Saturday, October 25, 2014

1920s/1950s Kitchen

When I planned the bungalow kitchen, I wasn't sure if I should be true to the house's age and do a 1920s kitchen, or do more of a 1950s kitchen to fit the mostly midcentury modern furniture my imaginary (modern-day) inhabitants own. And what about appliances? Older kitchens often don't have the original refrigerator or stove for safety/product lifespan/energy efficiency reasons (in my experience, old stoves are somewhat prone to gas leaks).

Finally, I stumbled upon pictures of the adorable in-room kitchenettes at the Chateau Marmont Hotel, built in 1927 (originally an upscale apartment house). Then Retro Renovation led me to a few companies making new appliances that resembled their midcentury predecessors. Bingo.

I had been eyeing Town Square Miniatures' white 1950s kitchen set, since the oven and refrigerator look similar to their GE, Smeg, and Big Chill counterparts. But, I wasn't sure about the sink cabinet until I found the "hex tile" and "subway tile" papers (both made by Itsy Bitsy Minis) that I also used in the bathroom. Perfect. (Well-maintained sinks don't often NEED to be replaced, so an original sink paired with newer appliances made sense.)

I also bought a few packs of Houseworks' fancy dresser drawer handles, flattened them slightly (so I could re-use the existing nail holes), and painted them black. I then carefully pried out the silver-tone drawer/cabinet pulls, carefully pried out the sink (not an easy task), and removed traces of glue from the sink area.

I covered the countertop with the subway tile paper, taking care to line up the black "trim" tiles with the top of the backsplash and the edge of the counter (this took some cutting and pasting, but was well worth the effort). I also used black "trim" tiles to outline the sink (a detail seen in both the Chateau Marmont kitchenettes and in my grandmother's midcentury kitchen). After the glue dried, I coated the new "tile" counter and backsplash with clear gloss glaze, reinstalled the sink, and attached the new handles. (The bottom center of the sink cabinet can be removed and used as a separate cabinet, so I could do that and put a little curtain under the sink instead, as is often seen in older kitchens. It's not permanently installed, just in case I change my mind.)

I love this kitchen.


  1. What a terrific face lift you have given to this sink unit! It looks just like a vintage style with the tiled counter top surface, that I know and love! There is something "timeless" about black and white and you have up-dated wisely while remaining true to the general atmosphere of the kitchen. Well done!


  2. Hello Anne,
    Terrific facelift. I love the updates you made to the piece. It looks wonderful. Great work.
    Big hug,

  3. Thank you both! I almost went with a farmhouse-style sink, but I'm glad I didn't.

    Elizabeth - if there's one thing I can't understand, it's why so many people rip out perfectly nice black and white kitchens and bathrooms. It's classic! I'd pay serious money for that kind of original detail in an old house (if I could afford one).