powered by
Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help! 1962 Kitchen needs an update...not an overhaul.

Christy -January 11, 2013
Considering a minor update for '62 kitchen. We bought the house last year and haven't touched it. I'm not brave enough to throw myself into a complete redo. Love the retro feel but need the area to appear "cleaner" and brighter. Not sure whether to paint the cabinets (egads!) or simply try new hardware (the current original handles snag clothing and are sharp-edged!) Wallpaper could possibly be an '80s update---want to remove it and the heavy drapes/shade. Not sure what color palette to consider. I fight my traditional tendencies every time I step foot in the kitchen, but I still love the area nonetheless---just not the decor. All appliances stay except replacing electric cooktop with gas. White formica stays, and I'm cool with it! Linoleum---original...should we try wood or brick flooring? Your ideas are sincerely welcomed! If this was your kitchen, what would you do? (Pardon the clutter, please.)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
The floor looks good, wouldn't change it. Would go with a "rubber" type floor when I changed so it would be easy on the feet. The windows I would leave bare to let the light in. I'd update the look by getting rid of the wall paper, painting the cabinets top and bottom. Darker on the bottom, with a lighter shade on top. To do this, remove doors and spray paint them, and brush/roll the rest. Update the hardware in the process. It looks like you might have room for a small island that would help with the storage, and give you more prep room. Go with 24" deep base cabinets with butcher block top. For a wall color I would go with a color that just pops. My friends color is bright orange. If you notice, there is not that much surface that would be painted the "pop" color.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Removing the wallpaper and updating the hardware on the cabinets will do a lot. I would also get rid of the curtain
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I like your kitchen. I like the wooden cabinets with the white. Feels clean and maybe a little nautical. U shaped kitchens are very efficient, as you may have noticed.
So the bones are good. It is a little difficult to "read" your style.
Your decor around the kitchen looks more traditional, you say you like the retro feel. You need to decide which direction to go.
I would first declutter. A big YES to removing the drape and the wallpaper. If you paint out where the wallpaper was white, it will give your space more light and " mirror" your countertops.
An updated (or interesting/ funky retro) light fixture might do wonders for the wooden cabinets, making them glow, and give your kitchen a general airier feel.
I would definitely change the hardware as you suggested.For safety and for that little something, a special detail that will make your kitchen unique. Anthroplogie carries unique looking hardware, but I have heard might not withstand day to day use, i would assume metal probably fares better than porcelain, worth researching. otherwise lots of other hardware places...take a few different ones home to try out and see how they look with your kitchen.
The floor: it is not that bad, definitely durable, but personally I would probably change it. I would stay away from a dark wood floor, that would swallow all your light and the cabinets would not get their due attention.
Hope that helps a little - best of luck from Canada!
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
LeeValley has an absolutely gigantic hardware catalogue for all eras and styles, worth looking into if you cannot find what you are looking for at the regular places.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Here's another site with lots of hardware:
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
No-wax vinyl flooring is wonderfully easy to clean and lasts years. It might also give you some color. There are many styles to choose from and it is much cheaper than wood or stone. I would put money into appliances before an expensive floor.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Wow, wish my 60s kitchen looked like that - major overhaul this year hopefully.

After having the lino on the floor, you will notice a huge difference in hardness with brick or tile so if it is ok leave it. Timber would make the room look like a cave with existing doors. Painting all those cupboards is going to be a lot of hard work - not for the fainthearted!!! Don't know what finish is on the cupboards, but applying Scandinavian Teak Oil with steelwool will give the timber a new lease of life.

Maybe start slowly, remove wallpaper and paint white, including the beading at the ceiling. Remove curtains and blind. Is there a privacy issue at all?

Could you consider putting a skylight in to really brighten the room?

Do you need all that cupboard space beside the window? Could you remove the doors, paint the backs of the cupboards a cheery colour (I love bright green with timber) and leave the shelves open. On the side where the microwave is, put the microwave up onto the bottom shelf of the cupboard to clear the bench space. Reduce as much clutter as possible from the bench and buy colourful containers for things needing to stay.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Forgot, if you decide to change the hardware, remove some and take with you to ensure screw holes match. If you have to fill holes they will show no matter how carefully you try to match woodfiller.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Wow, That is one amazing vintage kitchen. I agree that some very basic surface changes can make a world of difference here. Definitely once the curtains and wall paper go I think there will be a lot of difference.

Re: the flooring - marmoleum or another linoleum just seems to fit here. It will work with the era and I think be easy on the legs and back when standing. Another floor I saw today here on Houzz is a linoleum floor...name starts with K. Grrrr. I'll find the name and come back with it.

I ditto olldroo on the idea of bright green with dark wood. In your first photo due to the way the light hit, the counter and door looked chartreuse and I thought it looked wonderful!

Best of luck with your update. I think you're working with a wonderful space.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Found it - the company name is Karndean. It seems they are known for their wood look flooring - but everything I saw on their website was really beautiful.

Oh - and yes, some cabinet pulls that actually attach to the doors at each end would be great. I ripped my fair share of pockets too on the cabinet pulls that were here when we moved in.

Giagni BH-128-SS 5" Bow Cabinet Pull - 128mm Center to Center in Stainless Steel · More Info
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
What about the ceiling? How long has it been since it's been painted? They tend to gray after awhile. You might find that brightens up the room.

Also what about the sink? Is it dented or stained? A new sink might be something to consider.

Another option for flooring might be rubber flooring. It's easy to stand on. Here is a link: http://www.contempofloorcoverings.com/rubber-floors.

Personally, I love the wallpaper and drapes, but I would shorten them to make a valance and let more light in. I would also paint the window trim white and also the trim around the ceiling. I think that would go a long way towards lightening the room.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 5:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christy -
Wow! You guys have some pretty great ideas. First of all, thanks for the compliments and suggestions. The entire house is really quite a solid gem which is why we bought it in the first place, BUT every thing is BEIGE. And I'm no beige kinda person! So yes, while I adore the cute little birdies on the drapes (no, really, I do), I think you're right, it may be just time to shed them....but I do like the colors. Gosh, this whole decorate and design thing shouldn't be this hard, should it? Errrrg.

@eagledzines: Thanks for the flooring and hardware links! The kitchen sink! It's a favorite part of the kitchen (is that weird?) It's a triple stainless with varying levels of depth with 2 faucets on either side and disposal in center which stays clean with a light scrub of Bar Keeper's Friend. I won't part with it, but both Delta single-handle faucets could be updated. I would love at least one of those pre-rinse pull down faucets but not sure that I have the height available due to sliding cabinets above. I should add photos of that---the sliding cabinets are pretty cool to me. The hard, white backsplash (not sure material?) is lacking though---water-resistant and easy clean-up but caulk is yellowed. Personally, I wonder what ceramic or some other material would look like as a backsplash. Adding new pics so you can see.

After reading all of your ideas, I am going to try new hardware and teak oil before I paint (ahem, hire a painter), but I love your idea, @jimbeauindy, of the dual paint colors.

@mveasey: I know! It really IS hard to "read" my style, isn't it?! The Honey and I both grew up in large southern traditional-styled homes (and were given lots of hand-me-downs---furniture, decorative items, art, dinnerware, etc.) so we cannot help but throw in the traditional with the mid century. Somehow we will have to make this work for us. I just have to learn not to display it all over the counters! Ha! A couple of the walls are wood paneling that have been pickled a beige-ish combo (a theme that carries into the den), but original owners were heavy smokers so it's more like a nice shade of blotched nicotine. There is no odor, thank goodness!

The ceiling---yes, it has faded and could use brightening up. When we paint the walls, the trim and ceiling will get it, too.

@Olldroo: Yep, the floor is okay---only one little tear near the stove area. I had a rug and a work table (just things we had already) in the central area of the kitchen but removed it after it just felt too congested. The biggest problem is keeping the floor clean---or looking clean rather. This is a high traffic area and it shows, but with 2 dogs and a teenager, I think it's just called "lived in." So I may forego the flooring option for now and just deal. I would love a new refrigerator...move the freezer (which is in a funky place, if you ask me) and strip the double wall oven/using that space for cabinets or whatever and putting in a swanky new gas range. Of course, I'd like to do all of it at once, but that only takes time and money. The cabinets are in abundance in this kitchen---some of which are hardly used. I could make better use of some of them. We've been here a year, and sometimes, I open a cabinet door and think, "None of this makes sense. No organization." I removed the cabinets above the fridge to make use of cookbooks---I'm short but I can get to them if I use my tippy-toes! :) Wish I had thought of the microwave idea---it's brilliant! I'm so doing that but probably a different cabinet. I do like the idea of removing doors to both cupboards on either side of the picture window....and possibly even with the cabinets at the kitchen entrance. Perfect place to display rather than the counters.

@onthefence: You know, I've always been a lover of blue so green hasn't even occurred to me. Hmmm. I like it, too! Thanks for the hardware site!

Well, I've already hit the Honey up with some ideas...man, he's stubborn. There is a *slight* issue of privacy at night (which he pointed out) with removing the drapes all together, but we are checking tonight to see how (if at all) noticeable movement in the kitchen is from the road. There is a screen in front of the window which is alongside our driveway so I feel it is fine, especially in the spring and summer months.

Right now though, since I've looked at the pictures again, I feel the first (a cost-free) step is to declutter and organize! Then step by step, we will make some tweaks.

Holy geez, I've written a book here. Thanks to you all for your insight. Will put your ideas to good use! Feel free to check out my ideabook is you want to get into the exterior/landscaping portion of the house. Ha! No, really, I wouldn't do that to you. Go enjoy your weekend!
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christy -
More pics, just for your review. With a pic of the privacy screen from the exterior of the house. I know, it's not beautiful bare, but it works somewhat...or will help once the coral honeysuckle vines spread.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
when you replace your cooktop, consider adding an over-the-stove microwave with a vent system to replace your hood. Very efficient and will not take up any of your counter or cupboard space.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Wow Christy. Every picture just shows amazing aspects of your house.

Re: the hardware - the one I pictured was just a quick thought of what came to mind. One place that makes very MCM looking hardware to me is Sagatsune. Here's the link to their handles and pulls section: http://www.sugatsune.com/cabinet-handles-pulls-knobs/index.cfm?CATID=2&SUBCATID=1. I think their knobs are really cool as well.

Re: a tall faucet - depending on how much space you need, you might be able to pull out the lower portion of the cabinet over the sink. Personally, I wouldn't replace the scalloped trim but you could put it back on if you like the effect. You'd have 3 holes in your sink which would allow you a tall faucet, perhaps a soap/lotion dispenser and a hot water dispenser. Or, you might even be able to install an air switch there for your disposal.

Again, what a great house!
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
LM Designers
Nice kitchen with lots of space. Get rid of curtain, don't replace just leave open and wall paper and paint the dark wood at the ceiling line. The valance is dated but not horrible. I would remove it if you can if not then not critical. You are on the right track.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
your kitchen looks in great shape for a 1962 kitchen. we had the same exact dilemma in our cape cottage. the dark cabinets were so blah from 1972. we painted them and it wasnt as difficult as i thought. if you dont want to paint new hardware and maybe replace wallpaper with a geometric print. orla kiely has some nice stuff - http://www2.orlakiely.com/usa.cfm/house/living
good luck
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Christy, thank you, I am so glad I was able to help, it is funny how we don't often see what is right in front of us.

With respect to your flooring, if you are going to change appliances that might bring problems if things are a different size. Generally in the 60s flooring went down before the appliances went in so you might be lucky. To me lino is the best option underfoot for a kitchen and the easiest to keep clean, in the 60s it was pretty much standard for kitchens and quite inexpensive. Nowdays it is more expensive than good quality carpet much to my despair as I would love to replace mine.

If privacy is an issue maybe a natural matchstick blind might be an inexpensive option until your plants grow. I love lattice for screens.

It sounds to me like your organisation problem centres around the fact you have too much space - half your luck!!!!!!
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Go Nautical Collections
If you are looking to decorate in the nautical theme, large selection of nautical decor and maritime gifts, source
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:08AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Need suggestions on how to add personality to this kitchen! Help!
My hubby wants to break up all the oak with tile floors....
Kitchen needs overhaul!
We recently purchased a foreclosure and we're ok with...
Penny Carrasquillo
Help needed for dated bathroom.
The bathrooms and kitchen are quite dated in our 1962...
Brittany Hess
Need help choosing flooring for kitchen, hallway and family room
Hi everyone, newbie to remodel here! Our new home...
need help for new kitchen
We're doing a complete overhaul. I will have lightly...
More Discussions
Our living room is driving me crazy. Please help!
This room was one of the reasons we loved this house...
White kitchen appliances with cherry cabinets
What are your thoughts on a kitchen that has cherry...
Serious case of "No Curb Appeal" need advice
This little house sits on a small lot with no front...
My daughter loves this room! How can I make it work?
I was trying to layer grays in this room; I do plan...
Painting my Dining Room Table
I currently have a black table with wood laminate top....
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.