I've been (finally) putting together some kitchen pictures for our powder coaters to have for their catalog and also for the website RetroRenovation.com (awesome resource for refinishing steel cabinets) and since we didn't have many good pictures of the kitchen previously, I thought it was time to share.
We kept all of the original 1950 GE steel cabinets. They were in decent shape, but needed to be refinished. The sink base needed a complete overhaul, which our powder coaters did for us. I cannot sing their praises enough. They were honest, fair, and did an amazing job. If you are in the Kansas City area and need powder coating, check them out: http://lpfkc.com/
The cabinets were my baby. I knew when we first walked into the kitchen I wanted to keep them. I stripped them all down and took every handle and hinge off, which took several days and a whole lot of cursing. It's amazing what 60 years of corrosion and paint overspray will do to screws.
The upper hardware was in great condition and only required a little cleaning. White subway tile was economical and keeps the look clean. I had thought about something more exciting, but I decided that 1) we didn't have the money for exciting and 2) I really didn't want the backsplash competing with the cabinets. Turquoise cabinets are exciting enough.
The lower hardware was...OK. Several of the backplates were severely cracked or chipped and all had been painted over. Several of the pulls were highly corroded.
I luckily found a guy on http://retrorenovation.com/ that was selling backplates and pulls in nearly mint condition. Score! They weren't cheap: $25 a set. But considering none of this is manufactured anymore and the backplates are some bakelite-esque plastic that is over 60 years old, I couldn't complain. A little paint stripper, elbow grease, chrome polish, spray paint, and a whole lot of patience and I had hardware that looked... like well taken care of vintage hardware.
I chose "vintage turquoise" for the lowers and white for the uppers, both high gloss. I love how the white backplates pop against the turquoise. They were all white cabinets when we bought the house. We vaulted the ceiling and moved a wall by 1', so the new kitchen feels much more open. The open shelving and large window over the sink help as well. The countertops are concrete, but if you follow this blog, you knew that already. Appliances are new, as are the light fixtures.
Here's a closer view of the fruits of my hard work. If you get up close, you can still see all of the imperfections. But I think that adds character and what separates true vintage from reproductions. I am incredibly happy with the results.
We had some additional cabinets and a pantry made out of walnut. At the end of the kitchen, we found a perfect spot for a bench and an Eames hang-it-all. The entryway is just beyond the partial wall.
It's funny that when we bought the house, the kitchen was my least-favorite room. It was small, dark and cramped. It functioned, but not well. Now, it is open and airy. The kitchen is second only to the lounge as far as design impact goes. No one walks into this kitchen without commenting on the cabinets. And I love that no one else I know has turquoise cabinets.