s from the other side of the country. Special thanks to Linn for sharing her story. Love, love, love this kitchen!

Right after my husband and I bought our small little bungalow this summer, it became clear the kitchen had to be one of the first parts we turned our attention to. The old kitchen appeared to be firmly stuck in the 40s, I bet it hadn’t changed one bit from when it was first put in! The walls and ceiling were green, it had a green laminate floor, laminate countertop etc… you get the picture! While charming in some ways, we really wanted something brighter, cleaner and more functional.

We were set on basically taking on as many projects as we could ourselves, thinking it would be fun and exciting to try a variety of things, and we basically managed to do every single part ourselves. The whole process took us about a month (with a little help from my wonderful in-laws) and we ended up spending just a little over $6000, that’s including appliances.

One of the first things we did was to switch the position of the fridge and the stove. Previously the fridge was blocking quite a bit of light in front of the window, so by switching the two it opened up the space a lot. Because did I mention the kitchen is tiny? It’s only about 90 square feet, so to make the space feel brighter and more open was on top of the list!



We really like the classic look of subway tile and decided to tile all the walls, all the way up to the ceiling. Some people might think this would be overkill (and would have just settled on a backsplash) but we really like the practicality and the industrial feel this brings to the kitchen. After all, we love to cook and wanted the space to be functional and useful, now who cares if you splatter tomato sauce all over the place!

Luckily the cabinets in the old kitchen were of solid wood and in good condition, so we were able to refinish those. We quickly realized the importance of doing a good prep job with sanding and priming before painting! We chose an antique white semi gloss paint for the cabinets and drawers, and vintage inspired hardware to go with that.

Cabinets before:

Cabinets after:

For the countertop, we chose stainless steel which we also put in ourselves. We made a model of our counter in plywood with a hole cut out for the sink. Then we took this model to our local sheet metal place which fitted 20 gauge stainless steel on it. At this point we just glued and screwed the plywood on top of our old laminate counters, and secured the stainless steel on top with liquid nails. Doing it this way turned out to be many many times cheaper than having Home Depot come in and install stainless steel counters! We also got a new sink and faucet to match our new counters.

For the floor we decided to go for a checkerboard pattern. We chose marble and granite 12 inch tile which we put down in a diagonal pattern. The floor is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen I think, as it breaks up all the white and adds an interesting focal point. Plus, how can you go wrong with marble and granite!

Otherwise we got some new appliances, new lights and also refinished our old kitchen cart to better fit our new design. We are so happy with the way it turned out, and we had a really good time doing all the different projects!

More information, pictures and budget breakdown is available at:

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