Retro-Mod Kitchen Renovation – Week 1

On Saturday, August 24th, our largest design project moved from dream to reality and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it!

What it was:

Allow me to start from the beginning and show some before pictures of the kitchen. The following photos were taken before the homeowner moved in:

Tina Forrister before - 2 pantry

This is the pantry. Someone got real adventurous with the color choices here. To the left of the pantry is the kitchen (seen below) and to the right is the dining room.

Tina Forrister before - 2 kitchen(2)

Above is one view of the kitchen, looking back into the pantry. They didn’t quite know how to integrate the kitchen and range into the overall scheme.

Below is the money-shot of the kitchen. This photo was taken from beside the range. The homeowner had originally desired to keep that beautiful 1930’s porcelain-on-steel sink but you will see in later posts that we could not make it work with the new design without venturing into the world of custom cabinetry. ($$)

Tina Forrister before - 2 kitchen(1)

This house was built in 1910. My guess that this kitchen is a very old remodel because as unsightly as it is, its still not as bare-bones and utilitarian as a typical 1910 kitchen.

Tear it down!

After many months of planning and designing and coordinating. We began the demolition of the kitchen:


First the cabinets are removed, then they start tearing down walls!


..and they continue to tear down walls.


Finally, the pantry becomes no more and we have an open space straight through the dining room and into the living room through the cased opening!

The design!

Below is a condensed (and slightly early) version of the design. I hope to get around to creating a more in-depth post about it. I promise I won’t bore you with the construction documents. You will see that we will re-frame the kitchen to make it into a big fat galley style kitchen. Imagine that the wall that the pantry cabinets were originally affixed to will extend (almost) all the way down the length of the kitchen. The area where the range and refrigerator sat in the before pictures will be closed off to accommodate a master bedroom closet and a laundry machine closet. Both will obviously be accessible outside of the new kitchen.


‘What is that range!?’ You might ask. That is the driver for this entire design. It is a 1950 Chambers model C-90 gas range. Allow me to show you a photo of that!

Client 100 - blue chambers

This is a picture of the range taken by the restorer before restoration began. It is the only picture that I have at the moment and you can bet that I will be posting lots of after pictures of JUST this stove. It might be a feature blog post.

The challenge here was that the homeowner did not want to be locked into a retro style kitchen just because she happened to be in love with a retro range so we got bold and decided to get ultra contemporary with the cabinets. We chose to design with affordable glossy gray IKEA cabinets. You know the ones, right?

Conversely, we will get a little retro with the hardware that we will put on the cabinets — but you will have to wait to see that!

Frame it up!

First comes demo, then comes framing!


Here we see the beginnings of the drop ceiling (there, over the double window!) and the new wall to make space for the master bedroom and laundry closets.


Then comes more demo, then some more framing; the electrician needed access to the studs for the new outlet/switch boxes:


Old meets new here.


This is an excellent view of the drop ceiling all framed. We will have 4 recessed lights and one pendant installed around the perimeter. The center will house some hidden cove lighting, 2 flush mount ceiling lights and a ceiling fan.


Finally, this is a view looking in the opposite direction than the previous picture. That is the dining room with the hardwood floor and the living room beyond the plastic.

That wraps up WEEK 1!

Stay tuned!

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