It has officially been a little over four months since we moved into our 1960s home, and things have come quite a long way since that day in October. Almost every single wall has been painted bright, bright white, furniture has settled and closets have been organized and reorganized, fixtures have been changed, and new lights have been hung. But one of the biggest changes of all has happened in our mid-century kitchen.
When we first started out, the space was the BAD sort of retro (think: dated counters, a shallow sink, floral wallpaper), but now things are feeling much more classic and the GOOD kind of retro. To mark the occasion, I invited my friend Andrea Pesce to come take some “After” photos for us and, today, I’m taking you through our updates, one piece at a time.
Let’s start by rewinding all the way to the beginning. As I mentioned, almost immediately after moving in back in October, John and I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a local granite countertop supplier so that we could take care of the old formica counters once and for all. For those of you who are local to the Waynesboro, Virginia, area, we worked with Goose Creek Granite, and they were a dream.
In just under a month, we had the old counters and pint-sized sink hauled away, with new gray/white granite counters in their place. The ultra-deep 10-inch sink that the Goose Creek Granite team installed for us was also a major upgrade, as was the Champagne Bronze Trinsic touch faucet from Delta that they put in.
Aside from the counters and upgraded sink/faucet duo, the other major investment of time and energy was our new white subway tile backsplash. Since this was one of the main projects that we took on by ourselves, I’m saving that story for its very own post tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that in the morning, complete with “Before” pictures that will make your eyes hurt.
Happily, today, I’m just sharing the lovely, styled-for-the-Internet “After” photos. Let’s just say that, in real life, we have not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of coffee makers out. We have an obsession—there’s no denying that. But for now, here’s our lone white Keurig coffee maker.
Although I’m head over heels for our updated kitchen and can see us enjoying it for at least 10 more years before touching a thing, part of me wonders if someday I might be itching to go the extra mile and paint the cabinets white, too.
What do you think? Would you leave them as-is? The original wood finish is beautiful, and I like that it matches the wood trim throughout the rest of the house (which I don’t plan on painting), so maybe I should just leave it alone. Maybe some new hardware would do the trick? I’m also considering removing the scroll-y wooden piece over the sink, but am not sure how to tackle that without damaging the surrounding cabinetry.
Like most things in our lives, it’s all a work in progress, but for now, you’ll find me leaning against our new counters with a cup of coffee in hand, drooling over the bright white surfaces and shades of lavender and gray throughout. Stay tuned tomorrow for the (long-winded) story behind our white subway tile project, complete with even more “After” photos!
Bronze touch faucet // white subway tile // glass coffee mugs // wall shelves // granite counters // white bread box // recipe card box // raw edge cutting board // white oval fruit bowl // white Keurig coffee maker // curtains // gold soap pump // silk bud vase flower // white canisters // Styled, by Emily Henderson // wallpaper in phone cubby // white trash can // oil dispenser // cookbook stand // tea towel (similar) // tea kettle // geometric cutting board, starburst wall clock, telephone, mint salt & pepper shakers, and coffee container are all vintage or handmade)
(Photos by Andrea Pesce for Dream Green DIY)
Ahhh….I love this kitchen. Everything just works so well together. I’m especially in love with the telephone! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Crystal! Glad you like it!!
I love this! I have a knotty pine kitchen that needs some serious updates. I’ve been feeling like I have to wait until we can do it all before doing anything. But this looks great! I also have a very similar stove that came with my house, that I love other than it needs to have a couple things fixed. Don’t you just love the size and double 2 oven feature? To get a stove like that today would cost a ton! Anyway thanks for the inspiration. Maybe a kitchen update is within reach sooner than I thought. 🙂
Thank you, Rachel! I totally agree about the stove—it would cost a FORTUNE for something similar to today, and they just don’t make them like they used to 🙂 I definitely think that you could make some serious improvements for not a ton of money if you think strategically!
First of all–I just LOVE this! What a difference your touch makes! I love the countertops and the backsplash most of all. As I was reading, I found myself asking the question that you end up posing later in the post about the cabinets. At first I thought paint them but then I thought how sad that would be to lose that authenticity when they really look to be in good shape. If I were you, I would change the hardware, and remove the scroll-y piece, as you’ve suggested. I’m sure a carpenter could figure that one out for you. I think if you went sleeker with those changes it would remove that lingering itch you have. Because GAH! That kitchen is already amazing with what you’ve done to it!!!
Thanks, Sarah!! You’re so sweet!!! I am going to start researching new hardware ASAP! 🙂
I’m swooning, Carrie! You did a great job! I adore how you kept the mid-century charm of the kitchen while adding some gorgeous new details.
Thank you, Sarah!! I’m thrilled that you love how it turned out!
It’s beautiful just the way you’ve updated it. I cringe when I see people buy old houses, gut them and trendy-ize them, tearing out all the character and commend you for not doing this by leaving the cupboards.
At first, I thought, get rid of the apron over the sink but after enjoying your pics and story — and realizing how much you actually did change without ruining the 1960s feel — I fell in love with its gentle, hand cut curves, and imagine how many dishes were washed beneath it.
The woodgrain is beautiful and you will lose it forever if you paint over it. Find some understated handles and knobs and you have respectfully embraced the beauty of a bygone era.
I loved your sweet thought about the apron above the sink!! Such a nice way to think about it…Thanks for the insight and support!
Carrie – Aunt Frances sent me an email to tell me to pay special attention to this post (she is a huge fan). Absolutely gorgeous is all I can say, wow! I love the cabinets “as is”, especially the corner one, the contrast looks great, as well as the color of the telephone and shakers. In the new house, I promised myself to live with the kitchen as-is, but I am going to get the (plywood) cabinets painted. They work really well, the drawers slide out perfectly, so why replace them is my thought. Anyway, the Halloween orange formica countertops have to go – I am thinking of buying Formica Carrera marble countertops for the time being as I saw some blogs about them and they look really good. Not the same as your granite though! The kitchen looks wonderful. Aunt Amy
Thanks for stopping by, Aunt Amy!! I’m glad you like how our kitchen turned out, and I can’t WAIT to see how your kitchen and home come together! You’ll have to send me photos every step of the way 🙂
Wow, seeing that Centel label on the center of the rotary dial brought back memories from my grandparents’ houses!
Awww, so fun!! 🙂
I am SO glad that you kept the cabinets as is! They are beautiful and so true to the style of your home. I think I’d skip the paint or at least wait until you felt like you were 1000% sure before going that direction. LOVE that faucet, too! xoxo
I am, too! 🙂 Thanks so much for the sweet encouragement! xox
Your kitchen looks amazing!!!!! The counter tops and back splash look awesome. And can we talk about your oven?! Amazing!
Thank you, Sara!! I’m glad you love our oven, too 🙂
We definitely have similar homes! Both 1960s and we have that same colored wood trim and I painted all the walls white! Love how you updated the kitchen. That’s next on our list.
So cool!! I love that! Send photos/links when you’re done with your own kitchen makeover—I’d love to see! 🙂
Awwwwww I love it. You’ve kept the charm which is so beautiful.
I’m so glad that you love how it turned out, Julia!!
I adore this kitchen, it is fabulous, I’m very curious to the before. I love the cabinets as is, I agree maybe change out the hardware or stay true to it’s roots and spray paint them. As far as that piece above the sink, maybe paint only it, maybe stencil or paint a funky mural up there, some kitschy food quote or something. I’ve enjoyed all these transformations, and I have some serious stove envy.
Thank you, Olivia!! You made my day! And thanks also for the thoughtful suggestions on more updates to make—I love your ideas!
I found your blog via Pinterest, and we love your home! We have a 1950s brick rancher with so many similar design elements. The kitchen is very similar. I painted our cabinets with 3 coats of semi gloss Lotus Flower by Valspar (6 yrs ago so not sure they have it) and LOVE it. Its a nice creamy white. I chose to keep the inside of the cabinets original for the same reason that you havent touched your cabinets. I love the history and the peek inside of our cabinets still gives me that. We added modern 7″ bar handles to the cabinets and that was the perfect finishing touch to our MCM kitchen. If you are ever interested I have pics on my pinterest board -our home tour- I can send you a link if you want.
Love your basement reno and all your art!!!
Oh, how fun!! I’m so glad to hear that you’re going through the same ups and downs as we are in your cool retro ranch 🙂 And I love that you chose to leave the insides of your cabinets the original wood tone, too—what a good idea! I’d love to see, so feel free to send a link.
would love to see pictures of yor kitchen. i have the same retro cabinets
I love that you have retro cabinets, too!
Wow wow wow I love this kitchen. Definitely going to bookmark it in case I ever have a super groovy mcm kitchen. Literally the only thing I would change is the scrolly thing over the sink, and I would just take it down, cut it so it has a straight edge, and put it right back up. beautiful job!
Thanks, Miranda!! And I agree about the scrolly thing! It’s on our to-do list to fix it ASAP 🙂
Do not paint the cuboards please they are stunning
We don’t plan to! Thanks! 🙂
Wow! This is amazing. We just recently bought a 1950’s ranch that has not been updated at all. My first thought was to re-do everything- even looking into getting new cabinets- but the more I thought about it, the more I realized we would lose what we loved about the home/why we bought it. This will now be our model to go off of when making changes! I’m also glad to see you have hardwood floors. We are putting hardwood in our kitchen and I was so worried they would clash with the cabinets. Thanks for sharing!
Congrats on your new home!! It sounds just dreamy, and I’m so excited to hear that you’re considering embracing the quirk of your mid-century space 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions or need ideas—I’m no expert, but I’m here for moral support!
I love the cabinets as is! I have a 1953 cape cod, and my husband and I are planning to remodel the kitchen, simply because the current state has little-to-no counter space. I am hoping I can find like yours! I love the wood against the white, it’s such a lovely contrast!
I’m so glad you like how it turned out!! Good luck with your renovation—I know it’s going to be beautiful 🙂
This is beautifully done. Thank you for posting the pictures and sharing resources. Are the floors original and refinished or updated? We’re about to undergo a kitchen renovation and the cabinets we have are a similar shade. I want light counters with floors a bit lighter. So your kitchen is an inspiration and confirmation, a beautiful example that what I’d like can work very well!
Thank you so much, Jillian! I’m thrilled to hear that our retro space has inspired you 🙂 The flooring had already been updated when we moved in 3 years ago, but I don’t think it was original because it doesn’t quite match the look of the original wood flooring in the bedrooms. I think it was probably installed within the last 10 years!
I’m all for painting cabinets but if yours look as beautiful as they seem in pictures, I would keep them as is. They look amazing!
How kind of you to say! Thank you!!
Your kitchen look so much like ours did when we moved into our house! I painted the cabinets white (Dogwood Blossom, I think?) and even though I love it, sometimes I still miss the original wood. We used butcher block countertops and I love that I can still have the wood tone incorporated into the space, but it still feels brighter. We also added additional cabinets during our “soft remodel” (aka not tearing out perfectly good cabinets), so the paint helps unify them.
How cool!! Your kitchen sounds gorgeous! I love the updates you made, especially since they made the most of what you already had. Well done!
Oh. You have no idea how long I’ve searched for this kitchen. It’s nearly mine. Do not paint the cabinets!
I’m so glad you found this post helpful! We don’t plan to paint the cabinets now 🙂
DON’T touch the cabinets!. The wood is warm and offsets all the blinding white. They will look awful. The wood over the window is a keeper. Please don’t touch this. I had mine put back after.we had our 1955 kitchen redone( sorry I did)
While I don’t agree that it would “look awful,” we haven’t painted them.
Leave the cabinets wooden! I love the wood look, white just does not seem as unique anymore sInce it is the default
We did! Thanks!
Hi Could you tell me the dimensions and brand on your microwave.. We have a similiar mcm kitchen and I am looking to take out the current hood fan and replace with a microwave.. Love your kitchen..
Hi! Thanks so much for your love on our kitchen! We actually just recently did the opposite of what you plan on doing (swapped from an over-the-range microwave to a hood vent), so we no longer have the microwave. I believe it was GE, though! Sorry I can’t help with more specifics and measurements since we no longer have the microwave, but I wish you lots of luck with your project!
Your kitchen looks great! What the name of your granite color? Thanks!
Thanks! I’m so sorry, but I don’t know! It was done by a local fabricator, and I don’t think he uses formal names. It’s similar to this one from Home Depot, though, in case that helps 🙂
Can you tell me the brand of your stove? I am in love with it.
Sure, it’s an Estate! Thanks!!